Portal

  • 75% of L.A. County Drinking Water Systems Are at Risk

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Los Angeles County is served by 228 government and private community water systems. Seventy-five percent of them suffer from at least one vulnerability sufficient to put its users at risk. That includes “dependency on a single type of water source, local groundwater contamination, small size, or a projected increase in extreme heat days over the coming decades.”   read more
  • Delta Deal with Farmers Dodges Showdown over Senior Water Rights―for Now

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    So far, the deal affects only about 1,000 farmers with riparian water rights—direct access to running water in streams and rivers. In exchange for farmers fallowing 25% of their fields or using 25% less water, the state agrees not to do the unthinkable and challenge their senior water rights before the growing season is over. Not every farmer in the area is expected to sign up for the deal, so that fight might still be coming if the state tries to cut them back―or off.   read more
  • Report Documents California Wiretap Explosion, but Locked File Limits Data Access

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    The California Department of Justice (DOJ) suggests that in order to make sense of the information in the wiretap report, its elaborate, multi-page tables “should be read in conjunction with one another to evaluate the impact intercepts have on public safety.” Good luck with that. The department released the report as a locked PDF, a file format that reduces the ability to analyze the data in alternative formats. No copying and pasting into an Excel spreadsheet.   read more
  • 335 California Dental Providers Post Suspiciously Amazing Medi-Cal Numbers

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Two-thirds of the suspect medical providers claimed an extreme number of procedures a day, including one who billed for 1,000 services a day on 97 separate days. The average is 24. His personal record was 1,658 in one day. That's one service every 17.4 seconds, assuming an 8-hour workday. Two dentists averaged 500 services a day and 229 averaged 76 a day. One dentist averaged 862 services per day.   read more
  • Sony Hackers Show How L.A. County Government Works

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) wanted $125 million from the county to help pay for a $600-million expansion. Board member Michael Lynton was CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment and a frequent associate of L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The supervisor asked for and received a $25,000 contribution for a SuperPac he founded and later voted in favor of giving LACMA the money. The story does not allege a quid pro quo. That would be wrong and illegal.   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Hollywood Park's Final Race Click the photo for larger view Hollywood Park's Final Race

Top Stories

  • State Medical Assn. First in Nation to Drop Opposition to End-of-Life Legislation

    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    The association took a neutral stance on Senate Bill 128, which would make it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally-ill patients. The bill, mirrored on Oregon’s law, establishes procedures for requesting aid-in-dying drugs and provides immunity from civil or criminal liability to those who assist terminal patients in good faith.   read more
  • Oil Spill from a Pipeline near Santa Barbara Coats the Shoreline

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    The Santa Barbara Independent said the Coast Guard cited Plains All American Pipeline (PAAP) of Texas as estimating that 21,000 gallons of oil gushed out of its broken 24-inch pipeline onshore, flowed into a culvert, made its way to a storm drain and dumped out in the ocean. But the company said on its website late into the evening that “at this time, the amount of released oil is unknown.”   read more
  • Massive Fish-Lift Trucks Drought-Constrained Salmon to the Bay

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Salmon is another story. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is directing a massive effort to truck tankloads of baby salmon from fisheries to the San Francisco Bay to help save the fishing industry, keep the species alive and put a Band-Aid on the food chain. State and federal wildlife agencies told AP it was the largest fish-lift ever. 30 million salmon.   read more

Controversies

  • Woman Sues Employer after Being Fired for Turning Off Tracking App

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Myrna Arias of Bakersfield sued her employer (pdf) in Kern County Superior Court, claiming she was fired two weeks after turning off a company-required GPS app that tracked her movements during off-hours. Arias likened the app to a parolee's ankle bracelet, called it illegal and asked for $500,000 compensation.   read more
  • Manufacturers Skip FDA Panel's Meeting to Discuss Their “Unsafe” Medical Scopes

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    “I'm a little disappointed industry did not represent themselves,” committee member Dr. Bryce Mays said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I think they may have data critical to our thinking in terms of reaching a decision, and they chose not to.” They probably didn't want to hear panel member Dr. Irving Nachamkin say, “We have heard enough data to say these devices are not safe using current conditions.”   read more
  • CalVet Joins Crackdown on For-Profit ITT Schools with GI Bill Loan Suspension

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    The department's action was triggered by an SEC complaint filed against the operator of more than 135 schools in 39 states, with enrollment of 57,000, just days before. The SEC charged that ITT “engaged in a fraudulent scheme and course of business and made various false and misleading statements and omissions to defraud ITT's investors by concealing the extraordinary failure of two off-balance-sheet student loan programs, and the looming effect of that failure on ITT's financial condition.”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Legislative Analyst Sees Brown’s Big Revised-Budget Boost and Raises Him $3.1 Billion

    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    The Legislative Analyst projected the state would clean up collecting capital gains taxes from wealthier individuals. That’s been the story so far in 2015, and they are sticking to it. “We are clearly on the upward slope of the state’s revenue roller coaster,” the Analyst warned, without explicitly saying some folks might lose their lunch or suffer heart palpitations on the way down. "No one can reliably predict many of the key variables that affect California finances."   read more
  • L.A. Votes to Gradually Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 by 2020

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Although the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour in 1968, that would be the equivalent of $9.25 today. Workers have lost ground on wages even as productivity has skyrocketed. If the minimum wage were pegged to overall income growth in the American economy, the minimum wage would be $21.16 an hour.   read more
  • Santa Monica Adds a New Twist to Crackdown on Airbnb

    Thursday, May 14, 2015
    Airbnb officials failed to have an appreciation for Santa Monica’s innovative government model for regulating the company that not only taxed the hosts who rent out their homes but required them to be in town when occupants are there. They said that had never been done before and the Los Angeles Short-Term Rental Alliance threatened legal action.   read more

California and the Nation

  • Santa Barbara Oil Spill Fits Nicely on Company’s List of Safety Problems

    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    The Los Angeles Times did a quick database check at the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and found Plains had three times the number of infractions per mile of pipeline than the national average. They were fifth on a list of 1,700 pipeline operators in the total number of infractions. Reporters counted 175 infractions in multiple states since 2006, including pipeline corrosion, operator error and pump failure.   read more
  • Compton Class-Action Lawsuit Argues Students Have Right to Treatment for Trauma

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Although serious childhood trauma is generally recognized as being widespread in our culture and a severe detriment to student achievement, K-12 teachers receive little if any training in college or on the job on how to recognize and deal with it in the classroom. That might change soon. The lawsuit seeks judicial recognition that complex trauma prevents students from receiving meaningful access to education, a basic constitutional right, and cannot be ignored.   read more
  • Looking for Methane Leaks in L.A. County? There’s a Map for That

    Friday, May 15, 2015
    Researchers for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) stuck their tracking equipment on Google Street View mapping cars, gathered information from more than 1,100 miles of driving and mapped it. They found 250 leaks—a methane leak, on average, every four miles in Pasadena and every five miles in the other two cities.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of California Department of Public Health: Who Is Karen Smith?

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015
    Napa County is losing its longtime public health officer to the state. Dr. Karen Smith. Governor Jerry Brown's appointee as director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) succeeds Dr. Ron Chapman, who resigned at the end of January. The department is the lead agency in California providing detection, treatment, prevention and surveillance of public health and environmental issues.   read more
  • Executive Director of the California Transportation Commission: Who Is Will Kempton?

    Friday, February 20, 2015
    Will Kempton has shuttled between public and private positions in transportation, public service and government affairs for 40 years. His return to the public sector as executive director of the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in January followed a three-year stint, with the same title, at the nonprofit advocacy group Transportation California.   read more
  • Director of the California Department of Health Care Services: Who Is Jennifer Kent?

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Governor Jerry Brown’s new head of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) replaces Toby Douglas, who announced his resignation last September after three tumultuous years of change generated by the Affordable Care Act and the state’s expansion of its version of the federal Medicaid program. The department oversees Medi-Cal and its 11 million participants.   read more

Unusual News

  • Entrepreneur Claims Uber Stole His Ride-Sharing Idea, Sues for $1 Billion

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Halpern’s complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court against the S.F.-based company, claims he was the “inventor of the idea, concept, coding, design, appearance, application and prototype” of what eventually became Uber. The suit alleges misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract.   read more
  • USC’s 2016 MFA Class Drops Out in Protest of “Unethical Treatment”

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    The students claimed a “classic bait-and-switch” by administrators, who promised a master’s program that includes two years of teaching experience and very little debt while learning from an “inspiring faculty.” That is not what they got, they say. “We became devalued pawns in the University’s administrative games,” they wrote in a group letter. “We feel betrayed, exhausted, disrespected and cheated."   read more
  • 75% of LAUSD 10th-Graders at Risk of Not Graduating Under New Standard

    Monday, May 11, 2015
    Board member Monica Ratliff said the graduation policy shouldn’t be enforced and suggested a “C” average for the 15 classes would be more realistic. “Of course, I don’t want our graduation rates to plummet but this isn’t about that,” she told KPCC. “This is about the idea that we’re going to deny students diplomas because they received one D in one A through G course. To me, that’s outrageous.”   read more
  • 75% of L.A. County Drinking Water Systems Are at Risk

    Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    Los Angeles County is served by 228 government and private community water systems. Seventy-five percent of them suffer from at least one vulnerability sufficient to put its users at risk. That includes “dependency on a single type of water source, local groundwater contamination, small size, or a projected increase in extreme heat days over the coming decades.”   read more
  • Delta Deal with Farmers Dodges Showdown over Senior Water Rights―for Now

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    So far, the deal affects only about 1,000 farmers with riparian water rights—direct access to running water in streams and rivers. In exchange for farmers fallowing 25% of their fields or using 25% less water, the state agrees not to do the unthinkable and challenge their senior water rights before the growing season is over. Not every farmer in the area is expected to sign up for the deal, so that fight might still be coming if the state tries to cut them back―or off.   read more
  • Report Documents California Wiretap Explosion, but Locked File Limits Data Access

    Monday, May 25, 2015
    The California Department of Justice (DOJ) suggests that in order to make sense of the information in the wiretap report, its elaborate, multi-page tables “should be read in conjunction with one another to evaluate the impact intercepts have on public safety.” Good luck with that. The department released the report as a locked PDF, a file format that reduces the ability to analyze the data in alternative formats. No copying and pasting into an Excel spreadsheet.   read more
  • 335 California Dental Providers Post Suspiciously Amazing Medi-Cal Numbers

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Two-thirds of the suspect medical providers claimed an extreme number of procedures a day, including one who billed for 1,000 services a day on 97 separate days. The average is 24. His personal record was 1,658 in one day. That's one service every 17.4 seconds, assuming an 8-hour workday. Two dentists averaged 500 services a day and 229 averaged 76 a day. One dentist averaged 862 services per day.   read more
  • Sony Hackers Show How L.A. County Government Works

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) wanted $125 million from the county to help pay for a $600-million expansion. Board member Michael Lynton was CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment and a frequent associate of L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. The supervisor asked for and received a $25,000 contribution for a SuperPac he founded and later voted in favor of giving LACMA the money. The story does not allege a quid pro quo. That would be wrong and illegal.   read more

Top Stories

  • State Medical Assn. First in Nation to Drop Opposition to End-of-Life Legislation

    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    The association took a neutral stance on Senate Bill 128, which would make it legal for doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally-ill patients. The bill, mirrored on Oregon’s law, establishes procedures for requesting aid-in-dying drugs and provides immunity from civil or criminal liability to those who assist terminal patients in good faith.   read more
  • Oil Spill from a Pipeline near Santa Barbara Coats the Shoreline

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    The Santa Barbara Independent said the Coast Guard cited Plains All American Pipeline (PAAP) of Texas as estimating that 21,000 gallons of oil gushed out of its broken 24-inch pipeline onshore, flowed into a culvert, made its way to a storm drain and dumped out in the ocean. But the company said on its website late into the evening that “at this time, the amount of released oil is unknown.”   read more
  • Massive Fish-Lift Trucks Drought-Constrained Salmon to the Bay

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Salmon is another story. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is directing a massive effort to truck tankloads of baby salmon from fisheries to the San Francisco Bay to help save the fishing industry, keep the species alive and put a Band-Aid on the food chain. State and federal wildlife agencies told AP it was the largest fish-lift ever. 30 million salmon.   read more

Controversies

  • Woman Sues Employer after Being Fired for Turning Off Tracking App

    Friday, May 22, 2015
    Myrna Arias of Bakersfield sued her employer (pdf) in Kern County Superior Court, claiming she was fired two weeks after turning off a company-required GPS app that tracked her movements during off-hours. Arias likened the app to a parolee's ankle bracelet, called it illegal and asked for $500,000 compensation.   read more
  • Manufacturers Skip FDA Panel's Meeting to Discuss Their “Unsafe” Medical Scopes

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    “I'm a little disappointed industry did not represent themselves,” committee member Dr. Bryce Mays said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I think they may have data critical to our thinking in terms of reaching a decision, and they chose not to.” They probably didn't want to hear panel member Dr. Irving Nachamkin say, “We have heard enough data to say these devices are not safe using current conditions.”   read more
  • CalVet Joins Crackdown on For-Profit ITT Schools with GI Bill Loan Suspension

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    The department's action was triggered by an SEC complaint filed against the operator of more than 135 schools in 39 states, with enrollment of 57,000, just days before. The SEC charged that ITT “engaged in a fraudulent scheme and course of business and made various false and misleading statements and omissions to defraud ITT's investors by concealing the extraordinary failure of two off-balance-sheet student loan programs, and the looming effect of that failure on ITT's financial condition.”   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Legislative Analyst Sees Brown’s Big Revised-Budget Boost and Raises Him $3.1 Billion

    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    The Legislative Analyst projected the state would clean up collecting capital gains taxes from wealthier individuals. That’s been the story so far in 2015, and they are sticking to it. “We are clearly on the upward slope of the state’s revenue roller coaster,” the Analyst warned, without explicitly saying some folks might lose their lunch or suffer heart palpitations on the way down. "No one can reliably predict many of the key variables that affect California finances."   read more
  • L.A. Votes to Gradually Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 by 2020

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Although the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour in 1968, that would be the equivalent of $9.25 today. Workers have lost ground on wages even as productivity has skyrocketed. If the minimum wage were pegged to overall income growth in the American economy, the minimum wage would be $21.16 an hour.   read more
  • Santa Monica Adds a New Twist to Crackdown on Airbnb

    Thursday, May 14, 2015
    Airbnb officials failed to have an appreciation for Santa Monica’s innovative government model for regulating the company that not only taxed the hosts who rent out their homes but required them to be in town when occupants are there. They said that had never been done before and the Los Angeles Short-Term Rental Alliance threatened legal action.   read more

California and the Nation

  • Santa Barbara Oil Spill Fits Nicely on Company’s List of Safety Problems

    Thursday, May 21, 2015
    The Los Angeles Times did a quick database check at the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and found Plains had three times the number of infractions per mile of pipeline than the national average. They were fifth on a list of 1,700 pipeline operators in the total number of infractions. Reporters counted 175 infractions in multiple states since 2006, including pipeline corrosion, operator error and pump failure.   read more
  • Compton Class-Action Lawsuit Argues Students Have Right to Treatment for Trauma

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015
    Although serious childhood trauma is generally recognized as being widespread in our culture and a severe detriment to student achievement, K-12 teachers receive little if any training in college or on the job on how to recognize and deal with it in the classroom. That might change soon. The lawsuit seeks judicial recognition that complex trauma prevents students from receiving meaningful access to education, a basic constitutional right, and cannot be ignored.   read more
  • Looking for Methane Leaks in L.A. County? There’s a Map for That

    Friday, May 15, 2015
    Researchers for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) stuck their tracking equipment on Google Street View mapping cars, gathered information from more than 1,100 miles of driving and mapped it. They found 250 leaks—a methane leak, on average, every four miles in Pasadena and every five miles in the other two cities.   read more

Appointments and Resignations

  • Director of California Department of Public Health: Who Is Karen Smith?

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015
    Napa County is losing its longtime public health officer to the state. Dr. Karen Smith. Governor Jerry Brown's appointee as director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) succeeds Dr. Ron Chapman, who resigned at the end of January. The department is the lead agency in California providing detection, treatment, prevention and surveillance of public health and environmental issues.   read more
  • Executive Director of the California Transportation Commission: Who Is Will Kempton?

    Friday, February 20, 2015
    Will Kempton has shuttled between public and private positions in transportation, public service and government affairs for 40 years. His return to the public sector as executive director of the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in January followed a three-year stint, with the same title, at the nonprofit advocacy group Transportation California.   read more
  • Director of the California Department of Health Care Services: Who Is Jennifer Kent?

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Governor Jerry Brown’s new head of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) replaces Toby Douglas, who announced his resignation last September after three tumultuous years of change generated by the Affordable Care Act and the state’s expansion of its version of the federal Medicaid program. The department oversees Medi-Cal and its 11 million participants.   read more

Unusual News

  • Entrepreneur Claims Uber Stole His Ride-Sharing Idea, Sues for $1 Billion

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015
    Halpern’s complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court against the S.F.-based company, claims he was the “inventor of the idea, concept, coding, design, appearance, application and prototype” of what eventually became Uber. The suit alleges misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract.   read more
  • USC’s 2016 MFA Class Drops Out in Protest of “Unethical Treatment”

    Monday, May 18, 2015
    The students claimed a “classic bait-and-switch” by administrators, who promised a master’s program that includes two years of teaching experience and very little debt while learning from an “inspiring faculty.” That is not what they got, they say. “We became devalued pawns in the University’s administrative games,” they wrote in a group letter. “We feel betrayed, exhausted, disrespected and cheated."   read more
  • 75% of LAUSD 10th-Graders at Risk of Not Graduating Under New Standard

    Monday, May 11, 2015
    Board member Monica Ratliff said the graduation policy shouldn’t be enforced and suggested a “C” average for the 15 classes would be more realistic. “Of course, I don’t want our graduation rates to plummet but this isn’t about that,” she told KPCC. “This is about the idea that we’re going to deny students diplomas because they received one D in one A through G course. To me, that’s outrageous.”   read more

PHOTO GALLERY

Hollywood Park's Final Race Click the photo for larger view Hollywood Park's Final Race