Fellow Democrats say state Senator Ron Calderon must either resign or take a leave of absence within a week or face expulsion. After surrendering to authorities, a handcuffed Calderon stood before a federal judge yesterday and pleaded not guilty to 24 felony counts, including bribery, conspiracy and money laundering. If convicted on all the charges, the potential sentence could total nearly 400 years. Senate Democratic leader Darrell Steinberg says Calderon must step aside while his legal case plays out – but he says Calderon has not been convicted, and that it’s too soon to kick the Montebello lawmaker out of the Legislature. Calderon is accused of selling his votes in exchange for cash, trips and jobs for his children.
Smoke or vapor…it’s pretty much all the same to some L.A. officials. A City Council panel has given its okay to a proposed ordinance that would treat electronic – or e-cigarettes – just like regular smokes. The entire City Council will now vote on the proposal. It would outlaw e-cigarettes in all the places smoking is banned: including beaches, public parks and outdoor dining areas. Health experts are divided about whether e-cigarettes are a useful tool to help people quit smoking – or a gateway to using tobacco products.
You won’t see a measure on the ballot this fall to overturn a new law giving transgender California students the right to use public school restrooms of their choice. California’s Secretary of State says backers of a referendum failed to get enough signatures to qualify the measure. They submitted more than 619,000 names, but county election officials say only 487,000 were valid, about 20,000 short of the minimum. Opponents say the law violates the privacy of potentially uncomfortable youngsters.
A Malibu juvenile corrections facility known for its sports programs could be torn down and replaced with by a lockup that focuses on education and vocational training instead of athletics. The L.A. Times reports that Camp Kilpatrick is scheduled to be razed next month unless it can prove that it helps youthful offenders to stay out of trouble. Camp Kilpatrick is the only juvenile facility in California that fields teams to play against public and private schools in state-sanctioned leagues. The camp’s football team was the inspiration for the 2006 movie “Gridiron Gang.”
Forget goldendoodles and puggles, it’s bogus service dogs that are all the rage in California: pet owners are dressing up their animals with vests and badges and taking them places they wouldn’t otherwise be allowed. But that’s posing a problem for businesses and people with legitimate disabilities. Now business groups and disabled advocates are asking the Legislature to pass a law that would give the state the legal authority and the resources to crack down on service dog fraud.