Headline, Issues, News »

Arms race: Local police agencies snap up military gear

Posted September 15, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
MILITARYGEAR

The rapidly increasing militarization of the nation’s local police agencies has been a hot topic in the wake of the deadly shooting of African-American teenager by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
In the 13 years since the 9-11 attacks, hundreds of millions of dollars in military gear has made its way from the Pentagon to police forces as part of new government programs. That includes …

California Elections, economy, Issues, LA Noir, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Thread and bread, the cartel connection

Posted September 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

Hundreds of federal agents descended this week on downtown Los Angeles’ Fashion District, making arrests as part of what prosecutors say is a sophisticated operation to launder money for Mexican drug cartels.
Authorities took 9 people into custody, and seized more than $90 million.
Federal prosecutors are calling it “Operation Fashion Police”.
Joe Mathews, from Zocalo Public Square, and Joe Mozingo, who reports for the Los Angeles …

economy, Environment, Featured, Issues, News, Politics, Water and the Drought »

Are we facing a megadrought?

Posted September 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Some government buildings have stopped watering their lawns. Photo via Flickr/ CC/ Kevin Cortopassi

California is three years into what some are saying could become a megadrought, a dry spell lasting several decades.
The drought is so dire that a certain golf course in the Montecito area is shipping in nearly $90,000 of water per month for its grass, and one-third of the town itself is shipping in bottled water. Meanwhile, those living in towns like the working-class, farm community of …

Headline, Issues, News »

Death penalty foes make gains, but still in the minority

Posted September 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
deathpenalty

Support for the death penalty in California is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years. But a new Field Poll says that more than half of California voters – 56 percent – still want to keep it.
Approval levels for capital punishment in California topped 80 percent in the 1980’s and 90’s. And just three years ago, a Field Poll said 69 percent of …

Headline, Issues, News »

It’s on: Anaheim cops to be equipped with body-cams

Posted September 10, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
BODY-CAM

The Anaheim City Council has unanimously agreed to spend more than $1 million to buy 250 so-called body cams for the city’s police force – and officials say they expect every officer to be wearing a device by next spring.
Anaheim would become the first city in Orange County to require the body-mounted cameras.
Police Chief Raul Quesada supports the move. He says the department has …

Headline, Health Care, Issues, News »

Nursing homes want easier path to prescribing meds

Posted September 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
NURSINGHOMEl

A trade group that represents California nursing homes is considering whether to push for a new policy that would allow doctors to prescribe antipsychotic drugs to residents without their consent, or the consent of their families.
Some members of the group argue that at times patients are so incapacitated that they can’t make effective decisions for themselves – and that family members are often not …

Education, Headline, Issues, News »

L.A. teachers are due for a pay raise: But how big?

Posted September 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
alecaputopearl

So how do L.A. teachers fare compared to their counterparts statewide when it comes to pay?
Not so well, according to an analysis by the L.A. Daily News.
LAUSD teachers brought home $67,475 on average in 2013. That’s about three percent less than the statewide public school average, which was $69,623.
The L.A. district does offer better benefits – including premium-free health insurance to its teachers. But …

California Elections, economy, Issues, LA Noir, News, Politics, Runaway Production, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Tinseltown tax credits and jobs

Posted September 5, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

On this first Friday of the month, we got a jobs report from the Labor Department. A lackluster one, nationally, for sure.
But here in Los Angeles, there’s some optimism from city officials and state lawmakers about film and television production jobs sticking around instead of being exported to other parts of the country.
The California legislature passed a bill that gives $330 million in tax …

Arts & Culture, Environment, Featured, Health Care, Issues, News, Politics »

Why L.A. needs a resilience czar

Posted September 5, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Northridge Earthquake, CA, January 17, 1994 -- An aerial view of destruction caused by the 6.7 magnitude earthquake. Damage costs were estimated at $25 billion. FEMA News Photo
Date	17 January 1994

For the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s population (currently 7.1 billion) lives in urban settings. While urban living offers many attractions — employment opportunities, higher education, entertainment, health care, and public transportation – the changes we make to the natural landscape to accommodate and support our current population often makes us vulnerable to human and environmental threats. And when …

economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Making the case for saving the Salton Sea

Posted September 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
Salton-Sea

Failure to stop the Salton Sea from drying up would cost the state tens of billions of dollars in lost jobs, sliding property values and damage to public health, according to a new report.
The Pacific Institute’s “Hazard’s Toll: The Cost of Inaction at the Salton Sea,” warns of “catastrophic” environmental changes. Among other things, it says allowing the sea to dry up would release 100 …

Education, Headline, Issues, News »

Surge in unvaccinated children alarms health officials

Posted September 3, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
vaccination

Used to be that vaccinations were considered to be a normal part of childhood. But for a lot of kids, that’s no longer the case.
State law says parents must vaccinate their children against measles, whooping cough, polio, chicken pox and a host of other diseases. But parents who object because of their personal beliefs can get exemptions. And those exemptions are soaring.
An analysis by …

Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Are Californians beginning to sour on President Obama?

Posted September 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
obamaincalifornia

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings have sunk to a record low in California.
The Golden State has been a consistent source of support for Obama ever since he first ran for the first White House. But a new Field Poll finds that only 45 percent of voters in the state hold a favorable view of Obama’s job performance right now. That’s a five percent drop …

California Elections, Education, Issues, LA Noir, Politics, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: School’s in, iPads out

Posted August 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

The Los Angeles Unified School District has scrapped the $1 (B) billion effort to provide all students and teachers with iPad tablets and laptops.
Embattled Superintendent John Deasy says he wants to gather new bids for future phases of the program.
Which is spin for this plan isn’t working.
The change comes in light of alleged improprieties in the awarding of the original contracts with Apple and …

California Elections, Education, Headline, Issues, News »

California on verge of ending English-only instruction

Posted August 27, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
Prop.187protest

The state Legislature has approved a ballot measure that would ask voters two years from now whether California schools should ditch English-only instruction. It’s the latest in a series of victories for Latino lawmakers in Sacramento this Legislative session.
If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the measure and voters approve it, students who speak a foreign language could receive instruction in their native language, at least …

economy, Education, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Interview with LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy on pausing the $1 billion iPad program

Posted August 26, 2014 by | 3 Comments | ]
The iPad program at LAUSD has been halted following criticism of the bidding process.

The LAUSD’s iPad project has been criticized since the beginning: students could hack them, there wasn’t ample Wifi technology in the classrooms, and teachers didn’t have proper training.
But it’s only now, after reports that school district officials were a little too cozy with Apple and Pearson in the bidding process for the $1 billion project, that LAUSD is pausing the program. ($61 million has been spent …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News, Politics »

Half-built Target project could face the wrecking ball

Posted August 26, 2014 by | 6 Comments | ]
targethollywood

A half-built Target store and shopping center going up in Hollywood will be staying in its current, unfinished state for the foreseeable future.
L.A. officials have reluctantly ordered Target to halt work on the project at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue.
The order follows a court ruling that found that city officials improperly approved the project. The issue is height: Community groups sued …

Environment, Headline, Issues, News »

Napa quake gives warning system an early test

Posted August 25, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
napaearthquake

The temblor that rocked California’s wine country this weekend gave researchers at U.C. Berkeley a chance to gauge the effectiveness of an experimental earthquake alert system. They say it worked.
Ten seconds before Napa and surrounding areas began to shake, an alarm started squawking inside a Berkeley lab.
The system is not yet available to the public. State officials say it should be ready in the …

economy, Environment, Headline, Issues, LA Noir, Politics, Power and Water, Summer, Water and the Drought, Zocalo Public Square »

Mixer: Water levels, down; water shaming, way up

Posted August 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
friday mixer square

As the severe drought continues in California, the state’s water authority is now actively imposing fines of up to $500 on people who are wasteful.
The Los Angeles Times reports the city’s Department of Water and Power has increased its patrol of water wasting by quadrupling the number of its city-wide inspectors: from one to four.
Los Angeles has about four million people.
Water tables are at …

Issues, News, Politics »

Cracking back at a cocaine sentencing disparity

Posted August 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments | ]
crackcocaine

The state Legislature has approved a law that would reduce sentences for crack cocaine to the same levels as powder cocaine.
The law addresses concerns that unbalanced cocaine sentencing laws punish low-income communities and minorities. It comes four years after President Barack Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which eliminated 100-1 disparities in sentences for crack and powdered cocaine convictions.
Crack cocaine is considerably cheaper than …

economy, Headline, Issues, News »

What happens when the ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ lives next door

Posted August 21, 2014 by | 1 Comment | ]
One of the signs that have been up in the Antelope Valley showing an archival photo of Christopher Hubbart and demanding that he leave. In the 1970s and 80s, Hubbart raped women across California. He was also the first person admitted to California's sexually violent predator program. (Photo: Saul Gonzalez)

In Southern California’s Antelope Valley, where suburban sprawl gives way to a high desert landscape of scrub brush and Joshua Trees, there’s a home. The dwelling, which dates to the 1950s, is small, white and unadorned. Its curtains are tightly drawn and wood planks cover some of the windows. The house is thoroughly unremarkable, but inside lives a man who is one of the most …

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