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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 4, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
California's parched winter brought a big surge in air pollution, pushing the number of bad air days one-third higher than the previous winter and posing a serious health threat, state air quality officials said Tuesday. Levels of haze-forming soot typically increase in winter, but this year was worse because of the persistent lack of rainfall, low winds and unusually stagnant conditions that trapped pollution close to the ground. Karen Magliano, an assistant division chief at the California Air Resources Board, said the increase in dirty air was a weather-driven exception to a decade-long trend of improvement.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 2014 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
Doctors are fueling the nation's prescription drug epidemic and represent the primary source of narcotic painkillers for chronic abusers, according to a new government study. The finding challenges a widely held belief that has long guided policymakers: That the epidemic is caused largely by abusers getting their drugs without prescriptions, typically from friends and family. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study, said the research showed the need for greater focus on doctors who are "problem prescribers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 25, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- The state ethics agency on Tuesday made public a warning letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, 10 days after it was provided to the chief executive as a caution for accepting improper contributions from a lobbyist. The state Fair Political Practices Commission sent warning letters to 37 politicians indicating the expenses covered at fundraisers by lobbyist Kevin Sloat violated the ban on contributions from lobbyists. Brown was warned about two fundraisers organized by the California Democratic Party and held at Sloat's house in 2012 to benefit the Brown for Governor 2014 campaign and committees supporting his Proposition 30. "At those fundraisers, he (Sloat)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - State lawmakers would be prohibited from raising campaign funds for more than three months at the end of each legislative session under legislation proposed Thursday by state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima). The blackout on fundraising would apply to the 100 days before the end of each session, the last day of a session and the seven days after a session concludes. The proposal is part of a package of bills offered by Padilla that he said are aimed at strengthening the state Political Reform Act. Padilla would also end the practice of politicians maintaining campaign committees and raising money for more than one office at the same time.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2014 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO -- A wealthy Mexican businessman, accused of hoping to buy influence with political contributions, has been indicted on a federal charge of making illegal contributions during the 2012 mayoral election. Jose Susumo Azano Matsura, 48, a Mexican citizen, was arrested without incident at his home in Coronado in San Diego County. He was arraigned Thursday in federal court. Magistrate Mitchell Dembin set bail at $5 million. Federal law makes it illegal for foreign nationals to contribute to U.S. political campaigns.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 20, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO - California's political ethics agency signed off Thursday on a $133,500 fine for a lobbyist who made improper campaign contributions to elected officials, but the attorney whose lawsuit triggered the investigation is not satisfied. The lawsuit, filed in December by a former employee of the lobbyist, described the contributions in detail and alleged that she was wrongly fired for complaining to her boss about them. California's Fair Political Practices Commission investigated the contributions and fined the lobbyist, Kevin Sloat, for some of what the employee described: providing expensive wine, liquor and cigars at lavish fundraisers held at his home for lawmakers' campaigns.
OPINION
February 13, 2014 | Meghan Daum
Want to make a really bad time for yourself on social media? Register an opinion about Dylan Farrow's letter published by the New York Times on Feb. 2 stating that her father, Woody Allen, sexually abused her some two decades ago when she was 7. Better yet, register an opinion that stops short of totally vilifying either Allen, who despite the general ick factor of his attraction to younger women was never charged with a crime, or Farrow, who makes...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- The state ethics agency's proposed $133,500 fine of lobbyist Kevin Sloat for making improper campaign contributions to lawmakers has become an issue in the race for secretary of state. One candidate for that office, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), was one of some 40 lawmakers and other officials who received warning letters saying that Sloat's payment of expenses at fundraisers amounted to improper campaign contributions. However, none of the lawmakers faces a penalty after investigators for the state Fair Political Practices Commission concluded they did not know some expenses for wine, liquor and cigars were paid by Sloat.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - With the state Legislature rocked by multiple scandals, the leader of the Senate has assembled a group of lawmakers to examine the state's decades-old ethics and campaign laws. The Senate Ethics Working Group was formed by Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). "I asked a few colleagues to get together informally and examine legislative and campaign finance rules in other states, with an intent to discuss and prepare a package of reforms that strengthen California's laws," Steinberg said Tuesday.
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