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March 30, 2014 | From a Times staff writer
Hobie Alter, who died Saturday at the age of 80, was known as the Henry Ford of surfing. In 1958, he developed the mass-produced foam surfboard with a partner. He later popularized sailing by inventing a lightweight, high-performance catamaran. The impact of his innovation was big; it allowed people who couldn't lift heavy wood boards to surf, and it opened sailing up to those who could never afford yacht club dues.  OBITUARY: Hobie Alter shaped Southern California surf culture Alter once said he never wanted to work east of Pacific Coast Highway, and he got his wish.
March 28, 2014
Re "'Dark' campaign money donors need a little light," Column, March 24 What George Skelton and others in Sacramento who oppose "dark" campaign money seem to overlook is that political contributions are, in effect, an extension of the secret ballot. Those who share Skelton's views would never dare suggest that voters must reveal their election picks. Yet it doesn't take a genius to figure out how political contributors plan to cast their ballots in California. Campaign committees must report all individual contributions of just $100 or more.
March 28, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
If it is true that state Sen. Leland Yee consorted with criminals and did them political favors in return for campaign cash, it is indeed "sickening," as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said. But this newest scandal, along with the indictment of Sen. Ronald S. Calderon on bribery and corruption charges in February, is merely an extreme example of the long-standing and pervasive pay-to-play culture that permeates the Capitol. Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, was swept up in an FBI sting targeting a gangster known as "Shrimp Boy" and faces federal charges related to public corruption and conspiracy to illegally import firearms.
March 8, 2014 | By Broderick Turner
They both finally got an extended taste of playing time Thursday night, Danny Granger and Glen Davis showing why the Clippers acquired both free-agent forwards. But Granger and Davis also showed they still are rounding into shape. "They both looked good," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said about the two playing against the Lakers. "Baby's (Davis) lungs exploded at some point so we had to take him out. "Danny, he played really well in the first half. It's just going to be a rhythm thing for him. It's going to take a while.
March 8, 2014 | By James Barragan
The Galaxy added some much-needed depth to its strike force this off-season the signing of two foreign players, veteran Canadian Rob Friend and young Brazilian Samuel. But the team, which opened their 2014 MLS regular season against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night, might get a boost on offense from a more local source: Gyasi Zardes. Zardes was one of the most highly touted prospects in Galaxy history when he was signed in December 2012. In the last two years of his college career at Cal State Bakersfield, Zardes scored 33 goals in 37 games, making him one of the most sought-after college strikers heading into the 2013 MLS draft.
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.
March 3, 2014 | 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.
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)
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.
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.
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