CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2012 |
Los Angeles County's barren High Desert has long attracted those seeking seclusion in wide-open spaces, far beyond the reach of power lines, sewer pipes and pavement. For many of these self-described "desert rats," self-sufficiency is a matter of survival and pride: Solar panels and wind turbines provide power, enormous storage tanks provide water and a motley assortment of trailers, outbuildings and vehicles provides shelter from the withering sun. But this "live free" mind-set is coming under increasing attack as county investigators crack down on code violations and nuisance complaints in the far-flung north.
June 4, 2012 |
New York will join more than a dozen states in decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana displayed in public if the state Legislature approves a proposal made Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. At an Albany news conference, Cuomo, a Democrat, called for changing the state law to make possession of 25 grams of marijuana -- whether in public or private - punishable by a fine. Currently having at least 25 grams on public view is a misdemeanor, though having the same amount in private is just a violation.
June 1, 2012 |
In a city known for its post-hippie vibe -- street fairs, vegan cafes and politics so earnestly committed to consensus that almost nothing gets done -- Seattle's violent spring has been a rough awakening. This glacier-rimmed city that sees itself as an emerald refuge at the corner of a troubled country has been caught in a wave of often random gun violence that has claimed 21 lives since the beginning of the year--as many as in all of 2011. Wednesday's rampage by a troubled gunman, which left four people dead in a northeast Seattle cafe and a fifth in a downtown parking lot, was the worst and latest.
June 1, 2012
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been on a years-long crusade against obesity, or at least against the cultural and commercial forces that promote it. In his latest step, he's proposing to ban the sale of super-sized sugary drinks by restaurants, cinemas, street vendors and stadium concessionaires. The move exemplifies the tension between individual liberty and societal responsibility that's particularly acute in the field of public health. Americans cherish their freedom to live as they choose, without "nanny state" dictates from the government.
May 18, 2012
There is a bit to cheer in the proposed budget that the City Council could take up as early as Friday. An uptick in property tax revenue provided a badly needed bit of room to maneuver. Cutbacks in services that might have led to the elimination of 600 jobs now may end up claiming about two-thirds as many. A modest increase to the city's reserve fund may also be possible. Those are the results of a thoughtful and meticulous process engaged in by the council's new Budget and Finance chair, Councilman Paul Krekorian.
May 6, 2012 |
Recorded, unsolicited robocalls from telemarketers are not only annoying, but also illegal in the vast majority of cases. But several types of robocalls are permitted under California's Public Utilities Code. They include: •Schools: Messages to parents or guardians concerning attendance. •Safety: Law enforcement, fire protection and health agencies can make robocalls to tell the public about current or threatened emergencies. •Danger: Petroleum, chemical and nuclear plants can use robocalls to warn residents of potentially life-threatening situations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 2012 |
State pension officials have concluded that the city of Vernon improperly boosted the benefits of nearly two dozen employees, including some attorneys who were erroneously granted generous "public safety" retirement packages usually reserved for police officers and firefighters. The findings are likely to result in pension cuts for some city officials and cap what CalPERS described as one of the farthest-reaching investigations in the system's history. It comes as Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature debate significant changes in public pensions to ease the state's fiscal crisis.
April 29, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — Police departments across the country have bought inexpensive small drone aircraft with cameras to help track drug dealers, find missing children and locate wandering Alzheimer's patients, but federal rules designed to protect the nation's airspace have kept them grounded. That is about to change in a dramatic way. Under a law President Obama signed in February, the Federal Aviation Administration must write rules by May 14 on how it will license police, fire department and other public safety agencies eager to fly lightweight drones at low altitudes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 28, 2012 |
A plan to expand the Los Angeles Police Department by adding public safety officers from another city agency would leave 37 fewer officers to patrol the city's libraries, parks, buildings and zoo, officials said Friday. Under the proposal, which drew objections from several city employee labor unions during a City Council committee meeting, the LAPD would assume control of scores of sworn police and civilian security officers now working for the General Services Department. About 40 transferred General Services officers would give up their assignments and become full-fledged LAPD officers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 27, 2012 |
USC and the Los Angeles Police Department announced sweeping new security measures Thursday, including the addition of 30 police officers to the area surrounding the campus. The move comes three weeks after the university was stunned by the slayings of two graduate students from China, a case that remains unsolved. The measures go beyond more police on the street to include the sharing of crime data with USC public safety officials, the installation of more security cameras and the addition of a city prosecutor who will focus on cases in and around the campus.