County News

Jul 23, 2014 11:41am
The City of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Community College District were lauded just months ago when they approved a new, innovative voting method as part of a lawsuit settlement. But this week, Los Angeles County officials said an outdated county system will make it impossible to implement those changes for at least another four years. Two plaintiffs sued the City of Santa Clarita, as well as the Santa Clarita Community College District and the Sulphur Springs School District last June, claiming that their at-large voting systems diluted minority votes and therefore constituted a...
Jul 23, 2014 11:38am
Citing a range of public safety concerns, Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said he will soon introduce a proposal which aims to crack down on large-scale, open-air marijuana operations. Outdoor marijuana cultivation is already prohibited by county law. But, according to Jeffries’ Chief of Staff, Jeff Greene, marijuana grows are currently a code enforcement issue rather than a police matter. Under the new ordinance, which could be proposed as soon as next Tuesday, the county would clarify the illegality of outdoor marijuana growing and could impose a new set of escalating fines based...
Jul 23, 2014 11:37am
In order to help fund Governor Jerry Brown’s $25 billion Delta tunnel plan, California water districts are quietly considering the possibility of using property taxes. The possibility of districts raising property taxes without a vote to help fund the two massive tunnels is also a possibility. Under California Proposition 13, any raises in property tax need to be approved by a two-thirds public vote. However, water agencies argue they are exempt from such a requirement. They contend that in 1959, a law that was passed that gives them the authority to raise property taxes. Since this law...
Jul 23, 2014 11:36am
After the news has spread of hundreds of AT&T employees who will be laid off next month, county and state officials have sprung into action, offering workshops and other services to help the transitioning employees. AT&T is planning on letting go 397 employees on August 26, proving to be one of the largest private sector layoffs in Merced County’s history. The layoffs will be primarily from the closing of two AT&T call centers. Though the company estimated 397 employees would be losing their jobs, Merced County officials recently announced the layoffs would actually be 441. The...
Jul 23, 2014 11:35am
First, the good news: According to Cal-Fire, the Bully Fire that near the city of Redding in Shasta County is 86 percent contained. The bad? It has burned more than 12,000 acres. The fire began in July 11, which has given it plenty of time to spread across the region, causing fire personnel to struggle against the dry, hot conditions. There still are approximately 1,500 firefighters tackling the Bully Fire, attempting to get it completely contained in the coming weeks. Sadly, the fire has resulted in 21 injuries, including one fatality. The fire has destroyed eight homes and 12 other...
Jul 21, 2014 11:28am
The San Diego County Health and Human Services agency reported last week that the county has seen a whopping 900 cases of pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” in the county this year. With the year only about halfway over the county is set to shatter its previous record of 1,179 in all of 2010.  Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer warned residents and officials alike, saying in no uncertain terms, saying: “The county and the state are experiencing an epidemic of pertussis.” The outbreak of whooping cough is especially dangerous for infants, so Dr. Wooten is urging...
Jul 21, 2014 11:28am
A look at the pay of Contra Costa sanitation workers reveals a curious phenomenon. Certain employees are being paid more in retirement than they ever were as employees. Sanitary district worker Bhupinder Dhaliwal, for example, was paid $135,433 when he was a salaried employee, but now that he is retired, he collects a yearly pension of $143,462.  So how did this happen? How are these Central Contra Costa Sanitary District employees able to collect more when retired than they did while working? They were able to do it by leveraging district leave accrual policies and retirement system...
Jul 21, 2014 11:26am
County officials across the state breathed a sigh of relief Friday, as former Assembly Speaker John Pérez called off the state controller recount and conceded the race to fellow Democrat Betty Yee. Pérez’s move came just days before a hand recount was set to begin in San Bernardino County. Kern County would have entered its seventh day of counting today.  “There is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end, given the fact that counties must begin printing ballots [for the November election] in the next few weeks,” Pérez said in a statement. His sentiments echo those...
Jul 21, 2014 11:22am
A bizarre conspiracy theory involving chemical agents, planes, and government cover-ups has gotten an unlikely boost from Shasta County Supervisors. Following numerous complaints from residents, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to investigate the possible existence of so-called “chemtrails”—chemical and biological agents allegedly being sprayed on populations via aircraft for top-secret purposes.  According to geoengineering conspiracy theorists, government officials are complicit in these acts and have gone to great lengths to conceal them from the public...
Jul 21, 2014 11:21am
According to new data released by the National Weather Service (NWS), 81% of the state is now suffering from either extreme or exceptional drought. That figure is up from a recent high of 78% and 68% just three months ago.  Extreme drought (D3) conditions are characterized by major crop and pasture losses, as well as widespread water shortages and restrictions. Exceptional drought (D4) conditions—the highest intensity level—denote widespread crop and pasture losses with emergency shortages of water in reservoirs, streams, and wells.     The NWS monitor update for the week of...
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