The State Worker
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers
By Adam Ashton
aashton@sacbee.com
November 22, 2017 – 09:48 AM

Gov. Jerry Brown got most of what he wanted when he carried a proposal to shore up the state’s underfunded public employee pension plans by trimming benefits for new workers.

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The Sun: Colonies Partners: San Bernardino County owes us $45.2 million

Stephen Larson, the defense attorney for Colonies Partners co-managing partner Jeff Burum, speaks during public comments at the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Colonies Partners, the Rancho Cucamonga developer embroiled in years of litigation with San Bernardino County including this yearÕs failed public corruption prosecution, wants the Board of Supervisors to restore $45.2 million the partnership spent to successfully defend itself in both civil and criminal court. The amount includes $32 million in legal fees and $13.4 million in lost profits on hasty land sales made to help defray legal costs. (Stan Lim, San Bernardino Sun/SCNG)

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com and Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: November 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Updated: November 14, 2017 at 4:52 pm

San Bernardino County owes $45.2 million to Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners, the cost of civil and criminal litigation that spiraled upwards for years over a flood control basin in Upland, according to a demand letter hand-delivered Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors.

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The Sentinel: Erwin Cites Malicious Evidence Fabrication In $25M Claim Vs. DA & AG

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By Mark Gutglueck
Posted on November 4, 2017

The accusers this week became the accused, seven weeks after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the charges against Jim Erwin in the Colonies Partners Lawsuit Settlement Public Corruption Prosecution.

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Jeff Burum speaks Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at “An Evening of Hope,” the 25th annual gala of National Community Renaissance, a non-profit affordable housing development company he co-founded 25 years ago. Burum was named chairman of that group, as well as the non-profit Hope Through Housing Foundation, which was the beneficiary of the gala. (Ryan Beck/Contributed image)

By Richard K. De Atley | rdeatley@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise
Published: November 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Updated: November 4, 2017 at 1:25 am

Barely two months after his acquittal in the Colonies bribery case, developer Jeff Burum stood in front of a standing ovation crowd Thursday night at the Fairplex Conference Center stage in Pomona to resume leadership of the affordable housing non-profit he co-founded 25 years ago.

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Jim Erwin smiling during a September court hearing where it was announced he will not be retried in the Colonies bribery case. He filed a $25 million claim against the county on Tuesday alleging, among other things, malicious prosecution.

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: November 1, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Updated: November 2, 2017 at 10:16 am

Jim Erwin, a former defendant in the ill-fated Colonies corruption case that ended with Erwin’s case being dismissed and three other defendants acquitted, filed a $25 million claim against San Bernardino County and the state on Wednesday.

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The Sun: Postmus case referred to Riverside County Probation Department for review

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: October 27, 2017 at 9:25 am |
Updated:   October 27, 2017 at 6:57 pm

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Friday referred the case of former San Bernardino County Assessor and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus to the Riverside County Probation Department for review and sentencing recommendations.

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InlandPolitics: Got San Bernardino County corruption info? — We Want it!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – 02:00 p.m.

If you, our readers, have any information pertaining to corruption in San Bernardino County, then we want to hear from you!

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The Sun: Colonies corruption case more than a boondoggle

Developer Jeff Burum, center, and his attorneys Jennifer Keller and Stephen Larson react as Burum is found not guilty of all charges in the Colonies corruption case verdict hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court in San Bernardino Aug. 28, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Luna, Southern California News Group)

Opinion

By Neil Derry |
Published: October 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm |
Updated:    October 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm

The Colonies “corruption” case is over. Well, at least the eight year criminal case is finally over. There is plenty of time and even more justification for more civil litigation against the State of California and the County of San Bernardino, but that is for another day.

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InlandPolitics: A headline that was a long time in coming!

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Sunday, October 01, 2017 – 11:30 p.m.

The headline in Sunday’s edition of The Sun was a long time in coming for former Colonies Criminal Case defendants Paul Biane, Jeff Burum, Jim Erwin and Mark Kirk.

Pictured L-R: Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, Jim Erwin, and Paul Biane. (File photo)

By Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: September 30, 2017 at 11:51 am |
Updated:   September 30, 2017 at 9:45 pm

Eight years, six months, and seven days. That’s how long Jim Erwin said he endured allegations by state and local prosecutors of taking part in a bribery scheme that bilked San Bernardino County taxpayers out of $102 million.

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The Sun: Opinion: How did Colonies case go so wrong?

From left, attorney Jennifer Keller, former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin and developer Jeff Burum applaud the jury for their service after Burum, Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk were found not guilty of all charges in the Colonies corruption case verdict hearing at San Bernardino Superior Court on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

By The Editorial Board | opinion@langnews.com |
September 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

Now that the long-running Colonies case has finally ended with all defendants acquitted, county taxpayers wouldn’t be wrong to wonder just what the heck actually happened.

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By Joseph Turner
September 26, 2017

American Children First is reporting that the wife of Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) called 911 in what is being described as a domestic disturbance call according to documents uncovered in an investigation into the matter.

 

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By Joseph Turner |
Published: September 25, 2017

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors appear ready to hire a toll-lane guru to manage a High Desert transportation project at the next board meeting on Tuesday. The move signals that toll-lanes are undoubtedly in the offing for Victor Valley commuters who already have one of the worst commutes in the region.

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Attorneys Stephen Larson, (L), and Rajan Maline congratulate Jim Erwin, after hearing he will not be re-tried on any charges regarding the Colonies corruption case, Friday, at San Bernardino Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca., September 22, 2017. Judge Michael A. Smith dismissed all of the remaining counts against the former assistant county assessor and sheriff’s labor union president. (John Valenzuela/The Sun/SCNG)

By Ryan Hagen | rhagen@scng.com and Joe Nelson | jnelson@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
Published: September 22, 2017 at 9:19 am |
Updated:   September 24, 2017 at 9:30 am

SAN BERNARDINO >> The judge in the San Bernardino County Colonies corruption case on Friday dismissed all charges against the only remaining defendant, Jim Erwin, after prosecutors announced they did not want to retry the case.

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The Sun: Unwarranted charges, allegations in Colonies case: Christopher J. Warner

Developer Jeff Burum waits for his verdict to be read in the Colonies corruption case at San Bernardino Superior Court in San Bernardino, Calif. on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Defendants Burum and two former county officials — Supervisor Paul Biane and Mark Kirk — were found not guilty of all charges after a marathon trial that has lasted nearly eight months. (Photo by Rachel Luna, The Sun/SCNG)

Opinion

By Christopher J. Warner |
Published: September 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Updated: September 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm

“The largest public corruption case in the state of California” has ended in San Bernardino County. That’s what then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, standing next to District Attorney Michael Ramos, called it way back when they filed it.

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KCBS-TV: Colonies Corruption Trial: Jury hands down acquittals

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Here’s the coverage by KCBS-TV Los Angeles of the “not guilty” verdicts in the Colonies Corruption Trial.

Travelers arrive at Ontario International Airport in Ontario in July 2014. (File photo)

By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 08/04/17 – 8:20 PM PDT |

ONTARIO >> Two former top Ontario administrators have been given lucrative contracts aimed at improving the future development of Ontario International Airport.

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Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and his office is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Attorney General’s Office for allegations that prosecutors and police developed a network of jailhouse informants to illegally garner confessions from inmates. (File photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By Tony Saavedra, Orange County Register
Posted: 07/29/17 – 12:52 PM PDT |

The gavels had fallen, the cases appeared closed:

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The defense rested on Monday in a seven-month corruption trial after only half a day, opting to call no witnesses and close their case before lunch on the same day they opened it after reading a few stipulated facts from earlier testimony.

Andy Serbe, Staff Writer
Daily Journal
andy_serbe@dailyjournal.com

PDF Format: 2017 0718 Daily Journal

July 18, 2017

The defense called no witnesses as it rested its case Monday in a seven-month San Bernardino County corruption trial, opting to read to the jury a few stipulated facts from earlier testimony and close before lunch.

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Assemblyman Chad Mayes, R-Yucca Valley, talks with then-Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen on Sept. 1, 2015. (Rich Pedroncelli The Associated Press)
Capitol Alert
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com
July 18, 2017 – 5:39 PM

Incensed that Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes supported a Democratic plan to renew a key climate change policy, California conservative activists are calling for his resignation and raising allegations of an affair with his predecessor.

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From left, developer Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt. former assistant assessor Jim Erwin and former supervisor Paul Biane appear in San Bernardino County Superior Court in Colonies bribery case. File photo. (David Bauman/The Press-Enterprise)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/17/17 – 12:02 PM PDT |

Defense attorneys in the San Bernardino County Colonies bribery case rested Monday after about one hour of presentation, setting the stage for final arguments in mid-August.

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The Sun: Marathon Colonies corruption trial nearing end after 7 months

From left, developer Jeff Burum, Mark Kirk, former chief of staff to Supervisor Gary Ovitt, former assistant assessor Jim Erwin and former supervisor Paul Biane appear in San Bernardino County Superior Court in this file photo during the Colonies corruption trial.

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/15/17 – 4:29 PM PDT |

Called “the biggest public corruption case in San Bernardino County history” when it was filed in 2010, the marathon Colonies case nears an end after seven months of trial, with defense attorneys saying bribery wasn’t proven while prosecutors say nothing can erase years of dirty dealing.

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The Sun: Forgery charge dropped for Jim Erwin in Colonies corruption trial

James Erwin, is the former chief of staff for county Supervisor Neil Derry and a former assistant assessor for San Bernardino county. (Courtesy photo to The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/06/17 – 4:07 PM PDT |

The judge in San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case on Thursday dismissed a felony charge of forgery against former assistant assessor Jim Erwin, one of four defendants fighting to have their charges tossed on grounds of insufficient evidence.

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Mark Kirk, the former chief of staff for San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt (Staff file photo by Rick Sforza, The Sun/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 07/05/17 – 7:46 PM PDT |

A bribery charge in the San Bernardino County Colonies public corruption case was dismissed Wednesday against Mark Kirk, the one-time chief of staff for former county Supervisor Gary Ovitt in 2006 when supervisors approved a $102 million settlement favorable to the land developer.

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Colonies bribery trial defendants and their attorneys gather outside a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 06/29/17 – 12:13 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> After nearly seven months of sometimes confounding testimony, the prosecution rested this week in San Bernardino County’s Colonies bribery case.

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The San Francisco Chronicle: Impeach Trump? Democrats need to take a deep breath

A push by Democrats to impeach President Trump at this point could ultimately backfire on them. (Photo: Pete Marovich, Bloomberg)

By Willie Brown
June 10, 2017

It was great entertainment, but for all the hype, the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings that featured former FBI Director James Comey failed to deliver a knockout punch.

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Pending home sales numbers drop again, worrying California market analysts.

By Rose Meily |
Published: June 9, 2017 at 1:45 pm
Updated: June 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Consistent with the slowdown in April’s closed home sales, low housing inventory and eroding affordability suppressed pending home sales for the fourth straight month, the California Association of Realtors has announced. The state Realtor group’s April Market Pulse Survey shows mixed results, with Realtors reporting an increase in floor calls and less open house traffic for the fourth straight month.

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“Ted Viera’s” LinkedIn profile. “Viera” is the maiden name of former Hesperia mayor Tad Honeycutt’s mother. In September 2007, Honeycutt and C. Steven Cox, the founder of California Charter Academies, were indicted on 117 felony charges related to $5.5 million in taxpayer funds the pair allegedly mishandled. Five years later, Honeycutt went back into the education business, using the name “Ted Viera.” The Viera LinkedIn page was shut down Friday afternoon. (Screenshot)

By Beau Yarbrough, The Sun
Posted: 06/09/17 – 5:48 PM PDT |

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> Five years after he was indicted on 34 charges related to the failure of the largest chain of charter schools in California and facing up to 20 years in prison, former Hesperia mayor Tad Honeycutt went back into the education business.

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The Sun: Colonies prosecutor attempts salvaging credibility of key witness

Colonies defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess in the Colonies corruption trial. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/08/17 – 5:05 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A prosecutor in the San Bernardino County Colonies bribery case on Thursday attempted to recoup the credibility of key witness Adam Aleman after days of defense attorney battering of the former assistant assessor’s accounts of alleged corruption a decade ago.

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By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/07/17 – 3:08 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The dismissal of an alternate juror in the Colonies bribery trial on Wednesday did not hinder testimony, in which defense attorneys continued drilling key witness Adam Aleman on his honesty and credibility.

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The Sun: Colonies key witness begins fifth day of testimony in San Bernardino

Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in the Colonies corruption case in San Bernardino. File photo.(Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/01/17 – 3:45 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Defense attorneys in the Colonies bribery trial on Thursday attacked the credibility and character of key witness and former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman, claiming he was shaping his statements to conform to the prosecution narrative of the case and “making things up as he went along.”

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The Sun: Credibility of key witness in Colonies trial challenged

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/31/17 – 9:10 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A defense attorney on Wednesday continued challenging the credibility of former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman on claims he heard and saw details that pointed to bribery in settling a $102 million lawsuit between the county and developer Colonies Partners in 2006.

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The Sun: Defense attorney grills key Colonies trial witness on his dishonesty

Colonies trial defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom in San Bernardino Superior Court. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/30/17 – 7:17 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A defense attorney in the Colonies corruption trial on Tuesday grilled former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman on his repeated lies to district attorney investigators and a civil grand jury investigating allegations of malfeasance at the Assessor’s Office in 2008.

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InlandPolitics: In remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice

Monday, May 29, 2017 – 09:00 a.m.

In honor of those men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who made the ultimate sacrifice in the mission to protect this great nation.

Please have a safe Memorial Day holiday.

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 28, 2017 – 12:01 AM

California’s rapidly growing public employee retirement costs weigh heavily on the 2017-18 state budget now being fashioned, but their impact is only partially revealed in budget documents.

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Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas during a news conference on Wednesday, February 15, 2017.

By Tony Saavedra | tsaavedra@scng.com and Jordan Graham | jgraham@scng.com | Orange County Register
Published: May 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm
Updated: May 26, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Two investigators for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office say their top boss, Tony Rackauckas, as well as other county prosecutors and office supervisors, covered up criminal conduct by police and hid evidence in several high-profile cases.

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Capitol Weekly: Overhaul urged for California court fines

By John Howard
Posted 05.26.2017

California’s courts impose hundreds of millions of dollars of “excessive and disproportionate” fines each year for common infractions, then use much of the money to support their own operations. A blue-ribbon panel examining the system said the fines should be collected by the executive branch — not the courts themselves — to avoid conflicts.

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InlandPolitics: Congressman Pete Aguilar keeping it classy

A photo of Congressman Pete Aguilar is making the rounds on Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

Maya Lau
May 24, 2017 – 12:45 p.m.

Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies say they were framed for lying about a drug bust and that prosecutors knowingly withheld evidence that would have spared them a trial, lost wages and public humiliation, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.

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On Sept. 2, 2015, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Todd Spitzer was emotional while reflecting on an incident more than five months previously at Wahoo’s Fish Tacos in Lake Forest. He handcuffed Jeobay Castellano and called police when the man would not stop trying to proselytize even when Spitzer told him he was a Christian. (File photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By Tony Saavedra | tsaavedra@scng.com | Orange County Register
Published:  May 22, 2017 at 5:06 pm
Updated:    May 23, 2017 at 7:30 am

The day after the news show “60 Minutes” turned a national spotlight on local prosecutors’ misuse of jailhouse informants, an Orange County supervisor formally asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take over the district attorney’s office.

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By Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/22/17 – 5:41 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Adam Aleman told jurors Monday in the Colonies bribery trial that, like his former boss Bill Postmus, he was testifying under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

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AP Nation / World
By JONATHAN J. COOPER
Associated Press
May 22, 2017 – 7:05 PM EDT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California bill that would eliminate health insurance companies and provide government-funded health coverage for everyone in the state would cost $400 billion and require significant tax increases, legislative analysts said Monday.

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By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 20, 2017 – 5:25 PM

One might think that a political party wielding virtually total control of the nation’s most populous state – i.e. Democrats in California – would be satisfied.

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Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago and Angela Hart
ccadelago@sacbee.com
May 19, 2017 – 8:35 PM

State Democrats’ three-day convention had a raucous start Friday, as liberal activists booed and heckled Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez after marching from the state Capitol to promote a universal heath care program.

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Natalie Kitroeff
May 19, 2017 – 2:45 p.m.

California employers slashed 16,300 jobs from payrolls in April, according to data released by the state’s Employment Development Department on Friday. It was the first month that the state has posted a job loss since June 2016.

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A federal judge has raised issues with a proposed $142-million settlement between Wells Fargo and customers over the creation of unauthorized bank accounts.

James Rufus Koren
May 17, 2017

A San Francisco federal judge is leaning toward rejecting some of the terms of a $142-million settlement aimed at ending a bevvy of class-action lawsuits against Wells Fargo & Co. over its sham accounts scandal.

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Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in the San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption case. (File)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/16/17 – 1:55 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Former San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Postmus testified Tuesday in the Colonies corruption trial that he never thought a $102 million settlement favorable to a Rancho Cucamonga developer 11 years ago would result in kickback money to him — a statement that goes to the heart of the six-year-old case.

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The San Francisco Chronicle: California bar exam pass rate continues to slump

By Dominic Fracassa
Published: May 15, 2017
Updated: May 15, 2017 3:26pm

The proportion of prospective attorneys who passed the California bar exam has sunk yet again, according to data released by the State Bar of California on Friday, with just 34.5 percent of test takers making the grade.

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The Sacramento Bee: Legislature tries State Bar fix, but remedy falls short

Observations on California and its politics
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 14, 2017 – 4:00 PM

California has a rogue’s gallery of malfunctioning state agencies, with the Board of Equalization the current poster child for disarray and miscreant behavior.

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InlandPolitics: Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 14, 2017 – 09:00 a.m.

InlandPolitics would like to wish everyone a safe and Happy Mother’s Day.

UC President Janet Napolitano reads her statement concerning the audit conducted Elaine Howle (right), state auditor. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press)

By Nanette Asimov and Melody Gutierrez
May 14, 2017

News that thousands of students at the University of California often go hungry because they can’t afford meals prompted a generous promise last summer from UC President Janet Napolitano: $3.3 million for more food pantries and other ways of feeding the young scholars.

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By Phillip Reese
preese@sacbee.com
May 11, 2017

California’s economy grew faster in 2016 than all but a few other states, outpacing the average national growth for the sixth consecutive year, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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Colonies defendants and their attorneys gather outside of a courtroom during a recess in San Bernardino Superior Court. File photo. (Photo by Rick Sforza/The Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/11/17 – 9:02 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> A prosecutor in the Colonies corruption case on Thursday walked former county Supervisor Bill Postmus through his 2011 statements that helped bring charges in the bribery trial, but Postmus appeared to be putting distance between himself and what he told authorities six years ago.

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By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/11/17 – 10:27 AM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> The judge in the Colonies corruption trial on Thursday dismissed two felony charges against former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin after an appellate court determined that the offenses could only be charged as misdemeanors.

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Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has been sentenced to three years in prison, marking an end to a corruption scandal that has roiled the Sheriff’s Department for several years.

Joel Rubin
May 12, 2017

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, once a towering, respected figure in policing, was sentenced Friday to three years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to obstruct an FBI investigation of abuses in county jails, marking an end to a corruption scandal that has roiled the Sheriff’s Department for several years.

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Rancho Cucamonga-based developer Jeff Burum, left, speaks with his attorney Stephen Larson in the hallway at the San Bernardino Superior Court during a recess of the Colonies corruption case. File photo. (Micah Escamilla/San Bernardino Sun)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/10/17 – 7:43 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Colonies trial defendant Jim Erwin, depicted by prosecutors as scheming against former San Bernardino County Supervisor and Assessor Bill Postmus more than a decade ago, actually stood beside the beleaguered politician with “tough love” as Postmus struggled with his drug addiction, Postmus agreed in testimony Wednesday.

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Capitol Alert
By Jim Miller and Christopher Cadelago
jmiller@sacbee.com
May 11, 2017 – 10:45 AM

California Gov. Jerry Brown released a revised, $180 billion budget proposal Thursday that closely mirrors his January plan, maintaining a cautious approach amid uncertainty about the direction of the economy and possible federal actions that could hurt the state’s bottom line.

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Attorneys Stephen Larson, middle, and Jennifer Keller, left, discuss their case with defendant Jeff Burum, one of four defendants currently on trial in San Bernardino County’s Colonies corruption trial. (File Photo)

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
and Richard K. De Atley, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 05/09/17 – 3:48 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> While Bill Postmus was being interviewed and turned into a prosecution witness in the Colonies corruption case in 2011, San Bernardino County District Attorney investigators never tested or monitored him for drugs, despite his well-documented use of methamphetamine, Postmus testified Tuesday.

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LOS ANGELES – JUNE 14: The Tribune owned KTLA Channel 5 television antenna is seen June 14, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. The Tribune Company’s second largest shareholder, the Chandler family, has called for a breakup of the media giant, which owns 11 newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and 26 television stations. The Chandlers want the Tribune to separate broadcasting from the newspaper business as well as explore other alternatives such as breaking up and selling some or all of the newspaper properties. (Photo by J. Emilio Flores/Getty Images)

By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 05/08/17 – 5:09 PM PDT |

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s plan to buy Tribune Media Co. for $3.9 billion will broadly expand its reach, but some experts fear the expanded company with a conservative lean will drown out other local sources of broadcast television news.

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Observations on California and its politics
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 08, 2017 – 2:07 PM

Democratic legislators have counted on a revenue surge to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown to loosen up on spending – but just the opposite is occurring.

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InlandPolitics: Donald Trump congratulates John Daly on win

Monday, May 8, 2017 – 09:00 a.m.

President Donald Trump sent out a congratulatory tweet to Golfer John Daly early Monday morning.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ed Mendel
May 8, 2017

Long-delayed legislation is more than doubling the CalSTRS rates paid by school districts and the state. But even if the all-important pension fund investment earnings are on target, the huge CalSTRS debt is expected to continue to grow for another decade.

Read the rest of this entry »

Los Angeles Daily News: Inland Empire airports cleared for economic takeoff

Passengers move through terminal 4 at the Ontario International Airport in Ontario Thursday. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer)

By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 05/06/17, 4:33 PM PDT |

Airport leaders are bullish about the growth potential of their industry in the Inland Empire.

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James Rufus Koren
May 5, 2016

The latest allegations of unethical practices at Wells Fargo are so disturbing that even the bank has called them “offensive.”

Read the rest of this entry »

KQED: California Senate Approves Earlier Presidential Primary

By Marisa Lagos
May 4, 2017
Share

California is one step closer to having the third presidential primary in the nation, after the state Senate today overwhelmingly approved a bill to schedule future primary votes in March.

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By Erica Werner and Alan Fram
May 4, 2017

WASHINGTON (AP) — Delivering at last, triumphant House Republicans voted Thursday to repeal and replace the “Obamacare” health plan they have reviled for so long, overcoming united Democratic opposition and their own deep divisions to hand a major win to President Donald Trump.

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By Bob Egelko
May 2, 2017 Updated: May 2, 2017 2:43pm

Prosecutors who withhold evidence that might have helped a criminal defendant will soon face the prospect of punishment by the State Bar of California, under rules already in place in every other state.

Read the rest of this entry »

Observations on California and its politics
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
May 02, 2017 – 5:10 PM

Throughout California, local government and school district officials are writing new budgets and confronting rapidly rising costs of pensions.

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By Brooke Edwards Staggs | Orange County Register
and Lisa Krieger, The Mercury News
Published: May 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Updated: May 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Medical marijuana advocates are relieved that a bipartisan spending deal to fund the government through September also extended an amendment that protects them from federal prosecution.

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By Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow
dkasler@sacbee.com
May 1, 2017

The wettest winter in Northern California history ended the drought and produced an abundant Sierra Nevada snowpack.

Now it’s starting to melt, and quickly.

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Observations on California and its politics
By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
April 29, 2017 – 2:00 PM

Tax more, spend more and regulate more.

As state legislators completed their initial committee reviews of bills last week, it became evident that this year’s session may be the most liberal in California history.

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Ontario Airport Air Traffic Controller William Stephens monitors aircraft as they maneuver around the airport and sky above. (File Photo)

By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 04/29/17 – 4:28 PM PDT |

ONTARIO >> What should Ontario International Airport Authority commissioners do with 147 acres east of the airport?

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Capitol Alert
By Alexei Koseff
akoseff@sacbee.com
April 28, 2017 – 5:30 PM

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, visited The Bee Capitol Bureau on Wednesday to discuss some of the biggest issues facing the California Legislature this year. Here’s what he had to say:

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California budget
John Myers
April 28, 2017 – 4:07 p.m.

California’s most important month for collecting income taxes could end some $600 million short of official projections, based on preliminary data collected Friday.

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By Teri Sforza,
tsforza@scng.com, @ocwatchdog, terisforza on Twitter
Posted: 04/27/17 – 10:01 PM PDT |

‘Tis better to give than to receive, they say — especially when you’re giving someone else’s money.

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The measure has raised concerns, because it doesn’t specify where money to fund the program would come from.

Melanie Mason
April 26, 2017

A sweeping measure that would establish government-run universal healthcare in California cleared its first legislative hurdle Wednesday as scores of supporters crammed into the Capitol to advocate for a single-payer system.

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The State Worker
Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers
By Adam Ashton
aashton@sacbee.com
April 25, 2017 – 7:00 AM

Public employee unions presented a united front on Monday against a bill by Sen. John Moorlach that aimed to close California’s pension funding gap by eliminating cost-of-living increases and asking local governments to chip in a greater share of their revenue toward retirements.

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Early morning traffic makes its way along the 91 Freeway in Riverside County. A new report from a nonpartisan think tank finds that the recently passed $52.4 billion transportation funding bill, which raises the gas tax by 12 cents a gallon, isn’t a long-term solution for California’s transportation needs. (File)

By Jeff Horseman, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 04/24/17 – 7:43 PM PDT |

A newly passed transportation funding bill that raises California’s gasoline tax by 12 cents a gallon isn’t a long-term fix for the state’s crumbling roads, according to a report released Monday by a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.

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A newly released report from Coldwell Banker Commercial details commercial activity that’s occurring throughout Southern California. This artist rendering of a new research facility for Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI) in Pasadena is one of many projects that are underway throughout the region.

By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 04/23/17 – 11:23 AM PDT |

Southern California’s commercial real estate market is booming, according to new report from Coldwell Banker Commercial.

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Darren Chin, project manager of Twelve Oaks, stands amid a vineyard on the 700-acre development, financed by Chinese investors. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

David Pierson
April 23, 2016

David Liu made his first fortune more than two decades ago, exporting American scrap metal to his rapidly industrializing home country of China. After the financial crisis, he scored big again buying thousands of distressed apartments in the United States and selling them later for a tidy profit.

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The Sun: Hidden costs of gas-tax legislation: Jon Coupal

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during a press conference regarding a landmark road repair and transportation investment package on April 4, 2017 in Riverside. (Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

By Jon Coupal
Posted: 04/21/1 – 4:11 PM PDT |

For the last three weeks this column has focused on both the policies and politics of the $5.2 billion annual transportation tax increase. In the unlikely event that some have forgotten — or were on another planet — the taxes include a substantial hike in the car tax as well as a 12 cent increase in the gas tax.

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By Mark Muckenfuss, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 04/21/17 – 8:08 PM PDT |

Just a year ago, the faculty of California State University was ready to walk.

After months of stalled negotiations, the California Faculty Association and its members had already planned for a weeklong work stoppage when Chancellor Timothy White stepped into the process, cut a last-minute deal and kept the system’s classrooms open.

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By Natalie Kitroeff
April 21, 2017

  • Job Layoffs Job Market Jobs and Workplace Unemployment and Layoffs

California piled on 19,300 jobs in March and its unemployment rate dropped to 4.9%, according to figures released Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department. That’s the first time since December 2006 that the jobless rate has fallen below 5%.

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Joseph Tanfani
April 21, 2017, 8:33 a.m.

Reporting from Washington—

The Justice Department on Friday fired an opening shot in the Trump administration’s crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, sending letters to nine jurisdictions asking for proof that they are cooperating with immigration enforcement, and indicating they are at risk of losing federal grants.

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San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that she is stepping down as District Attorney after nearly 15 years in the position.

Greg Moran
April 20, 2017

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced Thursday she is resigning effective July 7, ending a nearly 15-year tenure as the county’s chief prosecutor.

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