Archive for May, 2017

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.

The Sacramento Bee: Growing retirement costs are hitting new state budget hard

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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The Sacramento Bee: Democrats dominate California but squabble among themselves

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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The Sacramento Bee: California’s economy growing faster than national average

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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The Sun: Former county Supervisor Postmus’ memory at issue at Colonies trial

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.

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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.

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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.”

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KQED: California Senate Approves Earlier Presidential Primary

By Marisa Lagos
May 4, 2017
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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.

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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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