Senate probe

Dec 19, 2013

Those Senate investigators are at it again: Procedures at the state housing department make it harder for the state to fulfill its mission to deal with discrimination  and other issues.


From the Bee's David Siders: "A policy requiring the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to obtain approval from the governor's office before pursuing discrimination claims against public agencies has compromised the department's independence and chilled investigations, state overseers said in a new report."


"The policy, contained in an administration directive describing how a variety of matters should be elevated to the governor's attention, applies broadly to state departments proposing to bring lawsuits or enforcement actions against state or local agencies."

California's Inland Empire is in the midst of profound change, a transformation that is reflected in the volatile politics of the region.


From Capitol Weekly's Samantha Gallegos: "The nation’s greatest county-to-county population movement in recent years has been from L.A. County to the Inland Empire, the Riverside-San Bernardino areas, according to U.S. Census Bureau data targeting the 2005-2010 American Community Survey."


"Nearly 18,000 people migrated from L.A. to Riverside County, and that county saw roughly another 5,000 new residents from San Bernardino. That’s about 23,000 new residents, from just those two counties in five-years. The largest movement of people from one county to another in the entire nation was from L.A. to San Bernardino, an estimated 44,020 people in total."


Meanwhile, speaking of LA, Los Angeles County's hiring proactices -- and not just those of the sheriff's deparftment -- are getting a close look.


From the LA Daily News' Christine Villacorte: "Sommers said former OPS officers absorbed by other departments were subjected to LiveScan fingerprinting and had to sign waivers allowing their personnel files to be examined."


"County policies don't automatically exclude someone that has a felony or misdemeanor conviction in the past," Sommers said. "There has to be a nexus between the crime they were convicted of and the job that they would be doing."


And still more from LA: The city apparently is going to do a major data dump in order to demonstrate how open the government is about its own information.


From the LAT's Michael Finnegan and Ben Welsh: "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered his administration to start posting vast troves of city data on a public website early next year, saying he wanted to “promote transparency and accountability.”

Scholars, journalists, developers of smartphone apps and others will be able to download data on street repairs, crime trends, dog parks, historic monuments and a wide array of other things tracked by the city.

Garcetti said the executive directive that he signed Wednesday to establish the program “empowers Angelenos to participate in their government with greater understanding and impact.”


And from our Letters to the North Pole  file comes the tale of what children really want for Christmas.


"Santa does not do e-mail. Nor does he respond to text messages. If you want to contact Santa, you have to write a letter, an ancient practice involving paper, pencil and a stamp."


"Thousands of Bay Area children have done just that - but this holiday season, the tone of letters bound for the North Pole is a little more somber than usual. U.S. Postal Service officials in Oakland and San Francisco said they've seen a sharp increase this year in kids asking Santa not for Xboxes or PlayStations, but food, warm coats and jobs for their parents."


"It really tugs at your heartstrings," said Augustine Ruiz, a Postal Service spokesman. "We try to answer every one, so they know someone cares."

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