First USC, now UCLA

Jun 11, 2019

UCLA  rocked by charges that former staff gynecologist sexually abused patients


From JACLYN COSGROVE,  MATT HAMILTON, RICHARD WINTON and GIULIA MCDONNELL NIETO DEL RIO: "UCLA came under public scrutiny Monday over its handling of a former staff gynecologist who has been charged with sexual battery and exploitation during his treatment of two patients at a university facility."


"UCLA acknowledged first receiving a complaint against Dr. James Mason Heaps in 2017; he was placed on leave the following year, but the university did not publicize the reason for his departure until this week. That decision is now the subject of an internal review, UCLA said. The university has asked other students and patients who believe they were treated inappropriately by Heaps to come forward."


"We are deeply sorry for this," Rhonda Curry, a UCLA Health spokeswoman, said. "We know we could have done better. … We want and need to hear from other possible patients."


California will give health coverage to undocumented young adults


The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "California will make young undocumented adults eligible for the state’s health care program for the poor and require all residents to carry health insurance under a budget deal unveiled Sunday."


"The Legislature is expected to vote on the agreement, which the Democratic leadership reached with Gov. Gavin Newsom, later this week. It is constitutionally required to pass a budget by June 15."


Former tribal lobbyist named as new California Lottery director amid investigations


Sacramento  Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Alva Vernon Johnson to take over the California State Lottery Monday, after former director Hugo Lopez stepped down Friday amid investigations."


"Johnson, a former tribal lobbyist, takes over a department that has been been under scrutinyfrom the Department of Justice and the State Controller’s Office since August, when anonymous employees sent a letter to former Gov. Jerry Brown alleging misconduct among senior executives at sales conferences."


"Johnson lobbied for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians from 2016 to 2018, and for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians from 2005 to 2015, according to a Governor’s Office news release. He was a legislative liaison to the Lottery in 2001, according to the release."


California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren has been through two impeachments. She doesn't want a third.


From the LAT's JENNIFER HABERKORN: "Only one House Democrat was on Capitol Hill the two times in modern U.S. history when Congress moved to impeach a president — and Rep. Zoe Lofgren says she’s not eager to go through it again."


"As House Democrats wrestle with whether to pursue an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, the San Jose Democrat has emerged as a leader of the mostly silent majority that is nervous about trying to remove the president."


"Lofgren’s skepticism about opening an impeachment inquiry underscores the tough climb ahead for supporters of impeachment. She argues that a convincing case for impeachment hasn’t been made against Trump. She wouldn’t even say whether she believes he committed impeachable offenses."


California's biggest problems: Legislature keeps some bills alive, kills others


The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "California lawmakers are moving into the closing stretch of their legislative session. Bills on major issues such as housing, police use of force and vaccine exemptions have until September to reach the governor’s desk."


"But some of the highest-profile measures have already died, failing to make it out of either the Senate or Assembly by a key deadline May 31. At this midpoint, here are some notable proposals that are still progressing and those that have fallen by the wayside."


FPPC rejects GOP complaint about ujnion donations for California lieutenant governor's furniture


Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "California’s political ethics watchdog says it found no evidence Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis broke the law by soliciting contributions from labor unions to furnish her office."


"The decision comes in response to a complaint the California Republican Party filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission last month, arguing Kounalakis improperly used charitable donations to buy office furniture and paint."


"Based on a review of the complaint and documentation provided, the Enforcement Division found insufficient evidence of a violation of the Political Reform Act, and will not pursue an enforcement action,” the commission wrote in a Wednesday letter to the Republican party and Kounalakis’ lawyer."


A civil rights hero focuses on a new fight at the Capitol: clean drinking water


Sacramento Bee's MEGHAN BOBROWSKY: "Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, 89, mounted the north steps of the Capitol on Monday afternoon. She stood aside safe water activists to celebrate the state’s $130 million safe water funding proposal and pressure legislators to pass the measure this week."


"This is a big, giant moment in the state of California to finally provide safe drinking water to a million families,” Huerta said. “The only thing we need now is for the Senate and the Assembly to vote yes."


"The proposal allocates $130 million of the state’s annual budget to improving water systems in communities with contaminated drinking water. It also commits to continuously funding the water cleanup until 2030, through various bills called “budget trailers."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Pacific sea turtles likely to go extinct under Trump administration policy, lawsuit argues -- McClatchy DC's EMILY CADEDI; Excessive heat in Bay Area is breaking records -- and BART -- The Chronicle's ASHLEY MCBRIDE/GWENDOLYN WU


California retirees' pensions restored -- at least partially -- after CalPERS cuts


Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "The Sierra County town of Loyalton has reached a settlement agreement with three retired city workers who sued the town and CalPERS after CalPERS reduced the retirees’ pension checks."


"The terms of the agreement are confidential, including when it was reached, but the 706-person town will pay at least a portion of what it owes the retirees, their attorney said."


"Loyalton will pay certain retirement benefits to plaintiffs as part of the settlement,” Seth Wiener, the San Ramon-based attorney representing the retirees, said in a statement."


Ghost Ship: Defense witness says several men were 'ecstatic' about deadly fire


The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "A witness in the Ghost Ship criminal trial told jurors Monday that she saw several men acting “ecstatic” and congratulating each other just minutes after the deadly Oakland warehouse fire had erupted nearby, providing testimony that defense attorneys see as crucial and that prosecutors had sought to block."


"The men dressed in black were reporting to each other how happy and glad they were about the fire, and how out of hand it had gotten,” Sharon Evans testified in Alameda County Superior Court. “I heard them repeat, ‘No one is going to make it out of the building alive."


More PG&E blackouts are coming to California. Here's what you should do to prepare


Sacramento Bee's TONY  BIZJAK: "The era of available electricity whenever and wherever needed is officially over in wildfire-plagued California."


"Pacific Gas & Electric served stark notice of that “new normal” this past weekend when it preemptively shut power to tens of thousands of customers in five Northern California counties. The utility warned that it could happen again, perhaps repeatedly, this summer and fall as it seeks to avoid triggering disastrous wildfires."


"The dramatic act has prompted questions and concerns: What criteria did PG&E use? Did the shutdowns prevent any fires? And what can residents do to prepare for what could be days without electricity?"


READ MORE related to Wildfire Epidemic: Evacuation order to be lifted for Yolo County residents affected by Sand Fire -- Sac Bee's MEGHAN BOBROWSKY; Wildfire charges against PG&E could send message in NorCal wildfires -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO


Free mental health care for all San Franciscans? Politicians debate its feasibility


The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "A proposed ballot measure to offer free mental health care to all San Franciscans would be a gargantuan undertaking meant to hit at the heart of the city’s homelessness crisis. But with no guaranteed source of funding, public health officials say it could also force the city to more than double its budget for those services."


"No one disputes the need for more care: The Department of Public Health spends about $400 million a year on behavioral health services, from crisis-care units to substance-abuse-treatment programs. Still, an untold number of people find themselves without timely and affordable access to the care they need. That contributes to the huge number of people living on the streets — estimated at more than 8,000 — with about a third suffering from mental illness."

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