Tag Archives: los angeles county news

Los Angeles County Sues State Over Political Boundaries Law

Los Angeles County is suing over a new state law it says discriminates against more than 1 million voters while taking away the power of the Board of Supervisors to draw its own political boundaries

By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) β€” Los Angeles County is suing over a new state law it says discriminates against more than 1 million voters while taking away the power of the Board of Supervisors to draw its own political boundaries.

The lawsuit aims to block the 2016 law that creates a 14-member commission to draw boundaries for county supervisor districts after the 2020 census.

Commission members would be chosen from political parties, the lawsuit says, unfairly excluding about a quarter of county voters who register with no party preference and comprise the fastest-growing portion of newly registered voters.

Aides to state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Los Angeles, who wrote the law, said Tuesday that the intent of SB958 is to include those independent voters on the commission.

“If the citizens redistricting commission is good enough for the state Legislature and Congress, it should be good enough for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,” Lara said in a statement.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court says the law illegally takes away local control, unfairly applies only to Los Angeles County and makes the process more political. Based on current registration, 70 percent of commissioners would be Democrats, 25 percent Republicans and 5 percent from smaller political parties, the lawsuit states.

“I think that’s a valid concern, but it’s also a valid concern that politicians shouldn’t be drawing their own district lines. So there are competing benefits on both sides,” said Kim Alexander, president of the nonprofit California Voter Foundation. She was not involved in passing the law.

Read Full –Β https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2017-02-28/los-angeles-county-sues-state-says-1-million-voters-harmed

L.A. prosecutors file criminal charges in methane leak near Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES |

Los Angeles prosecutors filed criminal charges against the Southern California Gas company on Tuesday over a huge methane leak near the city that has forced thousands of residents from their homes since October.

The four misdemeanor charges accuse SoCalGas, a division of San Diego-based Sempra Energy, of failing to report the release of hazardous materials following the underground pipeline rupture and discharging air contaminants.

“While we recognize that neither the criminal charges nor the civil lawsuits will offer the residents of Los Angeles County a complete solution, it is important that Southern California Gas Co. be held responsible for its criminal actions,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a written statement.

Lacey’s move came on the same day that California Attorney General Kamala Harris sued Southern California Gas Co, accusing the utility of violating state health and safety laws by failing to promptly control the escaping gas and report the leak to authorities.

The lawsuit also cites environmental damage caused by the uncontrolled release of 80,000 metric tons of methane, the prime component of natural gas and a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

The leak stems from an underground pipeline rupture at the company’s 3,600-acre (1,457-hectare) Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. The largest such leak ever in California, at its height it accounted for a fourth of all methane emissions statewide.

The lawsuit amends a civil complaint brought in December by the Los Angeles city attorney and later joined by Los Angeles County. It seeks civil penalties and court orders requiring the utility to immediately take all steps necessary to mitigate the leak, repair the damage and prevent future discharges.

Several attempts to halt the methane release have failed, but the company said it hopes to plug the leak by the end of the month through a relief well.

Read Full –Β http://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-methane-lawsuit-idUSKCN0VB25M