In his first year on the job, California prisons chief Jeffrey Beard is having to deal with a hunger strike by inmates.
The head of California's prison system will meet Friday with advocates for inmates who've been on a hunger strike for 25 days.
Inmates in the Security Housing Unit, or "SHU," at Pelican Bay State Prison launched the protest on July 8. Prisoners in the SHUs are restricted to their cells for 22 hours a day, with little human contact. They want California officials to change policies that have kept them and thousands of other inmates in restrictive and austere conditions for years and, in some cases, decades.
Thirty-thousand inmates initially refused food. On Thursday, California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported 499 inmates were still fasting.
"It's getting to be a very critical time, " said Carol Strickman, an attorney on the mediation team for the hunger strike leaders.
Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel greets her supporters at her election night watch party in Downtown Los Angeles on May 21, 2013.
The race for mayor ended more than two months ago, but only now are Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel revealing the true cost of running for the top job in America's second largest city.
Documents filed with the Ethics Commission show Greuel finished the primary and runoff campaigns with $680,000 in debt. Her consultant, John Shallman, is owed more than $132,000, while another $203,000 is owed to Patricia Duchene for printing campaign materials. A $100,000 loan that Greuel gave her own campaign was forgiven.
Since the May 21 runoff, Greuel has maintained a low-profile, though she told KPCC last month she is considering runs for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors or state Controller's Office. Greuel was most recently City Controller for Los Angeles and she's also a former city council member.
California Republican Jeff Denham, left, and Democratic Congressman Tony Cardenas held a bipartisan forum on immigration.
Earlier this summer, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill. The House hasn't voted on any immigration bill and that chamber's bipartisan "Gang of Seven" has yet to introduce a comprehensive plan.
But as Congress prepares to adjourn for the rest of August, a freshman Democrat and a sophomore Republican — both Congressmen from California — sat down in a public forum Thursday to talk about the economic benefits of immigration.
It wasn't a formal hearing. But it was the only public discussion of immigration in a Capitol Hill hearing room all week. Turlock Republican Jeff Denham, whose father-in-law is a legal Mexican immigrant, indirectly criticized fellow House GOP members who only want to talk about border security. "If we could just shut down the border completely," he said, "what does that do to our economy?"
LADWP general manager Ron Nichols will now require doctor's notes from employees who are out for more than two days in a row. The change follows a Los Angeles Times story on workers who exploit the utility's sick leave.
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Today is Thursday, Aug. 1, and here is what's happening in Southern California politics:
President Obama will be in Los Angeles next week for an appearance on "The Tonight Show," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Department of Water and Power is changing its sick policy and requiring employees to give a doctor's note if they are out sick two days in a row, reports KPCC. The new requirement is intended to reduce the number of employees who abuse the utility's sick leave.
KPCC looks at San Bernardino one year after it filed bankruptcy.
It's been a year since San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy to restructure its $45 million deficit. City leaders say that, since then, they've slashed non-emergency services to the bare essentials to keep fire and police services intact for the city of 213,000.
But the roses in the curbside garden at Wildwood Park are nicely pruned, and the cactus and succulents are thriving amid the redwood mulch next to the park's driveway. That's because Mayor Pat Morris, his wife Sally and a small cadre of other volunteers donate the labor to care for them.
"We've got about 500 acres of park in this city with a crew of no more than 13 workers to maintain [them]. It is a tragic stretch of resources," Morris said, reaching down to grab a few errant twigs among the cacti.
"We began to ask people to step up and volunteer. I mean, that's the great American tradition," he said.