Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Forest Service helicopters return to the sky after dark to fight fires

Mercer 1037

Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

A helicopter fights to save a house in La Crescenta in 2009

 

After years of pressure from Congress, the U.S. Forest Service has put into service a specially equipped helicopter that can fight fires after dark.

It marks the first time in more than three decades that Southern California firefighters are getting federal help in the sky at night.

Forest Service helicopters have been grounded at night since a pair of firefighting choppers crashed in 1977.

But Congressman Adam Schiff says it was "increasingly hard to defend why they thought it was safe to call on L.A. County and L.A. City to do night time drops, but it wasn't safe enough for them to do it."

The Burbank Democrat says there was concern over the cost of acquiring and maintaining aircraft, and having a second crew to fly night time hours.

"But of course, as we saw with the Station Fire, the cost of letting a fire get out of control when you have a chance of putting it down early far outweighs the cost of investing in night time capabilities," said Schiff.

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: LAPD diver takes on La Brea Tar Pits, San Onofre shut down

Mammoth scene at La Brea Tar Pits

Photo by Travis S. via Flickr Creative Commons

An LAPD diver describes searching the La Brea Tar Pits in a murder investigation.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Friday, June 7, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

It turns out that state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom were at the weekend wedding of Internet billionaire Sean Parker -- the same wedding that was fined $2.5 million by the Coastal Commission because "a company working on the event drove bulldozers into the wilderness to erect a stone bridge, fake castle walls and a dance floor on the delicate ecosystem of a public campground," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Read More...

House guts funding for Dreamers executive order; Senate likely to put it back

UCLA Dreamers

Roberto (Bear) Guerra

Two undocumented students hug as they are about to graduate from UCLA last year

The House of Representatives has voted to cut funding to President Obama's initiative allowing undocumented immigrants or "Dreamers" to stay in the United States. 

The GOP-led House voted 224-201 in favor of an amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill that forbids spending on the policy that exercises "prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to this country as children." 

Last June, President Obama issued an executive order that postpones for two years the deportation of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before they were 16 years old, are currently younger than 31, without criminal records, and are high school graduates or in school or the military. 

Riverside Democrat Mark Takano compared the amendment to California's Proposition 187  - the 1994 voter-approved measure that denied many state services to undocumented immigrants. He said Prop 187 turned many California Latinos away from the Republican Party for more than a generation.

Read More...

State Sen. Ron Calderon and his brother have ties to local water district (Updated)

Violence School Lessons

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The Sacramento offices of state Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, were searched by the FBI this week. The FBI would not disclose the reason for the investigation.

California state Sen. Ron Calderon, whose Sacramento offices were raided Tuesday by the FBI, has personal and legislative ties to the Central Basin Municipal Water District — a public agency that is also under federal scrutiny.
 
The former owner of a Southern California water conservation consulting firm says he was sought out twice this year by the FBI for information about the water district, which serves various cities in southeast L.A. County, including Calderon's base in Montebello.

In recent years, Calderon introduced a bill that would have benefited the district and argued against another piece of legislation that the agency opposed. 

All the while, the water district was paying consulting fees to Calderon's brother, former California state legislator Tom Calderon.

RELATED: Who's who in the investigation into State Sen. Ron Calderon

Read More...

Maven's Morning Coffee: FBI raid not a surprise in Sacramento, DCFS needs more social workers, USC parking plan delayed

Violence School Lessons

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The Sacramento Bee reports that folks are not surprised that state Sen. Ron Calderon's office received a visit from federal authorities.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, June 6, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The Sacramento Bee finds not many people were surprised when state Sen. Ron Calderon's office was raided by the FBI. "He has definitely been a public official who enjoys the perks of being a public official," according to a rep for Common Cause. Capitol Alert also clarifies that federal authorities did not search the Latino Legislative Caucus office.

The Calderon investigation was also the subject of last night's Which Way, LA?

Read More...