What Ref Rodriguez’s latest legal problems mean for the charter school movement

When prosecutors filed campaign finance charges against L.A. school board member Ref Rodriguez last month, many charter-school supporters rallied to his defense in hopes of saving not just his seat but their pro-charter school agenda.

They said that Rodriguez, a political novice, had made mistakes…

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Earthquake: 3.6 quake strikes near Santa Ysabel

A shallow 3.6 earthquake was reported Wednesday morning one mile from Santa Ysabel, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 3:06 a.m. Pacific time at a depth of 1.2 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was 11 miles from San Diego Country Estates, 13 miles from Ramona,…

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Residents advised to close windows after fire erupts at Chevron oil refinery in El Segundo

A fire erupted late Tuesday at the Chevron El Segundo Refinery, blowing plumes of black smoke toward residential neighborhoods.

El Segundo police advised nearby residents to close their windows as firefighters battle the blaze on the west side of the refinery, located just south of Los Angeles…

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Fugitive suspected in 2002 kidnapping and slaying of teen is found dead in Mexico

A fugitive suspected in the 2002 kidnapping and slaying of a 15-year-old girl on her way to school in Montebello was killed in Mexico, investigators announced Tuesday.

George Barraza, who fled to Mexico after the gang payback killing of Brenda Sierra, was on the U.S. Marshal Service’s “15 Most…

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Lack of emergency alerts during firestorms prompts calls for improvements

California’s two U.S. senators are raising questions about deficiencies in the federal emergency alert system after many wine country residents failed to get warnings that they were in the path of last week’s destructive wildfires.

In a letter dated Tuesday to the chairman of the Federal Communications…

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Sonoma homeless man accused of arson but no link so far to massive wine country wildfires

Jesus Fabian Gonzalez lived in a homeless encampment beneath the Verano Avenue bridge, spanning Sonoma Creek, just a few hundred yards from a cluster of fast-food restaurants and mom-and-pop shops.

He cut an eccentric figure, occasionally seen racing around in a small bicycle, zigzagging in circles…

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County approves $1.7-million settlement over jail suicide

The daughters of a mentally ill man who jumped to his death in a Los Angeles jail in 2014 will receive $1.7 million under the terms of a settlement approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Eric Loberg, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and appointed a legal conservator…

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Death toll from San Diego hepatitis A outbreak rises to 19; more than 500 cases confirmed

San Diego’s hepatitis A outbreak added another death Tuesday, pushing the total to 19 as the number of confirmed cases passed 500.

Updated numbers released by the county Health and Human Services Agency come as a massive effort around vaccination, sanitation and public education continues to try…

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5 firefighters hurt, communities evacuated in Santa Cruz Mountains fire

Five firefighters were injured in a fast-moving wildfire in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one of several wildfires burning across California.

The Bear fire in Boulder Creek had burned more than 150 acres Tuesday and was 5% contained, officials said.

About 150 people have been evacuated.

Elsewhere in…

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L.A. moves to ban pepper spray, tiki torches, gas masks and other items from protests

Alarmed by spasms of violence at protests in Charlottesville, Va., and Berkeley, Los Angeles lawmakers soon could impose new restrictions on what people can bring to public demonstrations and meetings in the city.

L.A. already bans protesters from toting wooden planks more than 2 inches wide and…

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