CA-XGR-CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS
Law blocks some brown lawn fees during droughts
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Homeowner associations can no longer slap fines on residents with dry, brown lawns during droughts.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB2100 on Monday. The legislation enshrines into law the governor's order in April prohibiting homeowner associations from penalizing residents who conserve water in a declared drought.
Democratic Assemblywoman Nora Campos of San Jose introduced the bill after a San Lorenzo man was threatened with up to $1000 in fines for not watering his lawn. It came even after the governor declared a drought emergency in January.
Another bill moving through the Legislature prevents homeowner associations from punishing owners for installing drought-resistant landscaping.
The bill does not extend to local governments. Some agencies have been warning residents for not watering their lawns even as the state authorizes penalties for overwatering lawns.
California won't send troops to Mexico border
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California Gov. Jerry Brown won't be deploying National Guard troops to the Mexico border like Texas is doing in response to an influx of immigrants.
Capt. Will Martin of the California Military Department said Monday that Brown has no plans to send the California National Guard to the state's southern border.
Martin issued a statement saying that Texas' border "presents a significantly different set of considerations than those presented by the border shared by California and Mexico."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been a vocal critic of the White House's response to the border crisis as he considers a second presidential run. He is deploying up to 1,000 troops over the next month at an estimated cost of $12 million per month.
CALIFORNIA BUS CRASH
Cause of deaths in FedEx truck-bus crash released
WILLOWS, Calif. (AP) - Authorities have released the cause of death for nine of the 10 victims of a Northern California crash between a charter bus full of students and a FedEx tractor-trailer.
Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones said Monday that seven of the victims in April's crash succumbed from asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation. Two others died of multiple traumas from the collision.
The cause of death for a 10th victim was being handled by Sacramento County medical examiners. Jones said that person died at a hospital burn unit.
The bus was carrying 44 students from Southern California for a free tour of Humboldt State University on the state's far north coast. Many were hoping to be the first in their families to attend college. Five students and three adult chaperones died, along with the drivers.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
CALIFORNIA DROUGHT-WATER COPS
Bay Area water district mulls hiring 'water cops'
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - A San Francisco Bay Area water district is set to vote on the hiring of "water cops" to issue fines to people caught wasting water.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District board must decide Tuesday whether to spend $500,000 to hire up to 10 temporary workers to help enforce new state rules on water conservation.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that if approved, the workers would respond in person to complaints about wasteful outdoor watering.
Last week California water regulators approved fines of up to $500 a day for water wasters after a survey showed that a statewide call to cut water use by 20 percent failed.
The three-year drought is the worst in California since the mid-1970s.
BART police enforce stretching ban at stations
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Bay Area Rapid Transit police have started enforcing a ban on sleeping, lying or sitting with legs stretched out at a busy downtown San Francisco station.
Agency officials tell the San Francisco Chronicle the campaign at the Powell Street station is intended to ensure that stations can be quickly evacuated in an emergency, and insist they're not targeting the homeless.
BART's deputy police chief, Jeffry Jennings, says state law requires BART to be able to evacuate stations promptly. He said a growing number of people are sleeping, lying down or sitting with their legs extended in downtown stations with long corridors.
Officers plan to enforce the ordinance at all BART stations.
Man in LA-area bank bomb hoax gets 14 years
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A man who plotted a heist with his then-girlfriend to steal more than a half-million dollars from a bank in East Los Angeles by pretending the woman had a bomb taped to her body was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said Reyes Vega was sentenced Monday and will also have to pay $556,800 in restitution.
Vega and Aurora Barrera were convicted of bank robbery and conspiracy in March.
Barrera, a former manager at the Bank of America branch, claimed she'd been kidnapped and forced to wear the device when she convinced a co-worker to help her empty the vault back in 2012. Authorities say the bomb was a realistic fake.
Officials say Barrera is scheduled to be sentenced on August 6.
MISSING PREGNANT WOMAN
Marine who knew missing California woman arrested
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (AP) - A recently discharged Marine who volunteered at a horse ranch with the missing pregnant wife of another California-based Marine has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a destructive device.
But authorities wouldn't say whether the cases of 24-year-old Christopher Lee and 20-year-old Erin Corwin are connected.
A San Bernardino County sheriff's statement Monday says Lee was arrested July 4 after a search warrant was served at a home in Yucca Valley.
The Desert Sun reports he was released on bail July 6 and honorably discharged a day after that. Sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation, but wouldn't say more.
Authorities say Corwin disappeared under suspicious circumstances while three months pregnant on June 28, when she left her house headed to Joshua Tree National Park. Her car was found outside the Twentynine Palms Marine Base two days later.
ATHLETIC OFFICIAL-CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
Ex-UCLA athletic official sentenced for child porn
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Officials say a former associate athletic director at UCLA has pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of possession of child pornography.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says Michael Sondheimer was immediately sentenced Monday to three years of summary probation and was ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The 59-year-old is also required to attend sex-offender counseling for a year and was ordered to turn over the computer containing the illegal images.
Prosecutors say Sondheimer was found in possession of child pornography on his work-issued laptop in April 2013.
COCAINE SMUGGLER SENTENCED
Man sentenced for hiding cocaine in a surfboard
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Officials say a Los Angeles County man who attempted to smuggle nearly seven pounds of cocaine out of the country using a hollowed-out surfboard was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Jesse Herrera was sentenced Monday following his arrest in February at Los Angeles International Airport.
Officials say Herrera was arrested after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noticed irregularities in the surfboard he checked with his baggage on a flight destined for Sydney. Agency officials cut off the end of the surfboard and found four plastic packages filled with cocaine.
The 31-year-old pleaded guilty in May to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Officials estimate the cocaine in Herrera's possession would have sold for more than $750,000 in Australia.
Obama back to California for Democratic campaigns
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - President Barack Obama is returning to California for a pair of Democratic fundraisers.
The president is scheduled to fly Tuesday into San Francisco, where he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are slated to attend a Bay Area fundraiser Wednesday at the home of real estate developer and major Democratic donor George Marcus.
According to an invitation obtained last month by The Associated Press, tickets for the lunch in Los Altos Hills start at $10,000 per person and go up to $32,400 for a couple.
Later Wednesday, Air Force One will fly to Los Angeles, where Obama is scheduled to be at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser.
He'll remain overnight in Los Angeles, where he's scheduled to give a speech on the economy Thursday at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
KLAMATH DROUGHT-POT RAID
Huge raid targets pot grows California tribal land
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) - More than a dozen law enforcement agencies are assisting the Yurok tribe in a large-scale raid targeting illegal marijuana grows along the Klamath River that's threatened the reservation's water supply and damaged its ecosystem.
Tribal leaders tell the Los Angeles Times the number of grows on the reservation on far Northern California have tripled by this summer, causing creeks to run dry and water tanks to go nearly empty.
They say sediment and chemical runoff from the grow sites have harmed salmon in the river, and the encroaching grows were making it harder for tribal members to hunt and gather, or to prepare sites for ceremonial dances.
Officials said tens of thousands of plants are likely to be eradicated over the next week and a half.
FAKE OFFICER ARRESTED
SFPD: Accused police impostor targeted immigrants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A San Francisco man is facing charges of impersonating a police officer and coercing newly arrived immigrants into committing sex acts.
Prosecutors said Monday that 35-year-old Jeffrey Bugai pleaded not guilty last week to five felonies, including kidnapping and attempted sodomy by use of force.
Bugai was arrested July 10 for crimes that authorities believe were committed around 2008.
Police said he targeted immigrants from Central America who spoke limited English, misled his victims into thinking he was a police officer and forcing them to commit sex acts. Police said he dressed as an officer, placed handcuffs on some of the victims and told them that he would deport or retaliate against them if they called police.
Bugai is being held on $2 million bail.
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