Governor appoints judge to oversee watchdog agency
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a judge to lead California's campaign watchdog agency.
The governor on Wednesday named fellow Democrat Jodi Remke of Oakland to oversee the Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces election laws and investigates allegations of wrongdoing. The appointment comes as two Democratic state senators face federal charges of political corruption and after a third was convicted of voter fraud and perjury.
Since 2006, Remke has been presiding judge at the State Bar Court of California, an independent court for attorneys accused of professional misconduct.
The 48-year-old replaces Ann Ravel, who was appointed by President Barack Obama last June to the Federal Election Commission.
Remke previously worked for the state Senate Judiciary Committee and as an attorney in private practice.
The position, which pays $136,000 a year, does not require Senate confirmation.
SIKH MAN'S WEAPON-JURY DUTY
Sikh man barred from jury
YUBA CITY, Calif. (AP) - A Sikh man is being prevented from serving on a Northern California jury because of the ceremonial weapon he carries as part of his religion.
CBS13-TV in Sacramento reports that Gursant Singh is scheduled for jury duty in Sutter County next week.
But Singh says he's been told that when he arrives at the courthouse, he should not bring his kirpan, a dagger that Sikhs carry and that must not be removed.
Singh says he's unwilling to violate his religion's code of conduct.
Sutter County Jury Commissioner Mary Beth Todd told CBS13 that she is trying to come up with alternatives for Singh, who says he would rather be arrested than compromise his beliefs.
Survey: Californians support Common Core standards
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - As other U.S. states move to delay or halt implementation of the shared learning framework known as the Common Core, a new survey finds that the national math and language standards still enjoy solid support in California.
The survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California found that the public's awareness of the Common Core State Standards is still sketchy. Just 19 percent of those questioned said they had heard a lot about the benchmarks that have been billed as a way to prepare high school graduates for college and careers.
But when respondents were read a short description of the initiative, seven in 10 said they favored it. The same proportion endorsed California's new school-funding system that directs more money to schools with large numbers of disadvantaged children.
SAN FRANCISCO EVICTIONS-AIRBNB
San Francisco landlords sued over renter eviction
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - City Attorney Dennis Herrera is filing suit against several San Francisco landlords he alleges wrongfully evicted disabled renters to turn their apartments into short-term rentals marketed on Airbnb and other sites.
The suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday alleges the landlords illegally converted residential apartments into commercial tourist lodging without first obtaining a conditional use permit.
The complaint said the landlords evicted tenants - including some who were disabled - citing the Ellis Act, a state law that allows evictions if properties are withdrawn from the residential rental market.
A message left at a number listed for property owners Darren and Valerie Lee was not immediately returned Wednesday.
Tamara Yurovsky, who managed the online listing for the properties of another set of defendants, said she could not immediately comment on the allegations.
City settles with homeless to leave landfill
ALBANY, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California city has reached a settlement with a group of homeless people who filed a federal lawsuit to prevent their eviction from a waterfront landfill.
The city of Albany says Wednesday that it will pay 28 homeless people $3,000 each to leave the Bulb, a 40-acre site along the San Francisco Bay to be used for park land. Another two-dozen or so homeless people who stay at the site and are not covered by the settlement also must leave.
The settlement calls for the homeless residents and their pets to leave by Friday and stay away for a year.
A group of homeless people and the nonprofit Albany Housing Advocates filed a federal lawsuit against the city in November after the Albany City Council voted to clear the site in October.
ELECTIONS-SECRETARY OF STATE
Candidates tout reform in secretary of state race
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Four candidates vying to be the next secretary of state are offering competing visions for the job, including about how to improve access and transparency to California elections.
Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles on Wednesday debated Pete Peterson, a Republican policy institute director, about who had the best background for the position.
Two other candidates - Derek Cressman, a Democratic political reform activist, and Dan Schnur, a professor running as an independent - called for separation of money and politics during the forum hosted by the Sacramento Press Club.
The campaign for the statewide office responsible for elections and campaign finance is being magnified this year by recent scandals in the Legislature. Democratic candidate Leland Yee dropped out abruptly after he was arrested on federal corruption charges.
MEDICAL CENTER SHOOTING
Police stand down after alleged shooting
DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) - Police officers have stood down after concluding that reports of shooting at a San Francisco Bay Area medical building were unfounded.
Seton Medical Center spokeswoman Mary Coady says police responded to the shooting Wednesday afternoon at the building, located at 1500 Southgate Avenue in Daly City, Calif.
Patients and staff members were evacuated from the building with their hands held over their heads.
Coady says the building, which houses about 40 medical practitioners, was evacuated but that the main hospital remained open.
Daly City Police Lt. David Mackriss told the San Francisco Chronicle that a doctor reported seeing a gunman and hearing gunshots. But after a search, no victim or suspect was found, and investigators declared the building clear just before 5 p.m.
Stowaway's father says son missed Africa
HONOLULU (AP) - The father of a teenager who survived a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well has told Voice of America his son missed Africa, where he used to live, and was struggling in school.
Voice of America reported Wednesday that Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi of Santa Clara, Calif., said his 15-year-old son was always talking about going back to Africa, where his grandparents live.
A school official says the boy came to the U.S. four years ago.
Law enforcement officials say the boy climbed into the wheel well before the plane took off for Maui on Sunday morning. Officials say video shows the boy jumping out of the plane after landing.
Abdi told VOA that Honolulu police notified him Sunday of his son's journey. The teen remains hospitalized in Honolulu.
Judge releases tape of would-be assassin's exam
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Nearly 40 years after a former Manson family member pointed a gun at President Gerald Ford, the audiotape from her pretrial psychiatric examination has been made public.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller granted the release of the 132-minute recording last week in response to a motion filed by the Sacramento Bee in November.
The recording of Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme was made Sept. 21, 1975, a little more than two weeks after the 26-year-old Fromme aimed her pistol at Ford in Sacramento's Capitol Park. The gun did not go off. Fromme was wrestled to the ground by a Secret Service agent.
The Sacramento Bee reports that in the recording, Fromme spoke confidently about her ability to represent herself at trial and be acquitted.
Fromme was convicted and remained in prison until she was released on parole in 2009.
BOY INJURED-PAINTBALL SHOOTING
Boy, 5, shot in eye by paintball gun
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A 5-year-old boy in the San Francisco Bay Area was injured after being shot in the eye with a paintball gun.
Melinda Krigel - a spokeswoman for the University of California, San Francisco, Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland - says Corrmauri Hunter was hit in the left eye just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday as he rode in a car in West Oakland with his mother and at least one other passenger.
Krigel says Corrmauri underwent surgery Tuesday night and that he was awake and talking Wednesday when he was visited by Oakland Interim Police Chief Sean Whent, who brought him a Teddy bear.
Krigel adds that no additional surgeries are expected and that he is expected to regain sight in the eye.
Officer Frank Bonifacio says no arrests have been made. A motive for the attack wasn't known.
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