California, with the nation’s largest population, is far outpacing other states when it comes to enrolling people in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Federal numbers show that almost 870,000 Californians had signed up for insurance coverage through the state’s health care exchange as of March 1st. That’s about one in five people nationwide. Now, if only everyone would pay their bills. The San Jose Mercury News reports that 15 percent of the people who signed for new plans in California before the end of January still haven’t sent in their premiums. The enrollment period for health plans under the Affordable Care Act ends March 31st.
Medical pot shops in Los Angeles have paid more than $8 million since the city began collecting taxes from them nearly three years ago. But that number may not reflect what the city can expect in future revenues. Last May, L.A. voters passed a measure to dramatically reduce the number of medical marijuana dispensaries. There are estimated to be more than 1,000 shops in the city, but the new legal cap is 135. City Attorney Mike Feuer says 100 shops have been shut down in recent months and he’s vowing to beef up enforcement to keep whittling away the illegal operators.
L.A. County Supervisors will set up what they call a pollution “strike team” to investigate businesses that emit toxins. Not surprisingly, target number one is a Vernon battery recycling plant that’s been accused of endangering the health of more than 100,000 East L.A. residents. The decision to create the strike team came one day after state officials released reports showing that elevated levels of lead had been found in the soil of a preschool and homes near the Exide Technologies plant. Exide officials say the company has invested in new technology and has been making big strides in cutting toxic emissions.
Sure, running a $10 billion–a-year entertainment company is nice, but what she really wants to do is direct. Anne Sweeney – one of the most influential female executives in Hollywood – will step down from her job heading Walt Disney Co.’s television networks next year. Sweeney had been mentioned as a possible successor to Disney Chairman Robert Iger. She says she wants to return to the creative side of the business. Disney’s ABC television network currently sits in fourth place among the traditional broadcast networks, trailing CBS, NBC and Fox in the ratings.
One of the rarest trees in the world could be chopped down to make way for a northern California transit project. The tree is the albino chimero coast redwood, and the specimen in question is in the small Sonoma County town of Cotati. Only about 10 of the trees are known to exist. Federal regulators say the 52-foot tree must come down for safety reasons. It sits about 15 feet away from the tracks of a planned rail line. Biologists and local preservationists are trying to rally public support to save the tree, which some describe as a scientific treasure.