Commission gets more power to ensure coast access

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Beach access activists have won a big victory. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a law giving the California Coastal Commission the authority to fine property owners who illegally block beach paths to the beach. The commission has never had that authority before. Previously, it had to go to court to have fines imposed on intransigent property owners. The new powers come as a legal tussle is playing out between Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla and environmentalists after the businessman closed public access to a beach in San Mateo County. The issue has also played out publically in Malibu, where the Coastal Commission successfully sued entertainment David Geffen, among others, to force him to open a public path adjacent to his carbon Beach property.

turnerA trial to determine if one of L.A.’s most prolific serial killers will get a second death sentence is taking place in L.A. Superior Court. Chester DeWayne Turner was convicted last week of killing four women in South L.A. – seven years after he was found guilty of 11 other slayings. Under California law, a second, penalty phase trial is held if a defendant is convicted of crimes that carry a possible death sentence. This is the second time around for Turner. In 2007, the former pizza deliveryman was convicted of killing 10 women and one of his victim’s unborn child. All of the murders occurred between 1987 and 1998 in and around a 30-block stretch of Figueroa Street.

Concerned friends, family members and others could get a court order to remover a mentally ill person’s guns if he or she threatens violence, under a bill that’s been reintroduced in the state Senate. The proposed law would also prevent the subject of the order from buying new guns. A different version of the bill stalled in the Senate last year. But it’s now been revived after last month’s shooting rampage near U.C. Santa Barbara. Similar measures have passed in Indiana, Texas and Connecticut. But gun advocates oppose the move, saying the bill could lead to people losing their gun ownership rights over “hearsay.”

asianaFederal investigators will meet in Washington, D.C. tomorrow to determine the cause of a jet crash at San Francisco Airport that killed three people and injured nearly 200 others a year ago. The Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 was en route from Seoul when it hit a sea wall and crashed on the runway at SFO. The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to focus on possible pilot error, the plane’s automated throttle controls and the effect of computerized flight systems on plane crews. Initial investigations have concluded the throttle controls were functioning properly and the pilot came in too slow for the landing.


California’s historic governor’s mansion is getting a facelift. Thanks to $2.5 million in the new state budget, the grand 135-year-old Victorian will get a thorough renovation. Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t live in the mansion. He resides in a loft in a Sacramento commercial district. In fact, the last governor to live in the home was Ronald Reagan. He moved out after his wife, Nancy complained that the house was a firetrap. The mansion is currently being run as a museum and state historic park. Brown also uses the home for meetings and special events.