Dozens of angry residents of Hawthorne and Lawndale peppered members of the local school board with questions and criticism last night. The uproar was in response to a report that Superintendent Jose Fernandez earned more than $650,000 last year. Some District officials expressed ignorance about the full amount of Fernandez’ salary, while others defended the superintendent for improving student performance since he was hired in 2009. Fernandez attended the meeting but declined to discuss his compensation. The Daily Breeze says perks and benefits added nearly $400,000 to Fernandez’ base pay last year. He also borrowed $910,000 from the district at two percent interest to buy a house.
The rain is good news for parched Southern California, but it’s also a major concern for people living in foothill areas where the hillsides have been stripped of vegetation by recent fires. Officials in Glendora have raised the city’s emergency flood alert level and they’re asking residents of about one thousand homes to voluntarily evacuate. It’s a similar story in parts of Azusa. Both communities sit at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains where the Colby Fire scorched thousands of acres last month, and where rain now poses a threat of flooding and mudslides.
A nearly $700 million drought relief bill is headed for floor votes today after getting quick approval from lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate. Most of the money in the Democratic plan would be doled in grants to communities for water conservation projects. But $15 million would be used to find alternative sources for communities at risk of running out of water, and $47 million would go to emergency food and housing relief for people whose livelihoods have been affected by the drought. The bill would also give state regulators new powers to issue fines for illegal water diversions.
Getting a job as an L.A. firefighter isn’t easy. The Department receives piles of applications each year for a few dozen spots. But what applicants may not know is that they better be quick – really quick! – when it’s time to send in key paperwork. The L.A. Times reports that applicants who turned in physical fitness certificates were not considered for the job if those papers came in 60 seconds after the office opened. City officials say they decided to take what they got in that first minute to avoid having to evaluate thousands of submissions.
Two plant species found in the California desert are headed for removal from the endangered species list because short-term dangers to them have passed. The plants are the Eureka Valley Evening Primrose and Eureka Dune Grass. Both are found only in parts of Death Valley National Park. They were originally listed as endangered because of threats posed by off-road vehicles. Scientists say both plants remain vulnerable to climate change.