L.A. Now California: This just in
Report: Small L.A. County cities seize large amounts in civil forfeitures

A handful of small Los Angeles County cities seize large amounts of cash and cars using a controversial federal law that allows them to confiscate property even when owners aren’t charged with a crime, according to a report published by an advocacy group that promotes decriminalization of drugs.

The seizures by police in South Gate, Beverly Hills, Baldwin Park and other relatively small cities dwarf those made by much larger police departments in California from 2006 through 2013, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. Pomona reaped more than $14 million, exceeding assets collected in the considerably larger cities of Oakland, Long Beach, Fresno and Bakersfield combined, said the report, which is expected to be published Tuesday morning.

Law enforcement agencies keep up to 80% of property seized under what’s known as civil asset forfeiture, and several cities appear to rely on the revenue at a time of dwindling police budgets, potentially creating pressure on cops to make more seizures,...

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2 men arrested in San Diego on terrorism charges ordered held without bail

A San Diego federal judge Monday ordered two men arrested on terrorism charges held without bail.

Federal prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford that Mohamed Abdihamid Farah and Abdurahman Yasin Daud, both 21, are flight risks and a "danger to the community."

The two were arrested in San Diego on Sunday. Four other young men - all from the Somali community of Minneapolis - were arrested in Minneapolis.

The group is accused of plotting to join the Islamic State in Syria.

Farah and Daud had driven to San Diego from Minneapolis with plans to get passports, cross the border into Mexico, and then catch international flights en route to Syria to join ISIS, according to court documents.

A detention hearing for the pair is set for Friday. Federal prosecutors want the two extradited to Minnesota.

Farah and Daud did not enter a plea but were assigned attorneys. Farah is a U.S. citizen, Daud is a Somali citizen and a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.

The arrests came after a 10-month...

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Raw fish linked to Salmonella outbreak in California

Raw tuna in sushi could be to blame for a Salmonella outbreak that has already sickened 25 people from California and elsewhere.

The particular strain had not been seen in humans or animals until last month, which makes the outbreak particularly challenging, according to the Ventura County Public Health Department.

"We are not flying with the experience that we would normally have with this organism," county Health Officer Robert Levin said. 

More than 80% of the affected patients reported eating raw tuna as well as sushi, the health department said.

Health officials are still investigating the cause of the outbreak, Levin said, but "right now eating raw fish … probably tuna, can put you at risk."

Eighteen cases  have been confirmed in California,  including seven in Los Angeles County, four in Orange and Ventura counties, two in Riverside County and one in Santa Barbara County.

The other seven victims live outside California but have visited the state.

One-fifth of the victims had to...

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In blow to water conservation, court rejects San Juan Capistrano's tiered rates

In a ruling with major implications for California's water conservation campaign, a state appeals court on Monday ruled that a tiered water rate structure used by the city of San Juan Capistrano to encourage conservation was unconstitutional.

The Orange County city used a rate structure that charged customers who used small amounts of water a lower rate than customers who used larger amounts.

But the 4th District Court of Appeal  struck down San Juan Capistrano's fee plan, saying it violated voter-approved Proposition 218, which prohibits government agencies from charging more for a service than it costs to provide it.

"We do hold that above-cost-of-service pricing for tiers of water service is not allowed by Proposition 218 and in this case, [the city] did not carry its burden of proving its higher tiers reflected its costs of service," the court said in its ruling.

The stakes are high because at least two-thirds of California water providers, including the Los Angeles Department of Water...

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LAPD officer charged with assault in videotaped beating

A Los Angeles Police Department officer has been charged in connection with a videotaped incident in which a man alleged he was beaten and kicked while being held down by other officers in South L.A., authorities said Monday.

Officer Richard Garcia was charged with one count of assault under the color of authority in connection with the Oct. 16, 2014, arrest of Clinton Alford Jr., said Deputy Dist. Atty. Oscar Plascencia.

Several police officials who saw footage of the alleged assault captured by a private security camera previously told The Times that an officer kicked the man’s head, with one source saying the move resembled “a football player kicking a field goal.” Another source who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the probe was ongoing said that an analysis of the video showed that Alford's shoulder was kicked during the incident, not his head.

Alford has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the officers involved, alleging he was not resisting at the time he...

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120-pound Sacramento woman sets record by eating 3 72-ounce steaks

A small-framed Sacramento woman has a full belly and plenty to celebrate after successfully eating three 72-ounce steaks in 20 minutes.

Not only did Molly Schuyler, a competitive eater, finish the famous cuts of meat from the Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo, Texas, on Sunday, she wiped the plates clean and ate the sides too.

That's three 4 1/2-pound steaks, three baked potatoes, three shrimp cocktails, three salads and three bread rolls.

Here's how fast she consumed the steak meals: The first one was eaten in 4 minutes and 18 seconds;  the second was finished at the 11-minute, 47-second mark; and the third was completed at the 20-minute mark.

She attempted to eat a fourth steak, but it proved to be too much.

Dubbed the “72oz Showdown,” Schuyler’s feat broke a record at the Texas restaurant, known for its massive steaks.

The effort earned her a prize of $6,000, according to the Amarillo Globe-News. Schuyler's achievement will be presented to the Guinness World Records.

The 120-pound mother...

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