«

»

Feb 16 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 16, 2012

Share

A cloudy Los Angeles, California

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

While the legislature toils away in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown will be in Los Angeles, along with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Gov. Jerry Brown will be in Los Angeles this afternoon to welcome Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping as he touches down on the tarmac.  Also joining Brown: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The governor will attend several official events today and Friday tied to Xi’s visit, including a tour this afternoon of the China Shipping Terminal at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.

On to today’s California headlines:

Closing of postal centers could cause trouble with mail ballots, Bowen says

In the last statewide primary election two years ago, more than 12,500 mail-in ballots in Riverside County were nearly invalidated because of what postal officials described as “a change in process” that caused them to be delivered after Election Day.  

They were ultimately counted, but only after a judge ordered it.  

Secretary of State Debra Bowen now worries that an election nightmare on a much larger scale could be repeated this year unless the Postal Service delays its planned closure of 18 mail processing centers in California until after November’s presidential election.  

Bowen is appealing to postal officials and members of Congress to extend for six months a moratorium on the closures that is scheduled to expire May 15.  

“This has the potential to leaves thousands and thousands of ballots uncounted,” Bowen said Wednesday. “We need the post office not to do it. It would be a profound disservice to democracy.”

VOTERS Large drop in Riverside County’s registration rate

Recently released state statistics show that Riverside County’s voter registration rate is down considerably from what it was a year ago.

 In February 2011, 64.3 percent of the county’s estimated population of people eligible to vote were actually registered. As of last month, it was 60.8 percent.  

The decline, almost 3.5 percent, was the 10th-largest drop in registration rates of any California county.  

San Bernardino County’s registration rate, 64,1 percent, was down slightly from 64.6 percent in February 2011. Thirty-three other counties had larger declines.  

The Inland counties’ registration rates are among the lowest in the state. Riverside County ranks 53rd and San Bernardino County is 48th in the latest numbers.

Calif. gov. to play host to Chinese VP for 2 days

Gov. Jerry Brown will welcome Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to California with a tour of the Port of Los Angeles and events highlighting the economic and cultural ties between the world’s most populous nation and the U.S. state with the most people and largest economy, the governor’s office announced Wednesday.  

Xi arrives Thursday for a two-day diplomatic stop after visiting Washington, D.C., and Iowa. Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will welcome China’s next leader at Los Angeles International Airport, and they will then tour a shipping terminal at the port.  

On Friday, Brown will address Chinese and American business leaders about trade. The governor is expected to meet privately with Xi in Los Angeles and then host a round-table that includes other governors and Chinese provincial leaders.

L.A. air pollution may increase risk of stroke

L.A.’s smog problem might not be as visible as it was in the bad old days of the 1970s and ’80s, but city residents might be at an increased risk of stroke even at levels of pollution that meet EPA standards. Oh yeah, and memory loss.  

A new study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that Boston residents experienced more strokes when exposed to “moderate” amounts of particulate air pollution, as opposed to “good” amounts of pollution, according to EPA standards. The types of pollution monitored included those specifically linked with car traffic.  

Reviewing the medical records of about 1,700 stroke victims at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the study’s authors found that the risk of stroke was 34% higher on days of “moderate” exposure than it was on “good” days. The effects were most acute in the first 12 to 14 hours after exposure.  

“The main message is that, at levels that are below the current EPA standards that are considered safe, we were seeing a rather large increase in risk of stroke in association with particulate air pollution,” said George Wellenius, an assistant professor of Epidemiology at Brown University and lead author of the study.  

Particulate air pollution, or ambient particles, includes fine particles less than 2.5 micrograms in mass, less that 1/10 the diameter of a human hair, which enter the body primarily through the airways. According to Wellenius, car and truck traffic is an important source of this pollution, as are oil-fired or coal-fired power plants, manufacturing processes, and the burning of wood.  

Many of these particles and other pollutant gases are found in smog. Los Angeles continued its long winning streak as the smoggiest place in the United States again in 2011.

Enjoy your morning!

Share