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Families frantically search for loved ones missing in Montecito mudslide

As the death toll rises in the Montecito mudslide disaster, family members continue to frantically look for loved ones who might still be missing. At the evacuation center at Santa Barbara City College on Monday night, someone had put up a white posterboard, with “message board” scrawled in black....

Essential California: Flooding, mudflows from heavy rains leave 13 dead in Southern California

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 10, and here’s what’s happening across California: TOP STORIES The predawn torrent of mud and debris carried away cars, swamped living rooms, and yanked homes from their foundations. Boulders crashed into homes,...

Many in Montecito ignored mudslide warnings — until it was too late

Connor McManigal was shaken awake by his father. Flash floods had forced Montecito Creek to erupt, sending torrents of muddy water barreling through the hillsides. The two scrambled to escape. But once outside, they were swept up in the deluge and separated. McManigal, 23, was whisked nearly a...

We know L.A.'s new recycling program is a fiasco, but how'd it get so screwed up?

When it comes to bureaucratic bungling by school districts, utility companies and City Hall, Los Angeles has always been an Olympic contender. I can’t complain, given all the columns I’ve gotten out of the computerized payroll screw-ups and student-tracking debacles at L.A. Unified, along with...

Deadly flooding on Santa Barbara coast as fire turns to mud

The predawn torrent of mud and debris carried away cars, swamped living rooms, and yanked homes from their foundations. Boulders crashed into homes, homes plunged into trees, and the muddy current swept at least one child a half-mile from home. By day’s end, Santa Barbara County authorities said...

L.A. school board keeps interim leader, prepares for superintendent search

Meeting for the first time since Supt. Michelle King announced her retirement, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted Tuesday to name Vivian Ekchian — who has been filling in for King since October — as interim superintendent. Board members announced the decision after a 2 ½-hour closed session....

LAPD takes another step toward deploying drones in controversial yearlong test

The Los Angeles Police Department took another step toward using drones in some tactical situations after its civilian bosses Tuesday approved a $31,500 donation to purchase the controversial devices. The LAPD has yet to fly any drones. The yearlong pilot program, approved by the Police Commission...

L.A. child molester to be released after spending 17 years in state hospital awaiting trial

Just before George Vasquez was scheduled to get out of prison, Los Angeles County prosecutors made a plea to the court: Don’t let him free — he’s too dangerous to live in public. While in his early 20s, Vasquez had lured young boys from his South L.A. neighborhood to a spot near an alleyway with...

'It was like a bomb went off': First the heavy rain, then the mud, now a disaster on the coast

Standing outside his home on Foothill Road in Carpinteria near Ocean Oaks Road in a white hard hat and thick yellow-and-red rain gear, Peter Lapidus was covered in mud. His house is near a creek, Arroyo Paredon, and his road was covered in a thick sludge of mud. Lapidus, who works in construction...

Stunned residents reel from mudslide devastation in Montecito

Marc Phillips slogged up and down the streets of Montecito Tuesday in his mud-caked jeans, marveling at the devastation. Phillips pointed at areas on Parra Grande Road, where homes used to be. “It looks like there was never a house there, but it was,” he said. It was that kind of day in one neighborhood...

Jury awards $4 million to ex-Black Panther hurt by Oakland councilwoman

A jury has awarded more than $4 million in punitive damages to a former leader of the Black Panthers who was injured after an Oakland councilwoman punched and pushed her during an argument over housing. The jury found Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks should pay $550,000 to Elaine Brown, who was...

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