Group asks California Attorney General to investigate soaring natural gas bills

A consumer advocacy group is asking California’s attorney general to investigate why SoCalGas customers have seen their natural gas bills soar to record highs this winter, and whether the utility’s parent company is improperly profiting. “Southern California Gas doubled consumers’ natural gas bills with virtually no notice, leaving its customers with large, unexpected bills,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, in a letter to Rob Bonta Thursday. “They are now forced to choose between paying their utility bills and their rent, food costs, and other monthly obligations with no warning.” California natural gas bills are soaring, and help is limited According to SoCalGas, which serves most of Southern California, prices are running about five times higher than last January due to market forces, supply issues and cold-than-normal weather along the West Coast. The utility, which warned customers about the looming spike in late December, insists it does not profit from these price fluctuations. “While we don’t set these prices (they’re set by regional and national markets), nor does SoCalGas actually profit from rising prices, we want our customers to know that we understand that this

José Huizar Pleads Guilty to Racketeering, Tax Evasion; Sentencing Set April 3

Sentencing is scheduled April 3 for former Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar following his guilty plea on two federal charges stemming from a City Hall-based bribery and money laundering scheme in which he took more than $1.8 million in cash, gambling trips and escorts in exchange for his support of a planned downtown hotel project.Huizar pleaded guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge John Walter in downtown Los Angeles to racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion. The charges could carry a sentence of up to 25 years behind bars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The plea agreement, which was filed Thursday, says the ex-councilman agreed not to ask for a prison term of less than nine years. Prosecutors said they will request a 13-year federal prison sentence.Huizar will also be ordered to pay restitution of $1.85 million, the document states. During the Friday morning hearing, it took prosecutors nearly 90 minutes to read the factual basis for the plea deal, outlining the intricacies of the pay-to-play scheme that prompted an FBI probe and cast a shadow of corruption over Los Angeles City Hall.Walter asked Huizar

Google Announces Layoffs, Cuts 12,000 Jobs

Google Office – Photo courtesy of JHVEPhoto on Shutterstock Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, which has offices in Los Angeles, is cutting about 12,000 jobs from its global workforce, affecting about 6% of the company’s employees.Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai wrote an email to Google employees on the company’s news blog Friday morning saying he had some “difficult news to share.” “We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles … This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with,” Pichai wrote in the email, according to media reports. “I’m deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.” Google employs about 2,000 people in its Los Angeles offices, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal in a report published in 2022. The Google offices in Los Angeles are spread across four sites, in the Westside Pavilion, the Binocular Building in Venice, the Spruce Goose office in Playa Vista and

Spotted lanternfly collector, 9, honored by Yale

Bobbi Wilson is fascinated by bugs, but last year the nine-year-old’s mission to catch spotted lanternflies made national headlines, when a neighbor spotted her spraying for bugs and called 911. Correspondent Bradley Blackburn reports on how Wilson was invited to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, where the first spotted lanternfly specimens — insects gathered by Wilson herself – were added to its collection.

Molding the next generation of writers

An innovative writing program, co-founded by one of the nation’s most celebrated authors, is helping foster young storytellers. The 826 Network, originally formed in San Francisco by Dave Eggers and Nínive Calegari, focuses on making sure as many students as possible get one-on-one attention, and helps them see their names and stories in print. It’s now expanded to nine chapters around the country, serving more than 350,000 students each year. “CBS Saturday Morning” co-host Jeff Glor reports.

5 Memphis police officers fired over Tyre Nichols death

The Memphis Police Department announced Friday that it has fired all five officers involved in the traffic stop arrest earlier this month that may have led to the death of Tyre Nichols. The department said the five officers violated its policies pertaining to use of force, duty to render aid, and duty to intervene. The FBI and the Justice Department are also launching an investigation into Nichols’ death.