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POSTED June 26, 2012 9:20 p.m.

DEMOCRATS PUSH TOP BILLING FOR GOVERNOR'S TAX HIKE: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Democratic lawmakers are moving a bill that could give the governor's tax initiative top billing on California's November ballot.

Senate Democrats introduced SB1039 as part of budget implementing language they plan to send Gov. Jerry Brown by Wednesday.

The bill would require bond measures and constitutional amendments appear on the ballot ahead of other initiatives and referendums.

That would place Brown's tax hike on state sales and upper-income earners ahead of a competing tax hike proposal by wealthy civil rights attorney Molly Munger.

It would also help the governor's initiative stand out in a crowded ballot. So far 11 measures have qualified.

A water bond proposal is currently first but it is expected to be delayed by the Legislature.

Brown's tax is temporary but includes constitutional changes to local funding.

BUDGET REFORM MEASURE QUALIFIES FOR BALLOT: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — An initiative intended to change the way state government manages its budget is headed for a vote in November.

The Secretary of State's Office certified the measure Tuesday after proponents gathered more than 800,000 valid signatures.

It's the 12th measure to qualify on the November ballot.

The initiative is promoted by the bipartisan group California Forward and would move the state to a two-year budgeting cycle. Legislators could not increase spending by more than $25 million without also making spending cuts or identifying new revenue sources in the same amount.

The measure also gives the governor more power to act in fiscal emergencies and requires performance reviews and goals for all state and local governments.

Backers include business and political leaders seeking solutions to the state's fiscal and political problems.

SHARK BITES LIVERMORE TEEN'S CALF AT MAUI BEACH: LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Maui County officials say it appears a shark bit a 16-year-old girl visiting from California.

A possible shark attack was reported to the fire department Tuesday morning. Fire crews arrived to the beach in front of the Hololani Resort in Lahaina and found the girl with what appeared to be a 4- to 5-inch shark bite on her left calf.

The family, visiting from Livermore, opted to transport the girl on their own to get medical treatment.

Treating the incident as a shark attack, county and state officials are closing the beach until at least 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. No Sharks have been sighted in the area.

EX-FIREFIGHTER GETS 12 YEARS FOR SWORD KILLING: RANCHO CUCAMONGA  (AP) — A former Southern California firefighter has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for using a sword to stab his estranged wife to death.

Prosecutors say 51-year-old Michael Burton plunged a sword into 35-year-old Otilia Burton at least 10 times in their Rancho Cucamonga home nearly six years ago.

The  couple was in the midst of a contentious divorce but still lived together.

A San Bernardino County jury in April convicted Burton of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced on June 15.

The former Pasadena firefighter's first trial ended in a mistrial in June 2009. The panel said it was deadlocked with six jurors favoring second-degree murder and six favoring voluntary manslaughter.

DIABLO CANYON NUKE PLANT REACTOR NOW AT FULL POWER: SAN LUIS OBISPO  (AP) — A reactor at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant on the central California coast has returned to full power after a two-month refueling and maintenance project.

Pacific Gas & Electric took the Unit 1 reactor and the twin-reactor plant out of service on April 23.

The San Luis Obispo County Tribune says it was brought up to full power on Friday.

Utility spokesman Blair Jones said Tuesday that operators used the planned outage for refueling to replace control room equipment with new digital devices for better plant monitoring.

Diablo Canyon produces enough electricity to power more than 3 million homes.

MANSLAUGHTER ACQUITTAL IN CHP OFFICER'S DEATH: VICTORVILLE  (AP) — A Las Vegas man has been acquitted of gross vehicular manslaughter for the desert interstate death of a California Highway Patrol officer.

CHP Officer Justin McGrory and another officer had stopped a car on Interstate 15 in the Barstow area two years ago when Rafael Garcia's car veered onto the shoulder and struck the 28-year-old officer.

The Victorville jury had to decide if the now-20-year-old defendant drove into McGrory because he was high on marijuana or fell asleep at the wheel.

He was found not guilty on Monday of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of marijuana.

The jury told the judge they were deadlocked on vehicular manslaughter with ordinary negligence while intoxicated.

A mistrial was declared on that charge.


LANDLORD CHARGED FOR RENTING 44 ROOMS IN TRIPLEX: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors say a landlord illegally built a hive of 44 rooms in a South Los Angeles triplex and rented them out for up to $500 each.

A 53-count misdemeanor complaint filed by the City Attorney's office on Monday says 58-year-old John Callaghan put the lives of his tenants at risk with faulty electrical wiring, a lack of smoke detectors and poorly maintained fire extinguishers.

Safety concerns led to emergency eviction notices just before Christmas.

Callaghan was also charged with illegally constructing 14 separate rental units in a Highland Park home.

Callaghan faces up to $53,000 in fines and six months in jail for each violation if he's convicted.




SAN DIMAS  (AP) — Wildlife officials have tranquilized a bear that wandered into a Southern California backyard.

California Department of Fish and Game officials took the bear to the nearby Angeles National Forest and set it free.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Andy Berg says the 115-pound brown bear was spotted by San Dimas residents at about 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

Wildlife officials tranquilized the bear and it was taken out of the neighborhood by daybreak.



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