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State news briefs
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JUDGE ALLOWS SAN DIEGO PENSION OVERHAUL TO PROCEED: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A judge will allow a closely-watched measure to curb pensions for San Diego city workers to take effect.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Luis Vargas on Tuesday denied a request by California's Public Employee Relations Board to put the plan on hold. The judge noted that San Diego voters overwhelmingly approved it last month.

The state labor board sought to suspend the measure while it considered union complaints of unfair labor practices. The unions say the city was required to negotiate with them before putting the measure on the ballot.

The ruling sets the stage for the measure to take effect when California's secretary of state certifies the vote, which is expected to happen sometime in August.

SUICIDAL MAN GRABBED IN MIDAIR OF HOSPITAL PLUNGE: ESCONDIDO  (AP) — Southern California authorities say a suicidal man who threw himself off a hospital stairwell was saved from death when he was grabbed in midair.

The North County Times says it happened Sunday night at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.

Police say an emergency room technician, Chad Brabander, had been trying to talk down a despondent patient when the man jumped from a stairwell between the fifth and sixth floors.

Police say Brabander caught the man's wrist in midair.

Escondido police Officer Ray Solorio was one floor lower on the stairwell. Police say he grabbed the dangling man by his belt and pulled him back over the railing to safety.

The man was taken into protective custody.

CALIF. SETTLES PRISON WORKERS' PRIVACY CASE: CRESCENT CITY  (AP) — California and state prison employees have reached a settlement in a lawsuit alleging inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City got access to employees' personal information, including Social Security numbers.

The Del Norte Triplicate reports ( that 23 plaintiffs received a total of $175,000 to cover court costs and pay for credit-monitoring services. The settlement was reached last week.

The workers' lawsuit alleged that the prison enlisted inmates to help dispose of files, some of which held personnel records, and kept certain files in an unsecure location. The Triplicate reports that inmates were found with at least 64 prison employees' personal information.

Attorneys for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said there was no evidence any of the affected employees became the victims of fraud.

CORONER: NORTHERN CALIF. HIKER DIED OF HEAD TRAUMA: SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK  (AP) — A Northern California hiker whose body was found in the Sierra range after a two-day search died of massive head trauma.

Inyo County authorities say 31-year-old Thomas Heng of San Rafael suffered fractures and hemorrhaging. His body was found on July 25 in the John Muir Wilderness in Central California about 300 feet below a precipice.

Deputy Coroner's Investigator Jeff Mullenhour tells the Marin Independent Journal he does not know whether Heng fell directly from the precipice or was carried there.

There were no signs of foul play or a medical emergency such as a heart attack.

Heng had been hiking with a group of people before setting off on his own.

LAWSUIT SAYS VOTER GUIDE STATEMENTS INCORRECT: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Proponents of the vehicle insurance discount initiative on the November ballot say California's voter guide statements on Proposition 33 are inaccurate.

The Proposition 33 campaign has filed a Sacramento lawsuit saying the state attorney general and opponents of the initiative submitted inaccurate statements for the official voter pamphlet.

The proposition, backed financially by Mercury insurance chairman George Joseph, would allow motorists to change insurance companies and continue to receive the loyalty discount they got from their former company.

The suit says the pamphlet language is likely to prejudice voters against the initiative.

The Los Angeles Times says the voter pamphlet suggests illegal price fixing by stating Proposition 33 would allow insurance companies to set prices.

The attorney general's office says the summary is fair and accurate.

2 DEAD AFTER SUV PLUNGES 60 FEET OFF FREEWAY: ALHAMBRA (AP) — Two men are dead after a sport utility vehicle plunged 60 feet from an elevated Southern California freeway connector.

The SUV was traveling from the westbound Interstate 10 to the southbound I-710 when it went over the side at about 1:10 a.m. Tuesday in Alhambra east of downtown Los Angeles.

Two men in the SUV were killed. City News Service says two other people in the SUV are hospitalized in critical condition.

The California Highway Patrol says the freeway interchange was shut down until about 5 a.m.

50K REWARD FOR INFO ON LA DISMEMBERMENT KILLING: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction in the dismemberment killing of a man whose severed head was found in the Hollywood Hills.

The City Council approved the reward offer on Tuesday.

A dog walking with two women on Jan. 17 found a plastic bag with a head inside. The next day, cadaver dogs found two hands and two feet.

The coroner's office identified the remains as those of 66-year-old Hervey Medellin Coronado, a retired Mexicana Airlines employee.

Coronado lived with a roommate in a third floor apartment close to where the body parts were found.

FBI SAYS 'PLAIN JANE BANDIT' HAS STRUCK 7TH BANK: DOWNEY  (AP) — The FBI says a Southern California bank robber dubbed the "Plain Jane Bandit" has struck again.

The latest heist was Monday afternoon at a Bank of America branch in Downey.

Since July 12, the robber has hit seven banks, including two in Moreno Valley and heists in Wildomar, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier and Buena Park.

The amount of money taken hasn't been disclosed.

The FBI says she has been given the "Plain Jane Bandit" moniker because of an earlier witness described her as a plain Jane. She's 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-5 and weighs up to 170 pounds. She's believed to be 35 to 40 years old.