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State news briefs
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MAN ARRESTED FOR MESSAGE ON CHICK-FIL-A : TORRANCE  (AP) — A 30-year-old man has been arrested for investigation of vandalism after police say he scrawled "tastes like hate" on the side of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in a Los Angeles suburb.

Torrance police say Manuel Castro was taken into custody Wednesday night after they found him in West Hollywood. Castro posted $20,000 bail and was released. It wasn't immediately known if he had retained an attorney.

The message, accompanied by a cow, was found last Friday as gay marriage supporters ramped up protests against the corporate owner's opposition to same-sex unions.

The flap began last month when Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told a religious publication that the company backed "the biblical definition of a family."

HOME GAS EXPLOSION BLAMED ON EARTHQUAKE : ONTARIO  (AP) — A Southern California earthquake caused a house explosion that sent a man in his 70s to the hospital with minor injuries.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports the 4.5-magnitude quake that hit Orange County Wednesday morning was followed two hours later by an explosion at a house in Ontario in neighboring San Bernardino County.

Authorities say the quake caused material stored in the garage to fall over, opening a natural gas valve. A water heater ignited the gas and the resulting explosion shattered windows in the home and a neighboring residence, started a small fire and hurled the garage door into a neighbor's yard.

Damage was put at $200,000.

SOME UNION MEMBERS REJECT SAVE MART DEAL : MODESTO  (AP) — The union representing Save Mart workers says it is seeking further discussion with the Central California-based supermarket chain after two of its local units rejected a tentative contract.

The Sacramento Bee reports ( that Locals 5 and 648 of the United Food and Commercial Workers have voted against the deal. The two locals are based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Workers at another United Food and Commercial Workers' local — this one in the Central Valley — approved the same deal on Wednesday. But a union spokeswoman says the split vote will prevent it from going through.

The two-year contract would have eliminated bonus pay for Sunday and night work. It would, however, have kept retiree health coverage.

CRIME RISING IN SACRAMENTO CITY AND COUNTY: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — After years of decline, authorities say crime is on the rise in the Sacramento area.

Violent crime and property crime each rose 7 percent in the city during the first six months of the year, compared with the same period last year.

Sacramento County's unincorporated neighborhoods and the city of Rancho Cordova, which is policed by sheriff's deputies, had an 11 percent hike in violent crime and a 6 percent rise in property crime..

LAWMAKERS QUESTION SPECIAL FUNDS PRACTICES: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Lawmakers are expressing outrage over revelations that state park officials hid money and say greater oversight of state accounts is needed.

Assembly members used an oversight hearing Thursday as an opportunity to blast state agencies and the governor's Department of Finance for accounting practices that led to hundreds of millions of dollars in discrepancies in hundreds of special funds.

The hearing is the latest fallout from the attempt by some state parks officials to underreport nearly $54 million in two of those funds.

The finance department reviewed the 560 funds last week and found no other instances of hidden money. But during the Legislature's first formal inquiry into the scandal, both Democrats and Republicans suggested the audit was not enough.

Lawmakers called for additional investigations and discussed increased oversight measures.

 BILL BARS AGENCIES FROM CELLPHONE JAMMING: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A year after San Francisco's transit agency touched off a global free speech debate by jamming cellphones to block a protest, lawmakers are taking steps to pre-empt a similar scandal.

On Thursday, the state Assembly approved a bill that would prohibit agencies from disrupting cellphone service without probable cause and a court order.

"Open and available communication networks are critical to public safety and a key element of a free and open society," Sen. Alex Padilla, who wrote the bill, said in a statement.

The Los Angeles Democrat cited 911 access as a key concern.

Officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system came under fire last year when the agency cut subterranean cellphone and wireless data service in San Francisco subway stations to disrupt a planned protest. The move sparked even larger protests and had critics around the country comparing the agency to a Middle Eastern dictatorship.

Following last year's incident, the agency adopted a policy that permits cellphone jamming without court review if officials believe a service disruptions or illegal action is imminent.

MAN FALLS 125 FEET TO DEATH IN LA-AREA CANYON: ALTADENA  (AP) — Authorities say a 19-year-old man has fallen 125 feet to his death in a Los Angeles-area canyon.

Christian Funes of Los Angeles was hiking with friends in Eaton Canyon in Altadena when he fell Wednesday evening.

Authorities say another hiker was injured in the same canyon about an hour earlier. The 16-year-old boy fell near a waterfall and hurt his ankle.

BILL RESPONDS TO HOSPITAL EXEC'S $4M PAYOUT : SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California hospitals would have to reveal more about their executives' benefits under a bill moving through the Legislature.

Senators approved the bill 35-0 on Thursday. It now moves to the Assembly.


The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved AB2115, which was written in response to a hospital executive's $4 million payout.

The bill requires hospital operators to have written employment agreements with their executives.

Sen. Sam Blakeslee, a Republican from San Luis Obispo, says Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District chief Samuel Downing had no written contract and the board was unaware of his retirement benefits.

Downing received nearly $4 million in supplemental benefits on top of a regular annual pension of $150,000 when he retired last year.

The disclosure prompted a state audit and uncovered other lucrative retirement packages for top district officials.

CALIF. EYES PENALTIES FOR HIDING TOXIC NAIL POLISH: SACRAMENTO AP) — California could double fines on manufacturers who use dangerous chemicals in nail polishes labeled as "nontoxic."

Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, says his bill responds to "a few bad actors" that misbrand their cosmetics.

SB977 would double penalties from $3,800 to $7,600 for manufacturers who fail to properly label their ingredients.

The bill responds to a state report that found some polishes advertised as free of three of the most common toxic chemicals actually contained one or more of them, including formaldehyde.

Regulators say the mislabeled nail products could harm thousands of workers and their customers in more than 48,000 California nail salons. They say the chemicals have been linked to birth defects.