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State news briefs
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SCHOOLS TO GET MORE MONEY UNDER BROWN'S REFORM: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — No California school will receive less money than it does currently under Gov. Jerry Brown's sweeping proposal to change how K-12 schools are funded.

Brown's finance department released funding estimates by school district on Wednesday. The figures offer more details about how the Democratic governor's budget plan would affect every school if lawmakers approve it.

Schools with high proportions of English learners, foster children and low-income students would receive additional grants under Brown's plan, which is available at the finance department's website,

For example, Los Angeles schools would receive $328 more per pupil next year under his proposal.

Brown says such a change is necessary to provide more help to low-income schools. Some lawmakers have expressed concern that wealthier districts could lose funding under his plan.

ANALYST RECOMMENDS AUDIT FOR CPUC ACCOUNTS: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — The state legislative analyst wants California auditors to investigate whether regulators are properly managing consumer-funded accounts for utility projects totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office raises questions about how the California Public Utilities Commission oversees and audits "balancing accounts" for the state's three largest utilities.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric set up the accounts to track revenues and spending on projects such as procuring electricity or energy conservation.

They are designed to ensure ratepayers pay only the amount the CPUC authorizes so the companies can carry out particular projects.

The analyst's report did not say whether gas and electric ratepayers may have been overcharged or undercharged for the programs. The commission did not immediately comment on the recommendation.

OC DOC GUILTY OF SEX ABUSE ON UNCONSCIOUS PATIENTS: FULLERTON  (AP) — An Orange County anesthesiologist has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three unconscious female patients.

A district attorney's statement said 60-year-old Dr. Yashwant Balgiri Giri (yosh-wahnt ball-gear-ee gear-ee) of Cypress entered the plea Wednesday and was sentenced to six months in jail and five years' probation. Giri must also register as a sex offender for life and have his medical license revoked. Prosecutors had sought a stiffer sentence.

Giri worked at Placentia-Linda Hospital at the time of the crimes.

In one case from 2009, a nurse said she saw him penetrate a 16-year-old patient with a finger during preparations for surgery.

In another, a hospital employee reported seeing Giri fondle a patient's breasts continuously during a procedure. The doctor and nurse performing the surgery could not see him because of a partition between them.

POLICE FIND ALTAR WITH HUMAN BONES AT CALIF. HOME; PASADENA  (AP) — Police officers searching for drugs at a Southern California home instead found a backyard altar adorned with a human skull and other bones last weekend.

The altar included statues of Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde, both of which are often associated with the drug trade. A resident of the home told police she practices the Caribbean religion of Santeria.

Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra says police plan to run a DNA database check in case the bones belong to a missing person or were involved in a criminal case.

Chicken and goat bones were also found at the altar.

Human bones can be legally obtained. No drugs were found in the search and no charges have been filed.

AGENCY CHECKS WATER AFTER BODY FOUND IN HOTEL TANK: LOS ANGELES (AP) — British tourist Michael Baugh and his wife said water had only dribbled out of the taps at the downtown Cecil Hotel for days.

On Tuesday, after showering, brushing their teeth and drinking some of the tap water, they headed down to the lobby and found out why.

The body of a Canadian woman had been discovered at the bottom of one of four cisterns on the roof of the historic hotel near Skid Row. The tanks provide water for hotel taps and would have been used by guests for washing and drinking.

"The moment we found out, we felt a bit sick to the stomach, quite literally, especially having drank the water, we're not well mentally," Michael Baugh, 27, said.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials issued a do-not-drink order Tuesday while its lab analyzes the water, said Terrance Powell, a director coordinating the department's response. The disclosure contradicts a previous police statement that the water had been deemed safe. Results of the testing were expected by Thursday.

Powell said the water was also used for cooking in the hotel; a coffee shop in the hotel would remain closed and has been instructed to sanitize its food equipment before reopening.

OFFICIAL: CALIF. GUNMAN WAS LONER, 'GAMER' : TUSTIN  (AP) — A woman who was the first of three people killed in a gunman's rampage has been identified, but her relationship to the shooter — a videogame-playing loner — remained unknown Wednesday, authorities said.

Courtney Aoki, 20, of Buena Park was shot multiple times early Tuesday in the home that gunman Ali Syed, 20, shared with his parents, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

But beyond that, authorities know little about her, including how she got the house, her occupation, and how she might have known Syed, Amormino said.

Syed, a part-time community college student who ultimately committed suicide, was a loner and a "gamer," Amormino said.

"He spent a lot of time alone in his room playing video games," he said.

A 12-gauge shotgun used in the killings belonged to Syed and was purchased by his father about a year ago, he said.

POLL: OBAMA RISES, TEA PARTY DIVES IN CALIF: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — A new Field Poll finds that 62 percent of California voters approve of President Barack Obama's job performance, a level not seen since his first year in office.

The survey released Wednesday also finds that voters are relatively optimistic about the future, with 48 percent saying the country is headed in the right direction.

That's down from a Field survey in September but is higher than any other year since 2002.

Support for the tea party, meanwhile, is waning.

Just 5 percent now say they identify "a lot" with the conservative movement. That's down from 14 percent in September 2010, the movement's zenith.

Field interviewed 834 registered voters by telephone from Feb. 5-17. The poll has a sampling error margin of up to plus or minus 5 percentage points.

GUN OWNER CHARGED IN DEATH OF TEEN WHO SHOT SELF: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to the rarely charged crime of leaving a loaded firearm unattended after a San Diego County teenager shot himself in the face with the rifle and died.

U-T San Diego reports 50-year-old Kevin Brennick entered the plea Wednesday, marking the fourth time county prosecutors have pursued the misdemeanor charge.

Brennick is the father of a friend of 17-year-old Luke Lipscomb, who was smoking pot with his friends Nov. 4, 2011, when he picked up the rifle and shot himself between the eyes. He died two weeks later.

Brennick says most of his weapons were secured but the loaded .22-caliber rifle left on his kitchen counter was used it to kill "varmints" in his yard.

Brennick will get three years of probation and community service.