KGO AM SF, CA: Consumer Advocates Call Out CA Medical Board For Lack Of Discipline On Dangerous Doctors

Host - Michael Finney, KGO AM San Francisco, CA

October 9, 2021

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment:  Part 1  -  Part 2. 

Michael Finney talks with Consumer Watchdog's Carmen Balber about the California Medical Board's lack of discipline on dangerous doctors. 

Advocates Say Governor Newsom's $15 Billion Climate Package Fails to Deliver Action on Fossil Fuels

By Dan Backer, ELK GROVE NEWS

September 24, 2021

http://www.elkgrovenews.net/2021/09/advocates-say-governor-newsoms-15.h…

Sacramento, CA -- Against a backdrop of trees at the site of the KNP Complex Fire in Sequoia National Park as wildfires rage across California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Comeback Plan’s $15 billion climate package — the largest of its kind in the country. 

Auto Insurers Scored Windfall Profits From Pandemic Lockdowns

By Staff Reporters, REPAIR DRIVEN NEWS

September 6, 2021

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2021/09/06/auto-insurers-scored-wind…

Consumer groups analyzing insurers’ underwriting performance from 2020 have concluded that auto insurers reaped billions of dollars in excess profits due to reduced accidents during the lockdowns, and say consumers are still owed billions in additional refunds.

U.S. Launches Broad Investigation Into Tesla Autopilot Over Numerous Crashes

By Alan Ohnsman, FORBES

August 16, 2021

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2021/08/16/us-launches-broad-i…

U.S. regulators have opened up the biggest review of Tesla’s Autopilot since the driving-assistance feature was introduced, centered around a string of collisions with emergency vehicles that resulted in numerous injuries and at least one fatality.

Oil Well Permit Approvals Dropped Dramatically This Year, Group Says

By Andrew Sheeler, CAPITOL ALERT - SACRAMENTO BEE

July 27, 2021

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article25…

Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog reports that permit approvals for new or reworked oil wells dropped by 64% in the first six months of 2021, while the number of permit applications from oil and gas companies fell by 52%.

California's Largest Utility Aims To Bury 10K Miles Of Power Lines to Prevent Fires

By Kyle Barnett, UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

July 22, 2021

The largest utility in California is planning to bury 10,000 miles of power lines in an effort to prevent fires in the drought-stricken state.

Pacific Gas & Electric said the move is intended to "further harden its system" to prevent accidental outbreaks of wildfires. Several fires in California have been attributed to PG&E equipment over the years.

PG&E’s Plan To Bury Thousands Of Miles Of Lines For Fire Prevention Could Exceed $15 Billion

By Sonseeahary Tonsall, Eric Rucker, Ian McDonald, KXTL FOX TV-40, Sacramento, CA

July 21, 2021

https://fox40.com/news/wildfire-watch/pge-announces-plan-to-bury-thousa…

CHICO, Calif. (KTXL) — Pacific Gas and Electric announced on Wednesday that it plans to bury 10,000 miles of lines in parts of the state with higher fire danger.

Striking USC Nurses Demand More Staff and Training, Cite ‘Profound Patient Safety Issues’

By Carly Olson, LOS ANGELES TIMES

July 14, 2021

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-07-14/usc-keck-norris-cance…

Nurses at two USC hospitals that handle some of the country’s most challenging medical cases are protesting working conditions they say put both medical staff and hospital-goers at risk, the latest in a series of strikes by nurses nationwide that have spotlighted hospital safety. 

Consumer Report Claims Insurers Overcharged California Motorists $5.5B During First Year of Pandemic

By Staff Reporters, INSURANCE JOURNAL

June 29, 2021

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2021/06/29/620665.htm

Most California insurance companies continued to charge pre-pandemic auto insurance rates despite a vast majority of Californians driving far less last year, according to an analysis by Consumer Watchdog on Tuesday.

The report shows auto insurers reaped “a windfall of about $5.5 billion.”

We Pay CRV, But Where Can We Get Our Money Back?

By Zarina Khairzada, SPECTRUM NEWS 1 LA

June 22, 2021

https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/news/2021/06/22/crv-costs-turn-int…

LOS ANGELES — Dozens of bags filled with plastic, glass and aluminum beverage containers have been piling up in Nancy Hannickel’s backyard in West Los Angeles.

Hannickel is not happy about it and can’t find somewhere to get the full CRV refund that had been paid for them.

How Much Fracking Is There In California? Newsom, State Regulators Can’t Tell

By Colby Bermel, POLITICO

June 17, 2021

https://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2021/06/17/how-much-fr…

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom has repeatedly said that fracking accounts for less than 2 percent of California oil production, but he appears to have vastly underestimated its use as the state prepares to ban the technique by 2024.

Tensions Mount Over Bill To Revamp The Medical Board of California

By Victoria Colliver, POLITICO PRO

June 2, 2021

Patient advocates lambasted last-minute amendments made to a bill concerning the Medical Board of California, including the gutting of a provision to remake the panel with a public-member majority.

What happened: An earlier version of CA SB806 (21R), by Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside), increased the size of the board from 15 to 17 members, allowing for eight physicians and nine public representatives. But amendments made late last week eliminated that proposal from the bill.

Biden, Unlike Trump, Thinks Businesses Shouldn’t Be Free To Abuse Consumers

By David Lazarus, LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 21, 2021

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-05-21/column-rohit-chopra-c…

Rohit Chopra is expected to receive the U.S. Senate’s blessing any day now to become the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His job will be to restore credibility to a watchdog agency that was largely sidelined during the Trump administration.

CA Lawmaker Proposes Bill To Make Getting A CRV Refund Easier For Recyclers

By Staff Reporters, KPIX CBS TV-5 San Francisco, CA

May 3, 2021

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2021/05/03/ca-lawmaker-proposes-bill-…

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — It’s been a year since KPIX first uncovered systemic troubles with California’s bottle and can recycling program. During the pandemic things just got worse. Now lawmakers are looking for a fix. 

Charged For Your Free COVID Vaccine? Federal Gov't Wants You To Report It

By Samantha Chatman, WLS ABC TV-7 Chicago, IL

April 29, 2021

https://abc7chicago.com/health/charged-for-a-free-covid-vaccine-feds-wa…

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some people are frustrated after they said they were charged for their COVID-19 vaccines. The federal government has made it clear that these shots are 100% free to consumers. So why are people still being billed?

Climate Activists Applaud Gov. Newsom's Fracking Ban But Caution It Still A ‘Half-Measure’

By Staff Reporters, PRESS TV

April 24, 2021

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2021/04/24/650179/Climate-change-Califor…

Climate action advocates have cautiously praised California Governor Gavin Newsom's plan to ban hydraulic fracturing by 2024, but stressed that the move is still a half-measure as it allows continued oil drilling for the next two-and-a-half years.

California's New Fossil Fuel Pledge 'Significant' But Still a 'Half-Measure,' Say Climate Advocates

By Kenny Stencil and Jessica Corbett , COMMON DREAMS

April 23, 2021

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/23/californias-new-fossil-fue…

Climate campaigners on Friday cautiously applauded California Gov. Gavin Newsom's moves to cut off new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024 and evaluate phasing out oil production by 2045, while also stressing that the timeline still needs to be accelerated.

South Shore Woman Gets COVID Vaccine Bill From Jackson Park Hospital After Free Shot

By Samantha Chapman, WSL ABC TV-7 Chicago, IL

March 25, 2021

https://abc7chicago.com/chicago-covid-vaccine-near-me-illinois-jackson-…

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team has learned that a Chicago hospital is charging patients after getting their free COVID-19 vaccine after a South Shore woman reached out after receiving a bill from Jackson Park Hospital.

State Senator Plans To Ask California Medical Board Tough Questions To Protect Central Valley

By Iliana Capellan, KGET NBC TV-17 Bakersfield, CA

March 19, 2021

https://www.kget.com/news/local-news/state-senator-plans-to-ask-califor…

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Last week we told you about the fight the Dominguez family continues to battle for justice for Demi Dominguez and her son Malakhi De Leon, both of who died in 2019. 

Family of Demi Dominguez Speaking Out Regarding Pending Revocation of Doctor's License

By Lezla Gooden, KERO ABC TV-23, Bakersfield, CA

March 12, 2021

https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/family-of-demi-dominguez-speak…

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Two years after her death, the family of Demi Dominguez is speaking out after it was announced the Medical Board of California is seeking to revoke the license of one of her doctors.

Suspected Wrongdoing at the DWP and City Attorney’s Office Is Uncovered

By Sue Pasco, CIRCLING THE NEWS

March 10, 2021

https://www.circlingthenews.com/suspected-wrongdoing-at-the-dwp-and-cit…

The following tale, which has more turns than a mystery novel, involves the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, misconduct at the City Attorney’s Office and the increasingly high utility rates paid by residents.

This Year’s Winter Storm Could Become The Costliest Weather Event In Texas History

By Kyle Arnold, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS

February 19, 2021

https://www.bakersfield.com/ap/national/this-year-s-winter-storm-could-…

DALLAS — The deep freeze and snowfall that paralyzed Texas this week could be the costliest weather event in state history as home and auto claims start to pour in, insurance industry officials warn.

Marchers Call For Systemic Reform After Young Black Father-To-Be Dies Following Some 8 Hours In Manteca ER

By Scott Linesburgh, THE STOCKTON RECORD

February 13, 2021

https://www.recordnet.com/story/news/local/2021/02/13/this-shouldnt-hav…

MANTECA – Sharon Washington-Barnes led a group of more than 40 people on a 1.5-mile march through southwest Manteca, visiting each of the medical facilities they felt failed her late brother, Shawn Washington II.

Earthworks Report Reveals California Fails To Safely Manage Toxic Oil And Gas Waste (That’s Also Radioactive)

new report released by Earthworks, along with allies VISION California and Center for Biological Diversity, reveals that California, often portrayed by the state’s politicians and national media as the nation’s “green” leader, is actually one of the worst states in the U.S. when it comes to regulating the oil and gas industry’s waste.

By Dan Bacher, RED GREEN & BLUE

January 28, 2021

Elected Watchdogs in Scandal-Plagued Cities Show How SF Might Avert Future Corruption

By Max Pringle, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC PRESS

January 13, 2021

https://www.sfpublicpress.org/elected-watchdogs-in-scandal-plagued-citi…

This article is part of a project examining ways to use the ballot to hold local government accountable. It was supported by the Solutions Journalism Network’s Renewing Democracy program.

HIV Patients CVS Lawsuit Reinstated; Suit That Claims AIDS Patients Lost Medical Information, Guidance May Proceed, Court Rules

By Bob Egelko, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

December 10, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Suit-that-claims-AIDS-patients…

HIV/AIDS patients who said they lost access to potentially vital medical information when their health plans started requiring them to obtain their medications from CVS pharmacies can sue for discrimination, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

CVS Caremark, Others Must Face HIV Patients' Claims Over Pharmacy Program

By Brendan Pierson, REUTERS LEGAL

December 9, 2020

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court has revived a proposed class action by California HIV/AIDS patients alleging that pharmacy benefit manager CVS Caremark discriminated against them by requiring them to use its own specialty pharmacy in order to benefit from in-network rates through their employer-sponsored health plans.

California Oil Regulators Issued Hundreds Of Improper Permits, Audit Finds

By Janet Wilson, PALM SPRINGS DESERT SUN

November 26, 2020

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2020/11/26/audit-calge…

California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year, according to an audit by the state Department of Finance that was finalized this week.

Newsom's French Laundry Dinner Shows How Lobbyists Get Access To Power In Sacramento

By Alexei Koseff, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

November 23, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Newsom-s-French-Laundry-di…

SACRAMENTO - When he dined at the French Laundry in Yountville this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom enjoyed not only fine cuisine at a three-star Michelin restaurant, but also the company of several influential figures with regular business before his administration.

ONE RULE FOR US - Fury As California Lawmakers Ignore Warning To Fly To Hawaii For Covid Conference After Newsom Broke Rules For Dinner

By Magda Ibrahim , THE SUN UK

November 19, 2020

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/13239989/fury-california-lawmakers-hawaii…

EIGHT California lawmakers are facing a furious backlash after flying to Hawaii for a conference despite health officials warning against out-of-state travel amid a spike in coronavirus cases.

Connected Cars Including Tesla Hackable Consumer Watchdog Reports

By Lynn Walford, AUTO CONNECTED CAR NEWS

November 15, 2020

https://www.autoconnectedcar.com/2020/11/connected-cars-including-tesla…

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer  Watchdog released a video showing how a box it built with the help of technologists could hack into the wireless connection of a Tesla and take over the screen with a “This Tesla’s Been Hacked” message.

Expansion Of Landmark California Data Privacy Law Leading

By Jocelyn Gecker, ASSOCIATED PRESS

November 4, 2020

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/11/03/expansion-of-landmark-california…

SAN FRANCISCO — Two years ago, California became the first state to pass a sweeping digital privacy law seen as the strongest of its kind in the United States. Early returns Tuesday showed a measure to refine and expand the law leading with 57% of more than 7 million votes counted.

Can the Ballot Be Used to Hold Local Government Accountable?

By Max Pringle, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC PRESS

November 2, 2020

https://www.sfpublicpress.org/can-the-ballot-be-used-to-hold-local-gove…

San Francisco has faced many scandals in which public officials abused their power for personal, political or organizational gain. Most recently, the Department of Public Works was rocked by an FBI investigation into alleged kickbacks, slush funds and illicit permitting influence. 

Culver City, CA Stands Up To Big Oil, Votes To Phase Out Drilling In Largest Urban Oil Field In U.S.

In a year of record fires, record heat and the unprecedented Coronavirus in California, the City Council of Culver City, the site of the largest urban oil field in the U.S,  voted on October 26 to phase out oil drilling. This vote took place as the Gavin Newsom Administration has expanded oil and gas drilling in California — and the City Council members hope that Newsom will take note of the historic decision.

By Dan Bacher, RED GREEN & BLUE

October 29, 2020

CA Regulators Issue 6 New Fracking Permits Yesterday, Bringing The Total This Year To 54

By Dan Bacher, RED GREEN & BLUE

October 17, 2020

http://redgreenandblue.org/2020/10/17/ca-regulators-issue-6-new-frackin…

The agency approved the permits after an independent technical review by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, according to Matt Baker, Deputy Secretary for Energy of the California Natural Resources Agency.

Judge Fines L.A. $2.5 Million For ‘Serious Abuse’ In Handling Of Evidence In DWP Case

By Dakota Smith, LOS ANGELES TIMES

October 6, 2020

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-06/la-fined-serious-ab…

A Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the city of Los Angeles to pay a $2.5-million fine, ruling in favor of a consulting firm that accused City Atty. Mike Feuer’s office of concealing evidence in a high-profile lawsuit involving the Department of Water and Power.

Proposition 24: Big Tech Quiet In California Data Privacy Initiative Fight

By John Woolfolk, THE MERCURY NEWS

October 5, 2020

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/10/05/prop-24-big-tech-quiet-in-califo…

Proposition 24 on the November ballot is pitched as an expansion of California's already robust consumer data privacy law, an iron cuff on the claws of companies that profit handsomely from tracking and selling your online search, travel and purchase habits to marketers.

KPCC 89.9FM Pasadena: A New Bill Aims To Expand Consumer Privacy Laws, But Opponents Say To Read The Fine Print

Host - Larry Mantle, AIR TALK - KPCC 89.3 FM SCPR Pasadena, CA

September 30, 2020

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment: https://www.scpr.org/programs/airtalk/2020/09/30/66072/a-new-bill-aims-…

This November, Californians will find a new privacy bill on their ballots. 

Californians Could Sign Ballot Measures Online If Group Has Its Way

By John Wildermuth, THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

September 24, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Californians-could-sign-ba…

A consumer advocacy group wants to pull most of the rickety card tables, dog-eared paper petitions and pushy initiative signature gatherers from California's shopping centers and sidewalks and move it all to the internet.

Newsom Aims To Phase Out New Hydraulic Fracking Permits In California By 2024

By Janet Wilson, THE DESERT SUN

September 24, 2020

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2020/09/23/newsom-aims…

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vowed to work with the state legislature to phase out new permits for hydraulic fracking by 2024, but left untouched a more widely used oil extraction technique in the state that has been linked to hundreds of oil spills.

California Ban On Fracking By 2024 Criticized As Too Late

By Don Thompson, ASSOCIATED PRESS

September 23, 2020

https://apnews.com/article/legislature-climate-hydraulic-fracturing-env…

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom moved Wednesday to end issuing new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024, a delay criticized by many environmental groups but characterized as legally and politically realistic by another.

Prop 24 Seemingly Seeks To Expand Internet Privacy, Critics Say It Won't

By Angelica Cabral, THE CALIFORNIAN

September 8, 2020

https://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2020/09/08/proposition-24-centers-internet-privacy/5739293002/#

Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of four articles highlighting notable ballot propositions. The other propositions The Californian covered were 17, 21 and 22. 

Proposition 24 is a bit confusing.

If Cali. Gov. Newsom Wants To Cut Back On Oil And Fracking, Why Are New Drilling Permits Up 190% In Past 6 Months?

As the California Resources Corporation and other oil companies filed for bankruptcy and COVID-19 cases shattered California daily records in the second quarter of 2020, oil regulators under Governor Gavin Newsom also shattered records for dispensing new oil and gas production well drilling permits, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance said in a report released today.

By Dan Bacher, RED GREEN & BLUE

September 3, 2020

WELL, WELL, WELL

By Colby Bermel, POLITICO PRO CALIFORNIA

September 2, 2020

WELL, WELL, WELL: New oil and gas production drilling permit approvals are up 190 percent in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to a Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance report provided to POLITICO.

State Senator Questions Medical Board About Its Handling Of Bakersfield Doctor After Patient Deaths

By Kerry Klein, KVPR NPR Bakersfield, CA

September 1, 2020

https://www.kvpr.org/post/state-senator-questions-medical-board-about-i…

A San Joaquin Valley legislator is seeking answers from the Medical Board of California as to why the oversight agency allowed a Bakersfield doctor to remain in practice even though it determined he had been negligent with patients.

Andrew Yang Takes Lead Role In California Data Privacy Campaign

By Katy Murphy, POLITICO

August 31, 2020

https://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2020/08/31/andrew-yang…

SACRAMENTO — Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is throwing his weight behind California’s November data privacy ballot measure — not just endorsing the initiative but chairing its advisory board, the Proposition 24 campaign announced Monday. 

OC Family On The Hook For $4,400 Bill Claiming They Used Equivalent Of 50 Swimming Pools’ Worth Of Water

By KCBS LA Staff, KCBS TV-2 Los Angeles, CA

August 24, 2020

Click here to view the video of this story: https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/08/24/garden-grove-orange-county-w…

GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA) – The Do family lives in a modest single-family home in Orange County.

State Insurance Commissioner, Advocacy Group Reverse Opposition To Wildfire Bill Following Amendments

By Jeff McDonald, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

August 21, 2020

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/story/2020-08-21/sta…

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Los Angeles advocacy group Consumer Watchdog issued separate statements Friday announcing they no longer opposed a wildfire-insurance bill.

Lawsuit: Zoom Lied About Security Measures, End-to-End Encryption

By Ryan J. Farrick, LEGAL READER

August 14, 2020

https://www.legalreader.com/lawsuit-zoom-lied-security-measures-end-to-…

The lawsuit claims that Zoom never had end-to-end encryption, despite it telling customers that it did. 

Zoom is facing another lawsuit alleging that the video communications company has deceived consumers by making false claims about its privacy measures.

Zoom Faces More Legal Challenges Over End-to-End Encryption

By Tara Seals, THREATPOST

August 13, 2020

https://threatpost.com/zoom-legal-challenges-end-to-end-encryption/1583…

The video-conferencing specialist has yet to roll out full encryption, but it says it’s working on it. 

Video-conferencing behemoth Zoom has been hit with yet another lawsuit stemming from its claim to offer end-to-end encryption for sessions.

California Bill Addressing Property Rates in Wildfire-Prone Areas Awaits Hearing

By Don Jergler, INSURANCE JOURNAL

August 11, 2020

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2020/08/11/578753.htm

The stage has been set for a major battle over a California bill due to be heard in the next few weeks in a key committee that opponents say is a direct attack on insurance consumer protections and proponents say is the best way to make insurance more available in an increasingly wildfire-prone state.

Op-Ed Commentary: California State Legislators Use Coronavirus As An Excuse To Hijack Democratic Process

By Harvey Rosenfield, SPECIAL TO THE SACRAMENTO BEE

August 11, 2020

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article244870462.html

Three democratic procedures safeguard Californians against hasty and dangerous actions by the California State Legislature:

▪ Every bill gets a legislative hearing.

▪ Committee staff provides an impartial analysis of each bill.

▪ Members of the public are heard. 

Zoom Sued for Misleading Consumers on Data Security Practices

By Andrea Vittorio, BLOOMBERG LAW

August 11, 2020

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/privacy-and-data-security/zoom-sued-for-m…

Zoom Video Communications Inc. allegedly misrepresented the level of security used to protect communications on its platform, giving users “a false sense of security” and violating D.C.'s consumer protection law, according to a new lawsuit filed there.

The All-Star Economic Task Force Advising Newsom During The Pandemic Remains A Mystery

By Phil Willon, LOS ANGELES TIMES

August 10, 2020

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-10/newsom-coronavirus-…

SACRAMENTO —  Faced with a pandemic that has put millions of Californians out of work and eviscerated businesses large and small, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised that “health and science” would guide state officials in repairing the economy and steering it toward recovery.

Homeowners’ Insurance In Wildfire Areas: Industry, Consumer Groups Battle Over Rate Boost

By Kathleen Pender, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

August 8, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/networth/article/Homeowners-insura…

Nearing the end of their legislative session and the beginning of wildfire season, state lawmakers are pushing through an industry-backed homeowners' insurance bill despite fierce opposition from consumer groups and California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Op-Ed: Legislators Scheming With Insurance Companies To Raise Rates

With Californians in COVID lockdown, industry lobbyists are working to overturn voter-approved consumer protections

Op-Ed Commentary by Harvey Rosenfield

August 2, 2020

https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/02/opinion-legislators-scheming-wit…

State lawmakers are preparing a gift for you: a massive increase in the premiums you pay to insure your home and property.

What’s In A Name? Everything, Unhappy California Initiative Backers Say As They Sue State

By John Wildermuth, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

August 2, 2020

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/What-s-in-a-name-Everythin…

Campaigns in four of the 12 initiative measures in California’s November election have sued state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, charging that his office wasn’t fair and neutral when it prepared the titles and summaries that will appear on the ballot.

California’s Medical Malpractice Cap Vote Moved to 2022 Ballot

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

July 22, 2020

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2020/07/22/576522.htm

Californians will have to wait until the pandemic ends to vote on an initiative to change the state’s medical malpractice cap.

Proponents of a measure to change California’s medical malpractice cap announced today they have reportedly collected 900,000 signatures, enough to qualify the initiative for the November 2022 ballot.

KGO AM SF, CA: Debate On Homeowners' Insurance Bill AB 2167

By Michael Finney, KGO AM SF, CA

July 18, 2020

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment.

Host Michael Finney mediates a debate between Consumer Watchdog's Harvey Rosenfield and Rex Frazier of the Personal Insurance Federation of California about the details of bill AB 2167 to change the homeowners' insurance market in the state of California. 

California's Department of Conservation Rolls Out New Ethics Policy After Years Of Complaints

By Mark Olaide, PALM SPRINGS DESERT SUN

July 15, 2020

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2020/07/15/new-ethics-…

The California Department of Conservation, which has for years weathered accusations of a cozy relationship with the oil industry, has quietly introduced a new ethics policy that has drawn praise from advocates of good governance.

Consumer Advocate Hits Out At Insurers' Senate Funding As Major Bill Looms

By Lyle Adriano, INSURANCE BUSINESS AMERICA

July 8, 2020

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/consumer-adv…

Consumer Watchdog has warned that members of the California State Senate have taken $2,353,000 in campaign contributions from both insurance companies and insurance industry trade associations in the last two election cycles.

Bakersfield OB-GYN Placed On Probation In Connection With Allegations Of Repeated Negligent Acts

By Amber Frias, KGET NBC-TV, Bakersfield, CA

June 25, 2020

https://www.kget.com/news/local-news/bakersfield-ob-gyn-placed-on-proba…

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The medical license of a Bakersfield ob-gyn has been placed on probation for five years after allegations that gross negligence and repeated negligent acts led to a new mother’s death.

Column: As Focus Turned To Coronavirus Crisis, Insurers Pushed For A Sneaky Rate Hike On Homeowners

By Michael Hiltzik, LOS ANGELES TIMES

June 19, 2020

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-06-19/insurers-coronavirus-…

It’s fair to say that most Americans see the coronavirus pandemic as an enormous and fearsome burden.

Not the insurance industry. In California, the industry is using the crisis to bring about a sneaky change in insurance rules that could lead to massive increases in homeowner premiums.

Backers of Controversial California Homeowners Insurance Bill Like Its Momentum, Timing

By Don Jergler, INSURANCE JOURNAL

June 17, 2020

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2020/06/17/572626.htm

Backers of a controversial bill in California, which they say is designed to increase insurance coverage in high-risk wildfire areas by amending Proposition 103, believe it has the right timing and plenty of momentum to go all the way.

Newsom Cut 128 Oil Regulation Jobs Because the Oil Industry Asked Nicely

Dear Gavin, Your budget sucks, too.

By Nicole Levin, KNOCK-LA

June 13, 2020

https://knock-la.com/gavin-newsom-environmental-budget-cuts-344ab8791856

“Because one thing I know about cuts, there’s a human being behind every single number. Behind every category is a dream that is either deferred, in some case a dream that is denied. I am sober about it, I’m not naive about cuts.” — Gavin Newsom, May 14, 2020

California Wants To Get Fire Coverage For Burned-Out Towns. Here’s Why Watchdogs Are Worried

By MACKENZIE HAWKINS, CAPITOL ALERT - SACRAMENTO BEE

June 10, 2020

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article24…

After several years of catastrophic burns — and the insurance industry pulling back from some fire-prone communities — many California homeowners will face the upcoming fire season without proper coverage.

California Study Finds Lower Birth Weights Near Oil, Gas Wells

Study looked at 3 million birth certificates and oil, gas info - Low birth weights found in rural areas near active wells

By Emily C. Dooley, BLOOMBERG

June 3, 2020

Pregnant women living in rural areas close to active oil and gas wells are at higher risk o f having babies that weigh less than those born in urban areas, a study of millions of birth records in California shows.

Group Seeks To Toughen California Bonding For O&G

By Staff Writers, KALLANISH ENERGY

May 26, 2020

https://www.kallanishenergy.com/2020/05/26/group-seeks-to-toughen-calif…

A consumer group wants California Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign an executive order to block oil companies from getting state approval for new wells without full bonding for their cleanup, Kallanish Energy reports.

That request was made last week by Consumer Watchdog.

Socialism For The Oil Companies: YOU End Up Paying Cleanup Costs On “Orphan Wells”

By Dan Bacher, RED GREEN & BLUE

May 21, 2020

http://redgreenandblue.org/2020/05/21/socialism-oil-companies-end-payin…

Consumer Watchdog called upon Governor Gavin Newsom to prevent oil companies from receiving approvals for new oil wells without first requiring full bonding for their clean-ups, according to a press release from the group today.

Consumer Group Urges Newsom: No New Wells Without Oil Co. Bonding For Permits

By Dan Bacher, INDYBAY MEDIA SF

May 20, 2020

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/05/20/18833152.php

“Given the state’s grave deficit, it’s imperative that no new wells be approved without full bonding for their clean-up and a requirement to plug a certain number of idle wells in exchange for a new permit,” the letter said.

Coronavirus Forces California Initiative Backers To Hold Off Until 2022

By John Wildermuth, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE 

April 30, 2020

https://www.msn.com/en-us/Travel/news/coronavirus-forces-california-ini…

Worried about the effect the coronavirus pandemic may have on the November elections, backers will delay until 2022 a California initiative that would raise the dollar limit for damages awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.

California Battle On Malpractice Caps Delayed To 2022 Ballot

By Staff Writers, ASSOCIATED PRESS

April 30, 2020

https://www.thehour.com/news/article/California-battle-on-malpractice-c…

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has delayed by two years what likely would have been one of the most expensive California ballot battles leading up to this November's election, initiative supporters said Thursday.

Mottek On Money: Consumer Advocates Ask CA Insurance Commissioner To Suspend Auto Insurance Hikes

By Frank Mottek, KNX 1070 AM Los Angeles, CA

April 27, 2020

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast: 

https://omny.fm/shows/mottek-on-money/mottek-on-money-special-edition-monday-april-27th

The founder of Consumer Watchdog, Harvey Rosenfield, asks the state insurance commissioner to suspend auto insurance rate hikes during the crisis and discusses other consumer issues.

CORONAVIRUS STALL: Watchdog Urges Suspension Of Insurance Rate Hikes

By Kevin Smith, THE DAILY NEWS OF LOS ANGELES

April 23, 2020

https://www.dailynews.com/2020/04/23/watchdog-wants-auto-insurance-hike…

A Los Angeles-based watchdog group is urging California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to suspend all auto insurance rate hikes through Sept. 1 or for the duration of shelter-in-place restrictions, whichever comes later.

Nursing Homes Want To Be Held Harmless For Death Toll. Here’s Why Newsom May Help Them

By Maura Dolan, Harriet Ryan and Anita Chabria, LOS ANGELES TIMES

April 23, 2020

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-23/nursing-homes-legal…

For weeks, nursing homes have been the epicenter of coronavirus outbreaks and deaths in California, making them prime targets for civil lawsuits and even criminal prosecutions.

Illinois Coronavirus: Matteson Man Billed Nearly $2K After Being Tested For COVID-19

By Samantha Chapman, ABC TV-7, Chicago, IL

April 21, 2020

https://abc7chicago.com/coronavirus-illinois-test-testing/6118404/

MATTESON, Ill. (WLS) -- A Matteson man said he got tested for the coronavirus, and is now being asked to pay nearly $2,000 for it.

Now, on top of a scary health battle, Donald Utoh said he's now having to fight a financial one.

Aetna's Ex-Settlement Admin Cuts Deal To End Privacy Case

By Dorothy Atkins, LAW 360

April 20, 2020

https://www.law360.com/insurance/articles/1265146/aetna-s-ex-settlement…

Law360 (April 20, 2020, 3:04 PM EDT) -- Aetna Inc. has reached a deal to resolve its lawsuit alleging a settlement administrator revealed the HIV status of more than 10,000 Aetna members through a bungled class action settlement mailing, according to filings in California federal court.

Here's How to Figure out the Amount of Homeowners Insurance You Should Actually Buy

By Chris Taylor, MONEY

April 13, 2020

https://money.com/heres-how-to-figure-out-the-amount-of-homeowners-insu…

Here’s some advice for new homeowners figuring out how much insurance coverage to buy: Think back to the popular childhood fable, and keep the Goldilocks Principle in mind: Not too much, not too little, but just right.

Coalition Slams Newsom Administration For Approving 24 New Fracking Permits

By Dan Bacher, SF INDYBAY MEDIA

April 11, 2020

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/11/18832287.php

The issuing of new fracking permits took place less than two months after Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance reported that the total number of oil and gas well permits issued in 2019 under the Newsom Administration rivals the number issued during the last year in office of former Governor Jerry Brown.

Transamerica Settles Class-Action Suit Worth Up to $88 Million in Credits

By Timothy Darragh, BEST WIRE

April 8, 2020

Transamerica Life Insurance Co. has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by policyholders who alleged it improperly increased monthly charges on their universal life insurance policies.

According to the settlement agreement in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Transamerica will pay up to $88 million in account value credits to policies in effect and those for which death claims were pending as of Dec. 31, 2019.

Watchdog Says Car Insurance Companies Should Reduce Premiums

By Randy Mac, KNBC TV-4 Los Angeles, CA

April 7, 2020

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/watchdog-says-car-insurance-companie…

On Monday Allstate insurance announced it’s issuing partial refunds to its car insurance customers due to “stay at home” orders. But consumer advocates say the entire industry needs to step up.

The once clogged freeways in the LA region are mostly empty.

California Issues First New Fracking Permits Since July

By Adam Beam, ASSOCIATED PRESS

April 4, 2020

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-issues-first-new-fracking-…

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California issued 24 hydraulic fracturing permits on Friday, authorizing the first new oil wells in the state since July of last year and angering environmental groups who have been pressuring the state to ban the procedure known as fracking.

Fracking In California Gets Green Light After 9-Month Pause; Aera Energy Receives Permits

By Janet Wilson, THE DESERT SUN

April 3, 2020

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2020/04/03/calgem-appr…
 

California regulators on Friday issued fracking permits for the first time in nine months, saying federal scientists had given clearance for 24 permits to Aera Energy for oil well stimulation in Kern County.

How Auto Insurers Use Your Nondriving Habits To Raise Prices

By Kayda Norman, ASSOCIATED PRESS / NERD WALLET

February 26, 2020

https://www.thetelegraph.com/business/article/How-auto-insurers-use-you…

You expect your car insurance rates to increase after you buy a new vehicle, cause a crash or add a young driver to your policy. But some insurers jack up prices based on seemingly unrelated data - like your magazine subscriptions or what groceries you buy.

Rally At State Of The State Calls On Newsom To Phase Out Oil Production

By Dan Bacher, INDY BAY MEDIA

February 22, 2020

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/02/22/18830901.php

On the morning of February 19, activists from groups affiliated with the Last Chance Alliance held a spirited rally on the sidewalk outside the west steps of the Capitol just before Governor Newsom delivered his State of the State address.

KNBC Los Angeles: Consumer Watchdog Calls on Newsom to Address CA's Failed Bottle Deposit System

If You’ve Found It Impossible to Recycle in California, You’re Not the Only One

By Lolita Lopez, KNBC TV-4 Los Angeles, CA

February 19, 2020

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/investigations/recycling-centers-closed-c…

Many Californians are having a tough time recycling bottles and cans and getting back deposits as hundreds of recycling centers shutter throughout the state -- but something else is going on behind the scenes that is making it even worse. 

Here’s how it’s supposed to work: 

Group Sues California Commissioner Over Public Records Of Dealings With Insurance Executives

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

February 18, 2020

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2020/02/18/558731.htm

A non-profit consumer group announced on Tuesday it has filed a lawsuit to compel California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the California Department of Insurance to hand over records of Lara’s meetings and communications with insurance companies.

U.S. Senator Says Tesla Should Change 'Autopilot' Name

Sen. Ed Markey alleges Tesla drivers are confused by the name and capabilities of Autopilot.

By David A. Wood, CARCOMPLAINTS.COM

February 4, 2020

https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2020/tesla-should-change-autopilot-n…

The Tesla "Autopilot" name allegedly should be changed to clarify the technology isn't fully autonomous and it requires a driver to stay fully engaged with the vehicle and its surroundings.

Bill Requiring Beverage Makers To Handle Recycling Dies

By Don Thompson, AP - THE SANTA ROSA PRESS-DEMOCRAT

January 30, 2020

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10652542-181/bill-requiring-beverage…

SACRAMENTO — A California state senator on Thursday ended his effort to pass a bill requiring beverage distributors to create a new system to take back their own containers, though advocates said they will keep pushing the issue this year.

Bay Area Legislator’s Bill Requiring Beverage Makers to Handle Recycling Dies

By Staff Writers, ASSOCIATED PRESS - KPIX CBS TV-5 San Francisco, CA

January 30, 2020

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/01/30/bay-area-legislator-bill-r…

SACRAMENTO (AP) — A California state senator on Thursday ended his effort to pass a bill requiring beverage distributors to create a new system to take back their own containers, though advocates said they will keep pushing the issue this year.

Consumer Group Objects as Mercury General Proposes 5% Auto Rate Hike in California

By Timothy Darragh, BESTWIRE

January 29, 2020

http://news.ambest.com/newscontent.aspx?altsrc=108&refnum=223140

Mercury Insurance Co. subsidiary California Auto Insurance Co. is seeking a 5% rate hike for drivers in the state, which has a consumer group up in arms.

California Department of Insurance records show CAIC issued its request for an increase Dec. 6.

Advocacy Group Urges California Regulator To Reject Proposed Auto Rate Spike

By Duffie Osental, INSURANCE BUSINESS AMERICA

January 28, 2020

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/breaking-news/advocacy-gro…

Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has urged California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to reject a proposed 5% auto insurance rate increase by Mercury Insurance Company that “discriminates against lower income, less-educated drivers.”

How Auto Insurers Use Your Nondriving Habits to Raise Prices

Safe, loyal drivers aren't always rewarded with cheaper rates.

By Kayda Norman, NERDWALLET

January 21, 2010

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/price-optimization/

You expect your car insurance rates to increase after you buy a new vehicle, cause a crash or add a young driver to your policy. But some insurers jack up prices based on seemingly unrelated data — like your magazine subscriptions or what groceries you buy.

Central Coast Winemakers React To New CA Bill Proposing Industry-Run Bottle Recycling Program

By Anikka Abbott, KCOY CBS TV-12 /KEYT ABC TV-7 / KKFX FOX TV-11 Santa Barbara, CA

January 15, 2020

https://keyt.com/lifestyle/food/2020/01/15/central-coast-winemakers-rea…

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Senate Bill 372, The Beverage Container Recycling Act of 2020, passed the state senate Environmental Quality Committee Wednesday.

Lawmakers Consider Overhaul To California's Bottle And Can Recycling Program

Advocates say CRV isn't working

By Derek Staahl, KGTV ABC-10 NEWS, SAN DIEGO, CA

January 15, 2020

https://www.10news.com/news/lawmakers-consider-overhaul-to-californias-…

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- State lawmakers are considering an overhaul to the CRV recycling program on bottles and cans that would make drink-makers responsible for setting up a system to collect the containers they produce.

Watchdog, Legislator Offer Plans To Overhaul California’s Recycling Program

By Kevin Smith, LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS

January 14, 2020

https://www.dailynews.com/2020/01/14/watchdog-legislator-offer-plans-to…

California lawmakers will consider legislation Wednesday, Jan. 15 to revamp the state’s struggling recycling program for bottles and cans — a program Consumer Watchdog fears may collapse unless significant changes are made.

Thirty-Seven Groups Urge Newsom to Halt New Fossil Fuel Drilling, Close Aliso Canyon

By Dan Bacher, INDY BAY MEDIA

January 9, 2020

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/01/09/18829591.php

Sacramento - On the anniversary of Governor Gavin Newsom’s first year in office on January 7, thirty-seven environmental and public health groups called on the governor to declare an “immediate climate emergency” and institute a moratorium on new oil and gas drilling permits. 

Salaries Skyrocket At California State Insurance Fund Following Years Of Scandal

By Patrick McGreevy, LOS ANGELES TIMES

January 4, 2020

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-04/state-compensation-…

SACRAMENTO — A California public agency that offers workers’ compensation insurance coverage to employers has recruited a high-priced team of former executives from the private sector to turn it around after years of scandal and financial problems.

New Law To Increase Consumer Privacy Protections In California

By Major Garrett & Carter Evans, CBS EVENING NEWS

December 31, 2019

MAJOR GARRETT: 2020 will bring with it a new law in California that could impact consumers across the country. It gives shoppers control over the way their personal information is used. Carter Evans explains how it works.

(Begin VT)

CARTER EVANS (CBS News Correspondent): Whether shopping in stores or online, retailers collect all sorts of information about you.

CVS Stores Failed To Redeem Customers’ Cans And Bottles, And The Chain Faces $3.6-Million Penalty

By James Rainey, LOS ANGELES TIMES

December 9, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-09/cvs-fails-redeem-ca…

Seeking to pressure retailers to accept recyclable containers from consumers, the state of California has proposed a $3.6-million penalty against the CVS pharmacy chain after dozens of its stores declined to redeem cans and bottles.

PG&E Inspections Of Equipment That Sparked Deadly Camp Fire Were Flawed, State Regulators Say

By Hailey Branson-Potts & Maria L. La Ganga, LOS ANGELES TIMES

December 3, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-02/pge-camp-fire-equip…

For years, Pacific Gas & Electric failed to do climbing inspections of a century-old tower that malfunctioned and sparked last year’s devastating Camp fire, a state investigation has found.

Consumer Watchdog Shares Tips On Protecting Your Packages From Porch Pirates

By Good Day LA, KTTV FOX TV-11 Los Angeles, CA

November 21, 2019

https://www.foxla.com/news/consumer-watchdog-shares-tips-on-protecting-…

LOS ANGELES - The United Postal Service says they delivered more than 30 million packages a day last holiday season and that means more opportunities for thieves. Consumer Watchdog shared tips on preventing porch pirates from nabbing your packages. 

Distracted Operator, Uber Blamed For Fatal Self-Driving Test Crash

By Keith Laing, THE DETROIT NEWS

November 20, 2019

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/mobility/2019/11/19/di…

Washington — Distraction caused by a personal cellphone call is the probable cause of a 2018 crash in which an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled Tuesday.

Fracking, Oil Wells To Get More Scrutiny Under New Rules From Gavin Newsom

By Sophia Bollag, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT

November 19, 2019

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article23…

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced a crackdown on fracking projects and a moratorium on new oil wells that use high-pressure steam.

Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, involves shooting a high-pressure stream of water or another substance into rock to extract oil or gas.

Newsom Blocks New California Fracking Pending Scientific Review

By Phil Willon, LOS ANGELES TIMES

November 19, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-11-19/california-fracking…

SACRAMENTO — In a victory for critics of California’s oil drilling industry, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday stopped the approval of new hydraulic fracturing in the state until the permits for those projects can be reviewed by an independent panel of scientists.

Will You Press Your Connected Car’s Network Kill Switch? Smart Cars Must Have It Now

By Staff Reporter, AUTO WORLD NEWS

November 4, 2019

https://www.autoworldnews.com/articles/39390/20191104/will-you-press-yo…

When cars were analogue and mechanical, all we had to fear was a face to face hold up. Any connected car is a smart car-like "Swiss Cheese" with holes waiting for a breach. The solution as recommended, by Consumer Watchdog is to slap in a "Kill Switch".

PG&E Spent $876,445 On Lobbying From Jan. 1 To June 30 - After Spending Nearly $10 Million In 2018

By Dan Bacher, INDYBAY MEDIA

October 31, 2019

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/10/31/18827743.php

The Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), again in the spotlight of the national and international news media because of its shutoffs of electricity to millions of Californians as fires now rage throughout the state, spent $876,445 on lobbying from January 1 to June 30 of his year.

California Fires Will Result In Higher Insurance Rates For Homeowners

By David Lazarus, LOS ANGELES TIMES

October 31, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-10-31/fire-insurance-david-…

Vida Hamadani was hit twice this week by the Getty fire. As a Brentwood resident, she was forced to evacuate from her house and move in with her son.

As an independent insurance broker, she’s been fielding calls from clients asking what’s going to happen to their rates.

10 Years Of California Blackouts? Gavin Newsom Says This Is ‘Not The New Normal’

By Hannah Wiley and Dale Kasler, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT

October 30, 2019

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article23…

As California’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, battled bankruptcy and prepared for another round of mass power outages across the state, the company’s executive said Californians should expect to see fire-preventing blackouts for the next 10 years.

PG&E Will Credit Customers Subject To Oct. 9 Blackouts, But Not Current Ones

By J.D. Morris and Trapper Byrne, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

October 29, 2019

https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/PG-E-will-cred…

Bowing to pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will provide some form of compensation to people affected by widely criticized mass power outages the utility implemented earlier this month.

California Governor Gavin Newsom Has Ordered An Investigation Into Soaring Gas Prices In The State

Californians consistently pay a dollar to a dollar fifty more for our gasoline and there`s no good reason for it.

By Anne-Marie Green, CBS NEWS

October 28, 2019

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: And California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered an investigation into soaring gas prices in the state. Carter Evans reports.

(Begin VT)

CARTER EVANS: Eye-popping prices at the pump are a harsh reality for Californians.

Newsom Appoints Two Top Oil And Gas Regulators, Including A Former Chevron Staffer

By Dan Bacher, INDY BAY MEDIA

October 20, 2019

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/10/20/18827485.php

The appointments of Shabazian and Ntuk come in the wake of increased opposition by environmental justice, conservation and public interest groups to the expansion of onshore and offshore drilling in California under Governors Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom.

Prudential To Start Charging Same Insurance Rates To Vapers As Traditional Smokers

By Staff Writers, SCRIPPS NATIONAL

October 11, 2019

https://www.10news.com/news/national/prudential-to-start-charging-same-…

A change is coming to some people’s life and health insurance policies that will make them more expensive.

Prudential recently announced it will consider e-cigarette users the same as traditional smokers.

Mercury Paying $41M in Decades-Long Court Battle With California Insurance Department

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

October 2, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/10/02/541727.htm

Mercury Insurance Co. has agreed to pay more than $41 million to end a two-decade long battle with the California Department of Insurance battle over the Los Angeles-based carrier improperly tacking fees onto auto insurance policies and over false advertising claims.

Walters: New Battle Over $250,000 Cap On Medical Malpractice Awards

By Dan Walters, THE MERCURY NEWS

A dad who says his infant’s lungs were ‘blown up’ by malpractice and Consumer Watchdog propose nullifying it

October 2, 2019

https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/02/walters-new-battle-over-250k-cap…

California’s longest-running single-issue political battle, over limits on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, is about to heat up again.

Gasoline Prices Soar To $4.06 A Gallon In San Diego

By Rob Nikolewski, THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

September 30, 2019

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/energy-green/story/2019-0…

First, it was a missile attack in Saudi Arabia. Now, it’s another spate of refinery closures. Regardless of the reasons, San Diego motorists are being greeted by an unwelcome sight when they pull into the service station: The return of $4-a-gallon gasoline.

Calif. Group Seeks To Raise State's Med Mal Damages Cap

By Y. Peter Kang, LAW 360

September 27, 2019

 

https://www.law360.com/california/articles/1203371/calif-group-seeks-to…

Law360 (September 27, 2019, 9:18 PM EDT) -- A consumer advocacy group has launched a ballot initiative that would significantly raise California’s cap on pain-and-suffering damages in medical malpractice cases, five years after a similar proposal was shot down by voters.

Families of Injured Patients File California Ballot Measure to Raise MICRA

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

September 26, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/09/26/541369.htm

Several families of inured patients on Thursday filed proposed initiative for the November 2020 ballot to raise California’s medical malpractice cap.

The cap is set by the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, MICRA, passed in 1975.

The Fairness for Injured Patients Act was filed with the Secretary of state.

L.A. Drops Lawsuit Over DWP Billing Errors. Now Ratepayers Could Owe Millions

By Dakota Smith, LOS ANGELES TIMES

September 26, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-26/dwp-pricewaterhouse…

The city of Los Angeles moved Thursday to abandon its high-profile lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers in what amounts to a stunning defeat for City Atty. Mike Feuer, who had tried to blame the consulting firm for the massive overbilling debacle at the Department of Water and Power.

Coalition Launches MICRA Ballot Initiative With Backing From Wealthy Trial Lawyer

By Angela Hart, POLITICO PRO

September 26, 2019

SACRAMENTO — A deep-pocketed lawyer and a coalition led by Consumer Watchdog are launching a November 2020 ballot initiative that would multiply the amount medical negligence victims stand to receive in court, potentially resurrecting a political dogfight involving attorneys, hospitals and doctors.

California Department of Insurance to Investigate Legality of Affinity Group Discounts

By Timothy Darragh, BESTWIRE

September 25, 2019

http://news.ambest.com/newscontent.aspx?altsrc=108&refnum=220466

SACRAMENTO, Calif.
Saying discounts offered to affinity groups in California exacerbate disparities in auto insurance rates that lead to higher costs for lower-income families and communities of color, the California insurance commissioner is looking into their legality.

Consumer Watchdog Asks California Attorney General to Investigate Insurance Commissioner

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

September 23, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/09/23/540852.htm

Consumer Watchdog has written California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the District Attorneys of Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles counties, calling for an investigation of money laundering and bribery relating to the fundraising scandal engulfing California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Emails Blurred The Line Between Politics And Policy In California Insurance Department

By Hannah Wiley, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT

September 19, 2019

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article23…

When an industry executive reached out on May 1 to California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s department staff, he emailed with two meeting requests: a “formal policy discussion” and a “political meeting.”

Consumer Watchdog: California Commissioner’s Calendar Suggests He Made Contact in ‘Pay to Play’

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

September 19, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/09/19/540547.htm

Calendar entries and documents show that California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, not his fundraiser, made first contact with an agent of a workers’ compensation insurance company offering political support in conjunction with seeking approval for a change of control in the company, according to Consumer Watchdog.

Recycling Centers Shut Down, Leaving Consumers Unable To Redeem Bottle Deposits

By Michael Finney & Renee Koury, KABC TV-7 San Francisco, CA

September 18, 2019

https://abc7news.com/society/bottle-deposits-go-unclaimed-as-recycling-…

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- The sudden shutdown of the state's largest recycling company has sparked outrage among consumers who say they've lost any reasonable way to redeem the deposits on their bottles and cans.

No One Can Agree on How to Price California Home Insurance for Wildfires

Insurers, consumer advocates at odds over use of algorithmic models to assess risk

By Nicole Friedman, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

September 16, 2019

https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-one-can-agree-on-how-to-price-californi…

Finding home insurance in wildfire-prone parts of California is getting more difficult and more expensive. No one can agree on how to make it any easier.

California’s Insurance Chief Vowed Not To Take Industry Money. Records Show He Did, And Knew It

By Hannah Wiley, CAPITOL ALERT - SACRAMENTO BEE

September 10, 2019

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article23…

California’s top regulator of insurance companies sought campaign contributions from the industry and partied with one of its lobbyists after winning his election last year, according to records and social media posts obtained by The Sacramento Bee.

Consumer Group Wants AG To Investigate California Insurance Commissioner Over 2nd Home

By Staff Writers, INSURANCE JOURNAL

September 10, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/09/10/539402.htm

Consumer Watchdog is calling on California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the district attorneys for Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco counties to launch an investigation over the potential theft of public funds.

California Commissioner Sorry for Accepting Insurance Industry Contributions

By Staff Reporters, INSURANCE JOURNAL

September 4, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/09/04/538887.htm

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has offered an apology for accepting campaign contributions from the insurance industry.

Lara in a letter that was reportedly sent on Tuesday acknowledged that his campaign solicited contributions from the insurance industry, despite a campaign pledge not to do so.

NTSB Confirms Autopilot Engaged During Tesla Crash

Model 3 runs into back of unoccupied fire truck

By Michael Strong, THE DETROIT BUREAU

September 3, 2019

https://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2019/09/ntsb-confirms-autopilot-engage…

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that a Tesla Model S that hit the back of a fire truck was in Autopilot mode and the driver was not holding the steering wheel when it hit the parked vehicle.

Column: California’s Fire Insurance Market Reaches A Crisis

By Michael Hiltzik, LOS ANGELES TIMES

August 29, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-28/hiltzik-california-fi…

Steve Nielsen would not normally have considered himself a resident of California’s wildfire zone. But that ended in October 2017, when a fire swept through Coffey Park, his suburban Santa Rosa neighborhood, destroying his home and those of about 1,200 neighbors.

Senators Call For Connected Car Kill Switches Following Consumer Watchdog Report

By Ryan Daws, IoT NEWS

August 23, 2019

https://www.iottechnews.com/news/2019/aug/23/senators-connected-car-kil…

US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey have penned a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking whether vehicle manufacturers have disclosed vulnerabilities with their cars.

California Supreme Court Upholds $27.6 Million Fine on Mercury Insurance Co.

By Timothy Darragh, BESTWIRE

August 16, 2019

http://news.ambest.com/newscontent.aspx?altsrc=108&refnum=219515

SACRAMENTO, CA - The California Supreme Court has denied a petition by Mercury Insurance Co., letting stand a record $27.6 million fine the state Department of Insurance levied on the company for illegally charging broker fees on its automobile policies.

'It’s A Go-To Hustle That Is Honest:' Closure Of Recycling Centers Impacts Homeless Community

By Nicole Hayden, THE PALM SPRING DESERT SUN

August 15, 2019

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/2019/08/15/closure-recycling-cente…

Starr Thornton was tired from the heat. She felt sticky with summer sweat. She apologized for the needs she wished she didn’t have. She had tried to collect more bottles to return, but her body hurt.

California Disaster Risk Transfer Bill Stalls As Department Of Finance Objects

 

By Steve Evans, ARTEMIS

August 15, 2019

https://www.artemis.bm/news/california-disaster-risk-transfer-bill-stal…

The passage of California legislation calling for approval for the state to purchase insurance, reinsurance, insurance-linked securities (ILS), or other alternative risk transfer (ART) structures as financial protection against disasters has stalled.

How Hackers Could Turn Everyday Objects Into Deadly Cyber Weapons

By Margie Murphy, THE TELEGRAPH UK

August 14, 2019

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2019/08/14/hackers-could-hurt-ca…

It may seem like something straight out of a thriller: a terrorist hacking into a home, taking over household electronic devices to torture those inside. But, according to some experts, this may not be too far from reality. 

FasTrak Agencies May Have Sold Out Your Privacy. Now They Want Legal Immunity

By David Lazarus, LOS ANGELES TIMES

August 13, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-12/toll-road-agencies-pr…

Transit authorities statewide have been targeted with lawsuits alleging that, among other privacy violations, information from toll-road transponders — think FasTrak — is being used to illegally market to drivers.

CalRecycle’s ‘Gross Mismanagement’ Led To Recycling Chain’s Closure, Letter To Newsom Says

By Andrew Sheeler, SAN LUIS OBISPO TRIBUNE

August 12, 2019

https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/state/california/article233714092.ht…

The leadership of CalRecycle must drastically change or else be sacked and replaced by Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a letter written to the governor from the head of a consumer advocacy group, just days after the largest recycling chain in California shuttered all remaining locations.

Heavily Redacted Texts Show Mayor Garcetti’s Request For Home To Be Checked During Woolsey Fire

By Jaclyn Cosgrove, LOS ANGELES TIMES

August 9, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-09/woolsey-fire-mayor-…

On a November afternoon, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti texted the city’s fire chief to ask how much destruction the Woolsey fire had caused in a wealthy gated Ventura County neighborhood.

California Insurance Commissioner’s Applied Underwriters Decision Challenged Over Campaign Contributions

By Don Jergler, INSURANCE JOURNAL

August 7, 2019

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/08/07/535203.htm

A pair of companies has filed to overturn decisions by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in cases involving workers’ comp provider Applied Underwriters, alleging the decisions by Lara were swayed by contributions to his campaign from people affiliated with Applied.

California’s Largest Recycling Center Closes

By Austin Schoonmaker, SAN DIEGO ENTERTAINER MAGAZINE

August 6, 2019

https://www.sdentertainer.com/news/californias-largest-recycling-center…

California’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers has shut its doors to all 248 of its locations leaving 750 employees without jobs. Thousands will no longer be able to rely on the supplemental income provided by recycling cans and bottles through its services. 

rePlanet Recycling Redemption Centers Suddenly Close

By Staff & Wire Reports, PALO ALTO DAILY POST

August 6, 2019

https://padailypost.com/2019/08/06/replanet-recycling-redemption-center…

RePlanet, California’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers, has shut down all 284 of its locations and laid off 750 employees.

In the mid-Peninsula, RePlanet had redemption centers in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, North Fair Oaks and San Mateo.

Secret Formulas Guide Who Gets Denied Home Insurance In Wildfire Risk Areas

When insurance companies deny coverage or raise prices in areas at risk of wildfire, they’re often relying on secret formulas designed to predict what homes are likely to burn, according to a Voice of San Diego review of thousands of pages of regulatory filings by eight of California’s largest home insurers.

By Ry Rivard, VOICE OF SAN DIEGO

August 6, 2019

California’s Largest Recycling Center Closes, Shuttering 300 Redemption Sites

By Annie Sciacca, EAST BAY TIMES

August 5, 2019

https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/08/05/californias-largest-recycling-c…

The state’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers has closed all 284 of its centers, leaving 750 employees without jobs and many who rely on income from redeeming bottles and cans without options.

The Biggest Recycling Store Chain In California Just Closed Its Doors. Here’s Why

By Andrew Wheeler, SACRAMENTO BEE

August 5, 2019

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article23…

The largest bottle and can recycling center chain in California, rePlanet, shut its doors Monday, terminating its entire workforce and creating a massive gap in recycling availability in the state.

rePlanet Lays Off Hundreds Of Workers, Closes Recycling Centers

By Rob McMillan, KABC TV-7 Los Angeles, CA

August 5, 2019

https://abc7.com/business/replanet-lays-off-hundreds-of-workers-closes-…

ONTARIO, Calif. (KABC) -- The future of rePlanet, the state's largest recycling business, is in doubt, with multiple employees saying they were laid off on Saturday.

Recycling centers for rePlanet were closed on Monday all across Southern California.

Insurance Companies in California Work Hard to Avoid Public Hearings Over Rate Hikes

A 1988 ballot measure was meant to protect customers from unjustified rate hikes. But the measure has loopholes that insurers regularly exploit – and regulators aren’t doing much to plug the holes.

By Ry Rivard, VOICE OF SAN DIEGO

August 5, 2019

https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/insurance-companies-i…

Lara’s Calendars Will Be Released - Delayed Disclosure

By Hannah Wiley and Elizabeth Shwe, SACRAMENTO BEE - Capitol Alert AM Newsletter

August 5, 2019

https://www.sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/capitol-morning/articl…

After nearly two months since Consumer Watchdog filed a Public Records Act request seeking Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s calendars, the department said it plans to release the documents by Aug. 31.

Eco-Tip: Contrasting European, American Recycling

By David Goldstein, VENTURA COUNTY STAR

August 3, 2019

https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/2019/08/03/eco-tip-contrasting-…

On vacation in Europe over the past two weeks, I photographed some amazing sights. As my pictures show, even in crowded cities where cars line up for parking spaces, city planners have cordoned off extensive curbside space for the exclusive use of recycling collection.

Hacked Cars Could Lead to Thousands of Casualties, Kill Switch Needed

By Daniel Patrascu, AUTO EVOLUTION

August 2, 2019

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/hacked-cars-could-lead-to-thousands-…

ike any system that is controlled at least in part by a computer, cars can be hacked. This is a reality experts have been talking about for nearly a decade, despite that until now we're yet to see a coordinated attack against smart cars.