Bahai News -- Herald Tribune - News briefs from Southern California

News briefs from Southern California

By The Associated Press

About 1,000 Marine Corps reservists from Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana are bivouacked at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center to train and stand by for "any contingency," the military said.

Members of the 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment arrived at the sprawling high desert base on Sunday. The reserve battalion is headquartered in New Orleans, with units in Montgomery, Ala., North Little Rock, Ark., and Baton Rouge, La.

Capt. Jeff Pool said the Marine reservists are mobilized for one year, but the length of their stay at Twentynine Palms and where they may be going subsequently or what they will be doing hasn't been announced.

"We honestly don't know, but they are mobilized for contingencies," Pool said.

Capt. Rob Crum, a base spokesman, said the reserve unit is undergoing pre-deployment training but emphasized the contingency mission is "to respond when and to wherever, depending on what develops."

The battalion's last contingency deployment was in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm and the Persian Gulf War, where the unit was in combat, Pool said.

"Of course, they are ready, willing and able and would like to be part of some action," he said.

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GARDENA, Calif. (AP) - The City Council approved a law banning overnight sleeping in cars on public streets, an ordinance designed to help police crack down on the homeless.

The new law passed Tuesday takes effect in 30 days. The law makes it a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail to live, sleep or conduct other activities in parked vehicles from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

"We realize some people are down on their luck and we'll use every precaution to treat them with dignity and respect," police Capt. John Browning said.

Homeless advocates complained the law unfairly targets the poor and does nothing to address the regional problem of homelessness. More affordable housing, and emergency and transitional housing is needed, Homeless Authority spokeswoman Siri Khalsa said.

City leaders said a growing number of people were using public roadways as campground sites and the law was needed to curb the problem.

"Homelessness is a larger societal problem that local government doesn't have the resources to address," City Attorney Ed Lee said. "By the same token, city government must be concerned about the conduct of people on the street and how that impacts neighborhoods."

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SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) - A father backing his pickup truck into the driveway of his home ran over and killed his toddler son.

Seventeen-month-old Martin Bautista was dead when he arrived at Santa Paula Hospital shortly after Wednesday's 11 a.m. accident.

The garage door was up and Jose Bautista, 32, was slowly backing into the driveway with a truck bed full of boxes. Neighbors said the toddler had been standing near the garage door next to two toy trucks before the pickup ran over him.

"He (the father) picked up the baby and threw him into the car and went to the hospital," Senior Officer Troyce Reynolds said.

"It looks like a really tragic accident. I think what happened is the kid saw his dad coming home and ran to him," police Detective Sgt. Ismael Cordero said.

The boy's mother, Maria Bautista, 32, had been washing clothes in the garage and didn't see the accident.

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LA HABRA, Calif. (AP) - An Orange County woman was arrested for allegedly assaulting the caretaker of a patriotic display to memorialize victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Jennifer Quintana, 19, was booked on Tuesday for investigation of misdemeanor assault after police responded to a call that she had pushed and poked at two women at the display on Whittier Boulevard and Macy Street, police spokeswoman Cindy Knapp said.

The memorial fence was vandalized during the weekend. Flags were ripped and burned on Saturday by vandals who were putting up anti-war signs to replace patriotic messages on the fence memorial.

When Quintana showed up at the site Tuesday evening, Knapp said she pushed one woman out of the way and grabbed and poked Tracey Chandler, the Whittier mother of four who has maintained the memorial.

Knapp said Quintana was cited and released.

In a news release, police said Quintana walked through the crowd making comments about her involvement in the vandalism involving flag burning over the weekend. Knapp said her comments weren't enough to arrest her for the vandalism.

Chandler said she was more shocked by Quintana's actions at the fence than by the original destruction of the memorial.

"She walked through the crowd saying, 'They can't arrest me, they won't do (expletive) to me,'" Chandler said. "To do that, to walk through a crowd of angry people, well she must be one hamburger short of a Happy Meal."

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) - An alleged bank robber got caught with his dress down.

Deputies arrested a naked man and his allegedly accomplice in a residential area shortly after Sun Country Bank was held up about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said. The nude man had been wearing a dress during the robbery, deputies said.

In an apparent fashion frenzy, Andre Morgan, 29, of Los Angeles, dressed as a woman during the robbery but stripped off his feminine attire during the getaway, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriffs Sgt. Rick Roelle said Morgan and Henry Covarrubias, 31, of Los Angeles were arrested and booked for investigation of bank robbery. The men told bank workers they had guns, but it wasn't immediately clear if they were armed.

The amount of cash taken wasn't disclosed.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - County health officials want vigorous state regulation over adult film businesses, saying the industry poses public health and workplace safety problems.

The move comes after the Board of Supervisors ordered a county health department investigation into the industry, which is highly concentrated in the San Fernando Valley.

In a Feb. 27 report, the department found that the industry poses a health risk to its workers as well as a public health concern to the general population. Although several production companies require HIV tests, examinations for other sexually transmitted diseases "are not mandatory under current heterosexual industry protocols," the department said.

Health officials recommended that the Board of Supervisors seek state regulations that would specifically require adult-film actors to use condoms and be tested for a variety of communicable diseases, including HIV and hepatitis.

Attorney Paul Cambria, who represents adult-film producers Hustler, Vivid Video and Wicked Pictures, among others, insists that the leading companies do require testing for sexually transmitted diseases among their workers.

The extent of infection among adult entertainment performers is unknown because no government or regulatory medical agency has consistently tracked the industry.

In tests administered by the Adult Industry Medical HealthCare Foundation clinic to 483 adults between October 2001 and March 2002, 40 percent tested positive for at least one sexually transmitted disease.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Student organizers of an anti-war march that led to the looting of a San Fernando Valley convenience store apologized to the owner Wednesday and gave him several gifts.

The six Canoga Park High School students who organized the March 5 protest presented a carnation, sweat shirt and cap bearing the school name to Masood Behroozi, who owns the Mobil gas station and convenience store on Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

The teenagers didn't participate in the looting.

"What the kids did here, it's not all of Canoga," said Luis Lopez, 16. "We'd like to apologize for that."

Behroozi, an Iranian who fled his country with his family in 1985 because of persecution over their Bahai faith, accepted the apology.

"Thank you so much," he said. "Don't blame them. They should change. Not you guys."

Since the protest, Behroozi said he has also been visited by remorseful students who did take part in the store looting. Canoga Park High Principal Dennis Thompson stopped by the gas station to apologize too.

On March 5, about 500 students skipped class to participate in a lunchtime anti-war march that was part of a world protest against U.S. foreign policy on Iraq. A small group broke free and began to loot the gas station convenience store, stealing snack foods and tipping over a display of sunglasses, causing about $500 worth of damage.

Police arrested three students for petty theft.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) - Parking tickets can now be paid over the Internet.

Mayor James K. Hahn, the Department of Transportation and its parking citation contractor, Affiliated Computer Services, said a new online service can be used by the public to pay parking citations using a credit card.

"This new online service gives our residents and visitors another easy and quick option for paying a parking ticket," Hahn said.

The service can be accessed through the Department of Transportation's Website at www.lacity-parking.org.

"While no one likes to pay a parking ticket, we hope the online service will at least make it more convenient to pay the fine," transportation general manager Wayne Tanda said.


Last modified: March 13. 2003 7:18PM

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