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Search results for "Sacramento Bee" ...

  • CALmatters: California’s for-profit college watchdog fails to police as feds back down

    The California agency responsible for overseeing the state’s 1,000-plus for-profit colleges and vocational schools has repeatedly failed or been slow to enforce laws meant to prevent fraud and abuse, leaving a serious gap in accountability as federal regulators back away from the job.
  • Self Dealing and Double Dipping in the California National Guard

    When the U.S. government decided to boost incentives for National Guard service and combat veterans, no one envisioned a system in which a single bureaucrat could approve tens of millions of payments to officers and others who probably weren't eligible. Yet these and other apparent abuses occurred in California's National Guard even after flags were raised, and they gained top-level attention only after Sacramento Bee reporter Charles Piller revealed them. As Piller reported, up to $100 million in potentially illegal or improper incentive payments were made to service members, including Guard captains and majors who knew they were ineligible for disbursements.
  • Unprotected: An Investigation o Sacramento County's Child Protective Services

    A dozen years after the 1996 torture-death of one boy triggered major reforms within Sacramento County's Child Protective Services, -- and resulted in a quadrupling of the agency's budget and doubling of its staff -- many of the same problems persist in 2008. The Sacramento Bee found that, despite the massive increase in resources, numerous children continue to be injured or killed who had prior involvement with Sacramento's CPS. Among the problems detailed by The Bee: inadequate supervision and training, sloppy investigations, poor evaluation of children's risk, lack of accountability for serious mistakes. In its follow-up stories, which prompted a grand jury investigation, The Bee used a new state law related to child deaths to push CPS to release case files and found it had illegally altered the records of one boy who died in their care.
  • Behind the Meltdown

    The foreclosure crisis in the Sacramento Bee's coverage area impacted more than 8,000 homes. Among the Bee's findings were that while the area's median income was about $80,000, home loan "stated income" applications indicated reported figures closer to $100,000, which were not verified before a loan was disbursed. As a result of the risky loans, many home buyers' credit ratings took a major hit, while homes dropped in value and the market was flooded with people attempting to sell. With so many vacant homes, squatters have become a problem in neighborhoods like North Sacramento's Western Avenue, which the Bee identifies as perhaps the area hardest hit by the crisis.
  • The Price of Access

    Examining "the large proliferation of disability access lawsuits in California," the Sacramento Bee found that "offering the most generous payouts in the nation has made (California) a magnet for lawsuits filed under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act." The stories exposed the "most prolific attorneys and their most common targets." They also spoke with "individual business owners and disabled people for comment and context."
  • Sexually Violent Predators

    The Sacramento Bee investigates as a decade after the state of California adopted the nation's toughest laws regarding sexually violent predators, enforcement has fallen short of expectations. Those deemed to have the highest risk of being repeat offenders "were sent to Atascadero State Mental Hospital following their prison terms." But of 54 molesters released from the mental hospital, "none had gone through the full treatment regimen designed for them" and worse, "more than two-thirds underwent no treatment at all." In addition, "those who refused treatment had been released to society with fewer restrictions and less monitoring than the four who had completed the five-stage program."
  • The Pineros: Men of the Pines

    This investigation documents the abuses of the Pineros, migrant pine workers working legally in this country under a federal guest worker program. After nine months of investigation with more than 150 interviews, and thousands of pages of FOIA documents, the Sacramento Bee unveils how these workers have been the victims of employer exploitation.
  • Defenses Decayed

    Sacramento Bee reporters look at the vulnerability of local levees which keep the city from being flooded. The report shows levees in vast disrepair, while flood protection funding is being cut back by state lawmakers. The levees are in desparate need of repair and need to be updated. Many are concerned that there will be a massive flood much like the one in 1997, which killed six people and forced the evacuation of 120,000.
  • EPA pumps up its record

    The Sacramento Bee found that under the Bush administration, the Environmental Protection Agency "has overstated its success in fighting polluters by lumping counterterrorism and narcotics cases led by other agencies into its environmental enforcement record." Among the findings of the Bee: the EPA "puffed up the number of criminal investigations it initiated," "overreported the number of cases it referred to federal prosecutors," and "padded the length of prison terms served for environmental crimes." Extensive use of documents and specific numbers are cited to back up the Bee's claims. Questionaire on how the Bee got the story is included.
  • California State Budget

    The Sacramento Bee "showed that despite California's growing fiscal crisis, the administration of Gov. Gray Davis failed to carry out a hiring freeze that he ordered in October, 2001. In the five months after the freeze was imposed, state hiring was 71 percent of what it had been in the same period the year before, prior to the freeze."