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Leticia Perez

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Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez was charged with two criminal misdemeanors last week over her 2017 vote against a ban on marijuana dispensaries. The DA's public integrity unit investigated the case and found that Perez's husband Fernando Jara had done business with marijuana industry groups before the vote, creating what they claim is a conflict of interest. She denies the charges and has pled not guilty.

The Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against county supervisor Leticia Perez. The counts include using her governmental position to influence an issue in which she had a financial interest, and for failing to file proper disclosure documents.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Latino civil rights group in a lawsuit against Kern County over voting rights. The ruling found county supervisorial districts that were created in 2011 violated the Voting Rights Act because they intentionally divided Latino communities between two districts.

Kern Medical / Kern County

The California State Senate’s health committee held a rare hearing in Bakersfield this afternoon discussing the local impact of President Elect Trump’s quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez testified that while Kern Medical has seen its financial health improve in recent years, that could change quickly if the law is rolled back.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Earlier this year eight Kern County families were forced out of their homes because of a gas leak. Now, seven months later families are still asking questions about their health and when they can return to their neighborhood.

When Yesenia Lara bought her home three years ago she never imagined living there would eventually bring so much anger and sadness to her family.

"This is my house, esta es mi casa. Excuse the mess but I hardly come here."

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve plans by for a new oil-by-rail facility at a Bakersfield area refinery. 

The Alon Refinery on Rosedale Highway would restart operations with shipments of crude oil from the Dakotas delivered to Bakersfield by train.

A number of environmental groups raised concerns about the potential for accidents, and the project's impact on CO2 emissions. They also questioned the thoroughness of the project's environmental study.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Today's special election in Senate District 16 is expected to have low turnout.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, its results could shape state government for the rest of the decade.

California Democrats loved last November’s legislative results.  Paul Mitchell is a Sacramento-based political data and redistricting expert.

“It seems as though Democrats now have obtained a two-thirds majority that should last them through the decade,” says Mitchell.