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Morning Scoop: Hawaiian Gardens gang, budget slicing and dicing, a county that votes

May 22, 2009 |  9:29 am

Lanow_morningscoop

Good morning from the City Desk. A sampler of California stories from today's paper:

Will budget cuts make the state's poor poorer? The governor's considering a plan to slash their safety net by eliminating California's main welfare program, health insurance for low-income families and cash grants to college students, write Eric Bailey and Patrick McGreevy.

In Washington, California officials are seeking federal help for the state. But the message from an array of top officials was stern Thursday, write Peter Nicholas and Richard Simon. The gist: Solve your problems by yourself.

Divisions within the California delegation aren't helping the state's prospects in Washington, writes Richard Simon.

According to the FBI's top agent in Los Angeles, one in 15 people in the square-mile city of Hawaiian Gardens has ties to the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang, known as VHG. Thursday, federal authorities in several indictments charged 147 members with a host of crimes, including murder, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and witness intimidation, reports Scott Glover. The indictments say the gang murdered a sheriff's deputy and launched racially motivated attacks designed to drive African Americans out.

The gated Faria Beach Colony in Ventura County was the site of a grim crime scene Thursday. Authorities are looking for a motive in the slayings of a man and his pregnant wife. They were stabbed to death Wednesday night as their horrified 9-year-old looked on, reports Steve Chawkins.

Voter turnout in much of California was dismally low Tuesday, but not in Sierra County, writes Maria La Ganga. There, 53.6% of registered voters showed up at the polls -- more than three times L.A. County's turnout.

In response to strong neighborhood opposition, L.A. traffic officials have nixed a plan to widen Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood, writes Joanna Lin.

We're continuing to report on the state's budget crisis, from Sacramento and Washington. We'll bring you other news as we get it.

-- Nita Lelyveld

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