Monday, September 5, 2011

Postal Service faces shut down, cheating on state tests, and campaign fund fraud lands Democratic campaign treasurer in jail

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Here we are at the start of another week. Pull up a chair and have a cup of coffee with me. Today’s trio of headlines offers a look at what’s currently happening in our country.

Postal Service on verge of going broke, shutting down

The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances. “Our situation is extremely serious,” the postmaster general, Patrick R. Donahoe, said in an interview. “If Congress doesn’t act, we will default.”

Cheating on state tests found at two Los Angeles schools

The state has thrown out the test scores of a top-performing Los Angeles school and of the highest-scoring campus in the nationally known Green Dot charter group after cheating was uncovered involving several teachers.
Short Avenue Elementary in Del Rey and Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood were barred from receiving academic rankings released last week by the California Department of Education. That action deprived the schools of the state rating that has become the key figure used by parents and officials to judge campuses in California.

Elected officials notified of possible campaign fund fraud

Several clients of Kinde Durkee (pictured left), a prominent Democratic campaign treasurer who was arrested Friday on a federal fraud charge, have reported that they were contacted by the FBI or U.S. attorney’s office about the criminal investigation.

Durkee was arrested from the office of her business, Durkee & Associates, in Burbank on one charge of mail fraud and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Los Angeles. She had served as campaign treasurers on hundreds of political campaigns over the years, working for federal, state and local candidates. Officials have so far said only that the charge relates to Durkee’s work for a California Assembly member but have not disclosed which member or when.

Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) said Sunday that the FBI notified him Friday that Durkee might have embezzled from his campaign. He declined to comment further on the details pending Durkee’s arraignment.

Time to walk on down the road…

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