SACRAMENTO – The California Board of Psychology moved to protect the citizens of California last week by exercising its right to obtain an order in criminal court, against psychologist Michael Dane Ward, preventing him from practicing psychology during the pendency of his criminal case.
Established in 1994 and originally called the Complaint Mediation Division, CRP was created to consolidate and streamline consumer complaint processing. CRP staff review complaints and act as a neutral third party between the complainant and the licensee/
business to settle disputes. The CRP representative can propose terms to settle disputes but does not decide how they should be resolved.
CRP processes all consumer complaints filed against California businesses that are regulated by these bureaus: Cemetery and Funeral; Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation; Security and Investigative Services; and Private Postsecondary Education.
Fewer incoming complaints than in years past and fewer bureaus participating in the program led to the closure.
After June 30, consumers who have complaints related to the bureaus that were previously under the CRP’s jurisdiction can contact the bureaus directly or call DCA’s Consumer Information Center at (800) 952-5210.
The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Communications Division brought home three gold, three silver, and one honorable mention at this year’s State Information Officers Council (SiOC) Awards held on June 8, 2016, in downtown Sacramento. The yearly awards recognize the best of the best in State service in the arena of communications. The awards received were as follows:
A Consumer’s Guide to Auto Repair
Hazel Alig, Designer/Ryan Jones, Editor
Our Promise: California State Employees Giving at Work Campaign
Cesar Altamirano, Designer
2016 DCA Appointment Calendar
Carol Stover, Designer/June Vargas, Writer/Editor
Consumer Connection Fall 2015 (Tenth Anniversary Issue)
Hazel Alig, Designer/Ryan Jones, Laura Kujubu, June Vargas, Writers/Editors/Joyia Emard, Michelle McVay, Cristina Valdivia Aguilar, Lana Wilson-Combs, Writers
Ryan Jones, Writer
Category: Best Bang for your Buck
Kari Keating, Designer/Ryan Jones, Editor
Pocket Travel Guide
Carol Stover, Designer/Ryan Jones, Writer/Editor
“While a lot of attention has been given to Zika virus, West Nile virus killed more Californians in 2015 than any other year before,” said Senator Bob Wieckowski, chair of the Environmental Quality committee and author of Senate Concurrent Resolution 121 in a recent release.
Last year, the California Department of Public Health reported 783 cases of West Nile in California—544 cases developed into the more severe neuroinvasive form of the disease resulting in 53 deaths.
The Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC) reminds Californians to continue to “Fight the Bite,” stressing the importance of protecting themselves against mosquito-borne viruses, especially with summer around the corner. MVCAC’s recommendations include applying insect repellent and dressing in long sleeves and pants when outdoors. Around your home, install or repair broken screens on windows and doors, and be sure to empty any standing water. Standing water is considered any water that stands for a minimum of seven days around your home; for example, water in rain barrels, nonfunctioning swimming pools, flower pots, old tires, and buckets.
Learn more about prevention and protection methods against mosquitoes at the MVCAC’s website, www.mvcac.org.
Ride-hailing company Uber has asked a District Court in Northern California to approve a proposed settlement to a lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind’s California chapter over refusing rides to passengers with service animals such as guide dogs.
The National Federation of the Blind’s lawsuit, filed in 2014, stated that Uber was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for denying rides to persons with service animals.
The proposed settlement by San Francisco-based Uber has three major components.
First, the company said it will take steps to make it clearer to drivers through notifications on the Uber platform and via e-mail that they are obligated to transport any passenger with a service animal. With settlement approval, Uber also said it would publish a service animal policy as part of its code of conduct.
Second, the company said that any driver who refused service to a passenger with a service animal would be barred from using the Uber platform.
Third, Uber would pay the National Federation of the Blind $225,000 over three years. The Federation would run a “testing program” to evaluate the effectiveness of the changes. This program would involve passengers with service animals testing the service to ensure policy changes are implemented.
The State Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind’s website, www.guidedogboard.ca.gov, offers information and videos on rights, etiquette, and other information for consumers, guide dog teams and trainers, and businesses. You can also call the Board toll-free at (866) 512-9103 or send and e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) is warning against unlicensed individuals performing property management services under the guise of the “short-term” residential rental exemption and is inviting the public to file complaints.
In a strongly worded alert sent to licensees, Wayne Bell, California Real Estate Commissioner with CalBRE, said it has come to the bureau’s attention that unlicensed individuals and real estate salespeople not properly associated with a licensed broker are circumventing the law to perform property management.
He provided an example of individuals improperly structuring paperwork and payments to make it appear that a rental is for under 30 days to meet the short term rental exemption, when it is really for more than 30 days.
He said real estate sales people can perform property management duties if their work is being supervised, overseen and directed by their real estate broker of record. He said this also means that there can be no “independent” real estate salesperson property managers if the services provided include any one or more of those acts and activities identified in section 10131 of the Business and Professions Code.
Bell said that property management in California is a regulated activity to the extent it involves any of the real estate licensed activities such as leasing or renting, offering to lease or rent, solicitations of listings of places to rent, solicitations of prospective tenants, collections of rents, and negotiations for leases.
The alert states that evasion and/or circumvention of the licensing laws is cause for administrative discipline by the Real Estate Commissioner. Furthermore, any person who, or entity which, is engaged in the unlicensed and unlawful practice of real estate in California may also be subject to criminal sanctions and punishment and CalBRE will refer appropriate cases to criminal prosecutors.
He wrote, “CalBRE will carefully investigate claims of exemption to ascertain their applicability and will consider any knowing or intentional attempt(s) to evade the Real Estate Law as ‘aggravation’ in any action brought by CalBRE.”
The full alert can be viewed here.
Complaints can be filed here.
Since 2001, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence has declared one week in June as National Automotive Service Professionals Week.
This year, June 8 – 14, is the designated week for consumers to show their appreciation to the men and women who repair and help maintain the myriad of vehicles we depend on for our daily transportation needs.
Today’s vehicles are more sophisticated and technically advanced than earlier models. They are essentially computers driving on America’s roads. Hours of training and education are necessary to properly diagnose and repair these vehicles and it requires a significant level of knowledge, skill and dedication.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs along with the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the Arbitration Certification Program are proud to recognize these professionals for their commitment to their customers and the automotive industry.
This month—and every month—the State Board of Optometry (Board) reminds consumers about the importance of children receiving early eye care, and how critical regular comprehensive eye exams are for Californians of all ages.
Nearly 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems that can cause them to struggle in school. Undetected and untreated vision problems can also leave a child with permanent vision damage later in life. In recognition of Child Vision Awareness Month, the Board encourages parents to make sure their children have their first comprehensive eye examination before entering school.
June is also Cataract Awareness Month, and the Board reminds consumers of all ages that early detection and treatment are critical to maintaining healthy eyesight. Regular visits to an eye care professional (optometrist or ophthalmologist) are crucial in detecting eye problems such as cataracts. According to the World Health Organization, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world.
A simple eye exam can also reveal other things. It is very common for optometrists and ophthalmologists to discover dozens of other health problems including arthritis, cancer, and hypertension during regular eye exams.
Visit the Board’s website at www.optometry.ca.gov to learn more about comprehensive eye exams and the value of early eye care.
California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) chairman, John Carvelli, expressed disappointment over the decision to allow professional boxers to compete against amateurs in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.