Sacramento, CA — Landslides of the geological and political kind reshaped California´s terrain in 2005.
Mud thundered down hillsides in Southern California, and voters rejected Governor Schwarzenegger´s “year of reform” ballot initiatives.
Other politicians left office in tears. In February, Democratic Secretary of State Kevin Shelley resigned amid investigations into his handling of federal election funds, questionable campaign contributions and workplace behavior.
In November, San Diego Republican Congressman “Duke” Cunningham pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax charges, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes to steer defense contracts to conspirators.
That wasn´t San Diego´s only brush with infamy. Earlier, the mayor resigned after a $1.3 billion pension shortfall and two councilmen were convicted of taking bribes from a strip club owner.
One was later acquitted. Disasters both natural and manmade struck, especially in Southern California. Ten people were killed when thousands of tons of mud crashed on the beachside community of La Conchita in January.
Another coastal landslide destroyed at least 18 Laguna Beach homes in June. In Glendale, eleven people died and nearly 200 were injured when a commuter train derailed and crashed into another after hitting a vehicle parked on the tracks.
Police initially said the driver was trying, unsuccessfully, to commit suicide, but later said it appeared he was trying to cause the crash. In a state famous for its famous people, celebrity again went on trial.
Singer Michael Jackson was cleared of child molestation. Former T-V detective Robert Blake was acquitted of killing his wife although later ordered by a jury in a civil trial to pay her children $30 million.
And there were the people made famous by the justice system. In March, fertilizer salesman Scott Peterson moved into San Quentin´s death row for killing his pregnant wife. In December, former gang leader Stanley Tookie Williams was executed for killing four people.