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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2016

SERVING THE COACHELLA VALLEY SINCE 1927

Greek Fest brings food, music to Palm Desert

Desert Marine suspected in DUI crash

Aztecs capture 2nd CIF water polo title in 3 years

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SPORTS, 1C

HILLARY CLINTON ROLLS TO VICTORY IN SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY PAGE 1B RIVERSIDE COUNTY

Will changing Academy membership rules achieve greater inclusion among voters?

Officials dial down vast DEA wiretap operation Brad Heath and Brett Kelman USA TODAY and The Desert Sun

Bruce Fessier |

The Desert Sun

D

ick Taylor has been a diligent Motion Pictures Academy member since 1988, when he was CEO of the Hollywood public relations giant, Rogers and Cowan. As late as last week, with the Academy Awards voting deadline looming, the Palm Springs resident was trying to view one last film in a theater to inform the final vote on his ballot. Like all Academy members, Taylor gets free “screeners” to watch Oscar-nominated films on TV. But he likes to watch movies on the big screen because some films don’t translate well to television. So, it came as a shock last month when he received a letter from Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs excluding him from future Oscar votes because the Academy was changing its membership rules to become more inclusive. The changes are intended to double the number of Academy women and ethnic minorities by 2020 to hopefully remedy a problem illustrated last month by the Academy’s vote for an all-white slate of best acting nominees. That compounded a backlash to last year’s vote when the acclaimed Martin Luther King biopic, “Selma,”

Prosecutors in Riverside County say they have dramatically scaled back a vast and legally questionable eavesdropping operation, built by federal drug agents, that once accounted for nearly a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps. The wiretapping, authorized by prosecutors and a single state-court judge in Riverside County, alarmed privacy advocates and even some U.S. Justice Department lawyers, who warned that it was likely illegal. An investigation last year by The Desert Sun and USA TODAY found that the operation almost certainly violated federal wiretapping laws while using millions of secretly intercepted calls and texts to make hundreds of arrests nationwide. Riverside’s district attorney, Mike Hestrin, acknowledged being concerned by the scope of that surveillance, and said he enacted “signifiPlease see WIRETAP, 9A

Please see DIVERSITY, 6A

MORE INSIDE See columnists Xochitl Pena and Shad Powers’ Oscar Picks on Arts & Culture.

Palm Springs Black History parade brings diverse crowd COACHELLA VALLEY, 8A

Celebrate spring with whimsical fashions, discover natural beauty products that do double-duty, get a peek into the rural community of Snow Creek and take a road trip to the Salton Sea in the March issue of DESERT magazine, in homedelivery newspapers today.

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Advice

6E Opinion

Bridge

9E Puzzles

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Comics

1S Starwatch

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Lottery

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26A Scoreboard 14C

Movies

6E Memories

Obituaries 27A Weather

9E 18A

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California Democrats vie for party nomination at convention CALIFORNIA, 19A

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