Queen Mary 2 Sets Course for Port of L.A.

More than twice as long as the Washington Monument is tall, the 1,132-foot-long Queen Mary 2 is scheduled to dock at the Port of Los Angeles in February. The vessel arrives at the port Feb. 22 before a three-day jaunt to Ensenada, Mexico, and a trip to Hawaii. Too tall to clear the Vincent Thomas Bridge and too long to turn around, the ocean liner will back in to the port's main channel, the Daily Breeze reported. The port is planning festivities to welcome the ship, such as a welcoming event featuring a British-themed breakfast and an area from which spectators can view the vessel.

Mayor's Efforts Make Grade So Far
Even as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa faces a lengthy battle for control of L.A. public schools, he has launched more immediate efforts to propel broad change in the district. Moving to fulfill a campaign vow to improve education, he has expanded the after-school LA's BEST program, created a council of education advisers to recommend reform, pledged to raise $35 million privately to provide health care for district children, and has begun efforts to boost student safety, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. And while his push for mayoral control of the LAUSD has antagonized many school officials, his broader efforts in his first five months in office have been welcomed as more aggressive than those of his predecessors.

Deputies Not Keeping Pace With L.A. Gangs
Gang-related homicides are up more than 30 percent this year in areas under the jurisdiction of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, but the department's countywide gang enforcement team is much smaller than it was three years ago and remains chronically understaffed, the Los Angeles Times reported. At least half of the homicides in sheriff's territories are now gang killings, about the same level as in the city of L.A. Statewide, gang violence accounts for about 16 percent of all homicides. And although the LAPD under Chief William J. Bratton has reconstituted and increased the size of its anti-gang units, assigning nearly 350 officers to gang enforcement duty, the gang unit under Sheriff Lee Baca has shrunk.

Bisno Lines Up San Pedro, Los Angeles Support for Fight
When developer Robert Bisno proposed the 2,300-home Ponte Vista development for San Pedro, he assembled a powerful team of elected officials, attorneys and lobbyists to make the case for his project at City Hall. Now that the LAUSD is seeking 15 acres of Bisno's land for a new high school, some of that political firepower has turned its sights on the LAUSD and its pending plan. Bisno created a community-based advocacy group to fight the school site and hired former L.A. Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr. to craft letters as part of one of the most intense lobbying campaigns the town has ever seen, the Daily Breeze reported. The school board is slated to vote Tuesday to declare a segment of Ponte Vista as the preferred site for a new high school.

One Million Californians at Tsunami Risk, Study Says
Tsunami waves generated by a large offshore earthquake would threaten at least 1 million coastal residents in California and inundate the nation's largest port complex, according to a new report. The California Seismic Safety Commission study found gaps in the state's readiness to handle a tsunami, including flaws in the existing warning system, lack of evacuation plans by coastal communities and building codes that don't take into account tsunami-strength surges, the Los Angeles Times reported. Existing building codes call for structures to be built to withstand severe shaking from an earthquake, but the report revealed that homes and businesses are rarely designed to hold up against tsunami-force surges. As much as $60 billion in economic loss is estimated if a tsunami caused a two-month shutdown at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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