Judge Delays Hearing in Lawsuits Over LAX

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge Monday delayed a hearing on lawsuits filed over the $11 billion plan to remake Los Angeles International Airport, giving Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa more time to decide whether to settle those cases, the Daily Breeze reported. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo sought the delay since Villaraigosa is opposed to much of the LAX plan, said Delgadillo spokesman Jonathan Diamond. Villaraigosa spokesman Joe Ramallo said the incoming mayor is interested in settling the LAX cases, which were filed by El Segundo, Los Angeles County and other plaintiffs. The LAX hearing will be pushed back to Oct. 14.

Disney Expected to Appoint Miramax Chief
Walt Disney Co. is expected to name Daniel Battsek, who runs the British arm of its international movie operation, as the new head of Miramax Film Corp., the Los Angeles Times reported. Battsek, who plans to relocate from London to New York, has been the favorite to take over the specialty film company from founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein. In March it was announced that the Weinstein brothers would be leaving the Disney fold after a long, acrimonious relationship. The Weinsteins, who launched a new production company, are technically under contract to Disney until the end of September. Disney agreed not to announce Miramax's new management until July.

School Districts Get $7 Million in Tech Grants
Los Angeles and Glendale schools will receive about $7 million in federal funds to buy laptops for students and to train middle-school teachers in technology education, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The districts were among 29 in the state to share $24 million in technology grants aimed at enhancing student learning, state school Superintendent Jack O'Connell announced Monday. The Enhancing Education Through Technology Grant is part of the No Child Left Behind Act President George W. Bush's reform plan and has given out more than $255 million in the past three years.

County Might Outsource Hospital
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors may hand over Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center to a private company after nearly two years of failed attempts to correct patient care lapses and mismanagement at the public hospital, the Los Angeles Times reported. County supervisors, who ordered a study of the idea last month, now are giving it new urgency after yet another federal government inspection found medical errors, misconduct and a troubling death at the 33-year-old hospital south of Watts. A vote could take place as early as August, and at least three of the five supervisors express some support for the idea.

Arnold Blocks Fix for 405
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration has jeopardized a deal to get $400 million in federal funds to fast-track adding a critical carpool lane on the northbound San Diego Freeway into the San Fernando Valley, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Van Nuys) charged Monday. Schwarzenegger aides acknowledged that the administration is more concerned with the Alameda Corridor East project and fears that throwing its full support behind easing congestion on the 405 might endanger funding for the effort to move freight more quickly out of the harbor area. Berman said the 405 funding is extra money the state could get to speed up construction of the lane now scheduled for completion in 2018. He accused the Schwarzenegger administration of dashing hopes to get the lane that would provide relief for commuters.

Aquarium Shouldn't Serve Fish, PETA Says
An animal rights group wants the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to gut its cafeteria menu of fish and seafood, arguing that "serving fish at an aquarium is like serving poodle burgers at a dog show," the Los Angeles Times reported. Aquarium officials say they won't ban from their kitchens sustainable seafood that can be replenished through such means as fish farms. The 1.3 million people who visit the aquarium each year can choose from an array of seafood dishes, including clam chowder, rainbow trout and catfish, as well as tilapia and salmon.

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