Frontrunner Villaraigosa Rejects Hahn's Call for More Debates

One day after a debate between the two candidates for mayor of Los Angeles, Mayor James Hahn called on his opponent to appear in eight additional face-offs before the May 17 election, the Daily Breeze reported. Villaraigosa immediately reject-ed Hahn's request, calling it "the ultimate act of chutzpah." The councilman said Hahn missed several debates during the primary campaign and is now trying to catch up in the polls.


Weinsteins Face Life After Disney
After years of dipping into Disney's very deep pockets, Harvey and Bob Weinstein now have what they say they wanted: freedom from the constraints imposed by a global media conglomerate, the Los Angeles Times reported. But many say the tempestuous brothers may have trouble duplicating the kind of success they enjoyed at Disney. The Weinsteins, whose contract with parent Walt Disney Co. expires in September, have six months to firm up plans for what they described Tuesday as a "fully integrated media company." But the duo lacks a marquee name (Miramax Film Corp. stays with Disney), a staff (top Miramax people have been jumping ship for weeks) and a film library to fuel cash flow.


Tram to Observatory and a River Pier Part of Master Plan for Griffith Park
A new master plan for Griffith Park to be unveiled tonight includes a proposal for two aerial trams that would whisk visitors to mountaintop vistas, including the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Times reported. Also included in the sweeping plan is a landscaped pier on the Los Angeles River, the removal of several old maintenance buildings and replacement of the park's dilapidated public restrooms. The draft master plan is basically a wish list to guide development of Griffith Park over the next 25 years. The public will have opportunities for offering suggestions before the plan is completed.


Group to Urge Single Executive at King/Drew
A single chief executive officer should be appointed to manage both the troubled Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center and its affiliated medical school, instead of the current separate leadership, a task force will recommend today. A unified management, according to the proposal, would eliminate the finger-pointing and poor coordination between Los Angeles County, which runs King/Drew, and the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, a private institution that contracts to oversee doctor-training programs there, the Los Angeles Times reported.


Health Audit Raises Pulse
Facing deficits after a federal bailout ends June 30, Los Angeles County hospitals need to take stronger measures and cut back sharply on medical care for illegal immigrants, according to a new state audit that triggered debate among county supervisors Tuesday. The supervisors disputed how critical the audit was and tensions rose when they discussed the recommendation to limit nonemergency care to illegal immigrants, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The audit found that 53 percent of the 800,000 annual users of the county's system are uninsured and receive care even though state law does not mandate it. The county health system will have a $435 million shortfall by July 2006, growing to $1.4 billion by July 2008, according to county estimates.


New Ads Feature Widows of LAPD Officers
The Los Angeles Police Protective League plans to launch a radio campaign today featuring widows of police officers slain in the line of duty who criticize Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to reform the public-pension system, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The widows slam the governor's plan for eliminating death and disability benefits for future police officers and firefighters. The effort is aimed at preventing the governor's supporters from collecting enough signatures to place his pension measure on a special-election ballot.


Firms Settle Suit Filed by Freelance Writers
A group of companies that operate electronic databases have agreed to pay freelance writers as much as $18 million to settle copyright infringement claims brought under a class-action lawsuit, the Associated Press reported. The settlement covers claims brought against the companies by the National Writers Union, the Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Defendants included Tribune Co.'s Newsday, ProQuest Co., Reed Elsevier's LexisNexis database, The New York Times and Dow Jones & Co.

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