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Wednesday, Feb 8, 2023

Morning Headlines



County Reaps $1 billion Windfall

Flush with an extra $1 billion compared to only two months ago, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $19.6 billion annual budget Monday that restores public safety services, pays for new homeless shelters and seeks to shore up the county’s struggling health-care system, the Daily Breeze reported. Buoyed by a combination of surging property tax revenues, state and federal grants and cautious spending practices, the supervisors adopted a budget for 2005-2006 that has 2,207 additional positions and is 9 percent, or $1.6 billion, larger than the current year. The budget will fund more than 1,200 additional sheriff’s deputies, as well as additional prosecutors, firefighters, animal control officers and other county employees.



Postings of Obscene Photos End Free-Form Editorial Experiment


A Los Angeles Times experiment in opinion journalism lasted just two days before the paper was forced to shut it down Sunday morning after some readers repeatedly posted obscene photos, The New York Times reported. The L.A. newspaper said on Monday that the section was removed, without giving a specific reason for doing so. On Friday, the paper introduced an online feature it called a wikitorial, asking Web site readers to improve a 1,000-word editorial on the Iraq war. The Times’ open-source wikitorial software allowed readers to post without vetting from editors, who could take down posts only after they appeared. Any contributor who persisted in bad behavior could be blocked.



Guild Targets Reality TV


Calling the reality television genre “a 21st-century telecommunications industry sweatshop,” WGA West President Daniel Petrie Jr. went public Monday with a campaign to organize reality TV writers, producers and editors who are working without a union contract, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Nearly 1,000 writers, producers and editors working for major reality television production companies have signed authorization cards for WGA representation since an organizing meeting was held in May. The WGA has written each company demanding recognition, but so far, none has agreed to negotiate.



ACLU Urges L.A. Council to Reconsider New Office


A proposal to transfer security personnel out of six Los Angeles city departments and into a new, centralized security agency drew criticism Monday from the American Civil Liberties Union. Pending approval from the Police Commission and the City Council, the city is scheduled to consolidate security officers who work in the zoo, parks, library and three other departments into a single, central agency. The new agency would be part of the Department of General Services. But ACLU officials pointed out that the Department of General Services isn’t run by a board of appointed commissioners which means the security officers would have no public oversight of their activities under the new arrangement, Copley News Service reported.



Labor Group Sets July 18 Election for Chief’s Post


The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor will hold an election July 18 to pick a new chief after about 500 delegates failed Monday night to unanimously approve City Councilman Martin Ludlow for the job. Ludlow was, however, appointed the federation’s interim leader as of July 1 after the sudden resignation Monday of the interim secretary-treasurer and veteran political director Charles Lester, the Los Angeles Times reported. Also on Monday, Ludlow confirmed that he is stepping down from the City Council at the end of the month. He said he was not surprised that two other contenders will be running against him in the July 18 election.



King/Drew Is Seeking $64 Million for Repairs


Already beset by operational problems, Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center will need nearly $64 million to repair its deteriorating facility, including pipes leaking water and waste, according to Los Angeles County officials. Most of the money would be used to replace the public hospital’s utility infrastructure, including pipes, air ducts and air-handling systems. Also, King/Drew’s six operating rooms and psychiatric units would be refurbished over the next two years. Officials told the county Board of Supervisors that the repairs are needed if the hospital is to regain its national accreditation and retain federal funding, the Los Angeles Times reported.



Factory Is Shut Down in Disc Piracy Raid


A DVD and CD duplicating plant in the City of Industry has been shut down, authorities said. The raid at New Century Media yielded an estimated $30 million in equipment and pirated products, the Los Angeles Times reported. No arrests were made. The raid was conducted by the Southern California High Tech Task Force, the Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Recording Industry Assn. of America. Officials said the equipment could make one counterfeit disc every three seconds.

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