Charges Filed Against Burbank Councilwoman
Burbank City Councilwoman Stacey Jo Murphy was charged Tuesday with cocaine possession and child endangerment, violations that could carry up to three years in prison if she is convicted, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Murphy faces a felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor count of child endangerment at her arraignment scheduled for Thursday in Pasadena Superior Court, officials said. She remains free after posting $100,000 bail. Murphy was arrested July 13 at her Lima Street home, where police found three guns and 900 rounds of ammunition in her garage and cocaine in her bedroom, as part of a larger federal case against the Vineland Boys street gang. Murphy’s boyfriend, Scott C. Schaffer, pleaded not guilty to federal gun and drug charges.
Bill Would Refund Film Companies
Hollywood production companies could get millions of dollars in state refunds under a bill aimed at enticing filmmakers to shoot in California, the Los Angeles Times reported. The proposal, which is backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was unveiled in the last few weeks of the 2005 legislative session. It is backed by labor unions, Hollywood studios and influential L.A.-area lawmakers. The measure would provide tax credits of as much as 15 percent of the cost of wages and equipment on movies made in California, to a maximum of $3 million per production. The movie industry is seeking $100 million a year in tax credits for 10 years to stem runaway film production. Republican Senate staffers questioned whether the tax proposal was a giveaway for a favored industry.
New LAPD Panel Faces Public
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointees to the civilian board overseeing the Los Angeles Police Department had wrapped up routine business at their first meeting when activists brought proceedings to a halt. The meeting then transformed into an impromptu forum in which speakers railed against the LAPD’s treatment of African-Americans and Latinos, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Many aimed their remarks at the newly named president of the commission, civil rights leader John Mack, calling on him to represent their concerns despite his new perch inside the system. Earlier Tuesday, the new commissioners who include bank executive Shelley Freeman and attorneys Andrea Ordin and Anthony Pacheco said they intend to be focused watchdogs.
Board Making Plans for More MTA Security
Heeding Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s call to make transit security a priority following the London subway bombings, MTA officials unveiled plans Tuesday for beefed-up surveillance on L.A.’s mass-transit systems. Trains would get on-board cameras, upgraded station surveillance systems and more civilian security guards trained to handle weapons of mass destruction under $7 million in proposals being considered Thursday by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. The MTA last month received a confidential report on the security needs of L.A.’s transit system, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.
Competing DVD Formats at Impasse as Deadline Nears
A fight over the next generation of DVDs appears inevitable as manufacturers of rival technologies near a self-imposed deadline without agreeing on how to merge their designs. Although some executives hold out hope that a last-minute compromise can be reached, many analysts are skeptical that the two camps can reach a deal that would allow them to roll out new, high-definition DVD players and movies by Christmas. Toshiba backs the HD DVD format, while Sony is behind the Blu-ray format. Executives from Sony and the Blu-ray Disc Assn. said Tuesday that time was running out, but that a deal was still possible, the Los Angeles Times reported. Sony and Toshiba want to avoid a format war because consumers are likely to hold off on buying either technology until a winner is established.
LAUSD Seeking Building Purchase
The Los Angeles Unified school board authorized its staff Tuesday to negotiate the purchase of an office building adjacent to the proposed parking garage for the district’s headquarters, a deal that would raise the total cost of the project from $49 million to $52 million. The school board voted to begin talks to buy an additional acre at West 3rd and Boylston streets, where officials hope to build a 1,734-space parking garage. The expanded parcel includes a five-story, 18,000-square-foot building that officials said could house other district operations in space that is currently being leased, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. The money would come out of the general fund, using funds currently spent to lease parking space for employees and visitors.
Assisted Living Firm Sued
Rainmaker Managed Living, a developer of assisted living facilities with operations in California and New York, was accused Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission of defrauding investors. The company raised more than $7 million since August 2004 and promised investors a guaranteed return of 25 percent a year, the SEC office in Los Angeles said. More than half of the money was misappropriated for personal use, with some of it being paid back to the investors as purported interest. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants, including chief sales agent James Joseph Conway, who operated out of Rainmaker’s Long Beach office, the Los Angeles Times reported.