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Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Morning Headlines

Area Colleges Can’t Stretch Construction Dollars

After months of cost-cutting, continuously escalating construction costs are starting to force major scale-backs of voter-approved projects at local college campuses. At El Camino and Los Angeles Harbor community colleges, California State University, Dominguez Hills and campuses around the city and state, leaders are cutting design frills, renovating instead of rebuilding, and even scrapping plans for entire buildings to make their bond dollars stretch farther, the Daily Breeze reported. Economists blame the skyrocketing price of materials on an Asian construction boom.

Gov. Leans Toward a Paler Shade of Green

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who enthused activists and unnerved business leaders with many of his early appointments to top environmental slots, is increasingly favoring industry officials for key jobs protecting California’s forests, air and water. Schwarzenegger’s choice for one of the most important environmental positions in California chief regulator of the state’s air quality was former industry lobbyist Cindy Tuck. For a commission that helps plan for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, Schwarzenegger tapped two people who sat on the board of the lobbying group for companies and institutions that generate such waste, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Survey Finds 13-Cent Jump in Gasoline Prices

Gasoline prices hovering in record territory could stay high, according to a local survey, with the effects of Hurricane Katrina, which has slammed into one of the nation’s key oil production areas, still undetermined. Analyst Trilby Lundberg, whose semimonthly Lundberg Survey covers 7,000 gas stations nationwide, reported that the average price for three grades of gasoline rose 13 cents to $2.65 per gallon for the two weeks ending Aug. 26. That came on top of a 20-cent increase since mid-July, the Los Angeles Times reported.

George Clooney Making a Side Bet in Vegas

In the film “Ocean’s Eleven,” George Clooney robbed a casino. Now he’s going to build one. Clooney, nightclub owner Rande Gerber and two Las Vegas real estate companies today will announce plans to construct a casino, boutique hotel and sprawling condominium project just blocks from the Strip, in an area that has become one of the town’s hottest development corners. Clooney will be working with joint-venture partners Related Las Vegas and Centra Properties, the Los Angeles Times reported. The 300-room hotel will be the centerpiece of a $3-billion, 25-acre project on Harmon Avenue, just west of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

LAPD May Relax Its Hiring Rules

Struggling to lure more officers, the Los Angeles Police Department is joining a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the nation in considering less stringent recruitment rules. Police Chief William J. Bratton said he was drawing up the proposed changes, which would end the LAPD’s zero-tolerance rule toward past marijuana use and make it easier for the department to hire people with bad credit histories. The move comes as the department is pushing to meet its goal of a 10,000-officer force by next summer. Bratton has pushed to expand the LAPD, stating the police force is far smaller per capita than those in other major cities, the Los Angeles Times reported. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said hiring new officers is a top priority.


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