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Friday, Feb 3, 2023

Morning Headlines

Deal Struck to Raze Ambassador Hotel

Los Angeles school district officials and the L.A. Conservancy have reached a tentative deal to end the conservancy’s long battle to save the Ambassador Hotel , allowing the district to tear down the building and replace it with a multi-school complex. In exchange, the district would make a $4.9-million contribution to help conserve historic school buildings in the district. The school district board is expected to vote on the proposed agreement today, the Los Angeles Times reported. Under the terms of the agreement, the conservancy and a coalition of other organizations would withdraw their legal challenges to the district’s demolition plans. The campus’ elementary school is scheduled to open in 2008, with the middle and high schools in 2009.

County Docs Err or Lie on Hours

A confidential audit found that nearly half of L.A. County’s public doctors made honest mistakes or cheated on their timecards, prompting Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to propose auditing the records of all 90,000 county employees. The survey of 86 of the county’s 1,200 doctors found that dates and times recorded on 47 percent of their timecards conflicted with staffing schedules, said Antonovich, who plans to ask today for a similar review of the entire county work force. The surveyed doctors work at all county hospitals. To crack down on timecard abuses, the Board of Supervisors will vote today on recommendations from the auditors, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

Bell May Toll for Palmdale-to-Glendale Highway

A 23-mile highway through the San Gabriel Mountains would cost $3.1 billion, and a toll operation wouldn’t even pay for half, according to a study commissioned by Palmdale and Los Angeles County. The study by URS Corp. concluded that cobbling together funding could take 15 years to 20 years and that charging motorists tolls would likely raise $1.45 billion over 30 years, making the project unattractive to private investors, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. While the cost of building an alternative to the crowded Antelope Valley Freeway is formidable, supporters said it still has merits as the region faces growth projected to boost the population to more than 700,000 by 2020.

Californians to Pay Least for Medicare Drug Plan

Medicare beneficiaries in California will pay an average of $25.41 monthly for outpatient prescription drug coverage next year, the lowest in the country, according to figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Californians will choose from 19 plans offering varying premiums and deductibles. Louisiana Medicare beneficiaries face the highest average premium of $36.85 monthly, Bloomberg News reported. Enrollment in Medicare drug coverage begins Nov. 15. The outpatient drug benefit goes into effect next year.

Judge Dismisses Lockyer Suit Against Powerex

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer brought against Powerex Corp. over claims that the company manipulated power prices during the state’s 2001 energy crisis. U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. in Sacramento dismissed the suit because authority to rule on the matter belonged with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The suit claims that Powerex, the electricity-trading unit of the British Columbia Hydro & Power Authority, inflated prices, created false shortages and overcharged by $850 million. In March, Powerex refunded $1.3 million to settle allegations that it manipulated California power prices, Bloomberg News reported.


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