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Thursday, Feb 2, 2023

Morning Headlines

Another Paramount Exec to Leave Amid Shake-Up

Rob Friedman is stepping down as vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group as Chairman Brad Grey continues restructuring the studio, the Los Angeles Times reported. Friedman, who joined Paramount in 1997 after 25 years at Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros., becomes the latest casualty from the studio’s former regime. His departure has been expected for some time, after the exits of Paramount’s longtime chairwoman, Sherry Lansing, and her boss, Viacom Entertainment Group Chairman Jonathan Dolgen.

Romer Reveals Donors

The nonprofit organization Superintendent Roy Romer set up to defend Los Angeles Unified’s image against political attacks relied on contributions from construction firms, textbook publishers and other school contractors, records released Tuesday showed. Friends of L.A. Schools Inc., which Romer formed in February, received single donations of $10,000 from investment bank Goldman Sachs, DMJM building consultants, Turner Construction and publishers Harcourt Inc. and Pearson Education all of which have contracts totaling millions of dollars with the school district. Romer defended the more than $146,000 in total donations, saying his fundraising never influenced LAUSD business, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

LAUSD Ponders Initiatives to Raise Funds

With the future of state funding for education in limbo, the Los Angeles Unified School District may add two initiatives to November’s special election ballot: a new $3.85 billion facilities bond and a $150 parcel tax targeted at improving instruction, the Daily Breeze reported. The bond would be the district’s fourth school construction and renovation initiative since 1997. That fact that has some board members concerned voters may not be ready to support a new tax. Superintentdent Roy Romer said Tuesday that the new bond was necessary to finish the campaign currently tagged at $14 billion to return all district students to neighborhood schools on traditional, two-semester calendars.

Four More Lapses in Patient Care at King/Drew Reported

A seriously ill patient died at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center after nurses failed to respond “for an extended perio”” to audio alarms signaling his distress , the seventh death in two years in which staffers have ignored vital sign monitors, Los Angeles County health officials said Tuesday. The incident, which took place in March, was one of four reported to the county Board of Supervisors in the last week in which patients allegedly received questionable care. Three of the cases occurred over four days last month. The disclosures come eight months after the county pledged millions of dollars to hire a turnaround firm to overhaul King/Drew, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Amgen Wins Drug Suit Ruling

Eight participants in a discontinued clinical trial lost a court bid seeking to force Amgen Inc. to continue providing an experimental Parkinson’s disease drug. U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood in Lexington, Ky., ruled that Amgen had the right to terminate the clinical trial of the drug GDNF, the Los Angeles Times reported. Although patients believed the drug helped them, Amgen said GDNF did not work and appeared to be dangerous. Hood said the public interest would not be served by forcing Amgen to provide a drug that the company considered potentially harmful.

Navy Site Housing Plan Called ‘Far Too Much’

A private developer who bought surplus Navy property in San Pedro for $125 million plans to build 2,300 town homes and condominiums on the 62-acre site along Western Avenue, a proposal that already is drawing fire from nearby residents who fear devastating effects on local traffic and schools. Developers, however, say their proposed Ponte Verde development will answer a growing need in San Pedro for market-rate and senior for-sale housing, reported the Daily Breeze. Homes would range from the high $300,000s to the high $700,000s or $800,000 on the property. Twenty-five percent of the development would be set aside specifically for a senior town home development for “active empty-nesters” 55 and older.

Plans to Allow Internet Calls at Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Internet telephone service edged closer toward the wireless world Tuesday as Skype Technologies and Boingo Wireless Inc. unveiled calling plans that use Boingo’s 18,000 hot spots in 37 nations around the world. For $8 a month, customers can use their laptops at airports, coffee shops and other Boingo wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, public zones to make calls, the Los Angeles Times reported. About 45 million people worldwide have downloaded Skype’s free software, and about 3 million are connected at any one time, the company said.


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