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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

iFail: Why John Deasy's Risky iPad Gambit Crashed and Burned at LAUSD

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Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 6:30 AM
In a surprising reversal, L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy has abruptly halted the district's billion-dollar technology program, which aimed to put an iPad into the hands of every student and teacher by the end of, yes, this year.

It's a rare retreat for the headstrong superintendent intent on getting the tablets into classrooms as soon as humanly possible. But it comes after more than a year of negative news stories – everything from LAUSD students "hacking" devices to the incomplete iPAD-friendly software to an allegedly chummy bidding process in which Deasy gave Apple and Pearson, the software company, a leg up

"We have an opportunity to put a halt on the current contract, write a new contract, address those issues that are suboptimal,"  Deasy tells us. "We’re a tiny way into it. We've given them out to 47 schools. There are 1,019 [schools] to go."

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Man Suspected in Random Valley Shootings Charged With Murder

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Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 3:32 PM
JOHN LIU/FLICKR
Updated at the bottom with police now saying they believe Hernandez is responsible for seven attacks and four murders in a crime spree that started Wednesday.

A man named as a suspect in random San Fernando Valley shootings Sunday that took the lives of three people was charged with murder in an earlier attack in Pacoima, the L.A. County District Attorney's office announced this afternoon.

The revelation confirms that authorities believe 34-year-old suspect Alexander Hernandez could be responsible for the Sunday killings as well as for Thursday's fatal attack on a pickup truck driver and for the non-injury shooting of a couple in West Hollywood Friday night.

See also: 6 Random Shootings Rock L.A. as West Hollywood Attack Could Be Connected

In fact, prosecutors also charged Hernandez with ...

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MILEY AND JESSE VIA @SUSANSARANDON/TWITTER
  • Miley and Jesse via @SusanSarandon/Twitter
Updated at the bottom: Authorities believe the date went back to Oregon, and they're searching for him there.

Los Angeles authorities should have been aware that Miley Cyrus' Video Music Awards date, 22-year-old Jesse Helt, is wanted in Oregon, according to Martin Silbernagel, Community Corrections director for Polk County.

When asked if the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department had previously been notified that Helt had a warrant for his arrest in Polk County, Oregon, Silbernagel says, "Yes, all of the above."

Helt had come to L.A. and was at a youth homeless center called My Friend's Place in Hollywood when the pop star dropped in for a visit recently:

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PHOTO BY TED SOQUI
  • Photo by Ted Soqui
Mayor Eric Garcetti is working on a proposal to raise L.A.'s minimum wage to $13.25 an hour within three years, according to two people briefed on the plan.

The mayor is expected to roll out the proposal next week. The details have still not been finalized, and the mayor's office is awaiting a report from a labor-funded policy organization before making the announcement. 

Garcetti wants to increase the citywide minimum wage in three increments, reaching $13.25 an hour by 2017. After that, the wage would be indexed to inflation.

The plan marks an abrupt shift in focus for the Garcetti administration, which up until now has emphasized business-friendly initiatives like expanding the film tax incentive and lowering the city's business tax. Business leaders reacted to the shift with dismay.

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RON REIRING/FLICKR
You probably think that Los Angeles is the center of the universe. And when it comes to entertainment, youth culture, and car fanaticism, you might be right.

But this month the folks at Forbes magazine looked at "the world's most influential cities" from a decidedly economic viewpoint. Despite our collective Angeleno ego, which thinks we should be number 1 on any list, we punched above our weight.

See also: L.A. Has the "Most Powerful" City Brand in the World

While we have the 16th largest economy in the world ...

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FILE PHOTO BY CHRIS YARZAB/FLICKR
  • File photo by Chris Yarzab/Flickr
See our latest: Man Suspected in Random Valley Shootings Charged With Murder

Updated at the bottom with a Alexander Hernandez named as an official suspect in the Sunday attacks.

L.A. County Sheriff's Department officials said overnight that they were investigating the possibility that a Friday night shooting in West Hollywood could be related to the rash of five other random attacks, including four murders, that have rocked Los Angeles in recent days.

The Los Angeles Police Department announced yesterday that a "person of interest" in some of the shootings had been jailed after a one-hour standoff Sunday night with its SWAT team in Sylmar. The man was identified as 34-year-old Alexander Hernandez. He was being held in lieu of $1 million after he allegedly shot and killed two dogs on Saturday, police said.

See also: Person of Interest in Random L.A. Murders Detained

Sheriff's detectives now want to know if the Valley shootings ...

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The problems orcas suffer in captivity, shown here in Blackfish, were witnessed by the author at Marineland of the Pacific. - PHOTO BY GABRIELA COWPERTHWAITE/COURTESY MAGNOLIA PICTURES
  • Photo by Gabriela Cowperthwaite/Courtesy Magnolia Pictures
  • The problems orcas suffer in captivity, shown here in Blackfish, were witnessed by the author at Marineland of the Pacific.
In the late 1970s, my housemate had a dog she didn’t want. With her fierce belief in all things natural, she decided to turn Barney, a rambunctious retriever mix, loose in the wild.

The only “wild” we had, however, was Topanga Canyon. Maybe someone found Barney and took him in. Or maybe he was killed by a car or starved to death. He could no more have survived on his own than his dimwitted owner could have.

During those years I worked at Marineland of the Pacific in Palos Verdes with two captive orca whales. They lived in a tank originally designed for smaller pilot whales, pseudorcas and dolphins. At 500,000 gallons it was the largest tank in the park, but it wasn’t big enough. By the time Orky reached adulthood he was slightly longer than the depth of the tank. His tail flukes were curved at the ends. He could not successfully stretch out.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Festivals

Burning Man Shut Down Due to Weather

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Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 12:32 PM
AARON LOGAN/FLICKR
Updated at the bottom with Burning Man opening sooner than expected.

The annual Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada was shut down today after light overnight rains left the area known as the Playa flooded and muddy, officials said.

Organizers advised festival-goers heading to the annual event to postpone their arrival until at least midday tomorrow. Burning Man was providing updates on Twitter.

Zach Tolby, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Reno, Nevada told us that the rains were very light—only two-tenths of an inch worth at the most—but that ...

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FILE PHOTO BY CHRIS YARZAB/FLICKR
See our latest: 6 Random Shootings Rock L.A. as West Hollywood Attack Could Be Connected

A man described by police as a "person of interest" in the seemingly random drive-up murders of three people in the San Fernando Valley yesterday morning was detained by cops after a SWAT standoff last night. Police were also looking for possible links between the Sunday violence and as many as two other slayings in Los Angeles last week.

The man's identity was not released. And because witnesses described as many as a two people in a gold or tan SUV used in the shootings, it's still possible at least one suspect in the shocking attacks is still on the loose.

See also: Random Murders of 3 Rock the San Fernando Valley; Freeway Shooter Link Possible

Los Angeles Police Department Capt. William Hayes told reporters at the scene last night that ...

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California ride-share apps say their future could ride on what happens this week. The California Senate will likely vote on two bills that would make it more costly to be in the ride-share business, and the California Public Utilities Commission is also looking at increasing insurance requirements for the companies' drivers.

The app firms have fought back with online petitions—you might have seen one on Facebook—that argue the insurance requirements are free-market killers that could put them out of business. That's a dramatic claim, one they likely don't air when asking venture capitalists for millions of dollars in investment cash.

See also: Uber, Lyft Riders Might Not Be Covered by Insurance, Industry Claims

Of particular ire to the apps is a bill by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla that would require that $750,000 in commercial liability insurance kicks in when a driver fires up an app and starts hunting for fares:

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  • iFail: Why John Deasy's Risky iPad Gambit Crashed and Burned at LAUSD

    In a surprising reversal, L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy has abruptly halted the district's billion-dollar technology program, which aimed to put an iPad into the hands of every student and teacher by the end of, yes, this year. It's a rare retreat for the headstrong superintendent intent on getting the...
  • Man Suspected in Random Valley Shootings Charged With Murder

    A man named as a suspect in random San Fernando Valley shootings Sunday that took the lives of three people was charged with murder in an earlier attack in Pacoima, the L.A. County District Attorney's office announced this afternoon. The revelation confirms that authorities believe 34-year-old suspect Alexander Hernandez could be...
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  • Burning Man Shut Down Due to Weather

    The annual Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada was shut down today after light overnight rains left the area known as the Playa flooded and muddy, officials said. Organizers advised festival-goers heading to the annual event to postpone their arrival until at least midday tomorrow. Burning Man was providing...
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