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POSTED September 17, 2013 7:10 p.m.



CALIF. CITIES, COUNTIES GETS MONEY TO HIRE POLICE: OAKLAND  (AP) — Cities and counties across California will receive nearly $20 million in federal grants to help hire more than 100 new law enforcement officers, officials said Tuesday.

Thirty-nine law enforcement agencies in the state will receive funding through the Community Oriented Policing Services program, also known as COPS. Oakland will get a $4.5 million grant — the largest single amount awarded in the country.

Alameda County was given nearly $2.3 million. California cities awarded at least $1 million include Sacramento, Inglewood, Modesto and Vallejo. About $125 million in COPS grants will be awarded to 263 cities and counties nationwide to be announced later this month, COPS acting director Joshua Ederheimer said.

Oakland leaders said they will use the city's grant to hire 10 officers over three years. The violence-plagued, cash-strapped port city has cut the size of its police force from about 830 officers in 2009 to slightly more than 600, making it one of the nation's most understaffed departments.

"The COPS program, slated to get $440 million in the 2014 federal budget, has been fiercely debated in Congress. The House Appropriations Committee recommended that the program get "zeroed out" in a spending bill to fund the Justice Department.

JUDGE RULES FOR RICHMOND IN MORTGAGE SUIT: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit over a Northern California city's plan to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgages.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Charles Breyer ruled Monday that the lawsuit was premature because the city of Richmond had not yet approved the plan.

Wells Fargo & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and The Bank of New York Mellon sued Richmond after city officials began discussing plans to use eminent domain to seize the mortgages and offer them back to homeowners at cheaper rates. The banks want to stop Richmond from seizing the loans.

John Ertman, an attorney for the banks, said that the judge's ruling only postpones the day that Richmond will have to defend the eminent domain plan in court.

SAN FRANCISCO VENUE WILL KEEP JERRY GARCIA'S NAME: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco amphitheater named in honor of Grateful Dead founder Jerry Garcia will keep the late artist's name.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/1gtVBe0) that a nonprofit group, Levitt Pavilions, has dropped its plan to renovate the venue and rename it. Levitt Pavilions spokeswoman Vanessa Silberman said the main reason for the group's decision was that the site didn't meet its requirements.

Levitt Pavilions needs two acres of open lawn seating at their venues. The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park sits on a half-acre site with concrete steps and bleacher seats.

Levitt Pavilions planned to rename the venue, "Levitt Pavilion San Francisco at Jerry Garcia Meadow."

Trixie Garcia, Garcia's daughter, said Levitt made the right decision. Jerry Garcia grew up in a neighborhood near the park.

UC MEDICAL WORKERS ALLEGE UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE: OAKLAND (AP) — A complaint has been filed on behalf of thousands of workers at University of California medical centers who allege they were threatened when they went on a two-day strike in May.

The complaint filed by the state Public Employment Relations Board outlined instances when UC administrators questioned workers about their participation in the walkout, told them their absence during the strike would be considered unauthorized and threatened disciplinary action.

A union representing some 13,000 hospital pharmacists, nursing assistants, operating room scrubs and other health care workers held the strike at medical facilities in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Nurses did not strike, but the walkout prompted the postponement of non-essential surgeries

WEST HOLLYWOOD BANS WILD, EXOTIC ANIMAL SHOWS: WEST HOLLYWOOD  (AP) — Pachyderm shows will have to pack it in thanks to a new West Hollywood ban.

The City Council voted Monday to bar large-scale commercial displays and performances that use wild or exotic animals. That includes such things as elephant acts in fights, circuses, trade shows and parades.

It doesn't apply to movie productions, which have their own guidelines.

The meeting was marked by a shouting match between animal rights activists and owners of a commercial elephant company. Activists claimed performing elephants are abused. Kari Johnson, who owns the firm Have Trunk Will Travel, said she treats them humanely and called the ordinance unfair.

BILLIONAIRE BROAD SAYS HIS LA MUSEUM WILL BE FREE: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad said Tuesday he's hit on a failsafe way to expose the most people possible to his collection of priceless contemporary art: He's going to let everybody in for free to the $140 million museum he's building in downtown Los Angeles.

Broad made the announcement during a hard-hat tour of the block-long, three-story building that is going up next door to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. To be called The Broad, it is scheduled to open toward the end of next year.

"Art is very inspirational," the philanthropist and passionate collector told The Associated Press during a brief interview before Tuesday's tour. "Art helps people be more creative in their thinking."

The new museum, meanwhile, continues a Broad-led transformation of a once-rundown neighborhood just south of City Hall. The area has seen a large park and numerous new and refurbished upscale residences and restaurants in recent years, as well as the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Hall, which Broad also helped get built.

"I've always believed that every city needs a vibrant center, and it occurred to me 50 years ago when we came here that Los Angeles was missing a vibrant center," the 80-year-old Michigan native said of his adopted hometown.

The philanthropist, whose wealth is estimated by Forbes at $6.9 billion, made a fortune in real estate as co-founder of homebuilder Kaufman & Broad and later as founder of the investment firm SunAmerica.

 

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