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Top Celebrities call for an end to gun violence in U.S. Featured

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Ricky Gervais doesn’t care if he’s ever asked back to host the Golden Awards Featured

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Benfica Striker Ola John has his mind on the clash with the Catalans Featured

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2012 Formula 1 season was one of the most exciting and eventful in history Featured

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Oscar Pistorius has never baulked at a hard challenge Featured

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Portuguese exports rose by 13.7 percent in August from a year ago Featured

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In Filing, News Corp. Says Publishing Business Showed $2.1 Billion Loss Featured

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U.S. economy grew faster in third quarter of 2012 Featured

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After losing to Obama, what should Mitt Romney do next? Featured

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EU’s new banking union will break the link between banks and public debt Featured

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Ground broken for bridge crossing L.A. River

LOS ANGELES — City officials said a multimodal bridge over the Los Angeles River, which will connect Atwater Village on the river’s eastern bank to Griffith Park on its western bank, is expected to be completed by late 2019.

The North Atwater Multimodal Bridge will include two decks — one for pedestrians and cyclists and the other for equestrians — and was made possible in part by a $4.75 million donation from philanthropist Morton La Kretz.

Dignitaries gathered at a groundbreaking May 14 for what will be the first cable-stayed bridge constructed in Los Angeles.

“The L.A. River is an extraordinary treasure with limitless potential for the communities that surround it,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “This bridge will give Angelenos better access to green space — creating a destination for people across Los Angeles to disconnect from city life and enjoy nature.”

The bridge will help link the equestrian stables in Atwater Village to 56 miles of horse trails in Griffith Park, and is intended to improve the area safety-wise for equestrians, who currently must ford the river in order to cross it.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, center, and City Councilman David Ryu, right, were among the city officials breaking ground May 14 on the North Atwater Multimodal Bridge, which will connect Atwater Village to Griffith Park. (Courtesy photo)

Mayor Eric Garcetti, center, and City Councilman David Ryu, right, were among the city officials breaking ground May 14 on the North Atwater Multimodal Bridge, which will connect Atwater Village to Griffith Park. (Courtesy photo)

The bridge has been in the works as far back as 1998, when then-Councilman John Ferraro introduced a motion to build such a span. Various funding plans fell through as the estimated cost for the bridge kept rising, until a final $16.1 million plan was approved by the City Council last year which included $3.6 million from the state and $6.9 million from the Public Works Trust Fund, along with the donation from La Kretz.

“Together, we are writing a new chapter for Los Angeles and its river,” Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu said. “We are building toward a city with better park access, multi-modal movement, and more people out of their cars and enjoying the great outdoors of Los Angeles. The La Kretz bridge is connecting us to that future.”

The groundbreaking was held on the first day of National Infrastructure Week.

Garcetti’s office said the new bridge will achieve goals set in the L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan, which is a blueprint to restore the ecosystem of the river while expanding the parks around it along with increasing public access.

“The North Atwater Bridge not only helps connect the surrounding communities to open spaces along the L.A. River, but it creates another way for Angelenos to enjoy and experience the river,” City Engineer Gary Lee Moore said. “The Bureau of Engineering is pleased to deliver another key project as part of the city’s plan for L.A. River revitalization.”

Governor to provide state money to fight homelessness

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti praised the hundreds of millions of dollars set aside to fight homelessness by Gov. Jerry Brown, although the amount is short of what the mayor has called for and he did not say if he would continue to advocate for a larger state investment in tackling the problem.

Brown’s revised May budget proposal for the 2018-19 fiscal year cites a new surplus of $8.8 billion, which is up from January’s $6.1 billion projection, and he wants to put more than $7 billion of that surplus into the state’s two reserve accounts. At least $359 million in surplus money would go to local and state governments for homelessness initiatives, which is well short of the $1.5 billion Garcetti and mayors from the state’s other large cities want.

“It should be unacceptable to everyone that tens of thousands of Californians are living in desperate need on our sidewalks, in alleys and under freeway overpasses,” Garcetti said. “Gov. Brown’s budget revision recognizes the urgency of the homelessness crisis, and I am grateful that he agrees that we must invest surplus dollars in helping local governments create the emergency bridge shelter, long-term supportive housing, and critical services that can bring people home for good.

“I look forward to working with the governor, the Legislature and mayors across California to make certain that there are enough dollars to make meaningful and lasting strides toward ending the moral and humanitarian crisis on our streets.”

Garcetti traveled to Sacramento last month and was joined by mayors from California’s 10 other largest cities to advocate for a state bill, AB 3171, that would allocate $1.5 billion from the state surplus budget to combat homelessness.

California’s homeless population stands at 134,278, according to 2017 statewide counts. Los Angeles’ transient population increased by 20 percent last year, to more than 34,000.

Garcetti focused heavily on homelessness during his State of the City speech last month and he has also dedicated $429 million toward the issue in his own proposed 2018-19 spending, with more than half of that coming from Measure HHH, a 2016 ballot initiative expected to raise $1.2 billion for permanent supportive housing over 10 years.

The mayor also for the first time has proposed a large-scale temporary homeless shelter system and has dedicated $20 million for it, although he has said he hopes AB 3171 could help double or triple the amount dedicated to the program.

While advocating for the investment in the reserve funds, Brown stressed the need to be fiscally prudent and save the extra billions for when the economy takes a downturn.

“As Isaac Newton observed: What goes up must come down,” Brown said. “Let’s not blow it now.”

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas also praised the governor’s action.

“With California now accounting for a quarter of the nation’s homeless population, I’m glad to see that Governor Jerry Brown is ready to confront this crisis,” Ridley-Thomas said. “But while one-time funding from this budget is welcome, we need dedicated ongoing state funding to address the crisis of homelessness in a comprehensive manner.”

 

Three finalists announced for next LAPD chief

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Arcos, LAPD First Assistant Chief Michel Moore and San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott have been identified as the three finalists being considered as replacements for retiring Police Chief Charlie Beck.

Citing three unnamed sources, the Los Angeles Times identified the trio as the law enforcement veterans whose names have been forwarded to Mayor Eric Garcetti by the Board of Police Commissioners. The commission narrowed the field from 31 people who originally applied.

Garcetti will select the next chief from the three finalists, and the selection must also be approved by the City Council.

Arcos, a Latino, leads the LAPD’s Central Bureau, which includes downtown and parts of northeast Los Angeles. Scott, who is black, was with the department for 27 years but left more than a year ago to become police chief in San Francisco. Moore is in charge of LAPD’s patrol operations.

The Times reported that Moore’s father was Basque, and he is listed as Hispanic on LAPD rosters, but his heritage has not played a significant role in defining him in the department.

“We had an outstanding pool of candidates to choose from,” Police Commission President Steve Soboroff said. “This city would be well-served by any of the candidates, but the three individuals we presented to the mayor today are truly outstanding.”

Some city leaders, including Councilman Joe Buscaino, a former LAPD officer, had called on the city to hire its first female chief. Sandy Jo MacArthur, who retired three years ago as an assistant chief, applied for the job but was not among the three finalists, according to The Times.

LAPD First Assistant Chief Michel Moore

LAPD First Assistant Chief Michel Moore

Garcetti said last week that he expects to announce his selection for the next police chief by the end of the month or sooner. Garcetti said he will interview all three of the top candidates. He also said he would engage community leaders and City Council members for their opinion, and that his chemistry with the candidates would be important.

“The chemistry between the chief and a mayor for the city is really important for the city to work well,” he said. “We’ve known that in L.A. when the chemistry is not there, or worse than bad chemistry — hostility. And the relationship I’ve had with Charlie has been absolutely invaluable.”

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott

San Francisco Police Chief
Bill Scott

Beck announced in January that he will retire June 27, a year and a half before his second five-year term ends. He has led the Los Angeles Police Department since 2009.

 

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