Friday, 3.17.06

Morning BuzzHeat on Bratton is turned up...Sunshine Canyon could come to a vote today...Ralphs in trouble again...Pellicano on tape again...Did Tom Cruise kill "South Park" for the church?...Chris Arellano can't drop out...Man, Caltech is getting expensive...and it's St. Patrick's Day in L.A., with a parade and everything.

Turn the page...

♦ Tarnished star?: The Times reports that "over the last two years, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton has used more than $1 million in grants to hire longtime friends and former business associates as LAPD consultants, and now refuses to tell the City Council exactly what work was performed." Mayor Villaraigosa also sent Bratton a letter alerting him to look for ways to cut his budget. Says the Times:
In addition to evaluating the number of city cars being driven home by employees, the mayor asked Bratton to look at whether the command staff can make do with fewer adjutants, use technology to become more efficient and evaluate the number of sworn officers doing desk jobs that could be filled by civilians. Currently, 1,057 LAPD employees are authorized to take city vehicles home at night, a department spokesman said, adding that those people include 382 members of the command staff and motorcycle officers, and 675 detectives and officers below the rank of lieutenant.
♦ Sunshine Canyon: The Daily News says a deal agreed upon late Thursday wiill commit the city to pay several million dollars more a year to divert 600 tons of daily waste daily out of Sunshine Canyon. "Faced with a deadline for revisiting its contract with Browning-Ferris Industries, the City Council is set to vote today on the deal that would begin to wean the city from its reliance on the Granada Hills landfill." Provided there are enough council members around; many were out of town this week at a League of Cities meeting.
♦ Ralphs in more trouble: Ralphs has bigger problems than its indictment on charges the chain put fictitous employees on the books during the grocery strike of 2003-04. The Daily Journal says a federal grand jury is investigating whether Ralphs' public statements after the December indictment, "including claims that it was cooperating with the investigation, 'were false and misleading and whether those statements establish securities fraud by Ralphs.'" No link for DJ stories.
♦ More Pellicano tape: This time the LAPD recorded the Hollywood private eye. Column One in the Times:
The tape of the police station encounter provides a rare opportunity to hear the now-imprisoned Pellicano in action. He can be heard boasting of his celebrity clientele and the money he earns, prodding the detectives for information even as he insists he isn't and covering his rear after a break-in was reported at the apartment of a witness against his client. "It wasn't me," Pellicano says. "Anybody who does anything illegal, get 'em.
♦ Arellano's final gift: Turns out it isn't up to Christopher Arellano to drop out of the East Side school board runoff. He finished second in the primary so we have to hold an election, whether he intends to campaign or not. Or so the City Attorney says.
♦ Wear a little green: The city's St. Patrick's Day parade—and by city we mean the Fire Department—begins at 11:30 am at Cesar Chavez Avenue and Main Street near Union Station and proceeds to Pershing Square. Website, and a Recreation and Parks Department blog in case it rains.
With St. Patrick's Day falling on a Friday, and Patrick being the patron saint of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony has told Catholics they may eat meat today even though it is Lent.
♦ Off to Manhattan: Mayor Villaraigosa is going to New York next week to look at how the city there manages the schools.
♦ At least they are smart: Caltech's tuition and fees will reach $42,681 next year, up 33% in five years.
♦ Cruise clout: Mark Ebner's Hollywood, Interrupted blog says that Tom Cruise got Comedy Central to cancel Wednesday night's repeat airing of a "South Park" episode poking fun at Scientology by threatening not to promote the next Mission Impossible movie. Viacom owns the channel and Paramount, home of MI3. Ebner also says that the authenticity of a Huffington Post blog post by Tom Hanks is now under scrutiny, following the George Clooney debacle.
♦ C'mon boys: After being called an "overpaid yuppie scum journalist," The Times of London's Chris Ayres isn't too keen on sharing a pint with Mack Reed.
♦ Early risers: Daily News editor Ron Kaye, NBC4 news director Robert Long, the LAT's Jim Newton and KPCC political reporter Frank Stoltze are on the menu at the chamber of commerce Pancakes and Politics breakfast. At the Wilshire Grand, you get green St. Paddy's Day burritos with Councilman Jose Huizar's talk at the Current Affairs Forum.
♦ Ann Calvello, a star skater in the heyday of roller derby in Los Angeles, died at age 76 in the Bay Area. Claire Noland gives her a good send-off in the LAT.

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