Morning Buzz: Tuesday 1.31.12

Fired teacher arrested for lewd conduct on 23 children, Michelle Obama comes to town, a redevelopment agencies explainer, film critics who lost their cars to the Hollywood arsonist get some wheels, Ed Padgett talks about LAT firing, and more inside.

Top news

Mark Berndt, a fired Miramonte Elementary School teacher who taught for three decades in South L.A., has been arrested and charged with lewd acts on 23 children after a year-long investigation. He reportedly told students they would be playing "a game" before tying them up and feeding them from a spoon possibly containing semen, sources said. LAT

Politics and politicos

In addition to attending fundraisers, First Lady Michelle Obama — who is scheduled to arrive in LA today — will tape "The Tonight Show" and the Ellen DeGeneres daytime show, and speak in Inglewood at the site of a planned market selling fresh fruits and vegetables. L.A. Now

The California Teachers Association agreed to back Gov. Jerry Brown's multibillion-dollar tax plan, which at least "should provide the governor hefty financial support for his fall campaign." Bee, Educated Guess

Would it be churlish — or just accurate — to say "the much-ballyhooed Think Long Committee for California fell short on fortitude?" Dan Walters/Bee

An explainer on the end of redevelopment agencies. California Watch

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Monday the soon-to-be completed Orange Line busway extension has at least $180 million in excess funding that can be spent on other transportation projects in the San Fernando Valley. DN

LA's neglected sidewalks could open the city to millions in damages from suits over lack of disabled access. LAT

Confusion is word of the day around the L.A. City Council remapping process. DN

Austin Beutner explains his split with campaign consultants Ace Smith and Sean Clegg: different views about how to go forward. City Maven

District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson posted a campaign video to YouTube.

Mayor Villaraigosa meets at 10 a.m. with Vanda Pignato, the First Lady of El Salvador.

Also from yesterday: Dueling releases on early money for 2013 mayor race

Media and media people

Film critics Alonso Duralde and Dave White lost their cars to the Hollywood-area arsonist a few weeks ago, but now have scraped together the cash to get one between them. Fishbowl LA

Blogger and longtime LA Times pressman Ed Padgett talks about being fired by phone while on the way to a union meeting, on the same day the pressroom was to ratify a new contract. He has a grievance pending. Frying Pan News

More

More details are surfacing of Sheriff's captain Bernice Abram's alleged connections with a suspected drug trafficker in Compton. LAT

Five years after leaked photographs of an Orange County teen killed in a car accident got online, her family has settled a lawsuit filed against the California Highway Patrol for $2.37 million. LAT

Peter O'Malley's bid to buy back the Dodgers is supported by financing from the South Korean conglomerate E-Land, whose chairman would become a major investor in the team. LAT

The LAPD announced its plans for DUI checkpoints over Super Bowl weekend. LAPDOnline.org


More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent Morning Buzz stories on LA Observed:
Morning Buzz: Friday 4.27.12
Morning Buzz: Thursday 4.26.12
Morning Buzz: Wednesday 4.25.12
Morning Buzz: Tuesday 4.24.12
Morning Buzz: Monday 4.23.12

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