Morning Buzz

Morning Buzz: Wednesday 11.20.13

Curated news, notes and observations most weekdays from LA Observed.

Politics and government

Contradicting earlier claims, Los Angeles school district officials said Tuesday that their right to use English and math curriculum installed on district iPads expires after three years. Renewing licenses could add $60 million to the cost of the program. LAT

Democrat Matt Dababneh leads the special election in the Valley's 45th Assembly district by 220 votes over Republican Susan Shelley, in semi-final results with all precincts counted. Registrar-Recorder

Frustrated by their struggle to learn how two Los Angeles Department of Water and Power nonprofit institutes spent more than $40 million of ratepayers' money, commissioners of the publicly owned utility voted Tuesday to cut off funding to the organizations and asked the city controller to perform a sweeping audit of the accounts. LAT, DN, KPCC

Also: Steve Lopez says finally. LAT column

DWP customers frustrated by new billing software. LAT

Mayor Eric Garcetti will launch a new parking enforcement website on Wednesday. DN

City officials are still trying to get a list of possible earthquake hazard LA buildings from UC researchers. LAT

Media op: Newly appointed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will kayak on the Los Angeles River with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday morning "to highlight the revitalization of the river and discuss the ongoing efforts to improve the River's water quality."

Patt Morrison says of the plastic bag ban and the plan to give away a million free tote bags: "City Hall, don't blow this chance to brand LA." LAT Op-ed

Should the Board of Supervisors approve an electronic monitoring contract with the company that Orange County just fired for a string of failures? Witness LA

Los Angeles International Airport is on track for a record year for international passenger traffic, according to airport officials. LA Airspace

Former president George W. Bush went on Jay Leno while he was in town. NBC 4

Media and books

Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Murdoch said in a joint statement that "We are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce. We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters. We will not comment on this any further." NYDN

Political editor Carolyn Ryan was named the Washington bureau chief for the New York Times. David Leonhardt will be the managing editor of a newsroom project to replace Nate Silver's with data analysis. Plus other newsroom shifts. Politico

Jacki Wells Cisneros, the former NBC 4 assignment desk editor who won the $266 million lottery in 2010, and her husband pledged a $500,000 donation to the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and will have the assignment desk in the media center of Wallis Annenberg Hall, scheduled to be completed in Fall 2014, named in their honor. Via USC

melissa-mccarty-book.jpgFormer KCAL 9 reporter Melissa McCarty, now a host on Larry King’s ORA TV, has a new memoir coming, "News Girls Don’t Cry" (January 1, 2014, Bettie Youngs Books.) "As Melissa worked her way up through the trenches of live television news, she was also running away from a dark and personal past. Having grown up in some of the toughest neighborhoods in the country, she watched so many she knew - including her brother – succumb to drugs, gangs and violence. She learned to develop a tough exterior and became unable to ever let her guard down – a trait that would later hurt her both personally and professionally."

Former New Times managing editor Jack Cheevers has a new book coming Dec. 3 from New American Library: “Act of War: Lyndon Johnson, North Korea, and the Capture of the Spy Ship Pueblo."

"Dear Life" by Alice Munro and "Hyperbole and a Half" by Allie Brosh are the paperback bestsellers in Southern California independent bookstores. All categories

The new Los Angeles News Group metered pay wall will not apply to blogs such as Rick Orlov's Sausage Factory, according to VP and executive editor Michael Anastasi.

Also: On Our New Pay Wall: Getting it Wrong, by Jonathan Dobrer. Friendly Fire

Yet another bicycle advocate gets a free write-up by the LA Times opinion staff. Opinion LA

LA Times staff writers on Twitter:

Turns out Penske Media didn't just let Nikki Finke go start a competitor unconditionally. The company is initiating arbitration to "enforce its covenants not to compete and to obtain monetary damages for numerous breaches of her contractual agreements with the company." LAT

The Atlantic Wire is now The Wire after paying six figures for the web domain. Capital NY

Capital New York announced its new format and makeup, including a paid service that kicks in Dec. 3. CNY

The Online Journalism Review, once the pride of USC Annenberg, has been turned into a page-rank attractor by a business in Australia. Nieman Lab

Courts and cops

Los Angeles police released a description of a suspect sought in connection with a Silver Lake assault that "may be connected" to the slaying of art teacher Joseph Gatto. LAT, KPCC

The LAPD is digitizing its huge archive of "murder books," the files opened on homicide cases. LAT Column One

More news, notes and observations

Diane Disney Miller, the philanthropist who was instrumental in getting the Walt Disney Concert Hall finished, died at age 79 of complications from a fall. She was the eldest child of Walt Disney. LAT

Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg are giving $10 million each to the funding campaign to build an Academy Museum of Motion Pictures at Wilshire and Fairfax and will have their names on galleries branching off its ground floor lobby. LAT

The Proud Bird Restaurant at LAX will almost certainly close its dining room as scheduled on Thursday after 46 years in business. But negotiations continue. LA Airspace

The "truth behind the Meatball/Glendale Bear "copyright dispute." Tropico Station

USC and the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena announced a new affiliation.

Deanne Stillman's plays explore the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. UCR ArtsBlock

Mark Allen, the founder of Machine Project, on creating a field guide to LA architecture. ArtBound

The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 33rd annual Messiah sing-along will be held Wednesday, December 11, at 7:30 pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Tweet of the day

More by Kevin Roderick:
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Read the memo: LA Times hires again
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Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
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Morning Buzz: Wednesday 4.16.14