News and notes: Politics, media and place

Catching up to some selected items from the media, our in box and other LA Observed sources. Posted occasionally — often in the morning.

In the news

SoCal Gas says it is "close to being able to attempt to stop the leak" at Porter Ranch using a relief well, which has ben drilled to within feet of the natural gas well that has been leaking since October. DN, LAT

Politics, cops and courts

The California general election isn’t until November, but the array of ballot measures facing voters is taking shape -- and interesting. Capitol Weekly

Big turnout is expected Wednesday in Morro Bay at a showdown over the future of Coastal Commission chief future Charles Lester, who may be facing ouster to the dismay of environmentalists. LAT

Is state Treasurer John Chiang readying a gubernatorial run? Bee

Antonio Villaraigosa seems to be saying that a 2018 bid for governor would focus on education, poverty and Californians who have been left behind in the “new economy.” LAT

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez abruptly announced he was dropping out of the U.S. Senate race at the beginning of a live debate among the Republican candidates in San Diego on Monday evening. LAT, Bee

The DWP has spent months fighting to keep certain information about its turf removal rebate program from being released, arguing in court that customers' names and addresses should remain confidential. One of them is City Atty. Mike Feuer, who received a lawn removal rebate from the DWP in 2014. LAT

Cities want to raise the minimum wage. But it's complicated. LAT

Skid Row activists called on the city of Los Angeles on Monday to stop arresting homeless people for keeping tents and other belongings on sidewalks, and asked that enforcement money be directed instead toward building housing. LAT

Here are the fees Metro is considering adding at its parking lots along rail lines. Los Angeles Magazine

BlueLine Grid, the company started by former City Councilman Jack Weiss with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and venture capitalist David Riker, has created an app that allows emergency personnel to use their phones to directly contact other personnel via chat, email or message. Via LA Daily Journal (not online)

VoterPros is a new company from Valley political consultant John Shallman and partners that "provides professional-level design, targeting, and direct mailing services to local candidates in a cheap and do-it-yourself fashion." Website

Media and books

Former Chicago Sun-Times owner Michael Ferro has bought 16 percent of Tribune Publishing and become the top shareholder, which could make it harder for the company to be sold or divided up. Ferro, a Chicagoan, joins the board of directors and been named Non-Executive Chairman. In that role he succeeds former LA Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein, who remains on the board. Business Wire, James Warren, Chicago Tribune

Tribune Publishing builds a Southern California war chest to make possible bid for Orange County Register. Ken Doctor, LA Observed on KCRW

All Tribune Publishing newspapers, including the LA Times, have a combined total of just 88,000 digital-only subscribers. The Boston Globe alone has 65,000. Poynter 4th item

The NYT on Monday launched The New York Times en Español with a staff based in Mexico City. Newsonomics

USC Annenberg’s 2016 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting goes to a team at Associated Press for a series of stories that showed how seafood sold in U.S. grocery stores and restaurants had been produced by slaves. Via USC

Sheldon Adelson is tightening his grip on the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the new editor is J. Keith Moyer. Ken Doctor, LAT

The Conversation expands across the U.S., freshly funded by universities and foundations Nieman Lab

Los Angeles magazine announced the hiring of Lynnette Galloway, Rose DeMaria and Josh Scherer as senior art director, assistant art director and associate food editor, respectively.

Ann Simmons is returning to the LA Times foreign staff as a global development writer/editor on the foreign desk, a slot supported by funding from the U.N. Foundation. "Ann will write on global sustainability issues. She will also curate a collection page on that will serve as a center of news, analysis and debate for those interested in the granddaddy of all news topics, the development and survival of our planet," foreign editor Kim Murphy memoed.

Dennis-Romero-photo-by-Aaron-Salcido.jpgDennis Romero, the LA Weekly news reporter and all-around dance journalist, on electronic dance music, crime, his favorite sandwich and the best journalism advice he ever received. In the Zocalo green room

The board of directors of the Washington Press Club Foundation will AP's Linda Deutsch the group's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will call baseball and softball games on radio for Cal State Northridge this spring.

Former LA Times reporter Cara DiMassa wrote a Blowback piece about sexism in the Times' Sports section. LAT

Retired LA Times TV columnist Howard Rosenberg has started a blog, Rosenbeast.

Retired USC journalism prof Marc Cooper has started a twice-weekly email newsletter called Coop's Scoop. Sign up here

Steve Lopez will read from and discuss his book, "The Soloist," on Thursday, Feb. 11, as part of Cal State LA’s Mind Matters Lecture Series.

The PEN Center USA Literary Awards for 2016 are open for submissions until Feb. 28. This year the awards for writers living west of the Mississippi River are open for online articles. PEN

Robert Stewart, a former Los Angeles Times reporter in LA and Washington, died at age 62. Obits for Life

James Leavy, a former editor of the LA Times' Westside section and former editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, died at age 87.


The real challenge for Los Angeles' new football stadium is everything around it, says Christopher Hawthorne. LAT

Suffering bobcats, coyotes, owls spur Thousand Oaks neighborhood to rethink war on rats. LAT

How a Lincoln High teacher gets all his students to pass the AP Calculus exam. LAT/Steve Lopez

The Sylmar earthquake was 45 years ago today. DN

Phil Jackson fired Derek Fisher as coach of the New York Knicks. The interim successor is another former Laker, Kurt Rambis. ESPN

Former Dodgers President Peter O’Malley will present Vin Scully with the L.A. Sports Council’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” during the 11th Annual LA Sports Awards, which will be held on Thursday, February 25 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.

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