Beds for bucks: L.A. mulls major tax breaks for hotels

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The L.A. City Council considers giving nearly $180 million in tax subsidies to two big downtown hotel projects. And that could be just the start. The biggest immediate beneficiary would be the long-delayed Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue project, which includes housing retail and restaurants, in addition to a hotel. The development would receive $138 million over the next 25 years, according to the L.A. Times. A project called Metropolis that includes a hotel and 38-story residential tower next the 110 Freeway would get a $39 million tax break. The committee is also considering a new policy that would extend tax subsidies to other hotel builders in certain parts of the city, as long as they meet certain criteria, such as creating jobs.

JAILSJurors are ready to start deliberating in the trial of six sheriff’s officials facing federal obstruction of justice charges. They’re accused of trying to stymie an FBI investigation into corruption and inmate abuse in L.A. jails. In closing arguments, a defense lawyer characterized the sheriff’s officials as “worker bees,” saying they were just following what they believed to be lawful orders from their superiors. The six allegedly worked to hide a federal informant from his FBI handlers, tampered with witnesses and tried to intimidate an FBI agent. The month-long trial has included detailed testimony about violence and corruption in the jail system.

An an effort to roll back part of California’s landmark program to reduce polluting greenhouse gases is getting a boost from pro-business Democrats in the state Legislature. Starting in January, gasoline and diesel fuel will be included in the state’s cap-and-trade program, which allows businesses to buy and sell the right to release greenhouse gases. The change is expected to push up the cost of gas in the Golden State by about 15 cents a gallon. Some lawmakers say the increase will put too much of a burden on consumers and hurt the state’s economy. They’re petitioning the head of the State Air Resources Board – asking that motor vehicle fuels be left out of cap-and-trade. Environmentalists say the state’s oil industry is behind the move.

soccersMexico’s 3-1 win over Croatia in the World Cup sent El Tri – as the Mexican team is known – into the Round of 16 in the World Cup. It also sent hundreds of people into the streets to celebrate in several L.A.-area neighborhoods, and that caused some problems. The first sign of trouble came in Huntington Park when a crowd numbering the hundreds spilled into the streets. Most people celebrated peacefully on the sidewalk, but dozens of rambunctious revelers ran into traffic lanes. Some rocked cars and stopped vehicles from getting through intersections. Four people were arrested. In Pacoima, the LAPD called a tactical alert and shut down some freeway off-ramps when a crowd waving Mexican flags and shooting fireworks filled a busy intersection. The incident ended peacefully without arrests. US-POLITICS-GUNS-OBAMA

A new Field Poll finds that half of all Californians approve of the job that President Obama is doing — a sharp contrast with his lower approval ratings in the rest of the country. But the survey also finds that 52 percent of Californians believe the country is on the wrong track. The Field Poll says public opinion of Obama has held steady in the Golden State over the past year. Half of those surveyed say they approve of the job he’s doing; 39 percent disapprove; and 11 percent had no opinion.