A long-running fight over a city-imposed curfew on Venice Beach could heat up again. The California Commission has consistently opposed the midnight to 5 a.m. curfew – arguing that the state’s Coastal Act calls for the public to have access to the ocean 24 hours a day. In a letter earlier this month, commission officials asked the city to reopen talks on the curfew. City officials say it’s a safety issue. Four years ago, police expanded the curfew from the beach to the Venice boardwalk, citing an increase in homelessness in the area. Some Venice residents are now siding with the Coastal Commission. They say the beach curfew has pushed homeless people into residential neighborhoods.
Rapper Jay-Z will join L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti at L.A. City Hall today to discuss plans for a huge concert in downtown’s Grand Park this Labor Day. The Budweiser Made in America Music Festival could draw as many as 50,000 fans to Grand Park over two days, making it biggest event in the park’s short history. The prospect of all those revelers pouring into downtown concerns City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the area. Huizar has warned that street closures and alcohol sales could cause a nightmare for downtown residents. Last month, he introduced a motion in the City Council that would bar any permits from being issued for the concert until questions are answered about its impact on surrounding neighborhoods.
Some folks in the Owens Valley in Inyo County are sounding off over plans by the L.A. Department of Water and Power to meet its renewable energy goals by covering two square miles of high desert with one million solar panels. A parade of residents spoke out against the plan at a public hearing, saying their economy depends on protecting the landscape. Communities throughout the Sierra Nevada are up in arms over the $680 million project. They say it would generate fewer than 10 permanent jobs and no property-tax revenue.
Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, a central figure in an organized crime and public corruption case that snared state Sen. Leland Yee, says he did nothing wrong. Chow is charged with money laundering, conspiracy to sell stolen booze, and trafficking in illegal cigarettes. Chow’s lawyers say their client is an innocent community organizer who got caught up in a politically charged investigation. Yee is accused of accepting bribes and trying to connect an undercover FBI agent with an arms dealer in exchange for cash. He’s pleaded not guilty.
A proposal to grant the gray wolf endangered species status will be the subject of a hearing by the California Fish and Game Commission in Ventura today. The move would be the first step toward returning the species to a sustainable population in this state. Many ranchers are opposed to reintroduction, saying that the wolves prey on livestock. A lone wolf from Oregon was tracked last year roaming parts of far northern California. The last native gray wolf in California was killed in 1924.