Dodgers kick off home season amid off-field turmoil

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dodgersThe Dodgers have high hopes of reaching the World Series this year, but as they get set for their home opener today at Chavez Ravine all is not well off the field. In spite of a roster stocked with high-priced talent, most of the local chatter about the team early on has revolved around lack of access to SportsNet L.A., the club’s new cable TV channel. About 70 percent of local fans can’t watch the games because their cable or satellite providers haven’t agreed on a price with TimeWarner Cable. The L.A. Times reports the region’s 1.2 million DirectTV customers may not get Dodger games at all this year. Even Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully is shut out at home. Meanwhile, neighbors near Dodger Stadium are upset about the team’s decision to reopen an old gate on Scott Avenue. The Dodgers say it will help ease the crush of cars exiting the stadium onto Sunset Boulevard. But locals say it will bring more traffic to residential streets.

clintonThe United States is “slow on the uptake” compared to other countries when it comes to adopting solar energy, according to former President Bill Clinton. Clinton and Mayor Eric Garcetti headlined a forum in L.A. as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. The former president told a packed room of business and government officials that the Germans produce about as much solar electricity in one day as 20 nuclear power plants. But Clinton says there are true financing challenges going forward for green energy that addresses climate change. Clinton and Garcetti go way back – they met when both were at Oxford University.

More than 400,000 people signed up for health insurance through Covered California in March. That’s the busiest month yet for the health exchange, which has enrolled about 1.2 million people total. Another 500,000 people signed up for coverage in the last week of March and have until April 15th to complete their applications. Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee says about 252,000 Latinos have enrolled, which represents a big bump in the final month. Lee says the number of young people between the ages of 18 to 34 signing up has also increased. They now make up more than a quarter of all enrollees in California.

birottePresident Barack Obama has nominated the chief federal prosecutor in Los Angeles to become a federal District Court judge. Andre Birotte Jr. has overseen several recent high-profile cases, including those of Democratic state Senator Ron Calderon, who faces federal corruption and bribery charges, and the probe of the L.A, County jail system, in which 18 current and former sheriff’s officials face abuse and corruption charges. Birotte has also been a public defender and served as the LAPD’s inspector general. California Senator Dianne Feinstein recommended Birotte for the federal bench

hippoA four-day-old hippopotamus has died at the San Diego Zoo. Staffers found the calf dead during routine observations yesterday. The cause of death isn’t known. Zoo officials say the mother, Funani, is experienced and attentive. Shekept close watch on the baby – so much so that zookeepers hadn’t been able to get close enough to find out if it was a boy or a girl. Funani has given birth to five calves since she arrived at the zoo in 1995.