President Barack Obama is weighing in on the controversy over racially charged comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sterling is facing a torrent of criticism – including a protest by the Clippers players before yesterday’s game with the Golden State Warriors. Obama said the remarks attributed to Sterling show the United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and discrimination. Sterling allegedly made the comments in a taped conversation with a female friend. On the tape, Sterling tells her not to bring black people to the team’s games, including Magic Johnson. The NBA is vowing a speedy investigation. Former hoops pro and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who works as an adviser to the player’s union, says the league must come down hard on Sterling. Before their loss to the Golden State Warriors yesterday in the NBA playoffs, Clippers players wore their warm-up shirts inside out to hide the team’s logo. The Clippers say it’s not clear of the voice on the tape is his. And the team says the comments don’t reflect Sterling’s actual views. Sterling hasn’t commented.
Toyota is expected to deliver a blow to the Southern California economy when it announces today that it’s moving its North American headquarters from Torrance to Texas. Reports say the company will transfer large numbers of sales and marketing employees from the South Bay to suburban Dallas. Toyota employs about 5,300 hundred people in Torrance. It’s unclear how many will be asked to move to Texas, where Governor Rick Perry has launched a high-profile campaign to lure California businesses with financial incentives. Toyota is not the first to make the jump: Occidental Petroleum, for one, has said it will move its headquarters from L.A. to Houston.
LAUSD continued its dominance in the Academic Decathlon competition as Woodland Hills’ El Camino Real Charter School won its seventh national title this weekend in Honolulu. El Camino edged out San Fernando Valley neighbor Granada Hills Charter High School, which finished second. Granada Hills was shooting for an unprecedented fourth straight national title. California schools have won 12 straight National Academic Decathlon titles and 16 of the last 19. Most were won by El Camino and Granada Hills.
Visitors will get their first look at a $19 million rainforest exhibit at the L.A. Zoo tomorrow. The two-acre Rainforest of the Americas has piranhas, river otters, tapirs and a pair of endangered cotton-top tamarins, among other creatures It features a forested area, a stream and a lagoon. The exhibit is the final project in Phase 1 of the Zoo’s long-term master plan. In recent years, the zoo has built new enclosures for gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants and other animals. Zoo officials hope the new exhibit will help boost attendance and revenue. City subsidies for Zoo operations have dropped from $10 million six years ago to about $250,000 this year.
A square at 5th and Spring Street in downtown L.A. will be dedicated today in honor of John Parkinson, the architect who designed City Hall, the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and many other notable buildings in the city. The intersection is part of the historic core of Los Angeles, where a lot of Parkinson-designed buildings stand: including the 13-story Continental Building, and the 12-story Alexandria Hotel. Parkinson put his stamp on more than 100 buildings in L.A. in the early 20th Century. The native of England came to the U.S. when he was 21-years-old.