Foes of denser, taller Hollywood cheer court ruling

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A judge says a zoning blueprint for denser development in Hollywood is fatally flawed. Approved last year, the Hollywood development plan cleared the way for denser projects and taller buildings. But Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman says the city didn’t fully consider the environmental impacts of such development. He’s ordered the city to rescind the plan and to stop issuing new permits. A trio of neighborhood groups sued the city, saying the plan would lead to more noise and congestion. Backers, including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, say it would help complete the transformation of Hollywood from a crime-ridden neighborhood to a vibrant job center…Federal judges are giving California two extra months to solve its prison overcrowding problem. The state now has until April to either release or find new housing for about 9,600 inmates. The extensions are the latest twist in a decades-long dispute over conditions and health care in the prisons. California has already reduced its prison population by thousands of inmates in the past two years – mostly by transferring low-level offenders to county jails. But the lockups are still at about 150 percent of capacity…If you’re thinking about getting a Christmas gift for that special L.A. city official in your life, and you’re doing business with the city, you better keep the spending to under $100. The City Council has voted to keep in place an annual $100 dollar limit on the value of gifts that city officials can receive. The limit applies to contractors and others who have business with the city. The council was considering a proposal to raise the gift limit to $150. But support for that move dissolved in the face of widespread criticism…AMERICAN HUSTLEThe historical epic “12 Years a Slave” and the con-artist caper “American Hustle” lead the 71st annual Golden Globes with seven nominations each. Also in the mix is”Nebraska,” with five nominations, including best actor for Bruce Dern. “Gravity” picked up four nominations, as did the thriller “Captain Phillips.” On the TV side, HBO stood out with nine Golden Globe nominations. Newcomer Netflix snagged six, as did Starz and Showtime. That was more than ABC, CBS and NBC…If you’ve ever been pulled over for not wearing a seat belt, there’s a pretty good chance the police officer who issued the citation wasn’t wearing one either. A study by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training says about half of law enforcement officers nationwide don’t buckle up. That compares to an estimated 83 percent of Americans who do. Not allcalpostcardpolice agencies require their officers to use seat belts, but many do, including the LAPD. Even so, a department review found that more than a third of L.A. officers involved in traffic accidents last year weren’t wearing their belts…And finally, how satisfied are you with life in California? The answer to that question, it seems, has much to do with your age, your politics and where you live. Forty-three percent of respondents in a new Field Poll say that California is one of the best places to live; about a quarter say it’s a nice place, but not the best; 21 percent call California average; and 8 percent it’s fairly lousy. Those most likely to look favorably upon life in the Golden State are people 65 and older; those living in coastal communities, and Democrats.