Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…and a raffle ticket? The L.A. Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are among a group of pro sports franchises pushing lawmakers to allow high-stakes raffles at games. State law limits raffle winners to 10 percent of the take, with the rest going to charity. The teams are backing a bill that would allow them to give away 50 percent of the money to winners. The teams’ say the raffles would stir up excitement among fans and raise more money for charity. But the California Association of Nonprofits opposes the bill – saying it creates an uneven playing field. The group says sports teams shouldn’t get a special exception while everyone else has to play by the old rules.
A state appellate court has tentatively ruled the LAUSD does not have to release the names of teachers in connection with their performance ratings. The decision reverses an earlier ruling that said the public has a right to know how specific teachers are doing in the classroom. The three-judge panel said there is a stronger public interest in keeping the teachers’ information confidential than releasing it because naming names could affect recruitment and retention of good instructors. The L.A. Times sued the school district to force it to release three years of teacher ranking data. The Times says that without names, it’s impossible for parents and the public to monitor how teachers are doing.
Portions of Interstates 10 and 110 near downtown that once had free carpool lanes will soon have permanent toll lanes. The MTA Board has voted to extend an experimental pilot project involving 25 miles of Los Angeles freeways. Metro is now weighing whether to add toll lanes – and subtract HOV lanes – on other Southland freeways. The board also voted to charge FasTrak users a $1 monthly maintenance fee that should start showing up on bills in June.
Captive-bred condors will be released for the first time along Northern California’s Redwood Coast under an agreement reached between the Yurok tribe and state and federal agencies. The tribe has been working for five years to figure out whether the endangered birds can survive in a place they have not lived for more than a century. A tribal biologist says they hope to do the first test releases within three years. Condors are sacred in Yurok tradition and the birds feathers are used in tribal ceremonies. Condors once ranged from Mexico to Canada, but are now limited to five areas between Baja and California’s Central Coast.
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels has installed a shrine dedicated to Pope John XXIII and John Paul II, both of whom are scheduled to be canonized as saints on Sunday. The shrine includes vestments worn by John Paul II at Dodger Stadium in 1987. There are also photos showing scenes from their papacies and relics from the soon-to-be saints. John Paul II, who was known for his humanitarian causes, died in 2005. John XXIII is perhaps best known for moving away from celebrating Mass exclusively in Latin. He died in 1963.