A mountain known as P-22 that’s been making its home in Griffith Park is suffering from mange, which biologists attribute to exposure to rat poison. The cat appeared strong and healthy when it was photographed by a National Geographic photographer a few months ago. But remote cameras recently captured images of the animal looking sickly. Scientists sedated the big cat and drew blood samples. The L.A. Times reports they found evidence of exposure to rat poisons. They suspect a link between the poisons and the mange, a skin disease. Biologists treated the mountain lion for mange and injected Vitamin K to offset the effects of poisoning. Scientists believe the cougar ingested the poison when it ate other animals.
Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo now has a lengthy state prison sentence to go along with the 33-month federal prison term he received earlier this week. Rizzo – who pleaded guilty to nearly 70 felony public corruption counts – was sentenced to a dozen years in state prison yesterday and ordered to pay $8.8 million in restitution. That sentence ends a painful chapter in Bell, where Rizzo gave himself an annual salary and benefits package worth $1.5 million a year. Bell officials estimate corruption has cost the city more than $150 million in legal fees, excessive salaries and illegally collected taxes that will have to be paid back. Rizzo remains free on $2 million bail. He must surrender to authorities by May 30th.
Gov. Jerry Brown is calling a special session of the state Legislature to draft a constitutional amendment that would require the state to put money aside to pay off its debt and prepare for fiscal emergencies. The state already has a so-called “rainy day fund.” But it’s received minimal funding amid persistent budget shortfalls. Brown’s proposal would automatically set aside money when state revenues come in higher than expected. Lawmakers would then have to decide whether to put that money in reserve or pay down the state’s long-term liabilities – unfunded pensions, for example. The special session meets next week.
You’ve probably noticed that the cost of filling up your tank is on a rapid ascent. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in L.A. has hit $4.30. That’s up 17 cents from last week and more 26 cents from a month ago. Southern California has the highest priced gas in the country, except for Hawaii, according to Triple A. Part of it is the state’s annual conversion from winter grade to cleaner summer grade fuel. Analysts say there’s also a supply problem because of maintenance at several big refineries. Gas prices are not expected to dip below $4 a gallon until September.
Dee Dee Myers – who served as President Bill Clinton’s press secretary – is coming to Hollywood. Warner Bros. has hired Myers to be its head of corporate communications. She’ll start in September. Myers served as press secretary for President Clinton in 1993 and 1994. She was the first woman to hold that post. She’s also worked for California Sen. Diane Feinstein and former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley. Myers has a bit of experience in Hollywood, having served as a consultant on the TV show “West Wing.”