Three paint companies have been ordered to pay $1.1 billion to California cities and counties for selling lead-based products they knew were harmful to children. After a five-week trial in Santa Clara County, a judge found that Sherman Williams Conagra Grocery Products and NL Industries left a toxic legacy by knowingly marketing products that caused serious health problems. The money would be paid into a fund to remove lead paint from old homes. L.A. County would get the most, $605 million. The rest would go other counties and the cities of Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco. A spokeswoman says the companies are filing objections with the judge and seeking a new trial. If they don’t get one, they will appeal…The L.A. School Board will hold tributes to late Board Member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte today – and then district leaders will have to get down to the tricky business of how to fill her vacant seat. LaMotte died at an education conference in San Diego two weeks ago. The Board will have to decide whether to appoint a replacement who would serve until 2015, or hold a special election. That could cost a $1 million or more. But appointing a successor to LaMotte would be subject to Board politics and would not popular in District 1, which covers parts of South and Southwest L.A…Prison officials will make changes to the state parole system that could lead to earlier releases for convicted killers and other inmates. The state agreed to the policy changes in a settlement with an inmate who was sentenced to 15 years to life for a 1987 murder, and then denied parole for a decade. The settlement requires the State Parole Board to set a minimum time that an inmate must serve before being released. The more serious the crime, the longer the minimum. If inmates are held beyond the minimum, the Parole Board would have to demonstrate why they are a danger to society…A federal judge has tossed out a lawsuit filed by Monster Beverage Corp. aimed at stopping the San Francisco city attorney from investigating the company’s marketing practices. The judge says granting Monster’s request would unfairly hinder a lawsuit the city filed in state court. That suit accuses the company of misbranding its highly caffeinated drinks and marketing them to children. Monster sued after the city attorney demanded that the company reduce caffeine levels in its drinks and stop marketing to minors….Hollywood Park racetrack is closing for good on Sunday, but it seems not everyone is ready to go. A pair of flamingos that live at an infield lake at the racetrack haveeluded capture, not once, but twice! About a dozen other flamingos were wrangled last week and sent to a zoo in Atascadero. Hollywood Park officials now say the bright pink birds will be allowed to stay through Christmas, and perhaps into the new year. The reason for the reprieve is more practical than sentimental: The birds apparently become savvy about capture attempts. And handlers want to give them time to forget what happened before they try again.