Port pivot: $500 million research center moves ahead

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The San Pedro waterfront is getting a new look. The L.A. City Council has unanimously signed off on a lease agreement for a proposed $500 million marine research center on one of the docks’ oldest piers. The public-private partnership calls for labs and classrooms, as well as an interpretative center, a public promenade and a huge wave tank that will be used to study tsunamis, among other things. The first big tenant will be the Southern California Marine Institute, a consortium of 11 Southern California universities that currently operates out of Terminal Island…“Every day that goes by, it looks worse.” That’s the reaction of one DWP board member to an attempt by the leader of the city utility’s biggest labor union to block an audit of one of two controversial non-profits. The trusts, as they are called, have spent $40 million in ratepayer money with little to show for it. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 chief Brian D’Arcy heads one of the trusts and has refused to give city investigators access to its records. DWP General Manager Ron Nichols says he’s hiring an outside law firm in an effort to force the union leader to turn over the information…venicecrashTestimony is scheduled to resume this morning in a preliminary hearing for a man accused of killing an Italian newlywed and injuring more than a dozen people as he drove wildly down the Venice Boardwalk. A judge must decide whether there is enough evidence to try 38-year Nathan Campbell for murder. The judge heard testimony in several languages yesterday as people from around the world spoke about seeing Campbell’s black sedan plow through a crowd in August of last year. Prosecutors say Campbell – a transient from Colorado – targeted pedestrians and vender booths as he drove at speeds of up to 35 miles an hour…The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is acknowledging that it hired dozens of officers who should have been denied jobs because of previous misconduct. The problem deputies – about 80 in all – were among more than 250 officers hired by the Sheriff’s Department after a county police force was disbanded three years ago. Some had criminal convictions, others had been found guilty of falsifying records and some were caught cheating on the department’s own polygraph test. Officials say they are revamping the department’s hiring process so the mistakes will not be repeated…After two years of construction and two “Carmageddon” freeway closures, the rebuilt Mulholland Drive bridge over the San Diego Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass opened this morning. The reconstructed, 608-foot-long bridge is 10 feet wider than its predecessor and designed to the latest seismic standards.pulpfictionThat comes at a cost of $1 billion. The overall 405 widening project is expected to be completed by mid-2014…Disney’s magical nanny musical “Mary Poppins” is perhaps the most well known of the 25 movies selected this year for the National Film Registry. Other films making the cut include “The Right Stuff,” “Gilda,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Roger and Me.” The Library of Congress has now selected a total of 625 films on the registry. All of those films are being preserved for posterity.