Today’s News: Church abuse files; LA crime rates; Clippers roll

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Naming names. The fight over secret church files dealing with sexual abuse cases isn’t over yet. The L.A. Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s $660 million settlement with abuse victims included an order that the files be made public. Previously, a judge ruled that the names of officials – including Cardinal Roger Mahony – should be redacted to avoid further embarrassment for the church. But an L.A. Superior Court judge said yesterday that the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times can challenge that ruling. The media organizations contend the redactions would prevent the public from understanding how abuse allegations were suppressed by church officials. L.A. Times

Crime time. Homicides are up slightly in 2012, but the LAPD says L.A.’s overall crime rate is down for the 10th straight year. Serious crimes such as robbery assault and auto thefts have all declined this year. And the 2 percent drop in the crime rate would have been lower if not for a citywide increase in petty thefts. Police Chief Charlie Beck says that jump could be tied to the state’s realignment program, which shortened the time many low-level criminals spend behind bars. The city’s latest numbers defy a long-held belief that crime levels are directly tied to economic conditions. L.A. Times

Crime fighter. Former L.A. and New York police chief Bill Bratton has been hired by the city of Oakland to help deal with violent crime. Oakland is in the midst of a crime wave. Police say burglaries and robberies are way up compared to a year ago. The city has already counted 127 homicides, 17 more than last year. By comparison, Los Angeles, which is about 10 times bigger than Oakland, has had 297 homicides this year. Bratton will be paid $125,000 for the consulting gig. Oakland Tribune

Jet crash. A California Air National Guard fighter jet crashed during a routine training mission but the pilot safely ejected. The Guard says the F-16C went down yesterday afternoon about 100 miles east of Fresno. The pilot was taken to a military hospital for evaluation. Fresno Bee

Streaking. The Los Angeles Clippers are the best team in the NBA. Again, in case that didn’t register, the Los Angeles Clippers are the best team in the NBA. The Clippers won their 15th straight game last night – embarrassing the Boston Celtics in a 106-77 wipeout. The Clips have the best record in pro hoops and their winning streak is the longest of any team in the past three years. And the Lakers? Not so good. The team is a game below .500. If the season ended today, they’d be out of the playoffs. On a happier note, former Laker and new Hall of Famer Jamaal Wilkes will have his jersey retired at halftime of tonight’s game against the Portland Trailblazers at Staples Center. ESPN, L.A. Daily News

Vexed voters. A lot of folks are having difficulty navigating the Motion Picture Academy’s new online voting system – and that could mean fewer people deciding who gets nominated for an Oscar this year. The deadline for casting Academy Award nomination votes is January 3rd. But a bunch of potential voters have yet to fill out their ballots. The Academy says most of the problems stem from people forgetting their passwords. But several Academy voters tell the Hollywood Reporter they carefully typed in their passwords several times, and were rejected by the system on each occasion. “It’s easier to break into the CIA,” says one. Hollywood Reporter