Today’s News: National spotlight on Prop. 8; MOCA raises millions; State parks in peril

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Prop. 8 debate. An historic morning at the U.S. Supreme Court as justices heard arguments from lawyers on both sides of the gay marriage debate. At issue is the legality of Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. But the case is also delving into the very meaning of marriage. Several justices posed questions to the lawyers, including Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often a swing vote in civil rights cases. A decision is expected before the current court term ends in June.
New York Times

MOCA money. Officials at the Museum of Contemporary say money has been flowing in since they rejected a proposed merger with the L.A. County Museum of Art last week. MOCA’s Board announced today that the new commitments will increase the museum’s endowment to more than $60 million. LACMA had offered to lead a $100 million fundraising campaign for MOCA – something MOCA officials now say they can accomplish on their own. L.A. Times

Zoo plan. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is making a last-ditch effort to privatize operations at the L.A. Zoo. But he may be running out of time. With less than 100 days remaining in his term, Villaraigosa is working to finalize plans to have the non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association assume control of special events, advertising and marketing. Villaraigosa is also moving forward to privatize some operations at the L.A. Convention Center. L.A. Daily News

Park problems. The California Parks Department can’t generate enough revenue on its own to replace round after round of state budget cuts. The state’s Little Hoover Commission recommends in a new report that the Parks Department transfer parks that lack statewide significance to regional or local agencies. It also suggests that revenue generated by parks supplement and not take the place of money from the state budget. AP

Shrinking colleges. Budget cuts are taking a toll on enrollment and course offerings at California’s Community Colleges. A new report by the Public Policy Institute of California says fewer students enrolled at the state’s 112 two-year colleges last year than at any time in the past 20 years. Community colleges have seen their budgets cut by $1.5 billion in the past six years. Because of that, course offerings are at a 15-year low. L.A. Times