Today’s News: New jail for new jails chief?; Courts shuttered; Tough road for UCLA

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Jails boss. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has a new jails chief. Assistant Sheriff for Custody Terri McDonald will run the largest jail system in the country. McDonald’s appointment follows the departure of controversial Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. Meanwhile, Sheriff Lee Baca says Los Angeles needs a more modern jail facility for the safety of inmates and jailers alike. Baca will ask the L.A. Board of Supervisors tomorrow to hire a contractor to prepare a design and environmental review for a new downtown jail with an estimated $930 million price tag. L.A. Times, L.A. Daily News

Diminished courts. Several L.A County courthouses are closed today because of big budget deficits in the court system. The Superior Courts are projecting red ink between $56 million and $85 million in the new fiscal year starting in July. Court officials are shutting down or “repurposing” 10 courthouses and making the remaining ones hubs for specific types of cases. Other courts will stay open but will see hours cut. More than 500 court employees are being laid off. L.A. Times

Brain games. California will send not one but two high school teams to the National Academic Decathlon competition – and they’re both from the San Fernando Valley. Granada Hills Charter High School and El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills continued their histories of Decathlon excellence by finishing in first and second place respectively at the state competition this weekend in Sacramento. The five top spots all went to schools from L.A. This is the first year that more than one team for each state will be allowed to compete in the national event. L.A. Daily News

Revenue bills. Democrats holding two-thirds majorities in both Houses of the state Legislature have kept their word not to push for sales or income tax increases this year. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to drum up new revenue. More than a dozen bills have been introduced in recent weeks that would impose new fees and taxes. Among them: surcharges for soft drink consumers, a tax on strip club patrons, a mattress recycling fee for manufacturers and an oil severance tax. Another bill would impose a 5-cent tax on each paper or plastic bag carried out of a grocery store. Sacramento Bee

Gopher hunting. UCLA is going to the Big Dance, but the Bruins’ hoop team didn’t get the partner it expected for its first match-up in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. After losing in the Pac 12 conference final this weekend, the Bruins were slotted as a No. 6 seed. They’ll travel to Austin, Texas, to play the Minnesota Gophers Friday. That’s a fairly tough draw for the Bruins, who won the Pac 12 regular season title. The only other Southern California squad in 68-team field is San Diego State. ESPN