Today’s News: Prison proposal; Church transparancy; Howser tributes

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Freedom seeking. Governor Jerry Brown’s administration says California has done all that it can to relieve prison overcrowding. The state is asking the courts to ease federal demands that California either release more prisoners or find new ways to house them. State lawyers say California is capable of delivering quality healthcare to the current prison population. It was that issue – failure to provide decent healthcare – that triggered federal oversight of the prison system in the first place. California has roughly 133,000 prisoners, down from 173,000 three years ago. But the total is still nearly 10,000 inmates higher than federal judges have said they’ll allow. Governor Brown is scheduled to be in Los Angeles today to tout improvements in inmate healthcare. L.A. Times

Targeting ammunition. California lawmakers are introducing a number of bills in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The latest, by Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, would ban so-called clip kits that can convert guns into assault weapons. It also aims to regulate ammunition sales by setting up a licensing system. And it would require ammunition dealers to report all sales to the Department of Justice. A bill similar to Skinner’s has been introduced in the State Senate by L.A. lawmaker Kevin de Leon. Meanwhile, State Senator Leland Yee says he’ll introduce a bill that will require people to use gun locks that state law already requires them to buy. AP

No black out. An L.A. judge has ordered the release of personnel files that would identify Roman Catholic priests accused of child molestation. The judge also ordered the Los Angeles Archdiocese not to black out the names of church higher-ups in the documents. Previously, the courts had ruled that the Archdiocese could redact the names of top officials. But that ruling was successfully challenged by the L.A. Times and the Associated Press. It’s not immediately clear how much longer it will take for the documents to be released. L.A. Times.

10,000 cops. L.A. now has more than 10,000 police officers for the first time in its history. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says the city crossed the 10,000 threshold on New Year’s Day, when 60 new officers were sworn in. Beck made that announcement yesterday at a news conference in which he also boasted that serious crime dropped in Los Angeles in 2012 for the 10th straight year. Homicides remained below 300 for the third straight year and violent crime overall was down more than 8 percent, according to Beck. The chief and and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa credit the dip in crime to the LAPD’s growing numbers. L.A. Daily News

Gold standard. Huell Howser was among the most of public of individuals in his professional life. But the longtime host of KCET’s “California Gold” travelogue was also a deeply man private man in his personal life. In accordance with that, a spokesman says there were will be no funeral services for Howser, who died yesterday at the age of 67. Howser, a Marine veteran an one-time host of “Entertainment Tonight,” retired from KCET in November. In 2011, he donated his episodes of “California Gold” and all his other public television shows to Chapman University. Fans have been posting hundreds of tributes on the KCET web site. KCET

Flight patter. A public meeting is scheduled this evening to discuss plans to relocate one of the runways at LAX. Some Westchester residents say moving the runway 260 feet closer to their homes would increase noise pollution and lead to expansion of the airport, which would result in more traffic. But a new poll by proponents of the project finds that nearly three quarters of city residents favor separating the two northern runways, including a clear majority in the council district nearest to LAX. Airport and airline officials say the project would increase safety and efficiency. L.A. Times