Today’s News: Rams great Deacon Jones dies at 74; Compton vote; Ex-congressman ending prison term

Written by


Mr. Jones. Deacon Jones – considered by many to be the greatest player ever to suit up for the Los Angeles Rams football team – had died of natural causes at home in Anaheim Hills. He was 74.

 The Hall-of-Famer played for the Rams from 1961 to 1971 and later for the San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. He was twice named the NFL’s top defensive player and his fearsomeness on the field earned him the moniker “Secretary of Defense.” Jones was also credited with coining the term “sack,” which describes when a defender tackles the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage.

Jones’ signature move was an open-handed slap to the head of an offensive lineman – and the six foot-five, 270-pound defender was known to have cracked a helmet or two with his bare hands. The slap was later banned by the NFL.

Born David Jones, the Florida native changed his name to Deacon after joining the Rams because he thought it would be easier to remember. After his career ended, Jones made numerous TV and movie appearances and starred in a serried of Miller Lite ads. He also launched a foundation that helped inner-city youth. L.A. Times

Fire update. Firefighters are making steady progress against the huge Powerhouse blaze burning in northern L.A. County. The wildfire has scorched more than 32,000 acres, but it’s now 60 percent contained and all evacuations have been lifted. Winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour made life difficult for firefighters yesterday but wind speeds are expected to diminish today. Authorities say the cost of fighting the fire is approaching $8 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is vowing to cover 75 percent of the total cost. KTLA

Compton vote. Voters are electing a new mayor in Compton today. The choice is between former Mayor Omar Bradley, who is awaiting retrial on corruption charges, and Aja Brown, an urban planner.  Bradley was convicted in 2004 of misappropriating public funds, but an appeals court overturned the conviction.  During his two terms as mayor, Bradley was known for his aggressive and sometimes abrasive style.  He’s touted his achievements while in office attracting businesses and jobs.  Brown says she wants to bring new leadership to the city, and make municipal government more responsive to residents. Which Way, L.A.?

Airport battle. The City of Ontario has fired a new salvo in its effort to gain control of the L.A.-Ontario airport. A lawsuit accuses the independent L.A. City department that manages the airport of neglecting the facility in favor of LAX. L.A. World Airports denies that it lowered the cost of takeoffs and landings at LAX and boosted them in Ontario. But it says that terminal fees are higher at Ontario because of millions of dollars in renovations there. Passenger traffic at Ontario Airport has plunged by nearly half in the past six years.  Press Enterprise

Out of prison. Randy “Duke” Cunningham is wrapping up one of the longest prison sentences ever given to a member of Congress.  The San Diego Republican and decorated Vietnam veteran is scheduled to be released today after serving time for accepting almost $2.5 million in bribes from defense contractors—including a luxury home, a yacht, and a Rolls-Royce.  The former congressman was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison.  His sentence was cut by about 13 months for good behavior. AP

Home prices. The real estate data company CoreLogic says the average home price in the Golden State in April was 19.4 percent higher than a year earlier, and considerably higher than the national 12.1 percent gain. Los Angeles and Phoenix had the biggest gains among cities: prices in those cities have shot up more than 19 percent since last April. USA Today