Today’s News: ‘So long, Huell’; CalPERS Turnaround; Mulling Marijuana

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Sunset sign-off. Friends and admirers will gather today at the Griffith Park Observatory for a sunset memorial to public TV host Huell Howser. L.A. City Councilman Tom La Bonge says it’s fitting to hold Howser’s memorial at one of California’s best known landmarks because Howser himself was an iconic figure in the state. Howser, who died last week at the age of 67, was born in Tennessee. But he lived for decades in California, with homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. The memorial begins at 3:30 p.m. A shuttle to and from the Observatory from the Greek Theatre parking lot will be available. Tom La Bonge

Neighborhood row. Los Angeles’ neighborhood councils were created to give local communities more influence in local government, but they say they’re being ignored by City Hall. The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners has voted to send a letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council asking that the city’s 95 neighborhood councils be included in more important decisions. The councils are angry over what they say is the lack of substantive input they’re allowed to give on big municipal issues. Exhibit No. 1, they say, is a proposed $3 billion bond measure to pay for street repairs. L.A. Daily News

San Onofre status. Steps are quietly being taken toward a possible partial re-start of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Nearly a year after the plant near San Clemente was shut down due to damaged steam generator tubes that carry radioactive water, Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials say they’re preparing a detailed plan to safely bring San Onofre back online. Southern California Edison wants to restart the Unit 2 nuclear reactor and run it at 70-percent power. NRC chairwoman Allison Macfarlane toured San Onofre Monday. She vowed that no decision will be made until “we are sure they can operate safely.” Environmental groups want San Onofre to undergo a rigorous licensing process before any restart is considered. O.C. Register

CalPERS turns around. The stock market has been a dicey bet in recent years. Just ask CalPERS. The nation’s largest public employee pension fund lost almost 28 percent of its value during the recession. But things are looking up. CalPERS says it earned a 13.3 percent return on investment for the 2012 calendar year up from 1.1 percent in 2011. CalPERS says the results reflect strong gains in global stocks and real assets, like office, apartment and industrial buildings. For the current fiscal year to date, CalPERS has posted a return of just over 7 percent, close to its target of 7.5 percent. Sacramento Bee

Pot shots. L.A. voters will have to decide on up to three measures dealing with medical marijuana in the May election. Activists have qualified two measures for the ballot and the City Council will decide tomorrow if a third should join them. The Council approved a total ban on clinics last year but it was rescinded after supporters qualified a ballot measure to overturn it. The new proposals would regulate and in some cases limit the number of dispensaries in town. Currently there are hundreds of clinics. L.A. Times