UCLA, others could lose their leases at West L.A. V.A.; LAUSD bucks state trend on test scores; Beach grades

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todaysnewsbanner2 V.A. Campus. A federal judge says the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs misused its West L.A. campus by leasing land for purposes that have nothing to do with veteran’s healthcare.

UCLA’s baseball team has played at Jackie Robinson Stadium on the V.A. grounds for nearly 50 years – and the V.A. has also leased land for such things as movie studio storage, a hotel laundry and an athletic complex owned by a private school.

The ACLU filed the suit against the V.A. on behalf of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. They say the 387-acre campus should be used to house and help homeless veterans. L.A. County has the largest population of homeless vets in the country.

U.S. District Judge James Otero gave the V.A. six months to decide whether to appeal before the court orders tenants off the property. The Justice Department hasn’t said what the government’s next move will be.

UCLA officials tell the L.A. Times that will do everything possible to stay at the Westside facility. L.A. Times

School grades. California students scored poorer on standardized tests this year for the first time in a decade – but L.A. was notable exception. Although modest, LAUSD’s rate of improvement was tops among the state’s 10 largest school districts. LAUSD students gained three points on the 1,000-point Academic Performance Index. Superintendent John Deasy says the gains reflect the district’s focused agenda at a time of severe budget cuts. Overall, California students scored two points lower than they did last year on the API. State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson cited funding cuts and curriculum changes as reasons for the decline. L.A. Times

Cleaner beaches. If you’re heading to the beach this weekend, chances are you’ll find cleaner water than last year. The environmental group Heal the Bay has put out its end-of-summer report card. Heal the Bay says that 80 of 89 beaches in L.A. County earned top grades over the summer, a 3 percent increase over last year. Cabrillo Beach was the only one in the county to get a failing grade. Of the 450 beaches tested across the state this summer, 96 percent earned A or B grades. Heal the Bay says public education has reduced the amount of pollution making its way to California beaches. Heal the Bay

Rim Fire. Forest Service officials say remnants of the Rim Fire burning in and around Yosemite are likely to smolder until the first snow falls this year. Full containment of the 300-square mile fire is expected in about two weeks. But officials say they’ll probably be keeping an eye on hot spots for months. In the meantime, ground crews are lighting protective back fires in an effort to starve the main fire of fuel as it advances deeper into the national park and closer to populated areas. The current toll: nearly 200,000 acres burned, more than 100 structures destroyed, 4,900 firefighters deployed and $47 million in firefighting costs. San Francisco Chronicle

Kick off. The college football season is underway, and USC is 1-0. The Trojans overcome a slow start to beat Hawaii’s Rainbow Warriors 30 to 13 last night in Honolulu. The Trojans picked off four passes and star receiver Marqise Lee had eight catches for 104 yards, but USC’s quarterback tandem failed to impress: Cody Kessler and Max Wittick were a combined 15 of 29 for 172 yards. The Trojans started the season ranked 24th in the polls. UCLA opens its 2013 campaign tomorrow night against Nevada at the Rose Bowl. UCLA starts the season ranked No. 21. ESPN