Union Station on track for major rail expansion

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L.A. transportation officials are planning a major upgrade of the tracks at Union Station. The $350 million project would enable Amtrak and Metrolink trains to run straight through the historic terminal, instead of having to enter and exit the station through the sole existing entrance on the north side. Under the plan, new tracks will extend from the south end of the terminal and cross over the 101 Freeway, where they will connect with a network of existing tracks. The realignment is expected to shave 15 to 20 minutes off travel times for train riders. Planners also say it will also increase capacity at Union Station by as much as 50 percent. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2017, and wrap up in 2019 or 2020.

Shooting Rampage In Santa Barbara Leaves Seven DeadClasses are back in session at U.C. Santa Barbara. The attempt to return to some semblance of normalcy comes after a Day of Mourning and Reflection, where thousands of students, faculty and family members gathered for a memorial service for the six victims of Friday’s killing rampage. Five days after the attack by angry loner Elliot Rodger, mourners say there are questions and anger, but mostly intense sorrow. The father of slain UCSB student Christopher Michael-Martinez continues to speak out about American gun laws. Richard Martinez demanded that lawmakers take action tro keep guns away from the mentally ill. He led the crowd in a chant of “Not one More!” More tributes to the victims are planned, including Paddle-Out into the Pacific this evening.

A group supporting gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is distributing a mailer attacking Assemblyman Tim Donnelly for his criminal past. The four-page flier signals a sharply negative turn in the battle between the Republican rivals. Donnelly, a Tea Party favorite, has been leading the more moderate Kashkari in the polls. The mailer was paid for by a group formed by billionaire Charles Munger Jr. It calls Donnelly “a wreck,” noting that he’s on probation for taking a loaded handgun through security at Ontario Airport. It also mentions a lien filed against Donnelly by the state involving a failed business. With Gov. Jerry Brown holding a wide lead, Kashkari and Donnelly appear to be vying for second place in next week’s primary election. The top two finishers will go head to head in November.

Warriors defeat Clippers in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series in Los AngelesL.A. Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling is reportedly trying to rush a sale of the team before an ouster vote by NBA owners. The latest development in the Clipper saga comes as Donald Sterling rips the basketball league for what he calls an “illegal” attempt to force him out. The L.A. Times reports Shelly Sterling wants to act ahead of a planned vote by NBA owners next Tuesday that could force the sale of the team the Sterlings have owned for 33 years. Shelly Sterling says she’s received her husband’s blessing to sell the Clippers. If so, he has an odd way of showing it. Yesterday Donald Sterling excoriated the NBA in a 30-page response to the formal charges the NBA made against him last week. He said he’ll fight the attempt to kick him out of the league. Sterling has been under fire ever since disparaging remarks that he made against blacks were posted online.

goldcoinsRemember that story about the California couple who found of a bag of 19th Century gold coins on their property in the Sierra Nevada? Well, now you can get your hands on some of that loot, but it’ll cost you. A display of the old coins has opened at San Francisco’s Old Mint. Prospective buyers can bid on coins at the mint, or go online. The couple says they were walking their dog when they spotted a rusty can holding some of the gold coins. By the time they finished digging, they had unearthed more than 1,400 coins with an appraised value of more than $10 million.