Today’s News: Aiming at ammo clips; Crenshaw High overhaul; Century City towers

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Clipped. Councilman Paul Krekorian wants to make it illegal to own ammo for high-capacity magazines in the city of L.A. Krekorian timed his motion to precede President Obama’s announcement this morning of his national gun control measures. Krekorian is asking for a staff report on what the city can do to restrict the availability of such ammo. State law bans the manufacture and sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines but not the possession of those clips. Pro-gun organizations are already vowing to fight the proposed ban in the courts. L.A. Daily News

Crenshaw conversion. Crenshaw High School is headed for a major overhaul. The Board of Education has approved a plan to split the struggling Leimert Park campus into three magnet schools – much to the disappointment of some parents and faculty members. All current Crenshaw students will be automatically accepted into one of the three magnets. Teachers, though, will have to reapply for their jobs. That was one of the main points of contention for opponents of the overhaul. They say the district excluded community members from discussions about the school’s future. Superintendent John Deasy insists drastic action is justified. Crenshaw has made scant progress in math and English instruction in recent years. Just 17 percent of students were at grade level in English in the latest round of API testing. In math, the number was three percent. L.A. Times

License debate. A new study suggests driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants would make California streets safer. The Department of Motor Vehicles report says unlicensed drivers in the state, most of them illegal immigrants, are nearly three times likely to cause a deadly crash. The DMV says passing a written exam and driving test could improve road safety and reduce deaths. L.A. Immigrants rights groups say licensing undocumented immigrants would also cut down on costly uninsured motorist claims. L.A. Times

Bullet bids. Companies vying to build the initial leg of California’s bullet train have until Friday to submit bids. But it will be months before the public gets to see specific cost estimates for those first 29 miles of track in the Central Valley. High-speed rail officials intend to keep the price portion of the bids sealed while they analyze the quality of the proposals. The idea is to keep officials from being biased towards firms with lower bids. The review process was supposed to be finished in November. It now appears the process will go on for at least two more months. Cost estimates for the first leg will provide an early indication of whether the $69 billion project can be built on budget. San Jose Mercury News

Equity. Southern California home prices shot up by almost 20 percent in December, as investors rushed to beat an expected year-end rise in capital gains taxes. Real estate research firm DataQuick says the median price of new and existing houses and condominiums hit $323,000 in Southern California last month, up 19.6 percent from December 2011. DataQuick says pricey coastal properties and investors buying homes they flipped before the end of the year pushed the median up. The number of homes sold rose by five percent, with the strongest gains in Orange County. L.A. Daily News

Out of commission. The L.A. Memorial Coliseum has failed to make a $500,000 lease payment, and could be completely out of cash by March. The Coliseum’s landlord is the California Science Center. The rent pays for security and maintenance of Exposition Park as well as supporting the Science Center and the California African American Museum. The Coliseum Commission agreed last year to hand over day-to-day control of the facility to USC. But that agreement has stalled over objections to USC’s demands that it control the Coliseum parking lots. AP

New century. A pair of 46-story residential towers could soon grace the Century City skyline. The towers were approved by the L.A. City Council as part a $2 billion plan that includes an extensive renovation of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. The front of the Century Plaza will be reconfigured to allow easier pedestrian access. Some rooms will be eliminated in favor of luxury residences. The plan includes a proposed Metro station for an eventual Westside subway. And it calls for two acres of open space with fountains and courtyards. L.A. Times