Today’s News: Immigration activists hitting the streets; Mojave solar plan nixed; Rebound for local production

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Day of activism. Marches, rallies, prayer vigils and voter registration drives are taking place up and down California and nationwide today as activists work to shape the immigration reform debate.  A major rally is also scheduled in Washington, D.C., where bipartisan groups in the House and Senate are putting the finishing touches on reform proposals. The activists want to make sure those proposals include a pathway to citizenship. In Southern California, rallies will be held everywhere from Westwood and Van Nuys to San Bernardino and Bakersfield. KNBC, USA Today

Green and Brown.
Governor Jerry Brown has started his China trip by declaring that California is interested in business, not international politics. Brown has been criticized in some quarters for not making China’s human rights record an issue during his week-long trip. After arriving in Beijing last night, Brown affirmed that his only concern is drumming up business for California. And he delivered this nugget: “We’re a green state, and we like greenbacks,” Brown said. On the agenda today is a meeting with China’s commerce minister. Sacramento Bee

Mayor’s moment. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa touted his accomplishments and promises kept in his final State of the City address. The mayor also had some advice for the candidates competing to succeed him. Villaraigosa said City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti have been short on specifics about how they’ll run the city, especially their plans for improving public education. The mayor’s speech also took a personal turn when he recounted his troubled adolescence. L.A. Daily News

Solar woes. An Oakland company has scrapped plans to build a huge solar plant in the Mojave Desert. The proposed $2.7 billion Hidden Hills solar plant in Inyo County would have been one of the state’s largest renewable energy projects. But energy company BrightSource says it can’t make the 500-megawatt plant near the Nevada border pencil out under current market conditions. The company shelved another planned solar plant in the desert near Blythe earlier this year. L.A. Times

Toll lanes. Traffic is zipping along on on the new 110 Freeway toll lanes, but all the other lanes appear to be slowing down. A preliminary study shows speeds on the 110 toll lanes are averaging at least 45 mph during peak times. That’s 10 miles an hour faster than before the one-time car pool lanes were reconfigured last December. But speeds in non-toll lanes have slowed by up to 8 mph. L.A. Times

Street scenes. There’s some good news on the local production front. Filming on L.A. County streets jumped more than 17 percent during the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year. Film L.A. says the gains were especially impressive in feature film production, which was up 25 percent over last year. Television pilot production was also a bright spot, increasing 37 percent. Hollywood Reporter