Today’s News: Protecting schools; Landfill lawsuit; Big numbers for ‘Zero’

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Guard duty. Senator Barbara Boxer wants to deploy National Guard troops at the nation’s schools. In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, Sen. Boxer has introduced legislation that would give schools more money for security improvements. Part of that includes allowing the nation’s governors to use Guard troops to watch over schools as they see fit. L.A. Times

Fighting fire. A San Juan Capistrano City Councilman is recommending arming teachers to help protect students. In a letter to Capistrano Unified School, Councilman Derek Reeve urged officials to allow teachers, staff members and parent volunteers to carry guns to help prevent school shootings. As an alternative, he suggested employing armed security guards. District officials thanked Reeve for his interest in the subject but said they won’t consider his proposal. O.C. Register

Talking trash. People who live near Sunshine Canyon landfill in Granada Hills are tired of the stink. A group of neighbors has filed a lawsuit saying the landfill’s operators have failed to abate an unbearable stench despite repeated citations from regulators. Neighbors say the smell of decomposing trash has grown stronger and more noxious since Sunshine Canyon merged with another landfill in 2009 to create a mega-dump. Their lawsuit accuses the operator – Phoenix-based Republic Services – of exposing the community to ground and air contaminants, as well as the horrible smell. L.A. Daily News

Brrr. Southern California shivered under a record cold snap this morning. The National Weather Service says the mercury dipped to a frosty 14 degrees in Lancaster, breaking a six-year-old record. It was 21 in Palmdale and 30 in Woodland Hills. Forecasters say we’re in for a bit of warming trend. KNBC

Ethical questions. L.A. Council President Herb Wesson is taking heat for appointing the wife of a prominent City Hall fundraiser to the Ethics Commission. The L.A. Times reports Erin Pak joined the panel last week. She’s the wife of former City Commissioner Chris Pak, who has raised money for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilman Eric Garcetti and other elected officials. Pak’s consulting firm represents Koreatown businesses that are seeking alcohol licenses. An official with the campaign finance watchdog group California Common Cause says the appointment is fraught with potential conflicts of interest. L.A. Times

Zeroing in. “Zero Dark Thirty,” the controversial film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is off to a fast start at the box office. The film is in limited release. It’s only playing in Los Angeles and New York right now. But Hollywood Reporter says “Zero Dark Thirty” is averaging about $34,000 per showing – better than “The Hobbit,” and way ahead of Sony’s projections. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and other lawmakers say the filmmakers incorrectly imply that intelligence used to help catch bin Laden was obtained through torture. Hollywood Reporter