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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 28, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday lifted a decade-long ban on public murals, marking a decisive victory for artists who argued the law made no sense in a city with such a rich tradition of street art. The decision culminates years of debate over how Los Angeles should regulate murals, which have chronicled generations of the city's history, from the mid-20th century struggles of Latinos on the Eastside to freeway displays celebrating the...
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
A long-running legal dispute over the use of a Hancock Park home as an Orthodox Jewish prayer house ended Wednesday with the city of Los Angeles agreeing to pay $950,000 in attorney fees and costs to settle the case. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to pay lawyers representing Congregation Etz Chaim in the case involving a residential property at 3 rd Street and Highland Avenue. Synagogue leaders sued the city in 2010, challenging its denial of a conditional use permit to use the enlarged home as a religious sanctuary.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 31, 2013 | By Laura J. Nelson
Drivers will no longer get a ticket for parking at a broken parking meter in the city of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Wednesday to overturn a policy that allowed vehicles to be ticketed when parked at broken or inoperable meters.   City officials had said the ticketing policy would discourage drivers from vandalizing meters and parking for free. Since that time, new parking meter technology has made such a law unnecessary, said Councilman Mike Bonin, who introduced the motion . The city's new high-tech smart meters , which accept credit cards, send a text message to the city's repair crew when a meter's coin slots or card readers jam. The average response time to repair a meter is now about two hours, Transportation Department engineer Daniel Mitchell said.
OPINION
July 30, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
In a city derided for its lack of historic consciousness, murals tell the narrative of Los Angeles. Political movements, surfers' idylls, Hollywood stars - all have been captured on the sides of buildings, freeways and fences. Whether they are great art - some are, some are not - is almost beside the point. They are part of the cultural history of the city and its people. But since 2003, there has been an absolute prohibition on the creation of any murals on private property. The ban went into effect as part of the city's long-running billboard wars - it was an effort to prevent commercial sign companies from passing off advertisements as murals.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 5, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
Later this summer, following years of legal skirmishing and politicking, the Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote on whether to lift its decade-old ban on private-property murals. Some questions surrounding the proposed ordinance have been around since at least 1932, when the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros painted his polemical masterpiece "América Tropical" in downtown Los Angeles, which was subsequently whitewashed and finally restored last year. Among them are: What happens when an individual artist or property owner's free-speech rights collide with another group's aesthetic preferences or personal views?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
Feeling backed against a wall by petitioners from an AIDS activist group, Los Angeles City Council members agreed Wednesday to place a measure on next year's ballot asking if voters want the city to create an independent health agency. But then they agreed to also file a lawsuit challenging the validity of such a measure. Council members said they were forced to place the initiative before voters because petition gatherers had successfully qualified it for the ballot. Their only other option was to adopt it immediately, ending five decades of contracted health services provided by county-run clinics, a step the majority said they were reluctant to take.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 19, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
This post has been corrected. Please see note below for details. Feeling backed against a wall by petitioners from an AIDS activist group, the Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to place a measure on next year's ballot asking whether voters want the city to create an independent health agency. But the council also agreed to file a lawsuit challenging the validity of such a measure. Council members said they were forced to place the proposal before voters because petition gatherers had successfully qualified it for the ballot.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 18, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. The developer of a controversial skyscraper project in the heart of Hollywood agreed Tuesday to trim the height of two residential towers by 25%, and the proposal was approved by a Los Angeles City Council committee Residents complained, however, that the reduction still does not address traffic concerns. Millennium Partners offered shorter, bulkier structures to frame the iconic Capitol Records building on opposite sides of Vine Street.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 2013 | By Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times
Randy McDonald darted his eyes between the lotus bed and a pack of police officers, wondering if he could get away with it. He figured it was worth a try and walked from Echo Park Lake back to his car. After opening the glove compartment, he pulled out a hacksaw blade and stuck it into his back pocket. He tugged his T-shirt to cover it and returned to the lake. He worked his way through the thick crowd of revelers gathered for the 28th annual Lotus Festival and then crouched down at the water's edge.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 23, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
A state lawmaker has a possible answer to the dismal voter turnout in Los Angeles city elections. State Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) said it was frustrating that only about 19% of eligible voters in Los Angeles turned out to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots for a new mayor, as well as other city posts. His answer: Hold Los Angeles elections for citywide offices at the same time as the presidential election, when voter turnout is much greater. The last presidential election saw about 54% of Los Angeles-area voters show up at the polls.
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