The photo above doesn’t have a thing to do with the stories in this post. I took it on Friday afternoon when I stopped to talk to police at the scene of an attempted robbery of a West Los Angeles marijuana physician’s office on Pico Blvd., just west of Sawtelle, in which two people were shot, one of them critically. (The guy in the snazzy hat is the detective.) The shooting, which took place just after 4:30 p.m., was an odd and scary one according to the two witnesses with whom I spoke. (The witnesses were two young men in their early 20s.) They told me that a couple of guys walked into the doctor’s office, one dressed unaccountably in a yellow reflective traffic vest, the other dressed normally but with a back back strapped to his chest. The yellow vest guy signed in as if he was a patient, then the backpack guy reached into his pack, pulled out a pistol and shot the doctor’s receptionist and another office employee, a single shot fired at each. Just like that. No demand. No warning. A few seconds later, the shooter and friend ran out. It is not clear if they attempted to steal anything, or not.
STATE EDUCATION CUTS = 48 OR 50 KIDS IN A CLASSROOM
It is no shock to find out that this fall many LAUSD classes are absurdly large and crowded due to teacher cuts. On Sunday, the LA Times had a look into some of those classes and schools that are faring the worst.
As it was, every seat was taken. One young woman plopped on the floor, next to a microwave oven. A young man stood in the corner, shifting from one foot to the other. Three teens scrunched on top of a desk. Everyone’s attention was riveted on the slight, soft-spoken man pacing the small patch of bare linoleum in front of them….
But, hey, at least the state legislature avoided letting those prisoners out a few months early (and putting them on house arrest) Whew! .
OBAMA AND NEWSPAPERS
During his Sunday media blitz, Barack Obama said that he would be open to giving tax breaks to newspapers that restructured as nonprofits.
….“I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them,” Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called “Newspaper Revitalization Act,” that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin’s Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).
“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,” he said
LEAK CONTROVERSY HOLDING UP FEDERAL SHIELD LAW
A congressional push to enact a federal shield law for journalists is being held up by disagreement with the Justice Department on how to deal with cases that involve leaked national security information, congressional and media sources say.
OPEN LETTER TO THE TEACHERS’ UNION….FROM A UNION REP
This open letter to UTLA President A.J. Duffy from on of the union’s chapter chairs, Jordan Henry, a well-liked teacher and union rep at Santee High School.
(The link was in one of last night’s tweets by another LAUSD teacher/union activist, Jose del Barrio.)
In the letter, Henry suggest that the union rethink its knee-jerk condemnation of the charter school movement—for its own benefit.
Here’s a clip:
At this critical juncture in our union’s history, with at least one third of our union at stake, it is imperative we learn from past mistakes with haste. In particular, we must undo the misunderstanding, mischaracterization, and underestimation of the charter movement in Los Angeles which has marked your term and fueled the coalition of forces behind the School Choice Motion.
47-YEAR OLD ESCAPE FROM THE ROCK, NOT YET A COLD CASE
Okay, well if the 1962 infamous escape from Alcatraz isn’t a cold case, it’s mighty chilly. But according to Monday’s NPR story, U.S. Marshall’s are still actively working the case.
The U.S. Marshals Service is still actively pursuing the case on the chance that the three men pulled off one of the most daring prison escapes in U.S. history.
“Leads still come in. I just got one a couple weeks ago,” U.S. Marshal Michael Dyke said recently in his office in Oakland, Calif., as he poured over a stack of old file folders from the case.