In the latest development to a story we've been following for four years, the state's Second Court of Appeals ruled today to void a 2006 settlement between the L.A. City Council and Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor, and Regency.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider two key cases in the on-going debate over whether same-sex couples should have the right to marry.
One of the cases involves California's Proposition 8, an initiative constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that was passed by voters in 2008. That amendment was later ruled unconstitutional in federal courts. If the justices decide to make a ruling, it could affect whether states have the right to ban same-sex marriage in the first place.
The other case involves the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. A key provision of DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages even when they were made legal at the state level.
Also, the SCOTUS blog has published a brief analysis of the court's decision. And the Supreme Court's decision is posted online here (the DOMA case is called U.S. v. Windsor, the Prop 8 case Hollingsworth v. Perry).
We'll keep following this story and bringing you updates.
New photos taken from space show a nighttime view of Earth in stunning detail.
Taken by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, which was launched by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), and the Department of Defense in 2011, the images show a "black marble" sparkling from afar. But that's just the wide-angle portrait (which was stitched together from extremely high-resolution photos of the planet's surface). The low-light cameras aboard the satellite are sensitive enough to capture closeup stills of the light from cities, wildfires, even boats afloat on the sea.
These images "show the glow of natural and human-built phenomena across the planet in greater detail than ever before," according to a statement on NASA's website, where you can read more about the satellite and how the images were captured, download high-res photos, and explore a pretty mesmerizing interactive map.
Not everyone is seeing the light, though.
"The new 'Black Marble' images of our Earth show that there is still much work that needs to be done in tackling the problems of light pollution," said Bob Parks, executive director of the International Dark-Sky Association, in a statement released online.
The IDA is a nonprofit advocating to reduce light pollution around the world. Parks raises an interesting point (whether or not he may be simply exploiting the moment). Should these images be sparking a conversation about light pollution, as well, or at least keeping that conversation going?
We've met activists who think light pollution has become a serious environmental concern, especially in densely populated regions like Southern California. Check out our report, "Bright Lights, Big City," which we re-aired tonight, to find out more about the causes and consequences of light pollution.
Initiative 502, which passed this November and went into effect today, allows for the regulation, licensed sale, and possession of limited amounts of marijuana for adults 21 years or older in Washington State. Surprisingly, the law was sponsored by none other than Rick Steves, the affable travel writer and mainstay of public television. And while news outlets are currently focusing on public celebratory smoke-outs, Steves asserts that I-502 was not intended as a "pro-marijuana" law, but rather as an attempt to protect civil liberties and end drug legislation that he sees as an assault on the poor and disenfranchised, what he called "the new Jim Crow."
Rick Steves' Europe airs at 5:30 p.m. on KCET.
"SoCal Connected" is moving, but it's not the kind of move that'll force us to suck-up to the neighborhood supermarket manager in an attempt to score some free cardboard boxes.
As part of a series of shifts in KCET's afternoon/early evening schedule, SoCal Connected will air at 5:30 PM and 10:00 PM Monday through Friday, beginning the Monday after next — December 17. One thing won't change: you'll still be able to watch all of our stories and interviews — or full episodes — on your schedule right here on the website.
Our new, earlier "late" air-time — 10:00 — means you can stay up to date on all the latest developments in our investigative reports without having to stay up late. Tonight, for example, correspondent Vince Gonzales advances the story he reported last week about L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe's son, and the "family ties" some claim get him preferential treatment when the county hands out contracts worth millions of dollars. Vince has word tonight that in the wake of our investigation, one of Knabe's fellow Supervisors has called for an official investigation.
At the first Board meeting since our story "Family Ties" aired, Supervisor Mike Antonovich has asked the county counsel and the county auditor to investigate a contract we featured in that piece.
"Family Ties" focused on L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe and son, Matt, a partner at the powerful lobbying firm of Englander, Knabe & Allen. A client of that firm, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, recently won a five-year, nearly $2-million fleet management contract to provide and maintain 61 new cars for the housing authority.
When we looked at the list of firms the county picked to compete against Enterprise, we found auto body shops, tire dealers, and tour bus operators. In fact, most of the companies on the list did not appear qualified to bid on the contract. And of the companies on the list we spoke to, qualified or not, not one told us they even received the invitation to bid on the contract. Enterprise was the only company to respond and won a sole-source contract worth almost $2 million. Supervisor Knabe voted to approve the deal.
Antonovich has asked the auditor and county counsel to report back as quickly as possible, perhaps as early as next week. We'll have more of this and new information on another county contract Antonovich might be interested in looking at on "SoCal Connected" Wednesday night.
Reporters covering the presidential campaign didn't pay much attention to issues and solutions on which President Obama and Mitt Romney agreed -- stories about conflict are more fun (for the reporter, anyway). But if you're looking for an idea both candidates endorse wholeheartedly, look no further than the conventional wisdom that this country's economy is powered by small business.
And it isn't just White House occupants and aspirants who share this "as American as apple pie" view of small business. You'd probably expect the Small Business Administration to buy in, since it's the federal agency with a mission to make loans to small businesses. But you might be surprised that small business boosterism extends beyond America's borders, thanks to U.S. embassies around the world. Back here at home, the government has lots of company in its veneration of Mom & Pop shops. Both major advocacy organizations for small business, the National Small Business Association and the National Federation of Independent Business endorse the notion that small business drives the economy. So does a significant portion of big media. Small business is big business for many colleges and universities. Even big business loves small business (in public, at least).
That the conventional wisdom might be beside the point, flat-out wrong or even dangerous gains no traction in an America as besotted in 2012 with the idea of small business as it was in 1980 with the idea of the "family farm."
But on tonight's "SoCal Connected," we set politics and preconceived notions aside in favor of cash — lots of it — for small businesses, delivered courtesy of a concept that was road-tested in some of the world's most cash-strapped countries. The idea is working — and putting people to work — right here in SoCal. Jennifer London has our report.
If you live in California and you want to complete and file an Advance Health Care Directive (sometimes erroneously referred to as a "living will"), start at the website of the state Attorney General. The AG's office has an Advance Health Care Directive information page, which also has links to other resources.
You can download forms directly from the AG's website. They're free. Many other websites also offer forms as a free download. As long as it's the California form, it's safe to use. Be aware that some websites charge for the forms. You should never pay any fee to download the blank Advance Health Care Directive form.
Confused about which form to use and how best to communicate your wishes? There is free help available, from both the medical and legal perspectives.
Your first and best source of guidance is likely your physician. But if you're looking for additional sources of information on this difficult topic, read on.
AARP offers advice from Caring Connections, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform has information on Advance Health Care Directives, Durable Power of Attorney and Living Trusts.
An online search will likely turn up free legal resources in your community.
Once you've completed the forms, give copies to your physician, your attorney (if appropriate), any person (or people) you've asked to act on your behalf, and anyone else who may be called on to provide information when the time comes. Finally, file your Advance Health Care Directive with the California Secretary of State's office.
If you live in a state other than California, you need to use the form for your state. Caring Connections has information and forms for all 50 states.