L.A. Now California: This just in
Why did L.A. name street after Scientology's L. Ron Hubbard?

The HBO documentary "Going Clear" has once again focused a critical eye on the Church of Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

In 1996, the Los Angeles City Council agreed to rename a portion of a street next to the Scientology headquarters in honor of Hubbard.

Here's the history of that move from The Times' archives: 

Q: How did the renaming happen?

Scientology requested it, and then-City Council President John Ferraro backed the move. 

Support far outweighed opposition on the block where the Church of Scientology has had its international headquarters for four decades and owns 55% of the property; 183 neighborhood residents wrote to City Hall to applaud the change, while nine complained.

Q: Was there debate?

The council voted 8-3.  

"I believe that L. Ron Hubbard was a manipulative [and] dishonest [man]," Council member Ruth Galanter said in an interview after the vote. "He's a cult leader. We don't name streets after cult leaders."

During an hourlong public hearing on the...

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'Spirit in the Sky' singer hurt in deadly Northern California crash

The singer of the 1969 hit “Spirit in the Sky” was critically injured in a crash that killed a motorcyclist in Santa Rosa.

Norman Greenbaum, who wrote and sang the Billboard chart-topper, was a passenger in a 2002 Subaru Outback on Saturday when it collided with a motorcyclist, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Subaru driver, Bonita Kay Perea, 62, of Santa Rosa, made a left turn at an intersection without seeing the approaching motorcycle, CHP said.

The motorcyclist, Ihab Usama Halaweh, was unable to avoid the collision and struck the right side of the Subaru. Halaweh died at the scene.

His passenger suffered injuries described as critical and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, CHP said.

Greenbaum, 72, of Santa Rosa, also suffered critical injuries and was taken to the same hospital.

Greenbaum’s hit song sold 2 million singles in 1970 and has been featured in nearly 50 films and TV shows, including "Apollo 13" and "Big Love."

For breaking news in California,...

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Robin Williams' wife, children headed to court over estate

Robin Williams’ widow and adult children are expected to battle in San Francisco court Monday over the late actor’s estate.

Susan Schneider Williams filed a petition in December, saying his three children are claiming memorabilia that was bestowed to her. She also claimed some of her husband’s belongings were taken from their Tiburon home without permission.

But the fight over the late comedian’s property may ultimately be decided by his trustees.

“Susan’s contention of ambiguity is entirely irrelevant because the trust is clear and unambiguous about who has the 'final and absolute' authority to determine the disposition of the tangible personal property: that power is vested in the trustees,” the actor's trustees, Arnold Kassoy and Joel Faden, said in court documents.

Attorneys for the trustees say they have finalized their decisions on a majority of the “Mrs. Doubtfire” star’s personal property and have notified the beneficiaries.

What remains is establishing a date to transfer...

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Video: Fresno firefighter badly burned after falling through roof

A Fresno firefighter was badly burned Sunday after he fell through the roof of a burning home.

Dramatic video shows the firefighter walking on the roof of the garage and ventilating it when it suddenly collapses and swallows the firefighter.

Seconds later, a massive plume of smoke billows from the hole and fire shoots out of the roof. In the video, bystanders are heard screaming in horror while others are pleading for help, yelling “Get him out!”

Then several firefighters quickly ripped off the home’s garage door and pulled their fellow firefighter from the blaze within three minutes.

They removed his gear and hosed him down with water. Video footage shows the firefighter’s legs were burned.

The 25-year veteran suffered second- and third-degree burns to 65% to 75% of his body, according to the Fresno Fire Department. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis told reporters that 40% of his body suffered third-degree burns.

He remained in critical condition Monday.

“Fresno firefighters have pulled...

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Family of missing UC Berkeley student offers $50,000 reward

The family of a 19-year-old UC Berkeley student who went missing early Saturday near USC is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

Eloi Vasquez hasn’t been seen since 1:30 a.m. Saturday after leaving a fraternity party in the 600 block of West 28th Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Vasquez, a freshman who plays for his university’s soccer team, went for a walk and told a friend he wanted to go to the beach. He never returned to the party at USC’s chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.

A friend of Vasquez told KNBC she got a call from him about 2:18 a.m., and he said he was very scared and lost.

Vasquez drove from Northern California to Los Angeles with friends for spring break. He didn’t have money or identification on him, according to police.

His family says it is not like Vasquez to disappear and not call his mother.

“We are just so worried because there is no sign of him anywhere,” his mother, Wendy Margolin, told KTLA. "We...

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Earthquake: 4.0 quake strikes near Baker

A shallow magnitude 4.0 earthquake was reported Monday morning 34 miles from Baker, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 2:21 a.m. PDT at a depth of 1.2 miles.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was 43 miles from Barstow and 47 miles from Twentynine Palms.

In the last 10 days, there has been one earthquake of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.

This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm.

Read more about Southern California earthquakes.

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