L.A. Now
California: This just in
Riverside Marine dies in Iraq, second to die in Islamic State mission

A 19 year-old Marine from Riverside has died in Iraq, becoming the second U.S. military member to die as the U.S. fights the advance of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, a specialist in the use of mortars, died in a “non-combat related incident” Thursday in Baghdad, the Department of Defense announced Friday. The incident is under investigation.

Neal was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment at Twentynine Palms. The battalion deployed last month to the Middle East as part of what Marines call a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force.

The task force is meant to bolster the “crisis response capability” in the region. The announcement of Neal’s death marks the first indication that Marines from the task force are in Iraq.

In its Sept. 30 announcement about the deployment of the task force, the U.S. Central Command said that it was "not in response to the ongoing operations in Iraq" and that the Marines would be spread to several spots ...

Read more
Los Angeles housing official to head homeless services agency

A city housing official was selected Friday to head the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, the city-county agency that manages $70 million a year in federal, state and local funding for shelters, housing and services for the very indigent.

Peter Lynn, director of the Section 8 rental assistance program for the city's Housing Authority, replaces Executive Director Mike Arnold, who retired after nine years in the job. Lynn's salary was set at $190,000.

Lynn worked as a New York City housing official before joining the local Housing Authority in 2007. Under Lynn, the housing authority's rental assistance programs for the homeless doubled to more than 14,000 units.

Arnold was credited with stabilizing the homeless agency's finances. But the county defied national trends by reporting a 15% jump in the number of homeless people from 2011 to 2013. The total, 54,000, was second only to New York City's -- although federal officials later knocked the number down to 36,000 because of...

Read more
Caltech inaugurates its new president in campus ceremony

Caltech inaugurated its new president Friday: Thomas Rosenbaum, a physicist who was previously provost at the University of Chicago.

The outdoor inauguration ceremony at Beckman Auditorium, complete with a procession of faculty in their academic gowns, marked Rosenbaum’s formal step up to the leadership position at the renowned science and engineering school in Pasadena. He actually took office in July, succeeding Jean-Lou Chameau, who left Caltech last year to head King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

Rosenbaum, 59, received his bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University in 1977 and both a master's and a doctorate in physics from Princeton University in 1979 and 1982, respectively. He worked on research at Bell Labs and IBM Watson Research Center. He is an expert on the quantum mechanical nature of materials that are best observed at temperatures near absolute zero.

Caltech enrolls 978 undergraduate students and 1,253 graduate students; it has...

Read more
LAPD officer accused of beating, kicking restrained suspect in the head

A Los Angeles police officer is under investigation after being accused of beating and kicking a suspect who was being held down by other officers, according to sources close to the probe.

The altercation was captured by a private company’s security camera. Several police officials who saw the video told The Times that the officer delivered a powerful kick to the suspect’s head. One said the officer resembled “a football player kicking a field goal.” Another described it as “horrific.” The suspect, they said, had surrendered and was not resisting the officers.

A lawyer for the officer confirmed that the suspect was kicked but said the blow landed on the man’s shoulder. He said the officers used appropriate force on the suspect while trying to handcuff him.

After inquiries from The Times, Chief Charlie Beck released a statement Friday saying he was “extremely concerned about this particular use of force.”

“This investigation is ongoing, and there is still much that needs to be done to...

Read more
Ebola scare on LAX shuttle briefly closes Union Station bus plaza

Los Angeles Union Station's bus plaza was shut down for an hour and a half Friday afternoon after a man who had recently traveled to Nigeria said he felt feverish and nauseous, but officials cautioned that he did not have Ebola. 

"It's not Ebola," said Sarah Kissell Garrett, a spokeswoman with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "It's not suspected Ebola. It's not Ebola."

The passenger had just taken the FlyAway shuttle bus from Los Angeles International Airport, Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales said. The passenger told officials he had traveled to Nigeria but had been in the United States for three weeks.

Authorities closed off the bus plaza "out of an abundance of caution," Gonzales said. 

Earlier this month, a passenger wearing a mask boarded a Line 33 bus in Pico-Union and yelled "Don't mess with me, I have Ebola!" The bus was taken out of service and the driver was taken to L.A. County-USC Medical Center for observation.

Four people were on the bus with the sick man...

Read more
Sheila Kuehl backers launch TV ad criticizing rival Bobby Shriver

After weeks of upbeat advertising, backers of former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl have taken a confrontational turn, with a new TV ad criticizing her rival, former Santa Monica council member Bobby Shriver, for missing meetings and votes.

The 30-second spot, which debuted Thursday, says Shriver "repeatedly failed to show up for work on the Santa Monica City Council" and accuses him of skipping "hundreds of votes" during his eight years on the council.

It goes on to compare Kuehl favorably, citing laws she passed dealing with paid family leave, child support and nursing care. Kuehl served in the Assembly for six years and the Senate for eight, leaving in 2008

Bill Carrick, Shriver's political consultant, said Shriver missed about 20% of city council meetings, a figure Carrick says is on par with his council colleagues. And any votes that he missed were of little consequences, Carrick said.

"There were some votes he missed that were mostly procedural, of no substance at all,'' he said....

Read more