A string of arson fires, a list of new laws and the possibility of legal action against SoCal entities made news during the final week of 2011.
Arson Spree Continues
Two days of arson fires had investigators scrambling to find the person or group responsible for torching vehicles throughout Los Angeles.
First, a series of 19 arson fires ripped through Hollywood and West Hollywood Thursday night into early Friday. Then, as many as 13 arson fires were set early Saturday.
The arsonists appear to be targeting parked cars, particularly those stationed in carports.
Los Angeles County is offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to the apprehension or conviction of those responsible, said county supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky during the conference.
Federal authorities at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives posted a $10,000 reward and the city is expected to do something similar, he added.
New Year, New Laws
California legislators passed 750 new laws that ran the gamut last year, ranging from gun control to alcohol sales to tattoo safety.
At the stroke of midnight, children under 8 years old or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches will have to ride in a booster seat – expanding the rule from the previous requirements of under 6 years old and weighing less than 60 pounds.
One new law which goes into effect July 1 requires schools to have a uniform process to handle bullying complaints. Another strips police of their ability to tow away the cars of unlicensed drivers.
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Here's a complete list of the new laws coming to California in 2012.
Los Angeles May Sue Occupy Protesters
Receipts for the two-month Occupy Los Angeles encampment are in: $2.3 million.
Officials of the cash-strapped City of Angels are contemplating legal action to recuperate some of those losses – which include restoring the lawn outside of City Hall, site of the Occupy movement’s L.A. manifestation.
Police broke up the camp in November, arresting nearly 300 people and spending an estimated $1.6 million on officer overtime.
Criminal Charges in Oil Spill
A Long Beach pipeline company involved in a Dec. 2010 oil spill was charged this week for its role in contaminating the Dominguez Channel and the water at the Port of Los Angeles, authorities said.
Crimson Pipeline Management is one of the companies sharing 61 allegations levied by L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who said the company allowed oil to seep from its Wilmington pipeline into the Los Angeles storm drain system and eventually into the ocean without reporting it in a timely manner.
More than 1,000 gallons of oil and 290,000 gallons of contaminated wastewater have been recovered by the state Department of Fish and Game and the Los Angeles Watershed Protection Division since the spill occurred during a major storm.
High Court Allows Redevelopment Cash Seizure
The state will be allowed to use $1.7 billion from redevelopment agencies to pay down its debt after the California Supreme Court’s ruling this week.
The decision affirmed the legislature’s move from earlier this year to establish the state’s right to eliminate redevelopment agencies – some of the funds from which were maintained for urban renewal and affordable housing projects.