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HEADLINE HISTORY
Los Angeles County
1980 to 2000

1980

The Los Angeles River overflows its levees in Long Beach, sparking concern that the flood control system is inadequate to handle a "100-year" flood.

1981

Los Angeles celebrates its 200th anniversary. The first case of AIDS appears in Los Angeles County. Due to a persistent Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly) infestation that started in Los Angeles, California, along with Los Angeles County, finds itself facing quarantine restrictions by other states that threatens to cause considerable damage to the agricultural industry. Authorities launch an aerial spraying assault on infected areas across the state.

1982

L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley is defeated by George Deukmejian in their bid to become Governor of California. The Oakland Raiders professional football team moves to Los Angeles. Sherman Block is elected Sheriff of Los Angeles County. Mayor Bradley and WWII aviation hero General James H. Doolittle conduct groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

1983

The D.A.R.E. program is brought to L.A. Unified schools. The Temporary Contemporary Art Museum opens in downtown Los Angeles.

1984

The L.A Raiders defeat the Washington Redskins 38-9 in Tampa, Florida at Super Bowl XVIII. The XXIII Olympiad summer games are held in Los Angeles. The Aerospace Museum in Exposition Park opens. John DeLorean is acquitted in a Los Angeles federal trial. His defense portrayed him as entrapped by federal agents in a drug-selling conspiracy to save his failing auto company. Richard W. Miller, a long-time Los Angeles FBI agent, is arrested on charges of passing government secrets to the Soviets. The San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys begin using the new telephone area code 818. The new $123 million Tom Bradley International Terminal is officially opened.

1985

Roger M. Mahony is appointed to be Archbishop of Los Angeles. The environmental group Heal the Bay is formed in Santa Monica in response to increased pollution of shoreline water. The Los Angeles Music Center Opera is founded.

1986

"Hands Across America" forms a human chain of over 5 million people stretching 4,150 miles (with some gaps in sparsely populated areas) from Long Beach to New York City. An Aeromexico DC-9 jetliner on approach to LAX collides in mid-air with a small Piper aircraft over Cerritos. 82 people are killed in the crash including 15 on the ground. Two separate fires force the closure of the Los Angeles Central Library.· The first Los Angeles Marathon is held. Mayor Tom Bradley is defeated yet again by George Deukmejian in his bid for the California governorship.

1987

Pope John Paul II visits Los Angeles. The Whittier Narrows Earthquake jolts the Los Angeles area. The "Justice for Janitors" labor campaign begins. The Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly) again reappears in larger numbers, resulting in a quarantine of the Los Angeles area and renewed aerial spraying of malathion.

1988

A stray bullet fired by feuding gang members kills a Long Beach woman in Westwood. The incident brings gang violence to the city’s forefront. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposes stricter limits on Los Angeles County. The Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Medfly) yet again reappears in larger numbers, again resulting in a quarantine of the Los Angeles area and renewed aerial spraying.

1989

The Los Angeles Herald Examiner is closed leaving Los Angeles with only one major daily newspaper. --- Federal agents seize 20 tons of cocaine and $10 million in cash in an unguarded warehouse. It is the largest seizure of drugs in the U.S. to date. --- Federal law enforcement official declare Los Angeles as the nation’s leading narcotics distribution center. --- LA Unified School District teachers strike for two weeks. --- The 73-story First Interstate Tower is completed in downtown Los Angeles. It becomes the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. --- Eighteen LA Sheriff investigators are suspended on allegations of stealing seized narcotics money. --- Richard Ramirez, the "Night Stalker," receives the death sentence for 13 counts of murder. --- Another Southern California serial killer, Randy Kraft, is convicted of murdering 16 young men in Orange County. He also receives the death sentence. --- Although L.A. City Mayor Tom Bradley is elected to an unprecedented fifth term, he faces allegations that he was responsible for the deposit of $2 million in public funds in a bank that employed him as a consultant. --- The U.S. Army sends doctors to train at the trauma ward at Martin Luther King Jr/Drew Medical Center. --- The LAPD begins training recruits in the use of semi-automatic weapons. --- Junk bond dealer Michael Milken is indicted in Federal Court on racketeering charges. --- A series of purchases by Japanese companies include Columbia Pictures, the Bel-Air and Biltmore Hotels and the Riviera Country Club. --- The Pan Pacific Auditorium is destroyed by fire. --- The largest infestation of Mediterranean Fruit Flies in Los Angeles County is first found near Dodger Stadium. --- Art Shell is hired to coach the Los Angeles Raiders, becoming the first African American NFL coach. --- Newly retired President Ronald Reagan and his wife arrive from Washington D.C. to live in Bel-Air. --- The Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage opens.

1990

The Long Beach to Los Angeles Blue Line rail opens. --- Six veteran LA Sheriff investigators are convicted of conspiracy to steal money seized from narcotics dealers. --- LAPD Chief Darryl Gates proposes before a Senate Committee that causal drug users be shot. --- California State Senator Joseph Montoya (D-Whittier) receives a 6 1/2 year sentence for selling his vote to special interests. --- State Board of Equalization member Paul Carpenter is sentenced to 12 years in prison for extortion while he served as a State Senator from Norwalk. He is nevertheless reelected two months later but is barred from taking office. --- After the second mistrial in the McMartin child molestation trail, LA District Attorney Ira Reiner announces that he would try defendant Raymond Buckey a third time. --- Dalton Avenue residents accept a $3 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles for a 1988 ransacking LAPD drug raid. --- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan purchases MCA, Inc. --- Giancarlo Parretti of Italy buys MGA-UA. --- A fire in the Metro rail tunnel forces the Hollywood Freeway to close for more than a week. --- The Port of Los Angeles surges ahead of the Port of New York as the nation’s busiest seaport.

1991

After the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirms a historic redistricting plan in favor of a growing Latino population, Gloria Molina becomes the first woman and the first Latino this century to be elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. --- Carter Hawley Hale, a major L.A.-based retailer, files for bankruptcy protection. --- A USAir jetliner and a SkyWest commuter plane collide on a runway at LAX. 34 persons are killed and 24 are injured. Investigators point to an error made by an air traffic controller. --- Motorist Rodney King, after being pursued by the Highway Patrol, is stopped and beaten by LAPD officers. Unbeknownst to the officers, the incident is videotaped by George Holliday from his home. The video is subsequently televised on local and national television, sparking outrage and outcries for an investigation. --- Four LAPD officers are charged with police brutality in connection with the Rodney King incident by the Los Angeles District Attorney and are tried and acquitted in a Simi Valley Superior Courtroom. --- An independent commission headed by Warren Christopher releases a report criticizing the LA Police Department’s relationship with the community. --- The LEARN coalition is formed. --- L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies shoot and kill a gang member at Ramona Gardens housing project, sparking long simmering complaints of police brutality against Latinos. Sheriff Block finally agrees to appoint a citizen panel to recommend reforms. --- Judge Joyce Karlin imposes a light sentence on a Korean-born grocer convicted of fatally shooting a black teenage girl in a dispute over an orange juice bottle. The sentence ignites complaints of racial injustice in Los Angeles courtrooms. --- General Motors decides to close the last Southern California auto-making plant, located in Van Nuys, putting 2,600 people out of work. --- Earvin "Magic" Johnson announces his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers because of his diagnosis as HIV-positive. --- Western, Eastern and Southern Los Angeles County begins use of the new telephone area code 310.

1992

L.A. suffers severe winter flooding. --- Sparked by the acquittals of the four LAPD officers tried for the videotaped beating of Rodney King, Los Angeles erupts into a week of rioting (Apr 29-May 5) resulting in the deaths of more than 50 people and $785 million in damage. National Guard and federal troops are called in to help restore order. --- Rebuild LA is formed in the aftermath of the destruction under the leadership of former Baseball Commissioner and Los Angeles Olympic Committee head Peter Ueberoth to help regenerate business and opportunity in distressed areas of Los Angeles. --- Willie Williams, Chief of the Philadelphia Police, is named to succeed retiring LAPD Chief Darryl Gates. --- The first Metrolink commuter train begins operations. --- Esa Pekka Salonen becomes conductor of the LA Philharmonic. --- Yvonne Brathwaite Burke becomes the first African American to be elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors. --- Leticia Quezada becomes the first Latina president of the LA Board of Education. --- Embattled LA County Administrative Officer Richard Dixon retires. --- LA Unified School District chief Bill Anton also retires. --- Four term LA City Mayor Tom Bradley announces that he would not seek another term. --- U.S. Congressman Edward Roybal, dean of Los Angeles Latino politics, retires. His daughter wins his seat in Congress. --- The Metropolitan Water District ends water rationing. --- After 30 years, Johnny Carson retires from NBC’s Tonight Show. --- Magic Johnson rejoins the LA Lakers after his retirement in 1991. He retires again after only two months after complaints about him being HIV positive. --- The Spruce Goose, the enormous cargo aircraft built by Howard Hughes that was displayed in Long Beach next to the Queen Mary, is disassembled and shipped to Oregon. --- Los Angeles based Robinson’s and May Company merge. ---Security Pacific Bank merges into Bank of America. --- Some of the easternmost communities of Los Angeles County begin using new telephone area code 909 along with San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. --- A Bellflower kindergartner becomes the one-millionth person to sign up for a library card in the Los Angeles County Library System.

1993

Wildfires hit Los Angeles County resulting in two deaths and the loss of 720 structures. --- Richard Riordan is elected as the first new mayor in Los Angeles in 20 years. --- The trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez ends in a mistrial. The brothers were charged with the brutal slaying of their wealthy parents. The trial receives a great deal of attention from the Los Angeles media. --- Malibu suffers a major wildfire resulting in three deaths. The area is declared a disaster area. --- Former LAPD officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell are convicted in Federal Court on charges of violating the civil rights of Rodney King. --- The first openly gay City Council Member, Jackie Goldberg, is elected in Los Angeles. --- Two men plead guilty and two others are convicted in the beating of trucker Reginald Denny at the start of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. --- The Los Angeles Central Library is finally reopened after suffering two devastating fires in 1986. --- LA’s first subway, the Red Line, is opened. --- The Museum of Tolerance is opened in West Los Angeles. --- The Bullock’s Wilshire store is closed. --- Universal City opens City Walk. --- The new Century Freeway (Interstate 105) opens.

1994

Los Angeles experiences the 6.7 Richter Scale Northridge Earthquake at 4:31 a.m. (Jan 17), which results in 61 deaths and damage estimates of up to $20 billion. --- Nicole Brown Simpson, the wife of football star and actor O.J. Simpson, and friend Ronald Goldman are found brutally murdered. O.J. Simpson is charged with the double murder, but disappears before he can be arrested. He reappears with long-time friend Al Cowlings in a white Ford Bronco, leading a widely televised slow-motion police chase along the freeways of Orange and L.A. Counties. Simpson is arrested without incident after arriving at his Brentwood home. --- World Cup Soccer games are held at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. --- The Peterson Automotive Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum and Museum of Miniatures open on Museum Row. --- Entertainment moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen form the new entertainment company Dreamworks SKG. --- While tunneling sixty to eighty feet beneath Hollywood for the MTA subway, construction worker Michael Guinther makes a series of Ice Age fossil discoveries, some estimated to be as old as 280,000 years.

1995

The Ambassador Concert Hall in Pasadena closes. --- Los Angeles is given an 80% chance of a major earthquake within 30 Years. --- Olympic gold medalist diver Louganis reveals that he has had AIDS virus since before the 1988 games in Seoul. --- Heavy Rains cause mudslides and floods. --- The son of actor Carroll O'Connor commits suicide, which leads O’Connor to accuse his son’s suspected drug supplier. --- An audit of the MTA subway project finds MTA officials had shredded documents, leaked bid data, and attempted to hide apparent misconduct. --- Chasen's, the legendary Hollywood restaurant, closes after 58 years. --- The Los Angeles Rams football team moves from Anaheim to St. Louis. The Raiders also leave Los Angeles to return to Oakland. --- The Port of Long Beach becomes the nation's leading handler of ocean containers. --- UCLA wins its first national basketball championship in 20 years when it defeats the University of Arkansas. --- Nearly 1,000 people march in Downtown L.A. to demonstrate the loss of relatives lost to gun violence. --- After a long feud, composer Schoenberg’s heirs announce their intention to take back the collection of his archives from the USC School of Music. --- The L.A. City Council passes tighter rules on sales of bullets. Gun dealers in city limits would be required to check IDs and keep records on buyers. --- In three incidents, 3 Carole Little employees are slain. Threats and violence against the L.A. apparel maker cause fear throughout the L.A. fashion industry. --- Walt Disney pays $19 billion to buy Capital Cities/ABC. --- U.S. Senator Bob Dole criticizes Hollywood for debasing American culture. --- The Long Beach Naval Shipyard and 3,000 jobs are slated for termination by a Defense Department base closure panel. --- The Unabomber makes a July 4th threat to blow up an airplane at LAX and then calls it a prank in a follow-up letter. Security is still tightened. --- University of California Regents vote to end affirmative action programs at UCLA and all other UC campuses. The action ignites protests on and off the campus. --- U.S. Immigration agents raid garment sweatshops in El Monte, uncovering what resembles a slave operation of 60 Thai workers. 55 arrests are made at three locations in the Los Angeles area. --- Taped interviews with LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman are publicly aired in the O.J. Simpson murder trial to impeach the detective’s testimony that he had never used racist language. --- A 3-year-old girl is killed and two others hurt by gunfire when their car makes a wrong turn onto a dead-end Eastside street and is ambushed by gang members. --- A San Fernando Valley man shoots and kills a teenage tagger after the youth threatens him and demands his wallet.--- 474 days after his arrest as a double-murder suspect, a jury finds O.J. Simpson not guilty in his highly publicized trial. --- A severe budget crunch leads Los Angeles County supervisors to begin layoffs of county workers. --- The first L.A. County Health Services layoffs are made. The federal government provides funds to save some positions. --- L.A. City Council member Nate Holden is exonerated in a sexual harassment lawsuit in which the plaintiff is ruled as having welcomed advances from the councilman. --- MTA chief executive White is fired from his job. --- Two children are killed in a freak accident as a garbage truck rod rips into a school bus. --- The environmental group American Rivers calls the Los Angeles River the most endangered urban waterway in the nation.

1996

 The Army Corps of Engineers begins a $312-million controversial construction project to build concrete walls up to eight feet high atop levees along the last 12 miles of the Los Angeles River. --- Wells Fargo Bank buys out First Interstate Bank, the largest bank based in Los Angeles. --- After threats of secession, especially by the San Fernando Valley, L.A.’s City Hall begins to seriously discuss city charter reform. Mayor Riordan and the City Council fail to agree on a plan, which leads to a court decision siding with the mayor. The Mayor’s plan goes onto the April ballot. --- Mayor Riordan questions the City council and community groups over whether LAPD chief Willie Williams should serve a second term as chief. The mayor takes exception to how the chief manages the department. --- Joseph E. Drew becomes the second chief executive to quit the MTA in a year. --- The FAA begins operations at the new $29 million 277-foot tall air traffic control tower at LAX. --- A subway-tunneling machine twice gets stuck while boring through the Santa Monica Mountains. --- MTA’s inspector general and a U.S. Senate committee begin investigating the transit agency. --- The largest brush fire in Southern California since the 1993 Malibu fires burns through the Santa Monica Mountains. --- Congress reduces funding for the MTA subway project. --- Employees complain about a mural at MTA’s downtown headquarters. The artwork is covered-up for a period of time. The mural depicts a naked running man in a series of photographic images taken more than a hundred years ago by photographer Edward Muybridge. --- After a two-year legal battle, the MTA agrees to an out-of-court settlement requiring it to deploy at least 152 more buses, reduce fares and provide safer rides. A lawsuit had been filed against the MTA accusing it of favoring rail projects for more affluent commuters over poor and minority bus riders. --- The $498 million Harbor Freeway Transit Way opens, a 10.3-mile bus and car-pool facility running down the median of the Harbor (110) Freeway. The project includes the first-ever viaduct built along an existing freeway in Los Angeles. --- The $75 million Skirball Cultural Center and Museum opens in Sherman Oaks. --- Demolition crews begin removing the cupola of 120-year-old St. Vibiana’s Cathedral. Preservationists obtain a temporary restraining order to halt the demolition. The Los Angeles Conservancy battles the Los Angles Archdiocese in court to rescue the earthquake-damaged church. --- Due to ongoing legal battles with preservationists over the old cathedral, the Los Angeles Archdiocese seeks out an alternate site. A parking lot owned by the county between Temple Street and the Hollywood Freeway is purchased for $10.85 million. Spanish architect Jose Rafael Moneo unveils a preliminary model of the new cathedral. --- The historic Angels Flight railway reopens on Bunker Hill. --- Ernest Fleischmann, legendary managing director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, retires after 27 years. --- The City of Los Angeles bans the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by gardeners near residences. --- Tommy Lasorda retires as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1997

Most of southeastern Los Angeles County, including Long Beach, switches from telephone area code 310 to 562. This region had switched from area code 213 to 310 only five years earlier. --- Bill Cosby’s son, Ennis, is murdered while trying to change a tire on his disabled car. A Russian émigré is later convicted of the crime. --- The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Pathfinder project provides close-up photographs from Mars. --- The California Assembly passes a law making it easier for the San Fernando Valley to secede from the City of Los Angeles. --- Two heavily armed bank robbers wearing body armor engage police in a horrific shootout in North Hollywood. --- The City of Los Angeles imposes a business tax on home-based writers. --- LAPD Chief Willie Williams agrees to vacate his job in exchange for a $375,000 severance package. Bernard C. Parks is selected to succeed him as the new Chief. --- Incumbent Richard Riordan defeats State Senator Tom Hayden for a second term as mayor of the City of Los Angeles. --- The San Gabriel Valley begins using the new telephone area code 626. --- County health inspectors briefly close L.A. City Mayor Richard Riordan’s restaurant, The Original Pantry. Prior to this, the venerable restaurant had boasted of never having closed. --- The Long Beach Naval Shipyard closes. Historic preservations oppose the demolition of the former base but the decision is made to move ahead with developing the property into an ocean container shipping facility. Citing national security concerns, new opposition arises when the City of Long Beach proposes leasing the facility to a Chinese government-owned shipping company. --- The Getty Center opens. --- Hepatitis-infected strawberries are discovered in Los Angeles public schools. --- Former Black Panther Party leader Elmer 'Geronimo' Pratt is freed after his 1972 conviction for a Santa Monica murder is reversed. --- L.A. City Councilman Mike Hernandez is arrested for cocaine possession. He apologizes for his drug abuse and enters a rehabilitation program. A movement of outraged constituents of Hernandez fails to organize a recall election. --- After the Los Angeles City Council postpones a ban on gas-powered blowers, it decides to reduce the penalty once the ban took effect. --- The El Nino storms hit Southern California.

1998

El Nino storms continue to batter Southern California, causing tremendous damage along the Malibu coastline. --- Construction begins on Staples Center - the newest Los Angeles area sports arena. --- Gardeners demonstrate in Downtown L.A. against a Los Angeles city ordinance prohibiting the use of leaf blowers. --- Peter O’Malley, son of the man who first brought the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, sells the team to Rupert Murdock. --- All but the most downtown portion of Central Los Angeles County still using telephone area code 213 begins to use the new area code 323. --- A freeway chase ends in a live televised suicide as a disgruntled HMO patient sets his parked pickup truck on fire at a freeway interchange and shoots himself. Television stations change their policies towards live airing of possible violent confrontations. --- Los Angeles County voters pass a ballot measure to deny the use of county transit sales tax for additional subway projects. Planned extensions to the Eastside and Mid-City are scrapped. --- Seeking to bring equality with dogs, Mayor Richard Riordan proposes to license cats in Los Angeles. After much howling by cat-loving Angelenos, the proposal is shot down by the City Council. --- The $100 million Long Beach Aquarium opens to huge crowds. --- The Internet site LosAngelesAlmanac.com is launched as the first comprehensive almanac covering Los Angeles County.

1999

Northern Los Angeles County switches from telephone area code 805 to the new area code 661. This area of the county was originally the first in 1957 to break from area code 213. --- Voters again amend the LA City Charter, last changed in 1924, to disperse power throughout city government as protection against corruption. New charter provisions give the Mayor of Los Angeles, one of the least powerful of the nation’s big city mayors, greater power. It also provides for the formation of neighborhood councils, ostensibly allowing greater local participation in city government. The latter provision addressed one of the key concerns raised by the San Fernando Valley secession movement. --- A terrible fire causes $1.2 million worth of damage to St. Thomas The Apostle Catholic Church in the Pico-Union area. Cardinal Roger Mahony cancels a trip to visit the mostly Central American immigrant congregation and conduct services in the church parking lot. --- The Hollywood segment of the MTA Red Line opens. --- FBI agents arrest 23-year fugitive Kathleen Ann Soliah in a St. Paul, Minnesota, and residential neighborhood. Soliah was wanted on a 1976 Grand Jury indictment for plotting to kill LAPD officers by planting bombs underneath police cars. She was alleged to have been a member of the 1970s radical Symbionese Liberation Army group. --- A jury awards a Los Angeles family a record-breaking $4.9 billion against General Motors for pain and disfigurement and punitive damages. The family had been returning from a 1993 Christmas Eve church service when a drunk driver rear-ended their Chevrolet Malibu at the 89th and Figueroa intersection, causing the Malibu to burst into flames. The punitive damages are later reduced to $1.8 billion. --- A neo-Nazi gunman from Washington State enters the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills and begins shooting. Two staff members and three children are wounded. Television pictures of police leading a chain of children away from the center are replayed around the world. The gunman is alleged to have later been responsible for the murder of postal carrier Joseph Ileto in Chatsworth. The alleged gunman turns himself over to police in Las Vegas a day later and is returned to Los Angeles. He faces federal murder charges and subsequent state charges on murder, attempted murder and carjacking. --- The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) loses contact with their $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter as it begins to orbit Mars. NASA reveals that a simple arithmetic conversion from English measurements to metric measurements had not been made, dooming the space vehicle. Later during the year, JPL loses yet another Mars mission, the $165 million Mars Polar Lander. For inexplicable reasons, the space vehicle disappears as it begins to descend towards the Martian surface. --- The LAPD is hit by its worst scandal in 60 years when former officer Rafael Perez alleges that he and other Rampart Division officers engaged in illegal actions including perjury, staged shootings, false arrests, false evidence, witness intimidation, beatings, theft and drug dealing. Perez offered to cooperate on these allegations in exchange for a reduced sentence in his cocaine theft conviction. The District Attorney begins a review of hundreds of cases related to these allegations. The convictions of four men are consequently overturned and they are released from prison. --- Los Angeles Times management falls under fire for agreeing to run a special editorial piece in the newspaper about Staples Center and, at the same time, share advertising income from the piece with the Center. Reporters on the piece knew nothing about the arrangement. Legendary Times Publisher, Otis Chandler, comes out of retirement to openly criticize the move.

2000

Former LAPD officer Rafael Perez agrees to a plea bargain with prosecutors for a five-year sentence on drug theft charges in exchange for providing informing on alleged corruption and police abuses within the Rampart Division. Perez fingers about 70 other officers who were alleged to have been involved or known of falsifying of police reports and framing and even injuring and beating suspects. Dozen of LAPD officers are consequently relieved of duty pending investigations. One alleged victim of these abuses, Javier Francisco Ovando, is released from serving a 23-year sentence for assault on police officers. Perez had admitted to shooting then framing Ovando. After filing a lawsuit against the City, Ovando receives a $15 million settlement. Later in the year, three former Rampart officers are convicted on police corruption charges coming out of the investigation (a fourth officer is acquitted). The convictions, however, are overturned when a Superior Court Judges agrees that the jury had considered irrelevant evidence. --- The Los Angeles Board of Education votes to abandon the Belmont Learning Center construction project after receiving reports of toxic gas leakage from the former oil field. By years end, with increased pressure for finding new school space for the burgeoning pupil population and over much debate, Superintendent Roy Romer and members of the Board begin to reconsider proposals for reopening the site as an educational facility. --- Justice for Janitors wins a 25 percent wage increase over three years for office janitors after a high profile three week strike supported by Hollywood celebrities, Jesse Jackson and presidential candidate, Vice President Al Gore. --- Major stockholders of the Times-Mirror Company, owner of the Los Angeles Times, agree to merge the company into The Tribune Company of Chicago in a deal valued at $6.8 billion. Los Angeles becomes the largest U.S. city without a locally owned, general interest daily newspaper. --- The U.S. Justice Department threatens to take the City of Los Angeles to court on allegations of police and civil rights abuses. After much debate and political maneuvering, Mayor Richard Riordan agrees to expand the LAPD Internal Affairs Division, use more sophisticated methods to track officer behavior, grant more power to the Police Commission and the Inspector General, and keep detailed race and gender statistics on police stops. --- Lori Gonzalez, the granddaughter of LAPD Chief Bernard Parks, is murdered in her car as she drives out of a fast food establishment and is fired upon at close range by a gunman. --- Los Angeles County’s murder rate begins to inexplicably climb after a decade-long decline. In response, Chief Parks pledges to put more officers on the streets of Los Angeles. --- About 30,000 delegates, party workers, media personnel and protestor descend on Los Angeles for the Democratic National Convention held in Staples Center. The LAPD takes serious precautions to prevent civil disorder by protestors as experienced in the Seattle last year. Critics, however, decry what they describe as excessive assault by police against mostly peaceful demonstrators when a few protestors begin throwing bottles and rocks at police over the fence. LAPD Chief Bernard Parks even goes so far as to apologize to peaceful demonstrators who were roughed up by riot police. --- The last three stations of the 15-year, $4.7 billion Metro Subway project open in North Hollywood, Universal City and Hollywood/Highland. --- Interim Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines reorganizes the district into 11 sub-districts. --- Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer is selected to become Superintendent of the troubled Los Angeles Unified School District. --- Drivers and operators of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) begin a strike that halts bus and rail service for 32 days. Low-income, public transit-dependent riders are most affected. --- In response to unacceptable wage increase proposals, Los Angeles County workers begin "rolling" strikes that culminate in a countywide strike. The strike lasts for only one day when union leaders find weak support from rank and file members and they face an appeal from Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony to not withhold public health services to less advantaged citizens. The union ends up compromising with the County by signing an agreement for half of their demands. --- Screen Actor Guild (SAG) actors end a six-month strike against television commercial production in exchange for compensation from commercials appearing on cable television. The strike brought economic hardship to technical production workers dependent on production work. --- Steve Cooley defeats two term incumbent Gil Garcetti with 64 percent of the vote. The candidates engaged in an unprecedented 15 debates. --- Democrat Adam Schiff defeats incumbent Republican James Rogan for the 27th Congressional District seat. Both candidates spent $10 million on campaign, making it one of the most expensive U.S. Congressional contests in the nation. --- An increase in holiday electricity usage and sharply rising power prices under a backfiring deregulation plan threatens the financial stability of Southern California Edison. The company warns of bankruptcy unless utility rates can be increased. In contrast, the City of Los Angles Department of Water and Power (DWP), a municipal-owned utility exempt from deregulation, basks in a surplus of power and the ability to insulate its customers from rate hikes. --- The 8,000-member Faithful Central Bible Church of Inglewood purchases the Great Western Forum in Inglewood for $22.5 million.

 

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