The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends

7 things to know before dinner—Busted meters, challenged mergers, crowdfunded adventures, island bison

A perfect martini, with measurable amounts of dry vermouth.
A perfect martini, with measurable amounts of dry vermouth.
John Rabe


1. Thank you for flying Near Monopoly Airlines (KPCC)

The proposed $11 billion melding of US Airways Group Inc. and American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp. is being challenged by a number of state attorneys and the Justice Department that says a merger would create the world's largest airline. 

The government says a combination of the two companies would reduce competition for commercial air travel in local markets and result in higher passenger airfares.

2. SiriusXM swoops up 'Piolín Radio' (KPCC)

Popular Spanish-language radio host Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo will be returning to the airwaves with a new national platform. Satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM announced Tuesday it would launch a morning-drive show called "Piolín Radio" to headline a new entertainment channel.

Univision dropped Sotelo's previous Los Angeles-based program after a co-worker accused the host of sexual harassment. Sotelo has denied the charge.

3. Broken parking meters are now ticket-free (NBC LA)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that makes it illegal to issue tickets to drivers parked at broken meters in the state of California

An investigation found that in the span of one year more than of 17,000 tickets were issued at meters reported as malfunctioning to the City of Los Angeles. Most had internal malfunctions and were not intentionally broken.  

4. To crowdfund a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' app, turn to their Kickstarter page (The Atlantic Wire)

You and YOU ALONE are in charge of what happens to this franchise.

The popular 1980s Choose Your Own Adventure book series is looking to fund an app called "Choose 'Toons" that does to cartoons what they did to kids' books. 

5. Bison, birth control and an island off Southern Calif. (NPR)

Fourteen bison were brought to Santa Catalina Island in 1924 by a Hollywood film crew. The movie never got made, and the bison were never returned to the wild. 

The subsequent population explosion was managed by hunting and by shipping bison on barges, but lately a new, cheaper solution has biologists excited — contraception.

6. Bidding on Banksy: From Hollywood gas station to Beverly Hills auction (KPCC)

L.A.'s 2008 "Flower Girl" will be the first original Banksy street mural to go up for auction in the United States. It's expected to fetch at least $150,000 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills in December.
The nine-foot by eight-foot piece originally appeared on the wall of a Hollywood gas station. 

7. The $100,000 collection no one wants (Marketplace)

"I guess we'll see who's crazy in 20 years" reads the end-title card of a new documentary about a father's mid-nineties obsession with plush collectables. His $100K investment, partly imagined as a college fund for his five children, has not yet yielded a return. 

The "Bankrupt by Beanies" filmmaker says that what started as a fun, family activity turned into weekend inventories and compulsively shopping a circuit of Santa Clarita Valley stores.