Southern California breaking news and trends

Ninth Circuit announces it will rule on Prop 8 constitutionality tomorrow

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Patricia Nazario/KPCC

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced Monday that it plans to file opinion in the Prop 8 case tomorrow at 10 a.m. 

Announcement from the court:

Advance Notice of Opinion Filing - The Court anticipates filing an opinion tomorrow (Tuesday, February 7) by 10:00 a.m. in Perry v. Brown, case numbers 10-16696 and 11-16577, regarding the constitutionality ofProposition 8 and the denial of a motion to vacate the lower court judgement in the case.  A summary of the opinion prepared by court staff will be posted along with the opinion.


A federal district judge ruled in August 2010 that Proposition 8 -- a 2008 ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California that was approved by voters -- violated the U.S. Constitution.

Tomorrow's three-judge panel decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will determine whether to reverse or uphold the 2010 decision. An appeal to the United States Supreme Court is expected regardless of the outcome.


SeaWorld thinks PETA's plea to free the whales is fishy

Baby Killer Whale Born At SeaWorld San Diego

Getty Images/Getty Images

A mother and baby orcas, also called killer whales, swim at Sea World in San Diego.

It's nice when sea life can work together. Exhibit A: Killer whales with shark lawyers.

The attorneys for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are set to face a federal judge on Monday in San Diego on behalf of five orcas at SeaWorld that the animal-rights group wants released on antislavery grounds.

Representation for Tilikum, Katina, Kasatka, Ulises and Corky believe the SeaWorld San Diego orcas, "should be covered by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that bans slavery and involuntary servitude," explains the L.A. Times.

SeaWorld officials call the allegations "baseless," notes KCET, and want the court to dismiss the lawsuit, filed last October, as a publicity stunt.


"I went to the killer whale, I said, 'killer whale please...what do you do when your true love leaves?'" - M. Ward


Protest planned, classes canceled at Miramonte Elementary

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Some parents have formed "Madres de Miramonte."

Some parents at Miramonte Elemntary planned to protest outside the school Monday, as  LAUSD Supertintendent John Deasy scheduled a meeting with parents for Monday night and canceled classes at the school Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The timing of the protest and the number of parents who planned to appear was not clear. The closure is related to the investigation and aftermath of the arrested teachers.

Last week teacher Mark Berndt, 61, who worked at the school for 32 years, was charged with committing lewd acts on 23 children, ages 6 to 10, between 2005 and 2010. He's accused of blindfolding children and feeding them his own semen in his classroom in what children were allegedly told was a "tasting game." He is being held on $23 million bail.

Four days after Berndt was arrested, another teacher, Martin Springer, 49, was arrested on suspicion of fondling two girls in his classroom. He is being held on $2 million bail.


M. Ward sings to the underground at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

hollywood forever cemetery masonic lodge

Photo by Lisa Brenner

Hollywood Forever Cemetery

There's nothing quite like a cemetery show to build an underground following, and M. Ward was digging deep on Thursday night when the songwriter haunted a sold out crowd at the Masonic Lodge located inside Hollywood Forever Cemetery. 

With hands that seem to be daring each other to do crazy things, the Ventura County native played his guitar like a full band throughout the thoughtfully sequenced set of new material and flashbacks.

A study in under-banter and comedic timing, the musician let his peculiar brand of sound and vision tell most of the stories with lyrics alternating between fantastical and heartbreaking, and a voice that cushions like thick mist.

"No recording allowed" was taken seriously by the exceedingly polite and respectful crowd that sat in orderly rows in complete silence waiting for the rock ritual to save them. Sometimes the un-Memorexed moments just mean more.


San Onofre worker falls into reactor pool at nuclear plant

san onofre nuclear power plant atomic

Jason Hickey/Flickr Creative Commons

A veteran worker lost his balance at the San Onofre nuclear plant last week and fell into the Unit 2 reactor pool while trying to retrieve a flashlight. The pool, more than 20 feet deep, contains water that continually circulates through the reactor core.

The worker did not suffer significant radiation exposure in the incident, and was "wearing all of the appropriate safety equipment, including a life preserver vest," said Southern California Edison spokesman Gil Alexander told the L.A. Times.

Highly radioactive uranium fuel normally sits at the bottom of the pool, but it had been removed by workers, according to officials. Stray fuel particles may have been floating in the water and could have been swallowed. They would have been the most likely source of radiation, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Victor Dricks.