Southern California breaking news and trends

Controversy grows over UCLA proposed sale of donated Japanese Garden

UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden

Photo by Drew Wilder-Goodwin via Flickr Creative Commons

UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden

Nothing lasts forever. Not even the meaning of "in perpetuity." Last year, a court ruling allowed UCLA to remove the eternally terrifying clause from a 1964 donation agreement, and the university is now looking to sell its Japanese Garden property.

The proposed sale of the Bel Air 1.5-acre Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is viewed by the university as an opportunity to raise roughly $5.7 million for endowments, programs and professorships, but the move to market is strongly opposed by conservationist groups.

The LA Conservancy and Garden Conservancy say the plan does not include protective measures or maintenance requirements for the garden, and that a single family home could still be built on the agricultural zone.

According to the LA Times, the university has already started removing objects from the site, and plans to keep some significant pieces -- including a Buddha statue and pagoda -- at the Fowler Museum or other locations on campus.

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Pinkberry scoop: Co-founder pleads not guilty to tire iron assault of homeless man

Pinkberry Co-founder Arrrested

Reed Saxon/AP

A Pinkberry store is seen in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles.

Pinkberry co-founder Young Lee, accused in the June tire iron beating of a homeless man near a 101 Freeway off-ramp, pleaded not guilty to felony assault in a Los Angeles courtroom on Monday.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra granted Lee, who remains free on $60,000 bail, a one-time dispensation allowing him to travel to South Korea, reports the L.A. Times. Lee agreed to automatic extradition should he fail to make his next court date on March 5.

Lee has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a summer 2011 attack on a transient, allegedly over a sexually explicit tattoo that may have been viewed as disrespectful, according to authorities.

Los Angeles police say words were exchanged between the man seeking money and Lee in a rented Range Rover.

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Sad face: U.S. accused of detaining and turning away two European travelers for Twitter joke

marilyn monroe

Photo by The Horror via Flickr Creative Commons

Marilyn Monroe's crypt at Westwood Village Memorial Park.

Two European travelers, Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting, claim they were detained overnight after landing at Los Angeles International Airport last week, questioned by Department of Homeland Security agents, and then refused entry to the U.S. because of apparent jokes made by Bryan on Twitter.

The 26-year-old Irish citizen was reportedly flagged for tweeting that he was going to "destroy America"and dig up Marilyn Monroe during his visit, the Daily Mail reports:

Bar manager Leigh, from Coventry, and Emily, 24, from Birmingham, were then quizzed for five hours at LAX before they were handcuffed and put into a van with illegal immigrants and locked up overnight.


Federal agents even searched his suitcase looking for spades and shovels, claiming Emily was planning to act as Leigh's 'look out' while he raided Marilyn's tomb.


They spent 12 hours in separate holding cells before being driven back to the airport where they were put on a plane home via Paris.


Emily said: "The officials told us we were not allowed in to the country because of Leigh's tweet. They wanted to know what we were going to do. They asked why we wanted to destroy America and we tried to explain it meant to get trashed and party. I almost burst out laughing when they asked me if I was going to be Leigh's lookout while he dug up Marilyn Monroe. I couldn't believe it because it was a quote from the comedy Family Guy which is an American show."

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Super size signs causing indigestion and bites in Glendale

fast food signs kfc kentucky fried chicken

Photo by Roadsidepictures via Flickr Creative Commons

Glendale is cracking down on oversized fast food signs.

Glendale is looking to chop down super size signage from the streets of the Jewel City. Recent outspoken arbiters of taste and beauty, the Glendale City Council is targeting large pole signs often associated with fast food chains. 

A council member, perhaps suffering from acid reflux-induced insensibility, took a verbal bite at East L.A. as officials were directed to find codes that will force companies to remove offending beacons, reports the Glendale News Press

"It’s a matter of aesthetics," said Councilman Ara Najarian. "These signs are something you see in East L.A." Under the first phase of the effort, Glendale would give businesses two years to comply with city size restrictions due to the protracted recession and high costs involved.

The signs — most of which are on West Glenoaks and Verdugo boulevards and Honolulu, La Crescenta and North Pacific avenues — are too big, according to city code. Some reach as high as 25 feet, with surface areas of up to 200 square feet, far larger than the 6- to 8-foot height limits. The city also restricts surface areas to between 40 and 75 square feet.

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Simmer down, Burbank and South Pasadena have tanks

burbank and south pasadena tanks swat peacemaker

Photo by Chuck Coker via Flickr Creative Commons

This is something you probably don't ever want to see.

Employing the Mortimer and Randolph Duke usual amount, the South Pasadena Police Department has acquired a tank from the Burbank Police Department for $1. Maybe someone really did lose a bet.

Last week, the city took delivery of the "Peacekeeper," a U.S. Air Force surplus "armor-framed, gasoline-powered vehicle on a heavy-duty Dodge truck chassis" that requires "no special training to operate," said authorities, reports the Burbank Leader.

Seeing no action other than SWAT exercises, the Peacekeeper kept the peace through silent intimidation during its time in Burbank. Its main function is in rescue operations to create a "a barrier between a potential shooter and a resident or police officer," said Burbank Police Lt. John Dilbert.

South Pasadena's 35-officer agency, previously having to rely on SWAT assistance from Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, is boosting its own SWAT capabilities with training and equiptment.  

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