Patt Morrison for August 29, 2011

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It was going to be a monster storm: Hurricane Irene had just torn through the Bahamas, where it caused over $1 billion in damages, and was moving back out over the open ocean where it was supposed to pick up strength and eventually slam into the U.S. East Coast.
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Polling data from the last 50 years suggests that California voters would reject a measure abolishing the state's death penalty if it ever came to the ballot. Despite that evidence, Senate Bill 490 proposed doing just that, until legislators tabled it in committee last week. Now, Taxpayers for Justice, a coalition of death penalty opponents, is going to the people.
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One of the longest running debates after the attacks of September 11, 2001 was how to compensate the victims, from the people killed on the airplanes, in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon to the scores of first responders who rushed to the scene and died for their efforts.
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McGrath State Beach, a popular coastal park near Ventura Harbor that welcomes 300,000 visitors a year, is facing financial troubles and the prospect of closure after Labor Day, joining the long list of public parks in dire need of funding.
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It was supposed to be an economic boon, not only to downtown Los Angeles but to the entire city.
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