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Morning Scoop: Abuse of authority, Fiesta Shalom, stalking the rain beetle

May 18, 2009 | 11:08 am


Good morning from the City Desk. Here's a rundown of stories from today's paper:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority security guards, not authorized to act as law enforcement officers, have been abusing their authority, according to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. The sheriff has investigated at least 11 cases of abuse -- including alleged assaults -- in the last two years, Richard Winton reports.

With the special election looming Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger continued to make his pitch for the budget-related propositions, urging voters not to make the state "the poster child for dysfunction," Cathleen Decker and Michael Finnegan write.

Don't place all the blame for California's problems on the politicians; the state's voters are also at fault, George Skelton argues. Learn more about Tuesday's election here.

Michael Ray Burgener is a prime example of California's "dysfunctional" death penalty process, Maura Dolan reports. Sentenced to death for murdering a 7-Eleven clerk in 1980, Burgener's case has ping-ponged from trial courts to appeals courts over 28 years. Lawyers say his appeals could span another 15 years.

Boyle Heights was once home to the largest Jewish enclave outside of New York, Hector Becerra writes. Sunday at Fiesta Shalom, Latinos and Jews united to celebrate the 61st anniversary of Israeli statehood.

And then there's the tale of  the entomologist searching a dark, wet corner of California to find an elusive bug that may solve some mysteries. Here's an excerpt from Thomas Curwen's Column One: "If L.A. ever had a bug worthy of noir, it would be the rain beetle, a critter whose mating habit puts it in the category of the slippery grunion for being both strange and wondrous, a species that emerges from the shadows of nowhere to mate only in the early morning or late twilight hours -- and only during the winter rains."

We'll bring you more news as we get it.

-- Martin Beck

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