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Morning Scoop: budget gap, abstinence, selling a park

March 14, 2009 | 10:29 am

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Good morning from the City Desk! Why not start your weekend with some fine reads from today's paper?

It was balanced for a second, maybe,  but now the Legislature's nonpartisan budget analyst says he thinks that even with tax increases and service cuts the state is already back in the hole to the tune of $8 billion, Jordan Rau and Evan Halper report from Sacramento. Part of the problem: Residents' combined personal income will be lower this year, leading to fewer tax dollars.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors suspended a health education contract with Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions. Now one supervisor is considering a push to give the contract to educate teens to a group that describes itself as a "pro-life ministry" and promotes abstinence until marriage, Tami Abdollah reports.

Los Angeles officials trying to sell a downtown Civic Center park often speak of Chicago's Millennium Park as a model, writes Cara Mia DiMassa. But organizers of the Millennium Park project raised millions from local benefactors, she writes. It's unclear yet whether Los Angeles park planners will be able to do the same -- especially now.

Neighborhood centers offer free legal help to Southern Californians willing to do a lot of work for themselves,  writes Alicia Lozano.

People on and off campus responded recently when columnist Sandy Banks wrote about Chatsworth High School's struggling drama program, but holding on to arts funding in the LAUSD is always a complicated problem, she writes.

Demographics have changed, and so some of the Jewish Community Library now housed in the headquarters of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard may move 13.5 miles to the campus of the American Jewish University on Mulholland Drive in Bel-Air, writes Martha Grove. The federation says it only makes sense, but some current patrons object.

About 46,000 votes from Los Angeles' March 3 primary remain uncounted, writes Phil Willon. That's more than 1 in 6 ballots cast, which means some election outcomes may change.

Enjoy your Saturday. We'll bring you the news as it happens.

-- Nita Lelyveld

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