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Morning Scoop: L.A. in Oregon, cut-rate legal advice, looming layoffs

March 10, 2009 |  8:39 am

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Good morning from the City Desk! Time to start the day with some fine reads from the morning's paper.

Assessors in Southern California counties are projecting the first drop in property tax revenues in more than a decade, Alexandra Zavis reports.

Those who find themselves hurting financially at least have more options than they used to when it comes to finding affordable legal aid, writes Carol Williams.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth O. Garner was the second-highest-ranking member of the Police Department when he died March 1 at 53. About 3,000 people attended his memorial service and funeral, writes Ari B. Bloomekatz, among them South Los Angeles residents who were thankful for his help in their neighborhoods.

The ringleader of a group that brought in more than 9,000 illegal immigrants, kept them in safe houses and then deposited them in the Los Angeles area and across the country has been sentenced to six years in prison. The organization, known as the Three Franciscos, often treated the immigrants harshly, confiscating their shoes to keep them from running away, writes Hector Becerra.

Columnist Hector Tobar writes about the many Los Angeles actors who have found a second home on the diverse stages of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore.

Newer teachers at the Los Angeles Unified School District are bracing for layoffs -- which are based on seniority. But some people argue that layoffs should be decided according to merit, report Jason Song and Seema Mehta. The Los Angeles Board of Education is expected to vote today on whether to issue preliminary layoff notices to about 9,000 -- including 5,500 teachers -- because of an expected budget shortfall of $700 million.

Former Symbionese Liberation Army member Sara Jane Olson, once known as Kathleen Soliah, is expected to be paroled from the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla this month after serving time for attempting to kill two Los Angeles police officers with pipe bombs in 1975. The LAPD union opposes letting Olson go home to serve out her parole with her Minnesota family, writes Andrew Blankstein.

Duke Helfand brings us the fascinating tale of how a fight over four Torahs has spilled from religious to civil courts in Los Angeles.

Stop by our interactive map of Los Angeles and join the debate over where we've drawn the lines. We're accepting your thoughts about potential revisions until this Friday. Then we'll start going through all the comments and deciding where we need to make changes.

We'll let you know about the school board's vote on layoffs and bring you other news as it happens.

-- Nita Lelyveld

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