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Morning Scoop: The mayor's tightrope, 18 years behind bars, inner light

April 14, 2009 |  8:40 am


Good morning from the City Desk. A sampler of some of the fine California stories in today's paper:

When it comes to unions, writes Phil Willon, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is walking a tightrope. The former union negotiator needs to close the city's half-billion-dollar budget gap while preserving the support of unions. And he has to tread especially carefully if he's interested in the governor's office.

A handful of  Los Angeles public schools are using a program called "Spirituality for Kids" that was created by a leader of the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre International. But in some cases, parents have objected to talk of "inner light" and "the opponent," writes Seema Mehta.

The tiny Tracy Press sprang into action when 8-year-old Sandra Cantu went missing, writes Alexandra Zavis. It was an interview by the paper that cracked the grim case.

Columnist Hector Tobar takes on Democratic state Sen. Gil Cedillo for living "the good life" on his campaign contributions.

At 69, Phil Spector, convicted Monday of second-degree murder, will have to serve at least 18 years of a mandatory life sentence. He's the first celebrity found guilty of murder on Hollywood's home turf in 40 years, writes Harriet Ryan.

Former LAPD chief Bernard C. Parks wants the new police headquarters named after Chief William H. Parker, just like the old one -- and he doesn't want to hear comments about Parker's negative influence on race relations in the city, reports Joel Rubin.

They thought they were going to be laid off, but now they won't be. Los Angeles school officials will rescind 2,000 of the layoff notices they sent out to permanent elementary school teachers, reports Howard Blume. But thousands of less experienced teachers and other school employees could still lose their jobs.

We'll be at the school board meeting, which begins at 1 p.m., and at the mayor's State of the City address at 3:30 p.m. We'll bring you other news as we get it.

-- Nita Lelyveld

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