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L.A. Now Live: Latest on USC shooting, jails, Vernon election

April 11, 2012 |  6:51 am

Times reporters Robert Faturechi and Sam Allen will be joining City Editor Shelby Grad to talk about the latest developments in two ongoing stories: the trouble at Men's Central Jail and the chaos in Vernon's first competitive election in years.

The chat will begin at 9 a.m. at www.latimes.com/lanow. Questions can be asked live during the chat or by submitting a comment above.

Times reporter Andrew Blankstein also will be on to discuss the latest developments on the fatal shooting of two USC students near campus. Both were international students from China and were sitting in a late-model BMW when the shooting occurred early Wednesday morning. Police believe it was an apparent robbery attempt.

Faturechi has written numerous stories about the troubled jails. The latest news came Tuesday, when Sheriff Lee Baca publicly committed to shuttering much of his most problematic lockup, Men’s Central Jail, barring a huge spike in crime.

Baca said his new outlook was spurred by a report commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union, which found that Los Angeles County’s jail population could be reduced by, among other measures, increasing the number of inmates who are released into the public and electronically monitored.

The FBI is also investigating brutality in the jails.

Allen will give us the latest update on Vernon, where a historic election was thrown into chaos Tuesday before officials could even begin counting the ballots.

An attorney representing the Chamber of Commerce said he wanted to present evidence that seven of the city's 74 registered voters didn't live in the city.

This was to be a significant election for Vernon, which hasn't seen a new candidate voted into office since Richard Nixon was president.

After a series of corruption scandals and a reform effort at City Hall, the industrial city was holding its first open, competitive council election in years. The race has stirred up the tiny community, bringing door-to-door campaigners, fliers and candidates' forums for the first time in recent memory.

-- Kimi Yoshino