Latest Southern California news, sports, business and entertainment


High pressure bringing warm, dry Calif. Christmas

LOS ANGELES (AP) — As large sections of the U.S. deal with severe winter weather for the holidays, California is sunny and dry with high temperatures rising into the low 80s in some southern areas.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday that the fair conditions and above-normal temperatures are being brought by high pressure that will persist through the end of the week.

Southern California will at times feel Santa Ana winds, the gusts that blow out of the northeast toward the coast.

Forecasters say the offshore flow will range from weak to moderate, and the combination of wind, falling humidity levels and abnormally dry vegetation will bring elevated-to-critical fire danger for much of the week.

Much of California is on pace to mark 2013 as the driest calendar year on record.


Federal court strikes down LA hotel search law

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal court has struck down a Los Angeles law it says wrongly allows police to inspect hotel and motel guest records without a warrant.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion released Tuesday says the ordinance violates the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches. It reversed a lower court that sided with the city in a challenge brought by two motel owners.

The five-judge majority said hotels ordered to produce the records or face possible misdemeanor charges must have a chance to let a judge review the demand.

In their dissent, four judges said that the majority wrongly assumed that all searches made under the ordinance were unconstitutional.

The city attorney's office said it may issue a comment about the ruling later Tuesday.


Servers awarded $5.7M in age discrimination suit

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury has awarded nearly $5.7 million to four servers who alleged they were fired from a Los Angeles restaurant because of their ages.

City News Service says Superior Court jurors last week awarded damages to the women, who range in age from 49 to 70 years old.

The four sued Cable's Restaurant in Woodland Hills for age discrimination and wrongful termination.

The women said new owners who took over the restaurant in 2010 let them go and replaced them with women in their 20s.

Defense attorneys denied wrongdoing and said the new owners retained more than a dozen workers as old as 75.


CA Supreme Court rules in corruption case

(Information in the following story is from: The Sun,

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — The California Supreme Court has ruled that a Southern California developer can be prosecuted in a $102 million bribery case.

The San Bernardino Sun says the court released its opinion Monday.

The ruling said an appeals court erred last year when it determined that Jeff Burum couldn't be accused of aiding and abetting bribery. It also reversed the dismissal of two bribery charges against former San Bernardino County Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin.

San Bernardino County settled a lawsuit with Burum's company, Colonies Partners, for $102 million in 2006 but prosecutors say the deal was tainted by bribery.

Burum, Erwin and two former county officials were charged with crimes.

Burum's attorney, Stephen Larson, says the allegations are fabricated.

Erwin's lawyer, Rajan Maline, says he's disappointed by the ruling.


1 killed, 1 hurt in San Diego parking lot shooting

(Information in the following story is from: U-T San Diego,

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego police say a shooting in a mall parking lot has killed a woman and injured a man.

U-T San Diego says police found the couple in a car at the Westfield Mission Valley Mall shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Lt. Mike Hastings says the woman died at the scene and the man was taken to a hospital. There's no word on his condition but Hastings says the man may not survive.

The victims, both in their 20s, were shot in the head and upper body.

Police are looking for a man seen driving away in a 2008 to 2011 gray Honda.

There's no word on a motive for the attack.


Drummer Ricky Lawson, 59, dies after aneurism

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Studio drummer Ricky Lawson, who collaborated with Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston and other artists, has died at a California hospital after suffering a brain aneurism earlier this month. He was 59.

Lawson became disoriented Dec. 13 during a show in Seal Beach, Calif., and was diagnosed with an aneurism.

Paul Riser of Detroit told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his nephew was removed from life support after 10 days and died Monday evening.

Lawson was being treated at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

The Detroit native jumped into the music business even before graduating from Cooley High School, and he became one of the nation's top studio musicians in the 1980s.

His work appears on Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You."


Arsenio Hall uninjured in minor car accident

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police say talk show host Arsenio Hall drove off a road in the San Fernando Valley but he's uninjured.

Sgt. Russell Carr tells City News Service that Hall lost control of his Porsche and drove into a dirt shoulder at around 7:15 p.m. Monday in West Hills.

The car had to be towed.

Carr says it's unclear why Hall lost control of the car but police have ruled out driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


Hospital wraps newborns in Christmas stockings

REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) — Southern California hospitals are spreading holiday cheer for new parents by delivering newborns in giant Christmas stockings.

The bright red stockings were provided this week for babies born at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports it's a half-century-old tradition.

The Redlands Community Hospital has been handing out stockings to parents of infants born this month.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports the tradition began in 1930, but lapsed before it was revived in 2005.

This year, 16 volunteers made 250 fleece stockings during a daylong sewing bee.