Daily News Bulletin

1 KILLED, 3 HURT AFTER BEING SWEPT BY WAVES IN REDONDO BEACH

One man was killed and his three companions injured when powerful waves knocked them off their feet and into the ocean in Redondo Beach Wednesday night as high surf pounded the coast.

Harbor Patrol officers rushed to King Harbor around 11:15 p.m. after witnesses reported people in the water calling for help. They were able to pull two men and two women from the waves at the base of the jetty, but one man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The three others were transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in serious condition.

One patrol officer fell into the water during the rescue but he was not hurt.

Chief Mark Winter of the Redondo Beach Fire Department said the four victims were out on the break wall when they were washed off the jetty.

“I saw the guy in between the rocks yelling for help, and then I realized what had happened. Big waves were coming over the water breaker and I knew they got knocked off,” witness Jaime Derry said.

The male victim has not been identified pending notification of next of kin.

A high surf advisory was issued Wednesday and is in effect through Thursday night. Beachgoers are warned of dangerous waves from 8 to 12 feet, rip currents and possibly minor flooding. (ABC)

Gas Prices Expected To Spike As Stations Prepare Switch To Summer Blend

Gas prices are about to soar dramatically, as high as 30 cents a gallon by the weekend, experts said Thursday.

The steep increases are due to the annual switch to summer-blend gasoline, which is designed to reduce pollution in warmer weather and costs more to produce. Wholesale prices jumped as high as 52 cents a gallon this week because of the switch, according to consumer advocates and industry experts.

The average prices of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County dropped Thursday to $2.36 — the lowest price since May 6, 2009. But with Thursday’s warning, a return to $3-per-gallon gas appears imminent.

Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy organization, scheduled a news conference at its Santa Monica headquarters this morning to warn motorists of the impending price spike.

“Consumer advocates will advise California drivers to take advantage of today’s gasoline prices because they will be gone by Friday and keep climbing for the foreseeable future,” a Consumer Watchdog statement said before the news conference, forecasting a 30-cent-per-gallon increase.

Gas stations are set to begin selling summer blend by April 1. Consumer Watchdog said “fire-sale prices on remaining winter stocks ” are now at an end. (CBS)

Apple Court Filing Calls iPhone Order Dangerous, Unconstitutional

After a court ordered Apple to help federal investigators unlock an encrypted iPhone, the company responded with a court Thursday filing that describes the FBI request as illegal, unconstitutional and dangerous.

“No court has ever authorized what the government now seeks, no law supports such unlimited and sweeping use of the judicial process, and the Constitution forbids it,” Apple’s lawyers wrote in the company’s motion to vacate the order.

The court order issued last week instructs Apple to assist the FBI in working around security features on an iPhone 5s that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. Federal agents have been unable to break the phone’s encryption, and attempting to guess the password might result in all the data being deleted. They’ve asked Apple to develop software they could load onto the phone that would allow them to guess the password more easily and without the risk of detection.

In the motion to dismiss the court order, Apple’s manager of user privacy describes that hypothetical software as “GovtOS” — a special operating system for the government that Apple would not make under any other circumstances.

The company says it has already dedicated “substantial resources” to helping the FBI investigate the San Bernardino shootings, but that this request goes too far. Creating such software would require extensive resources, Apple notes, especially if the company has to deploy the software repeatedly — as it expects it would.

“The government says: ‘Just this once’ and ‘Just this phone,’ ” the motion notes. “But the government knows those statements are not true; indeed the government has filed multiple other applications for similar orders, some of which are pending in other courts. … If this order is permitted to stand, it will only be a matter of days before some other prosecutor, in some other important case, before some other judge, seeks a similar order using this case as precedent.”

Apple also says the request overreaches the court’s authority — that only Congress could create a policy or afford the federal courts a new power to make such a request legal — and that it violates the company’s First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights. (NPR)

All aboard to the beach! Expo Line to Santa Monica opens May 20

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A Metro map shows the course of the Expo Line Phase 2 (LA METRO)

Angelenos will finally be able to ride a train to the beaches of Santa Monica starting May 20, when the second phase of the Expo light rail line opens to the public.

The 6.6-mile, $1.5 billion light rail extension connects downtown Los Angeles to downtown Santa Monica with seven new stations beyond the current terminal at Culver City:

  • Palms
  • Westwood/Rancho Park
  • Expo/Sepulveda
  • Expo/Bundy
  • 17th St/Santa Monica
  • Downtown Santa Monica

The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced the opening date on Thursday.

Next month, the Metro Board will consider a plan to charge for parking at three of the stations where they will operate lots. Transit users would be charged $2 for a full day. Other users would be charged $25 or more.

Connecting the urban core of Los Angeles to the beach by rail has long been an elusive dream in Los Angeles, since Mayor Tom Bradley vowed to build a subway in the 1970s.

The so-called “Subway to the Sea” heralded by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — also known as the Purple Line extension along Wilshire Boulevard — will actually end at Westwood without a new injection of funding, and it won’t make it there until 2035.

The Expo Line is light rail, which moves above ground at a slower rate than subways. The Expo train will take about 45 minutes to get from Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

The project was funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

Metro is gearing up to put another sales tax measure on the ballot to raise up to $120 billion over the coming decades to fund further rail expansion. The agency has been criticized in recent weeks for spending billions of dollars to expand the network at time when ridership is declining.

But Metro CEO Phil Washington believes the Expo Line extension, along with the new Gold Line Foothill Extension opening March 5, will increase ridership and demonstrate to more people the importance of expanding transit options.

“I think it can only help the ballot initiative,” he said. The Metro Board will not officially vote on whether to move forward with the measure until June.(KPCC)

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