Los Angeles is easing its stance on truancy. For the past decade, a tough city ordinance slapped huge fines on students for even one instance of skipping school or being late, but the Los Angeles City Council is changing that law to focus on helping students get to class because it turns out those harsh fines were backfiring.
Two years ago, Nabil Romero, a young Angeleno with a thin black mustache, was running late to his first period at a public high school on LA's Westside.
The words "black market" usually summon images of drugs, guns or pirated DVDs — not tubas. Yet authorities in Los Angeles say the instrument is in such high demand that the black market may be what's driving a wave of local tuba thefts.
Ruben Gonzalez is teaching an after-lunch band class at the scene of one recent tuba crime — the music room at South Gate High School outside L.A. He starts with a request only a band teacher would make.
"Make sure we rinse out folks — we don't need any hamburgers or hot chilies coming through those instruments," he says.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Major League Baseball recently nixed a TV deal for the Dodgers that team owner Frank McCourt said would provide financial stability for the team. The bankruptcy filing appears to be a last ditch effort by McCourt to keep baseball from seizing the Dodgers — one of the most storied teams in sports.