LA bite-sized news 12/12/19 | Inside Los Angeles - December, 12th 2019

Inside Los Angeles (Dec 12th, 2019)

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1. A Los Angeles law requiring businesses seeking contracts with the city to disclose any connections to the National Rifle Association (NRA) was temporarily blocked by a federal judge Wednesday. The NRA requested the preliminary injunction as part of the gun rights advocacy group's lawsuit against the city filed in April. The original motion, written in October 2018, sought transparency in how taxpayer dollars were spent, but the NRA claimed the law violates the First Amendment. The judge wrote the city "is not permitted to restrict political speech as a means of achieving its goal of safer cities." The law will not be in effect as the case continues to play out in court. – ASSOCIATED PRESS

2. LA County has opened 34 "Wellbeing Centers" on high school campuses focused on mental health, reproductive health, and general wellness, and plans to have 50 by early 2020. As part of a partnership with Planned Parenthood, several of the health centers provide birth control options and pregnancy tests one day a week. The county ultimately hopes to expand this partnership to each location. Each center also features two "Master's level health educators" who've been trained to address depression and trauma among teenagers. The initiative will cost $12 million in its first year, and Planned Parenthood has committed $5 million to the project over the next five years. – LAIST

3. Architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi has been selected to redesign the La Brea Tar Pits. Several firms submitted renderings to reimagine the 12-acre tar pit campus in August, but the Weiss/Manfredi proposal "captured the imaginations of a broad cross section of audiences," according to museum officials. The plan leaves the Page Museum intact and creates a new museum wing over a central lawn, with walking paths to connect exhibits. Notably, the Tar Pits' three fiberglass mammoths will remain unchanged. – CURBED LA

4. The city of Lancaster has postponed a vote on its proposal to ban food distribution to the homeless on public streets. Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said the ordinance was proposed to cut down on trash and human waste left in public after food distribution services are conducted in areas without adequate bathroom or waste disposal facilities. But, in the days following the proposal's announcement, it became a national news story and activists argued it would result in people going hungry. After a contentious meeting between officials and residents Tuesday, the Lancaster City Council voted unanimously to "modify the ordinance and bring it back for a vote in about six months." – LA DAILY NEWS

5. The Los Angeles Angels have signed free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract. The Angels reportedly tried first to land right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole, but he signed a landmark $324 million contract with the New York Yankees on Tuesday night. The deal includes a no-trade clause, but no opt-out clause, which means Rendon will not be able to pursue free agency again before the end of the contract. According to ESPN, the Angels still have some budget remaining should they wish to pursue a pitcher in free agency. Rendon joins the Angels on the heels of his World Series win with the Washington Nationals. – ESPN

And here are a few other things you should know today:

The Original Pantry Cafe downtown has been temporarily closed by the public health department. The restaurant that proudly boasts it has never closed says it is working to complete its "Holiday Cheer decorating." – EATER LA

Richard Branson announced Virgin Fest 2020, a music festival with three stages, will take place on June 6 and 7 at Banc of California Stadium & Exposition Park. He made the announcement on a video where he stood atop the stadium south of DTLA. – BILLBOARD

Metro Bus and Rail lines will be free for riders on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. No fare will be charged on either night between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. Metro is also planning to expand service to be available all night on New Year's Eve into New Year's Day. Don't say you have no other option than to take a $50 Lyft ride. – LA METRO

A red Lamborghini with Oregon plates was found overturned and abandoned on the Angeles Crest Highway early Wednesday. Authorities checked with local hospitals after finding droplets of blood near the crash, but have not yet located the driver. – THE DRIVE

Wildlife officials captured a mountain lion in Simi Valley early Thursday, though they say it's not the same one that attacked two dogs last week. The animal will be collared before being released, either in the Santa Monica or Santa Susana mountains. – LA TIMES

Jonathan Harris is a Los Angeles-based writer. Previously, he wrote for The Huffington Post, TakePart.com, and the YouTube channel What’s Trending. He’s a frequent performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood. Follow him on Twitter @countrycaravan.

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