Today’s News: Dodgers open with high hopes; Candidates’ speak; Pixomondo quits features

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Play ball! It’s Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers will take on the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants at 1:10 this afternoon. The Dodgers are upping the ante in a big way this year: Their $230 million payroll is the highest in Major League history. Fans today will also get a look at a $100 million renovation of Dodger Stadium, completed just days ago. Changes include new concessions and video boards, fresh landscaping, wider concourses and bigger bathrooms. One thing hasn’t changed: Vin Scully will be behind the microphone for his 64th season with the Dodgers. L.A. Daily News

Candidate questions. Candidates in city races will hold court today in a series of Q&As before voters. The L.A. Candidate Forum on the Environment, Transportation, and the Economy runs from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. at the California Endowment in Chinatown. City Attorney, City Controller and City Council candidates are expected to attend. The event is organized by the L.A. League of Conservation Voters, Climate Resolve and Green L.A., among others. Which Way, L.A.?, Climate Resolve

Stockton bankruptcy. A court ruling on whether the city of Stockton is eligible for bankruptcy protection will likely come today. The case is being closely watched by the nation’s municipal debt market, and by other cash-strapped cities. If the judge allows the bankruptcy to proceed, bondholders and bond insurers will take big hits, while the pensions of city workers and retirees will be left intact. Stockton became the biggest U.S. city to declare bankruptcy when it filed last year. AP

Clean slate. Governor Jerry Brown granted pardons to 65 convicted criminals this Easter weekend. During his second go-round as governor, Brown has made a point of issuing pardons during Christian religious days. Among those pardoned was an L.A. man who spent 15 years in prison for a 1977 murder conviction. Most of the pardons went to people convicted of drug charges. L.A. Times

Special effects distress. Another visual effects studio is reportedly giving up on the Hollywood film business. Santa Monica based Pixomondo plans to focus on design and conceptual work and will stop doing work on feature films, according to The Wrap. Pixomondo’s move is the latest sign of distress in the U.S. special effects industry. The El Segundo firm Rhythm and Hues was sold to an Indian company in a bankruptcy auction last week. Another company, Digital Domain, declared bankruptcy last September. The Wrap