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Watch: Raucous Crowd Disrupts LA County District Attorney Debate
It was a tense and contentious crowd for the first debate with all three candidates vying to be the next Los Angeles District Attorney.
A number of people were removed from the audience at the nearly full Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo. Still, the hosts persevered with questions for a little more than the originally scheduled 90 minutes.
We'll have key takeaways from the debate later, which focused on issues ranging from how to deal with homelessness and who had credentials when it came to diverting mentally ill people from jails.
With mail-in ballots for the March 3 primary going out in a few days, KPCC and the Los Angeles Times are teaming up to co-host a debate for candidates vying for L.A. County District Attorney.
- Former San Francisco DA George Gascon
- Incumbent DA Jackie Lacey
- Former federal public defender Rachel Rossi.
Libby Denkmann is the politics reporter for LAist and KPCC.
Robert Greene is an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times.
Gascon and Rossi are running as reformers against Lacey, whom they characterize as a traditional law-and-order prosecutor out of step with a progressive wave that has swept reformist DA’s into office in a number of cities across the country.
The L.A. race is the latest, and biggest, fight in this battle.
The challengers say they would work in general to put fewer people in prison; they say institutional racism has led to the prosecution and imprisonment of disproportionate numbers of people of color.
Gascon and Rossi would also end cash bail and stop pursuing the death penalty. Lacey continues to seek the death penalty in some cases, and while backing bail reform, has opposed ending cash bail altogether.
Lacey, who was elected in 2012, insists she’s a progressive as well, calling herself a “reasonable reformer.” She points to her work diverting people with mental health issues away from jail. She also established a Conviction Review Unit to assess claims of actual innocence based on newly discovered evidence.
Vanessa Bryant Speaks Out About Her Family's Devastating Loss
A few hours after making her private Instagram account available to the public, Kobe Bryant's widow released a statement via the social media platform.
Her husband and second child, 13-year-old Gianna, and seven others were killed Sunday morning when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas. The emotional message includes a family photo of Kobe and Vanessa with their four daughters.
Vanessa Bryant encouraged people to donate to a fund set up to "support the other families affected by this tragedy" at MambaOnThree.org.
My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.
Read her complete message below:
View this post on Instagram
My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️
High Winds and Surf In SoCal Pose Danger
Brace yourself for high winds and high surf.
A high wind warning is in effect for much of Southern California, with gusts kicking up to 70 miles per hour.
- In Los Angeles County, the Santa Monica mountains, and the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys can expect gusts from 45 to 60 miles per hour.
- In the Inland Empire, dangerous winds are forecast through midday Friday.
Mark Moede, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, says if you don’t need to drive in some of the strongest wind areas — then stay put. He said anyone planning to drive the Cajon Pass should think twice:
"For anyone really, but high-profile vehicles especially... there's always concerns of high-profile vehicles being blown over by the strong gusty winds."
Winds are expected to peak tonight and slowly weaken Thursday. Officials warn the winds will be strong enough to cause possible power outages and can topple over outdoor furniture.
We still have gusty winds for some areas south of Pt Conception! Over time, these strong winds will move further east, affecting more of the LA Co. Mtns. Secure items that could blow in the wind, especially if you are driving with a load! 🌬 #lawind #caweather #VTAwind pic.twitter.com/wMj96zwPIn— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) January 29, 2020
In addition, the NWS is warning of dangerous conditions along the Central Coast through early Friday morning, with high surf and swells. The biggest swells are expected on beaches facing west and northwest -- as high as 13 feet in some places.
- Get the latest weather report (NWS Los Angeles)
No Official Quarantine For US Passengers From Wuhan, China
U.S. citizens traveling on a jet chartered to evacuate them from Wuhan, China landed this morning in Riverside County. Approximately 210 passengers arriving from the epicenter a deadly outbreak of coronavirus are being held at the March Air Reserve Base for 72 hours to have their symptoms checked.
That said, authorities noted no one is being officially limited to the base.
After 72 hours, the passengers will be able to travel on to other places in the U.S.
They will be monitored daily for a 14-day incubation period.
The flight was initially slated to land at the Ontario Airport, but was redirected last night. At a news conference this morning, Dr. Chris Braden from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the last-minute change was intended for the passengers’ comfort since they'd need a place to stay when they landed.
He said the CDC held off on a full-on federal quarantine to protect the rights and freedoms of the passengers.
Currently, the only facility able to screen for coronavirus is in the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Braden says he’s confident the medical tests for the recently-landed passengers should be finished within three days. Still, the CDC doesn’t know how long it takes for symptoms to develop, or at what point a person becomes infectious.
Sawtelle High-Rise Burns For 2nd Time In 7 Years; Two Seriously Injured
Residents of a 25-story high-rise in the Sawtelle neighborhood had to evacuate after heavy fire broke out this morning, injuring eleven people, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
One adult is in grave condition and another was critically injured. Fire officials said a 3-month-old baby was among those injured. Some of those hurt were burned, but authorities said the majority suffered smoke inhalation. In all, seven people were taken to a hospital.
“The fire’s cause remains categorized as ‘suspicious’ and remains the focus of an active investigation,” according LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.
The building, called Barrington Plaza, is located at 11740 West Wilshire Boulevard near the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Stoner Avenue.
The fire scorched a portion of the sixth floor and the dramatic scene played out live on local TV stations. Flames and smoke poured out of windows before firefighters brought it under control about 10 a.m.
Early eyewitness reports suggested people were leaping from the building, but fire officials now say they do not believe anyone jumped.
“We had two people that were contemplating jumping. We got on our public address system and let them know to stay there. We sent someone up the aerial ladder to address that,” said LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan. “No one jumped.”
It’s Wednesday, Jan. 29 And Here Are The Stories We’re Following Today
Welcome to Wednesday. It’ll be sunny and breezy with a high around 74 degrees and an overnight low of 53 (at least downtown). The countdown to the March 3 primary election continues, and a lot is changing, from where we vote to the machines we vote with. We’ve launched a special guide to help you get prepared. We’re calling it your Voter Game Plan.
What We’re Covering:
- On the election front, we’ll be live-streaming a debate among the candidates for Los Angeles County District Attorney. The debate, hosted by KPCC and the L.A. Times, features incumbent DA Jackie Lacey, former San Francisco DA George Gascon and former federal public defender Rachel Rossi. If you miss it, you’ll be able to catch highlights and analysis tomorrow. Libby Denkmann, who covers politics for KPCC and LAist, will represent our newsroom as one of the moderators.
- As a palate cleanser, food contributor Stefan A. Slater will tell you everything you ever need to know about olive oil — its history, what makes it “extra virgin,” how to pick the best stuff, and more.
- Reporter David Wagner will have a report on pushback from cities in Orange County to a draft of new state housing goals that would significantly increase development in wealthy, coastal parts of Southern California.
- Also on the housing front, the state legislature is considering a controversial bill to zone more units near transit hubs. Senate Bill 50 aims to help alleviate the housing crisis, but some cities and counties chafe at the idea of ceding control to the state. Reporter Caroline Champlin will have more on the impact and reactions here locally.
- Reporter Yingjie Wang talked to the Chinese community about why Kobe Bryant was so popular.
- We’re also continuing to track developments on the coronavirus outbreak that has left more than 100 people dead in China and put travelers on high alert. Late last night we got word the plane carrying Americans from Wuhan will no longer land at Ontario Airport.
Help Us Cover Your Community:
- Got something you've always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything >>
- Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know >>
The news cycle moves fast. Stories sometimes get postponed or simply don't pan out. As such, this list is not final.
Update: Americans Heading Home From Wuhan Will Not Land At Ontario Airport
Ontario Airport officials said late last night that they were no longer prepping to repatriate Americans returning from Wuhan, China, which is the epicenter of what's becoming a worldwide outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus.
The change in plans came a day after airport officials had gotten word that a jet carrying as Americans from China was scheduled to arrive sometime this week.
Why Ontario? The airport is an official repatriation point for California.
The flight in question plane took off from China on Tuesday, en route first to Alaska where the AP reports everyone passed an initial health screening.
Now authorities say the plane has been diverted to a nearby Air Force base in Riverside County, located about 30 miles to the east of Ontario Airport. The flight landed about 8 a.m. Wednesday.
"We were prepared but the State Department has decided to switch the flight to March Air Force Base for logistics that they have," San Bernardino County Supervisor Curt Hagman said in a video he released late Tuesday night.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the shift had happened, although some critics had questioned using Ontario Airport, which handled more than 5 million passengers last year, as a destination for passengers traveling from a region where the novel coronavirus began.
Riverside County officials said they expected about 210 passengers to arrive Wednesday morning.
"The screening process will be very thorough and ensure these people can get back home and not put anyone at risk," said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, county public health officer in a statement released overnight.
In a news conference earlier Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the flight was chartered by the U.S. government and the passengers included diplomatic staff, their families, and other Americans leaving Wuhan, which is under quarantine.
"We will be heavily engaged with that flight and the transport of those individuals — they'll be screened, evaluated constantly with physicians on the flight," Azar explained, adding that anyone showing symptoms when they landed in Alaska would not be allowed to continue into the continental United States.