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Santa Monica Approves Hundreds of Layoffs To Bridge Coronavirus Budget Gap

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Published
The beach in Santa Monica. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Disappearing hotel occupancy, sales tax and parking revenues have forced Santa Monica city leaders to significantly shrink their workforce and look at tens of millions of dollars in cuts to services.

Interim City Manager Lane Dilg told our newsroom's local news show Take Two:

“We’re simply facing unexpected and fairly devastating decreases."

The city council today approved eliminating 337 full-time positions. The council will meet later this month to weigh cuts to community programs and facilities like library hours, after school programs and pools.

READ MORE:

City Council Paves Way For Tenants To Sue Over Violations Of Eviction Protections

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A nearly empty chamber at a recent remote L.A. City Council meeting.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, councilmembers passed two motions aimed at helping renters who are struggling through a pandemic and an economic crisis.

The first gives renters a "private right of action" — the ability to sue landlords who violate eviction protections. Property owners could be on the hook for $10,000 for each violation. That could rise to $15,000 if the tenant is elderly or disabled.

The city of L.A. has enacted emergency eviction protections in recent months for renters who can’t pay due to coronavirus.

The council also voted for a citywide freeze on rent increases of L.A.’s rent-stabilized units. That measure will be in effect for a year after the city’s emergency ends.

GO DEEPER:

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Gascon Says Lacey Should Prosecute LAPD Cop In Videotaped Beating

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George Gascon. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times © 2020)

The man seeking to unseat L.A. County District Attorney Jackey Lacey in the November election has called on her to file criminal charges against the LAPD officer who was caught on videotape repeatedly punching a man.

Former San Francisco DA George Gascon said the still unidentified officer clearly used excessive force.

“I have a problem with the officer using force," he told us, adding, "I have a problem with the officer witnessing the use of force.”

He said Lacey should charge the officer with assault under color of authority.

Lacey told us she found the video "disturbing," but said she’s reserving judgement of the officer’s actions until there’s a full investigation.

Lacey said Gascon's decision to press for charges so soon after the incident is "a rather reckless and irresponsible call right now," especially considering Gascon is a former prosecutor.

Gascon said if Lacey had prosecuted more cops, the officer would have been more reluctant to engage in such behavior. She said that’s not a fair criticism, arguing that she has prosecuted a number of officers for excessive use of force.

GO DEEPER:

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LA Trails And Golf Courses Can Reopen Saturday, Retailers Can Start Curbside Service Friday

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People practicing social distancing to protect themselves from the coronavirus take in a sunny day while hiking a popular trail in the Santa Monica mountain range in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 22, 2020. (Brian Melley/AP)

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that he will amend L.A.'s stay-at-home order to allow some low-risk businesses to reopen for curbside pick-up on Friday.

He also announced that on Saturday all city-owned hiking trails and golf courses will re-open for public use. The exception is Runyon Canyon, which will remain closed.

Strict rules will be in place: Garcetti said anyone using the open trails and golf courses must wear a face mask at all times.

"We know that we've all been dying, not just to walk around the block one more time, but to see some of the natural beauty of the city, to be able to get out there and do it in a responsible and healthy way," he said but added, "this is not some sort of green light to slack off."

He said this modification of the stay-at-home order doesn't mean all businesses should open.

"It's not an obligation of any business to open. Do what you need to do to make sure you are safe, that you feel secure and that your people are protected as well as your customers... While you can open as early as this Friday, you don't have to yet until you feel right," he said.

Here's a list of businesses that will be allowed to reopen on Friday (for curbside pick-up only):

  • Florists
  • Toy stores
  • Music stores
  • Bookstores
  • Clothing stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Car dealerships

Here's what will reopen on Saturday:

  • All trails in the city of Los Angeles, except Runyon Canyon
  • All city of Los Angeles golf courses

Restrictions:

  • Face coverings must be worn at all times on trails and golf courses and people must maintain proper physical distance.
  • "If you're 65 and older, you cannot go out to those places if you have pre-existing conditions," the mayor said.
  • Gatherings, even small ones, are still not permitted.
  • Hikers and golfers can go by themselves or with someone from their household.
  • Beaches, recreation centers and facilities for group sports, like basketball and tennis, will remain closed.

Other updates:

  • Two more testing centers opened today, bringing the total number of sites to 36. L.A. now has the capacity to test 20,400 people a day and 225,000 Angelenos have been tested so far.
  • Face coverings are still required at all essential businesses.
  • Starting Monday, all bus riders will be required to wear face coverings (includes L.A. transit and city DASH buses). As for Metro riders, the mayor said "I support Supervisor Janice Hahn's request that Metro adopt this for Metro riders, as well, at our next meeting."
  • Also starting Monday, all travelers at LAX will be required to wear face coverings.

"If the data shows us that we're taking too many steps backward, we're going to have to stop and even retreat," the mayor warned. "To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is not the beginning of the end but it is perhaps the end of the beginning."

In response to a question about enforcement, the mayor said he is following his policy of "the three E's – educate, encourage and enforce, in that order." Violators of the order will be referred to LAPD and addressed in court by the city attorney.

Retailers can find some guidelines on how to open with curbside service at coronavirus.lacity.org/saferLA.

The mayor said his change of heart from yesterday, when he said retail businesses would not be allowed to open this Friday, was not the result of political pressure.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Here's LA County's Plan To Ramp Up Coronavirus Testing At Nursing Homes 

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More than 50 ambulances transported patients from the Magnolia Rehabilitation and Nursing Center to other facilities on April 8, 2020. Screenshot of video from Riverside University Health System

As COVID-19 continues to ravage nursing homes in Los Angeles County, local health officials released a plan to ramp up testing of residents and staff — including those showing no symptoms of the disease. The county has 360 skilled nursing facilities, with 35,000 to 40,000 residents on any given day.

More than 6,000 staff and residents of what are known as "congregate living facilities" — including nursing homes, homeless shelters and jails — have tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in the county; 627 of them have died. County officials have said most of those deaths are of nursing home residents and staff, accounting for nearly half of all coronavirus deaths in L.A.

Here's what the county plans to do to slow the growth of those numbers:

  • Test all residents and staff of nursing homes that have at least one positive coronavirus case, and continue to test them every two weeks.
  • Test and quarantine all new nursing home residents until they test negative.
  • Test a sample of residents and staff at nursing homes that do not have known outbreaks and continue to sample every one to two weeks.
  • Isolate residents who refuse testing for 14 days.
  • Do not allow staff to work at the facility if they refuse to be tested.

Health officials say they plan to make available 60,000 kits per week for testing in nursing homes and other group settings.

READ THE COUNTY'S FULL PLAN:

READ MORE ON COVID-19 AND NURSING HOMES:

How Facebook Foodies Are Fighting To Save San Gabriel Valley Restaurants

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Chongqing special flavor boiled fish at Yun Chuan Garden in Monterey Park. (Ron Dollette/Facebook Creative Commons)

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This is the latest dispatch in our series focusing on how restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley are coping with the coronavirus. Previously...


Alan An and Brian Ngoy are San Gabriel Valley lifers. Between the pair, they lived in Monterey Park, Arcadia and Rosemead while growing up. Both work in San Gabriel, at the same real estate firm, where Ngoy works as a realtor and An heads business development. Like many SGV residents, they take full advantage of the area's amazing restaurants.

"It's more than just a hobby," Ngoy says. "Food and restaurants are so intertwined with the SGV community. It's its own culture."

Some 30 miles away, in the city of Eastvale, Ted Chang is busy juggling work and home life with his wife and two young kids during the lockdown. Chang came to the United States from Taiwan in 2008 to pursue a Master's Degree in electrical engineering. Wherever he has lived — Los Angeles County, Orange County, the Inland Empire — he has spent a good chunk of his free time exploring local restaurants.

Chang has never met An or Ngoy but the three men have something in common. They all founded Facebook groups that have become indispensable resources for matching hungry San Gabriel Valley residents to restaurants still dishing out food during the coronavirus quarantine.

Chang launched his Chinese-language group, 吃遍南加州 ("Let's Eat! Southern California"), in October 2013, while he was working as a semiconductor engineer in Fullerton. What started as a chatroom among friends on a messaging app has become required reading for nearly 24,000 Chinese-speaking Facebook users who post dozens of recommendations for all kinds of cuisines. Some members reside in other states, even other countries, but most live in Southern California so SGV's Chinese restaurants dominate the feed.

Although it's a private group, Chang decided early on that almost anyone could join, except for restaurants. Too much self-promotion, he reasoned. (Restaurateurs can participate via their personal accounts but no official restaurant accounts.) But as the pandemic began to brutalize the restaurant industry, he changed his mind.

"I realized near the end of March, no one was going to restaurants. Some people started asking [in the group], 'Where we can have to-go meals?,'" says Chang, who moderates the group with the help of three friends. "So at that time, I was thinking, let those restaurants post their commercials. Because in the end, we need to support them."

Ted Chang announces in "Let's Eat! Southern California" that the group will allow restaurants to post menus and information about their restaurants during COVID-19. "Stay strong restaurant owners. Stay strong everyone. God bless America!"

Two days after L.A. County officials issued a stay-at-home order, in mid-March, he posted (in Chinese) a message on his group announcing "Let's Eat! Southern California" is now open for restaurants to post their take-out menus and new hours of operation during COVID-19." For many businesses, the move was a godsend.

"It was very important," says Alan Pun, who operates Uniboil, a hot pot restaurant in Monterey Park. "吃遍南加州 is helpful because they have a lots of high quality members, they are actually living at our community and always eat outside."

Around the same time, Ngoy and An were feeling the impact of stay-at-home orders on their daily routines. For their jobs in real estate, they zip between different places, typically grabbing food on the go. They found that many of their favorite restaurants had either closed or shortened their hours. Yelp was no help.

A restaurant owner talks about a revised take-out menu her restaurant is rolling out during the pandemic, and thanks "Let's Eat! Southern California" for its support. (Facebook screengrab)

An and Ngoy could only imagine how difficult life was for restaurant owners. In early April, they started the SGV Open Restaurants During Covid-19 group as a place for friends and family members to share intel. Word spread and three weeks later, more than 7,000 people had joined.

"The SGV community is a strong one, it's such a tight-knit community. Everyone is pretty much looking for what we were looking for," An says.

While the growth was impressive, what's more impressive was the love and support the group generated. Instead of devolving into foodier-than-thou pissing matches and battles about which mom-and-pop noodle joint serves the best dan dan mian, users posted tips and deals, asked questions about where to find specific dishes and shared news about reopenings, all with an eye toward supporting the San Gabriel Valley's many restaurants, especially the independent ones.

A member of a Facebook group wants suggestions for where to order a meal. (Facebook screengrab)

As word of the SGV group spread, people from outside of the area began nudging An and Ngoy to create similar groups for their cities. Thus was born Los Angeles Open Restaurants During Covid-19. Groups for Orange County, San Fernando Valley and other areas are slated to debut later this week.

If running that many groups isn't time-consuming enough, the two friends and their fellow moderators have compiled a list of all the SGV restaurants still open for business during COVID-19. And just this morning, they launched a GoFundMe project to connect users to restaurants that will donate meals to frontline health care workers.

A user posts a food query in the SGV Restaurants Open During COVID-19 group. (Facebook screengrab)

An, Ngoy and Chang are all optimistic that in a post-coronavirus world, the San Gabriel Valley's famed restaurant scene will bounce back, even thrive.

"I think restaurants will still be prevalent in our area," Ngoy says. "It's the American dream. Immigrants come to America. They try to make it on their own. One way people get started is through restaurants and sharing the food they have and connecting with people that way."

READ MORE OF OUR CORONAVIRUS & FOOD COVERAGE:

One Google Employee's New Normal: Puppet Shows And Daytime PJ's

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We're collecting audience stories about what it's like to live in Los Angeles during a pandemic. You can share your story here.

March 10, 2020. That was the day Google employee Marjorie Gray of View Heights was informed she'd be working from home, and since then she's been filling her quarantine time by sewing masks for friends and family, donating blood, and making sure to swap her regular pajamas for work pajamas every day to maintain some semblance of normalcy.

Marjorie says she's also co-founder of a nonprofit that helps people recovering from substance abuse and addiction get into sober-living homes, and she's been making video puppet shows for co-workers who have young kids at home.

"So we like to make customized videos with our puppets. They sing songs, tell jokes or read stories to children. And our goal is to just provide five minutes of entertainment to these kids so that maybe their parents — our co-workers — can have a few minutes to just kind of breathe and not be on duty."

Marjorie says she's grateful for her "quaran-team," a "modern-day Golden Girls" group of friends that helps her beat the loneliness. Watch Marjorie's video diary at the top of this story, and...

SHARE YOUR STORY BELOW:

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LA County Announces Some Businesses, Spaces Can Reopen Friday; Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Top 28K

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People walk past a public art installation by Wrdsmith, @_ShowzArt_ and @Willow.inthe.ether aimed at turning boarded up shopfronts into works of art in Los Angeles on April 28, 2020. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Certain businesses and recreational spaces in Los Angeles County will be allowed to reopen beginning Friday, county officials announced at today's media briefing.

According to County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the list includes:

  • Hiking trails (Barger said county staff "will be deployed to prevent crowding.")
  • Golf courses
  • Florists
  • Car dealerships
  • “Stores that sell toys, books, clothing, sporting goods and music”

Curbside pick-up remains in effect for those soon-to-reopen retail businesses, officials said.

Barger said the easing of restrictions in L.A. County aligns with the directives at the state level, adding:

"This list is less about what products are sold and more about the ability to maintain social distancing. We are finalizing the details and we'll have all the information and guidelines for businesses up on our website before the order goes into effect."

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer explained the five stages of reopening the county is enacting. Right now, we're in Stage 1, which includes the current stay-at-home orders and planning for recovery. But Stage 2 will begin Friday as that first batch of businesses reopen.

In the coming weeks, more businesses deemed low-risk — like manufacturing and certain office spaces and retailers — will also be allowed to reopen. Stage 2 reopenings will eventually include libraries, art galleries and museums — all in a "much-modified way," Ferrer said, to ensure proper social distancing and infection control. She also noted that companies are encouraged to allow workers to continue to work from home "wherever that's possible."

Stage 3 will see some higher-risk businesses reopen their doors at limited occupancy levels — while observing all of the same social distancing and public health measures, Ferrer said. Those businesses include tattoo shops, massage parlors, bars, movie theaters and bowling alleys. It will eventually include K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

Businesses deemed "highest-risk" can begin to reopen in Stage 4. Those include concert venues, convention centers and sports stadiums.

This slide from L.A. County's May 6 media briefing outlines the five-stage plan for reopening businesses and public spaces countywide. (Courtesy County of Los Angeles)

Ferrer also outlined steps businesses will be required to take to limit the spread and protect both workers and customers:

"As we move through the stages of recovery, we will be issuing protocols for each sector, on what measures they must take to slow the spread of COVID-19, and these do include... limiting in-person work and ensuring that vulnerable workers have alternate assignments, providing cloth face coverings and personal protective equipment to all employees, and asking that anyone entering the business, also wear a cloth face covering. And, of course, developing policies that make it easy for employees to stay home when they're sick, or they're under a mandatory quarantine."

TODAY'S NUMBERS

L.A. County officials reported 851 new confirmed cases of coronavirus today, bringing the total to at least 28,644 cases countywide. In total, 789 cases have been reported in Long Beach and 482 in Pasadena (those two cities operate their own health departments).

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also reported 55 new deaths of COVID-19 patients. The total number of deaths countywide now stands at 1,367.

Of the 55 people who’ve died in the past 24 hours, 41 were over 65 and, of those victims, 27 had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said. Twelve victims were between 41 and 65 and 11 of them had underlying health conditions.

So far, 92% of those who have died had underlying health conditions, Ferrer said.

Ferrer also provided a racial breakdown of the confirmed deaths, based on information confirmed for 1,260 of the victims. According to the latest available information:

  • 12% African American [9% of county residents]
  • 19% Asian [15.4% of county residents]
  • 39% Latino / Latina [48.6% of county residents]
  • 28% White [26.1% of county residents]
  • 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander [0.4% of county residents]
  • 1% identified as belonging to a different race or ethnicity

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MORE ON CORONAVIRUS:

Your No-Panic Guide To Surviving Pandemic Tensions At Home

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Published

Staying safe at home can cause tension between families and roommates over degrees of adherence to social distancing guidelines. Need advice on how to navigate these social contracts with friends and family?

Journalist Ariel Zirulnick, restorative engagement therapist Lance Tango, and family law mediator Bill Ferguson discuss cohabitating and shared custody agreements in a pandemic and answer your questions live.

This event kicked off at 2:30 p.m. today. You can watch a replay above.

OUR NO-PANIC SERIES ARCHIVE:

OUR UNWIND SERIES ARCHIVE:

LA County Opens Cooling Centers For Another Heat Wave

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Don't forget to hydrate. (Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images)

Alert: It's really hot. Again.

Ninety-degree heat is expected across much of L.A. and Orange Counties through Thursday. Things will start to cool off again on Friday, especially near the coast, as sea breezes return.

L.A. County is opening up eight cooling centers where you can go to escape the heat while at the same time remaining physically distanced during this coronavirus pandemic.

Because distancing rules require at least 6 feet between each person, these spaces will likely fill up faster than usual, so it's a good idea to call first to make sure there's still seating available.

The following locations are open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 and Thursday, May 7:

Altadena
Loma Alta Park
3330 Lincoln Ave.
Altadena, CA 91001

Azusa
Valleydale Park
5525 N. Lake Ellen Ave
Azusa, CA 91702

Burbank
Buena Vista Branch Library (City Facility)
300 N Buena Vista St
Burbank

Los Angeles
Mary M. Bethune Park
1244 E 61st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90001

Los Angeles
Ruben F. Salazar Park
3864 Whittier Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90023

Sun Village
Jackie Robinson Park
8773 E Avenue R
Sun Village, CA 93543

Sylmar
El Cariso Community Regional Park
13100 Hubbard St
Sylmar, CA 91342

Whittier
South Whittier Library
11543 Colima Rd.
Whittier, CA 90604

When in doubt, you can also call 211 for information from L.A. County and 311 in the city of L.A.

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Cal State Tally For Lost Revenue And Coronavirus Costs: $337 Million

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The California State University trustees will meet online to discuss the fiscal report. (Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/LAist)

In a first glimpse at what's almost certain to be a gloomy fiscal future, California State University says in a new report that unanticipated costs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and lost revenue connected to campus shutdowns has cost the unversity $337 million -- so far.

Cal State also estimates that it will lose $287 million in revenue from income sources like housing and parking fees, bookstore sales, licensing and other ventures. It has already spent $50 million on unanticipated costs related to the coronavirus outbreak, including campus cleaning, overtime, and buying equipment to shift to online learning.

A university spokesman said the hit for the spring semester has been softened by about $260 million in federal relief funds, and for now Cal State's 23 campuses can tap into reserves to make up for some of the rest of the costs.

But the long-term outlook is not promising. “If existing conditions persist into the summer and fall,” the report says, “one of the many challenges the CSU could face is the potential for additional, significant, and precipitous revenue drops."

The report was released in advance of the May 12 meeting of the Cal State Board of Trustees.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Newsom Expands Benefits For Sick Workers, Offers Some Property Tax Relief

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California justice department on September 18, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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At today's coronavirus briefing (watch a replay above), Gov. Gavin Newsom made announcements about expanded workers compensation benefits for employees who have tested positive for coronavirus, new testing sites and tax relief for both personal property owners and businesses.

He was also brutally honest about how long he expects the recovery from this pandemic to take — years, not months. Newsom cited Great Depression-era levels of unemployment — "These numbers are jaw-dropping," he said — and warned people not to exect a "sharp V" recovery.

NEW WORKER PROTECTIONS

Newsom announced he has signed an executive order to extend workers comp benefits to frontline workers and to broaden those benefits "beyond just the health care and first responder sector to all sectors of our economy."

What does that mean? In the most basic sense, Newsom said, "If you've tested positive or been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a physician, you are eligible for this worker's comp benefit."

The order goes into effect retroactively, starting March 19, and extends for 60 days from today, so until July 6.

The federal government provided sick leave expansion for companies with less than 500 employees, and California augmented that with paid sick leave for workers in the food supply chain. This new order expands those protections to more people.

"The worst thing we can do is have a worker that has tested positive but doesn't want to tell anybody and can spread the disease because he or she can't afford not to work," Newsom said. These benefits are only available after other federal or state benefits have been exhausted.

Victoria Hassid, the director of California's Department of Industrial Relations, said her agency would be issuing additional guidance in the coming days about this executive order.

NEW TESTING SITES

Newsom also announced the state is launching a new site where people can enter their zip code to find testing locations and schedule a test. It includes mobile testing sites, although it doesn't include private hospitals.

He highlighted the increase in the state's testing capacity over the last six or seven days. According to Newsom, California has tested more than 800,000 people, but he acknowledged, "We have a lot more work to do… I recognize there are still some testing deserts, but we are making real progress in this space."

Newsom says the state's COVID-19 taskforce, as part of its strategy, is beginning to focus on testing in rural areas and inner cities.

PROPERTY TAXES

Newsom also announced that earlier today, he had signed executive orders aimed at property tax relief for both residences and businesses.

Homeowners now have until next year to pay the taxes on their personal properties without incurring the 10% late fee. For businesses, the May 7 deadline has also been extended — but only until May 31.

California's Botched Deal Reveals A Chaotic Marketplace For Medical Supplies

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Ground crew at LAX unload pallets of medical protective equipment from a China Southern Cargo plane upon its arrival on April 10, 2020. California has scrambled to cut deals for millions of masks and other gear. (Richard Vogel/AP)

As California sought to boost the supply of personal protective equipment for front line workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, a nearly $500 million deal with novice medical supplier Blue Flame mysteriously fell apart. The company had been in business for just three days.

The broken deal provides a look at the chaotic marketplace of medical supply procurement and the dollars at stake in the crisis that has killed more than 70,000 Americans.

Maryland has meanwhile called for an investigation into Blue Flame's conduct in that state.

So what went wrong?

READ THE FULL STORY:

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A Bell High School Teacher Reflects On The Curse Of 'Interesting Times'

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We're collecting audience stories about what it's like to live in Los Angeles during a pandemic. You can share your story here.

Friday the 13th. March 2020.

That was the last day of class for Bell High School film production and journalism teacher Roy Lansdown. Now he teaches from his front yard using videos and email, and his days run together. He misses his students.

"You know, it's just not the same — teaching kids remotely, not seeing them every day, not having that interaction — and nobody can make it the same. The district has worked real hard. Superintendent Austin Buettner has worked real hard. The teachers have worked real hard. And most of the students have been pretty darn cooperative, but you can't match the magic of the classroom."

Roy filed what is now the first of our audience diaries. You can watch it above.

"This is a strange time to live," he says. And indeed, still scrawled on his whiteboard at school is the daily quote he used on that last day of class:

"May you live in interesting times."

While Roy refers to the quote as a "Chinese curse," its origin is unknown. But if these are "interesting" times, then we don't want them, either.

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Navigating Blended Families, Roommates During A Pandemic

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A family wearing masks in downtown Los Angeles (APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

When you live alone, or in a couple, or a nuclear family — basically, if you are a human living through the pandemic — navigating life during a pandemic is hard enough.

But when you have to deal with blended families, ex-spouses or roommates — things can get complicated fast. Different opinions about safety, boundaries and risk all have to be taken into account.

We asked asked marriage and family therapist Lance Tango, and and family law mediator Bill Ferguson, both of whom practice in Pasadena, how to have these difficult conversations.

(They'll also be live online at 2:30 p.m. today answering your questions as part of our No-Panic Guide Live virtual event series. Info at KPCC.org/InPerson)

READ THE FULL STORY

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Some Home Cooks Are Cracking Open Their Own Sea Urchin

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The prized briny, creamy gonads inside a red sea urchin harvested from Santa Barbara, California. (Courtesy of Brenda Ton)

Some of the most revered sea urchin comes from Santa Barbara, but with high end restaurants shut down, the fishermen who harvest and rely on them for income are having to get creative.

They're turning to selling direct to the consumer – home cooks who are itching to get their teeth into those briny, creamy, yellow gonads.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Child Care In The Coronavirus Era: The Kids Are Social Distancing

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Ms. Jackie, a teacher at Young Horizons, wears a face mask when speaking to her students. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Long Beach’s Young Horizons Child Development Centers reopened on Monday morning with a lesson in social distancing.

“No more hugs, no more high fives,” said teacher Nancy Ramirez. “Now we can wave, or bow. We have to do this to keep the germs away.”

The centers reopened two campuses for 55 children of essential workers for the first time since mid-March. Right now more than half of L.A. County’s child care centers are closed, according to the state’s Department of Social Services.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says that will have to change as the state reopens businesses.

"Child care is foundational to getting people back to work," Newsom said at an April 28 press briefing. "If they cannot get the kind of quality child care that they deserve, they are less likely to get back to work and jump start this economy."

READ THE FULL STORY

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Morning Briefing: The Autry Museum Wants Your COVID-19 Artifacts

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Disney theme parks have been closed since March in the U.S., contributing to a devastating downturn in the company's earnings. (Rich Fury/Getty Images)

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The objects we’re using during the pandemic mark the major change we’re experiencing collectively – the face masks, the hand sanitizer, the technology necessary for endless streams of video calls, chats and TV shows. To memorialize this time in history, the Autry Museum of the American West is collecting, cataloguing and preserving those objects.

Speaking to A Martínez, curator Tyree Boyd-Pates said the museum is undertaking the project “so that when the appropriate time comes, we can curate exhibitions or digital content that really captures this moment.”

One standout submission, said Boyd-Pates, was from a woman who used her bullet journal throughout a coronavirus-related hospital stay.

"Fortunately, I can say she has recovered,” said Boyd-Pates. “And she has been able to share her story with the Autry."

Keep reading for more on what’s going on in L.A., and stay safe.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, May 6

Marina Peña talks to an ICU nurse in Torrance who talks about seeing patients die alone, FaceTiming their relatives, her fear of infecting her two young kids and how her hospital has operated throughout the pandemic.

Jackie Fortiér examines L.A. County’s strategic plan for testing all residents and staff of nursing homes.

Cal State University and auxiliary organizations estimate a total of $337 million in new costs and revenue losses for the 2020 spring term as a result of the coronavirus crisis, reports Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

Negotiating life in “bubbles” with our roommates, partners, co-parents and more is likely going to continue for a while. Marriage and family therapist Lance Tango and family law mediator Bill Ferguson will answer your questions along with reporter Ariel Zirulnick, during the next installment of our No-Panic Guide Live virtual event series on Wednesday May 6th at 2.30pm. You can get more info at KPCC.org/inperson.

Jacob Margolis speaks to local fishermen who harvest sea urchins in Santa Barbara. With high-end restaurants shut down, they’ve been forced to adjust to a new reality.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now at least 27,815 coronavirus cases and 1,313 deaths in L.A. County. There are at least 58,303 cases and 2,364 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are over 3.6 million cases and more than 256,000 deaths. The death toll at institutional facilities in L.A. County — particularly at nursing homes — continues to climb.

Money Matters: The Walt Disney Co. produced a terrifying tale on Tuesday, when it released its pandemic-plagued earnings. Santa Monica City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a budget plan that proposes to cut $86.2 million from its staffing, city programs and services.

LAPD: An LAPD Officer is under investigation after allegedly punching a trespassing suspect over a dozen times.

Stories Of The Times: The Autry Museum of the American West is working to collect and catalogue items of historical and cultural significance during the COVID-19 pandemic. And speaking of which, KPCC/LAist has received more than a dozen stories about what it's like to live in Los Angeles during a pandemic, and we’d love to hear yours.

Reopening California: Florists, bookstores and clothing shops may be able to re-open for pick up as soon as Friday under the governor's new guidelines, although L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city will likely not open as quickly as that (although the flower district will reopen before Mother’s Day). Some L.A. business owners say opening up with social distancing restrictions won't help them. Meanwhile, all schools in the nine-campus Los Angeles Community College District and Santa Monica College will continue with online learning for the fall semester.

The 2020 Vote: Vote centers opened this weekend in the 25th congressional district special election, which will determine who fills Katie Hill's seat. Most voters will be mailing in their ballots because of the pandemic, but one campaign says the lack of in-person voting options in the city of Lancaster is disenfranchising African American voters.

Uber, Lyft And The Law: The state of California announced Tuesday that it’s suing Uber and Lyft, alleging that by treating drivers as independent contractors, the companies are violating a state law.


Your Moment Of Zen

Staying optimistic – but realistic – is about all we can do.

(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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