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LA Will Provide Free Mobile Coronavirus Testing To All Public Housing Residents

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Mayor Garcetti announces mobile testing at HACLA sites. (Photo Courtesy Mayor Garcetti)

Over the next two months, the city of L.A. will bring free mobile coronavirus testing to all 15 public housing locations, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this afternoon.

The tests will be available to all public housing residents free of charge – if that's you, you can sign up in advance for an appointment at coronavirus.lacity.org/HACLAtesting.

The idea behind the program is to enable residents who lack access to reliable transportation to get to testing sites, which are not always accessible via public transit.

The initiative is also a response to the fact that low-income communities of color are experiencing a disproportionate share of the county's COVID-19 infections and deaths.

LAist Reporter Caroline Chapman reported on this in May:

A study released by the L.A. County Department of Public Health looked at COVID-19 infections and deaths adjusted by age, and found that communities of color — and poorer county residents in general — are experiencing a disproportionate share of both.

Those suffering the highest rates of infections and deaths are people of color: African Americans continue to die at a pace that exceeds their share of the population, in L.A. and elsewhere. An even higher death rate exists for the county's Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

Latinos now make up almost half the COVID-19 cases in L.A. County, according to the new county data. And while their death rate still appears lower than their population share, adjusted by age, Latinos' death rate is the third-highest.

Read her full story here.

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LA Supervisors Call For Independent Investigation Into Fatal Deputy Shooting In Gardena

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A Father's Day march protesting the killing of Andres Guardado. (Brian Feinzimer)

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors today called for an independent investigation into the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado by a sheriff’s deputy last week.

The vote follows weekend protests over the shooting of Guardado.

The supervisors asked the inspector general, civilian oversight board and coroner to devise a plan to “ensure the truth is uncovered.”

Sheriff Alex Villanueva called the move political grandstanding by the motion’s author Mark Ridley-Thomas — and promised his department will conduct a fair investigation into what he called a tragic shooting:

“Everything we do is subject to oversight. Everything we do follows the rule of law.”

Sheriff’s officials say deputies chased Guardado after they saw him produce a gun outside an auto body shop in Gardena and run down a narrow driveway.

Guardado’s parents say their son was working as a security guard and it remains unclear what prompted the deputy to open fire.

The sheriff’s department has blocked the release of the autopsy while it investigates the case.

GO DEEPER:

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COVID-19 Is Pummeling Orange County's Poorest Cities

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A rally held in mid-June to demand a mask requirement was shouted over by anti-maskers. Screenshot via Facebook

Orange County has seen a 50% increase in COVID-19 cases since last week and some cities are getting hit much harder than others.

More than 40% of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Orange County live in Santa Ana and Anaheim, even though these cities make up just over 20% of the county's total population.

Infection rates in the two cities — measured as the number of cases per 100,000 residents — are much higher than in the county's other, large cities. For example, Santa Ana's infection rate is more than six times higher than Irvine's rate and nearly three times higher than Huntington Beach's rate.

UC Irvine public health professor Andrew Noymer said the disproportionate effect of the virus in Santa Ana and Anaheim could be attributed to a combination of factors, including a large number of people in those cities who work in the service industry and live in overcrowded housing.

“It was never going to be the case that all communities are affected the same,” he said.

Santa Ana and Anaheim are among the poorest cities in OC and have the highest percentage of adults without health insurance, according to a county dashboard based on census data.

Both cities are also majority Latino, a demographic that has been especially hard hit by the virus.

PUBLIC-FACING WORKERS MOST EXPOSED

Noymer said because many residents of Anaheim and Santa Ana work in the service industry, they are continually exposed to infection.

“Someone who works at a grocery store is exposed for eight hours a day to hundreds of people," he said.

Workers at Disneyland, which is Anaheim's top employer, have asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to block the park’s planned reopening in late July fearing continual exposure to the coronavirus. (Disney has posted a detailed summary of the steps it’s taking to protect park visitors and staff, including face coverings for guests and social distancing.)

Orange County's acting health officer Clayton Chau told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that a task force had been formed in conjunction with school districts and community clinics to address the high rate of coronavirus infection in Anaheim and Santa Ana.

'MASK, MASK, MASK, MASK, MASK'

Noymer, the UC Irvine professor, said one of the most important things people can do to prevent infection is to cover their faces in public.

"People throughout the Southland need to mask," he said. "Mask, mask, mask, mask, mask."

Earlier this month, Orange County's chief health officer resigned after receiving threats for requiring face coverings in public. Chau later changed the requirement to a "strong recommendation."

But just days later, Gov. Gavin Newsom made wearing masks in public a requirement statewide.

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Disney Employees Say Reopening is Fantasyland

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Mickey's getting ready to welcome you back to Disneyland (but no touching). (Disneyland Resort)

New coronavirus cases are hitting record levels in California and Florida. And that’s where Disney wants to reopen its theme parks in a few weeks.

Disney has lost billions from the pandemic, and is eager to open its parks and hotels, which are the entertainment giant's most profitable segment. But with tens of thousands of new cases in Florida and California reported every week, park employees are now telling Disney to keep the gates locked. Unions representing some 17,000 Disneyland employees have asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to block the park’s planned reopening in late July.

READ MORE:

Disney Staff Unhappy About Happiest Place on Earth

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$130M Coronavirus Rent Relief Programs Pass LA City And County

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A for rent sign hangs on a Koreatown apartment building.( Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Tenants struggling to pay rent due to the coronavirus pandemic can now get additional help thanks to a huge infusion of cash into two local rent relief programs.

The L.A. City Council and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted today to add an additional $100 million and $30 million, respectively, to their rent relief programs.

THE CITY PROGRAM

Renters in the city of L.A. can receive up to $1,000 per month, for two months. Payments go directly to landlords.

To qualify, renters must make 80% of the area median income — $83,500 for a family of four — and be able to document that their hardship is due to the coronavirus.

According to City Council President Nury Martinez, the city's program is the largest in the country.

The program's website says it will be up and running in July.

THE COUNTY PROGRAM

Under L.A. County's $30 million program, renters living in the unincorporated areas of the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth Supervisorial Districts of L.A.County are eligible for up to $1,000 per month, for three months.

Applicants must meet income requirements to apply. The maximum amount of support varies by district.

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BLM Leader: If A Youth Worker Was Called Instead of LAPD, 14-Year-Old Jesse Romero Would Have Made It To High School

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Melina Abdullah from Black Lives Matter addresses the crowd during a demonstration to ask for the removal of DA Jackie Lacey in front of the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles on June 17, 2020. (Valerie Macon / AFP via Getty Images)

Black Lives Matter L.A. Co-Founder Melina Abdullah spoke with AirTalk's Larry Mantle about the organization's policy goals, how she thinks the protests can actually change public opinion on policing, and how defunding the police would actually play out in Los Angeles.

At one point, Mantle asked Abdullah what she would say to those who are worried about how violent crime would be handled if we cut approximately 10,000 LAPD officers down to 900 (as the People's Budget suggests).

Here's what she had to say:

So it's important that as we say "defund the police," we understand that it's coupled with a reimagining of public safety. So if listeners are to think about why they or why their neighbors might call the police, we can say that the vast majority of the time, we're not looking for a police response. Most calls -- and the police admit this-- are issues like the neighbors playing the music too loud. Or there's someone who might be having a mental health issue.

Those should not [require] police responses. If someone is having a mental health issue, we want a team of mental health workers who can go provide support. If your neighbor is playing music too loud, what we want to encourage is the building of community to the point where you can knock on the door of your neighbor and say "Hey, my child is trying to sleep. Do you mind turning down the music?" When you do that, your reliance on the police becomes much less [necessary].

Mantle followed up by asking Abdullah if she is concerned about the safety of the non-armed social workers or mental health professionals who would (in this scenario) go out to intervene in neighbor disputes or domestic problems. Here is her response:

I am not as concerned about that as I am about the violence inflicted on people by police. As a Black woman and a Black mother of three children, I'm very concerned that police are being used to monitor my children's comings and goings, that police are inside my children's schools, that when my daughter was 11 years old, police were called on her in school because she had a "look in her eyes."

So I'm much more concerned about the harm and the violence that has been meted out and has been meted out on Black community members at the hands of police than I am about the possiblility of maybe something happening when a social worker is doing a wellness check because someone's door is left ajar. I'm thinking about Tatiana Jefferson.

Or when a mental health worker comes to talk with a Grechario Mack inside of Crenshaw Baldwin Hills mall. If we think about how that could have saved Grechario's life, or saved Redel Jones' life, if a youth worker had been called out instead of LAPD, if Jesse Romero was tagging, that 14-year-old might have made it to high school."

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW:

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7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Oaxaca, Mexico

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People remain outside the Durango clinic in Mexico City after the quake. (Claudio Cruz/AFP via Getty Images)

A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Mexican state of Oaxaca mid-morning Tuesday.

The temblor originated along the coast, and the extent of the damage in the region is unclear, but buildings swayed and earthquake early warning alarms went off as far as 400 miles away, in Mexico City.

Little news has come yet from La Crucecita, one the cities nearest to the epicenter, raising concerns about what could have happened in a region already hard hit by COVID-19.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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LA Councilman Jose Huizar Arrested By FBI

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Councilman Jose Huizar in 2014. (Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC)

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, long suspected of being a target in a sweeping corruption probe involving a "pay-to-play" scheme at City Hall, has been taken into custody.

Huizar was arrested by federal agents Tuesday morning at his Boyle Heights home, according to Laura Eimiller, spokesperson for the FBI's L.A. field office.

The FBI raided Huizar's home in 2018 with a hard-drive sniffing dog and left with a filing box labeled "Fundraising."

A number of city leaders had previously called on Huizar to resign.

In March, former council member Mitch Englander agreed to plead guilty to lying to federal investigators after he was allegedly caught on tape discussing how to cover up a lavish Las Vegas trip and cash payments from a businessman who wanted lucrative Los Angeles developer connections.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Working High School Students Take On Responsibilities -- And Risks -- During COVID-19 Crisis

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Juan Constantino, who attends the Communications & Technology school at the Diego Rivera Learning Complex in South L.A., poses in the mobile auto repair and locksmith shop where he works. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

Within two weeks of the coronavirus forcing his high school to close, then 16-year-old Juan Constantino could sense that the pandemic had seriously tightened his household finances. His mom's hours at work had been cut. Sometimes Juan would have to fork over cash so they could get through the grocery line.

So one night in late March in their kitchen, Juan asked: “Mom, what if I don’t go to school?"

“My whole goal in that conversation was to convince her to let me drop out."

Why? Because while his mom is earning less — Juan, like a lot of high schoolers during this pandemic, has been working more.

As summer break begins and the economy dips into recession, principals at some low-income Los Angeles public schools are beginning to ask an uncomfortable question about working-age students such as Juan, who turned 17 last week: Could some of these students be at risk of dropping out?

Consider: these students “might be the only people in the family bringing in income,” says Cynthia Gonzalez, the principal of Juan’s high school in South L.A.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Morning Briefing: 'We Were Not A Threat'

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Hundreds of people spent their Father's Day marching from the auto body shop where 18-year-old Andres Guardado was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy last week to the Compton Sheriff’s station were that deputy is based. (Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

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Immigrant detainees at the Adelanto Detention Center in San Bernardino say they were pepper sprayed earlier this month by officers in riot gear for peacefully protesting inside the facility.

Elly Yu reports that on June 12, the men were told they were going into lockdown because of a protest happening outside the facility’s walls, with which the detainees had no involvement. Confused and unhappy – lockdown can mean being kept in a cell for 23.5 hours per day – some of the men simply sat down, or declined to return to their cells.

"We were not a threat,” Alexis Gonzalez, who has since been released from the facility, told Yu.

Nevertheless, officers allegedly came out in force, outfitted in SWAT-like gear and deploying pepper spray.

"I went into my room and started throwing up, and my eyes were burning," Edgar Guillen, who is being held at the facility, told Yu. "That night was crazy. I couldn't see. My whole body was burning. I had to get up a few times and throw water on my body. We coughed the whole night."

It’s not clear what the next steps are for those affected.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, June 23

Carla Javier has the latest as the LAUSD board considers three resolutions related to school police.

High school seniors tell Marina Peña about their experiences in 2020, as they deal with the coronavirus and international civic unrest at the same time as graduation, final exams and once-in-a-lifetime rites of passage. Photos by Chava Sanchez.

Libby Denkmann reviews and explains the numerous motions introduced by L.A.’s leaders in recent days, all aimed at curbing police violence.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A. Stories: Meet seven L.A.-based activists, religious leaders, musicians, journalists and others who illustrate the deep connections and unique influence that L.A.’s immigrant communities have around the world. LACMA received a $6.7 million PPP loan that helped prevent layoffs, furloughs or salary reductions.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County officials reported 2,571 new confirmed cases of coronavirus Monday, bringing the total to at least 85,942 cases countywide.

Policing The Police: Detainees at ICE's Adelanto immigrant detention facility say officers in riot gear used pepper spray and pepper balls against them during a peaceful protest. Police may not be following their own policies when it comes to projectiles with names such as “foam,” “sponge” and “bean bag.” LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner said that everyone, on all sides of whether to dismantle the L.A. School Police, has to provide “reasoned answer[s].”

Photo Essays: LAist photo contributor Bumdog Torres shot portraits of the unhoused residents of Fairfax Boulevard and its alleyways. Hundreds of people spent their Father's Day marching from the auto body shop where Andres Guardado was fatally shot to the Compton Sheriff's station where the deputy who killed him is based.

This Week’s Events: Drop in virtually for a 24-hour Global Queer Read-In, attend a bicycle repair workshop, take a road trip to a drive-in for a double feature and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.

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Photo Of The Day

Michelle, an Angeleno who doesn’t have a home, was photographed by LAist contributor Bumdog Torres as part of his series, “Alley Dogs.”

(Bumdog Torres for LAist)

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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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