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After Supreme Court Victory, DACA Hopefuls Wait To Apply -- With No Guidance Yet From Feds

DACA supporters drive around Macarthur Park honking and chanting during a rally celebrating the Supreme Court decision to let DACA continue for now. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

It’s been a couple of weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The program protects younger immigrants without legal status from deportation, and many people are now eager to apply for DACA for the first time. Until the recent decision, only existing DACA recipeints could renew their status following the Trump administration's attempt to end the program in 2017.

But there’s a problem: The federal government has not said if and when it will take new applicants for the program.

"They may delay instructions and we may not know what to do in the meantime," said Luis Perez, legal services director for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

Last week, CHIRLA mailed off a new DACA application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services -- a test case of sorts. They haven’t received a response yet.

"As soon as we do, we'll be able to share the status of that of that application, maybe as a way to encourage others to do the same," Perez said.

In the meantime, CHIRLA has been advising DACA hopefuls to get their documents in order. They must show they were born after 1981 and entered the country before age 16.

Federal immigration officials had no comment at this time other than a statement from a USCIS official referring to DACA recipients as “illegal aliens.”

The high court ruled last month against the Trump administration, saying the way in which the administration rescinded DACA in 2017 was "arbitrary and capricious."


More Contact Tracers, But Delays In Getting Coronavirus Test Results

A worker directs a patient at a testing site at the Forum in Inglewood. (County of Los Angeles)

L.A County is ramping up the number of “contact tracers,” the people who reach out to those with COVID-19 and those they’ve come in contact with in an effort to get them quarantined for 14 days.

Meanwhile, that work is being hampered because some labs that are processing coronavirus tests are taking too long to get the results to the county, according to Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, chief medical officer for L.A. County’s Department of Public Health.


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LAUSD Names Interim School Police Chief

L.A. School Police Deputy Chief Leslie Ramirez has been named Interim Chief of the department. (Los Angeles Unified School District )

The L.A. School Police department has a new leader – at least, for now.

Deputy Chief Leslie Ramirez will serve as Interim Chief, the L.A. Unified School District announced on Thursday. The previous chief, Todd Chamberlain, resigned on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the LAUSD board voted 4-3 to cut $25 million from the school police budget.

"In good conscience, and in fear for safety and well-being of those I serve, I cannot support modifications to my position, the organization and most importantly, the community (students, staff and families) that I believe will be detrimental and potentially life-threatening," Chamberlain wrote in a statement.

Ramirez will now lead the department through the budget reduction, which could result in 65 officers losing their jobs.

According to Ramirez's school police bio, she joined the force in 1991 and is an alum of the district's Hamilton High.

"In the weeks ahead, we will begin the process of reviewing and evaluating our operational plan and objectives," Ramirez said in a LAUSD statement. "Our focus will be to maximize our deployment strategy while minimizing the impact to students, staff and our personnel."


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A Pandemic Birthday Party Parade 

A generous neighbor lent his boat to bolster the day's nautical theme. (Courtesy Mayelle Nguyen)

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Mayelle Nguyen’s son Mason turned five years old on April 16.

She held out until the last minute before canceling his pirate-themed birthday party and instead planned a parade outside their West Covina home.

A neighbor lent his boat as a life-sized pirate prop for the day, and Mason donned a black hat with the skull-and-crossbones to greet friends and family.

“We honestly were only expecting like maybe 10 cars, but it ended up being more like 30 to 40 cars,” Mayelle said.

The consensus between Mason and his two sisters? Best birthday party ever.

“Now they all want a parade for their parties,” Mayelle said.


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Newsom: Wear A Mask This 4th Of July Weekend; Hospitalizations Up 56% In 2 Weeks


Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered an update on California's response to coronavirus Thursday in which he focused on the importance of wearing a mask. You can read highlights below or watch the full press conference above.


There were 4,056 new coronavirus positives on Wednesday, Newsom said. The positivity rate over the past 14 days is up to 6.3%, from 4.6% two weeks ago.

Hospitalizations have risen from 3,428 two weeks ago to 5,355, a 56% increase, Newsom said. COVID-19 patients are currently taking up about 7% of the state’s hospital beds. Overall, the state is using about 62% of all of its hospital beds (that includes both coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients). There are 1,676 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit beds, making up 16% of the total ICU beds — a 49% over the last two weeks.

(California Governor's Office)

In the last 24 hours, 73 Californians died from coronavirus-related illness.

While there are currently 19 counties on the state's monitoring watch list, Newsom said that he expected several more counties to be coming onto that watch list soon.


Don't gather with people you don't live with — Newsom said that yesterday and reiterated it today. He also reminded viewers to avoid crowds.

Newsom noted that counties with mandatory closures should consider cancelling firework shows if they haven't done so already.

People are still allowed to protest and practice their freedom of speech, Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci said. When asked about why it's OK for people to go protest while being discouraged from visiting family, the governor said that just because someone else is doing it, that doesn't mean you should.

Newsom recommended that people do what they think is best for both themselves, and for the people that they love.

He closed his press conference by saying, "Happy Fourth of July weekend, and wear a mask."


More than 350,000 businesses have received notifications from California's Occupational Safety and Health board laying out public health mandates to protect both customers and employees, Newsom noted. He said that the state will first try to encourage businesses to enforce the orders, before moving on to any sort of punishment.

The governor noted that, while the state is focusing on businesses, the expectation is still for local officials to enforce individuals wearing masks. That goes beyond the business sector and includes enforcement of mask-wearing outside businesses as well. He also noted that $2.5 billion of funding could be withheld from counties that don't comply with state health orders.

"Eventually, if you're not seeing behavioral change ... then we think citations are warranted where there's abuse," Newsom said.

The governor did note that it's difficult to enforce at scale with California's 40 million residents if everyone decides to ignore health orders, adding that this situation requires some personal responsibility.


The governor emphasized the importance of wearing a face mask/covering. He noted that countries where people have worn masks universally have had the most success in reducing the spread of COVID-19, and states with mask requirements have had slower growth than those without a requirement.

Wearing a mask is the most impactful thing you can do to slow the spread of coronavirus other than staying home and practicing physical distancing, Newsom said.

Newsom showed a slide that he's used before about how droplets that spread COVID-19 can go 4.5 feet with a deep exhale, 6 feet with a cough, and up to 26 feet with a sneeze.


Newsom announced the formal launch of what he described as "a major public awareness campaign" encouraging everyone to wear a mask.

The governor previewed new PSAs in English and Spanish promoting wearing a mask.

Newsom expressed his appreciation for four ex-governors who did a PSA in favor of wearing a mask, including two Republicans and two Democrats. He expressed his appreciation at this message crossing party lines. Newsom also discussed other aspects of California's public awareness campaign, including videos from Snoop Dogg, Kim Kardashian, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and more.


Newsom discussed which counties from the state's watch list issued local health orders yesterday, and listed which ones will do so today. Los Angeles and Ventura counties were among the five that did so yesterday, while the Southern California counties of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Santa Barbara are among the eight counties doing so today.

Newsom said that he expects all 19 will come into compliance with state orders, but noted that the state will step in if needed to make that happen.

He expressed his thanks for Orange County in particular for taking local actions to reduce the spread and limit crowding at places like beaches, as well as L.A. and Ventura counties.

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Public Swimming Pools Have Reopened, But It’s Weird Now

Coaches and instructors like Rose Bowl Aquatics Center coach Chad Durieux are now required to keep out of the water to maintain social distance. (Sharon McNary/LAist)

As the holiday weekend heats up, you’re probably jonesing for a nice cool swim in a public pool. But if you can find one that’s open, you’ll find that extensive new rules to keep people separated and safe from contracting the coronavirus makes the experience very different. Sterile, even.

Public swimming pools at city and county parks, at campgrounds and schools have been allowed to be open since mid-June. But expect lots and lots of limits.

The new rules require frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces like door handles and pool railings, but also shared pool training gear. To reduce the amount of cleaning, a lot of those need-to-disinfect items like kickboards and pool noodles have simply been removed.


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With Coronavirus Going Strong, Some Don't Want To Go Back To Work

The Busy Bee Diner in Ventura, which reopened for Memorial Day Weekend. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Many businesses in L.A. can now reopen after months of being shut down during the coronavirus pandemic. But employers say they’re having difficulties getting their workers to come back.

Some suspect unemployment benefits, which are more generous than usual, may be a factor.

But most workers don’t have a choice to stay on unemployment: If they're called back to work and refuse, California’s unemployment system could cut them off.

Instead, many workers say their primary concern is safety — and some are quitting their jobs to stay healthy.

Katie Thompson, who recently stepped down from her retail job at a Madewell store in Pasadena, said, “I understand why they felt like they needed to open. But I just wasn't willing to be sacrificed at that altar.”


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Morning Briefing: LA Moves Towards Police Reform

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Yesterday was a big day for police reform in L.A., as city and county officials took initial steps towards allocating less money to law enforcement and more to underserved communities.

After debating the issue for over 11 hours at their last meeting, the LAUSD board finally reached a compromise and voted to reduce the school police budget by 35%. In less than 24 hours, L.A. School Police Department Chief Todd Chamberlain resigned — although he claimed it had nothing to do with the cuts.

At the same time, the L.A. City Council voted in favor of cutting $150 million from LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget. Of those funds, $90 million will be put towards programs serving marginalized communities; $10 million will go to a summer youth program; and $50 million will go to reducing city worker furloughs and mid-year budget adjustments.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, July 2

The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center is making its pandemic comeback with appointment-only swimming, mandatory pre-swim showers, and fewer people per lane, reports Sharon McNary. And that post-swim hot shower? Forget about it.

Many workers are being called back in after months of furlough. Some don't want to return. Emily Guerin and David Wagner explain why.

Catch new films by Werner Herzog and Hirokazu Kore-eda, attend a comedy show inside Animal Crossing, listen to Danny Glover and Ben Guillory talk about theater and social justice, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

L.A. County's chief medical officer tells Jackie Fortiér that the private labs contracted to conduct local COVID-19 tests are not turning them around fast enough.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Policing The Police: The LA. City Council voted to cut $150 million from the LAPD budget, and reinvest the funds in marginalized communities. L.A. School Police Chief Todd Chamberlain abruptly resigned less than 24 hours after the LAUSD board voted to cut $25 million from his department's budget. Olivia Riçhard profiles a program that teaches Black youth how to navigate high-stake situations with law enforcement.

Coronavirus Updates: The transfer of hundreds of men from a prison in Chino to slow the spread of COVID-19 backfired; now there's an outbreak at San Quentin.

Re-Closing L.A.: Gov. Newsom announced the closure of indoor dining at L.A. County restaurants for at least the next three weeks.

Money Matters: Some undocumented immigrants are now eligible for financial relief under the new California state budget. Sheriff Alex Villanueva backed away from his threat to close the Altadena and Marina Del Rey patrol stations.

L.A. Times Scandal: Peter Meehan, the former food editor of the L.A. Times, has stepped down after being accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

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Photo Of The Day

LAist visual journalist Chava Sanchez captured this view of downtown L.A., seen from Vernon as the sun sets.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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