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Pasadena Begins Outdoor Dining With Partial Street Closures On Colorado Boulevard

Colorado Blvd. in Old Town Pasadena is closing down some lanes to create more outdoor dining spots for restaurants. Julia Paskin/KPCC

The city of Pasadena is closing lanes along Colorado Boulevard to expand outdoor dining and hopefully give struggling restaurants a boost.

Closures should be in place by Saturday morning, but as the city launches this plan, the number of new coronavirus infections is rising in Pasadena and around Los Angeles County.

Lisa Derderian with the city of Pasadena says health inspectors will be out this weekend to make sure restaurants and diners follow the rules:

"We want to open up more opportunities to help our local economy and turn it into a positive, but also ensure the safety of the public. So this is something we're gonna see how it works out. But if we see that our numbers significantly increase, we'll go back and we'll have to reassess and reevaluate."

Derderian says tables and chairs will be in the street, closest to the curb. Sidewalks will be open for pedestrians, so people shopping or walking won't be too close to diners.

Here's the list of partial closures, per the city:

  • Colorado Boulevard between Madison and El Molino avenues
  • Colorado Boulevard between Fair Oaks and Raymond avenues (south curb only)

And here's a list of additional closures anticipated by July 25 at the latest:

  • Colorado Boulevard between El Molino and Oak Knoll avenues
  • Colorado Boulevard between Oak Knoll and Hudson avenues (south curb only)
  • Green Street between Pasadena and De Lacey avenues (north curb/half block)
  • Green Street between De Lacey and Raymond avenues (south curb)
  • Colorado Boulevard between Fair Oaks and Raymond avenues (north curb)
  • Colorado Boulevard between Raymond Avenue and Arroyo Parkway (north curb/no parking)


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Mayor Garcetti Asks Angelenos To Please Not Have Parties This Weekend

Courtesy Mayor of LA Facebook page

Mayor Eric Garcetti today warned Angelenos not to party like it's 2019 this weekend, which feels like a statement of basic logic unless you've been living in an actual floating space bubble since March.

He said we are not going back to a Safter-At-Home order, but urged Angelenos to stay at home (unless they have essential business to take care of).

People will surely be tempted though to dine Al Fresco at a restaurant, hit the gym, go to a mall, or get their nails done -- all things they are allowed to do. But the mayor asked that Angelenos not do those things with anyone they don't currently live with.

"Please do not go outside, gather with others and put lives at risk," Garcetti added, noting that we should specifically not have pool parties, given the impending heat wave.

He also asked younger people not to gather with friends. "So my plea is to our younger Angelenos between 18 and 40 to continue to do your part," he added.

Note: As much as we joke, we just want to be clear – please don't go to large gatherings, parties or even small hang-outs with friends right now. L.A. public health officials have traced the recent surge in Covid cases to parties and gatherings between friends and family members over Memorial Day Weekend.

Correction: An earlier version of this story referenced the reopening of Downtown Disney which is not part of L.A. County and is therefore not in the mayor's purview. We also incorrectly characterized bars that serve food as bars, when they are technically restaurants. Bars are closed. We regret the error.


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Los Alamitos Race Track Could Lose Its License Over Horse Deaths

A race horse attends morning workout at Santa Anita Park on June 15, 2019. Santa Anita closed last year because of horse deaths. Los Alamitos faces similar scrutiny. (David McNew/Getty Images)

If Los Alamitos race track wants to keep operating, it has 10 days to come up with a plan to reduce horse deaths at the track.

That's according to the California Horse Racing Board, which oversees the sport statewide.

This year, 29 horses have died at the track, 19 while racing or training and 10 from gastrointestinal and other illnesses.

Board Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur supervises horse necropsy reports and says the track at Los Alamitos alone isn't the problem.

"What I have reviewed on these cases so far are the same problems we see everywhere in racing. Questionable training and horse management, and questionable veterinary practices."

The race track at Santa Anita Park closed early last year due to concerns over horse deaths. A report in March found many of the horses had pre-existing injuries related to high-intensity training.

The practice of injecting steroids into the joints of horses can mask an existing injury and potentially lead to death.

State horse racing commissioners agreed at an emergency meeting today that Los Alamitos must figure out how to bring horse deaths down at their track.

If Los Alamitos fails to present a plan to the horse racing board, the track's racing license can be suspended.


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LA Officials Have Changed Their Tune On Testing For All

A healthcare worker directs a patient at a testing site at the Forum in Inglewood. Courtesy of the County of Los Angeles (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

For months, Los Angeles officials have been shouting from the mountaintops (via their live-streamed news conferences): "Free testing for all."

Now, they've narrowed what they mean by "for all."

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said this week that people who have little reason to believe they're infected should not be getting tests just for their own peace of mind — or because they want to know if it's safe to rage.

"A test is not a passport to party," he said.

L.A. public health officials are now saying you'll get priority for testing if:

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, shortness of breath and new loss of taste or smell
  • You are over the age of 65 or have a chronic medical conditions
  • You are an essential worker, for example, janitors, grocery and food service workers and health care workers.

If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19, you should self-quarantine for 14 days. But public health officials say you should wait to get tested until a few days after you've been exposed.

Oh, and please wear a mask.


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Attorney For Robert Fuller’s Family Not Ready To Accept Sheriff’s Suicide Ruling

Friends of Robert Fuller shared images of him on Twitter. (Twitter)

The attorney for Robert Fuller’s family says all questions about his death “have not been answered,” despite the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department ruling the death a suicide yesterday.

While saying he will continue to investigate, Jamon Hicks said the private investigator his firm hired and the independent autopsy it commissioned have not turned up any evidence to suggest foul play.

“I have no information to suggest that anything was racially motivated,” Hicks said.

Fuller was found hanging from a tree in a Palmdale park on June 10.

[If you or a loved one needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Los Angeles County maintains a 24-hour bilingual hotline at 800-854-7771]

Hicks said Sheriff’s Commander Chris Marks called him yesterday before the department’s news conference and shared information that suggested Fuller was “possibly suffering from some type of mental illness.”

Marks told reporters that the Las Vegas Police Department reported that Fuller tried to take his own life there in February. He cited three other instances since 2017 at hospitals in California, Nevada and Arizona in which Fuller reported having suicidal thoughts.

“We have not had the opportunity to review those results,” Hicks said, adding that the family was unaware of the hospital visits.

Marks said the official autopsy found scars on Fuller’s wrist “consistent with suicidal intent.” Hicks said the independent autopsy also found marks on Fuller’s wrist, but said his team was unable to confirm “that he ever cut himself in a fashion to commit suicide.”

Hicks said he informed Fuller’s family of the official conclusion that he took his own life, and “prepared them that further investigation could likely yield a similar result.”

“It was a very difficult conversation to have,” he said.


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LA Teachers' Union Pushes Back On Push To Reopen Schools

United Teachers Los Angeles held a briefing to explain why the board and bargaining team are calling for campuses to remain closed in August. (UTLA via YouTube)

Amid pressure from the Trump Administration to fully reopen schools this fall, the union representing L.A. Unified School District teachers is calling for campuses to remain closed and for online learning to continue when classes start again in August.

"The safety and well-being of our students is and will always be our priority," UTLA vice president Gloria Martinez told KPCC's Larry Mantle. "And because of the unknowns, it would be reckless for us to say, 'let's reopen schools and let's put students in danger, and see what happens.' We're just not ready to make that call."

Martinez was speaking on behalf of the UTLA's Board of Directors and bargaining team, which released its stance on Friday morning. Throughout the rest of the day on Friday, the union conducted an informal poll of its more than 30,000 members for their views on re-opening schools.

On Friday night, the union said more than 18,000 UTLA submitted responses and 83% agreed that campuses "should not physically reopen" on August 18.

UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.: This post was updated to reflect a change in the deadline for the membership poll. UTLA has extended the polling until 7 p.m.

UPDATE, June 11, 9:40 a.m.: This post was updated to reflect the results of the poling.


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Column: How A Classic Chicano Coming-Of-Age Tale Changed The Way I Saw Myself

(Illustration by Chava Sanchez, LAist/Photo by Jeffrey Bealle via Flickr)

Mis Ángeles columnist Erick Galindo first picked up a copy of Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima when he was about 18 years old.

By the time he was 10 pages into the pioneering Chicano author's classic novel, a coming-of-age tale that features a Mexican American protagonist, something in him clicked. Galindo writes:

It changed the way I saw myself.

I was dumbfounded. In six years of honors and AP English, history, and literature classes, I couldn't recall a single book about someone like me.

He considers Anaya, who died June 28 at age 82, one of the main reasons he became a writer. Now, he's paying that influence forward.



Another Pandemic Casualty: Family Visits At Locked Psychiatric Facilities

Annie Felix visits Andrew from the other side of his window. (Robert Garrova/LAist)

As hard it is for people who haven’t been able to visit family members in nursing homes during the pandemic, it’s been particularly tough for those with relatives in locked psychiatric facilities that have also cut off visitation.

Annie Felix’s son Andrew is in a facility in Long Beach, where she used to visit him three times a week for two hours at a time.

Then COVID-19 hit, forcing the freezing of visiting hours. Now she trudges through bushes to stand outside Andrew’s parking-lot facing window to try to talk to him.

As of early July, there had been five coronavirus outbreaks at Long Beach psychiatric centers, with a total of 19 cases and one death at Andrew’s facility, according to the city.


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LA Coroner Overrides Sheriff, Releases Autopsy Confirming Andres Guardado Was Killed By 5 Shots In The Back

Hundreds of people turned out to protest after 18-year-old Andres Guardado was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy. (Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

In an unprecedented move, Los Angeles County’s coroner has overridden a Sheriff’s Department “security hold” and released the results of an autopsy that found 18-year-old Andres Guardado was killed by five shots in the back fired by a sheriff’s deputy.

The findings confirm those of an independent autopsy commissioned by Guardado’s family, including the conclusion that he did not have any drugs in his system at the time of his death.

The family ordered the autopsy because of the security hold, which Sheriff Alex Villanueva said was necessary to avoid influencing witnesses' stories.

In a statement, Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas said he decided to release the autopsy after giving “careful consideration to the major variables in this case — supporting the administration of justice, as well as the public’s right to know.”

Those ideals are not mutually exclusive, he said, and added:

"Both are important, particularly amid the ongoing national discussion about race, policing and civil rights. I believe that government can do its part by being more timely and more transparent in sharing information that the public demands and has a right to see."

"This is the first time the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has released a security hold on a case, absent court intervention, against the wishes of the requestor of the hold," coroner spokesperson Sarah Ardalani told us in an email.

Villanueva blasted the coroner's move. In a statement, he said Lucas has “sacrificed the integrity of the investigation in a bid to satisfy public curiosity,” and has potentially jeopardized "any possible future criminal or administrative proceedings."

Guardado’s family has challenged the official version of the June 18 incident, which says Guardado fled from deputies who approached him and was shot after a foot chase during which he produced a gun.

The case has sparked angry protests and national attention. The state attorney general and the FBI are monitoring the investigation.




12:56 p.m.: This story was updated to include Sarah Ardalani's comment.

5:00 p.m.: This story was updated to include Sheriff Villanueva's reaction.

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Downtown Disney Reopens As Coronavirus Cases Surge In Orange County

People visit Downtown Disney in Anaheim on July 9, 2020, the first day the outdoor shopping and dining complex has been open to the public since it closed in mid-March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

Downtown Disney, the outdoor shopping district outside the Disneyland theme park, reopened on Thursday, just one day after Orange County reported a single-day record of new coronavirus cases. Hospitalizations in the county have jumped by 97% over the past three weeks.

On opening day, there was a line to get into the outdoor mall before it opened at 10 a.m. Social media posts also showed crowds inside some of the Disney-brand stores, buying special edition merch.

Doctor Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital, says she understands the economic concerns at play, but doesn't think opening up a potentially crowded shopping area is wise at the moment, given the surging cases across Southern California.

"It's sort of sending the message to people that it's safe to do these activities," she told KPCC/LAist, "and it really isn't right now."

Orange County is experiencing a sharp increase in coronavirus hospitalizations this week. The county now has 691 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, nearly double the number from three weeks ago. On Thursday Orange County reported nearly 1,300 new cases of coronavirus. The county has seen a total of more than 21,000 cases of the disease since March.

Disneyland's website outlines reopening safety guideliens like required masks and temperature checks at the entrance to the shopping center. The page also includes a disclamer: "By visiting the Disneyland Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19."

Disneyland itself remains closed. Park officials pushed back a planned July 17 reopening of the theme park, after the state changed reopening dates in response to surging cases at the end of June. Orange County officials revealed very high rates of COVID-19 cases specifially in areas near the park, information that they allegedly tried to keep secret, according to the Voice of Orange County.

Disneyland employees also wrote a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom saying they don't feel safe going back to work.

Meanwhile, Disneyworld reopened to the public on Saturday. We'll have to see how that goes.

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Morning Briefing: LA’s 'Wet Markets' May Face Ban

A mural painted on the outside of L.A. Fresh Poultry depicts various famous animals. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Many Americans probably hadn’t heard of so-called “wet markets” until recently, when a theory began going around that the coronavirus began at such a facility in China. And now, reports Yingjie Wang, city council might shut down those that operate within L.A.

There are only a couple dozen such markets in the city, where they function largely as butcher shops, slaughtering animals such as chickens and ducks onsite. No known food-borne illnesses have come from L.A. wet markets and, because of that, some owners think the recently proposed action is little more than thinly-veiled, coronavirus-related racism.

"This is my work, and I don't want to lose it," Merare Nataneal, a butcher at L.A. Fresh Poultry, told Yingjie. "It's an uncomfortable position knowing that they might want to close this type of business down."

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, July 10

The coronavirus has forced the freezing of visitation hours at locked mental health facilities, including the 190-bed La Casa in Long Beach. Robert Garrova catches up with one mother who’s been cutting through bushes to talk with her son through his parking lot-facing window.

Organizers recently decided to cancel the 2020 Angel City Games, Southern California's premier adaptive-sports competition. They’re pivoting to a "Virtual Games" format, reports David Davis, and while adaptive athletes have fewer opportunities for competition than non-disabled athletes, they know how to adjust to unusual circumstances.

Despite receiving between $350,000 and $1 million in a bailout loan meant to protect jobs, the Upright Citizens Brigade laid off nearly its entire staff during the COVID-19 shutdown and has not put employees back on its payroll. Mike Roe has the story.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Money Matters: Wealthier, whiter areas of L.A. County received far more Paycheck Protection Program loans than lower-income areas where residents are primarily Latino or Black. L.A. County’s sanitation department is offering rebates for some businesses that have been closed during coronavirus shutdowns. L.A. Assemblyman Miguel Santiago has co-authored a bill that would create a state-owned bank.

L.A.’s ‘Wet Markets’: Live animal markets (a.k.a. “wet markets”) fill a need for thousands of residents, but some L.A. city officials want to ban them.

Pending Cases: The L.A. Sheriff's Department says it has concluded that Robert Fuller hanged himself in Palmdale. The lawyer for the Sheriff's deputy who shot and killed Andrés Guardado says it was "self defense."

Coronavirus Ingenuity: In Orange County, one community clinic serving Korean immigrants took an Asian idea for COVID-19 testing and made it their own: a no-contact testing booth. L.A. County has committed to an ambitious COVID-19 recovery plan with the goal of quickly finding homes for 15,000 people experiencing homelessness.

Shelter And Air: More than half of California’s mobile home parks were not inspected by the state at all between 2010 and 2019, according to a recent audit. All those illegal fireworks from Fourth of July have given L.A. the worst air quality in a decade.

Here’s What To Do: Get your pop art fix, catch Atom Egoyan's latest movies, attend a virtual ball and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.

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Photo Of The Day

Abdel Salam Elhawary works the register at L.A. Fresh Poultry, his market that butchers animals onsite, near Virgil Village.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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