Help us rise to the challenge of covering the coronavirus crisis. Our journalism is free for all to access. But we rely on your support. Donate today to power our journalists.

Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):

LA County Guidelines For Reopening Head Start: Fewer, Smaller Classes

At a Long Beach preschool, toys and art supplies are separated in plastic bags for each child.(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

L.A. County’s Office Of Education has released new guidelines for reopening Head Start programs, but it's not clear when that will happen.

The agency, which oversees Head Start for 11,000 kids, closed its centers in March, and since then has been providing some virtual instruction.

The hope was to open 50% of classrooms by September, but that plan is being re-evaluated given the rising number of coronavirus cases, said County Head Start Executive Director Keesha Woods.

If centers reopen, it will be with smaller groups of children and daily health checks. Students with disabilities and four-year-olds will be prioritized for in-person instruction. For all other kids, remote learning will continue.

The federal program provides early education for low-income kids under 5.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

LA Pride Is Leaving West Hollywood For A Neighborhood Unknown

A parade participant at the LA Pride Parade on June 9, 2019 in West Hollywood. (Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

After 40 years in West Hollywood, LA Pride plans to find a new home.

The new location for 2021 isn't known yet, but Phillip Zonkel, publisher of the LGBTQ+ publication Q Voice News, says it could be hard to find another place to hold the festival, which in 1970 became one of the first permitted gay rights parades in the country, aligned to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City:

"It's a huge festival, you know. It brings thousands of people every year, and the city subsidizes a couple million dollars for the festival with security, so trying to find another location for this festival could be a big challenge."

In a letter to the West Hollywood City Council, LA Pride organizers cited changing demographics of the L.A. area, construction in West Hollywood Park, and the desire to be allies for other social change movements.



Finding Shelter For 6,700 Homeless People In LA Is Tricky

A tour bus passes a homeless encampment underneath an overpass. (Mario Tama/Getty)

L.A. City and County officials presented updates to a federal court this week explaining how they’re going to move 6,700 homeless people away from freeways.

Turns out — it’s complicated.

The plans are part of an agreement overseen by Judge David Carter in a lawsuit alleging negligence in the way the city and county have dealt with homelessness. The agreement says that “alternative housing options” must be located in every city council district.

These options include:

  • safe parking lots
  • bridge housing shelters
  • And, possibly, even safe camping locations

But lawyers for the City of L.A. say some sites — some park and ride lots — are bogged down by red tape from a reluctant federal government.

Some of that red tape is also being generated at the local level. Court documents say that some other sites — even some owned by the city — are unfeasible because of city zoning, or proximity to other homes. And even some privately held land that city had hoped to lease "became unavailable."

However, there are some sites likely to open before the end of the year -- many of which consist of prefabricated "pallet shelter" tiny homes.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

LA County Sees Highest Hospitalization Rate Since Start Of Pandemic...Again

File: L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer provides an update on how the county is responding to the coronavirus crisis. (Screenshot via YouTube courtesy L.A. County)

For the second day in a row, Los Angeles County has reported its highest rate of hospitalizations since the coronavirus pandemic began. Here's where we were yesterday.

Currently, 2,193 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are hospitalized. That's up from 2,103 yesterday. The county also reported 44 new deaths today.

Speaking to reporters remotely, L.A. County public health director Barbara Ferrer called this time an "alarming and dangerous phase" of the outbreak. She said that reinstating the strict Stay-At-Home order isn't off the table.

Ferrer says because of the time it takes for the virus to incubate, today's rates reflect how people behaved three weeks ago (so, approximately the last week of June, post-Father's Day). That could mean worse news ahead:

"We're worried that in a few days from now, and a week or two from now, we will actually see our deaths increase, because they are associated with the increases that we're seeing in hospitalizations."

Younger people between the ages of 18 to 40 are being being hospitalized at much higher rates now, than at the start of the pandemic in Los Angeles. They make up nearly 30% of COVID-19 patients needing hospital care right now.

The county reported 2,758 new cases of coronavirus today.

Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose L.A. County or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Tuesday, July 14:

Riverside County Is Calling In Federal Support To Treat COVID-19 Patients

Newly reported cases in Riverside County as of July 14.

Several hospitals in Riverside County are looking to the federal government for backup staff to treat a surge in COVID-19 patients. One hospital in Rancho Mirage, Eisenhower Health, is scheduled to receive around 20 current military personnel, including doctors, nurses and respiratory technicians tomorrow.

According to Dr. Alan Williamson, chief medical officer of Eisenhower Health, much of the regular hospital staff is seasonal — doubling in size during the winter months to support “snowbirds” staying in their local second homes.

He explained:

“Typically this time of year things would be quite slow in the hospital, so we don’t have those staff readily available for taking care of a sudden surge of patients.”

The bottom line: While Eisenhower Health still has enough beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), the hospital has essentially no staff to treat new patients.

Bruce Barton, director of Riverside County's Emergency Management Department, said one other county hospital has been approved to receive additional staffing and four others have requested, but not yet been approved, for help.

So far, he said, the northwest region of the county, including the city of Riverside and Moreno Valley, and the desert region are suffering the most from staffing shortages.

But Barton is optimistic about the future. “It’s been long, but the morale of the team is very good. We’re dealing with what’s in front of us every single day,” he said.


Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county. To see more, visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose Riverside or any other California county that interests you. These numbers are current as of Tuesday, July 14:

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

LA Sheriff’s Chief Of Staff Reassigned After Posting That Andrés Guardado 'Chose His Fate'

Protesters have been demanding answers about killing of Andres Guardado by a sheriff's deputy. (Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

L.A. Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s chief of staff will be removed from his position and reassigned to the agency’s East Patrol Division after he wrote on Facebook that a young man killed by a Sheriff’s deputy "chose his fate."

The department has also initiated an administrative investigation into Capt. John Burcher’s social media posts, Deputy Trina Schrader told us.

Burcher came under scrutiny when ABC7 uncovered posts on his personal Facebook page about Andrés Guardado, the 18-year-old security guard who was shot five times in the back last month.

Among the posts and comments highlighted by ABC7:

  • Burcher asked, "Why so much coverage over Guardado?"
  • Burcher argued Guardado "CHOSE his destiny," and the media should pay attention to the cases of two teenage girls who were murdered.
  • Burcher also argued with commenters on his Facebook page, calling one an "idiot" and saying to another, "sorry, your life does not matter more than mine does, you racist (expletive.) STFU."

Inspector General Max Huntsman told ABC7 that Burcher’s comments give "reasonable observers cause to believe" the investigation into the Guardado shooting "has been prejudged."

Burcher’s actions "are inexcusable and further confirm why an independent investigation [into Guardado’s killing] is necessary," said Adam Shea, an attorney for Guardado’s family, in a statement.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

United Talent Agency Breaks Ranks, Cuts A Deal With Hollywood's Writers

The Writers Guild of America's headquarters in L.A. (Andy E. Nystrom Via Flickr)

Hollywood screenwriters are used to coming up with surprise endings, but few people in the industry expected today’s plot twist in their union’s epic battle against talent agencies: The United Talent Agency broke ranks with Hollywood’s biggest agencies and said it has reached an agreement with the Writers Guild of America.

More than a year ago, thousands of WGA members fired their representatives, claiming the agents were neglecting their screenwriting clients’ best interests.

The dispute, which also includes a federal lawsuit, hinged on two issues.

  • The first is a packaging fee; that’s when an agency collects a share of a TV series’ overall budget, rather than taking a traditional commission just on a screenwriter’s salary. The WGA argued that because packaging fees can be worth huge sums of money, agents might only put their clients in shows that agree to the fee, potentially costing writers jobs.
  • Second, talent agencies over the last several years have started their own production companies. Because the agencies enjoy the profits of the resulting movie or TV series, the WGA argued they had an incentive to keep production costs down, meaning screenwriting clients might be underpaid.

Today, the United Talent Agency said it has agreed to end packaging fees in two years, and it pledged not to start a new production company. The WGA and UTA also ended their lawsuits against each other.

But there could still be a cliffhanger: The agreement requires one of the other top agencies — CAA, WME or ICM — also to settle with the WGA, or the deal is void.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Pasadena’s Rose Parade Canceled Due To Pandemic

The Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration at the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade (Disneyland handout, via Getty Images)

The Rose Parade will not make the traditional march down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena this coming New Year’s Day, making it one more thing the coronavirus pandemic has messed up in Southern California. A decision on whether to play the Rose Bowl football game, though, is still in the air, officials said.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, which puts on the annual events, announced the cancellation Wednesday, following lengthy consultations with sponsors, bands, float builders and health experts.

David Eads, Executive Director and CEO, said:

“We could not delay a decision because delaying the decision would just be more financial risk for our float builders, more financial risk for our bands that are needing to book travel and do contracts, (and) with hotels and arrangements to come to Pasadena."

The five international bands schedule to march in the 132nd edition of the parade had already withdrawn due to travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter. To support our nonprofit public service journalism: Donate now.

Morning Briefing: COVID-19 Denial Is Hurting Us, Badly

Courtesy Los Angeles Department of Transportation

Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

As the coronavirus surges once again in L.A. and California, local and state officials have closed businesses again, begged residents to wear masks and reiterated time and again that our best defense against the virus is staying home whenever possible.

And yet.

In a vote taken on Monday, the Orange County Board of Education recommended that K-12 schools reopen next month with no mask requirements or social distancing strategies. At their meeting, which was public, one attendee made the following comment, according to our friends at Voice of OC:

“Is it reasonable that our kids won’t get to dance together at prom?”

It’s not reasonable that children’s lives should be completely upended; of course not. But while global pandemics are many things, reasonable isn’t one of them.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but the coronavirus isn’t anyone’s fault. Many of us are angry, hurt and afraid right now — understandably so. Channeling those emotions into denial, though, or directing them at other people is making the situation much, much worse. We can come together and try to make it better, or we can stay at odds and remain stuck.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, July 15

The additional $600 that has been going to unemployment recipients every week since the coronavirus pandemic began is slated to expire before the end of this month. For many unemployed L.A. workers, that income has been crucial to paying for rent and other essentials. Without it, some say they'd have to leave California, reports David Wagner.

Never miss an LAist story. Sign up for our daily newsletters.

The Past 24 Hours In LA

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County reported the highest numbers of both hospitalizations and new cases, along with a sharp rise in deaths. New testing guidelines are being released that prioritize both who gets tested for coronavirus, as well as which samples get processed first. Long Beach, under heavy demand for testing, will limit who can be tested at city facilities to residents of Long Beach, Signal Hill, Lakewood, Paramount, and Compton starting today.

California Kids: The OC Board of Education recommended that schools should reopen with no requirements for masks and social distancing. Several districts nevertheless say they will remain fully online for the start of the fall semester. The state's fourth largest school district, Long Beach Unified, will start the fall semester online only.

Money Matters: A national coalition of public transit agencies, including L.A. Metro, is asking Congress for up to $36 billion in additional federal relief funding as COVID-19 cases surge across the nation.

Policing The Police: After revelations of officers fabricating information about people to put them in the state's gang database, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has cut off access to all LAPD-generated names in the database.

California City: When Emily Guerin was assigned to cover a story about the drought four years ago, she had no idea it would turn into "California City." Launched by LAist Studios this week, the seven-part investigative podcast explores the bizarre history of a half-built town in the Mojave Desert where, for over 60 years, real estate developers have sold a dream: If you buy land here, you'll be rich one day.

Trump Stands Down: In a settlement to lawsuits filed by Harvard and MIT, the Trump administration has dropped its attempt to force foreign students to leave the United States if all of their classes are to be taught online this autumn.

Photo Of The Day

Workers gather in an L.A. barbershop, which is shutting down once again amid new coronavirus restrictions. It's the second time salons and barbershops have been told to close.

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Help Us Cover Your Community

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

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


Get our daily newsletters for the latest on COVID-19 and other top local headlines.

Terms of Use and Privacy Policy