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Not All Activists Are Happy With LAPD's New Community Policing Effort

Protesters march past LAPD officers in downtown L.A. during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd on June 6, 2020. (Kyle Grillot/AFP via Getty Images)

Activists for racial justice who have organized massive protests in the streets of L.A. since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd say the LAPD's new Community Safety Partnership Bureau is the opposite of what they want.

The bureau is based on a program that was piloted in housing developments like Jordan Downs in Watts. That program was designed to rethink how law enforcement interacts with residents in order to improve relations between the two, and it has been touted by some observers and researchers as a success.

But activists are opposed to funding police to do jobs like social work or mental health outreach, which they believe should be left to professionals in those fields rather than armed officers. Groups that want to defund the LAPD argue the city cannot police its way out of law enforcement violence toward Black people.

The head of the CSP says she welcomes their concerns. Emada Tingirides, who is being promoted to deputy chief to oversee the new CSP Bureau, told those at the meeting:

"I do understand that we have a lot of work to do in mending those relationships."


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California’s Auditor Says Counties Aren’t Doing Enough For People Released From Psychiatric Holds

A homeless man sleeps on a bus bench on a hot day in Downtown Los Angeles.(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

A report out today from California’s auditor says L.A. County needs to do more to make sure people with serious mental illness get ongoing care.

The audit took a look at the implementation of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, a law that’s meant to prevent people with serious mental illnesses from being committed to psychiatric facilities indefinitely.

For years, advocates have said the act needs an update, though, because it makes it too difficult to force treatment for people who otherwise end up cycling through incarceration and homelessness.

Barbara Wilson agrees. She founded a non-profit that helps families navigate the mental health system. Wlison said:

“It’s incredibly painful to watch somebody go downhill, and what we know is that if we can treat somebody on their way to going down, then the outcomes are much better."

The audit found that the act already allows for sufficient involuntary treatment. At the same time, auditors found that L.A. County needs to do more to link people with community-based treatment once the involuntary hold is over.

In its response to the audit, L.A. County said it has “worked tirelessly to transform the way in which mental health services are delivered within the county for those requiring involuntary treatment and/or conservatorship.”

The audit also recommends that the state release information to counties so they can better keep track of who’s received involuntary treatment.

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Herd Immunity To Coronavirus May Be A Dead End, Experts Caution

This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in yellow. (NIAID-RML)

Medical experts are urging caution against the idea of achieving "herd immunity" against the coronavirus — that's when so many people become immune to a disease it can't spread as rapidly, or at all.

Experts say we don't know enough about the role natural antibodies play in the human body's response to the virus and whether those defenses last long enough to permanently protect someone from becoming infected again.

Dr. Kimberley Shriner, an infectious disease specialist at Pasadena's Huntington Hospital, says some calculations estimate 60% to 70% of the population would need to be exposed to the virus.

"That's a pretty tall order. Right now, I think the general consensus is L.A. is running around maybe 11% — and that would be an awful lot of people being awfully sick, and many of them dying. So I think that's a very high price to pay to try to achieve natural herd immunity."

Experts also say herd immunity may be impossible without an effective — and widely adopted — vaccine.


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California Sues Trump Over Census Memo Aimed At Excluding Immigrants Who Lack Legal Status From Political Representation

File photo: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks to reporters. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California and several other local plaintiffs, including the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, are suing President Trump to block his administration’s recent memo aimed at excluding immigrants here without legal permission from political representation.

The memo targets reapportionment. That's the process of determining how many seats each state is allotted in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Constitution mandates that calculation be based on total state population, but the administration wants to include only people with legal resident status.

California’s lawsuit challenging this policy was filed independently from a complaint submitted by New York and 19 other states last Friday. In a press conference today, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra explained this decision to fight the Trump administration separately. Becerra said:

“There’s no state, no area in the county hit harder, hit faster by this [memo], than California. We will defend every single inch of ground in California and every single person in our state because the law requires it.”

Becerra’s complaint points out that the Trump memorandum seems to target California specifically in defending the exclusionary policy.

The Trump memo states:

“Current estimates suggest that one State is home to more than 2.2 million illegal aliens, constituting more than 6 percent of the State's entire population. Including these illegal aliens in the population of the State for the purpose of apportionment could result in the allocation of two or three more congressional seats than would otherwise be allocated.”

The complaint filed by California, several local cities, and LAUSD claims that Trump’s memo would cause harm to the state by cutting the number of representatives allotted to Congress, and by stifling census participation.

Already, California stands to lose up to two seats simply based on population changes.

Becerra and the other plaintiffs are seeking an injunction against Trump’s policy. The brief argues that the memo violates the 14th Amendment, which states, “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”

Becerra also argues that the memo doesn’t carry any legal weight.

“It’s not an executive order,” Becerra said. “He put together a memorandum, cut and pasted some language in there that looked pretty good, and tried to call it law.”


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Netflix Nabs 160 Nominations, Most Ever, In Slightly More Diverse Emmys

Emmy statue outside the 2016 Emmy Awards in L.A. (Angeles Weiss /AFP via Getty Image)

A lot of people being stuck at home during the pandemic hasn't exactly hurt Netflix. The streaming giant has added more than 26 million subscribers so far this year, and on Tuesday it took home a record 160 Emmy nominations.

That was more than enough to unseat HBO, which (now without Game of Thrones) missed clinching the top spot for only the second time in 21 years. And even though many of the top nominations went to white actors or series led by them, members of the Television Academy did recognize a diverse slate of performers and shows, especially Watchmen.

The HBO series, which opened with 1921’s Tulsa race massacre and continued with a disquieting investigation of American racism, was nominated 26 times, the most of any series or movie. A number of its Black actors, including Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, also were nominated, helping bring HBO 107 nominations overall.

But it was Netflix’s morning, as its total nominations were more than the four major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) combined. Netflix was nominated in all but one of the 11 major categories, with its productions Ozark, The Crown and Hollywood each scoring more than 10 nominations apiece. Its 160 nominations came from 52 different programs.

Unlike the Academy Awards, which have struggled to nominate more than one or two non-white actors in any recent year, the Emmys have a marginally better recent track record for diversity.

While many of the nominated television performers were white (including Emmy veterans such as Laura Linney, Ted Danson and Meryl Streep), a number weren’t: Zendaya from Euphoria, Issa Rae from Insecure, Thandie Newton from Westworld, and Billy Porter from Pose.

Even though it’s unclear how the actual Emmy ceremony will be staged and who will attend, trophies are still set to be handed out (or mailed?) on Sept. 20.

See the full list of nominees here.

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What Does The Public Battle Between LA County Sheriff And Supervisors Mean For Constituents?

A screenshot of L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva at a press conference on COVID-19 in March 2020. (L.A. Sheriff's Department)

The battle between L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors rages on.

After supervisors cleared a motion last week that will likely further curtail the Sheriff’s budget, Villanueva took to social media. He commented on Twitter that the move would lead to a dystopian L.A., leaving streets looking like “a scene from Mad Max.”

Earlier this month, in a Facebook video, Villanueva asked rhetorically if Supervisor Hilda Solis was trying to earn the title of “La Malinche," the byname of a female Mexican historical figure that’s also a derogatory term for ”traitor.” (The story of the real La Malinche is complicated.)

Vilanueva's social media slam of the board's only Latina member has been widely criticized, including pushback from Solis.

“The Sheriff's attack against me is highly unprofessional, inappropriate, racist, and sexist,” Solis said on Twitter. “I urge him to stay focused on protecting the public from problematic deputies within his Department and balancing his budget."

A spokesman for Villanueva, in turn, told the Los Angeles Times that "on the topic of 'racist and sexist comments,'" the Sheriff had been subject to insulting language from another supervisor.

Sonja Diaz, founding director of UCLA’s Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, said there’s more at play in this battle than just the budget.

“Recent officer-involved shootings, like that of Andres Guardado in Gardena, have elevated the role of members of the Board of Supervisors in taking a more public stance in reigning in the Sheriff,” said Diaz, adding that the battle playing out publicly could likely be to the detriment of the Sheriff.

The divide between Villanueva and the supervisors is already affecting the county budget, according to Fernando Guerra, a political science professor at Loyola Marymount University. And he said the differences are likely to lead to stagnating public policy, too.

“You need to have a vision for public safety," Guerra said. "That vision is not shared."

Guerra said that’s not likely to change until we see different supervisors elected to the board, or a new Sheriff.


Morning Briefing: Child Care Workers Unionize

Two children in a pre-school class at Young Horizons play with blocks while wearing facemasks. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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Those of us with little kids at home know that nothing — nothing — can be accomplished without the help of child care. During the coronavirus, that has become even more painfully evident. To that end, a subset of child care workers voted this week to unionize, giving them a better chance to fight for the pay and benefits they so rightly deserve.

Ballots were mailed out over the past month to providers who work with low-income families and receive subsidies from the state. Of those returned, 97% were in favor of being represented by a union.

Most of the providers who fall into this category, reports Mariana Dale, are women of color, and a long, racist history exists in America of underpaying (or not paying at all) women of color to care for other people’s children. This may be a step towards righting that wrong — centuries later.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, July 28

The Emmy nominations are out Tuesday morning. There will be a microscope on how TV Academy members are addressing calls for inclusion and diversity. John Horn will have the story.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County reported 2,039 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to at least 176,028 cases countywide. Coronavirus positivity rates in the state over the past 14 days are relatively stable, at 7.5%. Coachella Valley Congressman Raul Ruiz, who is a physician, recently requested that drug companies that are developing a coronavirus vaccine also propose a distribution plan.

Policing The Police: The LAPD will create a permanent bureau to make its community policing program citywide. Little has changed in law enforcement’s use of so-called less-lethal projectiles, despite urging from activists and civil libertarians.

Money Matters: Child care providers in the state have overwhelmingly voted to be represented by a union over better pay and other benefits. Angelenos will find out this week whether they’ll get help from the city with their rent.

Here’s What To Do: Learn about the history of coffee, join a botany-inspired ice cream tasting, discuss Penelope Lowder's new play and more in this week’s best online and IRL events. Listen to Episode 4 of California City, in which host Emily Guerin tracks down the army of salespeople that sold Nat Mendelsohn's dream of a desert paradise.

Photo Of The Day

A woman wrapped in the Mexican flag attends a recent protest demanding justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and also in solidarity with Portland's protests, in front of L.A. City Hall.

(Photo by Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

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