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WATCH: Unheard LA's Special Series On Race In LA Continues

Updated
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KPCC In Person presents 'Unheard LA - A Deeper Listen (Part 3)' in collaboration with KPCC/LAist’s “Race In LA” initiative.

As the nation reckons with systemic racism, our community-centered storytelling show Unheard LA is taking a deeper listen.

We laughed, cried, and had all kinds of real talk in part 1 and part 2. Check out tonight's live event, the third installment of this special series. Bruce Lemon Jr. hosted our virtual event featuring the stories of Matthew Cuban Hernandez, Taz Ahmed, and October B.L.U. followed by a live conversation — all in collaboration with our Race In LA initiative. Dana Amihere, co-editor and developer of Race In LA, joined us for the live conversation. RSVP here.

Watch the repeat above.

MORE FROM OUR RACE IN LA SERIES:

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Grand Jury Returns 34-Count Indictment Against Jose Huizar

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Published
FILE: Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar at L.A. City Hall in February 2013. (David McNew/Getty Images)

A federal grand jury has returned a 34-count indictment against suspended L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar.

That indictment includes charges that Huizar led a criminal enterprise where he used his position at City Hall to enrich himself and others. Huizar is also accused of giving favorable treatment to developers who financed and facilitated bribes.

The accusations are part of a wide-ranging investigation into a pay-to-play scheme at Los Angeles City Hall. Huizar is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Los Angeles Federal Court.

According to a Justice Department news release about today's indictment:

In total, Huizar allegedly agreed to accept at least $1.5 million in illicit financial benefits.

In addition, the indictment includes allegations that Huizar illegally took more than $800,000 in benefits from a "Chinese billionaire who runs a multinational development firm and who owns a hotel in Huizar's district."

It also alleges that Huizar used "family members to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, making false statements on a bank loan application and failing to report his illicit benefits on tax returns and ethics disclosure forms."

Federal prosecutors said "Huizar is the fifth person to be charged in the ongoing corruption investigation being conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office."

Four other defendants have pleaded guilty. Prosecutors said three of those defendants who are cooperating with investigators are scheduled to be sentenced next February:

Former L.A. City Councilman Mitchell Englander pleaded guilty in court on July 7 and he faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

READ MORE ON THIS ONGOING INVESTIGATION:

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UCLA Offers Free COVID-19 Antibody Tests For Blood Donors

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Published
A person undergoes a finger prick blood sample as part of a coronavirus antibody rapid serological test on July 26, 2020 in San Dimas, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

All donors at UCLA blood drives will now be tested for past exposure to COVID-19.

Dr. Dawn Ward, Medical Director for the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, says donors expressed interest in getting tested for the antibodies, which may provide immunity to the virus (although that is very much not confirmed yet). Medical researchers are still unsure if antibodies prevent patients from getting re-infected and, if they do, how long that protection might last.

Ward hopes the antibody tests will be an incentive to attract badly needed blood donors.

Donors who have recovered from COVID-19 must be symptom free for at least 28 days before donating blood. Results will be sent in two weeks.

Note: there is a small chance that even if you test positive for the COVID-19 antibodies, that you could have been infected with the virus, but your body didn't produce antibodies. The test also has potential to produce false-negatives.

UCLA researchers have been conducting a study with 34 patients who recovered from mild cases of COVID-19. Last week, they published the study, which found that antibodies dropped sharply over the first three months after patients recovered from the infection, decreasing by roughy half every 36 days. If sustained at that rate, the antibodies would disappear within about a year.

You can find more info on UCLA's anitbody tests here. To make an appointment to donate plasma or blood, call 310-825-0888 ext 2, or visit uclahealth.org/gotblood.

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More Than Half Of LAUSD’s Charter Schools Received Paycheck Protection Program Loans

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Published
Parents at Arminta Street Elementary in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Sun Valley protest the proposed co-location of a charter school on their campus on March 1, 2017. (Kyle Stokes/LAist)

We’ve long known that Los Angeles charter schools were taking out loans through a now-$659 billion federal program aimed at helping small businesses stay afloat.

That struck teachers unions and other charter critics as odd because public school funding has continued to flow during the coronavirus pandemic.

But we haven’t had a good idea how common it is for charter schools — publicly-funded, tuition-free schools — in the L.A. Unified School District to receive loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.

At least, not until now. We dug through federal data and board documents and found PPP loans to charter schools are common:

  • So far, lenders have granted PPP loans to 50 different organizations that run charter schools in the L.A. Unified School District.
  • These 50 loan recipients collectively run more than half of the 224 charter schools in LAUSD.
  • In LAUSD, charter schools’ PPP loans total at least $73.6 million, but because the Small Business Administration doesn’t publish precise loan amounts, the total could be as high as $136.7 million.
  • In LAUSD, most PPP loans to charter schools are small enough that they’ll have less federal oversight — because they’re for less than $2 million.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Forager Jess Starwood Digs Up A New Business Model

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Forager Jess Starwood stands in front of a wall of jars filled with herbs and mushrooms she has foraged. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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"People are so used to seeing food come in plastic," Jess Starwood says as she scrambles up the side of a wild cherry tree, just north of Santa Clarita. Perched between two branches, she dangles a basket from one hand and plucks fistfulls of bright red cherries with the other. They're more tart than supermarket cherries, with a super-sized pit in the center. "The first time people eat something fresh off the tree, they're completely blown away," she says.

By sunset, her car is stuffed with buckets of wild fruits and herbs -- acorns, redcurrants, prickly pears, manzanita, white pine and a few mushrooms. For Starwood, who has been foraging commercially for five years, scouring California's public lands for wild food is a familiar dance.

Before the coronavirus pandemic upended the world economy, she was making a comfortable living foraging wild fruits and herbs and selling them to some of L.A.'s top restaurants. But when dining rooms shuttered and restaurants switched to takeout, the demand for her services ground to a halt. Now, instead of selling what she forages to chefs, she's sharing it with her friends and neighbors.

Wild cherries near Los Angeles. (Evan Jacoby for LAist)

Starwood helped establish farm + forest, a community supported agriculture program (or CSA) where she offers weekly food boxes to about a dozen subscribers in the Thousand Oaks area where she lives.

It's not the first time she's pivoted in the face of disaster. When Starwood started foraging in 2011, she still had an office job at a marketing firm in Santa Barbara. It paid well but she was unhappy. After a few years, she decided she wanted to quit and focus on foraging full-time. She says her husband wasn't keen on the idea. "He felt that I should have gone back to work at the office because it made more money," Starwood says.

They separated in 2015 and after a rough divorce, Starwood says she fell into a deep depression with "nothing but a car and $10,000 in debt." Her voice trembles as she recalls how scared she felt about losing custody of her daughters.

"A lot of times, people with depression, they've lost connection with a purpose in life," Starwood says.

Jess Starwood tries to remove cactus thorns from her hand. (Evan Jacoby for LAist)

One day, in the midst of her sorrow, she forced herself to go for a walk around her neighborhood. A few days later, she took a hike in the woods. Eventually, as she began spending more time outside, she found the sense of purpose she had been craving. "Being in the forest can be so healing," she says.

Over the next two years, what had begun as a fun way to feed herself and her daughters became a way to pay the bills. "Now, that's just my life," Starwood says, scanning the dense brush for redcurrants. She finds a cluster and pops one into her mouth. "That one was sour!" She chuckles and reaches for another fistfull.

By 2019, Starwood was the head forager for multiple restaurants in Los Angeles. At acclaimed kaiseki spot n/naka, in Palms, chef Niki Nakayama made drinks from Starwood's prickly pears. At Yapa, a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo, her wild cherries became a vibrant sorbet topped with pickled redcurrants. Cooks there also milled flour from her acorns and used it to make pasta.

Many wild foods require extra processing before they're ready for the dinner table. Yapa's head chef, Richard Lopez, says that's what makes these dishes so special. His goal is to create a menu he could have served in California a century ago, before ingredients could be easily flown in from across the world. Lopez calls Starwood's foraging "a huge pillar in this concept [we're] trying to create."

Although wild foods have increasingly appealed to chefs in the past couple decades, foraging is hardly new. The practice precedes modern civilization by millennia and is still a main food source for indigenous communities around the world. For many cultures, there may be no clear distinction between foraged and cultivated foods.

To satisfy American consumers' growing appetite for wild foods, commercial foragers like Starwood might drive hundreds of miles, scramble up the sides of mountains and make their way through dense forests, all while hoping someone doesn't beat them to their favorite patch of ramps or elderberries or porcini mushrooms. The industry has grown so big, competition among foragers can be fierce and has prompted concerns about sustainability.

Foraging has always been tough work but it offers an alternative to people who prefer to spend their days tromping through the woods instead of sitting at a desk. Most foragers don't report to a boss and they get paid by the pound, eliminating race and gender-based wage gaps, at least in theory. During good years, foragers can clear six figures by selling to restaurants and grey-market buyers.

The COVID-19 pandemic shattered all of that.

Dried mushrooms and herbs collected by forager Jess Starwood sit in jars in her home. (Chava Sanchez/LAist )

As restaurants closed or scaled back their menus, foragers across the country saw their wages shrivel up like a chanterelle in the summer sun. But foragers are a resilient bunch, and many saw the virus as a chance to test their self-sufficiency. "It's almost like foragers have been planning for a pandemic their entire lives," Starwood jokes. "Well, I do have a pantry full of [homemade] preserves."

The sentiment is popular among her peers. Mushroom hunters in Northern California, Oregon and upstate New York are selling locally, to their friends and in their communities, or drying their bounties to sell in the fall.

Some foragers, like Pascal Baudar, have turned to Zoom. After stay-at-home orders were issued, Baudar started offering online classes, teaching people to make beer, wine and other fermented items using foraged foods. He says Zoom has allowed him to expand beyond his Southern California audience, giving him "new opportunities to teach and make it viable financially despite the pandemic."

The pandemic also highlights the importance of food justice, especially for Black and brown communities that often struggle to get access to healthy food. Food activist Ron Finley believes cultivating wild foods can help bridge this gap.

"In our community, we don't have any kinds of healthy food," Finley says. "Am I going to wait for you to put it there or am I going to do it myself? That's the lesson: do-for-self, do-for-community."

For Starwood, losing her restaurant clients meant she lost a source of steady income but it also allowed her to broaden her reach. When she and a neighbor started their CSA subscription service, their ultimate goal was to grow and forage enough food to feed their entire street: about 30 homes. That meant a lot of foraging.

Forager Jess Starwood holds a chicken of the woods mushroom. (Evan Jacoby for LAist)

Over Memorial Day weekend, she joined dozens of foragers for an annual porcini hunt on Mt. Shasta. They met in the woods, using secret GPS coordinates to find each other. That day, she scored more than a hundred pounds of porcini mushrooms, which she offered at $20/pound for her CSA members.

"I feel like wild foods have turned into gourmet food, and they can be really high-priced," Starwood says. These weekly produce boxes let her offer what she forages and farms at more affordable rates.

It's critical for people to have access to healthy, wild foods, Starwood believes, and CSAs like hers "get it right to the people."

Forager Jess Starwood picks wild cherries near Los Angeles. (Evan Jacoby for LAist)

Pivoting her business model also gave her more control over her schedule. She's using the time she spent on weekly restaurant deliveries to write a book: an introductory guide to mushroom foraging.

"We adapt to change," Starwood says, describing herself and her fellow foragers. It seems fitting that the pandemic would also guide the next step in her journey.

Starwood says the current economic uncertainty was the chance she needed to pause and reflect on what's most important to her -- sharing the joy of foraging with people.

Whenever restaurants fully reopen, she's not sure she'll sell to them again. "Chefs seem to be a little more specific about what they want and when," she says. "I'd rather follow nature's abundance."


Starwood's CSA offers pick-ups on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Thousand Oaks, at the intersection of Hillcrest & Rancho Roads.

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The Best Stuff To Do This Weekend, Online And IRL: July 31 - Aug. 2

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Plastique Tiara speaks on stage during 'RuPaul's Drag Race' at an Emmy FYC Panel & Reception. (Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for VH1)

Coronavirus is wreaking havoc on schools, stores, businesses and events. With in-person concerts, talks, comedy shows, food festivals and other gatherings cancelled, we have turned our events column into a "nonevents" column. It will remain this way as long as social distancing and stay-at-home orders are in effect.

During this difficult time, please consider contributing to your local arts organizations or to individual artists and performers.


Catch Thai flicks and eat Thai snacks at a pop-up drive-in. Watch screenings of She Dies Tomorrow or Rebuilding Paradise at the Vineland. See stars from RuPaul's Drag Race work it at the Rose Bowl. Or attend a virtual production of the Bard's Measure for Measure.

Friday, July 31 - Sunday, Aug. 2

Drive 'N Drag
Rose Bowl Stadium
1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena
RuPaul's Drag Race stars sashay back to the stage at this drive-in event. Watch Asia O'Hara, Plastique Tiara, Kameron Michaels, Jaida Essence Hall, Vanessa Vanjie and Violet Chachki werk it from the safety of your car. Choose from several show times throughout the weekend.
COST: $69 - $139 (admission for two), $25 for each additional person; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31 - Sunday, Aug. 2; 7 p.m.

Thai Movie Drive-In
Ayara Thai
6245 W. 87th St., Westchester
Ayara Thai restaurant partners with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to screen movies in the restaurant's parking lot. Watch Thai films paired with movie snacks like pad Thai chicken nachos, sweet potato doughnuts and Thai sai oua hot dogs. The lineup includes BTS: Bangkok Traffic (Love) Story on Friday, Laddaland (Saturday) and Bad Genius on Sunday. Tickets must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be available at the door.
COST: $50 per car (and includes a snack kit); MORE INFO

Friday, July 31 - Saturday, Aug. 1

Digital Dessert Goals
The weekend of sweets reimagines itself for a virtual space, offering two days of baking demos, live panels, interactive workshops, a vendor marketplace with special deals and virtual goodie bags. $1 of each ticket goes to No Kid Hungry.
COST: $25; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31 - Friday, Aug. 7

15th Annual Film Independent Forum
The forum moves online this year with a mix of live talks, workshops and pre-recorded content. Meant as a way to inspire filmmakers to take charge of their art and careers, topics include financing, production and distribution of films and digital content across multiple platforms. Discussions also include ways to operate within, and respond to, the current health crisis and social justice protests. Speakers include Lulu Wang (director, The Farewell), Elissa Federoff (president of Distribution, NEON Pictures); and Dawn Porter (director John Lewis: Good Trouble).
COST: Passes: $49 - $99; MORE INFO

Tunde Adebimpe stars in 'She Dies Tomorrow,' written and directed by Amy Seimetz. (Jay Keitel)

Friday, July 31; 7 p.m. (doors)

ArcLight at the Drive-In
Vineland Drive-In
443 Vineland Ave., City of Industry
Catch a special screening of the thriller She Dies Tomorrow, written and directed by Amy Seimetz. When a woman believes she'll die tomorrow, her conviction might be contagious, affecting others in town. The evening starts with a pre-show DJ set by the Mondo Boys (composers of the film's soundtrack) at 8:30 p.m. and a live virtual conversation with the filmmaker and cast following the film. The film screens at 9 p.m.
COST: $30 per car; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31 - Saturday, Aug. 1

Overnight Family Fishing and Camping
Santa Fe Dam Regional Park
15501 E. Arrow Highway, Irwindale
Can't get away for a family vacay this summer? Camp overnight at Santa Fe Dam through a program with L.A. County's Parks and Recreation Department.
COST: $10 per person, free for kids 11 and younger; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31

Rebuilding Paradise
National Geographic Documentary Films releases Ron Howard's latest film, which captures the resilience of a community ravaged by wildfire. For every ticket sold, $1 will go to charities supporting the town of Paradise, California. The film opens on Friday with virtual screenings as well as a drive-in screening at the Vineland Drive-In in the City of Industry.
COST: Varies; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31; 4 p.m.

This Is Me: Letters From The Front Lines
Diavolo | Architecture in Motion, an L.A.-based dance company, presents the premiere of this dance film on the Saroya's website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. The work traces the journeys of military veterans and first responders while capturing the resilience of the human spirit.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31; 5:30 p.m. PDT

Mavis 80 Livestream
Watch a Newport Folk Revival presentation that was recorded at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles last year. The show features the great Mavis Staples along with Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Ben Harper, Trombone Shorty, Grace Potter, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucius, M. Ward and Joe Henry.
COST: $30 - $55; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31; 7 p.m. PDT

Mexican American Art Pop with Nancy Sanchez
Tune into an En Casa con LA Plaza program that features a conversation with and performance by singer-songwriter Nancy Sanchez. Her music blends elements of Mexican folkloric, jazz, Latin alternative and pop, and her songs have been featured on TV shows including Vida and Mayans MC. Tune in via Zoom or Facebook.
COST: FREE with RSVP; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31 - Saturday, Sept. 5

From Italy with Laughter: A Comedy Film Festival
The Italian Cultural Institute Los Angeles teams with distributor True Colors to present the inaugural online film festival. Watch two Italian comedies online each weekend starting with the U.S. premieres of The King's Musketeers / Moschettieri del Re - La Penultima Missione (2019) on Friday and Letscleanapp / Tuttapposto (2019) on Saturday.
COST: FREE with RSVP; MORE INFO

Shakespeare on the Deck presents a virtual production of 'Measure for Measure.' (Courtesy of Shakespeare on the Deck)

Friday, July 31 - Saturday, Aug. 1; 8 p.m.

Measure For Measure
Shakespeare on the Deck offers a virtual presentation of the Bard's play about the loose morals of the citizens of Venice (Italy, not California). The theater company creates an interactive Zoom experience in which attendees can watch a live and socially distanced production from various perspectives. Ticketholders will receive a virtual program that includes background on the show, themed recipes and, for those of legal age, a drinking game.
COST: $15; MORE INFO

Saturday, Aug. 1 - Sunday, Aug. 9

Daze Between
This festival of live and archived performances as well as storytelling celebrates the life and music of Jerry Garcia, 25 years after his passing. Watch sets by the Grateful Dead, Dead & Company, Bob Weir & The Campfire Band, Amos Lee, Circles Around The Sun and Dark Star and a screening of Move Me Brightly. Content will be streamed live across several sites. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Rex Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to secure a healthy environment and promote the arts.
COST: FREE; MORE INFO

Friday, July 31

Marley
This Bob Marley documentary coincides with what would have been the reggae legend's 75th birthday. Directed by Kevin Macdonald with Ziggy Marley as one of its producers, the film combines concert performances, documentary footage and numerous interviews including Bob Marley, Rita Marley, Cedella Marley, Ziggy Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Chris Blackwell. The film opens locally (virtually) at the Laemmle Playhouse 7 Cinemas.
COST: $12; MORE INFO

Saturday, Aug. 1; 6:30 p.m.

C(ovell) in the C(loud)
ABC Interactive Presents an interactive livestream event that's based on the troupe's long-running show that took place at Bar Covell. The show is a three-hour immersive theater spectacle that includes 45 minutes for a preshow, a 1.5-hour main performance, and 45 minutes of post-show entertainment. Escape into "The Game," which takes place in a world of clowns, fortunes, magic and the absurdity of your own experience. There are multiple ticket tiers, but they fall into two categories: interactive participation or passive watching. Either way, ticketholders must must have a desktop computer (Mac or PC) so they can call in on Skype and Zoom simultaneously from the same camera. Passive tickets must include proof of a $10 donation to one of several select charities. Add-on purchases available.
COST: $10 (donation) - $75; MORE INFO

Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill is one of the restaurants participating in the Wing Showdown 2020. (Courtesy of Wing Showdown 2020)

Dine & Drink Deals

Who doesn't miss going out to eat or stopping by a bar for a drink? Here are a few options from restaurants and bars as we work our way back toward normal.

  • Off The Menu and Uber Eats team up to bring celebs' personal recipes to local restaurants for the Wing Showdown 2020. Shaquille O'Neal, Jessie James Decker, Snoop Dogg, Tyler Cameron, Tyra Banks, Zac Posen and Anthony Anderson are among the participants. You can try their wings through Aug. 2 via Uber Eats. The wings will be available at restaurants including Alta, Mel's Drive In, Craig's, Krave and Hatch Yakitori + Bar.
  • Akasha in Culver City opens a new outdoor patio for dining from Wednesdays through Sundays from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The restaurant's cafe/marketplace is open from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. It also offers various takeout options.
  • Mírame, founded by Michelin star chef Joshua Gil and Matthew Egan, just opened in Beverly Hills, offering contemporary Mexican cuisine for takeout or patio dining.

LA City Council Raises Fines For Littering PPE

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A child-sized mask left in the parking lot of Eagle Rock Plaza. (Caroline Champlin/LAist)

The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion this week to raise the fine for littering PPE trash — like masks and gloves — to $250. That’s the maximum fine for an infraction in the city.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield introduced the ordinance and admits that not every perpetrator will be caught. He said:

“There's no way, with everything going on in Los Angeles, that there’s going to be this ‘PPE litter police’ out there watching everybody. But people need to know that there is a consequence.”

The new fines are supposed to go into effect within the next couple of days.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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UC Regents To Consider $80 Million Budget Cut

Updated
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University of California President Janet Napolitano addressed the UC Board of Regents during its May 21, 2020 meeting. (Screenshot from University of California Board of Regents)

The Regents of the University of California are set to vote Thursday morning on an $80 million budget cut.

A drop in state revenues caused by the coronavirus pandemic led Sacramento to slash UC’s funding by nearly 13% for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. UC President Janet Napolitano has proposed an $862 million budget, an 8.5% reduction from last year's $941.7 million spending plan.

Napolitano's plan mitigates some of the overall funding loss from the state with $20 million from the discretionary UC Presidential Endowment Fund.

The UC system lost $1.5 billion in revenue between March and June of this year alone because of the pandemic. Here's how Napolitano's office puts it a summary to the Regents.

"Approximately two-thirds of this amount was attributable to the University’s academic medical centers and clinical operations, where the diversion of resources towards treating COVID-19 patients limited the ability to deliver other revenue-generating patient services. The remainder was primarily due to refunds of student housing and dining contracts, along with other auxiliary enterprises (e.g., athletics) where revenue declined as a result of curtailed campus operations."

In previous years UC relied on tuition increases to pull its budget out of the red but won’t be doing that this year.

UC staff have warned that the budget cuts could limit the amount of money campuses can use for COVID-related costs.

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NASA's 'Perseverance' Rover Has Launched, Will Hunt For Life On Mars

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This illustration depicts NASA's Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet's Jezero Crater a little after 12:40 p.m. PST on Feb. 18, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA launched its Mars Rover "Perseverance" this morning from Cape Canaveral. A project like this requires a lot of people behind the scenes, and one of them is a native Angeleno.

"I grew up in South Central L.A. over in the Crenshaw area and went to school at Cal Poly Pomona, so I stayed an L.A. native basically my entire life," said Luis Dominguez, a Jet Propulsion Lab engineer with Mars 2020 who helped with the rover assembly:

"I originally got into engineering because I wanted to build airplanes and I was just fascinated by how airplanes worked and at some point in 7th grade I found out that aerospace engineers design and build airplanes so that kinda set my trajectory in life."

Dominguez says it's been a dream to be involved with Mars 2020.

The rover is expected to land on the red planet in February.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MISSION:

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California National Guard Deployed To Nursing Homes

Updated
Published
California National Guard medical support team members at a skilled nursing facility (Capt. Jason Sanchez/California National Guard)

Soldiers from the National Guard are being deployed across the country to assist overwhelmed health departments and skilled nursing facilities hit hard by COVID-19.

Here in the Golden State, California National Guard soldiers are being stationed in nursing homes, doing everything from taking care of both residents' daily and medical needs to rearranging furniture and disinfecting facilities hit hard by the virus.

They're also traveling the state running mobile pop-up testing sites.

Colonel James Ward, the Joint Surgeon for the state National Guard, said health facilities can get strapped for staff fast. "It's unexpected, a bunch of people get exposed, and then they call the state and say, 'Hey, we need help'," he said.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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A 4.2 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles LA, Followed By Dozens Of Aftershocks

Updated
Published
Screenshot from USGS shows location of quake.

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck L.A. in the predawn hours this morning waking Angelenos across the area. So far, it appears that more than 60 aftershocks have been recorded, but only a few have been large enough to notice.

The quake hit at 4:29 a.m, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and was centered near the northern San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Pacoima — just west of the 210 Freeway. A short sharp jolt hit residents near the epicenter, while those further away felt longer, rolling waves, typical of what’s experienced during quakes.

ShakeAlert initial earthquake location (black dot) shows the areas alerted to the shaking (Courtesy USGS)

An earthquake early warning was issued, according to the USGS, which gave those signed up for the service up to a six second warning that the shaking was coming their way. Those closest to the quake likely did not receive an alert before shaking reached them.

Here in Northridge, about ten miles from Pacoima, we were awoken by the shaking, rattling of our blinds and movement of tchotchkes strewn atop the dresser. It felt like a truck hit the house.

The L.A. Fire Department immediately went into Earthquake Emergency Mode to survey the area hit by the quake. According to Mayor Eric Garcetti, no significant damage has been observed.

While the quake was relatively small, it doesn't take a Big One for a shaker to cause significant damage when a highly populated area like the San Fernando Valley is hit. There are a number of faults running through the area that are capable of producing temblors the size of the supremely destructive Northridge quake.

The epicenter of the quake was an estimated 5 miles beneath Pacoima. By comparison, the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake, which struck along a different fault, was 11 miles deep.

The information about the magnitude and depth is preliminary and could change as more information becomes available.

There's also about a 5% chance that this quake is a foreshock and a larger quake could follow it, though the likelihood will decrease the further we get from the initial event.

That's what happened last summer in Ridgecrest when the largest quakes in Southern California in many years hit back-to-back . The first, on July 4, was a magnitude 6.4. It turned out to be a foreshock of a 7.1 magnitude quake that struck on the evening of July 6.

Caltech seismologist Jen Andrews told us to expect the shaking to continue:

"It is likely that we'll have some more magnitude 3s. So certainly those people living in the San Fernando Valley will probably feel those as a weak shake. So,people should be expecting to feel those in the next sort of, yeah, days to maybe a couple of weeks"

Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified Pacoima as a city. LAist regrets the error.

THE BIG ONE IS COMING. GET PREPARED

We don't want to scare you, but the Big One is coming. We don't know when, but we know it'll be at least 44 times stronger than Northridge and 11 times stronger than the Ridgcrest quakes last year. To help you get prepared, we've compiled a handy reading list

Morning Briefing: Replacing Police With Mental Health Experts

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Protesters march past LAPD officers during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody, in downtown Los Angeles on June 6, 2020. Kyle Grillot/AFP via Getty Images

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In 2012, 14-year-old Jose Rodriguez Jr. died after being shot multiple times by Santa Ana police officers. Now, at least one member of his family is joining the call to replace law enforcement with unarmed service workers when responding to mental health crises.

Speaking to LAist reporter Robert Garrova, Jose’s cousin Ellie (her last name is being withheld) said that he was struggling with psychological issues at the time of his death. It’s been suggested that he left a suicide note.

“He wanted to run away from home," Ellie said, "and he ended up getting killed."

L.A. officials say they’re looking for solutions that don’t involve sending police officers to the scene of mental health crises, while still taking city budgets and other resources into account. Those who have already lost loved ones to violent actions by first responders are hoping those solutions come before tragedy strikes again.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, July 30

Our “How To (New) L.A.” series will help you navigate the 2020 reality of the city. Lisa Brenner put together a guide to local mental health resources, and a step-by-step manual for what to do if you have COVID-19, think you might have it, or may have been exposed. Plus, Darby Maloney asks an FBI hostage negotiator how to talk to anti-maskers.

Ever wonder where the green parrots of L.A. came from? In this week's episode of California Love, the team takes a first-parrot perspective into the legends and myths of how L.A. became home to the world’s largest population of these exotic birds.

Emily Elena Dugdale talks to National Guard troops about how they're helping California facilities fight COVID-19.

Catch Thai flicks or a documentary about Bob Marley, watch drag stars werk it at the Rose Bowl, attend a virtual production of the Bard's Measure for Measure, and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this weekend’s best online and IRL events.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez follows the UC Board of Regents scheduled vote on President Janet Napolitano's fiscal year 2020-21 $862 million budget proposal, which includes an 8.5% reduction.

In the L.A. Unified School District, 50 different organizations running charter schools have received PPP loans totaling between $73.6 million and $136.7 million. Such widespread participation in an aid program aimed at small businesses highlights how charters can straddle the line between public schools and private entities. Kyle Stokes has the story.

A motion passed Wednesday by the L.A. City Council increases fines for littering PPE, like masks or gloves. Caroline Champlin went on a PPE trash hunt around town and found some pretty gross litter.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

How To (New) L.A.: What can I do, where can I go, and what’s allowed when I get there? Also, how should I evaluate possible hazards when engaging with the world right now?

Policing The Police: Amid the calls to defund the police, there's a strong push to rethink the way we rely on officers to handle thousands of mental health crises every year.

Coronavirus Updates: L.A. County set grim new records for the pandemic, with the highest single day totals for both cases (4,800+) and deaths (91). Mayor Eric Garcetti said that Los Angeles remains in a "very fragile" position, but he’s not planning on any additional closures of businesses or activities for now. The OC Board of Education voted to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom to let schools in high-risk California counties reopen in the fall.

Money Matters: California lawmakers say if Congress does not renew the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits that is now expiring, the state could step in to fill the gap.

Greening L.A.: Roughly 31,000 trees have been planted in L.A. in the past year, part of an effort by the city to add 90,000 trees by 2021.

Reminiscing On 2016: In this week’s episode of LAist Studios’ Servant of Pod with Nick Quah, Nick looks back on the 2016 politics podcast explosion with Jody Avirgan, who produced the popular FiveThirtyEight podcast through that election cycle.


Photo Of The Day

A protestor at a rally against the death of George Floyd holds a sign that reads "care not cops."

(Chava Sanchez/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.

This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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