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Read The Column: How Highland Park Residents Are Banding Together To Save Poppy Peak

(Photo illustration by Chava Sanchez, LAist/Photo Courtesy of Save Poppy Peak)

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A proposed real estate project in northern Highland Park on the slopes of Poppy Peak, slated for the development of luxury homes, has driven more than 6,000 residents to sign an online petition seeking to halt the development.

LAist columnist Erick Galindo reached out to residents who love the rare green space Poppy Peak provides in this part of the city. He writes:

They take nature walks and read books. Like people do in Runyon Canyon, Los Liones, Mount Hollywood and other popular outdoor destinations, people in Highland Park use Poppy Peak to get away from the density of the city.

Residents have also organized an effort to reach city leaders in an effort to force the developer to sell the land back to the city of Los Angeles, or to a nature trust.



Historic LA Bus Tours Find Pandemic-Era Life Online With New Tech

Inside the historic Dutch Chocolate Shop. (Courtesy Esotouric)

Hey, are you planning on touring Los Angeles with a bus full of people in the near future? No? Yeah, we didn't think so.

That's why Esotouric is taking it's popular tours through the history of Los Angeles and pivoting to an online experience. They've spent the past 13 years giving tours of the city, so they know what's lying beneath the surface that you haven't seen and don't know.

This weekend they're talking the historically passionate through the history of the Bradbury Building. In the first of their online seminars, they'll be telling you all about why the Bradbury Building's vibe used to be like a great bar with all the most interesting people, and how LAPD Internal Affairs changed all that. And next week, they're giving you a tour of the early 20th century Dutch Chocolate Shop.

Esotouric wanted to make sure their talks did not look like city council meetings, so they searched far and wide to find the right online presentation software that isn't just "we'll do a Zoom." You can check them out this weekend for $10, with the archive available to watch for a week.


Truck Strikes Protester As Marchers Take To The Streets In Hollywood Thursday

Paramedics cart an injured protester into an ambulance after she was hit by a pickup truck Thursday. (Christian Monterrosa for LAist))

The LAPD is investigating incidents that took place Thursday night in which vehicles drove through a crowd of protesters marching in honor of Breonna Taylor in Hollywood. In one of the incidents, the LAPD said a person was struck by “a blue pick-up truck” and was transported to a local hospital with “minor injuries.”

Photojournalist Christian Monterrosa was covering the protest that saw hundreds take to the streets last night. On Sunset Blvd., Monterrosa said the pickup was driving westbound and he heard the crowd start to get agitated.

“I looked over and I saw that the truck was refusing to stop and I saw several protesters in front of the truck trying to get it to stop,” Monterrosa said. “There was a woman caught in front of the truck and so when the truck hit the brakes, obviously her momentum kept going and she fell backwards and hit her head on the pavement,” he added.

Videos posted to social media show the truck then speed off, coming in close contact with other protesters.

In an update today, the LAPD said in a statement that its preliminary investigation found protesters began "beating [the pickup] with sticks” and tried to open the door as the driver “attempted to maneuver through the crowd.” It said the truck struck the protester as the driver "attempted to drive away."

Police stopped the truck several blocks away, where they saw it “had evidence of damage from the confrontation” with protesters, the LAPD said, adding that the driver “cooperated with officers … He was released pending the outcome of a hit and run investigation.”

About 40 minutes later, according to the LAPD, a white Prius drove through a crowd of protesters near Hollywood’s Arclight theater. NBC4 aerial footage shows a black pickup truck, which police said was “leading the protests,” speed after the Prius, pull in front of it and slam on the brakes.

One person exits the black truck and appears to attempt to get the driver of the Prius out of the car. The Prius then accelerates backwards and hits a green Mustang, at which point several people start smashing the Prius' windows. An LAPD update today said the aerial video "depicted a potential assault" on the driver of the Prius, who drove away and cooperated with police who stopped him several blocks away. There were no injuries associated with the incident involving the Prius, according to the LAPD.

“All of the drivers and victims involved in both altercations have been identified by Hollywood Officers and the investigation is continuing,” the LAPD said in a statement posted to its Twitter account.

Monterrosa, who covers protests regularly, said this is the worst case of someone being injured that he’s seen, but not the first time he’s seen cars refusing to stop for protesters.

“This is a recurring thing, unfortunately last night it did escalate into someone being transported,” he said.

This story has been updated with information from today's LAPD statements.

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Trump Administration Appeals Census Extension

What a 2020 Census form looks like. (Screenshot)

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Lawyers representing the federal government have appealed a judge’s decision to extend the 2020 Census count through October 31. The challenge was filed Friday morning in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who ordered the extension Thursday night, expected the government to try to reverse her ruling.

“Go ahead and appeal me,” Judge Koh said in a hearing earlier this week.

The City of Los Angeles is one of the plaintiffs in the case, along with other local governments and non-profit organizations, who sued after the Trump administration abruptly moved the census deadline up to Sept. 30 several weeks ago.

City leaders have argued that L.A. stands to lose federal funding and political representation from a rushed census, because the majority of residents in L.A. County are considered hard-to-count. Only about two-thirds of the county's households have filled out their census questionnaires on their own so far.

In a press conference Friday morning, City Attorney Mike Feuer said he’s optimistic the judge's ruling will stand.

“Rarely have I seen a decision that is so thorough, so well documented, so meticulous, and so well reasoned,” Feuer said.

Local census advocates, like Alejandra Ramirez-Zarate with Advancement Project California, are tentatively celebrating the extension. At this point, she isn't publicizing the end-of-October deadline so as to avoid creating confusion if it changes again.

"We know that it could be overturned on appeal at any moment," Ramirez-Zarate said. "Everything is just so sensitive. We wouldn't want to put this out right now."

We Count LA, the broader coalition overseeing census outreach in the region, also expressed reservations in a written statement:

"While welcome, this extension in time may be too late for a region that has suffered so much already. With an appeal in the works, we cannot trust that this deadline extension will stand."

According to a statement released by the U.S. Census Bureau, officials intend to comply with Judge Koh's ruling, at least for the time being.

This story has been updated.


What's at stake for Southern California in the 2020 Census? Billions of dollars in federal funding for programs like Medi-Cal, for public education, even disaster planning. Political representation in Sacramento and D.C. A census undercount could cut critical resources in L.A. County, home to the largest hard-to-count population in the nation.

Census questionnaires can be filled out online on the 2020 Census website.

How A 'Secret Asian Man' Came To Embrace Anti-Racism And His Own Brown Identity

Eric Daza pictured as a senior in his high school yearbook in 1996. (Courtesy Eric Daza)

Eric Daza came to the U.S. as a kid from the Philippines. Coming of age in Los Angeles, he took on the role of a "model minority" Asian immigrant, not realizing at the time the privilege he had, or how post-U.S. colonial attitudes in the Philippines had contributed to his thinking. He writes:

I didn’t rock the boat, and tried to downplay those who pointed out that racism was real and that the boat had always been sinking. After all, I was non-white, and no one had ever bothered me, right? I was a pretty darned good naive supporter of the deep, insidious notion of white supremacy.

Why? I had grown up in an entire Southeast Asian culture that had largely been groomed, indoctrinated and brainwashed into white-centered thinking over some 450 years of colonization by our Western overlords: Spain for almost 400 years, and then the United States of America for nearly 50 years more.

Several years spent living in the South, in a state where people saw his race and ethnicity front and center, changed his outlook. Over time, “I came to deeply embrace anti-racism in slow, sustained increments," he writes. "To do so, I had to embrace my own identity as a Brown person -- and understand my own complicity in white supremacy.”



2020 Census Count Extended Through October

Local census tracts that are considered "hard-to-count" are represented in dark red. (Screenshot from the California Census Office website)

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U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California has sided with the city of Los Angeles, non-profits and other local governments that sued the Trump Administration last month over its decision to cut the 2020 Census short.

Today, Judge Koh ordered a preliminary injunction to keep the U.S. Census Bureau counting through Oct. 31.

The plaintiffs filed suit after the Trump administration abruptly moved up the census deadline to Sept. 30. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer had argued that a shortened census would mean a less accurate count, one that could potentially cause a decade of harm for Los Angeles by stifling political representation and federal funding for critical public services.

"This has been one of the more dramatic cases in which I have ever been involved, and the drama is going to continue for a while," Feuer told LAist Thursday night. "It's drama with education and transportation and whoever is going to represent us in Congress at stake. The stakes are very high."

Feuer expects the Trump Administration to appeal the order.

"They're going to try to take it to the Supreme Court and we're going to fight every step of the way," Feuer said.

Los Angeles County is considered one of the hardest-to-count regions in the nation, and local leaders and census advocates pointed out that a shortened census could exacerbate those risks. So far, only about two-thirds of L.A. County households have completed the questionnaire on their own.

Internal documents produced by the U.S. Census Bureau as part of the lawsuit showed that top officials within the agency shared some of the plaintiff’s concerns: One email from Associate Director Tim Olson read that it was, “ludicrous to think we can complete 100% of the nation’s data collection earlier than 10/31.”

The judge's order gives census enumerators and advocates extra time to do their work. This means more attempts to reach non-responsive households, and more time to encourage residents in hard-to-count communities -- many of which are home to renters, immigrants, and low-income families -- to respond on their own over the phone, via internet, or by mail.


What's at stake for Southern California in the 2020 Census? Billions of dollars in federal funding for programs like Medi-Cal, for public education, even disaster planning. Political representation in Sacramento and D.C. A census undercount could cut critical resources in L.A. County, home to the largest hard-to-count population in the nation.

It's not too late to be counted on the 2020 Census website.

Morning Briefing: Do We Really Need Armed Police Doing Traffic Stops?

The Los Angeles Police Department headquarters in downtown L.A. (Andrew Cullen for LAist)

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Good morning, L.A.

In our city, armed police officers are in charge of keeping our roads safe — everything from broken tail lights to speeding to our infamous car chases. But in a new investigation, LAist’s Ryan Fonseca examines whether we really need gun-toting cops to enforce traffic safety.

“There is mounting evidence,” he writes, that alternate strategies such as street improvements, education and automated ticketing “can make notable progress in reducing death and injury on the road.”

Plenty of research and thought has already gone into this possibility, well before the recent outcry among activists for police funding to be rerouted. Genevieve Carpio, an assistant professor of Chicana/o studies at UCLA, advocates a rethinking of how society views so-called traffic violations.

"Part of what we need to do is move from seeing things like expired tags or broken tail lights from criminal issues to economic issues," she said.

Leah Shahum, executive director of the U.S.-based nonprofit Vision Zero Network, added that the streets themselves in many disadvantaged communities are in need of safety upgrades.

"They've got the high-speed arterial roads, fast moving traffic, freeway touchdown, a lack of good sidewalks and bike lanes for people,” she said. “We need to be shifting resources and funding and priorities from 'police, police police' to invest in the streets, invest in the communities themselves, to be safe places from the start."

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, September 25

The Esotouric tour company has been leading bus tours of L.A. history since 2007. The pandemic forced them to close, but now they're bringing their expertise online, beginning with a talk on the Bradbury Building. Mike Roe has the story.

Guest contributor Eric Daza writes about his journey from blending in and biting his tongue when encountering casual racism to embracing his own Brown-ness -- and with that, calling out racism and embracing anti-racism.

Erick Galindo reports on Picturing Mexican America, a social media feed started by a UCLA professor that aims to reveal the hidden and often erased history of Mexicans in long-ago Southern California.

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

The Past 24 Hours In LA

Policing The Police: As the movement to defund armed policing and reinvest that money into care-based programs gains momentum, we explore the systemic racism and political shortfalls that have plagued traffic safety in L.A. to understand how things could change.

Wildfires: The Bobcat Fire has burned 113,986 acres of the Angeles National Forest and is at 50% containment.

All Angelenos Count: A diverse group of Black and Latina/o public school families have filed a lawsuit against LAUSD, claiming the district’s plans for distance learning violate students’ right to a basic public education. Federal census enumerators have this week been working to tally an estimated 66,000-plus unhoused residents of L.A. County for the 2020 Census.

Election 2020: Starting Oct. 30, the Dodgers are opening the gates to the stadium’s top deck for voters who want to cast their ballots with a view of the diamond. Libby Denkmann hosts a short video that provides five tips on how to vote in this election.

Photo Of The Day

"I ... pulled ... up to a house about 7 or 8 ... " To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a cab re-enacted the series' legendary opening credits in front of the original Banks family house.

(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

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