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THE L.A. REPORT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY LLOYD PEST CONTROL

WATCH THE DEBATE: Incumbent Los Angeles DA Jackie Lacey Vs. Challenger George Gascón

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How It Went Down

Incumbent L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey and challenger George Gascón were questioned by Frank Stoltze, who covers criminal justice for our newsroom, and James Queally, who covers criminal courts and the D.A.’s office for the Los Angeles Times.

What You Need To Know About The DA Debate

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office is the largest prosecutor's office in the United States. The D.A. oversees a staff of about 1,000 lawyers, 300 investigators and 800 support staff. The office prosecutes everything from misdemeanors to felonies in an area covering more than 4,000 square miles, from the Antelope Valley to Long Beach and from Pomona to Malibu.

This race between incumbent L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey and challenger George Gascón is attracting national attention, because it's the latest — and largest — battleground in a national push to get reformists elected as district attorneys.

Get Informed About The Candidates And Issues

You can read our profiles of Jackie Lacey and George Gascón, and catch up on where they stand on bail reform, police shootings and other issues in our Voter Game Plan

I Couldn't Watch Live — Is There A Replay?

The full video of this event is available above. You can also listen to a replay on the radio this Saturday at 2 p.m. on 89.3 FM KPCC

We Watched For You

Our senior politics reporter Libby Denkmann will report on the debate tonight on LAist.com, and Matt Ormseth will report on the debate for the L.A. Times.

More Local Election Coverage

At KPCC/LAist’s Voter Game Plan you can find:

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COVID-19 Contact Tracing In LA County Has Been Hindered By Refusals

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A graph showing the percentage of people with COVID-19 who have provided information about at least one close contact. (Courtesy L.A. County Public Health Dept.)

Some people are embarrassed, others fear for their jobs and some don’t trust the government.

New numbers from L.A. County health officials show that more than 30% of people with COVID-19 in the county are still not participating in what’s known as contact tracing.

Dr. Muntu Davis, the county's chief medical officer, told reporters today:

"The more that we can do that the more likely we are to be able to stop the transmission among people who may not know that they were exposed or for those who were exposed that just don’t know what to do to prevent spreading it to others."

Contact tracer calls will display on your phone as “LA Public Health” or as 833-641-0305.

In August, L.A. County began offering a $20 gift card to those who participate — and more people have been sharing their contacts.

Recently, new COVID-19 cases in the county have ticked up — something health officials are watching closely. Today, the health department confirmed 1,280 new cases and 21 deaths, the second day in a row the number has exceeded 1,000 new cases.


OVERALL LOOK AT LA COUNTY NUMBERS:

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 Wednesday, Oct. 7:

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

Strong La Niña Shaping Up Makes A Dry Winter More Likely

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La Niña is typically associated with drier conditions across Southern California. (FIONA MARTIN / NOAA)

Today, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters said that there’s an 85% chance that we’ll experience La Niña from November to January.

That’s concerning because those latter months are some of the most crucial when it comes to rain in California, and moderate to strong La Niña’s are associated with drier weather, especially in the southern part of the state.

The last La Niña we experienced was back during the 2017-2018 rainy season, when the Thomas Fire – at the time the largest fire in state history – burned into January because of delayed rains. That year, our all-important snowpack was below average, and here in L.A. we saw less than five inches of rain.

As of right now, forecasters are saying that there’s a 60% chance that La Niña will continue from February through April.

So does that mean there's guaranteed bad news when it comes to weather in the coming months?

No.

The entirety of our weather in the U.S. isn’t determined by La Niña, and there have been upsets in the past. 2016-2017 comes to mind. That was also a La Niña year, albeit a weak one, and California had its third wettest year on record.

But don’t be surprised if things remain dry, fire season stretches into January, and drought conditions continue to spread throughout California.

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The Census Was Extended -- But Local Advocates Face New Challenge As Outreach Funding Runs Out

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The U.S. Census logo appears on census materials received in the mail with an invitation to fill out census information online on March 19, 2020.

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The 2020 Census is scheduled to continue until Oct. 31 after a federal judge blocked the Trump Administration’s attempt to shorten the count.

Lawyers for the City of Los Angeles, one of several plaintiffs in the case, have argued that a rushed census would overlook Angelenos, residents of one of the hardest-to-count regions in the country.

They’re hoping the extension will give census takers more opportunities to follow-up with residents and allow for more thorough data processing after the count ends.

But for census advocates working independently from the federal government, changing deadlines and delays due to the pandemic have created new obstacles as these organizations run out of outreach funding. The state of California invested $187 million for 2020 Census outreach.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE:

READ MORE ABOUT THE CENSUS:

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.

Study Says Diversity In Movie Casting And Plot Can Mean Bigger Profits

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The late Chadwick Boseman at the 2018 L.A. premiere of Black Panther at the Dolby Theatre. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Hollywood’s moral compass may often stray far off course, but there’s one direction the industry will invariably follow: towards money.

Now, according to a new study, there’s proof the movie business can be principled and profitable at the same time, as long as there’s an understanding of what authentic inclusion looks like.

UCLA’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers examined more than 100 prominent movies released between 2016 and 2019, essentially comparing a production’s diversity to its return on investment. The investigation concluded, thanks to releases such as “Black Panther,” “Coco” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” that “movies with racially diverse cast members perform better at the box office.”

What sets the study apart from other research — and advances the new diversity rules for films contending for the best picture Academy Award — is how inclusion itself is defined, beyond a numerical hiring scorecard.

The UCLA researchers came up with the phrase Authentically Inclusive Representation (AIR), which aims to redefine how true diversity can be measured. According to the AIR standards, a film not only has to include diverse talent in front of and behind the camera, but also must tell a culturally relevant story without stereotypes.

The study cited the performance of two recent Star Wars movies to demonstrate the potential benefits of a good AIR score, which derive from an analysis at the ratings site Mediaverity.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which the report said failed to meaningfully integrate diversity, grossed a comparatively anemic $392 million worldwide in 2018 (costing the Walt Disney Co. tens of millions of dollars in losses). With a better AIR score for multiple non-white actors in leading roles, 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” grossed nearly $1.1 billion worldwide.

Of course, one of those films was much better-reviewed than the other, but the UCLA researchers said such an AIR comparison is nevertheless relevant.

The report admitted that its sample size was comparatively small, given that hundreds of movies are released every year. What’s more, not every film has a reported production budget, and Mediaverity similarly doesn’t give every release an AIR score.

“However, we believe that our sample of 109 films captured most of the significant small to wide releases in the last three years,” the researchers said. “Moreover, the sample was large enough to statistically determine that receiving a [low] rating for AIR leaves money on the table.”

The study cautioned that quantitative hiring tallies are less important than qualitative development of underrepresented voices.

“While increasing numerical representation behind and in front of the camera is critical,” the study concluded, “truly empowering people from diverse backgrounds is the key component.”

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An Anti-Asian Incident Brought Them Together. Now They're Both Fighting Racism.

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A racist incident brought them together. Now Hong Lee and Esther Lim are both speaking out. (Photo (l.) courtesy of Hong Lee. Photo (r.) by Cameron Oden)

Hong Lee and Esther Lim didn't know the other person existed until August, when a racist incident in Los Angeles brought the two women together.

Lee videotaped a racist verbal attack she was subjected to while at a restaurant, which went viral. It caught the attention of Lim, who singlehandedly has created pamphlets for seniors translated into Chinese, Japanese and Korean with helpful information on how to report hate crimes and hateful incidents. Now they're among those who are fighting the rising tide of anti-Asian hate during a pandemic that President Trump keeps blaming on China.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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Morning Briefing: The Details On Playgrounds Reopening

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Empty playground swings (Aaron Burden / Unsplash)

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

Good morning, L.A.

If you have young children, you’ve probably sorely missed public playgrounds during the coronavirus shutdown. Well, we have good news – sort of. Some playgrounds in the city of L.A. and surrounding areas have reopened. (Yay!) But the regulations around them seem … difficult to enforce, at best. (Boo.)

Here’s the deal: Masks are required for kids aged two and older. A distance of six feet is required from other people. No eating or drinking. And visits should be limited to 30 minutes.

So, you’re going to have a potentially hungry and thirsty kid who has to wait their turn six feet away from the kid in front of them while futzing with their face mask … but, they’ll be on a playground, outdoors, instead of in your living room.

Worth it? We’ll leave it up to you.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, October 8

Although the end date for the 2020 census has been moved back to Oct. 31 by a court, some local outreach organizations say they haven't publicized the new deadline because they’re out of money after the long and dragged out process. Caroline Champlin has more.

Need a laugh? Head to two virtual comedy festivals. Looking for a scare? Roll up to these Halloween-themed drive-in flicks. Want to sweat? Lace up for a virtual run. Christine N. Ziemba has this weekend’s best online and IRL events.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

City Hall Scandal: Katy Perry concert tickets, a family trip to China and campaign cash: these are some of the gifts that the Chinese megadeveloper Shenzhen Hazens admitted to giving suspended City Councilman José Huizar, and why the developer has agreed to pay more than $1 million to avoid prosecution.

Opening … And Not Opening: Here are the L.A. and SoCal areas that have reopened their playgrounds and other recreational facilities. Large theme parks such as Disneyland won’t reopen any time soon.

Pandemic Repercussions: A union representing workers at Cal State Fullerton is protesting the university’s move to lay off 46 workers. Local bookstores are struggling, and are all sending the same message: If you value your local bookstore, shop there! L.A. County reported its highest single day number of new coronavirus cases since August but, overall, case numbers are at their lowest point since early May.

New Media: The pandemic has forced fire departments to accelerate their adoption of online and social media communications about big, disastrous fires. NBC's new sitcom, Connecting…, was shot remotely, with actors filming themselves at home. On this week’s episode of Servant of Pod with Nick Quah, Nick talks with Roman Mars about the origins of Mars’ podcast, 99% Invisible, which has been going strong for 10 years.


Photo Of The Day

James Fugate, co-owner of Eso Won Books in Leimert Park, works at his store during the pandemic. Independent bookstores have relied on loyal customers to stay afloat.

(Somerset New-Stein for 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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