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Doctors At Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Protest Deputy Shooting Of Patient

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. (Screenshot)

Doctors at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center are holding a rally today to protest the shooting of a mentally ill patient inside the facility by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy last week.

The Sheriff’s Department says a male Hispanic patient between 30 and 40 years old was smashing things with a metal medical device when he “turned his attention” on a deputy who was guarding a patient in another room.

The deputy opened fire, critically wounding the man.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva added later that it was like a scene out of the movie “The Shining.” The Frontline Wellness Network tweeted that the sheriff's comment was “an offensive attempt to demonize” a patient in a psychiatric crisis.

The deputy should have let hospital staff handle the situation, said Harbor-UCLA Dr. Lorenzo Gonzalez:

“We are very capable of handling agitated patients — patients with mental illnesses. These are things that we have specialized staff that are trained in order to de-escalate this.”

Gonzalez said guns should be banned from public hospitals.

The Board of Supervisors asked the inspector general to investigate the incident and called for a review of security procedures at public hospitals.

This is not the first shooting at Harbor-UCLA. In 2015, an LAPD officer fatally shot Ruben Herrara, 26, after he allegedly reached for his gun. The city of L.A. later paid Herrara's family $3.9 million to settle a federal wrongful death lawsuit.

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Virtual Groundbreaking For Park Commemorating Major Civil Rights Moment In Southern California

A rendering of Mendez Tribute Park in Westminster. (Courtesy of City of Westminster)

An East L.A. artist will create the bronze statues for a new park that will celebrate the landmark case that led to the desegregation of California schools and ended the practice of what was known as "Mexican schools."

A virtual groundbreaking today showcased what the park in Westminster will look like and served as a history lesson.

A rendering of Mendez Tribute Park in Westminster. (Courtesy of City of Westminster)

In 1943, the children of Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez were denied enrollment at the all-white 17th Street School in Westminster. They and other families sued county school districts, and in 1947, they won the case: Mendez v. Westminster.

East Los Angeles-born artist Ignacio Gomez was commissioned to create bronze statues for the park — they will be of Mr. and Ms. Mendez and two children carrying books:

"It means a great deal, I'm deeply honored. I was fortunate that when I was growing up, I grew up in a mixed neighborhood so I never basically experienced any of that, somewhat a little bit, but not what they experienced."

Mendez Tribute Monument Park and an adjacent trail are expected to open next Spring.


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Meet RS-3, The Newest Rookie On The LA Fire Department

RS-3 is a firefighting robot now part of LAFD's Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. Creative Commons | LAFD Photo by Gary Apodaca

The nation's first firefighting robot was put into action today, just hours before its public unveiling by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The state-of-the-art RS-3 looks like a small, yellow tank. It's the latest in the department's arsenal of firefighting equipment. Today, it was called into action to help with a huge building fire in Downtown Los Angeles.

L.A. Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas says the remotely operated machine is designed to go directly into situations too dangerous for firefighters to handle on their own:

"But it also can be used for searching for people in large collapsed buildings, horse rescues, fuel tanker fires on the freeway, fires in refineries, and many others."

The robot comes equipped with a high-power water hose that can spray 2,500 gallons a minute, as well as a front plow and heavy-duty winch. RS-3 will be stationed at Fire Station 3, which is located near the 110 and 101 freeways in downtown L.A., with the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force.

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LA Must Create More Than 5,000 New Homeless Shelter Beds By April 

A homeless encampment on First Street across from City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Last week, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. decided he’d had enough.

The federal judge serving as mediator for L.A. City and County officials set up an emergency hearing and ordered both parties to stop wasting time and work out exactly how they were going to provide beds and services to thousands of homeless people living near freeways.

Today, those officials announced they’d finally reached an agreement.

According to a binding term sheet released Tuesday, the city must create 5,300 new beds by April, and 700 additional new beds by the end of next year. In exchange, L.A. County will provide $300 million in funding.

The agreement stems from a lawsuit filed in March by the LA Alliance for Human Rights, which claimed the city and county’s apparent lack of services and alleged negligence were endangering L.A. County’s more than 66,000 homeless residents, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

In May, the judge overseeing the case, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, issued a preliminary injunction ordering city, county and homelessness officials to provide shelter for more than 6,000 county residents living under or near freeways. Carter’s order compelled officials to quickly develop a plan to make that happen, but that process has stalled for months.

According to the new agreement, L.A. County will pay the city up to $60 million each year for the next five years and a one-time bonus of $8 million if it reaches its 5,300-bed target by April.

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LA County Considers Workplace Safety Councils To Reduce Black, Latino COVID Deaths


During the upsurge of COVID-19 cases that followed Memorial Day weekend family gatherings and business openings, Latinos in Los Angeles were dying at a rate more than four times higher than that of whites, while Blacks were twice as likely as whites to die of the disease. Two months later, death rates among Blacks and Latinos had fallen by more than half and were approaching the rate for whites, according to age-adjusted data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

While four times as many Latinos as whites were reported COVID-positive in late July, the Latino case rates were only 64% higher by mid-September. The positivity rate among Blacks was 60% higher than that of whites in late July, but the disparity had waned by mid-September.

Experts can't be certain that any one policy is responsible for the decline in deaths among Blacks and Latinos in Los Angeles — and state and county rates have declined for the entire population in recent weeks. But L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer attributed the progress to her department's focus on workplace enforcement of health orders, which include rules about physical distancing, providing face coverings for workers and requiring face coverings for customers.

Officials say they want to expand such efforts by creating workplace safety councils.


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LA County Playgrounds Are Reopening. We Tagged Along With A Family On Their First Trip Back.

3-year-old Francis Dacono enjoys the slide on his first trip back to El Cariso Park in Sylmar since its playground reopened. (Mariana Dale/LAist)

The yellow caution tape that’s surrounded many of Los Angeles area playgrounds since the start of the coronavirus pandemic disappeared this month after the state issued new safety guidelines.

(We’ve been keeping track of what’s open here.)

The Dacono family -- mom, dad, and 3-year-old son Francis -- returned to the playground at El Cariso Park in Sylmar on Saturday for the first time in more than six months. We tagged along.



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Meet The Candidates For LAUSD’s Seat In South LA, San Pedro

LAUSD Board District 7 candidates Patricia Castellanos (left) and Tanya Ortiz Franklin (Campaign images)

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s student body is overwhelmingly Latino — but since Ref Rodriguez resigned in 2018, the district’s school board has been majority-white.

That’s about to change. Two Latina candidates are running to replace outgoing District 7 incumbent Richard Vladovic: Patricia Castellanos and Tanya Ortiz Franklin. Regardless of who wins, Latino and Black board members will hold four of the seven LAUSD seats.

So who are these two candidates?

Castellanos is currently a deputy to County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. She’s been a labor-allied organizer for organizations like Reclaim our Schools L.A. and has the backing of LAUSD’s teachers union in this race.

Ortiz Franklin is a former middle school teacher now on leave from an administrative post at the Partnership for L.A. Schools, which operates 19 high-need LAUSD campuses. She doesn’t have the official endorsement of the California Charter Schools Association, but has also benefited from millions in spending by noted pro-charter philanthropists.

Today, we published in-depth Q&As with both Castellanos and Ortiz Franklin. Check out what they had to say about several key issues, including:

Want to see if you live in LAUSD Board District 7? Check your address here or glance at this map:

We’ve also updated our Voter Game Plan page to include summaries of both candidates’ answers. There, you’ll also find our interviews with Marilyn Koziatek and Scott Schmerelson, who are running for a different LAUSD board seat in the west San Fernando Valley.


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What Would Prop 15 Mean For Retailers? We Visited One Of California’s Top Malls To Find Out

Shoppers line up to get inside the Gucci store at South Coast Plaza, Oct. 7, 2020. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Among the many propositions facing California voters this election is Prop 15, which can be boiled down to one basic question: Are commercial property owners paying their fair share in taxes?

The ballot measure aims to raise as much as $11.5 billion for California schools and local governments. It would do that by raising taxes on larger commercial properties — particularly those that have been held under the same ownership for many years.

Many tax experts say California’s current system favors older, legacy businesses while saddling newer property owners with higher costs. But business groups opposing Prop 15 argue there’s nothing unfair about the existing rules, which they say provide certainty and encourage long-term investment in California real estate. University of North Texas adjunct professor of real estate Marc Moffitt told us:

“This particular reform really goes to the heart of the issue of equity."

To better understand Prop 15’s effect on long-held California businesses, LAist visited one of California’s top malls. South Coast Plaza is an upscale retail center in Costa Mesa that has been owned by the same family business since the 1960s. While it’s hard to say how much the property’s tax bill could rise under Prop 15, it is clear that under the current rules, some parts of the mall pay much less than others.


At our Voter Game Plan you can find:

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The LA Breakfast Burritos You Absolutely Need To Try

A breakfast burrito. (Bret Kavanaugh/Unsplash)

Breakfast burritos exist in a liminal space. They're technically a morning food but we eat them at all hours of the day and night, as we should.

They're cheap. They're filling. They're delicious. They're pure comfort — and couldn't we all use a litttle more of that, especially now?

They're also a blank slate for the creativity of an enterprising line cook. That's why Cesar Hernandez's lists of Los Angeles's essential breakfast burritos includes classics made with bacon and sausage alongside chicken tikka masala, Korean asada, longanisa, piroshki and birria breakfast burritos.

30 burritos from 25 different restaurants and you will need to try all of them. Happy eating!



WATCH: Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing For Amy Coney Barrett, Day 2

The Supreme Court of the United States, pictured Aug. 3, 2017. (Photo: Liam James Doyle/NPR)

Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, is before the Senate Judiciary Committee today for her confirmation hearing.

Watch live above.

LA Comic Con Cancels Plans For December In-Person Event, Moves To September 2021

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson takes a selfie with the crowd at L.A. Comic Con at the L.A. Convention Center on Oct. 28, 2017. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)

L.A. Comic Con announced plans two weeks ago to hold their convention in-person this December, at the L.A. Convention Center. They had a COVID-19 safety plan and said that, based on guidance from both local and state officials, they believed they could proceed safely.

That's not going to be happening. Instead, the convention is moving to Sept. 24-26, 2021.

Convention organizers blamed the decision on California Gov. Newsom's announcement that he wouldn't be announcing guidelines imminently for theme parks — and, by extension, no guidelines for live events.

"We hoped the COVID-safe plan would have been approved by the Dec. 11-13, 2020 dates," convention organizers said via email. "Without guidelines, there is no way for L.A. County, the City, or L.A. Comic Con to know if the plans and changes we made to be COVID-safe will be right."

The organizers also put tickets on sale two weeks ago, but promised a full roll-over or refund in the event of the convention being postponed — which it now has.

"Every fan who has bought a ticket ... will automatically receive an email asking them if they prefer to roll-over to 2021, or receive a full refund," organizers told LAist via email at the time. "LACC will then immediately process each request on a fan-by-fan basis. We think of it as a 'no worry' guarantee — join us for the same ticket type at next year’s show, or get your money back. It’s the fan’s choice."

Organizers also announced that they've already confirmed the talent they'd signed for this year will appear at their 2021 event, still set to be held at the L.A. Convention Center.

Assuming we have guidelines for reopening large public gatherings by then.

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Mount Wilson Observatory Launches Crowdfunding Campaign To Repair Damage From The Bobcat Fire

Firefighters work to protect a building at Mt. Wilson Observatory as the Bobcat Fire burns in the Angeles National Forest on September 17, 2020. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

The Mount Wilson Observatory is safe and relatively unscathed from the now smoldering Bobcat Fire.

At one point, flames were within a few feet of the historic complex, once home to some of the largest and most powerful telescopes in the world.

Even before the fire, the Mount Wilson Institute, the non-profit organization that manages the observatory, had to cancel all of its revenue generating events for the year because of COVID-19.

Now, the institute is asking the public for help, with a GoFundMe campaign.

Tom Meneghini, the institute's executive director, told LAist that although there was no major structural damage to the observatory, the buildings stil need to be treated for smoke and paint damage.

The goal is to raise a million dollars to rejuvenate the complex, so it can be reopened to the public.

The so-called Supermoon, or perigee moon, rises behind the historic Mount Wilson Observatory on July 12, 2014 at Mount Wilson in the Angeles National Forest northeast of Los Angeles. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The Mt. Wilson Observatory houses 18 telescopes, many of which were used to make some of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the last century. They include the 100 inch Hooker telescope that Edwin Hubble used in the 1920s to prove that our universe is still expanding.

The GoFundMe has already raised over $15,000.

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LAist Expands ‘Race In LA’ Series With New Project

Photo illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist

Have you ever wanted to ask someone about their experiences as a certain race/ethnicity, but were too afraid or embarrassed or shy to ask? We’re here to help.

We want to build off the strong conversations about race and racism coming out of our Unheard LA: A Deeper Listen series with Race In LA. That’s why we’re taking your questions — from cultural differences like hairstyles and music to what it feels like to be racially profiled.

We invite the community to ask questions (see below) they’ve always wanted to ask or have been too scared/unsure how to ask about race and racial issues.

We’ve assembled a diverse group of people with strong voices and viewpoints to answer those questions and share their honest experiences.

Our panel is made up of 12 individuals, several from our newsroom, but mostly community members from around L.A. They are men and women. Some have kids, are single or have partners. They range in age from 30s to 60s. They identify as cisgender and queer. They identify as Native American and Asian American and Latinx, Black, multiracial, Hawaiian and white. We tried our best to represent a cross-section of Angelenos’ multifaceted cultural, racial and ethnic diversity.

Our aim is to create a welcoming space for meaningful communication and mutual understanding. We know that these are heavy topics that can bring tension and discomfort to the surface.

We won’t post any details about who asked the question, but we do ask that all submissions are respectful and civil. We’ll try to provide a response to every question that comes in. We will also be transparent as to who provided the answer. We’ll continue taking your questions through Friday, Nov. 13. We’ll post the last answers the following week.

The Racism 101 project webpage will launch in one week, on Monday, Oct. 19. You can access it at

READ MORE: New 'Racism 101' Project From LAist Aims To Facilitate Deeper Conversations

Morning Briefing: Meet LAUSD's New Student Board Member

Student board member Kamarie Brown, a senior at Crenshaw High, was sworn in at the October 6, 2020 meeting of the LAUSD Board of Education. Screenshot of LAUSD Meeting

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

Good morning, L.A.

If you’ve been feeling a bit despondent these past few weeks, here’s a story that might give you genuine hope for the future. Kamarie Brown, 17, is the newest member of the LAUSD school board, coming on as a student representative, and her plans for the role involve meeting the current moment and committing to equal education for all.

A senior at Crenshaw High School, Brown emphasized the importance of taking this time in history seriously in her campaign speech:

"The present moment has pushed us all to answer the important questions of our time. How we choose to answer them will define our generation. Will Black students matter? ... Will we fully commit to creating schools that function as the keys to unlock a student's limitless potential?"

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, October 13

Kyle Stokes interviews LAUSD board candidates Tanya Ortiz Franklin and Patricia Castellanos.

Mariana Dale tags along as three-year-old Francis Dacono and his family return to the playground for the first time in more than six months.

L.A. Comic Con announced it would hold an in-person event in December, putting tickets on sale two weeks ago. Well, never mind. Now, organizers announced that they're pushing the event back to September 2021. Mike Roe has the story.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Race In L.A.: Our new project, Racism 101, is aimed at holding space for the community to safely ask questions and discuss race with us — and with each other.

LAUSD Board: Meet Crenshaw High's Kamarie Brown, LAUSD's newest board member. We’re asking candidates running for the LAUSD Board a series of questions about their positions. First up are incumbent Scott Schmerelso and challenger Marilyn Koziatek.

Opening Up, Moving Out: State officials will visit with theme park representatives this week as they continue to work on reopening guidelines. Pushed by the soaring cost of living, more than 700,000 Californians have moved to Texas since 2008.

L.A. Teams Light It Up: The Los Angeles Dodgers will host drive-in viewing parties this week at Chavez Ravine for the National League Championship Series. The Lakers championship win Sunday night felt good: "We needed this."

Politics Watch: The California GOP placed unofficial ballot collection boxes around the state, which Secretary of State Alex Padilla says are illegal. Review day one of the confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett.

Here’s What To Do: Hear Wilco's Jeff Tweedy talking about his new book, soak in mid-century modern design, check out the art in Chinatown windows, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.

Photo Of The Day

Lakers fans stood in line in front of a mural of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, to celebrate the team's championship win.

(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

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