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Enrique Marquez Jr. Sentenced To 20 Years For Providing Rifles To San Bernardino Shooters

Memorial items hang from a fence surrounding the Inland Regional Center, site of the massacre by suspects Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, in San Bernardino, California, December 21, 2015. (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images)

The man who bought and later provided two of the rifles used in the 2015 San Bernardino shooting, was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.

Enrique Marquez Jr. pleaded guilty in 2017 to one count each of providing material support to terrorists, and making false statements in the acquisition of firearms.

Marquez was a close associate of Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, the two shooters who opened fire at an office party at the Inland Regional Center in 2015, killing 14 people.

Farook and his wife were killed in a shootout with police.

The exterior of Annie's Get Your Gun store is seen where Syed Rizwan Farook is reported to have bought a gun used in the attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on December 5, 2015 in Corona, California. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


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LA Sees Increases in Anti-Asian and Anti-Transgender Crimes

A sign at a protest in front of L.A. City Hall. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Some types of hate crimes declined in L.A. County from 2018 to 2019, but several others increased, according to a report released today by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission.

The overall number remained essentially flat, going from 523 to 524. But last year's total still marked the highest number in a decade.

“We are painfully aware that the annual total has gone up for six consecutive years and has increased 36% in that time,” said Robin Toma, the commission's executive director.

Hate crimes against Blacks, Latinos and whites decreased, according to the report. But it found:

  • Anti-transgender crimes were up 64% over 2018
  • White supremacist crimes increased 38% over 2018
  • Religious crimes were up 11% over 2018 (89% were anti-Semitic)
  • Anti-Middle Eastern crimes increased 142% over 2018
  • Anti-Asian crimes were up 32% over 2018

The report represents pre-pandemic numbers. But based on calls coming in to the county’s 211 L.A. vs. Hate hotline, Toma said 2020 will probably see an increase in both anti-Asian hate acts and overall.

“We absolutely are seeing rhetoric coming from a number of our elected officials which is driving up hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Manjusha Kulkarni, executive director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council.

Pointing to what she described as the Trump administration's xenophobic policies, and pre-pandemic hate and animosity ginned up by elected officials, Kulkarni said she believes the Asian American and Pacific Islander community is seeing the return of the “Yellow Peril”-type “racist rhetoric that has been used against our communities since the 1800s."

Speaking for the city of Los Angeles, LAPD Deputy Chief Kris Pitcher said the “statistical rise of hate crimes involving the Asian community” has been notable in 2020.

“Following the identification of the coronavirus in China earlier this year, hate crimes against Asians increased from seven in the first three quarters of 2019 to 14 during the same time period in 2020,” Pitcher said.

L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said last year her office filed charges related to 64 hate crimes, which was a 20% decrease from the number prosecuted in 2018.

“But unfortunately, Los Angeles County appears to be seeing the same uptick in hate crime attacks as the rest of our country,” Lacey said.

County officials are urging anyone who is a victim of, or witness to, acts motivated by hate or disctrimination to call the L.A. vs. Hate hotline at 211.

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UTLA Survey Shows Most Teachers Are Working Long Days, Worry About ‘Rushed Reopening’

United Teachers Los Angeles President Cecily Myart-Cruz (Screenshot of UTLA Facebook video)

It’s been more than seven months since Los Angeles Unified teachers and students began distance learning.

And because the county remains in the state’s most restrictive reopening tier and the district and union representing teachers are still bargaining over how and when to welcome students back, most LAUSD students will likely continue distance learning for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime United Teachers Los Angeles surveyed more than 12,000 of its members this fall about how distance learning is going, and when they’d feel comfortable with reopening campuses and classrooms.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Ninety-one percent said to “provide robust crisis distance learning,” they work more than the six hours a day outlined in the district and union’s agreement.
  • Almost one-third said they would not choose to go back to in-person teaching on campus until there is a vaccine or herd immunity. At the same time, 31% said they would return to campus to teach with appropriate safety measures and contractual protections.
  • More than 80% expressed concern that the district will try to reopen schools too fast

“UTLA members take the virus very seriously and are concerned about a rushed reopening,” union President Cecily Myart-Cruz said while discussing the results on Facebook Live.

She also emphasized that a return to schools “is not imminent,” and that the district and the union are still bargaining over the details.

You can read the full UTLA survey here:

Page 14 of UTLA Fall 2020 Member Survey
Contributed to DocumentCloud by KPCC Documents (Southern California Public Radio) • View document or read text

Earlier this week, the parent advocacy group Speak UP released its own survey detailing the struggles faced by students with special needs during distance learning.


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How To Talk To Your Kids About Halloween And COVID-19

Halloween jack o'lanterns. Peter Kvetny/Unsplash

Los Angeles County has widespread transmission of the coronavirus, so health officials say door to door trick-or-treating is out. But you can celebrate at home with candy scavenger hunts and Zoom parties. That may be easy for adults to understand, but how do you explain it to kids?

“A lot of the time when there is an event like this, we feel that it is our responsibility to shelter our kids and to not expose them to what is going on, and that is a mistake,” said Dr. Rita Burke, a USC professor who specializes in childhood trauma and public health.

Burke said explaining to children why Halloween will be different this year, and answering their questions, is key.

“Kids are completely capable of understanding why we’re doing something, and why we are making the decisions that we’re making, as long as we explain it to them in a developmentally appropriate fashion,” Bure said.

The Mayo Clinic recommends using simple language to talk to young children:

  • Define what it is. COVID-19 is caused by a germ (virus) that can make the body sick. People who have COVID-19 may have a cough, fever and trouble taking deep breaths. But some people, especially kids, who have the virus may not feel sick at all or may have mild symptoms such as those of a cold.
  • Explain how it spreads. Most commonly, the virus that causes COVID-19 enters people's bodies when it's on their hands and they touch their mouths, noses or eyes. A virus is so tiny that you can't see it. This is why it's important to wash your hands often and try not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes. If someone who has the infection coughs or sneezes on you from a close distance — closer than six feet — that also can spread the virus.
  • Talk about what's being done. You're hearing so much about COVID-19 because it's a new illness that has not been seen before. Experts around the world are working hard every day to learn about COVID-19 and how to keep people safe.

Burke says it’s a great opportunity to teach kids about empathy.

“We’re doing this because we have empathy and we care about other people, we don’t want other people to get sick or anyone else in our family to get sick, like grandma or grandpa. So Halloween is going to be a little bit different this year, and that’s okay,” she said.

Keep in mind that children take their cues from their parents or caregivers, so if you’re upset about the circumstances, they may be, too.

“If we as parents make a huge deal about how horrible it is that we can’t go trick or treating this year, how horrible, kids are going to take that message away,” Burke said.

Instead, brainstorm new family traditions with your kids and have fun!


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OC Congressional Candidates Woo The Little Saigon Vote

Catt Phan of Fountain Valley is among the young progressives who are changing the face of the Vietnamese American electorate. (Courtesy of Thanh Truong)

The Vietnamese American vote was once seen as reliably Republican, but over the past decade younger voters have been gravitating to Democrats.

That has both candidates in the race for the 48th Congressional District, which includes part of Little Saigon, aggressively courting Vietnamese Americans.

The Little Saigon vote may be the margin of victory in the close contest between incumbent Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda and his Republican challenger, Michelle Steel, an Orange County Supervisor.


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Live Comedy Is Back — With Masks, In Your Car, Featuring Hannibal Buress

File: Hannibal Buress performs onstage during Adult Swim Festival 2018 at ROW DTLA on Oct. 6, 2018 in Los Angeles. (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Adult Swim)

Hannibal Buress is excited to be back doing shows. But the energy has been weird, he says, especially at the outdoor, socially distanced drive-in shows that he started doing this summer.

He can't feel the audience quite so much, he told LAist. He's done plenty of outdoor gigs before, but doing shows where everyone's either confined to their cars or getting up on the roof means those laughs aren't necessarily making their way to his ears up on stage.

This Saturday, he's bringing a big stadium comedy show to life at the Rose Bowl, complete with LED screens, a live band, as well as musician Thundercat doing his own set.


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How An Outsider Found Identity And Community In LA's Shared Spaces Of Color

During the 1930s, the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), created “Residential Security” maps of major American cities. Neighborhoods were rated and then mapped by color; green for A, blue for B, yellow for C, and red for D – the origin of the term “red

Growing up Chicano and gay on the Eastside in the ‘60s and ‘70s, James Rojas often felt like an outsider. But he found safe space and acceptance amid Black and Brown peers and disco music as “we blurred the L.A. redlining map and found identity, and community, in the fusion.”

In his essay for the Race in LA series, Rojas celebrates the shared spaces of color within L.A. that shaped him -- including the old RTD bus line he'd take west to Hollywood. He writes:

The macho Eastside landscape was a hard place for queer Latino youth to find a safe space to be ourselves. My friends and I would take the Rapid Transit District bus from the Eastside through downtown L.A., en route to Hollywood. It was a long journey but I became used to it. At the 5th and Hill bus stop, we would be joined by African American youths making the same journey, but from South L.A., on to the Hollywood clubs.

The bus aisle became a fashion runway. Wearing platform shoes, tight pants, feathered hair, afros, and stack perms, we headed to the back of the bus trying to look cool on the shaking RTD floor. Once we joined our tribe in the back, the engine would groan, and we Black/Latinx queens would strain to talk smack over the noise. This was my Black and Brown community, and we owned the city from the back of the bus.


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Morning Briefing: Why California Has So Many Propositions

The envelope for a 2020 Los Angeles County ballot. (LAist staff)

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

Good morning, L.A.

If you’re planning on voting in the upcoming election (and we hope you are!), you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of propositions to sift through, as there are in most election years in California. And if you’re wondering who to blame for all the studying they require, Marketplace reporter Meghan McCarty Carino reports that you can point your finger at one Hiram Johnson.

Johnson, who served as governor of California from 1911-17, made it his mission to wrench power from wealthy railroad barons and state legislators, among whose ranks his own father happened to belong. He did so by instituting the ballot initiative process.

"He saw [ballot initiatives] as tools for fights,” says Joe Mathews, author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It. “He sold it as, ‘It'll be like a gun in a man's hand.'"

The process, as Johnson envisioned it, made it very difficult for legislators to change propositions that voters turned into law. While perhaps well-intentioned, Mathews notes that Johnson was also “loud, bombastic [and] angry,” and that the less-than-ideal system he left in his wake was essentially a result of his "daddy issues."

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, October 23

LAist contributor James Rojas writes about the shared Brown-Black spaces of his youth as a Chicano growing up and coming out in L.A. in the ‘70s.

Hannibal Buress is doing an outdoor comedy show at the Rose Bowl this weekend. Mike Roe spoke with the actor about comedy in the pandemic, and making a live performance COVID-safe.

Robert Garrova examines L.A. County’s 2019 hate crimes report, and hears from officials about how 2020 is going.

Josie Huang looks at the CA-25 Congressional race in Orange County where Vietnamese voters are being courted like never before.

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

The Past 24 Hours In LA

Money Matters: Some unemployment recipients in California say their accounts are being frozen because they’re the victims of fraud.

Coronavirus Updates: Latina/o COVID-19 infections have declined in L.A. County, but they’re still at twice the rate of infections as white residents.

Election 2020: Check out last night’s virtual event featuring host Austin Cross and reporter Libby Denkmann answering questions about voting, specific races, and propositions on the ballot. Here’s NPR’s live fact-check of the second (and final) debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. The history behind why California has so many ballot propositions can be traced back to one man.

Deterring Discrimination: Another judge has ruled against a memo issued by President Trump that calls for excluding unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers used for reapportioning seats in the House of Representatives.

Here’s What To Do: Check out a Día de los Muertos exhibition, a dead man's party, a virtual Brewery Artwalk, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events. Listen to Our Body Politic, a podcast hosted by award-winning journalist Farai Chideya that presents the experience of women of color in today’s political events.

Photo Of The Day

Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet, and is crossed by the Pacific Crest Trail.

(Photo by Bob Wick, BLM)

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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 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.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified where the ballot box fire took place. LAist regrets the error.


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