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Bringing Forgotten Golden Age Hollywood Back To Life In A New Book

Cora Sue Collins. (Collection of Carla Valderrama)

Hollywood's always been Insta-ready, even before Instagram. The account @ThisWasHollywood has nearly 750,000 followers, all thanks to sharing images and stories from classic Hollywood.

Now account creator Carla Valderrama has written a deeply researched book, This Was Hollywood: Forgotten Stars and Stories, looking into the moments from classic Hollywood that don't continue to be retold time and time again. It even features some never-before-told stories, including one golden age Hollywood child star's #MeToo story.

The author dug through archives at libraries, museums, and movie studios so that she could tell these stories, as well as interviewing some of the last remaining links to that Hollywood.

"I don't want to give people anything that they can find on the Internet for free, which in this day and age is pretty hard," Valderrama said.


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Clock Could Be Ticking Down On Gas-Leaking Power Plant

The Valley Generating Station in Sun Valley has a compressor that was leaking natural gas. (Courtesy LADWP)

The Los Angeles City Council energy and environment committee took a step toward shutting down a natural gas-burning power plant in Sun Valley on Tuesday.

Councilmember Nury Martinez, who represents the area, says persistent methane leaks at the Valley Generating Station on Sheldon Street have contributed to the unhealthy air pollution in the Northeast Valley.

A long-lasting methane leak was only recently repaired at the plant.

She said operating a plant near low-income neighborhoods whose residents have high rates of asthma is unfair to those residents when the city and LADWP had decided to shut down three power plants operating on the ocean.

The council’s energy committee approved her motion calling on the LADWP to provide a schedule and plan for retiring the plant.

A separate motion requests the LADWP to get bids to demolish several large smokestacks on the power plant property. The red-and-white striped smokestacks are no longer used. Martinez says they contribute to the visual pollution of the area.

It would take a vote of the full City Council to retire the plant and demolish the smokestacks.

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Ballot Count Update: Republican Mike Garcia Expands His Lead In CA25. The Margin Is Still Razor-Thin

Congressman Mike Garcia hosted a fire management round table with state and federal officials. September 2020. Libby Denkmann for LAist

These results will be continually updated as votes are counted. Last updated on Tuesday, November 17 at 5:15 PM.

Two weeks after the close of polls on Nov. 3, the race for California’s 25th congressional district remains too close to call.

With the addition of Los Angeles and Ventura County’s latest ballot count, released Tuesday afternoon, incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Garcia now leads Democratic Assemblymember Christy Smith by 422 votes. His thin margin has widened by a couple hundred votes since last week.

The district is mostly in north Los Angeles County — including Porter Ranch, Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley cities of Palmdale and Lancaster — but also has a portion of eastern Ventura County that includes Simi Valley. Almost four times as many votes were cast in L.A. County, but Garcia’s advantage in the more conservative Ventura County is providing his lead.

If Garcia keeps his seat it will be another victory for Republicans, who already flipped two Orange County districts that had turned blue in 2018.

[Read more about the issues animating this congressional race, and the recent history of the 25th District.]

Thanks to a deadline extension approved by a California legislature anticipating possible COVID-19 complications, ballots that were postmarked by Election Day will still be counted if they arrive by Friday. Ventura County will release its next canvassing update on Thursday; L.A.’s next update is scheduled for Friday.

With Tuesday's update, L.A. County turnout sits at a bit over 75% of registered voters. That number should rise as more of the estimated 66,245 outstanding ballots are counted.

Most of those outstanding ballots are mail-in ballots that have reached the county registrar after election day, and “conditional registrations” -- often people who registered to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. Those votes take extra time to count because election officials must verify each voter’s eligibility.

The complete turnout picture won’t become clear until the post-election canvass (or counting) is over and the election is certified. The Secretary of State will certify the entire vote statewide by Dec. 11.

If you want to visually compare participation rates so far, USC’s Center For Inclusive Democracy has an interactive map of turnout per precinct in L.A. County. You’ll notice a pattern of higher turnout in wealthier parts of the county -- including Pasadena and West L.A.


In L.A.



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Coming To A Theater Near You (But Not For Long)

Jeremy Bishop Via Unsplash

In the movie business, they are called windows, and they’re really important.

And they don’t have anything to do with a big piece of glass in some studio executive’s fancy office.

Instead, windows define how long a movie must play in a theater before it is released on a digital platform. Typically, exhibitors insisted that a movie’s theatrical release come about two and half months before its premiere on a streaming service or video-on-demand site. If a distributor planned to rush a movie from theaters to a digital platform -- which has been the business model for Netflix films -- they were turned away.

But with thousands of theaters padlocked and studios postponing the release of their big films, the rules -- and the length of the theatrical window -- are changing fast.

This week, the nation’s third-biggest chain, Cinemark, has shortened that window to as little as two and a half weeks. Cinemark’s deal with Universal Pictures follows a similar agreement between the studio and the biggest exhibitor, AMC.

The theater chains are expected to share in some of the digital proceeds from Universal’s releases, which includes an upcoming “Croods” sequel.

But one Wall Street analyst says such pacts could have a lasting impact on moviegoing.

"If consumers are trained to wait only a few weeks to watch the movie at home, we worry that the near-term impact on attendance can be more substantial and consumers will continue to opt to watch more non-blockbuster films in their homes in the long run," Robert Fishman, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, wrote in a report about Cinemark’s deal with Universal.

Thing is, theater owners might have little choice: Either draft a compromise like this, or draft a bankruptcy filing.

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Low-Income LADWP Customers Can Get $500 Grants

Power lines in Aguanga (Kyle Grillot/LAist)

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is offering one-time cash grants of $500 to up to 100,000 households that qualify as low-income. That can include households that were not low income before the pandemic, but who are now due to job loss or other income reductions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The scale the DWP uses is based on the number of people in the household. A family of four that earns $54,200 or less will qualify. A bigger family can earn more, and smaller families will have a lower income threshold.

As of late last week, only about 29,000 households had applied for the grants, so the DWP extended the deadline to apply to Nov. 22. (How to apply)


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What Does Purple Tier Mean For Southern California Schools?

A student at Lee Elementary School in Los Alamitos enters school on the first day of hybrid classes. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that all of Southern California is back in in the state’s most restrictive – or “purple” – coronavirus tier starting today. So what does that mean for schools?

A quick recap: when a county is in the purple tier, that indicates that there is “widespread” risk of spreading the coronavirus.

When counties are in this tier, they are generally not allowed to reopen K-12 schools. For example, L.A. County has been in purple since the tier system was released, so there haven’t been any widespread campus reopenings.

There are two exceptions to this: while in purple, counties can decide to allow for small groups of students who need in-person learning the most – like students with special needs or students who are learning English, or their public health officials can consider waivers to reopen elementary schools.

Once a county makes it to the red tier – which indicates “substantial” risk, but is less restrictive than purple – and remains there for two weeks, K-12 schools have permission to reopen when they are ready to.

But what happens now to schools – like those in Orange County and Ventura County – that had reopened some schools under the red tier but have now been moved back to the purple tier?

Let’s look at how each county is interpreting the next steps.


At the end of September, Orange County had been in the red tier long enough that schools were allowed to reopen whenever they were ready to.

But now, with the move backwards to the most restrictive purple tier, Orange County schools that had already reopened while in the red tier or with a waiver can remain open, according to a press release issued Monday, schools that have not yet reopened have to stay online.

But there are some schools in the middle, that had planned gradual reopenings for a few grade levels at a time. The county Health Care Agency is handling those case by case.

We asked the Orange County Health Care Agency if it will still accept applications for waivers – like it did over the summer – and we will update this story if we hear back.


Ventura County had moved to the red tier on October 6. Ventura County Public Health had stopped accepting applications for school reopening waivers, as they were unnecessary after the county remained in the red tier for two weeks.

But now, Ventura County is one of the 28 counties across the state moving back to the most restrictive purple tier.

They, too, are adhering to the state’s exception: schools that had already reopened their campuses while the county was in the red tier – or with an approved waiver – can remain open.

Schools that hadn’t reopened yet have to continue with distance learning until the county makes it back to the red tier and stays there for two weeks, though elementary schools can still apply for a reopening waiver in the meantime, according to a county press release.

As for schools that were part way through a gradual reopening while in the red tier, the county says this:

… the school site may continue their phased re-opening. This is only applicable to individual school sites. If a district has a phased reopening of their schools, the schools in that district that did not open for in-person instruction may not reopen until Ventura County has returned to Red Tier 2 for two weeks.


L.A. County was already in the purple tier – and has been since the tier system was released.

While the case numbers surge in Los Angeles County, Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters Monday “we are not rolling back efforts to get students back into schools through either the waiver program or the program that allows all schools to offer cohorted services or one-on one-services to students with high needs. That program is working really well.”

In his weekly video address on Monday, L.A. Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said the county needs to do more to prioritize reopening schools.

“Eight months into a pandemic that’s likely to stretch well into next year, our priorities are misplaced when malls receive more focus than the public schools that provide children with the foundation of literacy, math and critical thinking skills they need to succeed in school and in life,” he said.

Without significant changes in priorities and a greater focus on public education, it’s unlikely that schools in Los Angeles will reopen for in-person instruction any time soon.”


Riverside County had previously been in the red tier, but was moved back to purple in late October.

According to a county press release, schools that had reopened while in red or with a waiver can remain open, while elementary schools that hadn’t yet opened their campuses need to seek a waiver before reopening.


San Bernardino County was already in the purple tier, and continues to accept and vet applications for reopening waivers from elementary schools. As in L.A. County, schools can not fully reopen until the county is moved to a less restrictive tier.


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Coming Soon: A Master Plan For California Child Care And Early Learning 

A family child care home in Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Next month, California officials will unveil a master plan to reshape early childhood programs in the state.

It’s the latest in a decades-long effort to improve child care and development programs for California’s kids. It has been touted as the next step toward universal preschool in the state -- but that was before the coronavirus pandemic took a big bite out of California’s budget reserves.

You can get a sneak preview of the plan and share your ideas, concerns and questions at a special meeting of the Early Childhood Policy Council Friday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. Register to attend via Zoom here. If you can’t make it, share your thoughts here or email

“Parents should need to know that they have a voice,” said L.A. mom Yenni Rivera. “Reach out. I would say, track down the council. You can even attend meetings. It is open to the public.”

Rivera serves on the parent advisory committee and has attended meetings throughout the year for council discussions on the low pay for the women of color who make up the majority of the child care workforce, barriers to families accessing child care and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.



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USC Students Allege History Of Racial Profiling By Campus Police

A 2019 homecoming tailgate party hosted by a Black fraternity and a Latina sorority was surrounded by fencing and patrolled by DPS officers. Attendees said they did not see the same security measures at other tailgates on campus. Monica Rivera

In the wake of protests following the killings of George Foyd and Breonna Taylor, there have been calls to re-examine patterns of profiling and cultures of bias within police forces. These calls aren’t limited to city police. At the University of Southern California, Black students and alumni have recounted disturbing incidents of racial profiling at the hands of USC’s Department of Public Safety. The students and alumni argue these interactions highlight a pattern of racial profiling by the campus police force.

This summer and fall, 19 current and former students were interviewed about their experiences with DPS. The investigation was conducted as part of the Beacon Project, a student journalism initiative supported by USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The project is independent of the university's administration.

The stories told by Black students and alumni include repeated instances of being stopped on campus by DPS officers and asked to show identification, often while standing next to white students who were not asked to do the same. They also noted multiple instances in which parties and events with primarily Black crowds were shut down more often and quicker than parties attended by mostly non-Black students.

Sophomore Jonathan D’Aguilar told the Beacon Project:

“When I come across DPS officers, I just put my head down or look the other way, because they question us more frequently. They watch us closely — more closely than they watch any other students on campus.”

Black students and alumni have approached the USC administration repeatedly in the past decade, asking for their issues with policing practices to be addressed, but those concerns have been met with little action beyond empty promises and the creation of ineffective task forces from the university, according to students and alumni interviewed for the story.

Now, in a moment of heightened public pressure to create tangible change for Black Americans, USC has rolled out a variety of plans to address racial discrimination on campus. These plans include the revitalization of a Community Advisory Board that will advise the university on how DPS should engage with the community.

Students and alumni worry, however, that these plans are not enough to combat what they view as deeply entrenched biases in DPS policing practices.


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Morning Briefing: Pulling The Emergency Brake On Reopening

A person wearing a face mask walks in front of a store in Hollywood Boulevard amid the Coronavirus pandemic, November 16, 2020. (Photo by Valerie Macon / AFP)

Good morning, L.A.

Is it March again? Are we all living in some kind of Groundhog Day nightmare where public officials say “things are bad” over and over, ad infinitum, rinse and repeat?

How do you motivate people to stay home when it’s been more than eight months of living with a pandemic? We’re all tired, we miss our friends and loved ones, we’re dying to do something/anything to escape the Zoom call hell we’ve all been trapped in. Even Gavin Newsom had a momentary lapse, attending a birthday dinner in Napa with several other couples. (He apologized.)

I’m not usually one to use our mayor’s quotes as words to live by, but today he said it’s time to fire up those Netflix queues again. And I think we can do it, Los Angeles. Let’s spend the next few weeks watching more TV. It’s for the public good.

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

Gina Pollack

Coming Up Today, November 17

LAist Contributor Sofia James found that Black students at USC face disproportionate profiling by campus officers. Incidents range from minor to severe, but they end up having lasting effects on these students' well-being.

Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez visits Bakers and Baristas, the Cerritos cafe that’s fused Filipino cuisine, fine dining and Fruity Pebbles to stay afloat during the pandemic.

On Friday, the general public will have one last chance to weigh in on the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, which seeks to improve the state's complicated and underfunded programs for the youngest Californians and their families. Reporter Mariana Dale has the lowdown.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

The surge is surging: California's daily COVID-19 cases have doubled in the past 10 days, the fastest increase seen in the state since the start of the pandemic. Gov. Newsom said he is “pulling the emergency brake on reopening.” And Mayor Garcetti warned that the city will expand its enforcement efforts against businesses that break the rules.

There’s no place like home: Health officials are begging you not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, but if you MUST and it is ESSENTIAL, we have some tips. A group of unhoused families is reclaiming 13 vacant Caltrans-owned homes in El Sereno, in an unprecedented partnership between the state transit agency and the city. We broke some heat records yesterday … in November.

The race for a coronavirus vaccine is heating up, with a second company releasing data showing efficacy above 90%. But will we really be able to distribute those vaccines in January 2021? When and if LAUSD schools open any time soon, here’s who’ll get to go back first.

Hospital homicide: A report by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner's office found that 38-year-old Nicholas Burgos' death inside a UCLA hospital was a homicide. He was shot last month by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy during a mental health crisis.

We get by with a little help from our friends: The city of Long Beach will provide $500 monthly stipends to 150 artists who are struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic. A new emergency homeless shelter will open in Huntington Beach this month, with enough beds for 174 adult men and women.

Self Care: You deserve it. Here are some fun things to do this week.

Photo of the Day

Tapsilog i.e. marinated sirloin, garlic rice, atchara and a fried egg with a side of banana ketchup, at Bakers & Baristas in Cerritos. (Photo by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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