Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):
Critics Continue Daily Protest Against A Washington Job For Garcetti
Political life outside of L.A. could be coming for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Garcetti’s name is reportedly in the mix for jobs ranging from transportation secretary to environmental envoy.
The past week has further placed him in the spotlight. Garcetti was named co-chair of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration committee and he helped to represent the U.S. at an international climate change summit.
But his harshest critics in L.A. say the mayor has failed in his approach on housing, homelessness and police violence, and shouldn’t be elevated to a federal post. For 20 straight days, hundreds have been protesting outside the mayor’s official residence, the Getty House in Hancock Park, to draw attention to his record.
Baba Akili, a veteran activist with Black Lives Matter-LA, said the plan is to keep demonstrating until Biden fills his cabinet or Garcetti removes his name from consideration.
“We don’t think he should be appointed secretary of transportation or any position in the cabinet,” Akili said. “We are prepared to be here for as long as it takes.”
One major criticism is that homelessness has risen under Garcetti, by 14% this year— and that was before the pandemic took hold.
Housing activists at Sunday’s #BlockGarcetti protest said more renters are at risk of falling into homelessness unless city or county leaders allow for rent forgiveness.
“We have our seniors, our families who fear the next day that they’re going to be evicted, that they’re going to lose their home,” said Kris Chan of Chinatown Community for Equitable Development.
There was no visible police presence on Sunday, in sharp contrast to a week ago when police attempted to arrest a protester who had been using a bullhorn. In the chaos that ensued, a different person was arrested and people were struck with batons.
Protesters said the officers’ use of force — condemned by a handful of L.A. elected officials — was another example of how Garcetti has failed to stand up to police violence.
After that protest, Garcetti said he appreciated both free speech rights and the “difficult job” police have.
More photos from since the protest began:
California’s Domestic Workers Face Low Wages, Poor Working Conditions
California’s domestic workers are largely Latina immigrants and, according to new research from UCLA’s Labor Center, the majority are underpaid.
The center examined 2018 government census data and found that 77% of domestic workers in the state work for low wages, earning about half of what other hourly workers make.
“Whether you’re working in homecare, whether you’re a nanny doing child care work, or if you’re coming in and house cleaning, across the board, they were just making around $10 an hour,” which is two dollars below California’s minimum wage, said Saba Waheed, the center’s research director.
The majority of the state’s domestic workers are employed in Southern California. One-third work in Los Angeles County alone.
Most domestic workers are labeled as independent contractors and therefore don’t have access to sick time and unemployment — benefits made even more important by COVID-19. Casual attitudes on the part of employers, combined with informal work arrangements, can also contribute to poor working conditions.
The center, which has been surveying the industry and studying government data, found those who hire housekeepers tend to be higher earners. But according to Waheed, those most in need of child and adult homecare are often working families who can’t afford such services.
“We are a state and a country that doesn’t provide enough support in order for the workers to really have the level of income that they should,” said Waheed, “for the kind of work that they’re doing.”
LA County Reports 12,731 New COVID Cases, 29 Deaths
L.A. County health officials on Sunday confirmed 12,731 new cases of coronavirus and 29 deaths. Currently, there are 4,009 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and 21% of those individuals are in the ICU.
The number of new daily cases has been above 11,000 on each of the past four days, and hospitalizations have been rising daily.
Today’s numbers bring the total number of cases to 525,486, and the total number of deaths to 8,298.
L.A. is currently under stay-at-home orders from the county, city and state. The state’s order overrides the local orders and is more strict; under its tenets, restaurants may provide to-go services only.
"While this trend line provides a frightening visual of our reality, the more terrible truth is that over 8,000 people — sorry — over 8,000 people who were beloved members of their families are not coming back,” she said. “And their deaths are an incalculable loss to their friends and their family, as well as our community."