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'Every Necessary Measure': California Prepares For Unrest, Governor Activates CA National Guard
Governor Gavin Newsom today mobilized the California National Guard, over concerns of civil unrest leading up to and during next week's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The initial deployment is up to 1,000 Guard members to support the California Highway Patrol in protecting state infrastructure in and around the state Capitol in Sacramento. The CHP is in charge of security for the building.
In a message this afternoon, the Governor said there will be no tolerance for violence:
"What we witnessed in our nation's capitol was an undemocratic and unconscionable assault on our republic, and the freedoms upon which our nation was founded. California will take every necessary measure to protect public safety and our democratic principles and to insure those disgraceful actions are not repeated here."
A temporary, six-foot chain link fence has also been installed around the perimeter of the State Capitol. A statement from the Governor's office says they're coordinating with social media companies to make sure hate groups don't use their platforms to organize or spread disinformation.
There have been online postings for protests to take place at the U.S. Capitol and at state capitols around the country on Jan. 17.
- California To Deploy National Guard Ahead Of Expected Demonstrations Leading Up To Inauguration Day (Capital Public Radio)
LA Residents, Here's How To Figure Out When And Where You Can Get The Vaccine
In case you missed it, the state of California is now allowing those 65 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
But in Los Angeles County, health officials say they aren't ready to immunize people in that age group until February at the earliest. That's because there simply aren't enough doses of the vaccine available yet.
The county and its 200 partners currently have close to 700,000 doses for health care workers, and have administered around 300,000 so far, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health's Dr. Paul Simon, who spoke with our newsroom's local news and culture show, Take Two, which airs on 89.3 KPCC.
To get more people vaccinated, the county is opening five large-scale vaccination centers, including one at Dodger Stadium, that are expected to inoculate up to 4,000 people a day — 260,000 by the end of the month. The county hopes its partners can administer doses to another 250,000 people, so that 500,000 health care workers are vaccinated by the end of the month, including support staff.
But all of this got us thinking: how are you supposed to know when it's time for you to get your shot?
Simon said the county will be using several different channels to make sure citizens are aware when their turn comes:
"Of course, we'll be working with the media to get the word out. But in addition, [we'll be] working with healthcare providers, who then will contact their patients who are in that age group. We'll work with various organizations like the AARP, and others. And we have a newsletter that anyone can sign up for on our website. So we'll use all of those channels to try to get the word out."
That website is VaccinateLACounty.com.
Look for the newsletter sign up box on the left (if you're on desktop) or near the top of the page on mobile. Or just click on the image here.
When you sign up, county officials said you'll be get updated via the newsletter on which groups are eligible to receive the vaccine.
L.A. County is still in the first phase, Phase 1A, which the public heath site defines as:
"Healthcare workers listed in Phase 1A who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. (Low risk healthcare workers such as administrative support staff WITHOUT routine in-person patient contact, will be offered vaccination in Phase 1B Tier2)."
- SoCal Residents: Here's How To Figure Out When And Where You Can Get The Vaccine (LAist)
- Vaccine distribution in L.A. County (LA County Public Health)
- Your No-Panic Guide To The COVID-19 Vaccines: Are They Safe, And When Can I Get Mine? (LAist)
LISTEN TO THE TAKE TWO INTERVIEW:
COVID-19 BY THE NUMBERS:
Here's a look at longer-term trends in the county, state and the U.S, courtesy of the Google News Initiative and California's COVID-19 dashboard. You can also visit our California COVID-19 Tracker and choose California or any county in the state that interests you.
CASES AND DEATHS
HOSPITALIZATIONS AND ICU CAPACITY
Ignoring Mask Rules Might Soon Get You Fined In LA
After more than a few incidents of maskless protesting and several conflicts about mask policies between customers and business managers, L.A.'s City Council voted unanimously yesterday to explore implementing actual enforcement for mask-wearing.
The city already has an ordinance that requires residents to wear masks — that's been in effect since April. But it doesn't lay out any fines or punishment for violating that requirement.
Councilmen Paul Koretz introduced the motion, citing soaring rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the city.
It specifically asks the city attorney to draft an ordinance that would:
"provide fines and penalties for refusal to wear a mask at an indoor public place when requested to do so by management or operators of a facility or establishment ... and provide fines and penalties for refusing to wear a mask while invading someone’s personal space."
The motion also instructs city departments to prioritize issuing citations. The departments will be required to report back in 30 days with more information on the number of citations issued, as well as feedback on potential problems with enforcement. After that, City Council will formulate an actual enforcement policy. (Bureacracy isn't known for being speedy.)
Councilman Mike Bonin said the amendment was a direct response to a group of maskless protesters who confronted customers and employees at the Century City Mall in early January.
Today, a group of anti-maskers protested at Ralph’s and the Century City shopping mall. Lots of angry confrontations with customers and a few physical altercations.— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) January 4, 2021
The anti maskers went next Bloomingdales at Century City Mall. LAPD showed up eventually but did not try to remove them. @Bloomingdales staff seemed unable to force them to leave. pic.twitter.com/z6EmQ56Uk5— Samuel Braslow (@SamBraslow) January 4, 2021
Mayor Garcetti's safer-at-home order also requires city residents to wear masks when outside their homes. It specifies fines of $1,000 or six months in jail for violators. But LAPD hasn't given out any citations.
It’s January And Sadly, Wildfires Are Still A Threat
Just in case you thought that we left behind the possibility of bad wildfires when calendars ticked over to 2021 and cooler winter temperatures set in, I’m sorry to say that I’m here to disappoint you.
The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for today and Friday because of the very un-winterlike conditions that have left our landscapes parched and raised the risk of fast moving wildfires.
In fact, there’s a brush fire on Mt. Baldy right now.
If you’ve been tracking the start of our so-called “rainy season,” you shouldn’t be surprised that we’re here.
Besides a couple of inches of rain in late December, we’re only at about 30 percent of average across much of Southern California. And with temperatures hitting the upper 80s, relative humidity flirting with the single digits, and Santa Ana wind gusts reaching 50 mph over the next two days, it’s unsurprising that vegetation is primed to burn.
Dry weather often comes along with La Niña conditions in Southern California, which can result in drier than average years, and this year it appears we could be seeing just that. There’s a 50 percent chance the weather pattern will go away sometime around March.
High temperatures and extreme dryness are also classic markers of climate change in our area.
Gaze into the near future and there’s major cause for concern. The lack of rain through some of our most crucial wet months, and no promise of precipitation anywhere on the horizon, means that drought conditions will continue to spread throughout the state.
This is not really the forecast that anyone in California wants in midst of a worsening drought, but a strong (or even very strong) offshore wind event is possible early next week nearly statewide. A very strong but dry "inside slider" low pressure system is the culprit... #CAwx pic.twitter.com/Mirc8d4fTH— Daniel Swain (@Weather_West) January 14, 2021
This year the all-important snowpack — a key supply of water — is only at 48 percent of the average as of January 14. Combined with a paltry showing of snow and rain in Northern California last year, our reservoirs are ticking lower and lower, many beneath their historical averages.
We’re still in the middle of the peak of Santa Ana wind season, so unless we get some wetness, don’t be surprised if wildfires pop up.
Morning Brief: Bracing For Inauguration Day
Good morning, L.A.
When a violent mob stormed the Capitol last week, a group of Trump supporters in L.A. also turned violent outside City Hall, at an event that began as a rally. In response — and based on information from the FBI — local law enforcement plans to amp up security for next week's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
My colleague Robert Garrova reports that the Los Angeles Police Department will increase its activity on January 20, and in the days leading up to it.
Unlike their response to recent Black Lives Matter protests, LAPD officials are not planning to request backup from the National Guard, according to Captain Stacy Spell.
Pro-Trump rallies are planned throughout the city, as posted on social media, beginning this weekend.
Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.
What You Need To Know Today
The Vaccine: Gov. Gavin Newsom made people ages 65 and older immediately eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, but L.A. County isn’t ready.
Unemployment: Many people are reporting continuing problems with getting their unemployment benefits reinstated.
The Housing Crisis: A new bill would fight homelessness in California by raising the state's tax rate on corporations with annual profits of more than $5 million, which lawmakers say could raise $2.4 billion annually.
Money Matters: In Long Beach’s State of the City address, Mayor Robert Garcia announced a basic income program for low-income students at Long Beach City College, a mandated pay increase for grocery workers, and more.
Before You Go… A Day In The Life Of A Pro Wrestler
Nate Blauvelt wrestles for the TV show Ring Of Honor, which also puts on live events and other promotional fare. The Southern California native, whose stage name is Brody King, grew up in the Antelope Valley and currently lives in the Sylmar area.
During the pandemic, most pro wrestling shows are being taped without fans in attendance. Some wrestlers, whose personas rely on interacting with the crowd, have had to pivot. For Blauvelt, who is the main event on Ring of Honor’s Friday night Final Battles, that’s meant experimenting with a style that's less audience dependent.
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