Help us rise to the challenge of covering the coronavirus crisis. Our journalism is free for all to access. But we rely on your support. Donate today to power our journalists.

Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):

26,000 Gallons Of LA Sewage Hit Long Beach

(Lita Martinez)

All swimming areas in Long Beach, west of Belmont Pier, are closed after a sewage spill contaminated the water.

The state says the spill was caused by construction work on a sewer line in Los Angeles...about 26,000 gallons of sewage made its way into the Los Angeles River, before flowing out to the ocean.

Teams from the city of Long Beach are monitoring the water quality along the affected beaches, which will reopen when the water quality meets state standards.

Note that there are four possible levels for beach access. According to the city's website they are:

  • OPEN: Bacterial levels are within State standards. There are no restrictions on water contact activity.
  • ADVISORY: Bacterial levels are outside of State Standards. Contact with water may cause illness and should be avoided.
  • RAIN ADVISORY: Bacterial levels rise significantly during and after rainstorms. Contact with water should be avoided for a period of 72 hours after rainfall ends.
  • CLOSED: Significant risk to health. Avoid any contact with the water until further notice.

For the latest on Long Beach water quality, call the Water Hotline at (562) 570-4199 or visit

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Tinhorn Flats Defies Burbank's Order To Close — And Reopens At High Noon

A cattle skull hangs on wood. (Artem Maltsev/Unsplash)

Tinhorn Flats is bucking orders from Burbank officials. The owners of the Old West-themed saloon had previously railed against face mask mandates (although they eventually agreed to enforce them) and vowed to defy the ban on in-person dining at restaurants.

On Monday night, the Burbank City Council voted unanimously to revoke the restaurant's permit. Councilmembers said they had received complaints that Tinhorn Flats was allowing people to eat there during the recent ban on in-person dining at restaurants.

Despite the vote, or maybe because of it, Tinhorn Flats reopened today — at high noon.

"It was rigged," said Lucas Lepejian, who runs and owns Tinhorn Flats with his father, Baret. "They didn't hear us out whatsoever. They had their minds set completely before the meeting. This is all about fear and control, and not supporting of small businesses. They're just trying to make a complete example out of us."

Deputy City Planner Scott Plambaeck showed photos of diners being served indoors at Tinhorn Flats in mid-December — while in-person dining was banned at L.A. County restaurants due to the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases. Lepejian said the pictures proved nothing.

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos said he didn't agree with requiring restaurants to close but since Tinhorn Flats never responded to the city's notice of violation, his hands were tied.

"I have been to Tinhorn Flats a couple times before COVID-19 hit... I actually like their chicken wings... I was hoping all along that the owner would try to reach out to somebody on the council," Frutos said.

Burbank city attorney Amy Albano said Tinhorn Flats could face a lawsuit and a court order to shut down down if the Lepejians fail to comply with yesterday's decision. If social media is anything to go by, they don't seem inclined to.

Earlier today on Instagram, Tinhorn Flats posted a message thanking those who supported them at last night's City Council meeting and declaring, "This was nothing short of a vicious mob with pitchforks coming for that who stands against their campaign of fear. I WILL NOT COMPLY AND I WILL NOT CLOSE MY BUSINESS TO THESE PATHETIC, UNAMERICAN SOCIALIST COWARDS. If need be, I will go down with my ship."

Tinhorn Flats isn't the only restaurant that has defied temporary restrictions and closures.

In Long Beach, Restauration owner Dana Tanner kept her establishment open after the city pulled her permit and shut off her gas because she ignored the ban on outdoor dining during the height of the coronavirus outbreak. Long Beach is currently suing Tanner. In Redondo Beach, Eat at Joe's refused to close its patio and even hung a banner reading "The French Laundry Patio Dining," a dig at California Governor Gavin Newsom's dinner party at the wine country restaurant.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Tiger Woods Recovering At Hospital After Significant Injuries Suffered In Rollover Car Crash

A tow truck recovers the vehicle driven by golfer Tiger Woods in Rancho Palos Verdes after a rollover accident. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Shortly after 7 a.m. today, professional golfer Tiger Woods was injured in a rollover car crash and had to be extricated from his vehicle.

The collision occurred on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes. Woods was traveling northbound on Hawthorne Boulevard at Blackhorse Road when the crash happened, according to a tweet from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.

It was a single-car crash. No other vehicles were involved. Woods' vehicle reportedly sustained major damage.

Woods, 45, suffered multiple leg injuries, according to a statement issued by his agent, Mark Steinberg. He was transported to a local hospital where he is being treated. His injuries were decribed by an L.A. County spokesperson as "moderate to critical."

The golf star was in the area to host the PGA Tour's Genesis Invitational, held this past weekend, and to shoot some footage for GOLFTV, according to Golf Digest.

On Monday, Woods spent time on the golf course with former Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade and with comedian David Spade.

The LASD's Lomita Station is investigating the crash.

UPDATE 4 p.m.:

Authorities say Woods was conscious when firefighters reached him, after the car rolled over.

They had to pry him out from the wreckage using a specialized tool and an axe (but not the so-called "jaws of life," as was reported earlier by authorities).

Woods is still receiving treatment at Harbor-UCLA Hospital, though he is expected to survive.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says the vehicle crossed the center divider and ended up several hundred feet away from the road, though there were no skid marks on the road itself:

"Obviously, that indicates they were going at a relatively greater speed than normal. However, because it is downhill, it slopes, and it also it curves, that area has a high frequency of accidents, it's not uncommon."

The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation, though Villanueva and fire officials say there weren't any signs Woods was impaired at the time. First responders at the scene confirmed that he was wearing a seatbelt, which may have saved his life.

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.:

In a Tweet sent on Woods' account, the injury to his right leg is described as significant and requiring emergency surgery.

As of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Woods was "awake, responsive and recovering in his hotel room."

This story was originally published at 11:50 a.m. and updated as more information became available.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Governor Newsom: Low Income Californians Will Receive $600 Stimulus Payments This Spring

FILE: Volunteers prepare to load vehicles with boxes of food Duarte last summer. The pandemic has continued to take an economic toll. (Frederic J. Brown/ AFP via Getty Images)

This morning, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $7.6 billion COVID-19 relief package, which includes $600 direct payments to nearly six million low income Californians.

Those payments will also be available to workers without legal status.

If you're eligible for the money, you can expect it to arrive about two months after you file your state taxes.

The bill also includes more than $2 billion to support small businesses, which Newsom called the "backbone" of the state's economy:

"We recognize the stress, the strain, that so many small businesses have been under, and we recognize as well our responsibility to do more, and do better to help support these small businesses through this very difficult and trying time."

The small business relief includes money for grants. It also waives more than $25 million in business fees for restaurants and salons forced to close because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

LA County Grocery Workers Get $5-Per-Hour Raise For The Next 4 Months

People shop at a grocery store. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Employees at large grocery and drugstore chains in the unincorporated areas of L.A. County are going to get a temporary $5-per-hour boost in pay, under a measure approved today by the County Board of Supervisors. The grocery industry has vowed to try to block the measure in court.

Supervisors said the “hero pay” mandate is designed to recognize grocery workers for the risks they’ve faced on the job during a deadly pandemic.

“We must acknowledge the risk and the sacrifice these workers in our communities are making, and compensate them accordingly,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who co-authored the proposal.

The measure applies to publicly-traded grocery companies or those with at least 300 employees nationwide.

Supervisor Hilda Solis estimated that up to 2,500 workers in unincorporated L.A. County will get the hero pay — compared with an estimated 26,000 workers who would stand to receive a pay bump if a similar ordinance were enacted within the city of Los Angeles.

The 4-1 vote for the measure passed as an “urgency” ordinance, meaning it will take effect immediately. It’s slated to last for 120 days. Supervisor Kathryn Barger cast the only “no” vote.

“I feel that today's motion doesn't address all our essential workers. It addresses a small sliver,” she said, asking why the county is not offering similar premium pay to its own frontline government employees. Barger also expressed concern that the mandate could lead to higher food prices or layoffs.

Today’s move comes after similar proposals have been considered in other parts of the state — including the city of L.A. — and even enacted in a number of municipalities such as Long Beach, where Kroger announced the closure of two grocery stores in response to the city’s temporary $4-per-hour pay hike.

California’s grocery industry says it will sue to block hero pay in L.A. County. It has already filed legal challenges against the same types of measures in other cities. This morning a judge heard the California Grocers Association's arguments for a preliminary injunction against Long Beach’s ordinance. A ruling in that case is expected soon.

The industry has also gone to court to block a similar measure in West Hollywood.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

LA (Finally) Will Explore Alternatives To Armed Police In Traffic Enforcement

A May 30, 2020 protest against police brutality. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Police reform organizations are applauding today's passage of an L.A. City Council motion that calls for coming up with ways to remove armed cops from enforcement of traffic laws.

The measure calls for, among other things, the city to hire a consultant to conduct a study that will examine the feasibility of setting up civilian enforcement of traffic laws “for motorists, cyclists, and other forms of transportation.”

Black Lives Matter L.A. co-founder Melina Abdullah said reforms around transportation policy like this one are “hugely important,” adding that traffic stops are a major factor in the deaths of Black people at the hands of law enforcement.

“We want to remove police from many spaces, but beginning with spaces where they’re absolutely unneeded,” she said. Abdullah cited the death of Dijon Kizzee, who was shot more than a dozen times last August by Sheriff’s deputies after they had tried to stop him for allegedly committing a traffic violation while riding a bicycle.

Two weeks before Kizzee’s killing, a Pasadena police officer fatally shot Anthony McClain as he ran away from a traffic stop.

A 2020 report by the Los Angeles Police Commission’s inspector general found racial disparities in both the frequency of police traffic stops and post-stop activity.

Of 672,569 officer-initiated stops in 2019, the study found that 27% of the people stopped were perceived to be Black, in a city where Black people represent just 9% of the population.

The motion passed today was originally introduced last June, as officials in L.A. responded to calls for reform following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other deaths at the hands of law enforcement.

But the measure stalled, which led to a Feb. 2 letter signed by the ACLU of Southern California, Black Lives Matter L.A. and other groups saying they were “beyond frustrated by the Council’s inaction.”


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

Morning Brief: Ending Remote School, More Vaccines For CA, And James Franco’s Settlement

Graffiti on a warehouse near downtown Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 23.

After months of back-and-forth with elected officials and the teachers’ union, the L.A. Unified School District’s superintendent announced yesterday that local public schools will reopen for some on-campus services starting next week.

Superintendent Austin Beutner also said that the district hopes to invite elementary school students back by April 9, which is the first time he has offered a specific date.

The announcement came after Beutner weathered a threat from a city councilmember to sue LAUSD in order to force reopening. The local teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles, has consistently said that it wants teachers and staff to be vaccinated before they return to classrooms, a requirement with which Beutner seems to agree.

Under the plan announced yesterday, educators and staff would return to campus on a voluntary basis to help provide child care, special education services, athletic conditioning and small-group tutoring.

Across the country, other cities are slowly working to reopen schools as well. New York City was the first large, urban public school system to reinstate in-person learning, allowing some elementary school students back into classrooms in December after a failed attempt to allow all students back in October. After many road bumps — including the inability to predict when classrooms will have to temporarily close because of a positive coronavirus test, a challenge that’s ongoing — the district will open for middle schoolers later this week.

In Chicago, public schools reopened to the youngest learners and those with special requirements on Feb. 11, after a heated battle between administrators and the teachers’ union.

And recent data shows that schools are more likely to be open for in-person learning in smaller, more rural areas.

Long Beach, which has prioritized vaccinating teachers, will begin reopening public schools on March 29. During a site visit yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the city’s efforts, and noted that there was “nothing more essential and more important we can do to support working women and single moms in particular, than getting our youngest kids back into school in cohorts.”

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

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … Here’s What To Do This Week

The Films.Dance series releases 'Edging Normal,' choreographed by Jacob Jonas and featuring a performance by Desmond Richardson. (Courtesy Film.Dance)

If there’s one thing we can count on in these crazy times, it’s that L.A. will still deliver on excellent virtual activities, even now, 11-plus months into our open-shut-open-shut reality.

This week: Check out comedians doing a Bling Empire live-read and fundraiser. Explore afroLAtinidad. Listen to Talib Kweli discuss his new memoir. Catch a screening of a documentary about a legendary L.A. fight venue. And more.

Help Us Cover Your Community

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

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.

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