Morning Brief: Angelenos Are Stressed As Rent, Gas And Groceries Reach New Highs
Good morning, L.A. It’s Tuesday, June 14.
You have to be joking - $2,106 for 500 square feet?! That is the rent and size of an apartment unit I considered before deciding it was a bad deal. I’m sure you’re nodding your head right now, my fellow Angeleno. You’ve been going through it too in this beautiful, but extremely expensive city. The median asking rent in Los Angeles is now $3,400, according to NPR but, as you all know, this pricing headache is not just housing costs. Inflation has hit a 40-year-high. The price for a gallon of gas is more than $6 in L.A. County. And over the last 12 months, food prices have risen 8.4 percent.
What’s to blame? The COVID-19 pandemic and the war on Ukraine. Even though I understand it, it feels like we have lost control. Can others relate? I asked Angelenos how they’re managing and talked to a few folks who’ve been trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents.
Aspen Evans is a photographer who lives in East Hollywood. She moved to L.A. from Atlanta six months before the pandemic to pursue her dreams. Evans told me she is STRESSED. “It really hit me once you move here like no amount of money you’ve saved up is really enough,” Evans says. “Whatever cushion I saved up, it’s gone now.”
So, how does Evans manage her life out here?
She had a full-time job, but left in April before inflation went full swing. She had just got back into freelancing when prices really started to spike. “I just picked the worst time ever because I feel like a lot of brands and companies are closing the purse strings and cutting marketing budgets,” Evans says. “It’s definitely been a slower summer than we’re used to.”
Evans has cut back on luxuries like Uber Eats and her favorite skincare products. She’s trying to cook at home more, and shop at more cost-effective places. Whenever her friend goes to Costco, she joins so they can split things. Evans is also looking to get a roommate.
The price of food hurts, but it’s gas that is really making things hard for folks.
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Alessandro Signorini from Burbank says that they started driving less with the current gas prices. “I’ve been following the news pretty closely, especially with the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Signorini says. “That helped me understand what was happening even though I know we don’t get gas from Russia, but it drives up the price everywhere.”
It’s the same for Natalia Ruiz from Echo Park. “I'm paying almost $100 dollars,” she says. “I try to use the car as least as possible but, you know, every two weeks that’s a lot of money for me.”
She also cooks at home a lot more. “Mostly vegetables. Meat is a treat,” she says. “I make a lot of food and I freeze it to try to not waste it at all.”
Meanwhile, I’ll still be searching for a reasonably priced apartment. My demands are simple: I just want a fridge and a bathtub.
As always, stay happy and healthy, folks (or at least try to). There’s more news below the fold.
What Else You Need To Know Today
- The L.A. City Council will vote later today on an ordinance to ban the assembly, sale or storage of bicycles (and parts)on public property. But some argue it will only lead to more harassment of the unhoused.
- At least 200 writers, producers and directors have pledged to reexamine how guns are used onscreen and in storytelling. An open letter, initiated by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has been signed by creatives like Judd Apatow, Shonda Rhimes and Jimmy Kimmel.
- Firefighters are getting a handle on the Sheep Fire near Wrightwood, despite dry terrain. Check for the latest here.
- As wildfires grow more intense each year, California firefighters are struggling with fatigue, PTSD and thoughts of suicide. This report captures some of their stories.
- There’s a long history of racist medical malpractice when it comes to how doctors have treated people of color. Doctors, lawmakers and scientists are now talking about changing the way race is viewed as a medical shorthand.
- Researchers say the billions in pandemic funding available for ventilation upgrades in U.S. schoolsprovides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to combat covid-19, as well as making air more breathable for students living with allergies, asthma, and chronic wildfire smoke.
Before You Go...Tonight: View The Rare Strawberry Supermoon
Angelenos, get ready to view what some are calling the lunar event of the year: the super full, super bright Strawberry Supermoon! Here’s why it’s cool. The other great thing is that you don’t need a high-tech telescope or binoculars to see it. You can view it with your naked eye between sunset and moonrise tonight. So set your alarms! The sun sets at 8:05 p.m. and the moon rises at 8:57 p.m.
If you DO want to nerd out (and I most definitely would!), get some binoculars or a telescope so you can see the craters, mountains and other things that could be on the moon. There will also be a free livestream from the Virtual Telescope Project in Ceccano, Italy.