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Morning Brief: Garcetti’s Ambassadorship Inches Ahead, Pasadena Comes Into Compliance, And Mars Gets A Quake

Eric Garcetti wheres a dark suit and diamond patterned tie as he stands in front of a mic. The port is behind him, but out of focus.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks after a tour of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this week. His nomination to be the next U.S. Ambassador to India is moving forward.
(Patrick T. Fallon
AFP via Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s May 12.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has been inching towards an ambassadorship to India since last summer. But ever since accusations of sexual harassment and bullying by one of his top aides were revealed, the nomination has hit the skids. 

Garcetti has maintained that he knew nothing about the alleged behavior of one of his former top advisors, Rick Jacobs. But now, a report from the office of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley calls Garcetti’s claims of ignorance “extremely unlikely.”

The allegations against Jacobs include reports that he routinely massaged the shoulders of a member of Garcetti’s security detail, grabbed the security officer’s biceps, and subjected the officer to crude jokes as well as unwanted hugs. Multiple city hall insiders testified that Jacobs’ behavior was an open secret, and affected other staff members as well.

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Two former Mayor’s office employees who testified to Jacobs’ inappropriate actions were described by their lawyer as “whistleblowers.” Attorney Micha Star Liberty added that people who complained about Jacobs faced “retaliation and intimidation” by high-ranking members of the mayor’s staff.

Some suggested that Jacobs was immune to consequences because of his skills as a political fundraiser.

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The report from Grassley’s office says that witness testimony proved Jacobs’ behavior to be “pervasive, widespread, and notorious," and that "several" people "told investigators that Mayor Garcetti was aware of this behavior."

Grassley, however, will lift his hold on the nomination, allowing the process to move forward.

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

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Over 1,300 unionized physicians from three L.A. hospitals will hold a strike vote next week amid a bargaining impasse with L.A. County.
  • Pasadena is coming into compliance with an existing bill that allows property owners to build up to four housing units on a property previously zoned for one home, according to the State Attorney General. 
  • The overall number of people experiencing homelessness in Orange County fell by 16.6% from 2019, according to results from a 2022 point-in-time count.
  • Here’s how to get Paxlovid pills quickly if you test positive for COVID-19. 
  • LAist/KPCC is proud to announce that our journalists won three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Before You Go ... The Big One Is Coming — To Mars

An overhead view of the dome on InSight while it's on Mars.
The InSight’s domed wind and thermal Shield, which covers its seismometer.
(Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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We all know that an enormous earthquake could hit L.A. any minute now. But now we know that parts of Mars may face the same fate. Scientists at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory picked up “monster” seismic movement on the Red Planet through NASA’s InSight Mars lander.

The lander registered a magnitude 5 quake, which lead scientist Bruce Bannerdt called “just as big as we had hoped for.”

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