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Morning Brief: L.A. Elections, Ukrainian Bike Shop, Less Time At The DMV

(Illustration by Dan Carino
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 22.

I’m pretty sure she committed voter fraud.

I mean, it wasn’t intentional. At age 18, I wasn’t voting in one of the big elections. I was voting, mostly, in hyper-local races deep in the woods of Sussex County, New Jersey, a staunch red pocket in a largely blue state. To paint the scene for you, the polling machines were set up in a barn.

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And the very nice, older woman who got me squared away to vote handled the interface setup — and handled it a bit too much.

She registered me for the wrong party and then couldn’t reverse the selection, so my voting breadth became limited. I remember voting for a friend’s dad running for local office and not much else. Despite considering myself a politically savvy teenager, I was largely in the dark on local issues. I vowed to stay better informed moving forward.

For those seeking to do the same, LAist has got you covered. Beginning next month, in partnership with KRCW, we’ll be having conversations with candidates who are vying to become the next mayor of Los Angeles and a member of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

Our “Meet the Candidates” series, part of our Voter Game Plan to help you prepare for the vote, kicks off on April 11, when KCRW host Steve Chiotakis talks with California State Senator Henry Stern, who is running for L.A. County Supervisor. On the other side of the ballot, my colleague Austin Cross will speak with current L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer on April 18, who is running for L.A. Mayor. 

And we want your voice to be heard. Click here to submit your own questions for the candidates and to see the full rundown of the upcoming events.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go...A Whittier Bike Shop And The War In Ukraine

A man in a green shirt works on an electric bike in the background, with wheels spread on the floor in the foreground.
Oleskii Vishnevskyi, a hardware engineer for Delfast, Inc., works on an e-bike at the company's Whittier workshop. The company was founded in Ukraine and has most of its staff there.
(Leslie Berestein Rojas
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The unassuming storefront betrays the action inside. It’s the U.S. headquarters of Delfast, Inc., a company that got its start in Kyiv seven years ago and started calling Whittier home just last year.

Delfast deals in e-bikes designed in Ukraine. A country that is still home for many workers. A country that is always front of mind for CEO and co-founder Daniel Tonkopi.

“In Ukraine, we have about 40 people,” Tonkopi said. “And some of them are living under attack….[Our social media and content manager], she's sleeping on cardboard, because she cannot sleep in her house because of bombs, because of air attacks by Putin's army.”

But there was work to be done. The first few days were filled with shock for Tonkopi, but he knew the business still needed to operate. But he never forgets the human impact of Russia’s invasion.

“Every Monday we have a meeting for all our staff just to ask them, how are they? Just to hear their voice, to see their faces and just maybe to support [them] somehow,” he said.

Read my colleague Leslie Berestein Rojas’ full piece on the Whittier bike shop here.

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