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Morning Brief: LA Sheriff Doubles Down, Benefits For Same-Sex Couples, And Kakigori Takes LA

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is shown speaking behind a podium with a microphone. He wears his sheriff's uniform.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks at the Sheriff's Academy graduation ceremony in Jan. 2019.
(Kyle Grillot
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Nov. 3.

In an open letter to L.A. County officials last week, Sheriff Alex Villanueva wrote that he could “potentially lose 44% of my workforce in one day” if officials follow through with firing or suspending county employees who don’t get vaccinated.

Villanueva offered no data to back up that claim, and a representative for the Sheriff’s Department acknowledged that it was based on anecdotal evidence.

But yesterday, Villanueva doubled down. In a press conference, he reiterated his belief that thousands of workers could leave his department rather than follow the county mandate to get vaccinated, reports my colleague Frank Stoltze.

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The sheriff went on to say that his claim comes from the number of deputies who have either told him they’re not vaccinated or refused to reveal their vaccination status. But, as Frank writes, “there is no indication these deputies will end up defying the mandate and leave or be fired.”

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The L.A. County Board of Supervisors announced in August that it would require its employees to get vaccinated. That includes sheriff’s deputies, but Villanueva has been unsupportive of the plan since it was made public. Instead, he’s fought on the side of deputies who don’t want to get the shot — regardless of the fact that they work daily with the public — arguing that the vaccination should be a personal choice.

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

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Two families who lost loved ones in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant will receive settlements of $1.25 million each. 
  • The L.A. City Council voted to create a five-member committee to finish the process of drawing new political boundaries in the city.
  • Advisors to the CDC voted unanimously to recommend vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11 for the approximately 28 million children in this age group.
  • More same-sex couples will now be able to receive Social Security survivors benefits.

Before You Go ... How Kakigori Took Over LA

Kakigori for the win!
(Photos by Cesar Hernandez for LAist. Photo collage by Elina Shatkin/LAist.)

Kakigori is a Japanese dessert made of light, fluffy shaved ice sweetened with syrups and topped with luscious cream. Originally enjoyed by elites, the dish has a history stretching back more than a thousand years.

In L.A., kakigori had been a rarity. That all changed in June, when whispers of local kakigori pop-ups started appearing on Instagram. What was behind the sudden surge? In this case, you can trace most of it back to one man — Naoto Yonezawa.

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