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Morning Brief: LA’s Homelessness Crisis, Vaccines For Adolescents, And A ‘Block Party’

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Good morning, L.A. It’s May 11.

In federal court yesterday, attorneys for L.A. County pressed a judge to dismiss the county from a lawsuit filed last year, which would force local officials to take more aggressive action on the area’s homelessness crisis.

Lawyers representing the county have claimed that their client is not responsible for the crisis, and that blame should fall squarely on city officials. Yesterday, the defendant's attorneys argued that the court was overstepping by trying to dictate how to allocate government funds.

The lawsuit was originally filed in March of 2020 by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights. It alleges that county and city officials have bungled the homelessness crisis, and endangered those who are currently without shelter.

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U.S. Judge David O. Carter, who is hearing the case, has a history of taking swift and decisive action on the issue of homelessness, and this case has been no different.

In April of last year, he suggested that politicians responsible for the homelessness crisis be named on a "wall of shame,” and previously wrote that attempts to improve sanitary conditions for homeless have been “inadequate.”

By May, Carter ordered that L.A. officials find shelter for approximately 6,000 unhoused individuals who were living in encampments near freeways. Lawmakers submitted plans not long after, but they proved difficult to execute.

Frustrated by the lack of progress, Carter convened a group of local government officials to a hearing at the Downtown Women’s Shelter in February, and wondered aloud whether the court would need to step in to force action.

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"I ask for you to show 'just cause' why the court should not begin deploying any and all remedies" to solve the crisis, Carter said in opening remarks. "What are the outer limits of the court's structural remedy power?"

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

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Federal health officials have expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to include 12-15 year olds.
  • L.A. County could reach herd immunity by the end of July.
  • Gov Gavin Newsom is proposing a rebate that would send direct payments of $600 to individual California taxpayers earning up to $75,000.
  • Last fall, L.A. County lawmakers approved a plan to move from locking up juveniles to a "care first" approach, but the county’s CEO proposed zero dollars for the first year of the transition.
  • NBC says it will not broadcast the 2022 Golden Globes because of insufficient progress on the diversity front.
  • For those of you who haven't gotten vaccinated yet, what factors are you considering as you ponder this decision?

Before You Go ... This Week's Event Pick: 'Verbena Trágica' (Block Party)

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Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles and the UCLA Film & Television Archive screen the classic film, 'Verbena trágica.'
(Courtesy LACLA)
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Enjoy a cinematic ode to Spanish Harlem’s diverse Latino community. Verbena Trágica, a 1939 American Spanish-language classic, stars the late Fernando Soler as a boxer who returns from prison to find his wife pregnant. She refuses to name the father — with tragic results.

Or, you could: Watch a couple of cut-ups riff over a B-movie. Attend a Neil Gaiman book reading. Learn about Rome's Jewish cuisine. Get "winesplained" in an online series. Head to Dynasty Typewriter for in-person laughs. And more.

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