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Morning Brief: Street Vendors’ Struggle, Policing Sheriff’s Deputies, And Visiting A Japanese Garden

Boyle Heights
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 16.

On March 1, all food and agriculture workers in L.A. County became eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. That was great news, as grocery workers, farmworkers, restaurant employees and more had been at a higher risk to contract the virus simply by doing their jobs.

But as my colleague Manuel Valladares reports, eligibility doesn’t necessarily mean that all workers can access the shots. Facing “language barriers, lack of required documentation and a dearth of convenient appointments,” he writes, many street vendors have still not been able to receive the vaccine — even those who desperately want to.

One vendor, who sells tacos in MacArthur Park, told Manuel that while he would love to be vaccinated — he’s 50 years old and has diabetes — without a computer or broadband internet, he’s forced to try to make an appointment over the phone.

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Every time he’s called, he’s been placed on long holds; and as a Spanish speaker who suffers from social anxiety, each call is excruciating.

Another vendor in Bell Gardens explained that food and agriculture workers were required to provide documentation proving where they were employed. Many street vendors run their own businesses without licenses from City Hall. (That's no longer the case now that everyone over 16 is eligible.)

"I have no papers, so my line of work puts me in a tough situation," he said.

The inequity that many street vendors face is reminiscent of the digital divide that caused some students to fall much further behind during the pandemic than others. While schools are now hoping to play catch-up, it’s not clear whether any such effort will be made for those who have been shut out of vaccines, through no fault of their own.

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

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What Else You Need To Know Today

Weekend Reads
There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

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South L.A.’s Leimert Park hasn’t seen as much economic fallout from COVID-19 as other areas. (LAist)

The family of a San Fernando man killed by police is disputing officers’ story of what happened. (San Fernando Valley Sun)

Up to 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children could be temporarily housed in the Long Beach Convention Center, thanks to a newly approved plan. (LAist)

From menudo to gumbo to tortas and more, here’s your guide to eating in the Inland Empire. (L.A. Taco)

Behavioral science is being used on L.A. firefighters who are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. (LAist)

Kristina Wong is a new type of Instagrammer — a food bank influencer. (LAist)

L.A.’s pastry revival is lit, and you can find it all on Instagram. (Eater L.A.)

Before You Go … This Week’s Outdoor Pick: Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena
Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena
(Photo: Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden/Facebook))

The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden in Pasadena is a great place to find your moments of zen. Created by Kinzuchi Fujii between 1935 and 1940, house rules include no phone calls, music or loud celebrations. Stroll through the one-way paths to view the pond, teahouse and 15-foot waterfall. It's open on Friday and Saturday nights and during the day on Sunday.

Or, you could: attend the L.A. Times Festival of Books from the comfort of your couch. Watch bicycle-themed flicks or works by queer BIPOC filmmakers. Tune in, turn on and drop out during a day of serenity. Celebrate 20 years of music at The Hotel Cafe. Fill out your Oscar ballot during AirTalk's FilmWeek preview. Enjoy kimchi quesadillas, a literal sausage fest, vegan ice cream and duck confit enfrijoladas. And more.

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