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Morning Brief: Wildfires, Unhoused Aid, And Health Care

Men in orange jumpsuits with rakes are in the sunlight under a tree.
FILE: An inmate hand crew in 2007 work to set a backfire near Fawnskin in the San Bernardino National Forest.
(David McNew/Getty Images
Getty Images North America)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Jan. 12.

In a month when things seem pretty dismal — I know many people who are one more lockdown away from a full-blown meltdown — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget for 2022-2023 could offer a glimmer of hope. 

First of all, it’s enormous; $286.4 billion enormous, 9% bigger than last year’s record-breaking plan. Second of all, it addresses issues that have plagued California for years: wildfires, health care accessibility and help for the unhoused, to name a few. 

Here are some of the proposal’s highlights, with links to read more:

  • $1.2 billion over two years for programs to combat wildfires and their impact on residents; 
  • $2 billion to convert vacant hotels, motels and other buildings into housing for people experiencing homelessness, supportive housing, as well as $1.5 billion over the next two years to provide interim housing;
  • $2.7 billion for the ongoing COVID-19 response, including a request for emergency approval;
  • $819.3 million for a Medi-Cal expansion to include all eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status, with $2.7 billion for the entire program;
  • $1 billion to enroll an estimated 56,000 more students in transitional kindergarten and add more educators to those classrooms;
  • $119 billion for K-12 schools.
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The proposal will now go to state legislators to be negotiated and could look quite different by the time it passes over the summer. We’ll keep covering these issues as they move through the process.

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In the meantime, keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • LAUSD’s first day back after winter break included some technical hassles as students used the Daily Pass app to verify that they had tested negative for COVID. 
  • The remarks of LAPD Officials suggest that the officer who killed Valentina Orellana-Peralta did not follow department training during the incident.
  • An appellate court upheld the termination of two LAPD officers who played Pokémon Go on the job while ignoring a robbery call. 
  • The Glendale Unified School District is responding to claims from some parents who say officials didn’t give them enough time to get their kids tested before going back to school.
  • An off-duty LAPD officer was fatally shot during an attempted armed robbery in the Firestone-Florence neighborhood.
  • The omicron-driven surge has sent COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocketing across the U.S., reaching a new pandemic high this week.

Before You Go ... A Love Letter To The Lynwood Pizza Parlor That Raised Me

The neon sign at Chico's Pizza Parlor in Lynwood. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

LAist contributor Cesar Hernandez was brought up eating at Chico’s Pizza Parlor, and penned an ode to its cheesy, sauce-y goodness:

“For more than half a century, Chico's has been serving delicious, unpretentious, ultra thin pizzas topped with their trademark shredded pepperoni … In the process, it has become a de facto community space, the kind of place that feels like it belongs to the customers. It's everything I love about small, often ignored Lynwood, the South East L.A. city where I grew up. Chico's is comfort food at its best, lacking the pretension and reverence that swirls around L.A.'s "essential" food landmarks. Most crucially, it serves a damn fine pizza.”

Read the whole essay here.

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