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Morning Briefing: Things At CA’s Unemployment Office Are … Not Good

A staffer works to process claims at California's unemployment office, March 30, 2020. (California Employment Development Department)
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This week, the extra $600 in weekly federal unemployment benefits to offset the economic effects of the coronavirus officially ended. And during a call with state legislators, the director of California’s Employment Development Department provided some other frightening numbers.

The call was intended to address the fact that many out-of-work Californians haven’t received any unemployment benefits at all since the pandemic began, and haven’t been able to get through to anyone on the phone. By way of explanation, director Sharon Hilliard dropped these numbers:

  • Since the coronavirus began, EDD has received 9.3 million claims, as compared to 3.8 million during the worst year of the Great Recession that started in 2008.
  • EDD's core call center is staffed by just 100 caseworkers, and is only open for four hours a day on weekday mornings.
  • Close to 890,000 potentially eligible applicants haven’t been paid.
  • During normal economic times, EDD delivers payments to 80% of applicants within three weeks. During the pandemic, only 62% of Californians have been paid in that time frame.

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

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Jessica P. Ogilvie

The Past 24 Hours In LA

Immigration: The news that new DACA applications won’t be accepted and that renewals will take place annually instead of bi-annually hit some undocumented college students hard.

Census 2020: The Census Bureau will end door-knocking at households that haven’t reported on Sept. 30, despite concerns that the move could lead to a major undercount of people of color. Some community clinics are encouraging patients to respond to the census, as an undercount could decrease their federal funding.

Money Matters: California lawmakers grilled the director of the state's unemployment office in a hearing on Thursday, saying too many Californians have been unable to access unemployment benefits due to a confusing and unresponsive bureaucracy.

It’s Hot: Pandemics and triple-digit heat waves don't mix well, but here we are.

First Person: L.A. artist Tracy Park wrote this illustrated letter, addressed to the person who directed racist comments at her and her children. Columnist Erick Galindo reflects on the one-year anniversary of the shooting at an El Paso Walmart in which Latinos and Latinas were targeted.

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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 without also trying to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, these articles provide some much-needed insight into the current moment in L.A., as well as some news you may have missed:

The Black Restaurant Coalition of Los Angeles was recently created to support local Black-owned eateries. (LA Sentinel)

A Spanish-language TV ad in Florida for President Donald Trump’s campaign deliberately pits the Latino community against the Black community. (La Opinión)

Echo Park’s homeless encampment, once at the center of housing protests, is growing. (The Eastsider)

NBC Entertainment chairman Paul Telegdy allegedly behaved in racist, sexist and homophobic ways regularly. (Hollywood Reporter)

Kevin de León, who will replace disgraced City Councilman Jose Huizar in representing the city’s 14th district, discusses Huizar, regaining voter trust, and possibly taking office early. (Boyle Heights Beat)

The video camera that captured four LAPD officers beating Rodney King in 1991 was auctioned this week, with a starting bid of $225,000. (San Fernando Sun)

Need inspiration for your coronavirus victory garden? Here’s how to grow exotic fruit trees. (Los Angeleno)

In homes where parents speak a language other than English, students who aren’t returning to school this month face challenges that go beyond the digital divide. (San Fernando Sun)

For more than a year, some Chinatown residents have been pushing back against gentrification that threatens to force them out of their homes. (The LAnd)

Photo Of The Day

Renters facing the risk of evictions and their supporters demanded that developer Geoffrey Palmer cancel their rent. Palmer allegedly received between $350,000 and $1 million in PPP loans from the federal government.

(Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images)

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This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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