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Morning Briefing: Sex, Bribes And City Hall

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It’s the year of stunning events, and in L.A., we can tack on one more: as Angelenos were being priced out of their homes and the city’s homelessness crisis was exploding, City Councilman Jose Huizar was allegedly accepting bribes from big developers in the form of flights on private jets, casino chips, prostitutes and more.

Huizar was arrested yesterday after a years-long FBI investigation, with U.S. Department of Justice officials saying that he ran a “criminal enterprise” through City Hall, funneling money through family members, taking lavish trips to Las Vegas and welcoming campaign contributions.

In seized documents, an executive involved in Huizar’s scheme marveled at the "truly amazing" accomplishment of minimizing affordable units in an Arts District complex.

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The charges are very similar to those faced by former City Councilman Mitch Englender. If true, they mean that as some of their constituents were losing roofs over their heads, at least two of L.A.’s elected representatives were actively, callously exacerbating the process in exchange for their personal gain.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, June 24

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A million Angelenos have lost their jobs to because of the pandemic. So far, those households have been protected from losing water, gas or electric service, even if they don’t pay their bills. But when COVID-19 protections ease, some new policies from utility companies might help erase some of that pandemic debt. KPCC’s Sharon McNary has more.

President Trump recently extended and expanded his restrictions on legal immigration, originally initiated in April. Along with refusing many green card seekers, reports Josie Huang, the new restrictions also target certain guest workers, including those with H1B visas.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

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Corruption At City Hall: L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar was arrested by FBI agents today, following an FBI investigation into a "pay-to-play" scheme tied to land development.

Policing The Police: The L.A. County Board of Supervisors called for an independent investigation into a Sheriff's deputy's fatal shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado in Gardena, after protests on Saturday (and Sunday I think). Black Lives Matter-L.A. co-founder Melina Abdullah spoke to Airtalk’s Larry Mantle about what defunding the police might look like in the city of angels.

Mexico Earthquake: A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Mexican state of Oaxaca mid-morning Tuesday, but information about its aftermath has been slow to trickle into L.A.’s Oaxacan community.

Money Matters: Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, some high school students have been faced with choosing between their online studies and their jobs. L.A. City and County officials voted to add an additional $100 million and $30 million, respectively, to rent relief programs.

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Coronavirus Updates: Santa Ana and Anaheim have the highest coronavirus infection rates in Orange County, which has seen a 50% increase in infections since last week. Unions that represent some 17,000 Disneyland employees are expressing their concerns about Disney reopening its parks, hotels and outdoor mall.

“Hollywood, The Sequel” is LAist Studios’ latest podcast mini-series. Host John Horn explores how the film industry will look, now that the pandemic has stopped production in its tracks. Meanwhile, the industry’s power structure is being challenged by the new and growing social justice movement. Kerry Washington shares her thoughts in episode one.

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Photo Of The Day

Juan Constantino, 17, has been around his brother's dad's locksmithing business since he was little. He recently tried to convince his mother to let him help support the family by dropping out of high school and working full-time. She said no.

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(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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