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Morning Brief: Echo Park Lake’s Homeless Encampment, The San Andreas Fault, And Capirotada

Folks board a train at the Willowbrook green line station. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 25.

City officials announced plans this week to clear the tent community at Echo Park Lake, saying that repairs need to be made in the area. But residents of the community, most of whom are otherwise unhoused, have broad support from allies, and are prepared to push back against the sweep.

"This won't be as easy as they think,” resident Ayman Ahmed told my colleague Libby Denkmann “They won't just run the community out of the park.”

The Echo Park tent community has found itself at the center of several heated debates over how to handle the city’s dire housing crisis. In January of 2020, a planned sweep of the encampment, which can lead to residents losing their belongings and being left with no place to go, was met by protesters who blocked city vehicles and stood near tents.

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The following month, protesters once again joined residents to defend their right to be there.

Many who oppose officials’ plan to clear the area say that it’s a public relations maneuver, and blame the area’s city council representative, Mitch O’Farrell, for not doing more to ensure the safety of those living in the encampment.

Recently, officials and advocates have announced plans to ease the plight of L.A.’s unhoused residents by building community land trusts, making it easier to construct granny flats, and establishing communities of tiny homes.

But these efforts, while no doubt well-intentioned, are only the latest in an exhausting series of projects to get the problem under control. Some ideas have also included government-funded campsites, vacant hotel rooms, empty parking lots, neighborhood shelters, new legislation, emergency shelters, RV parks, prevention efforts, and more.

Wednesday’s protest began at 7 a.m., moved to O’Farrell’s nearby satellite office, then ended back at the lake.

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

  • As if the San Andreas Fault wasn't concerning enough, research shows that a nearby portion of it is moving much faster than scientists previously thought.
  • In the wake of an unprecedented spike of COVID-19 among L.A.'s unhoused residents, health officials have begun distributing vaccines to the tens of thousands of people who live in shelters, encampments and vehicles.
  • Democratic California Assemblymember Rob Bonta has been nominated by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be the state's next attorney general.

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Before You Go … Capirotada, The Lenten Bread Pudding That Sweetened My Ma's Relationship With The United States

Capirotada made with buttermilk biscuits, cotija cheese and raisins. (Elina Shatkin/LAist)

My mother and I were together because I had asked her if we could make capirotada, a bread pudding-like dessert commonly prepared during Lent in many Mexican Catholic homes. The dish is made by frying sliced bread, soaking it in piloncillo syrup then topping it with cheese and dried fruit.

Like many Mexican kids, I grew up eating capirotada — and not just during Lent. In my house, we ate it whenever Ma had a craving. I loved it, but I also took it for granted. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized my mother's recipe was also a marriage of tradition and innovation, a fusion of her Mexican childhood with her life in the United States.

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