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Morning Briefing: Relatives Of Terminal Island Inmates Speak Out

Wood boards cover a broken window on a business in Little Tokyo. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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With nearly 700 cases of coronavirus, Terminal Island prison in San Pedro has one of the highest rates of the virus of any federal prison. To complicate matters, the facility specializes in housing inmates with pre-existing conditions – often the people who are most susceptible to COVID-19.

Speaking to family members of inmates, Emily Elena Dugdale heard anger, fear and sadness at the way their loved ones are being treated.

"Someone there should be notifying the next of kin or family and saying, 'Hey, this is the situation, this is what we're doing,'" said one inmate’s brother, after finding out that his sibling was hospitalized with the virus after the fact.

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"They weren't given a death sentence," said another inmate’s mother.

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the families, and we’ll be following the story to see how it unfolds in court. Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, May 21

The UC Board of Regents will consider Janet Napolitano’s proposal to eliminate the SAT and ACT as requirements for admission, reports Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

The deadline for the Census Bureau to turn in data will likely be delayed, and Caroline Champlin reports that this could have significant implications for redistricting in California. Champlin also explores why Malibu and Bel Air are showing unusually low census response rates -- is it possible that wealthy residents escaped the city like New York elites fleeing to the Hamptons?

Make gnocchi. Discover Griffith Park. Go to a drive-in movie. Forest Lawn's annual Memorial Day commemoration goes virtual. Plus, dine and drink deals. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best quarantine-approved events.

With coronavirus shutting down L.A.'s escape rooms, game creators are taking their products virtual. Mike Roe asks, can Zoom recreate the physical experience of an escape room?

More than half of the COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County have been at institutions, mainly nursing homes – and there's one thing that distinguishes those reporting the highest number of deaths: their residents are mostly black and Latino. KPCC’s Jackie Fortiér looks into how the disease spread through one largely Latino nursing home in East L.A.

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How many L.A. grocery store workers have died from coronavirus? At least 68, reports Itxy Quintanilla, and more than 10,000 have been exposed to or sickened by the virus.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A., California, The World: There are now 40,857 coronavirus cases and 1,970 deaths in L.A. County, plus at least 85,330 cases and 3,472 deaths in California. Worldwide, there are nearly 5 million cases and over 327,000 deaths.

Help For Local Restaurants: L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin put forth a proposal to allow restaurants to create temporary outdoor spaces for dining on sidewalks, streets and in private parking lots. The Long Beach City Council has already approved a similar plan. City Council voted unanimously to move forward with capping the fees that food delivery apps can charge restaurants.

Los Angeles, This Is Your Government: Sheriff Alex Villanueva says he won't comply with a subpoena to appear before the Civilian Oversight Commission. The City Council heard from dozens of people opposed to Mayor Garcetti's proposed 2020-21 budget. Here’s what some of those same Councilmembers and other L.A. leaders said about City Hall’s federal corruption scandal, and Councilmember José Huizar’s potential role in it.

Arts And Entertainment: Leaders in L.A.’s film and TV industry shared how they’re dealing with the crisis and how they plan to adapt their workplaces in the weeks and months ahead. The 2020 closure of the Hollywood Bowl will silence a saxophonist who’s been serenading guests from the tunnel underneath Highland Avenue for 36 years.

Covering Inequity: The proportion of Asians dying at home in L.A. County is higher than in previous years.

Protecting The Vulnerable: Relatives of inmates at Terminal Island in San Pedro, which has one of the highest counts of COVID-19 cases of any federal prison, speak out. Local officials have submitted preliminary plans to relocate thousands of homeless people from beneath freeway overpasses. A new website launched this week to connect LGBTQIA folks with help for health and money issues related to the pandemic.

Open, Close: Joshua Tree is open again, with some restrictions. Federal officials have agreed to demolish 10 buildings at the site of the Santa Susana Field laboratory, where a nuclear meltdown happened in 1959.

California Kids: Students and families whose Advanced Placement responses could not be submitted during last week’s exams have filed a federal class-action lawsuit. State superintendent Tony Thurmond sided with several local school districts, saying that it will be difficult for them to reopen under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently proposed budget cuts.

Final Goodbyes: Former WWE pro wrestler Shad Gaspard’s body was found this morning after he was swept under the water at Venice Beach. He was last seen directing a lifeguard to save his son.

Your Moment Of Zen

Digital Producer Gina Pollack captured these palm trees in the breeze in Echo Park.

(Gina Pollack/LAist)

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