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Morning Briefing: Fixing California’s Unemployment System

A staffer works to process claims at California's unemployment office, March 30, 2020. (California Employment Development Department)
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Good morning, L.A.

In the midst of the smoldering dumpster fire that is our current political climate, some good news: Californians who are out of work can begin applying for unemployment again, hopefully with better results this time around.

After getting mired in a backlog of 1.6 million unresolved claims in late September, the state’s Employment Development Department closed down for two weeks to reset. In addition to the backlog, they hoped to address recent findings that applicants had, at best, a one-in-1,000 chance of reaching a human by phone, and that applicants who don’t speak English have a near-impossible time navigating the system.

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EDD officials said that during their 14-day shutdown, the department also worked on speeding up benefit payments and reducing fraud.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, October 6

The farm of the future might be in Compton, in a warehouse, and partially run by robots. LAist contributor Stefan Slater has the story of Plenty, a company backed by big tech bucks, that wants to change the way we grow and eat food.

The census may count people, but its data is also the basis for determining what type of roadwork is done, when and where, reports Dana Amihere.

As flu season gets underway amid a pandemic, L.A. County health officials announce free shots will be available at county libraries starting later this month. Jackie Fortiér has more.

Spooky screenings. Immersive, drive-through experiences. Pumpkin patches. Victorian mourning rituals. Family-friendly events. We've got it all. Christine N. Ziemba has this season’s best online and IRL Halloween events.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Money Matters: Californians who are out of work can once again file for unemployment benefits. When MGM delayed the release of the next James Bond film, one of the nation’s biggest chains had to padlock more than 500 domestic theaters.

L.A. Kids: All L.A. playgrounds can be reopened for public use, with mandatory social distancing and limited use up to 30 minutes. Outside spending on LAUSD school board races has already topped $11 million, putting this year's election well ahead of the record-shattering pace in 2017. Here’s how schools can apply for the highly coveted reopening waiver.

Representation Matters: Judge Martin Jenkins is the first openly gay man and the third Black man to be appointed to the California Supreme Court. Census-informed data is used to allocate federal dollars to ensure special education is properly funded, and to fill in opportunity gaps for students from low-income homes.

Here’s What To Do For Halloween: View Self Help Graphics' annual Día de los Muertos exhibition, join comedian Myq Kaplan's birthday party, prep for the upcoming election with a ballot cram session, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.

Photo Of The Day

A pedestrian walks past empty displays where upcoming movies were once promoted, in the before times.

(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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