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What You Need To Know Today: The Ripple Effects of Hate Speech, LA City Council To Hold Special Election, Demand Is High For Section 8 In LA

Leslie Gollub, left, and Gretchen Gordon hug after a recent anti-Semitic attack in California. (Denis Poroy/AP)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Wednesday, October 26.  

Today in How To LA: The ripple effects of hate speech in LA, LA City Council to hold special election to replace Nury Martinez; plus, when buffalo roamed Hollywood

We’ve been talking a lot about local politics lately, especially with the scandal in the L.A. City Council. As an Angeleno who just moved back here after being away for so long, the information in the Voter Game Plan and The Ballot Is Long helped me stay informed. I’ve learned so much about the role of the mayor, the council and the sheriff’s department since I’ve worked at LAist. I’m officially ready to vote, y’all! And I’m not the only one who values this work. 

Melanie from Marina Del Rey said: "Your coverage of the unfolding City Council debacle is outstanding. I thank you.” 

As a community-driven journalist at heart, I believe reliable local news is important. I know you believe it too. I wholeheartedly appreciate you because you’ve been keeping this daily newsletter running. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, my friend. 

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Now to the news…just a few days ago, a white supremacist group hung a banner over the 405 freeway that said: “Kanye was right about the Jews.” Later that day, the group placed defamatory, antisemitic flyers at several Beverly Hills homes.

Why did this group feel compelled to do this? 

With the rise of antisemitic attacks in the Los Angeles region already, Kanye West’s hateful outbursts about the Jewish community add fuel to the fire here in the city. Los Angeles has the second largest Jewish community in the U.S. with nearly 565,000 people that live here.

While Kanye, who now calls himself Ye, is known for saying controversial, outlandish, racist remarks (like when he said in 2018, that slavery was a choice on TMZ) and has tied himself with right-wing conservative personalities who are known to incite hate speech (like Donald Trump and Candace Owens), these latest tirades have struck a nerve. It’s apparent that his words have excited neo-Nazis and other hate groups (those guys on the 405) to spew more hate.

“The problem is, when influencers like Kanye West use hateful, slanderous, vicious remarks about Jews or any other minority group or historically marginalized group, it spawns many copycats and it creates an environment where it is normalized,” said Rabbi Noah Farkas, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

The How To LA podcast team spoke with Rabbi Farkas for its latest podcast episode. He shared some advice about what should be done when big name celebrities and people with power say hateful remarks that could incite more crimes locally. First of all, he said, they should be de-platformed.

“I'm very thankful for the organizations, the companies that have already begun to walk away from these kinds of relationships. When we give energy to these relationships, we normalize their speech and we allow them to proliferate hate in our community.”

Ye’s talent agency and one of Hollywood’s biggest agencies, CAA, ended its relationship with the music star after these outbursts. Balenciaga and JP Morgan did as well. And just yesterday, after dragging its feet, Adidas released a statement confirming the company will no longer work with Ye or help with the production of his line. Twitter and Instagram also took action against the rapper. George Floyd’s family announced last week that they will be filing a $250 million lawsuit against Ye due to his claim on a podcast that Floyd died from fentanyl use instead of the pressure of police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck.

Earlier this month, he appeared at a Paris Fashion Week show with a “White Lives Matter” shirt. Soon after, he donated a box of T-Shirts with the phrase to unhoused people on Skid Row, and received criticism from several Black Angeleno activists. When it comes to fighting hate, specifically anti-Semitism, Rabbi Farkas thinks more could be done at an organizational level.

“There are wonderful diversity, equity, and inclusion movements happening across corporations, civic spaces, non-profit organizations, and schools. But for whatever reason, historically, in the last several years, Jews have been excluded from diversity, equity, and inclusion training,” he noted. "I think one of the ways that we can be more supportive of the Jewish community is to put us on par with everyone else who is experiencing these kinds of hate crimes.”

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As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

The News You Need After You Stop Hitting Snooze

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding!

  • The L.A. City Council voted to hold a special election in April to replace Nury Martinez, who represented District 6 in the San Fernando Valley before resigning in wake of the leaked tape scandal. The council unanimously named Curren Price President Pro Tem. 
  • Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore said he launched an investigation into the source of the leaked tapes that turned the city and its council upside down. (Los Angeles Times)
  • The Housing Authority of L.A. has received 180,000 applications for the Section 8 housing vouchers in just a week of reopening the lottery. The downside? There’s only 30,000 waitlist spots. 
  • Mike Davis, author of "City of Quartz" has died. That book, a bestseller, is a seminal work on Los Angeles, an examination of what made this city what it is, and what might eventually break it.  (Los Angeles Times)
  • Advertising in a closely-watched House seat in Orange County is tapping into antipathy toward China and Communism to gain the coveted Little Saigon vote. But some in Vietnamese-language media are challenging those tactics.
  • This fall voters are weighing in on whether to amend to the state constitution to protect one’s right to an abortion. But lawmakers still have not figured out whether the amendment, Proposition 1, would maintain current law which allows abortion up to 24 weeks or expand on it to allow an abortion any point during a pregnancy. 
  • Recycling plastic is proving to be almost impossible with most of it still ending up in landfills. That’s according to a new report from Greenpeace.
  • The COVID-19 omicron variant continues to evolve and change rapidly, sprouting all sorts of subvariants. Could it outsmart our immunity?

Wait! One More Thing...There's A Buffalo in the Ballroom?!

three men stand there, wearing suits, linking arms
1937: Joseph Kennedy, the American Ambassador to Britain (center) stands between two of his sons, John F Kennedy (left), later the 35th President of the United States of America, and Joseph Kennedy Jnr, in London.
Getty Images)

Okay, today in this week’s edition of L.A. History, we are going to take a quick trip to a time when folks brewed illegal booze, farmed trout and shot wild buffalo that charged into ballrooms.

Yes, we’re talking about the early days of Hollywood, which was full of hedonistic debauchery. The buffalo in question came face to face with Joseph Kennedy, Sr. (yes, father to JFK) at a party hosted by actor Noah Beery when a teenage Noah Beery Jr. alerted his father to the intruder. The senior Beery, an influential guy in early Hollywood, shot the poor creature dead. The next week he invited folks back for a buffalo BBQ.

I don’t want to give you too much information, but boy did they party hard. Read more about those wild times in Hadley Meares article here.

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