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The most important stories for you to know today

  • Updated Apr. 22, 2021 11:52 AM
    Published Apr. 22, 2021 10:05 AM

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    New Orleans French Quarter Restaurants And Businesses Start to Reopen With Social Distancing Practices in Place
    A station chef prepares food for service during dinner at Galatoire's Restaurant on May 22, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
    (Sean Gardner)

    People who need a job will feed people in need of food at two hip restaurants this week and next.

    This week at Ronan, a seasonally-driven Italian restaurant on Melrose, two entry-level hires will learn how to work in the back of the house as they prep meals for the needy. Next week, two new hires will cut their teeth at Long Beach's Little Coyote pizzeria.

    It's part of a unique program funded by nonprofit job training organization Chrysalis, which partnered with placement firm Kitchen Culture Recruiting.

    Chrysalis is covering the costs.

    "Having been a chef myself, I know that the best hires are the people who want to come and work at your operation, not necessarily the ones who have years of experience and a terrible attitude," says Kristel Arabian, owner of Kitchen Culture Recruiting.

    They've teamed with boutique eateries where they hope some of these temporary workers can land full-time jobs.

  • Updated Apr. 22, 2021 7:01 AM
    Published Apr. 22, 2021 7:00 AM

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    Grand Central Market: Many of downtown restaurants were closed, and those that remain open were take-out only. People were social distancing as required, and security guards at the entrances limited the number of people inside.
    (Chava Sanchez)

    If you're picking up takeout in the city of L.A. you may not be getting plastic forks, paper napkins or slew of other disposable items — unless you ask for them. Thank — or blame — a motion passed by the L.A. City Council yesterday aimed at reducing plastic waste and saving restaurants money.

    If Mayor Eric Garcetti signs the ordinance, it will go into effect this November for restaurants and stores with more than 26 employees. And everyone selling food will have to follow the rule by next April.

  • Stock City Life
    The association of African American Firefighters building in South LA.
    (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    Good morning, L.A. It’s April 22.

    Every day, our newsroom’s call-in show, AirTalk, welcomes a physician to answer listeners’ questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine. Earlier this week, host Larry Mantle spoke with Dr. Dean Blumberg, a professor of medicine and the chief of pediatric infectious diseases at U.C. Davis Children's Hospital. Here are some of the questions he got, and his answers. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity):

    It would appear we're going to be awash in vaccines pretty soon. Are we close to having vaccines with no takers?

    Yes, that's what the models suggest. We know that there was a lot of demand for vaccines at the beginning, and we also know that there are still people who are vaccine-hesitant, or really anti-vaccine. As the people who want the vaccine get vaccinated, there eventually will be more vaccine available than people demand.

    This is going to be the more challenging part of the vaccine delivery — really trying to convince those who are hesitant or reluctant to be vaccinated that we do have safe and effective vaccines.

    The U.S. State Department has put out a travel warning for something like 80% of the world because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Do you think that that is medically justified?

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    Yes. Worldwide, we're seeing spikes in so many countries now. The U.S. is in a relatively good place, along with other countries such as the U.K., Taiwan, Iceland. But there's just a handful of countries that have really done well controlling transmission.

    There's a lot less COVID-19 around us, but it's still there, and we’re trying to understand the variants. What would you say to people who still have the perception that they're taking their life in their hands when they step outside their home?

    Well, I don't think we're ever going to get to zero risk. And so we’re going to need to get to the understanding that everybody has different risk tolerances. We've all been hyped up to be scared of being with people without wearing a mask. Or, if somebody coughs, it makes us nervous. So as we get more people vaccinated and return to normality, we are going to go back to some socializing, some large gatherings in person, eventually we're going to not be masking in public, and I think that's going to be an adjustment for everybody.

    It can be done gradually. It doesn't have to be all at once. We don't have to all rip off our masks and be in a stadium with 100,000 other people.

    We've trained ourselves to have that kind of visceral response to the risk. It's going to take a long time, I think, to get out of that immediate response.

    Oh, I fully understand that, and I've experienced that myself. And so I think people need to be generous with themselves, be forgiving with themselves and just really take small steps and not try to change everything at once. This last year we've been through an awful lot with changing our norms.

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

    What Else You Need To Know Today

    Before You Go … LA Muralists Sonia Romero And Kristy Sandoval Paint The Future

    Decolonized by Kristy Sandoval.
    (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    As two of the most celebrated and prolific muralists in L.A., a city that ranks alongside Buenos Aires, Melbourne, New York City and Montreal as one of the mural capitals of the world, Romero and Sandoval join a legacy of trailblazers who put this city's street art on the map.

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  • Updated Apr. 21, 2021 5:24 PM
    Published Apr. 21, 2021 5:08 PM

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    L.A. County Department of Mental Health workers board a Therapeutic Transport van
    One of the L.A. County Department of Mental Health's five 'Therapeutic Transport' vans
    (Courtesy L.A. County Department of Mental Health)

    L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposed budget includes almost $19 million for an effort his office is calling TURN — Therapeutic Unarmed Response for Neighborhoods.

    He wants to fund five separate projects that all in one way or another provide alternatives to a police response to mental health crises.

    Some $10 million would go towards alternative mental health crisis response programs, which have yet to be finalized.

  • Updated Apr. 21, 2021 10:43 PM
    Published Apr. 21, 2021 3:49 PM

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    Edward McKee welds a part for an electric bus at BYD Coach & Bus in Lancaster.
    Edward McKee welds a piece for an electric bus at the BYD Coach & Bus manufacturing facility in Lancaster.
    (Courtesy: BYD)

    Electric bus manufacturing, cleantech entrepreneurship, sustainability research — as our economy moves away from fossil fuels, green jobs are moving in.

    Los Angeles County is expected to see a nearly 80% increase in green jobs by 2050 — twice as much growth as expected for all jobs in the county, according to a recent report commissioned by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

    The promising outlook for green jobs is driven, in part, by local, state and national plans to ramp up efforts to address the growing climate crisis. But are Angelenos ready for those jobs?

    "We've got to prepare people to be competitive for these jobs and be trained for these jobs," said Matt Petersen, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and former chief sustainability officer for the city of Los Angeles

  • Updated Apr. 22, 2021 9:47 AM
    Published Apr. 21, 2021 2:33 PM

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    L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    Austin Beutner, who has led the Los Angeles Unified School District through a period of unprecedented tumult, will step down as superintendent after his current contract expires at the end of June.

    In a letter sent Wednesday afternoon, Beutner asked LAUSD board members to allow his contract to expire "as planned on June 30."

    Beutner's decision will plunge the nation's second-largest school district into its sixth leadership transition in a decade. Beutner is LAUSD's third non-interim superintendent in the last 10 years. In his letter, Beutner suggested that board members won't have to look far for a replacement.

    "I believe," Beutner wrote, "the next superintendent of Los Angeles Unified can be found amongst the current team and she or he will be well placed to continue the progress at this critical time."

    "In the meantime," he added, "I will remain focused on the task of ensuring that schools reopen in the safest way possible while helping in a seamless leadership transition."

  • Updated Apr. 21, 2021 10:42 AM
    Published Apr. 21, 2021 10:28 AM

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    A vaccination site has been set up in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.
    (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    City of L.A.'s COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites have reopened today after closing for the afternoon yesterday, according to the L.A. mayor's office.

    (Yesterday's appointments were canceled as officials prepped for possible reaction in the region from the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.)

    Here's what officials told me should happen if you had your appointment canceled or postponed:

    • Appointments on April 20 after noon at L.A. City vax sites were postponed. You should get a text or email from Carbon Health with a new appointment scheduled for this week. Patients with canceled appointments will be prioritized.
    • If your appointment was cancelled on April 20 and you don't hear from Carbon Health by this Friday (April 23) with a new appointment, email: or call 213 634-3059.
  • Updated Apr. 22, 2021 11:11 AM
    Published Apr. 21, 2021 6:00 AM

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    (Photo via Cal State Northridge/Facebook)

    Like colleges nationwide, California universities are beginning to reveal whether they'll require students to be vaccinated if they want to return to campus in the fall.

    Chico State told its students this month that those wishing to live in the dorms in the fall, as well as student athletes, will be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination. Cal State Long Beach will require proof of vaccination by June 1 from students wishing to live in the dorms in the fall.

    Cal State Fullerton is taking the opposite approach.

    "[W]e are not requiring students to be vaccinated at this time," said Cal State Fullerton spokesman Chi-Chung Keung.

    "The vaccine is currently being used on emergency use authorization (EUA) and we will reevaluate once the vaccine has been given full authorization," he said.

    Here's what we know so far:

    • CSU Long Beach: Vaccines required for students living in the dorms
    • Cal Poly Pomona: Students not required to be vaccinated for return in the fall
    • CSU Northridge: No decision on vaccination requirement for the fall
    • CSU San Bernardino: No decision on vaccination requirement for the fall
    • CSU Los Angeles:No decision on vaccination requirement for the fall
    • CSU Dominguez Hills:No decision on vaccination requirement for the fall

    The union that represents faculty objected to giving campuses autonomy on these decisions.

  • Updated Apr. 21, 2021 11:22 AM
    Published Apr. 21, 2021 5:00 AM

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    Stock City Life
    Sunsets over a neighborhood in south west Los Angeles.
    (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

    Good morning, L.A. It’s April 21.

    Yesterday, jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, found Chauvin guilty on all three counts with which he was charged: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He could face up to 40 years in prison.

    Many local officials weighed in on the jury’s decision, often noting that policing in America must change. On Twitter, L.A. District Attorney George Gascón — who has vowed to review several local police shooting cases in which no charges were filed — wrote: “The jury delivered accountability, but the future of equality rests squarely in America’s hands … Effective policing must be fair and just to enhance our collective safety.”

    In a statement, L.A. City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas said: “Today’s verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial is a victory for justice, a victory for accountability, and a victory for common sense ... Mr. Floyd’s legacy lives on through our collective work and advocacy to reimagine policing across this country.”

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    L.A. County Supervisor Holly Williams also issued a statement, saying, “Today’s verdict is a powerful reminder that no one is above the law. And a jury of Mr. Chauvin’s peers validated the life experience of all of us who attempt to survive our Blackness each and every day.”

    And California Gov. Gavin Newsom took to Twitter as well, writing: “George Floyd would still be alive if he looked like me ... we must continue our work to root out the racial injustice that haunts our society.”

    Leading up to the trial, some of our readers and listeners described being re-traumatized by watching the footage of Floyd’s death again as the prosecution made its case. The nine-minute-plus video had been circulated widely last summer.

    In L.A., protests spurred by Floyd’s murder began shortly after he was killed and continued for months.

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

    What Else You Need To Know Today

    Correction: In yesterday's Morning Brief, we misidentified Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia as Rick Garcia. LAist regrets the error.

    Before You Go … The LAist BBQpedia, Vol. 1

    Ribs and brisket from Moo's BBQ.
    Ribs and brisket from Moo's BBQ.
    (Ben Mesirow for LAist)

    It's not the recipe that makes one brisket superior to another — it's technique. Timing, skill, intuition, repetition. It's labor intensive. Standards are high and competition is tough. So it's thrilling to see a preponderance of L.A. pitmasters pushing killer 'cue.

    Central Texas is the most common barbecue style you'll find locally, but SoCal now has as many interesting, personal takes on the genre. We've scoured the city and put together a list, loosely organized by style of barbecue, with a note about origins. Welcome to the LAist BBQpedia, Volume 1.

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  • Updated Apr. 21, 2021 9:47 AM
    Published Apr. 20, 2021 5:22 PM

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    Nation Reacts To Derek Chauvin Trial Verdict
    Across the U.S. people reacted emotionally to news that disgraced former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Flloyd.
    (Spencer Platt)

    It took about 10 hours for 12 Minneapolis jurors to convict former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murder in the death of a Black man, George Floyd. I was surprised. My friends and family were surprised.

    We all watched what happened. So why did Derek Chauvin’s conviction feel like such a surprise?