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The most important stories for you to know today
  • The L.A. Report
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    Mental Health Special: Yeah No, I'm Not OK by LAist Studios
  • Politics
    Updated Jun. 13, 2021 8:27 PM
    Published Jun. 13, 2021 11:03 AM

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    CA Secretary of State Shirley Weber
    California Secretary of State Shirley Weber testified at a state Reparations Task Force meeting via videoconference on June 1, 2021.
    (California Department of Justice screenshot)

    As California’s reparations committee embarks on a two-year process to study the harms of slavery and systemic racism, task force members will confront how a single state, which never formally sanctioned slavery, can make amends.

    During the first meeting, members openly grappled with whether reparations should mean direct payments or long-term investments, such as education and housing, to boost African American households.

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  • Arts and Entertainment
    Updated Jun. 10, 2021 3:51 PM
    Published Jun. 10, 2021 3:05 PM

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    From the cover to DC Pride, featuring Batwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Dreamer, the Question, and more.
    (Courtesy DC Comics)

    Like a lot of other pop culture — and society as a whole — comic books haven’t always been a welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people. But this Pride Month, DC Comics has released DC Pride, an anthology featuring queer characters from queer creators.

    Comic book writer Sina Grace found out that this book was in the works and begged to be a part of it, Grace told LAist. He contributes the story “Be Gay, Do Crimes,” using the popular queer anarchist catchphrase to tell a story about how different generations look at the problems affecting LGBTQ+ communities.

    Grace’s story features reformed Flash supervillain Pied Piper and an upstart criminal following in his footsteps, Drummer Boy. Pied Piper, who uses a flute with hypnotic powers, comes up against the new character and his superpowered electronic drum pads.

    He found a way into the character with a story about the way perspective can shift from one generation of queer activists to another, as well as how that perspective shifts as you get older.

    “It was just a conversation with myself about how a younger version of me would see me,” Grace said.

  • News
    Updated Jun. 10, 2021 2:16 PM
    Published Jun. 10, 2021 2:15 PM

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    California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a podium in the foreground. Attorney General Rob Bonta and family members who lost loved ones to gun violence watch in the background, wearing masks.
    California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at San Francisco General Hospital on June 10, 2021. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that the state of California has filed an appeal to a recent decision by a U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego to overturn California's three-decade-old ban on assault weapons stating that California's ban on assault weapons violates the constitutional right to bear arms.
    (Justin Sullivan)

    California officials have filed an appeal against last week's court ruling that overturned the state's decades-old assault weapons ban.

    In a news conference Thursday, state Attorney General Rob Bonta called the decision "disappointing." He argued for what he called "common sense" gun control in the wake of last month's mass shooting in San Jose.

    In his 94-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Benitez of San Diego compared the assault weapons to Swiss Army knives and argued the ban has not curbed gun violence in the state.

    Governor Gavin Newsom had pointed criticism for Judge Benitez, calling him "a stone-cold ideologue" and a "wholly-owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association."

    "Weapons of war don’t belong on our streets," Newsom later tweeted. "CA’s assault weapon ban has saved countless lives — we will do everything in our power to keep it in place."

    The current law banning assault weapons remains in effect for 30 days to allow enough time for an appeal to make its way through the courts.

  • Education
    Updated Jun. 10, 2021 10:46 AM
    Published Jun. 10, 2021 10:33 AM

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    Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner (center) delivers remarks at a press conference on June 5, 2019, at Western Avenue Elementary School in South L.A., flanked by school board members Nick Melvoin (left) and Jackie Goldberg (center, back), Mayor Eric Garcetti (right) and other supporters of a failed proposal to levy a parcel tax on property owners in LAUSD. (Kyle Stokes/KPCC)

    The Los Angeles Unified School District will explore options to create more affordable housing for its teachers and staff.

    This week, the school board approved a plan that grants $1.5 million to study how to make that housing happen, including possibly on unused LAUSD real estate.

    L.A. Unified is the largest landowner in the greater L.A. area, according to Superintendent Austin Beutner. He said high housing costs and long commutes are keeping talented people out of LAUSD's talent pool.

    "This critical effort will create 2,000 units of affordable workforce housing, which will help recruit the next generation of teachers and school staff, and allow them to live in the community they serve," Beutner said.

    The district previously worked with developers on three projects where employees received renting priority: one on the Gardena High School campus, another near the Selma Avenue Elementary campus in Hollywood and a third near Norwood Street Elementary in University Park.

    But reports in 2016 found a hiccup with some of those properties: because of the federal subsidies used to build them, teachers made too much to qualify for the housing, though district support staff did qualify.

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  • Housing and Homelessness
    Updated Jun. 10, 2021 11:22 AM
    Published Jun. 10, 2021 10:04 AM

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    Stock Coronavirus: Beach: Hiking: Social Distancing23.jpg

    Venice Beach has been a sanctuary for L.A.’s art lovers, tourists and entertainment. But as the homelessness crisis has grown there, some residents have become increasingly frustrated.

    This week, the tension between unhoused and housed Venice Beach residents ratcheted up in a political battle between lawmakers and law enforcement.

    Taking center stage were L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the area, and L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

  • Arts and Entertainment
    Updated Jun. 10, 2021 9:03 AM
    Published Jun. 10, 2021 7:00 AM

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    Hotel Mumbai
    Dev Patel in the terror attack movie "Hotel Mumbai"
    (Kerry Monteen/Allstar/Screen Australia)

    Muslims account for nearly one-quarter of the world’s population, but when it comes to how they’re depicted in movies, they’re almost totally invisible — except when they’re tied to violence, according to a new study.

    The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative examined the 200 most popular films from 2017 to 2019 in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Out of nearly 9,000 speaking roles in those movies, fewer than 2% of the characters were Muslim, researchers found.

    In almost all of the films that had speaking roles for Muslim characters, they were either targets or perpetrators of violence. One out of five was killed off by the movie’s end.

  • News
    Updated Jun. 10, 2021 10:31 AM
    Published Jun. 10, 2021 5:00 AM

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    In this image, an adult helps a child put on a panda face shield, while another child watches.
    New coronavirus safety guidelines prevented parents from walking their kids into the classroom.
    (Manoja Weerakoon for LAist)

    Good morning, L.A. It’s June 10.

    A couple words we’ve heard consistently through the pandemic are “essential workers.” One group of people doing some of that essential work are child care providers.

    Last summer, LAist and KPCC gave cameras to 12 caregivers in Southern California and invited them to document their lives.

    Now we’ve published a photo-rich series of five stories, chronicling the highs and lows of child care during the pandemic, unfiltered. The series is also available en español.

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    Early education reporter Mariana Dale and engagement producer Stefanie Ritoper and
    visual journalist Chava Sanchez helmed the project. I asked them what they will take away from the immersive series. Here’s what they had to say:

    We can’t not talk about the problems endemic in the tangled web that is child care and early education... The pandemic pretty much made all of this worse; child care got even more expensive to provide and even less accessible. We’ll keep reporting on these problems and the people working to solve them. But what we’d want to highlight is that these photos also show the inescapable joy in the work of early childhood.

    We see 6-year-old Charlie running after a balloon, kids playing in water, or getting down on the floor to inspect a caterpillar with a magnifying glass. One of the child care providers, Susana Alonzo, took a really striking photo of a group of kids in masks standing around a little girl who is about to blow out a birthday candle on a brownie.

    We think there’s a lot to say about how child care providers and caregivers recognize how important these little things are at this time and how they’ve held a space for kids to play and feel joy.

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

    What Else You Need To Know Today

    • The L.A. County Democratic Party is calling on Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign, accusing him of “perpetuating a culture of police brutality” among his more than 9,000 deputies and failing to rid the department of gangs.
    • As many as 3,000 elegant tern eggs were abandoned last month at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach when a drone crashed into the wetlands and scared off the nesting seabirds. Now the Bolsa Chica Conservancy is raising money for new signs that explain why the regulations are so important to follow.
    • A contract worker is accused of stealing hundreds of blank vaccine cards from a COVID-19 vaccination center at the Pomona Fairplex.

    Before You Go... A Guide To Summer Cocktails

    A glass filled with pale yellow liquid and rimmed with orange powder
    Madre's Smokey Margarita.
    (Courtesy of Madre)

    I haven’t seen Another Round yet, but Caroline Pardilla’s impressive guide to L.A.’s takeout cocktails has me wanting to make life imitate art all summer long. Whether you like them canned, fruity, bubbly or with mezcal (mi favorito), this list has something for everyone. Explore the guide here.

    Help Us Cover Your Community
    • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.

    • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.

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  • Criminal Justice
    Updated Jun. 9, 2021 4:22 PM
    Published Jun. 9, 2021 3:16 PM

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    Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva at the graduation ceremony for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Academy class 433 at East Los Angeles College, Friday, January 4, 2019. Kyle Grillot for LAist
    Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
    (Kyle Grillot for LAist)

    L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva suffered a blow to his expected 2022 re-election campaign Tuesday night when the L.A. County Democratic Party — once once one of his biggest supporters — called on him to resign.

    The party's central committee overwhelmingly passed a resolution accusing him of perpetuating a culture of police brutality” among his more than 9,000 deputies and failing to rid the department of “deputy gangs.”

    In an email to party members before the vote, Villanueva called the resolution an effort by the Board of Supervisors to "disparage and weaken me in order to gain control of the sheriff’s department."

  • Health
    Updated Jun. 9, 2021 5:43 PM
    Published Jun. 9, 2021 1:52 PM

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    Stock- Coronavirus Health
    (Chava Sanchez/Laist)

    California will eliminate the color-coded tier system and public mask mandate on June 15, a date that’s been billed as the state’s economic reopening by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

    Businesses will be allowed to reopen at full capacity. The state's mask guidance will be updated to allow fully vaccinated Californians to do almost everything they did pre-pandemic without wearing a mask, like grocery shopping or going to the gym.

    Masks will still be required for everyone in high risk settings — like public transit, at an indoor K-through-12 school, or at a health facility. But unvaccinated people will still need to mask up no matter where they go.

  • News
    Updated Jun. 9, 2021 5:00 AM
    Published Jun. 9, 2021 5:00 AM

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    A person walking a dog looks towards an encampment at Venice Beach on June 7, 2021 in Los Angeles.
    (Patrick T. Fallon)

    Good morning, L.A. It’s June 9.

    The actions and reactions on homelessness in Los Angeles’ Venice neighborhood have made plenty of headlines in recent years — from the legal fights over a bridge housing shelter to the conflicts between housed and unhoused neighbors to documented incidents of violence at encampments on the famed Venice boardwalk.

    Now Venice is at the center of a jurisdictional tug-of-war between the city and the county sheriff’s department.

    Earlier this week, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he would dispatch deputies to the Ocean Front Walk — even though that falls under LAPD jurisdiction — to clear encampments of unhoused people.

    The sheriff said city leaders have failed and tweeted that his department’s homeless outreach team would go to Venice to “compassionately offer services while employing common sense in the regulation of public space within Los Angeles County.”

    On Tuesday, those deputies arrived, as documented by reporters and advocates for unhoused people.

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    L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents Venice and other West. L.A. communities in District 11, tweeted a thread critical of Villanueva, calling the sheriff a “roadblock” to progress on the homelessness crisis.

    “In Venice, we're working to marshall resources to offer housing and services to hundreds of people living on the streets,” Bonin wrote. “Villanueva hasn't offered actual help. This is a serious crisis. We need people interested in solving it, not exploiting it.”

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

    What Else You Need To Know Today

    • The governor's proposal to fund transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds is receiving mixed reviews. While many parents and educators welcome the educational benefits, some private child care centers, and the parents that rely on them for extended care hours, worry it could put them out of business.
    • Local vintners are upset about a zoning ordinance that prohibits new vineyards and doesn't clarify whether they can expand existing ones.
    • Prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Costa Mesa couple in the fatal shooting of 6-year-old Aiden Leos during an apparent road rage incident in Orange County. Prosecutors allege Marcus Eriz, 24, pulled the trigger, while his girlfriend, Wynne Lee, 23, drove the car. They charged Eriz with murder, and will seek an enhanced penalty for using a firearm.
    • A new free COVID-19 vaccination site opened up at Union Station in downtown L.A.
    • Eons ago, Venus experienced its own global warming. Will studying the planet help us understand the impact of unchecked climate change?

    Before You Go... Here Are Some Ways To Celebrate Pride Month Virtually

    A rainbow pride flag flows overhead as a marcher helping hold it walks in the foreground.
    Marchers carry a rainbow flag in the LA Pride Parade on June 8, 2014 in West Hollywood.
    (David McNew/Getty Images
    Getty Images North America)

    From online concerts to a Dodger game to movie nights, there are plenty of ways to take in Pride Month. You can learn more about those and other events in our weekly things-to-do list.

    Help Us Cover Your Community
    • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything.

    • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know.