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Voting by mail? Most Californians have preferred it over in-person voting for years
In the dramatic midterm elections of 2018, when the fate of the House and Senate hung in the balance and a new governor was about to be enthroned, two of every three votes tallied in California were cast via mail-in ballots rather than by in-person voting —even in the absence of a deadly pandemic. [Article]
by , Long Beach Press Telegram. 2020-10-23
2020 elections: Nearly 1.3 million ballots have already arrived at this L.A. County processing center
In a hangar about half the size of a football field at the Pomona Fairgrounds, nearly 200 temporary election workers — most of them young people — processed ballots that already arrived from drop box locations and mail boxes throughout the county. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2020-10-23
A massive legal fight still hangs over the Aliso Canyon gas leak, five years later
The Aliso Canyon storage facility leak, which released an estimated 109,000 metric tons of natural gas into the air in and around the northwest San Fernando Valley, has led to a level of litigation that is just as massive in scale. Five years from the day the months-long gas leak began, 35,717 plaintiffs have lawsuits still pending in Los Angeles Superior Court. They include residents and people who were in the area, claiming damages and violations were committed by Southern California Gas and the company’s parent Sempra Energy, due to the leak. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2020-10-23
Los Angeles County settles civil suit involving deputy public defender
Los Angeles County has agreed to pay out $450,000 to settle a civil case involving an alleged sexual assault by a deputy public defender of a client at a Lancaster courthouse five years ago, according to county records. The plaintiff, Dominga, accused Emmanuel Bart-Plange, who was the woman’s court-appointed attorney in a petty theft case in 2015, of coercing her to give him oral sex and then warning her to keep quiet, according to the 2018 civil lawsuit against the county and Bart-Plange. The plaintiff’s last name is being withheld because of the nature of the alleged sexual assault. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2020-10-23
Years after Aliso Canyon, California still isn't green enough
Five years ago, a broken well in the Aliso Canyon underground natural gas storage field in Porter Ranch caused the largest leak of methane in U.S. history. The leak forced more than 8,000 families to temporarily flee their homes because of the sickening smell. Over four months, the facility released more than 100,000 metric tons of methane — a potent greenhouse gas. The effects of the leak were equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions released from burning over 1 billion gallons of gasoline. The Aliso Canyon leak was an environmental catastrophe on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Like that earlier disaster, the Aliso Canyon blowout forced a reckoning with the risks and consequences of relying on fossil fuels. And it prompted leaders to call for the eventual shutdown of the Aliso Canyon underground storage field, something that would be feasible only if the state reduced its dependence on natural gas. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-23
How An Outsider Found Identity And Belonging In The Intangible Shared Spaces Of A Redlined City
Growing up Chicano in L.A. during the '60s and '70s, I had an emotional attachment to African Americans. Whites were the disciplinarians: Irish nuns, teachers, and authority figures like the L.A. County Sheriff's deputies who patrolled my East Los Angeles neighborhood. Maybe it's because as Chicanos, we were outsiders, too. [Article]
by , . 2020-10-23
L.A. County Seeks to Register People with Certain Criminal History to Vote
A coalition of county officials and partners gathered to celebrate L.A. Free the Vote, an initiative to encourage people affected by the criminal justice system to understand and exercise their right to vote. [Article]
by , KCET - SoCal Public TV. 2020-10-23
Experts Find LA's Use of QR Codes in Voting A Bad Idea
After $300-million and 11 years, the nation's largest county rolled out the first publicly-owned voting system earlier this year, promising "transparency, accessibility, usability, and security." [Article]
by , . 2020-10-23
COVID-19 grant deadline approaching for L.A. County businesses
A second round of funding has been announced for businesses in Los Angeles County who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.  [Article]
by , . 2020-10-23
Coronavirus: Test results backlog swells L.A. County case count
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Los Angeles County swelled significantly this week — the result, officials said, of a sizable backlog in the reporting of test results because of technical glitches. The full extent of the problem and how much it will affect the county’s COVID-19 case counts remain to be seen. Public health officials said Thursday that they’ve addressed the issues, though they expect to receive more accumulated results in the coming days. Of the 3,600 new cases reported in the county Thursday, officials said roughly 2,000 were from the backlog. County public health officials confirmed 2,773 new cases on Friday, with those higher numbers also being attributed to the backlog. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-23
L.A. eases rules for some schools to reopen under waivers
County officials have made it easier for elementary schools to reopen for their youngest students under waivers, dropping a requirement for schools to provide a letter of support from employee unions as part of the application, The Times has learned. The decision streamlines the application process and could potentially reopen classrooms to thousands of children, but it’s likely to raise concerns among teachers and other employees about possible exposure to health risks. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-23
Violent hate crimes in L.A. hit highest level in more than a decade; white supremacist acts jump 38%
Los Angeles County reported the highest number of violent hate crimes last year in more than a decade, with white supremacist crimes jumping by 38%, while attacks on the transgender community surged 64%, according to a new report. Of the 524 hate crimes reported in the county last year, 343 were of a violent nature, the largest number in this category since 2008, according to the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations 2019 annual report. There was one reported case of attempted murder. Black individuals remained the most frequently targeted victims of hate, according to the report, which gathers data from law enforcement agencies, educational institutions and community-based organizations. Hate crimes can range from slurs against an individual of a targeted group to vandalism to disorderly conduct and violent assaults. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-23
Dog activist Marc Ching charged by animal protection unit
Los Angeles prosecutors have filed charges against prominent animal rescuer Marc Ching, alleging that the Hollywood-backed activist practiced veterinary medicine without a license and engaged in deceptive advertising at his for-profit pet food store. The criminal case comes after a Times investigation earlier this year uncovered years of complaints by veterinarians that Ching persuaded pet owners to abandon prescribed treatment regimens and instead give their ailing dogs and cats products he sells at his business, the Petstaurant. The Times also exposed troubling financial practices by Ching’s animal rescue charity, the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, and raised questions about his rescue efforts overseas. The newspaper found evidence contradicting claims about the authenticity of some of the gruesome videos he shot of animals being tortured and killed in horrifying ways, including by blowtorch, at slaughterhouses in Asia. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-23
California Community Colleges receive $100-million gift
The California Community Colleges system announced Tuesday that it has received the largest ever gift to such institutions in the nation — $100 million — to help more students complete degrees, transfer to universities and support their basic living expenses. The gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation is described by college officials as a recognition of the role community colleges play in educating Californians and preparing them for the workforce. It also addresses the shortcomings of a system that is struggling in many regions to adequately and equitably address the higher education needs of some of the state’s poorest students. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-23
Public Work Provides Economic Security for Black Families and Communities
Public sector work has been a rare source of opportunity and security for African Americans in the U.S. economy for generations. Employment with numerous federal, state, and local government agencies throughout the 20th century not only offered a leg up to millions of Black families, but also became so identified with a path to the middle class that they hold cultural significance to many Black Americans. Government jobs alone, obviously, cannot solve structural racism. But in an economy where structural racism denies Black workers economic opportunities and economic security—which has amplified the racial wealth gap throughout U.S. history and today—public work has a long tradition of benefiting many Black families who serve their communities. [Article]
by , . 2020-10-23
Orange County’s Unemployment Rate Remains High as Potential Second Coronavirus Wave Looms
Orange County’s unemployment rate is hovering around 9 percent as the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout continues to be felt by residents across the county — and before a potential second wave this winter.  [Article]
by , Voice of OC. 2020-10-23
In Orange County's Little Saigon, Vietnamese American Voters Are Courted In Closely-Watched Congressional Race
Tam Nguyen can't escape the torrent of political advertising blanketing his Congressional district in coastal Orange County and springing onto his social media timelines — often in Vietnamese. [Article]
by , . 2020-10-23
Hate crimes rise in Orange County again, this time by 24%
From slurs to physical confrontations, hate crimes in Orange County rose in 2019 for the fifth year in a row, and by a huge leap, 24%. The findings were released this week by the nonprofit Orange County Human Relations Commission in its 2019 Hate Crimes Report. The review cited 83 hate crimes documented by community groups, education institutions and law enforcement. The annual report, which detailed 67 hate crimes in 2018, covers both hate crimes and hate incidents, the latter of which dropped from 165 two years earlier to 156 last year. A majority of the crimes involved the perpetrator attacking the victim for his or her race, national origin or ethnicity. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-23
California shouldn’t reverse course on criminal justice reforms
Proposition 20, the Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative, is one of the most contentious items on the statewide ballot because it would undo significant criminal justice system reforms passed by California voters in recent years at the very moment that many other states are finally starting to make needed reforms. [Article]
by , Orange County Register. 2020-10-23
Investigation into OC Supervisor Andrew Do’s campaign funds is closed
The California Fair Political Practices Commission has closed an investigation and will take no action regarding an allegation that Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do laundered campaign money through the Orange County Republican Party. The commission’s investigation concluded there was “insufficient evidence to support a finding” that transfers of money between Do and the party violated state law, according to a Friday, Oct. 23, letter from FPPC Senior Commission Counsel Christopher B. Burton. [Article]
by , Orange County Register. 2020-10-23
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