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Arrest made in breach of L.A. County election worker data - Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County prosecutors have accused the chief executive of a small Michigan software company of compromising the personal information of hundreds of county elections employees. Eugene Yu, 51, was arrested early Tuesday just outside Lansing, Mich., after prosecutors alleged he improperly stored the information on servers in China, according to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón. Yu, who is the chief executive officer of a company named Konnech, is expected to be extradited to Los Angeles in the coming days, Gascón said. Los Angeles County awarded Konnech a contract in 2020 to store employee payroll and scheduling data using its PollChief software, according to Gascón. Under the five-year contract valued at nearly $3 million, Konnech was not supposed to store information outside the U.S., Gascón said. “Konnech allegedly violated its contract by storing critical information that the workers provided on servers in China,” Gascón said. “We intend to hold all those responsible for this breach accountable.” It did not appear any of the information had been sold, and Gascón said Yu’s alleged actions had not compromised an election’s integrity. Prosecutors learned of the data breach this year through a “separate investigation” undertaken by the district attorney’s office, according to Gascón. He would not say what the other investigation was or exactly when his office became aware of the breach. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
The show goes on for small theaters, who get a win after Newsom signs bill – Daily News
The small theater community could not have written a happier ending on Thursday, Sept. 29, when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1116 into law, a measure introduced by state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, D-Burbank, which seeks to create a payroll fund to support small nonprofit performing arts venues. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2022-10-05
 
Property owners sue Humboldt County for improper cannabis fines, enforcement – Times-Standard
Moving to Humboldt County was supposed to be the silver lining for Corrine and Doug Thomas, whose Southern California home burned down in the Woolsey Fire in 2018. Their new home, near the Avenue of the Giants, was nestled among the redwoods and had a large barn Doug could use for his workshop. But less than a week after moving in, the Thomases received a notice from Humboldt County Code Enforcement stating they had to tear the barn down because it had been used to grow cannabis two years earlier. If they didn’t demolish the building within 10 days, they would face fines of $12,000 per day. But the Thomases didn’t have the $180,000 needed to demolish the barn and are now facing $1,080,000 in fines. On Wednesday, the Thomases joined fellow Southern Humboldt County residents Blu Graham and Rhonda Olson in filing a class-action lawsuit against Humboldt County, the Planning and Building Department and the Board of Supervisors for taking a “dragnet approach” to the county cannabis abatement program, which “catches plenty of harmless conduct and innocent landowners.” [Article]
by , Eureka Times-Standard. 2022-10-05
 
LA Metro’s K Line — The Long Awaited Crenshaw/LAX Extension — Is Opening. Here’s What Riders Can Expect | LAist
It took more than half a century of studying, planning and constructing (and delays), but the vision for a high-capacity rail line through South Los Angeles and Inglewood that links to one of the busiest airports in the world is finally arriving (mostly). [Article]
by , . 2022-10-05
 
Holzmann: Orange County's Spiraling Unnatural Death Crisis
It is now Fall and it looks like a cold, cruel winter ahead for the most vulnerable in Orange County. The Sheriff’s Department recently released its Coroner’s Report for 2021 and the numbers are terrifying. [Article]
by , Voice of OC. 2022-10-05
 
This COVID-19 tracker changed how we saw the pandemic. Its creator fears it won't be useful much longer - Los Angeles Times
In the beginning it was a lifeline, an organized collection of facts amid a swirl of coronavirus uncertainty and misinformation. “Feels like this is going to be another day where it’s a battle to do anything while staring at the Johns Hopkins dashboard,” an editor in Michigan tweeted on April 13, 2020, along with a screenshot of the global death toll to date at that time: 114,983. Nearly 2½ years later, more than 6.5 million people have died from COVID-19, hundreds of millions of infections have been recorded, and Lauren Gardner, the Johns Hopkins engineer who led the creation of the university’s lauded COVID-19 dashboard, has been recognized with a major prize. On Wednesday, Gardner won the 2022 Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award. Past honorees include Doctors Without Borders and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Bestowed by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation for achievement in medical science, the Lasker awards are sometimes referred to as “America’s Nobels,” and many honorees go on to win Nobel prizes. The dashboard “set a new standard for disseminating authoritative public health data in real time,” the judges said, and “cut through the noise of misinformation and became the most authoritative and trusted source of information for the COVID pandemic.” [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
Here's How To Apply For LA's Section 8 Waitlist | LAist
The city of Los Angeles has announced that on Oct. 17 it will reopen its waitlist for the Section 8 housing voucher program, which provides federal funding to subsidize rent for low-income tenants. [Article]
by , . 2022-10-05
 
L.A. to end COVID eviction protections by February - Los Angeles Times
After nearly three years of COVID-19 emergency restrictions, landlords will once again be allowed to evict tenants who have fallen behind on their rent, the L.A. City Council decided Tuesday. The unanimous vote allows the eviction protections, some of the longest-lasting in the country, to end starting Feb. 1. The restrictions have prohibited landlords from evicting renters affected by COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. At the time, the fear was that the widespread economic damage caused by the virus could cause a tsunami of evictions that would send homeless rates soaring as well as further fuel COVID-19’s spread. “This policy that was put into place two years ago was intended solely to keep people housed and keep them off the streets,” City Council President Nury Martinez said before the vote. “Now is time that we not only keep people off the streets but also protect people’s housing and preserve their financial well-being.” L.A.’s eviction protections were part of a robust set of policies advanced by federal, state and local officials during the pandemic. Tenants in the city of Los Angeles received $1.5 billion in rental assistance, according to L.A. housing officials, in an effort to keep renters in their homes while also paying landlords’ bills. About 70% of tenants receiving the money were residents classified as “extremely low-income,” such as families of four making less than $35,340 a year. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
Coronavirus Today: How COVID lies spread on Facebook - Los Angeles Times
They say a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. That’s especially true if the lies are about COVID-19 and they’re being spread via Facebook. This feels like the kind of platitude that’s easy to believe yet impossible to prove. But three researchers from the Dynamic Online Networks Lab at George Washington University have done so, and they explained how in a paper published last week in the journal Science Advances. It turns out a multitude of factors contributed to the triumph of bad COVID information over good. Key among them was the fact that anti-science forces didn’t hesitate to share their opinions online, while those guided by evidence sat on the sidelines. By the time the latter group joined the fray, it was too late to make much difference. The trio figured this out by examining Facebook community pages. These are places where members seek advice about topics of common interest, such as health and parenting. The researchers began with pages that hosted discussions about vaccine safety in November 2019, just before the coronavirus became news. From there, they traced the pages’ outward links, then the links of those pages and so on until they had mapped an entire network of 1,356 interlinked communities that collectively claimed 86.7 million members. Once the network was defined, the content of each page was assessed for its scientific validity. Pages were classified as “pro” if they endorsed and actively promoted positions in line with public health guidance; “anti” if they did the opposite; or “neutral” if they were focused on issues not directly related to health, such as organic cooking or pets. By the time the researchers were done, they had identified 211 pro communities and 501 that were anti. In terms of users, however, the pro communities had the clear advantage, collectively claiming 13 million members while the anti communities had 7.5 million. Both camps were outnumbered by the 644 neutral communities, which had 66.2 million members among them. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
Coronavirus: L.A. County reported 1,058 more cases and 10 new deaths, Oct. 5 – Daily News
Los Angeles County public health officials reported 1,058 more cases of the coronavirus since Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 3,461,037 as of Wednesday, Oct. 5. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Daily News. 2022-10-05
 
Sexual And Reproductive Health Needs Of Asian Women Will Be Focus Of $3M UCLA Study | LAist
Topline: UCLA has received $3 million in federal funds to study the sexual and reproductive health needs of Asian immigrant women. What's the goal? To collect data for separate ethnic groups and for immigrants of different statuses — including undocumented, naturalized citizens and green card holders. Why it matters: Prof. May Sudhinaraset says Asians are the fastest growing group in the country — but existing data lumps them into one category or excludes them. [Article]
by , . 2022-10-05
 
Abcarian: One small cannabis grower's survival plan? To be the best - Los Angeles Times
Six years ago, just weeks before California voters legalized cannabis for adult recreational use, I visited a couple named Swami Chaitanya and Nikki Lastreto in a remote part of Mendocino County, where they’ve grown high-quality, organic cannabis for the medical marijuana market since 2003. We sat in the rustic living room of their sprawling wood home shaded by giant Douglas firs. As we spoke, Chaitanya, who is old school when it comes to cannabis consumption, lighted a joint. What, I asked, is going to happen to small growers like you after California opens the floodgates to recreational use? Won’t big companies with rich investors drive you out of business? How will you compete? The couple were optimistic and confident. They had, after all, a great reputation in the industry and their brand, Swami Select, was well known to pot connoisseurs. “Mass market pot is going to come from greenhouses in places like Fresno,” Chaitanya told me at the time. “That stuff will supply the vape pens. But if you want to survive in Mendocino County, you’ve got to be growing something close to the quality of the best cigars. We have to become the Cuban cigars of pot.” And not incidentally, the law, if enacted, would be on their side. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
Flu could be far worse this season. Here's why - Los Angeles Times
More than 2½ years into the battle against COVID-19, officials are warning that this fall and winter could see the rebound of a more traditional foe: the flu. Influenza has been largely dormant the last two seasons, a development some attribute to the infection-prevention protocols put in place to ward off the coronavirus. But with measures such as mandatory masking, physical distancing and limitations on business and social activities having been put aside amid improved pandemic conditions, California could be in line for a more active flu season this year. “It’s not clear what this fall and winter will be like. However, because there are fewer masks being worn and there’s more intermingling, we’re likely to see much more influenza than we’ve seen in the past two years,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. This raises the possibility of which some officials have previously warned but that has yet to materialize in the United States: a landscape in which the coronavirus and the flu are circulating at elevated levels simultaneously. “We could experience lots of transmission of both influenza and COVID at the same time,” said Ferrer, who urged residents to get both their annual flu shot and the updated COVID-19 booster that is designed to protect against the most recent circulating coronavirus strains. One warning sign comes from Australia, which saw its winter peak of lab-confirmed flu cases hit a level not seen since at least 2017, according to data Ferrer presented. Australia, in the Southern Hemisphere, has its autumn begin in March, and its winter begins in June. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
Baldwin Park just broke ground on its first urban bikeway, and it’ll even get you to an In-N-Out – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
The city of Baldwin Park on Thursday, Sept. 29, held a groundbreaking ceremony for what will be the 2.5-mile San Gabriel River Baldwin Park Commuter Bikeway and Big Dalton Wash Trail Greening projects at Walnut Creek Nature Park on Frazier Avenue. [Article]
by , San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 2022-10-05
 
Climate anxiety is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Here's what to do about it - Los Angeles Times
If I’m being totally honest, writing this week’s newsletter has made me edgy. It’s about something so big, so consequential, that I really don’t want to get it wrong. It’s a topic that I routinely avoid because confronting it feels about as comfortable as staring into the sun. But climate change is impossible to avoid. Last week, Hurricane Ian made its way across my home state of Florida, and like many other Americans I waited to learn more, including whether my parents’ home was safe. Meanwhile, here in sunny Los Angeles, we’ve experienced a dangerously hot September. At any moment, we could see a wildfire engulf the hillsides, ripe for burning after another year of drought. That is really just the tip of my climate crisis anxiety iceberg, an anxiety that you probably feel on some level, too. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
OC Sidewalk Vendors Struggle With Costly, Confusing County, City Permits Meant To Help
It’s 4:30 a.m. and 19-year-old Víctor Hugo is walking out the door from his home. The sky is dark as he drives 15 minutes to the fruit supplier warehouse in downtown L.A. to pick up the fruit he’ll need for the day. From there, he’ll drive to Fullerton to sell his freshly cut fruit cups. It’s roughly 40 miles round trip and about one hour of traffic each way. This is a daily trip for Víctor Hugo.  [Article]
by , Voice of OC. 2022-10-05
 
Metro, Pasadena Transit and Dial-A-Ride Offer Free Rides for California Clean Air Day – Pasadena Now
Pasadena Transit and  Dial-A-Ride will join Metro and will offer free rides on all buses and trains Wednesday for the fifth annual California Clean Air Day. In addition to riding buses and trains free of charge, people can also access Metro’s Bike Share program through free 1-Ride fares using the promo code 100522. [Article]
by , . 2022-10-05
 
With monkeypox cases ‘evolving,’ Pasadena Public Health ‘closely monitoring’ – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Pasadena Public Health Department officials released a report this week detailing the evolving monkeypox situation in the region. Los Angeles County has reported 2,143 cases, including 27 cases in Pasadena, as of Sept. 27, according to the report filed to Pasadena City Council from City Manager Miguel Marquez. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 25,341 cases in the United States, with 4,886 cases occurring in California and one death occurring in Los Angeles County. [Article]
by , San Gabriel Valley Tribune. 2022-10-05
 
'Just take care of me': How a corrupt FBI agent protected an L.A. crime figure for cash - Los Angeles Times
Pulled over in Burbank for driving without license plates, the man in the black Cadillac Escalade offered the police an explanation: The FBI used the car for official business. Then Edgar Sargsyan, a phony lawyer who had made a fortune through identity theft, pulled a laminated piece of paper out of the glove box and handed it to the officers. The parking placard had a U.S. Department of Justice seal on one side and an FBI agent’s business card taped to the back. Sargsyan thought the placard would get him out of a minor jam. Instead, the 2016 traffic stop set in motion a cascade of events that led to the conviction Tuesday of a decorated FBI agent on federal charges of bribery and money laundering. Jurors found that the agent, Babak Broumand, shared confidential information about FBI investigations with Sargsyan in exchange for monthly cash payments and other bribes. Although the panel acquitted Broumand on two charges and decided that the government cannot seize a Lake Tahoe vacation home prosecutors claimed was bought with dirty money, he still faces up to 15 years in prison. Broumand’s attorney, Steve Gruel, said he planned to appeal the verdict. The 11-day trial in downtown Los Angeles threw a spotlight on the relationship between Broumand and Sargsyan, whose mansions in Sherman Oaks and Calabasas, a fleet of luxury cars and two private jets were financed by crime. Sargsyan, who has pleaded guilty to bribing Broumand and another federal agent, lying to federal authorities and defrauding banks, testified at the trial in hopes of getting a reduced sentence. The two men seemed to have little in common. Broumand, who emigrated as a child from Iran and joined the FBI in 1999, worked for 20 years in the bureau’s San Francisco office staving off terrorist attacks and other threats to national security. Sargsyan came to the United States from Armenia at 23 with little more than a tourist visa and a job offer that didn’t pan out, he testified. He has admitted making a small fortune by stealing people’s identities, then racking up credit card charges and taking out bank loans in their names that were never repaid. And he claimed to be an attorney, but this too was a scam: He’d paid a friend and furnished him with false identification to take the bar exam on his behalf. [Article]
by , Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-05
 
CEO of election software firm held on ID info theft charges | AP News
The founder and CEO of a software company targeted by election deniers was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing data on hundreds of Los Angeles County poll workers. [Article]
by , . 2022-10-05
 
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