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Extremists plan to picket Maxine Waters’ LA Office

Waters asks supporters to stay away

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(Los Angeles Blade photo by Karen Ocamb)

The Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government group publicized a planned protest Thursday of California Democratic Congressmember Maxine Waters’ South Los Angeles District Office on Twitter. The group said it intends to call Waters out as a “protest terrorist inciter,” for her public criticism of President Donald Trump and his policies, especially on immigration issues involving the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. (ICE)

Via a series of tweets, the Oath Keepers stated that they intend to “stand against terrorism, stand for freedom of speech and association, in support of ICE/Border Patrol as they enforce constitutional immigration laws.”

Former Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok told the Los Angeles Blade that “the group espouses a number of conspiracy and legal theories associated with the sovereign citizen movement and the white supremacist posse comitatus movement.” Potok described the group as “really just an anti-government group who believe in a wild set of conspiracy theories”

“The Oath Keepers would like nothing more than to inflame racial tensions and create an explosive conflict in our community.” She added “It is best and preferable if no other demonstrations are scheduled on the same date and time as the Oath Keepers’ planned protest,” Waters said in a statement released by her Washington D.C. office Wednesday.

Waters also noted that the Los Angeles Police Department will be there “to ensure safety and security.” LAPD Public Information Officer Rosario Herrera told the LA Blade the department was aware of the plan but no additional information on the protest.

“We have sufficient units throughout the city. So if anything arises we’ll be prepared,” Herrera said.

Reporting by the staff of the Los Angeles Blade and wire service reports

Los Angeles

21 years in prison for gunman who shot gay dogwalker

“You shot me and left me to die, and both of our lives have changed forever. […] but I do forgive you and everyone involved with the attack”

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Booking photo: James Howard Jackson LAPD (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge handed down a sentence of 21 years in a California prison to James Howard Jackson, who had shot then thirty-year-old Ryan Fischer, a gay professional dog walker in Hollywood on Feb. 24, 2021.

The robbery/dognapping made global headlines after it was revealed that the two French Bulldogs taken were owned by Oscar and Grammy award winning singer Stefani Germanotta, known as Lady Gaga.

Fischer was walking three of the singer’s dogs when Jackson shot him during a struggle and then along with an accomplice grabbed two of the dogs in the 1500 block of N. Sierra Bonita Avenue just off Sunset Blvd, taking off in a late-model white Nissan Altima 4-door sedan.

Koji and Gustav (Photo Credit: Lady Gaga Twitter account )

The Lady Gaga connection was a coincidence, authorities told KTLA/Associated Press. The motive was the value of the French bulldogs, a breed that can run into the thousands of dollars, and detectives do not believe the thieves knew the dogs belonged to the musician.

According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the sentence handed down was part of a plea deal.

“The plea agreement holds Mr. Jackson accountable for perpetrating a coldhearted violent act and provides justice for our victim,” the office said in a statement. Howard had been charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit a robbery and assault with a semiautomatic firearm.

In a victim’s impact statement made prior to Jackson’s sentencing, Fischer said:

Your honor, thank you for the opportunity to give my impact statement here in court, and for everything you, Michele Hanisee [Deputy LA District Attorney] and the DA’s office, and detectives and law enforcement have done to bring these cases to completion. It’s hard to believe that it’s nearing 2 years since I was taking Asia, Koji and Gustav out for an evening stroll when – in an instant – I suddenly found myself fighting with everything I had to protect those dogs from being stolen. But it wasn’t enough: I was beaten, strangled, shot and left to die bleeding out on a sidewalk and gasping for my life. And Koji and Gustav were gone.

In some ways that night and everything that followed: from hospital stays, lung collapse after lung collapse and eventual surgery and partial removal- physical therapy that I’m still in to get mobility and sensation fully restored in my shoulder, chest and hand, the media storm that made me terrified to even go back to my home or walk on the street, the loss of a career, friendships, sense of self and savings and then aimlessly traveling this country for over a year as I went into debt, contemplated suicide, and struggled – and continue to struggle – with my identity and how to move past such a life-changing, earth-shattering event…

Sometimes it feels like all that happened to someone else, and other times it feels like I never left that sidewalk. A part of me is still trying desperately to save those dogs knowing you were going to shoot me. I’m sure it feels the same for you, Mr. Jackson. I imagine you’re on that sidewalk sometimes too. You shot me and left me to die, and both of our lives have changed forever. A limbo neither of us asked to be in.

In my darkest hours, when I feel lost and abandoned and mourn a life and those dogs I sacrificed myself for, a life I’ve accepted – through a lot of therapy – I’ve accepted I’ll never see again, I try to focus on what I’ve gained:

  • A deeper love for friends and family that have shown up and continue to show up even when I’m still such a mess. I love you and thank you.
  • That, despite everything and the trauma I still work through in regards to them, I love dogs so so much and look forward to continue bringing them back into my life.
  • Gratitude for strangers that became family and have supported me in countless ways.
  • And that I finally feel healthy enough to stop running from my problems.
  • Forgiving myself for not being able to save those dogs that night and falling down again and again these last two years.
  • Forgiving friends who didn’t and don’t know how to be there for me in the lengthy recovery process this continues to be.

And forgiveness for you. It’s something I’m still working on but I do forgive you and everyone involved with the attack. You completely altered my life, and I know I can’t fully move forward from the night you shot me until I said those words to you.

My hope for you is the same for me: to live a life of purpose and grow from what happened that night. Moving forward, it’s going to be a hard road for both of us, and I know from prison it won’t be easy. But I do hope you find a calling there as I continue to search for my own and live life contributing to others. It’s the only way to heal from this experience.

I also wanted to give gratitude, to thank you for not killing – for not harming – the dogs after everything and the media storm. They were returned and returned to their mom. I don’t think I could have lived with myself if they died.

And, in general, I just wanted to say how guns have impacted my life and countless others and continue to harm our society. I look forward to contributing to a future that doesn’t destroy so many lives and so many people in this country. It doesn’t make sense to fear for your life at school, places of worship, clubs, or when you’re taking dogs out for an evening stroll.

Thank you all for your time today.

Ryan Fischer via Instagram

KTLA/AP also reported that another accomplice, Harold White, pleaded no contest Monday to a count of ex-convict in possession of a gun. White, who was in a relationship with McBride at the time, will be sentenced next year.

The couple had allegedly tried to help White’s son, Jaylin White, avoid arrest in the aftermath of the shooting.

Jaylin White and Lafayette Whaley earlier this year pleaded no contest to robbery.

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California

Newsom unveils price gouging penalty on big oil’s excessive profits

After big oil hiked gas prices making record profits Newsom convened a special session of the Legislature & called for a price gouging penalty

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California Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Following unexplained gas price hikes that led to record profits for Big Oil, Governor Gavin Newsom and State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) today unveiled a proposed price gouging penalty on oil companies’ excess profits to deter excessive price increases and keep money in Californians’ pockets. 

The language of the proposed price gouging penalty can be found here.  
 
“California’s price gouging penalty is simple – either Big Oil reins in the profits and prices, or they’ll pay a penalty,” said Governor Newsom. “Big Oil has been lying and gouging Californians to line their own pockets long enough. I look forward to the work ahead with our partners in the Legislature to get this done.”

“Putting the Governor’s proposal in print allows the Legislature and the public to begin discussions on this important issue. No one can deny that California’s gas prices were outrageously high compared to other states. And those high prices hurt California consumers and businesses,” said Senator Skinner (D-Berkeley).

The proposal introduced today by Senator Skinner comes as the California Legislature is assembling in a special session called by the Governor to pass a price gouging penalty. The Legislature will also consider efforts to empower state agencies to more closely review gas costs, profits and pricing as well provide the state with greater regulatory oversight of the refining, distribution and retailing segments of the gasoline market in California.

The proposal would discourage oil refiners from fleecing Californians by making it unlawful to charge excessive profits – excessive refiner margins would be punishable by a civil penalty from the California Energy Commission (CEC). The amount of the maximum margin and the amount of the penalty will be determined through the legislative process. Any penalties collected by the penalty will go to a Price Gouging Penalty Fund and then given back to Californians.

The proposal also improves transparency and oversight of the oil industry by the state, expanding the CEC and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration’s ability to investigate and obtain information on costs, profits and pricing so that the state can better address the causes of pricing irregularities and minimize the likelihood of future supply or price shocks. 

According to a recent poll from Consumer Watchdog, 60% of California voters support a price-gouging penalty.

In the third quarter of 2022, from July to September, oil companies reported record high profits:

Taking action to lower prices at the pump, Governor Newsom in September ordered the switch to winter blend gasoline and demanded accountability from oil companies and refiners that do business in California. Since California’s record-high gas prices of $6.42, the Governor’s actions have reduced those prices to $4.77 most recently – a decrease of $1.65 since the peak. 

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Los Angeles County

LA LGBT Center worker misgendered in death investigation

“Following Day’s death she was repeatedly misgendered by authorities and the local news media. We categorically condemn such carelessness”

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 Day Rodas (Family photo)

MALIBU – The body of 27 year-old  Day Rodas was discovered last Thursday in Malibu. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lost Hills Station deputies received a call for service in the 33000 block of Mulholland Highway regarding a person down call at approximately 7:30 a.m. When responding deputies arrived, LA County Fire Paramedics were on scene treating the victim.

The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators initially determined that the deceased was a woman but then in a statement said the descendant was a male adult, with no obvious signs of trauma. The statement added that cause of death was pending and will be determined by the LA County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner at a later time.

In a GoFundMe post made on Sunday to raise money for her funeral expenses, her sibling Susie Rodas wrote:

Hi my name is Susie Rodas my older sister Day Rodas has passed away and the death still remains unknown. Her body was found in Mulholland highway around 7:45 am Thursday. My family and I went to the police station to file a report on a missing person in hopes she was only missing since she stopped responding to texts and calls.

Her boss from work called saying she didn’t show up to work so we knew something was wrong. She also had moved back in with us so when she didn’t arrive home for two days we knew there was a problem. Once we finished the report I got a call a few hours later from the homicide hotline saying the body they found matched my sister’s.

They don’t know exactly how she died which has been unsettling for my mother, father, my little brother and I. In hopes she would be found alive she was not.

She recently started living her life authentically as she came out to friends and family about being a trans woman. She was the most forgiving person who strongly advocated for LGBTQ rights. She had so much love for family and friends and she saw the good in everyone. Despite some people treating her with disrespect because she finally started being who she truly was she never disrespected anyone- she was too pure and kind to ever treat anyone with disrespect.

She was 27 but only six months ago, she started living authentically just for it to be over too soon. After being afraid for 27 years, she only got to live freely without fear for only six months which breaks our hearts. My father and I are the only ones who work and after this tragedy I had to call off a few weeks of work since I don’t have the strength to go. So as of right now, we are making less money and my father works at a car wash and during this season where it rains he does not get any hours in. Any money that is donated will go to the funeral and memorial expenses. Thank you so much.

In an emailed statement to the Blade Monday, Joe Hollendoner, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center said:

We at the Los Angeles LGBT Center are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Day Rodas, our colleague and friend, and express our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. Day was a vital member of the Center, working within our Community Health Program, and she worked devotedly during her tenure to keep LGBTQ+ people educated, informed, and safe. 

We are so proud of the work that Day did for the Center and our community. Shortly after joining our team, Day announced that she identified as a transgender woman. Her colleagues and family alike have expressed that Day seemed like she was beginning a new chapter—one where she could finally be her authentic self. To have her life cut short in this moment—and under such troubling circumstances—makes her loss all the more heartbreaking. 

We cannot honor the life of Day Rodas without naming that violence against transgender people—particularly transgender women of color—is at an all-time high. Her passing comes shortly after Transgender Day of Remembrance, where we mourned at least 38 people in our community who we lost to acts of violence. We are witnessing a rise in anti-trans political rhetoric and cultural phobias that contribute to hate crimes against transgender people, many of which go unsolved.

In the moments following Day’s passing last week, she was repeatedly misgendered by authorities and the local news media. We categorically condemn such carelessness, and we will do everything in our power to make sure these forces recognize our colleague as she deserves.

The LASD also stated:

There is no suspect or suspect vehicle information. 
 
The investigation is ongoing and currently, there is no additional information.
 
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

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Los Angeles

Vice President to swear in Karen Bass as Los Angeles mayor

The inauguration ceremony is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. Bass’ term as mayor officially begins on Dec. 12

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Rep. Karen Bass campaigning with Second Gentleman Douglas C. Emhoff on November 5, 2022 (Photo Credit: Bass for Mayor Campaign/Facebook)

LOS ANGELES – Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas C. Emhoff will attend the mayoral inauguration ceremony of Los Angeles Mayor-elect Karen Bass on Sunday, December 11, 2022. The Vice President will ceremonially swear in Bass as the city’s 43rd Mayor, becoming the first woman and woman of color to serve as the city’s chief executive.

The inauguration ceremony is set to begin at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. Bass’ term as mayor officially begins on Dec. 12.

The Vice-President, and on separate occasions husband Doug Emhoff, both had campaigned together last fall with Rep. Bass.

During a Get Out The Vote student rally at UCLA Harris told attendees:

“I know Karen Bass,” Harris told the crowd. “I’ve worked with Karen Bass. When I was in Sacramento and she was in Sacramento, I saw how she would tirelessly fight for the people of this region, the people of our state and the people of our nation. Karen Bass has a long history of always being on the side of people, fighting for the people.”

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Los Angeles County

Robert Luna sworn in as the 34th Sheriff of LA County

Although Luna is being sworn in on Saturday, he officially replaces outgoing Sheriff Villanueva at noon on Monday

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Incoming LA County Sheriff Robert Luna and outgoing Sheriff Alex Villanueva (Photo Credit: Twitter/Alex Villanueva)

LOS ANGELES – In a simple ceremony Saturday, former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna was sworn in as the 34th Sheriff of Los Angeles County since the Sheriff’s Department was formed in April, 1850. Luna, 56, replaces outgoing Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whom he defeated in the November election.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff serves a four-year term. There are no term limits for the position. Luna served as chief of the Long Beach Police Department for seven years, having first been appointed to the position in 2014.

Villanueva leaves office in the wake of a single term marred by upheaval, fighting with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the discord he sowed amidst allegations of corruption.

The Los Angeles Times reported six days ago that Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has launched a criminal investigation into allegations that Sheriff Alex Villanueva may have broken state law when he solicited campaign donations from deputies.

Luna has publicly stated that he will focus his efforts on modernizing the department and addressing multiple issues, which have plagued the largest sheriff’s department in the nation which is currently staffed by over 10,000 sworn deputies, vowing to bring new leadership and accountability.

Although Luna is being sworn in on Saturday at the Hall of Administration in downtown LA, he officially replaces outgoing Sheriff Villanueva at noon on Monday.

Luna and Villanueva met earlier this week, and Villanueva tweeted a photo of the “peaceful transfer of power,” adding, “I truly wish him the best in leading the greatest law enforcement agency on the planet.”

The outgoing sheriff also tweeted: “Its been an honor to serve as your Sheriff. I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished over the last four years.”

KTLA reported the new sheriff’s leadership team has come into focus in the past few days, with 28-year veteran April Tardy announced as the new interim undersheriff — the first woman to hold the position — and Deputy Jason Skeen, another 28-year veteran, serving as interim chief of staff.

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San Francisco

Padilla, local leaders celebrate passage of Respect for Marriage Act

“There’s no better place than San Francisco to celebrate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act & affirm lives of millions of LGBTQ people”

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Senator Padilla officiated a vows renewal ceremony of Cyn Wang and Tessa Chavez, a local lesbian couple, at San Francisco City Hall Dec. 2, 2022 (Photo Credit: Office of Sen. Alex Padilla)

SAN FRANCISCO —  U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) on Friday hosted a press conference with San Francisco Mayor London Breed, State Senator Scott Wiener, Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang, and local leaders following the Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.

Senator Padilla also officiated a vows renewal ceremony of Cyn Wang and Tessa Chavez, a local lesbian couple, at San Francisco City Hall to mark the historic occasion.

The Respect for Marriage Act requires the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed and guarantee that valid marriages between two individuals are given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 61-36.

“There is no better place than San Francisco to celebrate the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act and unequivocally affirm the lives of millions of LGBTQ people and interracial couples across our country,” said Senator Padilla. “We celebrate the progress that we have made today, but recognize the work still left undone to fully protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans. I’ll continue working to build on our efforts until we ensure that every American is treated equally under the law, free from discrimination.”

“I was proud to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act over the summer, and I’m even more pleased that the bill passed the Senate this week with strong bipartisan support,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein. “The Respect for Marriage Act will guarantee legal protections for millions of marriages in the United States. Simply put, Americans should be free to marry the person they love, regardless of sexual orientation or race, without fear of discrimination or fear that their marriages will be invalidated. This was a historic vote and one that every proponent of equality can be proud of.”

“The Respect for Marriage Act is an important step forward in the continued fight for LGBTQ and racial equality in America,” said State Senator Scott Wiener. “Today, we celebrate this victory for our civil rights, and tomorrow we recommit to fight even harder against the right-wing Supreme Court’s efforts to legalize discrimination in this country.”

U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) on Friday hosted a press conference with San Francisco Mayor London Breed, State Senator Scott Wiener, Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang, and local leaders following the Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act.
(Photo Credit: Office of Sen. Alex Padilla)

“San Francisco’s history is inseparable from the history of the LGBTQ community and the movement for marriage equality locally, at the state level, and nationally,” said Mayor Breed. “As we celebrate the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, we honor those who have endured discrimination and hate, and the many who lost their lives in the quest for equality. We recommit ourselves to protect the fundamental rights of all people regardless of who they are or whom they love. Thank you to Congressional leaders, especially Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, and Speaker Pelosi for their leadership to pass this historical legislation.”

“Equality California applauds this historic vote and the critical leadership of Senators Baldwin, Feinstein and Padilla, in getting this bill across the finish line,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “While this is an important step in affirming the dignity of the LGBTQ+ community, it will not end all discrimination against LGBTQ+ people or erase the hateful rhetoric of anti-LGBTQ+ politicians and extremists. Equality California will continue to fight for full, lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people until the work is done.”

“The Respect for Marriage Act removes an ugly, discriminatory stain on our federal law books – the 1996 so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” – and replaces DOMA with a rule requiring government at all levels to treat all married couples equally nationwide,” said Jenny Pizer, Chief Legal Officer, Lambda Legal. “We hope we never need it.  But if the U.S. Supreme Court were, outrageously, to erase the constitutional protection for the freedom to marry, this law will substantially reduce the harms. Yet, even if the Respect for Marriage Act were to become necessary, it would not be sufficient. We still urgently need the Equality Act to become law, to protect LGBTQ people from the widespread discrimination that persists in the commercial marketplace and in public services with harsh, unacceptable consequences.”

“It is a historic moment for the advancement and preservation of basic civil rights for all Americans, but by no means is our work done,” said Kris Perry, Prop 8 Plaintiff & Nonprofit Director. “Our family and thousands of families like ours can breathe easier tonight knowing our fundamental rights are protected.”

“After the Supreme Court overturned a woman’s right to choice, we feared same-sex marriages were next,” said Cyn Wang and Tessa Chavez. “The Respect for Marriage Act gives our family clarity and a sense of relief that our marriage, and those of all married couples regardless of sexual orientation or race, will be protected in this country.”

The Respect for Marriage Act now goes to the House of Representatives for passage and then to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

Senator Padilla is committed to pursuing equality for the LGBTQ community, including in employment, housing, and credit lending.

Earlier this year, Padilla introduced the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act, legislation that would protect the 1.4 million LGBTQ-owned businesses in the nation from lending discrimination to ensure equal access to economic opportunities. Padilla also joined Senate Democrats in introducing a resolution recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month to highlight the work of the LGBTQ community in fighting to achieve full equality, including for marriage.

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Southern California

Triple A: Gas price averages drop below $5 & may move lower

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.90, which is 21 cents lower than last week

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Screenshot/YouTube ABC 10 News Sacramento

LOS ANGELES – Most areas of Southern California now have average gas prices of less than $5 a gallon after additional hefty price declines in the last week, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.90, which is 21 cents lower than last week. The average national price is $3.47, which is 12 cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.97 per gallon, which is 21 cents lower than last week, 63 cents lower than last month, and 26 cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.94, which is 21 cents lower than last week, 63 cents lower than last month, and 28 cents higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.95, which is 20 cents lower than last week, 62 cents lower than last month, and 31 cents higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.84, which is 20 cents lower than last week, 60 cents lower than last month, and 21 cents higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.28 average price is 11 cents lower than last week, 50 cents lower than last month, and 63 cents higher than a year ago today.

“Despite a record number of Southern California travelers hitting the road for Thanksgiving, average pump prices have dropped below $5 a gallon for the first time since early March,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Oil Price Information Service reports a substantial drop in demand statewide and high unleaded gas inventories. This week Los Angeles wholesale gasoline prices reached their lowest level of 2022, and if that trend holds, we should see additional pump price reductions. The least expensive gas station prices today are about $4.10 a gallon, so it’s possible we will see stations charging less than $4 a gallon soon.”

The Auto Club reminds drivers of the following tips to save money on gas:

  • If you use premium unleaded fuel, make sure it is required for your vehicle, not just recommended. The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center found that vehicles with recommended premium fuel performed safely with regular unleaded gasoline.
  • Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
  • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
  • Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. Fuel economy peaks around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speed increases. Reducing freeway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.
  • Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because you could lose control of the vehicle.
  • Minimize your use of air conditioning.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Remove unnecessary and heavy items from your car.
  • Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
  • Download the AAA App to find the cheapest gas prices near you. 

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Dec. 1, averages are:

120122 chart
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California

Newsom to hold oil industry accountable for price gouging

Governor calls special session to pass price gouging penalty on oil companies, push new efforts to increase transparency & accountability

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Governor Newsom signs proclamation convening a special session to pass price gouging penalty on oil companies (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – As oil companies continue to evade questions about unexplained gas price increases, Governor Gavin Newsom today convened a special session of the California Legislature on December 5 to pass a price gouging penalty on oil companies that will keep money in Californians’ pockets. 

The Governor’s action comes on the heels of a state hearing yesterday – which five major oil refiners refused to attend – to investigate this fall’s unprecedented spike in gasoline prices. This spike in gasoline prices resulted in record refiner profits of $63 billion in just 90 days, disproportionately affecting low- and middle-income families.

“Big oil is ripping Californians off, and the deafening silence from the industry yesterday is the latest proof that a price gouging penalty is needed to hold them accountable for profiteering at the expense of California families,” said Newsom. “I’m calling a special session of the Legislature to do just that, and to increase transparency on pricing and protect Californians from outrageous price spikes in the future.”

This fall’s spike occurred while crude oil prices dropped, state taxes and fees remained unchanged and gas prices did not increase outside the western U.S., so the high prices went straight to the industry’s bottom line.

During the special session, the Legislature will also consider efforts to empower state agencies to more closely review gas costs, profits and pricing as well provide the state with greater regulatory oversight of the refining, distribution and retailing segments of the gasoline market in California.

Taking action to lower prices at the pump, Governor Newsom in September ordered the switch to winter-blend gasoline and demanded accountability from oil companies and refiners that do business in California. Since California’s record-high gas prices of $6.42, the Governor’s actions have reduced those prices to $4.95 most recently – a decrease of $1.47 since the peak.

In the third quarter of 2022, from July to September, oil companies reported record high profits:

The text of the Governor’s proclamation convening a special session can be found here. 

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Los Angeles

LA Times: LAPD execute search warrants in racist audio leak probe

It is unclear how the recordings were made. Recording conversations without a person’s consent is illegal in California, with rare exceptions

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LAPD Chief Michel Moore being interviewed by KTLA 5 in October (Photo Credit: LAPD Public Affairs/Facebook)

LOS ANGELES – Several law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times Tuesday that Los Angeles Police Department detectives have served several search warrants as they attempt to find out who recorded a meeting filled with racist and offensive comments among three L.A. City Council members and a powerful labor leader.

The Times reported that the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing, did not identify the specific targets. But they said the department obtained warrants for several social media accounts, including the Reddit account that first posted the audio leak.

This past October, LAPD Chief Michel Moore announced in a press briefing that detectives were investigating the source of the leaked racist recordings that thrust City Hall into a harsh national spotlight.

“The department has initiated a criminal investigation into the allegation of eavesdropping into the L.A. Fed meeting involving then-Councilperson Nury Martinez, Councilmember Gil Cedillo and Councilmember Kevin de León and the Fed president Mr. [ Ron] Herrera,” Moore said, referring to the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.

The recordings took place at the offices of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which has called the leak “illegal” and vowed to have those involved prosecuted. The union attempted to block the Los Angeles Times from publishing details of the recordings, saying they were obtained illegally. The Times refused to halt publication.

It is unclear how the recordings were made. Recording conversations without a person’s consent is illegal in California, with rare exceptions.

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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

Celebrate 38 years of Cityhood on West Hollywood Day, Tuesday, November 29, 2022, West Hollywood Marks World AIDS Day on December 1

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Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott

City of West Hollywood Marks World AIDS Day on December 1

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Each year, the City of West Hollywood recognizes World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 United Nations World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention and is held each year on December 1. Every year, United Nations agencies, governments, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and others across the globe join together to campaign around specific themes related to AIDS. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have passed away due to HIV/AIDS. The international theme of this year’s #WorldAIDSDay is “Equalize” and the slogan is a call to action for communities to address inequalities that perpetuate the HIV/AIDS pandemic.   

“The City’s annual recognition of World AIDS Day is an opportunity for us to remember loved ones lost over the last four decades to AIDS, as well as to support those living with HIV,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “Too many souls have left us much too soon due to HIV and AIDS. The City will continue to support access to medical and emotional care, prevention, and treatment, and to provide resources and support for those in need as our scientific community continues to work toward the day we can all celebrate the end of suffering and loss caused by AIDS.”

 This year, the City of West Hollywood will recognize World AIDS Day with special events and programming, including:

 The Paul Andrew Starke Warrior Awards presentation, which will take place Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Park Aquatics and Recreation Center in the San Vicente and La Cienega Conference Rooms, located at 8750 El Tovar Place, adjacent to West Hollywood Park. The event will feature an update on the City of West Hollywood’s HIV Zero Initiative from Aaron Celious, Ph.D. of the Maroon Society. The Warrior Awards are given to outstanding employees or volunteers of local agencies that offer HIV/AIDS and/or substance abuse prevention and care services. This year’s honorees are: 

  • Dr. Jesika Babajanian – Being Alive; 
  • Andres Diaz – AIDS Healthcare Foundation; 
  • Ruben Garcia – APLA Health; 
  • Gerardo Mendez – C.I.T.Y. x1 Youth Group; 
  • Francis Ocon – Men’s Health Foundation; 
  • Claudia Pacheco – Los Angeles LGBT Center; 
  • Robb Peters – The Tweakers Project; 
  • Sunnie Rose – The Life Group LA; 
  • John Walter – Friends Community Center; and 
  • Warren Wimmer – Alliance for Housing and Healing. 

The 24-hour electronic memorial to those lost to HIV, AIDSWatch, will be viewable on www.AIDSWatch.org beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2022. The AIDSWatch memorial will also be available for viewing from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the West Hollywood Library Community Meeting Room, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard.

In addition to City of West Hollywood programming, the City has co-sponsored two World AIDS Day events. The Foundation for The AIDS Monument (FAM) and the Minority AIDS Project will be co-hosting FAM’s second annual STORIES Circle storytelling event LOVE, LIGHT & LEGACY, for World AIDS Day. The STORIES Circle event will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the future site of STORIES: The AIDS Monument in West Hollywood Park, located at 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard, next to the West Hollywood Library. It is an opportunity for storytellers – survivors, activists, caregivers, community organizers, political leaders, and those who lost loved ones – to gather in circles and share their personal stories about HIV and AIDS.

The City of West Hollywood is also co-sponsoring amfAR’s screening of the film Yes I Am – The Ric Weiland Story at the Harmony Gold Theater, located at 7655 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The film tells the story of Ric Weiland, one of the original founders of Microsoft and a somewhat unknown queer philanthropist, who donated more than $200 million during his lifetime to many non-profit organizations and the LGBT community. Proceeds from the screening will be donated to amfAR in Ric Weiland’s name. amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research. Tickets are available at https://ricweiland.betterworld.org/events/yes-i-am-ric-weiland-story-scree#tickets

The onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic had a significant impact in West Hollywood. The disease’s elevated infection rate among gay men caused a devastatingly high number of deaths in the City. The City of West Hollywood was one of the first government entities to provide social services grants to local HIV/AIDS organizations. The City of West Hollywood sponsored one of the first AIDS awareness campaigns in the country in October 1985 and the City’s response to the AIDS crisis has been recognized as a model for other cities, nationally and globally.

The City of West Hollywood actively participates in the development of programs that can bring awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. In January 2015, the City announced its vision to become an ‘HIV Zero’ city. The City is currently implementing its HIV Zero Strategic Initiative.

For more information, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division, at [email protected] or at (323) 848-6510.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City Celebrates the Holidays with 32nd Annual Toy and Food Drive

The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station are partnering to help give back to those in need this holiday season. The 32nd Annual West Hollywood Toy and Food Drive will be accepting monetary donations until Friday, December 16, 2022 with the goal of providing as many families as possible with toys and holiday gift cards. Donations may be made online at www.weho.org/holidaydrive. New users must create an account and click on the Donations tab to contribute; existing users may simply login to start the donation process.

“Our generous West Hollywood community has helped provide nearly 10,000 local families who would have gone without with a holiday meal and toys over the last three decades,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “I send a huge thank you to the amazing people of the City of West Hollywood for helping to brighten the holidays for families in need through your contributions. I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.” 

The cost to help one family is $95; up to 10 families can be helped with $950. New unwrapped toys are also needed and gift cards to retailers such as Pavilions, Ralphs, Trader Joe’s, or Target will help families through the holiday season. Toy collection bins are now available at West Hollywood City Hall, located at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard, and at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, located at 780 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The following hotels will also have collection bins: Andaz West Hollywood, Chamberlain West Hollywood, Chateau Marmont, Hotel 850 SVB, Le Parc at Melrose, The London West Hollywood, Montrose at Beverly Hills, Ramada Plaza West Hollywood, and Hotel Ziggy. There will also be a collection bin at the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, please contact City of West Hollywood  Recreation Leaders Cecilia Arvizu at [email protected] or (323) 848-6324 or Natalie Mignon at [email protected] or (323) 848-6321.

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Celebrate ‘West Hollywood Day’ with a Community Meet & Greet and State of the Community Mixer

The City of West Hollywood invites the community to celebrate 38 years of Cityhood on West Hollywood Day, Tuesday, November 29, 2022, at two events highlighting West Hollywood’s community spirit and civic pride.

West Hollywood Day will kick off bright-and-early with a community meet and greet from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the West Hollywood City Hall Community Plaza, located 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard. Members of the West Hollywood City Council along with City staff will gather in the plaza, which is located between the automated parking garage and the City Hall entrance on N. Sweetzer Avenue, to connect with community members over coffee and snacks. RSVP is not required; community members are encouraged to drop in.

In the evening, the City of West Hollywood will host its annual State of the Community event with a reception and mixer from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the City’s West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center, located at 8750 El Tovar Place (next to West Hollywood Library). Join the City’s executive management team, staff, and officials to celebrate Cityhood and engage in a conversation about new initiatives, upcoming workplans, and major projects in West Hollywood. The festive event will include light appetizers, beverages, live entertainment, and a formal program. RSVPs are required at: Celebrate-WeHo.eventbrite.com. 

Nearly forty years ago, West Hollywood’s Cityhood was proposed by an unlikely coalition of LGBTQ activists, seniors, and renters — these groups came together to form a City like no other with progressive policies and strong tenants’ rights protections. Through tireless determination, the City of West Hollywood was officially incorporated as an independent municipality on November 29, 1984. Previously, West Hollywood had been an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County.

The City of West Hollywood continually sets new standards for other municipalities, not only as a leader in many critical social movements — including: HIV and AIDS advocacy; affordable and inclusionary housing; LGBTQ rights, civil rights, and human rights; women’s rights; protection of our environment; and animal rights — but also in: fiscal responsibility; city planning; infrastructure; social services programs; wellness and recreation programs; senior services and aging-in-place programs; public and community arts; and community engagement.

For more information, please contact Paolo Kespradit, City of West Hollywood Management Analyst, at (323) 848-6556 or at [email protected]

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Initial Neighborhood Conversations to Discuss  Laurel House and Park Artist Residency Program

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to attend initial Neighborhood Conversations about an Artist Residency Program at Laurel House and Park.

On Friday, December 2, 2022 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Plummer Park Community Center located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, a consultant team will lead a robust discussion about the site, the creative community in West Hollywood, and how an Artist Residency Program might contribute to the community.

On Saturday, December 3, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Laurel House and Park located at 1343 N. Laurel Avenue, the community is invited to drop-in to share thoughts with the consultant team and City staff.

The Neighborhood Conversations will be led by consultant team Kimberli Meyer and Sara Daleiden. Meyer and Daleiden will guide the development of the Artist Residency Program for Laurel House and Park. Meyer is an independent cultural producer, curator, writer, and designer working across the fields of art and architecture. She served as the Director the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House, located at 835 N. Kings Road, from 2002 through 2016. Daleiden is a consultant who specializes in facilitating civic engagement using arts and cultural exchange strategies. She encourages local cultures to value neighborhoods, public space, civic art, and business development, as well as artist residencies, creative placemaking and media culture-making. 

The City-owned real property at 1343 N. Laurel Avenue known as Laurel House and Park consists of a 30,000-square-foot lot, a 7,177-square-foot former single-family dwelling, and an unattached accessory structure that is approximately 2,379 square feet and consists of a chauffer’s cottage and garages. The original portions of the structures were built in 1917. The conversion of the original single-family residence into four apartment units and the southerly four-car garage addition were completed in 1941. The property was designated as a Local Cultural Resource by the City of West Hollywood in 1994. 

In 2010, the West Hollywood City Council directed staff to develop a plan to open the grounds at 1343 N. Laurel Avenue as open space on a temporary/interim basis for public use. From 2013-2014, the City conducted an extensive community visioning process for the Laurel property. The community expressed support for several potential uses during the visioning process and prioritized several factors, including:

  • Access to more community gathering spaces.
  • Activation as an Arts and Cultural Center.
  • Maintenance and/or enhancements of the property’s use for peacefulness and beauty.
  • Preservation of the house and gardens, but activation through new features and programming.
  • Continued use for dog walking.

In 2018, the West Hollywood City Council received a report forwarded by the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission focusing on Artist-in-Residence programs, including consideration of the use of 1343 N. Laurel Avenue as a potential Artist-in-Residence site. This recommendation was forwarded to the Council Subcommittee for further review and consideration. In October 2022, in a feasibility study update, the City Council confirmed that the site should be used for arts and culture programs and it directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a qualified architectural design firm to continue the programming and design process.

For additional information, please contact Rebecca Ehemann, City of West Hollywood Arts Manager, at (323) 848-6846 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

Human Rights Speakers Series Presents a Q&A and Discussion, Roots of Peace, in Partnership with Roots/Shorashim/Judur

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series, in conjunction with Roots/Shorashim/Judur, will host a free discussion featuring special guest speakers Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Noor Awad.

The Roots of Peace event will take place on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 at 6 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, next to the West Hollywood Library. The program will include a Q&A period with the attendees. The event is free, but seating is limited. RSVP is requested at bit.ly/HRSSDec2022. Validation for the adjacent five-story parking structure will be available at the event (parking is limited to availability).

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi and teacher who has been profoundly transformed by his encounters with Palestinians and the Palestinian people beginning in late 2013. In early 2014, Rabbi Hanan helped found Roots/Judur/Shorashim together with other Israelis and Palestinians. Noor Awad met Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger in 2016 and joined Roots/Shorashim/Judur. He currently organizes joint Palestinian-Israeli activities and speaks to visiting groups about his personal experiences living through the conflict as a Palestinian who has seen much tragedy, and in such conditions is motivated to work toward a political solution.

Roots/Shorashim/Judur is a Palestinian-Israeli Initiative for understanding, non-violence, and transformation. Roots/Shorashim/Judur has created and operates the only joint Israeli-Palestinian community center in the entire West Bank/Judea & Samaria. This center hosts social, religious, and educational activities for Palestinians and Israelis to come together to build trust and find mutual understanding. Based on mutual recognition of each People’s national identity and connection to the Land, Roots/Shorashim/Judur is challenging the assumptions their communities hold about each other, building trust and creating a new discourse around the conflict in their respective societies.

The City of West Hollywood’s Human Rights Speakers Series brings together diverse communities to learn about and discuss global, national, and local human rights issues in a supportive environment. The series reflects the City’s commitment to human rights and core value of Respect and Support for People.
For additional information about the Human Rights Speakers Series, please visit www.weho.org/hrss.

For more information, please contact Andi Lovano, the City of West Hollywood’s Community & Legislative Affairs Division Manager, at (323) 848-6333 or at [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood Announces Launch of a New and Easy-to-Remember Toll-Free Phone Number for Block by Block Security Ambassadors Program: (833) WEHO-BBB  (833-934-6222)

The City of West Hollywood announces the launch of a new and easy-to-remember toll-free phone number for its Block by Block Security Ambassadors Program: (833) WEHO-BBB or (833) 934-6222.

The hotline manages incoming calls 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. While the phone number is voice-only at launch, a text function will be implemented in the future and will be announced.

The hotline is part of the expansion of the City’s Block by Block Security Ambassadors program, which has a direct positive impact on safety and neighborhood livability. 

In recent weeks, the City implemented four Block by Block kiosk locations throughout West Hollywood, which are staffed by Security Ambassadors. The Block by Block program has added personnel, as well; there are now approximately 85 Security Ambassadors in the City of West Hollywood. The addition of the new toll-free hotline will assist community members and visitors alike with a convenient way to get support regarding non-emergency and non-violent safety concerns by providing a direct point of contact to Security Ambassadors. 

The City’s Block by Block Security Ambassadors program is focused on safety, but also offers hospitality with an accessible presence where people shop, socialize, and enjoy recreation. Security Ambassadors at kiosks assist community members and visitors and, in emergencies, work in partnership with law enforcement personnel from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

Security Ambassadors work regularly to:

  • Maintain uniformed foot and bicycle patrols throughout all City neighborhoods, including a new program expansion into residential neighborhoods;
  • Provide in-person responses 24/7 to non-emergency and non-violent calls for service; support is available by phone at (833) WEHO-BBB or (833) 934-6222. For community members who prefer to communicate by text, a text-or-voice option is provided at (323) 821-8604;
  • Conduct safety escorts for residents, businesses, and visitors; and
  • Offer helpful guidance to community members and visitors about City information, directions, parking, and more.

About | Block by Block Security Ambassador Program – The City of West Hollywood partners with Block by Block on its Security Ambassadors program, which has a direct positive impact on safety and neighborhood livability. First established as a City program in 2013, West Hollywood Block by Block Security Ambassadors provide a highly visible uniformed presence at the street level and leverage the effectiveness of local law enforcement by working in collaboration with personnel from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

In addition to supplemental safety services, Block by Block Security Ambassadors get to know West Hollywood’s neighborhoods and assist in providing an extra level of hospitality to businesses, residents, and visitors and help to address and respond to quality-of-life concerns in the community.

Security Ambassadors receive trainings on topics such as active shooters, cultural diversity and sensitivity, administration of Narcan to treat narcotic overdose, mental health first aid, sexual harassment, emergency/disaster preparedness, and more. For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/bbb

About | Sheriff’s, Fire, Code, and Emergencies – The City of West Hollywood contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for law enforcement and the Los Angeles County Fire Department for fire protection. The City’s Neighborhood & Business Safety Division oversees code enforcement.

For additional information, please visit www.weho.org/publicsafety. For anyone with public safety concerns, please reach out to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station 24/7 at (310) 855-8850. In an emergency, always call 911. For concerns about the safety and well-being of community members experiencing homelessness, please call the City’s Homeless Concern Line at (323) 848-6590.

For more information, please contact City of West Hollywood Director of Community Safety Danny Rivas at (323) 848-6424 or [email protected].

For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

For up-to-date information about City of West Hollywood news and events, follow @wehocity on social media, sign-up for news updates at www.weho.org/email, and visit the City’s calendar of meetings and events at www.weho.org/calendar.

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