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Parkland students: vote to stop gun violence

Garcetti announces voter registration drive on school campuses in September

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The student survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida did not need any more evidence that gun violence hits close to home. But gun violence persists: on Tuesday, July 17, Ayub Ali, the 61-year old owner of Aunt Molly’s Food Store in North Lauderdale, was shot and killed during a robbery. Ali, a native of Bangladesh, leaves his wife Farhana and their four children, two of whom, a son and daughter, survived the Parkland shootings last February.

The tragic news broke as a group of student survivors were in Los Angeles as part of their national summer bus tour, March For Our Lives: Road to Change, organized to educate young people about gun violence, the obstructionist lobbying campaigns of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the power of a voter-savvy youth movement to change what has heretofore been an intractable deadly scourge.

The 20-state tour is complimented by a separate tour— with a number of LGBT activists—visiting every congressional district in Florida. The students are intentionally hitting areas with strong NRA supporters to engage in civil dialogue and debate over gun safety and register young people to vote.

While the nation mourned with the families after each mass shooting, especially the massacre of 20 six and seven year olds and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Dec. 2012, the Valentine’s Day shooting galvanized the grieving students upon learning that the 19-year old accused killer with homophobic and white supremacist views legally purchased the AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle he used to indiscriminately massacre 17 students and staff and injure 17 others.

Three days after the shooting, the angry, devastated Marjory Stoneman Douglas students held a nationally televised rally outside of Broward County Federal Courthouse where they called out the NRA and the politicians who take NRA money.

“They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence: We call BS!” fumed Emma Gonzalez. “They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun: We call BS!”

The video of Gonzalez’s impassioned remarks went viral and now “We Call BS!” is on a tee shirt, part of the “merch” funding the tour, along with public donations at their website. “We Call BS!” is also part of the campaign to register youth to vote: https://marchforourlives.com/vote-for-our-lives/

The tour hit Los Angeles County with a stop in Palmdale on July 17, then two days in LA, before heading to Irvine and Huntington Beach in Orange County on Saturday. Sunday, they head up to Oakland. Their trip through the middle of the country in June included a June 24 stop at the Twin Cities Pride Festival in Loring Park, Minnesota and a visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation three days later.

Interesting in its coincidental timing apart from the tour—three murdered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School coaches were honored Wednesday night at the ESPY Awards in LA broadcast live on ABC. Aaron Feis, 37, Assistant Football Coach and security guard, used his body as a shield. Scott Beigel, 35, a geography teacher and cross-country coach, ushered students to safety in his classroom. Chris Hixon, 49, the school’s athletic director, wrestling coach and Navy veteran, died trying to disarm the shooter.

At some stops, the activists meet with local officials and leaders and hold community events and town halls, partnering with local organizations to share the platform with local activists or survivors.

In LA, the students first met Thursday, July 19, with Mayor Eric Garcetti, who joined his new Student Advisory Council on Gun Violence in Schools & Communities in announcing that LA will join the March For Our Lives youth in becoming the first US city hold a voter registration drive on public high school and community college campuses on Sept. 25.

“Young people in Los Angeles and across America are showing incredible leadership in confronting gun violence,” Garcetti said. “I am inspired by their commitment to improving our country and the democratic process, and proud that L.A. will lead in making it easier for our youth to register, vote, and have their say in the future direction of our country.”

The plan is a result of a partnership between March For Our Lives, Garcetti, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the LA Community College District and the LA Unified School District (LAUSD). They called for similar actions across California.

“Youth are leading the charge of civic engagement in California and we now have more than 166,000 total 16 and 17 year-olds who have pre-registered to vote,” said Padilla. “But we are looking forward to getting to 200,000 by the Midterms and with the leadership of Mayor Garcetti and his new citywide initiative, I have no doubt we will.”

“Mayor Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles are raising the bar for elected officials around the country,” said a March For Our Lives spokesperson. “Everybody deserves to be heard in our political system, especially students. By committing resources to a community-wide voter registration day on September 25, the Los Angeles Public School system and the Los Angeles Community College District are making it easier for millions of students to make their choice clear at the ballot box. It’s on all of us to ensure those eligible to vote have an opportunity to do so.”

After the announcement, Garcetti moderated a roundtable with members of March For Our Lives, members of the Student Advisory Group on Gun Violence in Schools & Communities, and Captain Mark Kelly, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun violence prevention organization created with his wife, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, a victim of wanton gun violence while meeting at a shopping mall with constituents.

A new analysis by TargetSmart, a data firm that works on behalf of Democrats, indicates an eight percentage point jump in voter registration among voters between the ages of 18-29 in Florida after the shooting. “In the two and a half months after the shooting, young voters made up 34.22 percent of all new voter registrations in Florida,” the McClatchy News Service reported July 19.

March for Our Lives movement leader David Hogg, applauded the news, tweeting: “The young people will win,” also congratulating the March For Our Lives AZ (Arizona) for their “AMAZING work!”

“A new generation of political leaders emerged in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy,” TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier said in a statement. “We witnessed their ability to organize in Florida and across the country as massive crowds took to the streets for the March for Our Lives, and now we’re seeing a quantifiable impact from that organizing. It remains to be seen how many of these younger registrants will cast a ballot in November, but they are poised to have a louder voice than ever in these critical midterm elections.”

But the NRA also had a record month of fundraising after the Parkland shooting, McClatchy reports.

The NRA was a hot topic at the March For Our Lives town hall meeting at the California African American Museum Thursday night. When asked much of the audience raised their hands as having led or participated in the March 24 walkouts in Los Angeles as part of a March For Our Lives massive national protest.

Their message: Text ‘CHANGE’ to 977-79 to join March For Our Lives.

March For Our Lives strategist and former MSD student Matt Deitsch adroitly dismantled the NRA argument that “a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun.” They’re just trying to sell you two guns—that’s what they do. They sell guns, he said. “Don’t buy the sales pitch.”

The NRA, Deitsch said, “cares more about gun rights than human rights.” He also lampooned loud-mouthed NRA member Ted Nugent who recently called the student survivors “liars,” “poor, mushy-brained children,” and “soulless,” according to Vox, and says gun-free zones “are where the most innocent lives are lost.” Nugent apparently banned guns at his Virginia concert Tuesday citing concerns about the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.

“According to Roanoke station WSLS, Nugent’s management specifically told Berglund Performing Arts Theater operators just minutes before showtime that guns would be banned from the concert,” the Orlando Sentinel reported. “Given the things that have happened in nightclubs like Pulse and what happened in Manchester, [Nugent’s] security people are taking extra precautions,” center general manager Robyn Schon told WSLS, referring to the 2016 shooting in Orlando that killed 49 and the 2017 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in England. “They are not novices. They are very serious people.”

Nugent’s spokeswoman Linda Peterson denied the ban telling the Orlando Sentinel Thursday, “Ted always allows legally carried guns into his shows.”

Another panelist also mentioned Pulse, noting that there was a good guy had a gun at the gay nightclub but he didn’t want to go up against the shooter with an AR 15 and possibly kill lots of innocent people.

But while education about the NRA and registering people to vote were primary goals of the town hall, the Parkland students also sought to share their platform with Black Lives Matter and local individuals impacted by gun violence—and that sparked intense serious discussions about police violence, domestic violence, the school-to-prison pipeline and “the constant cycle of gang violence that’s just the system failing us over and over again.”

When you talk about gun intervention, one African American woman said, “you have to include everybody.” For instance, there are laws preventing a convicted domestic abuser from getting a gun—but a number of domestic abusers are police officers and they get away with it. Additionally, there is the militarization of the police force and unaccountable police brutality against minorities with laws allowing the use of deadly force.

“Is it my fault you’re afraid of the color of my skin?” an African American woman said, noting how police justify shooting unarmed black men out of fear for their own safety. Why should such a fearful man be a police officer? “I’m afraid of the police.”

“Where is justice?” asked another, noting that so many shooting deaths have not been solved.

At the end of the town hall, the Parkland students asked that the audience buy the “merch,” which is how the tour is being funded. The merch includes technology tee shirts where the stars in the stars and stripes flag is really a code that when scanned goes to a link with voter registration information. Perhaps because of the nature of discussion, the Parkland students announced that the proceeds from the sale of that night’s merch would go to Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles.

At the end, panelists urged the survivors to call out the names of the victims.

Flipping the script a bit to lift up the good work being done on behalf of human persons – here are the names of the people who participated in both the mayor’s panel and the town hall:

Mayor’s panel:

John Choe
Katherine Henriquez
Natalie Garner
Sarah Robinson
Kevin Ramos
Alfonso Calderon
Kelly Choi
David Hogg
Alex King
Ryan Deitsch
Ariel Hobbs

Town hall panel:
Emma Gonzalez
Matt Deitsch
Manuel Oliver
Ramon Contreras
Edna Chavez
Jenna Cook
Mariam Siddiqi
Deborah Nelson
Donna Brown
Thandiwe Abdullah

Please note: the Los Angeles Blade is featuring an interview with March For Our Lives bisexual leader Emma Gonzales for the next issue’s cover story. Also look for the story online at losangelesblade.com

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Los Angeles

TransLatin@ Coalition celebrates 15 Years of advocacy & progress

The organization has achieved numerous milestones, including founding of the Center for Violence Prevention & Transgender Wellness in 2015

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Led by Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, the press conference highlighted the perilous situations faced by transgender and Latinx individuals in their home countries. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the TransLatin@ Coalition commemorated a significant milestone as it marked the launch of its 15th Anniversary Campaign during a press conference held in Los Angeles. The event also served as a platform to unveil the organization’s 2023 Annual Report, shedding light on its journey, accomplishments, and ongoing commitments.

Led by Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, the press conference highlighted the perilous situations faced by transgender and Latinx individuals in their home countries, where they often confront insurmountable violence.

Salcedo emphasized the harsh reality that many flee to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco seeking asylum, only to encounter further violence and danger, often leading to deportation and, tragically, sending them back to potential harm or death.

A poignant moment of the event was the unveiling of a new logo commemorating the organization’s 15th anniversary, aptly dubbed their “quinceañera.” This symbolizes not only a milestone but also a renewed commitment to advocacy and support for the TransLatin@ community.

In a groundbreaking announcement, Salcedo revealed plans for a $35 million state of the art multiservice and multipurpose space aimed at providing a safe and secure space for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. With $20 million already secured, this initiative underscores the organization’s dedication to addressing the pressing needs of the community.

The TransLatin@ Coalition, founded in 2009 by a group of transgender and gender nonconforming immigrant women in Los Angeles, has evolved into a nationally recognized organization with a presence in 10 states across the U.S. It offers direct services to transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex individuals in Los Angeles, with a focus on empowering and improving the quality of life for its members.

Since its inception, the organization has achieved numerous milestones, including the establishment of the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness in 2015, the opening of the first-ever TransLatin@ office in 2016, and the launch of the #TransPolicyAgenda in 2019.

The TransLatin@ Coalition’s advocacy efforts have also extended to legislative triumphs, such as the passage of AB2218 in 2020, which allocates grant funding for transgender wellness and equity programs, and supporting bills like AB1163 and AB 1487, aimed at advancing transgender rights.

With the recent expansion to include the El Monte site and the opening of a new building on Sunset, the TransLatin@ Coalition continues to broaden its reach and impact, reaffirming its commitment to serving the community and creating inclusive spaces where history is made and celebrated.

“Beautiful and amazing people, who are trans, gender non-conforming, or intersex, please know that you are beautiful and amazing and that you are valued. Do not feel alone. There is a whole movement that is fighting for you. Continue to assert your presence within the tapestry of our society. We love you, we see you, we thank you,” Salcedo told the Blade.

As the organization looks ahead to the next 15 years and beyond, its mission to advocate for the specific needs of the TransLatin@ community remains steadfast, guided by values of altruism, respect, transparency, and collaboration.

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LAPD Police Commission names Dominic Choi interim chief

The son of Korean immigrants, Choi began his LAPD career in 1995 after earning his bachelor’s degree from USC

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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass with Assistant LAPD Chief Dominic Choi. (Photo Credit: Screenshot/KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – Assistant LAPD Chief Dominic Choi will be the first Asian-American to lead the Los Angeles Police Department after the city’s Police Commission unanimously selected him to the role with a start date of March 1, 2024, as current LAPD Chief Michel Moore is set to retire effective at the end of February.

Choi’s the first Korean American to hold the job taking over from Chief Moore, whose retirement Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced four weeks ago in a press conference. The assignment is expected to last only until mid-summer, while a nationwide search is conducted to find a more permanent replacement.

“This appointment will continue our work to make Los Angeles safer. I look forward to working with Interim Chief Choi in the coming months as he provides steady and stable leadership for our police department,” said Mayor Bass. “Interim Chief Choi’s more than 28 years of service to this City as a member of the police department put him in a unique position to not only lead, but to grow and improve our department. I want to thank Interim Chief Choi for his willingness to accept this appointment as we work to make our city safer for all.”

Reacting to the news, LA City Councilmember John Lee wrote on social media: “Congratulations to my good friend Dominic Choi on being named the Interim Chief of @lapdhq!”

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore, Assistant LAPD Chief Dominic Choi & Los Angeles Councilmember John Lee.
(Photo Credit: Office of Councilmember Lee)

The son of Korean immigrants, Choi began his LAPD career in 1995 after earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, KABC 7 News reported.

He worked patrol assignments in different divisions, rising through the ranks to detective, sergeant, and lieutenant. In 2014, he was promoted to captain, serving in both Foothill and Pacific areas. In 2017, he was promoted to Commander of Operations Central Bureau and later became the Department’s Homeless Coordinator. He remained in that position until he was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2019.

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Chief Moore has been LA’s top cop since June 4, 2018 after then Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti appointed him to the post which was ratified by the Los Angeles City Council on June 27, 2018. Moore is a veteran law enforcement official having joined the LAPD in 1981.

The Chief during his career in the LAPD, has received numerous commendations and awards for his police service including the department’s Medal of Valor, the Police Medal, the Police Star, and the Police Meritorious Service Medal.

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Mayor Bass & officials warn Angelenos to prep for Sunday’s storm

The Mayor and officials are cautioning residents to stay at home and to be careful as the second storm approaches

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Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley held a press conference Friday afternoon at the LAFD's Station 29 in Hancock Park. (Screenshot KNBC Live)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley held a press conference Friday afternoon at the LAFD’s Station 29 in Hancock Park as the second of two major storms caused by another atmospheric river approaches.

The Mayor and officials are cautioning residents to stay at home and to be careful as the second storm approaches.

The storm is slated to bring cooler temperatures with heavy rain totals with a likelihood of thunderstorms and localized flooding. This storm is expected to bring three to six inches of rain in Southern California’s coastal areas and valleys. The foothills and mountains could see up to 12 inches Saturday night into Tuesday.

The National Weather Service says Metro L.A. will see the most significant downpour from Sunday night into Monday.

On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California has mobilized more than 8,300 boots on the ground ahead of the next set of winter storms anticipated to bring serious impacts to much of the state this weekend and into early next week.

In addition to increased personnel, California has activated its State Operations Center, Flood Operations Center, Caltrans Emergency Operations Center and the Medical Health Coordination Center – all coordinating a unified response with our local and federal partners.

Supporting recovery efforts from storms in January and late December, Governor Newsom today also proclaimed a state of emergency in Humboldt, Imperial, Monterey, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, which join two counties the Governor proclaimed a state of emergency for last week due to storm impacts.

THE FORECAST: According to the National Weather Service, an atmospheric river will move into California starting early morning on Sunday and will continue through Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. 

  • Rain: Heavy rainfall is possible nearly statewide, but the most likely focus will be on coastal central to southern California. Significant flooding is becoming increasingly likely, including the potential for flooding on roadways, creek and main stem river flooding, mud/rockslides, and debris flows. 
  • Snow: Additional heavy mountain snowfall is expected across virtually the entire state, with snow levels on Sunday starting as low as 2,500-4,500 feet across northern California and 5,000-6,000 feet in southern California. Multiple feet of new snow accumulation are likely in several mountain ranges, and extremely difficult mountain travel conditions are expected. 
  • Wind: Periods of strong, gusty winds will likely lead to outdoor property damage, tree damage, and power outages. 

According to the State Operations Center, Flood Operations Center, and Caltrans Emergency Operations Center:

California has mobilized: 

  • 8,300+ boots on the ground, including:
    • Cal OES, through the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, has deployed more than 550 local government firefighters and support staff, as well as 19 swift water rescue teams, 1 local government urban search and rescue team, in 19 counties.
    • More than 4,000 Caltrans personnel deployed throughout the state.
    • California Highway Patrol officers and other personnel are available in impacted regions and can activate limited emergency operations centers.
    • CAL FIRE has prepositioned 5 hoist-rescue helicopters, 2 swift water rescue teams, additional four-wheel drive engines, and 6 handcrews.
    • The California National Guard is ready to rapidly deploy if called upon. These resources include high-water vehicles, aviation search and rescue assets, military police, general transportation, and heavy engineering equipment units. 
    • 500 California Conservation Corps members available to support.
  • 1,200+ pieces of winter equipment from Eureka to El Centro – such as snow blowers, graders and sweepers – are available to remove snow and ice from the highways.
    • Caltrans has prepositioned water pumps in flood-prone areas, and is ensuring storm drains are clear of debris, checking portable backup generators, and stocking up on reflective signs in the event of power outages.
  • 7 million+ sandbags prepositioned 
  • Sheltering and food supplies for 37,000+ people, including cots, blankets, water and food.  
  • Other state efforts include:
    • The State Operations Center is activated, whole of state government expertise responding 24/7.
    • Community partner phone banking effort making thousands of calls to sign up Californians for local emergency alerts in the most at-risk counties. 
    • The Flood Operations Center is activated and coordinating flood planning and response. DWR Flood Fight Specialists are also on standby and are patrolling priority levees 24/7. The California Nevada River Forecast Center is in a 24-hour operation, producing updated forecasts every 6 hours throughout the duration of the event.
    • State Parks continues to actively monitor the storm’s impacts on state parks and making real-time decisions on closures as needed. As of this morning, California has fully closed 7 state parks and partially closed 6 and have staff on the ground to respond. The public is advised to stay out of the ocean during the storm. For the latest closure information, please visit parks.ca.gov/incidents.

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Mayor Karen Bass: LAPD Chief Michel Moore will retire in February

Mayor Bass did not name a successor but indicated there will be a nationwide search for the next LAPD chief

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In a press conference Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced that LAPD Chief Michel Moore will retire in February. (Screenshot/YouTube FOX 11)

LOS ANGELES – In a press conference Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced that Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore will retire at the end of February. An emotional at times Chief Moore told reporters he was proud of his career at the department.

“It’s been my distinct honor and privilege to have served for more than four decades on the finest police department in the world, and for the last five and a half years as chief, some six years ago, when the opportunity to seek the position of chief of police occurred,” said Moore.

Moore thanked his wife Cindy for her support throughout his career in law enforcement and then told reporters the opportunity to spend time with family factored into his decision to retire.

Moore has been LA’s top cop since June 4, 2018 after then Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti appointed him to the post which was ratified by the Los Angeles City Council on June 27, 2018.

Moore is a veteran law enforcement official having joined the LAPD in 1981. Rising through the ranks he was promoted to Captain and then took over command of the LAPD’s troubled Rampart Division after its former commanding officer Rafael Pérez, was arrested in a scandal in numerous crimes and corruption, notably the shooting and framing of notorious street gang leader Javier Ovando, in addition to the theft and resale of at least $800,000 of cocaine from LAPD evidence lockers.

After years of supervisorial assignments, Moore was promoted to First Assistant Chief and transferred to be the Director – Office of Operations, responsible for overseeing the department’s geographic bureaus and patrol divisions which provide uniformed and investigative services to the city.

The Chief during his career in the LAPD, has received numerous commendations and awards for his police service including the department’s Medal of Valor, the Police Medal, the Police Star, and the Police Meritorious Service Medal.

Mayor Bass did not name a successor but indicated there will be a nationwide search for the next LAPD chief, which Moore will play a continuing role as a consultant.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore to step down

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LAPD: San Fernando Valley possible hate crimes suspect arrested

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64-year-old Edelidio David Wallace was apprehended in the 21000 block of Victory Boulevard at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Police Department said that Topanga Area patrol officers have arrested the suspect in a series of acts of vandalism in the northwestern area of the San Fernando Valley over this past weekend.

64-year-old Edelidio David Wallace was apprehended in the 21000 block of Victory Boulevard at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. The LAPD’s Major Crimes Division, is seeking additional victims of a vandalism suspect in the Topanga area.

An LAPD spokesperson said that Wallace is the man seen in multiple surveillance videos throwing rocks and cement bricks to smash glass windows and doors at over five businesses.

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On January 6, 2024, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Topanga Area patrol officers responded to three vandalism incidents within three blocks of the 20900 block of Victory Boulevard. The suspect used rocks and cement bricks to smash glass windows and doors belonging to several closed businesses. The suspect fled from the location on foot.

On January 8, 2024, between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., the same suspect vandalized additional closed businesses on Vanowen Street, Topanga Canyon Boulevard, and Sherman Way, again throwing rocks and bricks. All the vandalism occurred within a two-mile radius. Major Crimes Division is investigating the vandalism series to determine if there is a hate crime nexus based on three businesses being Jewish-owned. The rocks recovered had “Glory” and “Pay Up” written on them.

Major Crimes Division is also investigating additional vandalisms that occurred on January 5th and January 7th in the same general area to determine if they are related.

Clothing Description:
January 6, 2024: Nike green sweatshirt, black pants, white Nike shoes
January 8, 2024: Nike burgundy sweatshirt, black pants, white Nike shoes

Investigators believe there are other victims who have yet to be identified. A photograph of the suspect is being released in hopes to identify and speak with additional persons who may have been victimized.

If you have been a victim or have information about this investigation, you are urged to contact Major Crimes Detectives Beard or Patin at 213-486-7280. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P-3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

Suspect arrested in connection with possible hate crime spree in Canoga Park 

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Los Angeles

At least 5 more potential hate crime acts in Canoga Park 

The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers

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Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Police Department

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that at least 5 businesses in Canoga Park were vandalized early Monday morning in what an LAPD source said could be potential hate crimes. At least one of those businesses is Jewish-owned.

Officers from the LAPD’s Topanga Community Police Station responded to calls in the 21300 block of Vanowen Street and in the 6000 block of Topanga Canyon Boulevard. A tire store, paint stores, a sign shop, mattress store and an In-N-Out had their windows broken with rocks the LAPD said.

These criminal acts coming on the heels of the acts of vandalism against three Jewish-owned businesses this past week in neighboring Woodland Hills.

The LAPD confirmed that hate crime investigations are underway related to the Woodland Hills incidents, but would not confirm if the Monday morning attacks are believed to be connected.

The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers at www.lacrimestoppers.org, or call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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Hate crime investigation in vandalism of Jewish-owned businesses

The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers

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Surveillance video showing suspect throwing a brick through the front windows of a business in the 20900 block of Victory Boulevard. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – The Los Angeles Police Department’s Topanga Division detectives are seeking the person or person’s responsible for the acts of vandalism against three Jewish-owned businesses this past week.

A spokesperson for the LAPD told local media that officers responded to a call of vandalism at a business in the 20900 block of Victory Boulevard just after 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. 

When they arrived, they found that a rock had been thrown at a business with a note written in Aramaic. Surveillance video captures a man walking up to the business before throwing a rock through the storefront. 

KTLA reported a Jewish-owned business two doors down on the same property was also vandalized, likely by the same suspect or suspects, one business owner believes.

“Apparently, only me and my neighbor who have a mezuzah outside got broken into,” one storeowner told KTLA. “So, we know it’s a hate crime, and oddly enough, when we came in, there was a rock that said ‘payback’ and ‘glory,’ and I don’t know what that means.” 

“Obviously, these guys are not happy with us being Jewish in the neighborhood,” he added.

The owners of the vandalized businesses told KTLA that another business – a dance studio – was vandalized on the same morning, and that another nearby Jewish-owned establishment had been vandalized two days prior. The owner of the dance studio confirmed that she is not Jewish.

The LAPD has not yet released a description of the suspect.

The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers at www.lacrimestoppers.org, or call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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Los Angeles

Aids Healthcare Foundation acquires LA’s iconic Morrison Hotel

AHF announced that the project will convert the hotel into 111 units of low-income housing estimated to bring a cost of $107,000 per unit

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The ceremony celebrating AHF’s acquisition of the historic Morrison Hotel, a 1914 era building in downtown Los Angeles was held on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. (Photo courtesy of LA-based singer-songwriter, musician & producer Fernando Perdomo)

LOS ANGELES – In a media conference Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) announced that it had acquired the historic Morrison Hotel from LA-based Relevant Group real estate and hospitality development company earlier this month.

Reporting by The Real Deal magazine’s LA bureau, disclosed that the sale price was $12.4 million, according to a deed filed with L.A. County. The magazine also reported Relevant and the nonprofit also signed a “development cooperation agreement” to jointly build a residential, hotel or commercial project, records show. The agreement was a condition of the sale. 

AHF announced that the project, with its plans to convert the building into 111 units of low-income housing is estimated to bring a cost of $107,000 per unit.

Constructed in 1914, the 109-year-old single-room occupancy hotel garnered fame in 1970 when it was featured on the cover of the Doors’ fifth studio album, “Morrison Hotel.” 

Alongside AHF and other dignitaries in attendance at the event Tuesday were famed photographer Henry Diltz, Fernando Perdomo, an LA based singer-songwriter, musician and producer, who was backing David Reeves and one of the surviving Doors band members, drummer John Densmore, 79.

“The people who work in the city can’t afford to live in the city, so the Morrison Hotel is now going to be a solution to that problem,” Densmore said.

Diltz, who shot the famed picture of The Doors for the album cover noted, band members snuck in while the clerk was busy and he quickly shot a series of photos under the “Morrison Hotel” lettering, with singer Jim Morrison front and center in the window.

The 1970 album is highly regarded in rock history, as it reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200, and performed better overseas than the preceding album. It featured classics such as “Roadhouse Blues” and “Peace Frog.”

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The Hollywood sign is officially a century old

Originally intended to last just a year and a half, the Sign has endured more than eight decades – and is still going strong

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A survey crew laying out the upscale residential real estate development neighborhoods circa 1924 a few months after the erection of the now globally recognized billboard sign. (Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Public Library system archives/photographs collection)

LOS ANGELES – The iconic symbol marking Los Angeles as the entertainment capital of the world marked its 100th birthday on Friday, Dec. 8. Universally recognized across the globe, the sign began its sojourn as a literal billboard sign to advertise an upscale residential real estate development. The sign was first illuminated on Dec. 8, 1923, originally saying “Hollywoodland.”

According to the sign’s official preservation website:

Hollywood, which by now represented not just a city, but also an industry, a lifestyle and, increasingly, an aspiration, was officially crowned when the “Hollywoodland” sign was erected in 1923. Built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as an epic $21,000 billboard for his upscale Hollywoodland real estate development, the Sign soon took on the role of giant marquee for a city that was constantly announcing its own gala premiere.

Dates and debates swirl about when the Hollywoodland Real Estate development – and the massive electric sign that advertised it – actually came into being. But a review of local newspapers from the era (i.e., The Los Angeles Times, Holly Leaves, Los Angeles Record, Los Angeles Examiner and the Hollywood Daily Citizen) clears up any confusion. For instance, a Hollywoodland ad in the Los Angeles Times (June 10, 1923) states that the real estate development launched in late March of that year and that by June, 200 men were employed, 7 miles of road had been cut and 300,000 cubic yards of dirt had been moved.

And while some sources still cite that the Sign was born in 1924, the correct date is indisputably 1923. The earliest found mention of the Sign appeared on December 14, 1923 in a Holly Leaves article about the Mulholland Highway soon to be built, which would extend from “…from the western end of the (Griffith Park) road, under the electric sign of Hollywoodland, around Lake Hollywood and across the dam.”

Just two weeks later another Los Angeles Times article (December 30, 1923) with the headline “Hollywood Electric Sign Reached by Car,” reported on actor Harry Neville’s epic, experimental trip to test whether a motorcar could reach the Sign on the unpaved grade, and whether the car’s brakes would work on the precipitous path down. According to the article, “A motley crowd of hillclimbers, workmen, salesmen and curiosity thrill-seekers …stood by with fear and trembling as the loose dirt began to give way but Neville stuck by the ship…” to make it safely back to the “wide smooth roads of Hollywoodland.”

Photo Credit: The City of Los Angeles

There has also been debate about whether the Sign was originally erected without lights (with the thousands of bulbs added later). However, historic photos from the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph collection, taken just as the Sign was being erected, show workers carrying parts of the Sign that include the original lights in frames or “troughs.” Bruce Torrence, curator of the photo collection, notes that the shape of the light boxes indicate that these sections were probably part of the letter “A” and possibly the “L.”

Confusion solved: by the end of 1923, the Hollywood Sign was fully erected, a high-profile beacon – lights ablaze – for the fast-growing Los Angeles metropolis.

The “billboard” was massive. Each of the original 13 letters was 30 feet wide and approximately 43 feet tall, constructed of 3×9′ metal squares rigged together by an intricate frame of scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles.

All of this material had to be dragged up precipitous Mt. Lee by laborers on simple dirt paths.

Few know that a giant white dot (35 feet in diameter, with 20-watt lights on the perimeter) was constructed below the Sign to catch the eye. The Sign itself featured 4,000 20-watt bulbs, spaced 8 inches apart.

At night the Sign blinked into the Hollywood night: first “Holly” then “wood” and finally “land,” punctuated by a giant period. The effect was truly spectacular, particularly for pre-Vegas sensibilities.

Originally intended to last just a year and a half, the Sign has endured more than eight decades – and is still going strong.

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LA’s Original Farmers Market’s annual Chanukah celebration

Kicking off the festivities is an ice sculpture menorah carving demonstration, followed by arts and crafts for kids to enjoy

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Photo courtesy of The Original Farmers Market

LOS ANGELES – The Original Farmers Market invites you to join its annual Chanukah celebration on Sunday, December 10th from 3 to 5:15 pm. Bring your loved ones and immerse yourselves in an afternoon filled with music and fun!

Kicking off the festivities is an ice sculpture menorah carving demonstration, followed by arts and crafts for kids to enjoy. The evening continues with a youth musical performance by JLA, followed by a Chanukah sing-along with Miss Melo. As the sun sets, get ready for the grand finale, an ice sculpture menorah lighting with Miracle Mile Chabad.

Don’t miss out on this bright and festive event full of fun, food, and cheer!

WHEN:Chanukah Celebration on Sunday, December 10th from 3:00 pm to 5:15 pm
WHERE:  The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036
EVENT SCHEDULE: 3-4:45 PM Menorah Ice Sculpture Carving Demo And Arts & Crafts Activities 
4:45 PM Youth Musical Performances by JLA 
5 PM Chanukah Sing-Along with Miss Melo 
5:15 PM Ice Sculpture Menorah Lighting with Miracle Mile Chabad

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