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Rep. Katie Hill getting death threats

Says Rep. Omar’s dehumanization is ‘worst of all’

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Rep. Katie Hill and Stonewall Democratic Club President Lester Aponte (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

It’s spring recess, a time when elected officials return to their districts to share what’s happening in this new world of quicksand politics. But Stonewall Democratic Club’s “Stoney Awards” on April 13 offered a sense of optimism that the darkness of Trump era is only a blip on the progressive trajectory of American democracy. 

Stonewall honored Rep. Katie Hill, Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu, transgender rights activist Karina Samala, Black AIDS Institute founder Phill Wilson and Stonewall’s member of the year, John Erickson—and Rep. Adam Schiff received a hero’s welcome.

Though the 2020 elections are still 19 months away, races are well underway with Democratic candidates seeking Stonewall’s endorsement. In fact, Hill told the appreciative crowd, during the 2018 primary, she was accused of faking her sexual orientation to win their endorsement.

“One of my favorite moments in the entire campaign was in the primary,” Hill said, “when I was told that I was pretending to be bi because I wanted the endorsement of the Stonewall Democratic Club. So clearly this is an endorsement that carries a lot of clout.”

Republicans want Hill’s purple 25th District back in 2020. She won handily in 2018 as part of California’s blue wave winning the House of Representatives. The millennial activist defeated longtime conservative Rep. Steve Knight, son on the infamous anti-LGBT state legislator Pete Knight. 

But while her district includes Lancaster, Palmdale and Simi Valley where “The Gay Agenda” was produced and anti-LGBT hate crimes were routine, the old GOP stronghold went 50.3% for Hillary Clinton and 43.6% for Donald Trump. By 2018, Democrats held a nearly 4-point edge in the working class district. Hill defeated Knight 54.4% to 45.6%, becoming California’s first out LGBT woman in Congress.

Hill was assigned to three significant House committees, including the important Oversight and Reform Committee where she is Vice Chair to Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings. Oversight is holding hearings on climate change and prescription drug prices, as well as accountability in government. Additionally, Hill is co-Freshman Class Representative with Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top leadership.

Hill will be holding a “conversation” with constituents about her first 100 days on Sat, April 27, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM PDT at Santa Clarita City Hall. RSVPs are required: https://katiehill.house.gov/

Mike Garcia, son of a Mexican immigrant and a fighter pilot Iraq War veteran, announced on April 10 that he is challenging Hill. His strategy is to tie her to Bronx Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and others pushing a “Socialist agenda”—the new official Republican Party talking point.

“I have been at the edge where bullets fly and lives are lost,” Garcia said in a press release, reports Politico. “I believe America is the greatest country in the world. I’ve seen men and women lose their lives defending this country. And I am disgusted that politicians in Washington are voting in lockstep with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to push a Socialist agenda that jeopardizes everything we’ve risked blood and treasure to defend.”

Hill took the announcement in stride.

“I know how tough these primaries can be. With three Republicans now filed to run and likely more who will jump in, I wish them all luck,” she told Politico. “I am deeply grateful to Mr. Garcia for his service to our nation and thank him and his family for all they have given to keep America safe.”

Hill reported a little over $607,000 in first quarter filings for her re-election bid, according to Politico. Her SoCal 2018 fellow candidates also have done well. Finance whiz Rep. Katie Porter raised about $416,000; Rep. Gil Cisneros brought in $260,000; Rep. Harley Rouda collected around $495,000; and Rep. Mike Levin reported about $442,000.

The other member of the group, Ammar Campa-Najjar, lost by 3.4 points to longtime anti-LGBT Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is under federal indictment for allegedly using campaign funds for personal matters. Campa-Najjar raised more than $345,000 in the first quarter to Hunter’s reported $93,000. Hunter, meanwhile, has resurrected his nasty claims that the devout Christian Campa-Najjar has secret ties to Islamic terrorists.

“He’s just trying to fearmonger,” Campa-Najjar told Politico, calling Hunter’s claims “totally devoid of moral character and facts” to “distract from his criminal indictment.”

But nowhere has the ugly trope of Islamic terrorism been used as harshly as against Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who came to the US as a teenager with her family seeking asylum. She and Rep. Rashida Tlaib are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and are in Hill’s freshman class. Omar is also the first to wear a hijab on the House floor, becoming a powerful symbol for both refugees and Muslims—and a prime target for Trump’s anti-Muslim aggression.

Trump tweeted a video using a fragment of remarks Omar delivered to the Council on American-Islamic Relations against the backdrop of graphic images showing the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center. Omar was describing how CAIR was founded after 9/11 “because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

“Since the president’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video,” Omar tweeted. “This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”

In an interview during the Stonewall event, Hill said death threats have become commonplace.

“I think that people have really diminished the fact that she [Omar] and Alexandria and Rashida—and even myself have—we’ve been under death threats for quite some time,” Hill told the Los Angeles Blade. “Theirs have been worse—I don’t want to pretend I’m even on the same level as them. But hers [Omar’s] have been the worst of all.

“I don’t know exactly what makes people think they can do that. But I do think it’s a dehumanization,” Hill said. “This idea of people being dehumanized as second class citizens—however you want to put that in your mind—is that you are able to put them to a point where they are getting death threats or you feel like you can do that to somebody. We have to say unequivocally that that behavior is unacceptable.”

The interview was before Speaker Pelosi’s response to Trump’s tweet about Omar, which some Democrats felt was too tepid, and before Pelosi’s appearance on “60 Minutes” where she seemed to minimize the impact of AOC and the more outspoken newer members.

Hill seems to have a good working relationship with Pelosi. “It feels very much like she’s preparing for the next generation of leadership and I’m really honored and humbled and feel a great deal of responsibility to be part of that,” Hill told the Los Angeles Blade. “And I think it shows how much I’ve got to learn. She’s just an incredible role model and I would say unequivocally that we’re not quite ready for her to go.”

Hill, who has endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris for president, thinks candidates should focus on issues while providing a contrast to Trump.

“As far as I’m concerned, people’s opinions of Donald Trump are set. So from where I’m at, we have to do our constitutional obligation in Congress to hold the President accountable and to provide the oversight that hasn’t been done for two years. We’re going to keep doing that,” Hill said.

“We’re also sent there to work on healthcare and to work on rebuilding the middle class, doing the infra-structure, raising people’s wages, and providing accountability within government—so we’ve got to do that at the same time,” she said.

“In terms of the presidential campaign, I think what people want to see is what alternative you bring. And to me that’s honesty and integrity and an alternative that is not Donald Trump. I don’t honestly think that people need to have a whole lot pointed out about him, because everyone knows if you’re with Trump—that’s not moving, no matter how much you try,” Hill said, noting the importance of voters in the middle. “We can acknowledge what he’s done but we should not let him drive the narrative, which is what he’s done for four years.”

Hill is also practical regarding calls for Trump’s impeachment.

“Honestly, I think that what we have to just say across the board is that impeachment is a political process. If we don’t have the votes in the Senate, there’s no point,” she said. “So what we have to do instead is bring to light all the information for the American people and make sure that they have that information going into the election and can make their own decision.”

Hill’s own focus is her district, her committee assignments and her leadership post. “In large part, I see a responsibility to be a messenger on behalf of the new class as the Freshman Leadership representative and as somebody who is from this purple kind of middle,” Hill said. “It’s kind of figuring out what that messaging is and being able to deliver it and do both jobs at the same time.”

And run for re-election to keep the House in 2020.

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Los Angeles County

LA County Sheriff’s Dept. seeks public’s help in missing person case

Jai Rmanii Hicks, or Rmanii, 23, Black female last seen on July 16, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. on the 200 block of West Woodbury Road in Altadena

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Unit investigators are asking for the public’s help locating Missing Person Jai Rmanii Hicks, also known as Rmanii.

She is a 23 year-old female Black who was last seen on July 16, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. on the 200 block of West Woodbury Road in Altadena.

Rmanii is 5’10” tall, 185 lbs, shoulder length red hair styled in dreadlocks, brown eyes, symbol of an ankh tattoo on back, picture of a girl tattoo on right thigh, and a tribal symbol tattoo below chest. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, black pants, and a brown backpack.

Her family is concerned with her well-being and is asking for the public’s help.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit 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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West Hollywood

West Hollywood in brief- City government in action this week

‘All-Walk’ Phase Crosswalks Santa Monica & N. Robertson Blvds, Virtual Workshops, NextGen Summer Social, Women’s Equality Day – WeHo Takeover

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Photo by Uriel Malak Brewer/Facebook

City of West Hollywood Implements ‘All-Walk’ Phase at Crosswalks at Santa Monica and N. Robertson Boulevards on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Nights

WEST HOLLYWOOD – As part of an ongoing citywide effort to enhance pedestrian safety, starting on Thursday, August 11, 2022, the City of West Hollywood will implement a nighttime “all-walk” pedestrian-only phase for the crosswalks at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Robertson Boulevard on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

This nighttime pedestrian-only phase temporarily stops all vehicular traffic in all directions, which then allows pedestrians to cross traditionally or diagonally. The aim is to enhance pedestrian safety and improve traffic flow. This concept was first tested at this intersection in 2019; this re-instates a pedestrian-only phase at this intersection, which is the most pedestrian-trafficked intersection in the City during certain evening hours, accommodating up to 2,000 pedestrians per hour.  

Standard traditionally phased signals at intersections are designed to offer vehicles and pedestrians the opportunity to move together in the same direction at the same time. Potential conflicts may arise when there is a high volume of vehicular traffic making left or right turns, which means that cars are able to pass through pedestrian crossings during green walk signals (though drivers of cars are always mandated to yield to pedestrians in accordance with state law).

The City of West Hollywood, in developing a nighttime pedestrian-only phase for the crosswalks at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and N. Robertson Boulevard, seeks to add an additional layer of pedestrian safety by eliminating all vehicle movement at the intersection at the times that pedestrian volume is the highest. During the day and on lower-volume nights when the intersection has a lower pedestrian count, the intersection will function with standard traditionally phased signals, which will offer longer periods of green lights for vehicles to ensure maximum traffic flow at commute hours, while still regarding pedestrian safety.

Intersection improvements are part of the City’s continuous commitment to explore a mix of measures to address safety. The constant movement of dense vehicular traffic and pedestrians in close proximity is an ongoing challenge not only in West Hollywood but in cities across the nation. The nighttime pedestrian-only phase for the crosswalks at this intersection joins a variety of improvements as part of comprehensive plan with three unique areas to improve pedestrian safety: Engineering, Enforcement, and Education.

For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety, please call the City of West Hollywood’s Department of Public Works at (323) 848-6375. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

City of West Hollywood to Host Two Virtual Workshops at the End of August to Seek Community Input on the Vision for the Willoughby, Kings, Vista/Gardner Greenway Project

The City of West Hollywood is hosting two virtual community workshops at the end of August 2022 to seek community input on the vision for the Willoughby, Kings, Vista/Gardner Greenway Project. The workshops will be a guided discussion led by project partners, Here LA, to provide more information about the pilot project traffic calming strategies that were installed along Willoughby Avenue in April and to discuss the future vision of the streetscape for the Willoughby, Kings, Vista/Gardner Greenway Project. The City seeks community’s input about a streetscape plan as the project progresses into the final stages and implementation.

Community members are invited to attend one of two free virtual workshops, pre-registration is highly encouraged:

·       The first virtual workshop will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. register on the Zoom platform.

·       The second virtual workshop will be held on Saturday, August 27, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. register on the Zoom platform.

For individuals who wish to provide input about the project but who are not able to attend the virtual workshop, the City is providing a number of other ways to provide feedback (via text message, via an app accessed with QR codes at the sites of the temporary installations, or via a web submission form). More information about these feedback opportunities, a brief animated video about the project, and RSVP links for the upcoming virtual community meetings are available at www.weho.org/city-government/city-departments/planning-and-development-services/long-range-planning/mobility-planning/willoughby-vista-gardner-street-design-project.

The pilot phase of the Willoughby, Kings, Vista/Gardner Greenway Project began in April 2022 and consists of temporary traffic improvement strategies such as a traffic diverter at Ogden/Willoughby, corner curb extensions at Spaulding/Willoughby, and a mini-roundabout at Curson/Willoughby. These traffic calming measures were installed, temporarily, to model the impacts of street designs which intend to slow and/or divert traffic in order to make the residential corridor safer for local residents, pedestrians and cyclists.

            For more information about the Willoughby, Kings, Vista/Gardner Greenway Project, please contact Bob Cheung, City of West Hollywood Senior Transportation Planner, at [email protected] or (323) 848-6346.

For assistance regarding the virtual workshops and registration, please contact Paige Portwood, City of West Hollywood Associate Planner, at [email protected]

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

‘CicLAvia—Meet the Hollywoods’ will Take Place in the City of West Hollywood on Sunday, August 21

CicLAvia—Meet the Hollywoods Presented by Metro will take place on Sunday, August 21, 2022. The City of West Hollywood, and the City of Los Angeles neighborhoods of Hollywood and East Hollywood will be transformed into car-free open streets for the day.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 21, 2022 from the Hollywood Walk of Fame to the City of West Hollywood’s inclusive pride crosswalks, everyone is invited to come along for the ride and walk, bike, roll, and stroll through along the area’s most iconic streets. The event will close Santa Monica Boulevard from N. La Brea Avenue to N. San Vicente Boulevard to vehicle traffic and thousands of cyclists will fill the streets. 

The City of West Hollywood invites CicLAvia participants to make a day of it in West Hollywood and attend the City’s free Summer Sounds Concert Series finale on Sunday, August 21, 2022 at 5 p.m. at Plummer Park, located at 7377 Santa Monica Boulevard, featuring M&M The Afro-Persian Experience. The Afro-Persian Experience is a duo featuring Persian kamancheh master Mehdi Bagheri and artist/percussionist Marcus L. Miller. The music consists of all original compositions created by Bagheri & Miller and is deeply rooted in the traditions of ancient Persia and Africa. Their unique sound results from the natural contrast of their individual musical styles as well as the expression of their passion for the music. This concert is presented in partnership with Grand Performances supported by an arts grant from the City of West Hollywood.

For those who wish to attend without attending CicLAvia, Summer Sounds concert parking will be available in the Plummer Park north lot off Fountain Avenue at N. Vista Street; CicLAvia will provide north-south vehicle crossings for through traffic at N. La Brea Avenue and N. Fairfax Avenue. 

CicLAvia is a nonprofit organization that catalyzes vibrant public spaces, active transportation, and good health through car-free streets. CicLAvia engages with people to transform our relationship with our communities and with each other. Inspired by Bogotá’s weekly ciclovía, CicLAvia temporarily closes streets to car traffic and opens them to Angelenos to use as a public park. Free for all, CicLAvia connects communities to each other across an expansive city, creating a safe place to bike, walk, skate, roll, and dance through Los Angeles County. 1.6 million people have experienced CicLAvia; it is the biggest open streets event in the United States.

For additional information about CicLAvia—Meet the Hollywoods, please visit www.ciclavia.org/hollywood22.

For general information about CicLAvia, please visit www.ciclavia.org.

For more information, please contact the City of West Hollywood’s Event Services Division at [email protected].

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

City of West Hollywood Commemorates Women’s Equality Day with a Pop-Up Experience: Women’s Equality Day – WeHo Takeover

The City of West Hollywood and its Women’s Advisory Board will present the City’s annual celebration of Women’s Equality Day honoring the optimism, tenacity, and unrelenting spirit of the people who worked to secure women’s right to vote, and to illustrate how much can be achieved in a democratic society by the collective efforts of citizens committed to political reform.

Women’s Equality Day – WeHo Takeover is a pop-up experience featuring signage and giveaways celebrating women mobilizing for equal rights and recognizing the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It will take place on Saturday, August 27, 2022 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and N. San Vicente Boulevard in West Hollywood. Community members can participate by picking up free sashes, buttons, and other mementos, as well as by taking photos to share promoting voting rights, pay equity for women, and support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Face masks are encouraged for attendees. West Hollywood businesses are invited to participate in the Women’s Equality Day – WeHo Takeover by displaying signage, sharing messaging, and offering themed promotions. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/19th

In addition to the Women’s Equality Day – WeHo Takeover, West Hollywood City Hall and the City’s lanterns over Santa Monica Boulevard will glow in the colors of purple and yellow in recognition of the women’s suffrage movement. 

 For more than two decades, the City of West Hollywood has commemorated Women’s Equality Day in a variety of ways. The City of West Hollywood was the first city in the nation to declare itself pro-choice and it has continually supported state and federal legislation protecting and advancing women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare. The City supports the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and has a strong record of supporting initiatives that call for equal pay for equal work. The City’s Women’s Advisory Board is involved in a myriad of programming and events that recognize and support women in the community.

For more information, please contact Yvonne Quarker, City of West Hollywood Director of Community Services, at (323) 848-6408 or at [email protected] 

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

City of West Hollywood to Host ‘NextGen Summer Social’ at the New West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center Respite Deck Overlooking the City on Monday, August 29

The City of West Hollywood will host a NextGen Summer Social on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center Respite Deck, located at 8750 El Tovar Place. The event will be an opportunity for West Hollywood’s Next Generation to meet neighbors and local business owners, learn more about the City’s NextGen initiative, and provide feedback about upcoming programming and events. People who live, work, and play in West Hollywood are encouraged to come, mix, and mingle.  

NextGen is a civic participation initiative aimed at engaging constituents under the age of 40 who would like to get involved with civic life, and particularly people who are interested in being involved in the evolution of government programs and services in West Hollywood over the coming decades. The event is aimed at NextGen community members, but is open to everyone. Attendance at the NextGen event is free, but advance RSVPs are requested. To RSVP, please visit https://nextgensummersocial.splashthat.com

In 2016, the City of West Hollywood launched the NextGen initiative aimed at enhancing outreach and engagement with the City’s 40-and-under population.  The movement represented an intentional shift in the way the City engages with the new generation of residents and community members. Nearly half of residents in the City of West Hollywood are under the age of 40. Yet many younger people in the City are not actively engaged in local decision-making. The NextGen is passionate about a myriad of issues, yet this age group is disproportionately underrepresented at all levels of governmental leadership, as well as in the voting electorate.

For more information, please contact Jasmine Duckworth, Community Programs Coordinator for the City of West Hollywood, at (323) 848-6559 or [email protected].

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

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Los Angeles County

LACFD Lifeguard Div. announces death of Ocean Lifeguard Derek Traeger

Trager, 28, whose guard/patrol area was the beaches of Santa Monica North, had worked for the department for the past six years

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Ocean Lifeguard Derek Traeger (Left) (Photo Credit: LACFD Lifeguard Div./Twitter)

LOS ANGELES – On Monday, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Division announced that the department lost an active-duty Ocean Lifeguard Derek Traeger on Sunday, August 14.

Trager, 28, whose guard/patrol area was the beaches of Santa Monica North, where the Pacific Coast Highway leads to Malibu, had died on in a freeway accident the L.A. County coroner’s office said in a statement. The cause of death was listed as blunt trauma. Details about the crash were unavailable according to the Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office.

Trager had worked for the department for the past six years. It’s not an easy job NBC News had noted. The county requires viable candidates to perform a 1,000-meter ocean swim and then undergo 100 hours of training — and some lifeguard organizations have had a hard time staffing up for summer.

The division is responsible for 72 miles of coastline, from the Orange County line to its border with Ventura County, and a typical year can demand 10,000 or more ocean rescues.

Traeger was born and raised in San Pedro where he learned to swim and surf. He was a LA County Junior life guard for 9 years, a Cadet for 2 years. He swam for San Pedro High School and was captain of the San Pedro High surf team. He has been a swim instructor since 2011. He was a student at California State University Long Beach, an online bio read.

Julia Almanzan, Principal Deputy Los Angeles County Counsel and the parent of a child assisted by Traeger posted a noted of gratitude on Facebook with a photo of the Ocean Lifeguard and her kid:

Julia Almanzan/Facebook

“This 28yo @lacolifeguards Derek Traeger passed away on Sunday. I only know him from his assistance in treating and caring for @lucasalexanderah in my absence during @summerofsurf at Santa Monica beach in July. Derek was really good with kids, especially mine…and really good with moms who are far away from their kids during medical emergencies. I’m so sad such a good human has left this earth too soon. May he Rest In Peace. A huge thanks to @monica.mihaly.5 @christophermihaly for also caring for Lucas pending my arrival, and capturing this helper in action. There couldn’t be a better set of caring people circling Lucas at such an unfortunate time.”

In a Twitter thread, the department noted;

OL Traeger understood better than most what it means to wear the red trunks. His passion for life, art, the ocean, and his lifeguard family was evident in every moment he lived,” the tweet read. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, & colleagues of OL Traeger.”

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