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California

When in crisis, turn to the people

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee seeks to flip GOP-held statehouses

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The DLCC’s Matt Harringer and Jessica Post (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

“We are in a constitutional crisis,” House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told reporters on May 8 after the committee voted along partisan lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. Barr refused to testify before the committee and refused to turn over the full, unredacted report from special counsel Robert Mueller, to which the congressional committee is constitutionally entitled, in direct defiance of a congressional subpoena.

In fact, as if trigger-happy for a High Noon gunslinger showdown, President Donald Trump has escalated the direct confrontation with Congress by asserting executive privilege over Mueller’s report and ordering a blatant defiance of all subpoenas. Some politicos expect Trump to defy court orders, too. 

It is unclear if Trump knows or understands that American democracy relies on adherence to the rule of law and the system of oversight with checks and balances being observed by all three branches of government—the executive, the legislative and the judicial. Trump seems determined to shun that precious system as he careens his authoritarian ship of state, manned by a cult-struck Republican crew, toward dictatorship where he is above the law.   

Meanwhile, with American democracy at stake and the hubs of power in the nation’s capital stymied by dissention and division, perhaps the only place to turn for a remedy is to the American voters.

But there’s a catch:  Republicans are still in control of 30 state legislatures while Democrats control 18, an increase from 14 before the election. Republicans control both the governorship and are the majority in 21 states, while Democrats have majority control in 14 states, including California.

Enter the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee with the mission of flipping those GOP state legislatures. “Diversity is key to our success at the DLCC. One of our secret weapons against Republicans. We’re proud to have helped elect almost 100 out-LGBTQ legislators,” says Matt Harringer, the DLCC’s out National Press Secretary. “In 2018, we had 145 LGBTQ candidates; 92 won (63 percent). That’s up from 85 candidates in 2016. We have more than 2,000 women candidates (twice as many as Republicans); more than 1,000 people of color (four times as many as Republicans),” adding that the DLCC works closely with the Victory Fund, noting the dually endorsed candidates.

“Looking at the electoral landscape, obviously we can make progress as Democrats in the House and pass things like the Equality Act, but the Senate is still Republican controlled so it’s going to be difficult to get that through the Senate. And the Supreme Court is very conservative. Where we can see real progress is in the states,” says Jessica Post, DLCC Executive Director who, with Harringer, met recently with the Los Angeles Blade at The Abbey in West Hollywood.

“There are a number of states where we still don’t have equality or gender identity protections, and many of those states are at the top of our target list. Places like Arizona, where we’re two seats away from flipping the Arizona House, three seats away from flipping the Arizona State Senate. We see that as a real possibility,” she says. “That’s a place where they don’t even have favorable laws around adoption.”

“The truth is state legislatures are fundamental to democracy,” says Post. “If we think about how we’re ever going to win back the United States Senate or the presidency, we also have to make sure that we have better voting rights in the states. We have to make sure that we’re putting these fundamental building blocks by winning back legislatures. If we ever want to win back the United States Senate we have to improve the voting laws in these states.”

One major reason to be concerned about flipping state legislatures in the super significant 2020 election year, especially given the current constitutional crisis, is the issue of redistricting.

“The census will be done in 2021. The people that are elected in 2020 will control redistricting,” says Post. “So if we want a sustainable majority in the United States House, and not just a rental, we have to make sure that there are fair districts.” Democratic control of the House now is “a rented majority. We don’t own it. We’re renting it.”

In addition to flipping state legislatures to save democracy from authoritarianism made easier through redistricted cult-Republican majorities, DLCC is working to protect the wins Democrats now have—including LGBT seats. 

For instance, Colorado Republicans are running a bigoted recall campaign against LGBTQ Rep. Rochelle Galindo, a Latinx lesbian, who won by the largest number of votes in her District 50’s history in 2018,” says Harringer.

Rep. Rochelle Galindo (Photo from Galindo campaign)

However, she is facing a huge recall effort organized by Pastor Steve Grant, who has called Galindo a “homosexual pervert.” He has received pledges of support from state Republicans and the oil and gas industry has pledged up to $300,000.

“They want her out,” says Post. The Colorado Legislature is now a Democratic majority with out Gov. Jared Polis as governor and passed a lot of progressive bills. 

So Republicans see Galindo’s seat as a soft target because it was a tough seat to win. “It’s in Greely, so north of Boulder, the mountains, rural,” says Post, “so it was a huge win.”

The pastor/Republican coalition apparently sees her seat as “low-hanging fruit,” since she’s a woman, a lesbian. So they are willing to spend $300,000 to collect less than 6,000 signatures by June 3.

If the recall goes on the ballot, “it’ll be $1.7 million to protect her,” says Post.

The DLCC is supporting an anti-recall campaign, having invested $50,000 to prevent the recall. Polis is planning fundraisers to help—but he’s the subject of a recall effort, too, says Post.

It’s important for progressives and the LGBT community to take a stand and protect her, says Harringer.  “Not just for Californians, but specifically for the LGBTQ community here, which is one of the biggest and leading in the country— putting a stake in the ground and showing that when there’s a recall effort that’s explicitly anti-LGBTQ and bigoted, like this one is, that we’ll stand up for our own in other areas.”

In fact, California lawmakers are already working with DLCC to help other states.

“We’ve worked really closely with the California Legislature. They’ve gotten involved with DLCC. They’re helping to fundraise for a couple of reasons. One they always say, ‘California is America before America is America,’” says Post.

Who says that?

“Anybody in the California Legislature that you’ll ask—like Speaker Anthony Rendon,” she says. “One thing that they’re really interested in doing is making sure that they’re coordinating on public policy, especially on things like climate, with some of these other states. The other thing is they’re concerned about redistricting. They don’t feel like California is getting their fair share back from the federal government. They have to spend a lot of California resources suing the Trump administration.”

Post notes that the legislature is funding all the lawsuits against the Trump administration being brought by Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The Legislature had to create a California Endangered Species Act because of the “backslide at the federal level.”

And, Post says, “California legislators have gotten very involved with us at DLCC to try to help flip other state legislatures for redistricting to be able to enhance California’s position, but also to make sure that stronger public policies are being passed in the states.” Legislators realize “they’re in a strong position, they’re surrounded by well-resourced progressives so they’re interested in helping states like Michigan, Minnesota and Montana, which may not have the same.”

“California, for sure, is first priority for everyone, but they see the big picture, which is helpful,” says Harringer. “It’s very much like party building, sharing best practices. We are able to bring people together and share what’s working in California to say how to do it there.”

“If I was a Californian right now,” Post says, “I would be thinking to myself: ‘we live in this incredible state where we’ve made a lot of public policy progress. But the rights that I have as a Californian or as an LGBTQ Californian, those rights are not enjoyed by people in border states like Arizona or in other states across the country. What are the things that I can do to bring the progress that we have to them?’”

It’s an interesting point: in a constitutional crisis—what can “We, the People,” do to help? Find out more at www.dlcc.org.

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Los Angeles County

LAUSD board votes to ban student cellphone use during school day

Mobile phone apps are often cited as the leading cause among adolescents to suffer from episodes of mental health crisis or being bullied

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LAUSD board votes to ban student cellphone use during school day. (Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7 Eyewitness News)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) voted Tuesday to ban mobile phone use during the school day starting in January of 2025. The ban is a complete prohibition against access and use of mobile phones by students on all LAUSD school campuses, including break periods.

“No matter what we bring to the board in the next four months, it will come with an awareness campaign for all stakeholders including students, but advances also the critical element of pursuing litigation against social media giants for their careless, irresponsible and immoral actions that have put kids across the country in the position they’re in today,” said LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

There was dissension as two school board members opposed the ban citing how difficult it would be for employees of the second largest school district in the country to enforce the ban and stay on top of it, KABC 7 reported.

Nick Melvoin, the LAUSD school board member for District 4, who spearheaded the ban, spoke with KABC 7:

“When I talk to teachers and students and parents… I also hear the same, which is that more and more time is being spent on policing student phone use. There’s not a coherent enforcement and they’re looking for some support from the board and from the district,” Melvoin said Tuesday. “The schools that have gone farther and that have already implemented a phone-free school day report incredible results. Kids are happier, they’re talking to one another, their academics are up.”

Some parents and others are opposed to the ban telling KABC that they wanted to be able to communicate with their children. Others however see the ban as a means to improve learning and lead to less bullying.

On Monday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote an op-ed calling for warning labels for younger users on social media platforms.

With mobile phone apps most often cited as the leading cause among adolescents to suffer from episodes of mental health crisis or being bullied as is a majority of cases for LGBTQ+ youth, especially trans and gender non-conforming youth, limiting school day usage could mitigate a portion of those instances a San Fernando Valley youth mental health crisis counselor, who asked to remain unidentified, told the Blade Tuesday afternoon.

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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

A Food Equity Grant Program funded by LA County and the American Rescue Plan helps community organizations like Alma Backyard Farms create a new food system for County residents.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

Celebrating Juneteenth

LA County Celebrates Juneteenth

In celebration of Juneteenth 2024 and as a representation of the County’s commitment to the hard but necessary work of reparations, the County will provide free admission and access on or around June 19, 2024, to participating museums and beaches in Los Angeles County for eligible LA County residents who are lineal descendants of an African-American Chattel enslaved person (descendants of enslaved people who were abducted from their African homelands by force to be enslaved in North America) or of a free African-American person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th Century (“Community of Eligibility Residents”).

To receive free museum admission and beach parking on or around June 19, 2024, as described above, and be considered for eligibility in any future reparations or benefits under the County’s Reparations Initiative or any other applicable local or state program, please click here.

Join LA County in celebrating Juneteeth at Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell’s 4th Annual Juneteeth Celebration and Resource Fair on Friday, June 21, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This event features music, food trucks, live performances, access to County services, resources, fun activities, and more! All residents are welcome to attend this FREE event. We encourage you to register and forward this email to your friends and neighbors! Register here

In Case You Missed It

The Works App

From reporting potholes to finding critical services, it’s LA County at your fingertips.

The Works App empowers you to report:

  • Issues like potholes, graffiti, overgrown trees, and blocked storm drains
  • Property-related concerns and suspected violations
  • Illegal dumping activities affecting our streets and environment
  • Maintenance needs of trails and facilities in County parks

Keep up to date with the County’s latest news on upcoming events. Locate the nearest LA County offices, libraries, shuttle buses, and other services.

Download The Works for iPhone or Android today and transform how you connect with LA County!

At Your Service

Boost Your Business and Elevate a Career

Partner with the LA County Department of Economic Opportunity through Youth at Work Elevate to get your business matched with a highly motivated youth intern.

Potential youth participants between the ages of 17-24 in will receive paid work experience, training, and mentorship to prepare youth for in-demand and diverse career pathways. 100% of the youths’ wages will be covered for up to 400 hours.

Businesses in high-growth or post pandemic emerging sectors including healthcare, infrastructure, trade and logistics, e-commerce, transportation and warehousing, advanced manufacturing, entertainment and creative arts, informational technology, and hospitality are encouraged to apply.

A dedicated representative will be assigned to help eligible businesses through the entire process. Youth eligibility requirements include: Current or former foster youth, justice-impacted, current or previous experience with housing instability/homelessness, and LGBTQ+ youth.

Learn more here

Out and About

Parks After Dark Returns

Parks After Dark is Back for the 2024 Summer Season! Enjoy FREE Activities at 34 LA county parks! Join us for concerts, movie nights, fitness and wellness activities, food, games and more! F Also returning this year is our “Resource Fair Thursday’s”. To learn more, click here.

Photo Finish

Destination Crenshaw – an American Rescue Plan Creative Recovery Grantee.
(Photo: Los Angeles County/Mayra Beltran Vasquez)

Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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West Hollywood

Q Con Queer comic con returns to WeHo

WeHo Mayor John Erickson & Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers attended the event as Erickson, an admitted comic book nerd, stated this was his favorite

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Q Con West Hollywood 2024. (Photo Credit: Mike Pingel/WEHO TIMES)

By Mike Pingel | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Over 1000 queer comic book fans hit West Hollywood Plummer Park for the third annual Q Con queer comic book convention this past Saturday, June 15, 2024.

The event was hosted in part by Prism Comics, the nonprofit championing LGBTQ+ visibility, diversity, and inclusion in comics, graphic novels, and popular media. The WeHo Pride event had something for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, including LGBTQ+ books, comics, artists, and meet and greets with authors and cosplay personalities.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

This year, Q Con included special appearances by X-Men ’97 voice-over actors Holly Chou (voice of Jubilee in X-Men ‘97), Christine Uhebe (voice of Nina Da Costa), and JP Karliak (voice of Morph from X-Men ’97, available from 11 am – 1 pm only); Gui Agustini (voice of Sunspot), and Morla Gorrondona (voice of Lilandra). The actors participated in meet and greets and signed autographs.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

There was also a surprise appearance by actor Kevin Caliber, who starred in the movie Surge of Power, which screened at the event. Many may recognize Caliber from his role as Superman in the movie Superman World War. He also appeared in the TV shows Supergirl and Futureman.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

The event was larger than in previous years, with more exhibitors on display at the West Hollywood Recreation Center. The expanded programming included comics creators, cosplayers, panels, gaming, photo opportunities, and comics portfolio reviews by comics professionals for aspiring comics creators.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Creators at the event included David Booher (Killer Queens, Ghostbusters), A.C. Esguerra (Eighty Days), Sina Grace (Superman: The Harvests of Youth), Sam Maggs (Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas), Knave Murdock (Transcat), Josh Trujillo (Blue Beetle), William O. Tyler (We Belong), Shannon Watters (Lumberjanes, Hollow), Kendra Wells (Tell No Tales: Pirates of the Southern Seas), Qweerty Gamers, and more.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Special guests at the Prism Comics table included Tim Sheridan (DC Pride Through The Years; Superman: Man of Tomorrow), Rex Ogle (Free Lunch, Northranger; Four Eyes), Lee Dawn (We Are Frogs), and animated voice actress Valerie Rose Lohman.

West Hollywood Mayor John Erickson and Vice Mayor Chelsea Byers attended the event to show their support. Mayor Erickson, an admitted comic book nerd, stated that this was his favorite programming in the entire WeHo Pride Arts Festival.

The event concluded with a cosplay costume contest. The Joker took first prize, followed by the Green Lantern and an Anime character.

Q Con West Hollywood – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

Prism Comics:

Prism Comics is a nonprofit championing LGBTQ+ visibility, diversity, and inclusion in comic books, graphic novels, and popular media.

Founded in 2003, Prism Comics is “LGBTQ+ Comics Central” at San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon Anaheim, Los Angeles Comic Con, other conventions, and online, providing a safe, welcoming community for LGBTQ+ and LGBTQ+ friendly comics creators, readers, librarians, educators, and families. Prism has helped foster many comics creators who have become major voices in comics and graphic novels.

For more information, please visit prismcomics.org and @prismcomics.

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Mike Pingel

Mike Pingel has written six books, Channel Surfing: Charlie’s Angels & Angelic Heaven: A Fan’s Guide to Charlie’s Angels, Channel Surfing: Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch: Super Groovy after all these years; Works of Pingel and most recently, Betty White: Rules the World. Pingel owns and runs CharliesAngels.com website and was Farrah Fawcett personal assistant. He also works as an actor and as a freelance publicist. His official website is www.mikepingel.com

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The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Orange County

Anaheim neighbors show solidarity after Pride flag vandalism

The man walks over to the Pride flag- he pulls out a knife and slashes through the flag, then rips the flag and pole down

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Screenshot/KABC 7 Eyewitness News

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Neighbors in the Colony Park neighborhood of Anaheim are raising LGBTQ+ Pride flags on their homes in a show of solidarity and allyship after a same-sex couple’s Pride Flag was torn off their house and slashed.

KABC 7 reported that Jake Nolan and his partner Jon had just put the flag up a few days ago. When they say it on the ground at first they thought perhaps the wind had torn it down.

But when they looked at their doorbell camera they saw something much more disturbing.

In the video, two men are walking along Water Street this past Saturday around 2 a.m. when one of them walks over to the Pride flag in front of the couple’s home. He pulls out a knife and slashes through the flag, then rips the flag and pole down.

In an interview with KABC 7 reporter Leanne Suter, describing the incident documented in the doorbell cam: “They used the f word – the slang term – and said not in my hood, not in my neighborhood,” Jake said. “We’ve lived here for years. There are other same-sex couples who have been here for decades. It’s like, no, this is our neighborhood.”

Watch:

NBC News reported that over twenty acts of hate against LGBTQ+ Pride have occurred so far this month nationwide.

related

During Pride month every June, Stonewall National Monument volunteers put up 250 LGBTQ+ Pride Flags on the Black iron decorative picket fence that rings the Christopher Street park.

This year, according to a statement from an New York Police Department spokesperson, 160 of the flags were torn down and damaged between Thursday evening and Friday morning. The NYPD said that no arrests have been made and that the vandals climbed over the Black iron decorative picket fence that rings the Christopher Street park to gain access to the monument.

This is the second year in a row for an vandalism incident on the Stonewall National Monument. In 2023, Park volunteers found at least 70 of those flags torn down and damaged in what the New York Police Department‘s Hate Crimes Task Force investigated as a hate crime and later arrested three men.

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Los Angeles County

LA County Public Health: Mpox cases rise & data privacy breach

Ten new Mpox cases reported in Los Angeles County in past two weeks cause concern as agency reels from a successful phishing attack

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Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Public Health Director, L.A. County (Screenshot/LA County Channel)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is alerting residents and health care providers about a concerning increase in mpox cases, with 10 new cases reported in Los Angeles County in the past two weeks up from an average of less than two cases per week during the preceding several weeks.

Mpox (previously referred to as Monkeypox) is mainly spread through close contact with body fluids, sores, shared bedding or clothing or respiratory droplets (kissing, coughing, sneezing). Symptoms include rash or unusual sores that look like pimples or blisters on the face, body and genitals, fever, chills, headache, muscle aches or swelling of lymph nodes. Early detection, testing and vaccination are vital to controlling the spread of this disease and protecting the health of Los Angeles County residents.

Given the recent increase in cases, Public Health strongly recommends the following actions:

Testing: Anyone who develops symptoms consistent with mpox, such as rash, fever or swollen lymph nodes should seek medical attention and get tested. Health care providers should be aware of the possibility of mpox and promptly report suspected cases to Public Health for appropriate testing and interventions.

Prevention: Vaccination is a safe way to prevent one from getting mpox and may also reduce symptoms. The following can help reduce the risk of getting and spreading mpox:

  • Ask partners if they have mpox symptoms or feel sick. Individuals should not have sex or other intimate contact if they or their partners have a new or unexplained rash or sores or feel sick until they see a health care provider.
  • Reduce the number of partners, especially those whose recent sexual history is unknown.
  • Make a habit of exchanging contact information with any new partner to allow for sexual health follow-up, if needed.
  • Limit going to sex parties, circuit parties and other spaces where people are having sex or other intimate contact with multiple people.
  • Use condoms and gloves:
    • Condoms (latex or polyurethane) may protect the mouth, penis anus or vagina from exposure to mpox; however, condoms alone may not prevent all exposures to mpox since the rash can occur on other parts of the body.
    • Gloves (latex, polyurethane or nitrile) may reduce exposure if inserting fingers or hands into the anus or the vagina. The gloves must cover all exposed skin and be removed carefully to avoid touching the outer surface.
  • Do not share towels, clothing, bedding, fetish gear, sex toys or toothbrushes.
  • Wash hands, fetish gear, towels and bedding. Sex toys should be washed after each use or sex act.

Vaccination: Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of mpox. Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine developed to protect against mpox, and getting both doses provides the best protection against mpox. The vaccine is available to anyone, and individuals who identify with any of the following subgroups are highly encouraged to get vaccinated:

  • Any man or transgender person who has sex with men or transgender persons
  • Persons of any gender or sexual orientation who have sex or intimate physical contact with others in association with a large public event or engage in commercial and/or transactional sex
  • Persons living with HIV, especially persons with uncontrolled or advanced HIV disease
  • Sexual partners of people in any of the above groups

People in high-risk groups are urged to get fully vaccinated with two doses for the best protection. Second doses can be given no matter how long it’s been since the first dose. Residents can choose to receive the mpox vaccine subcutaneously (in the upper arm) or intradermally (under the skin on their arm or back). Vaccine boosters are not recommended at this time.

Public Health is collaborating closely with health care providers, community organizations and other stakeholders to address the mpox resurgence as swiftly and effectively as possible. Enhanced surveillance, contact tracing and outbreak investigations are underway to identify potential sources of the infection and prevent further transmission. Public Health’s mobile vaccination units are providing free vaccination at numerous Pride events this season, Public Health’s sexual health clinics found at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/chs/sexualhealthclinics/ and other walk-up vaccine clinics can be found at https://myturn.ca.gov/.

A collective response is crucial in mitigating the impact of this outbreak. By increasing vaccination rates, the spread of mpox can be minimized within Los Angeles County to protect the health and well-being of its diverse communities.

For the most up-to-date information and resources, please visit ph.lacounty.gov/mpox or contact the Public Health Call Center at 1-833-540-0473.

Public Health Responds to Privacy Breach

Between February 19, 2024, and February 20, 2024, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health experienced a phishing attack in which a hacker was able to gain log-in credentials of 53 Public Health employees through a phishing email, compromising the personal information of more than 200,000 individuals.

Upon discovery of the phishing attack, Public Health disabled the impacted e-mail accounts, reset and re-imaged the user’s device(s), blocked websites that were identified as part of the phishing campaign and quarantined all suspicious incoming e-mails. Additionally, awareness notifications were distributed to all workforce members to remind them to be vigilant when reviewing e-mails, especially those including links or attachments. Law enforcement was notified upon discovery of the phishing attack, and they investigated the incident.

The information identified in the potentially compromised e-mail accounts may have included DPH clients/employees/other individuals’ first and last name, date of birth, diagnosis, prescription, medical record number/patient ID, Medicare/Med-Cal number, health insurance information, Social Security Number, and other financial information.

Affected individuals may have been impacted differently and not all of the elements listed were present for each individual.

Public Health is notifying impacted individuals by mail. For individuals where a mailing address is not available, Public Health is also posting a notice on its website to provide information and resources. Public Health is also notifying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights and other agencies as required by law and/or contract.

In response, Public Health has implemented numerous enhancements to reduce exposure to similar e-mail attacks in the future.

While Public Health cannot confirm whether information has been accessed or misused, individuals are encouraged to review the content and accuracy of the information in their medical record with their medical provider. To help relieve concerns and restore confidence following this incident, we have secured the services of Kroll, a global leader in risk mitigation and response, to provide identity monitoring for one year at no cost to affected clients.

Additionally, affected individuals should review “Steps You Can Take to Protect Against Identity Theft and Fraud,” to help protect their information.

Individuals that would like to inquire if their information was impacted can contact the following established dedicated call center available toll free in the U.S. at 1-866-898-4312, from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time (excluding weekends and major U.S. holidays).

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West Hollywood

Final OUTZone patios removed from WeHo’s Rainbow District

During the most acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood responded in a variety of creative ways to community needs

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West Hollywood Rainbow District. (Photo Credit: Paulo Murillo/WEHO TIMES)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – The final four remaining OUTZone outdoor patios in West Hollywood’s Rainbow District were dismantled and removed this past week, marking the end of an era when outdoor patio dining spilled onto Santa Monica Boulevard during the pandemic.

The OUTZone patios were taken down from Beaches WeHo, Tom Tom Restaurant, Fiesta Cantina, and Trunk’s Bar, all located within walking distance of each other.

Beaches WeHo owner Jacob Shaw tells WEHO TIMES that he was able to work out a deal with Koontz Hardware next door and obtained permission to expand their patio area into their property line, so their patio area is wider than before the pandemic. Workers were seen on Wednesday taking the OUTZone apart and making adjustments.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Tom Tom Restaurant had to revert back to their previous patio space. The restaurant was also trying to meet a deadline to have the OUTZone patio removed by Thursday.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Trunks Bar had their seating area removed right after WeHo Pride weekend. The city also had the concrete K-rails removed, and cars are already taking advantage of the extra parking space in a spot where customers enjoyed drinks for these past three years.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Fiesta Cantina removed portions of their OUTZone but still needs to take down the wood paneling as of the posting of this piece.

West Hollywood Rainbow District – WEHO TIMES

Some businesses like La Boheme WeHo had the option to apply to make their OUTZone patios permanent. However, businesses on streets with sidewalks greater than or equal to 19 feet deep were not given this option. Therefore, businesses in the City’s Rainbow District along Santa Monica Boulevard were mandated to revert to pre-COVID-19 sidewalk allowances. They were given an extension to keep the OUTZones past WeHo Pride weekend. Some businesses, like Stache WeHo and Hi Tips, opted to end theirs early at the beginning of the year.

During the most acute stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood responded in a variety of creative ways to community needs as we all navigated the pandemic.

In July 2020, the City began a Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit (TOEP) program by offering streamlined approval for businesses to use sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, and private parking lots as areas to expand operations while protecting health and safety.

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea

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The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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West Hollywood

Heart WeHo owners say club will remain open until further notice

It will be business as usual at the former home of Rage Nightclub while the business is in escrow and legal agreements are ironed out

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Heart WeHo/WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Heart WeHo nightclub, located at 8911 Santa Monica Boulevard, is not closing anytime soon, say the owners of Beaches Tropicana, the new restaurant and bar set to take over the space near the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard.

It will be business as usual at the former home of Rage Nightclub while the business is in escrow and legal agreements are ironed out.

Beaches WeHo owner Jacob Shaw tells WEHO TIMES that a report stating Heart WeHo was closing after WeHo Pride weekend is false. He said there will be a transition from business to business and that Heart WeHo will remain open through most of it until they may have to close for major renovations.

Partner Paul Nichols added that there will be no disruption to operations and there will not be a farewell party because some partners are staying (Nichols included), and the partners leaving are simply going across the street to Rocco’s WeHo.

In fact, this past Thursday night, Heart WeHo had a busy night with a long line snaking around the corner for an album release party for Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo. There is also a Thank You for Pride Party happening this Saturday.

The Beaches WeHo team has formally announced that a whole new concept called Beaches Tropicana is coming to the former Heart WeHo space in the heart of West Hollywood’s Rainbow District. Renovations are set to kick off after Pride Month celebrations, with the highly anticipated grand reopening slated for Labor Day 2024.

“HEY BEACHES FAM!” reads a post on Beaches WeHo’s social media platforms. “We have some exciting news to share with you all. We’ve officially purchased the venue that is currently Heart WeHo, and Heart’s original partners Lance Bass and Paul Nichols will be joining the Beaches team. Together, we are all excited to transform the space into something truly special. INTRODUCING **BEACHES TROPICANA!”

According to the post, Beaches Tropicana will be their flagship headquarters, combining a full-service Cuban-American restaurant with an entertainment venue where guests can dine, dance, and enjoy top-notch performances, all in one space.

Beaches WeHo at 8928 Santa Monica Boulevard will also be getting a makeover and will be turned into Beaches Baja with a new Tex-Mex menu. According to a press release, the team is in talks with several high-profile chefs and hopes to make an exciting announcement once these plans are finalized.

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Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appea

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The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

The Veteran Peer Access Network (VPAN) is the first community-driven support network serving veterans and their families in the U.S. Led by veterans for veterans, VPAN connects L.A. County Departments, nonprofits, the V.A., and L.A. City Programs to help veterans navigate often complicated systems to connect to resources. VPAN prioritizes hiring veterans as “battle buddies” and systems navigators to connect assist their fellow veterans.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

In Case You Missed It

Arts Internship Program – Apply Today!

LA County Arts and Culture Internships - Positions now open!

Positions for the 2024 Arts Internship Program are now available! This program will provide 228 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience in the arts at over 160 nonprofit organizations across the LA region. What’s more, all Arts Internship Program internships provide 400 hours of work experience at $17.28 an hour.

Positions will continue to be posted on a rolling basis through July 2024. Visit the LA County Arts & Culture website to learn more!

At Your Service

The Works App

From reporting potholes to finding critical services, it’s LA County at your fingertips.

The Works App empowers you to report:

  • Issues like potholes, graffiti, overgrown trees, and blocked storm drains
  • Property-related concerns and suspected violations
  • Illegal dumping activities affecting our streets and environment
  • Maintenance needs of trails and facilities in County parks

Keep up to date with the County’s latest news on upcoming events. Locate the nearest LA County offices, libraries, shuttle buses, and other services.

Download The Works for iPhone or Android today and transform how you connect with LA County!

Out and About

Celebrating Juneteenth

Join LA County in celebrating Juneteeth at Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell’s 4th Annual Juneteeth Celebration and Resource Fair on Friday, June 21, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This event features music, food trucks, live performances, access to County services, resources, fun activities, and more! All residents are welcome to attend this FREE event. We encourage you to register and forward this email to your friends and neighbors! Register here

To learn more about Juneteeth and find events and programming in your community, click here.

Photo Finish

Levitated Mass at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. (Photo: Los Angeles County)

Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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Los Angeles County

Parks make life better month- Culver City’s movies in the park

California’s “Parks Make Life Better!” recognizes the importance of equitable access to parks, recreation, trails, open space, & facilities

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

CULVER CITY, Calif. – July is “Parks Make Life Better!” month and the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department is celebrating with Movies in The Park every Saturday night, all month long! 

Bring your blankets, picnic baskets, and lawn chairs to see:

Gates will open at 7 PM and movies will begin at dusk. Admission is free. 

The California “Parks Make Life Better!” campaign recognizes the importance of equitable access to parks, recreation, trails, open space, and facilities for the positive development of all. Culver City PRCS invites you and your family to celebrate with us. 

PARKS MAKE LIFE BETTER MONTH

MOVIE SCREENINGS

WHEN

Saturday July 6, 13, 20, and 27

7 PM gates open, movie starts at dusk

WHERE

  • Veterans Memorial Park on 7/6
  • Syd Kronenthal Park on 7/13
  • Fox Hills Park on 7/20
  • Culver West Alexander Park on 7/27
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Los Angeles County

LA Metro: More frequent and reliable bus service

Bus ridership in the San Fernando Valley is growing faster than in any other Metro bus service area & improvements reflect ridership growth

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles/Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

LOS ANGELES – Effective Sunday, June 23, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced that the agency will offer more frequent and reliable bus service and an improved travel experience on multiple routes based on direct feedback from customers and bus operators, and review of ridership and travel time data. 

Bus service improvements will update travel times so riders will wait less at stops. Added trips at peak travel times will provide extra capacity to move additional riders more efficiently during busy travel periods and some lines will be extended so riders can more easily reach major destinations. Several bus lines will operate more frequently on weekdays as outlined in the NextGen Bus Plan.

Metro is also improving peak hour frequencies weekdays on two San Fernando Valley bus lines as part of the North San Fernando Valley Corridor Transit Improvements project.

Route changes by region are as follows:

San Fernando Valley

Bus ridership in the San Fernando Valley is growing faster than in any other Metro bus service area. Metro is adding capacity on many lines to accommodate this growth in ridership.

As a first step in implementing the Measure M funded North San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Improvements Project, Line 152 on Roscoe Boulevard and Line 166 on Nordhoff Street will begin operating service every 10 minutes during the busiest weekday peak periods both eastbound and westbound. On Line 152, 10-minute service will operate eastbound in the 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. hours and westbound during the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours in the evening. Line 166 will operate 10-minute service westbound in the 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. hours and eastbound in the 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. hours. Each will add new weekday trips to the schedule. Seven new trips on Line 152 and eight on Line 166.

Line 158 will add 25 extra trips between the Southern terminal at Moorpark/Van Nuys and Van Nuys/Woodman to increase weekday frequency from 60 minutes to 30 minutes on the segment of Line 158 along Woodman Avenue.

Line 165 on Vanowen Street will add two additional eastbound trips during the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours of weekday evening peak.

Line 169 on Saticoy Street will add one additional weekday trip during the 6:00 a.m. hour westbound and an additional eastbound trip during the 4:00 p.m. hour between Hollywood Burbank Airport and West Hills Medical Center for service every 30 minutes.

San Gabriel Valley

Line 76 routing will be modified to achieve faster access to and from Downtown LA and provide new direct connectivity via Alameda Street to the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station (A & E Lines). Line 76 will have new stops along Alameda Street for Union Station and will discontinue stops at Vignes Street at Cesar Chavez behind Union Station. Riders from Union Station will now board the bus on the Alameda Street side of the station.

Line 267 will be extended from Pasadena to Altadena, replacing Line 686 on Colorado Boulevard and Allen Avenue. Operating hours will be extended by an extra hour until 9 p.m. for Line 267 to maintain the same hours of service that Line 686 offers. Frequency will increase for the former Line 686 segment between Pasadena and Altadena on weekdays to every 30 minutes from every 60 minutes. Weekend service will remain at every 60 minutes.

Line 268 will improve bus service to the City of Sierra Madre in response to resident requests, by extending the route to Sierra Madre Boulevard via Baldwin Avenue, Sierra Madre Boulevard, and Sierra Madre Villa Avenue instead of Foothill Boulevard to and from Sierra Madre Villa Station. Metro Micro rideshare service will continue to be available in Sierra Madre. A second route change for Line 268 will improve access to the El Monte Metrolink Station with buses rerouted via Tyler Avenue, Valley Boulevard, and Santa Anita Avenue.

Gateway Cities

Line 265 on Paramount Boulevard will increase service from 60 minutes to 40-45 minutes on weekdays. Service will remain at 60 minutes on the weekends.

South Bay

Line 108 in the City of Commerce on Eastern Avenue will move its terminus location slightly north to Harbor Street due to Eastern Avenue being restored to two traffic lanes in each direction, preventing buses from safely parking at the existing terminus.

Westside/Central LA

Line 81 will relocate the northbound terminal at Eagle Rock Plaza from eastbound on Colorado Boulevard at Eagle Dale Avenue to westbound Colorado Boulevard at Eagle Dale Avenue to accommodate the Line 217 extension to Eagle Rock Plaza at the Colorado and Eagle Dale Terminal. This change will require that two stops relocate near Eagle Rock Plaza. Line 81 will also see two southbound trips added to the afternoon peak schedule weekdays in the 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. hours to accommodate increasing ridership.

Line 217 will extend from Vermont/Hollywood to Eagle Rock via Glendale to allow easier access for riders between Mid-City, Hollywood and Glendale. Lines 180 and 217 will each be scheduled to operate every 12 minutes daytime on weekdays and every 15 minutes daytime on weekends with coordinated schedules to maximize frequency on duplicated segments.

At Westwood, Metro Line 20, 602, and 720 buses will no longer be able to travel through the federal GSA building parking lot between Veteran Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard. As a result, Line 602 will move from the existing terminus on Veteran Avenue to a new terminus location at Kinross Avenue west of Gayley Avenue and will discontinue use of the stop at Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue. Eastbound Line 20 and 720 buses starting trips from Veteran Avenue will instead travel via Veteran Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard to reach Wilshire Boulevard.  

Metro will also adjust service levels slightly on many bus lines to better match ridership   levels and to accommodate the above improvements. This includes some changes to the first and last trips on some lines. Also, 49 weekday, 42 Saturday, and 41 Sunday bus lines will have revised schedules to improve their reliability. A complete list of the changes and links to new schedules can be found at metro.net/mybus.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.netfacebook.com/losangelesmetrotwitter.com/metrolosangeles,  twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

Bus & Rail Transit information
323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876)
6:30am – 7pm (Monday – Friday)
8:00am – 4:30pm (Saturday/Sunday)

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