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Lorri Jean reflects on her journey to the Center

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New Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center executive director Lorri Jean with Board co-chair Ed Gould (Photo by Karen Ocamb) 

It’s spectacularly ironic, really. Just as the fabric of American democracy is being shredded by a wannabe dictator seeking personal profit, an organization started by a group of gay people being of service to the most marginalized of the marginalized in 1969 has become the nation’s oldest LGBTQ institution, still serving those in need. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles LGBT Center and it is still growing, as evidenced by the historic opening of the huge Anita May Rosenstein Campus in Hollywood.

The Center is not only a real establishment, it is also a metaphor, a modern beacon of hope modeling how grit, determination, organization and a family-of-choice kind of love can overcome enormous obstacles and create services and unique opportunities that wind up benefiting those beyond the circle.

“We’ve suffered such great reversals under [President Donald] Trump in a way that we never had before—because we never had so much to lose before,” says Lorri L. Jean, the Center’s CEO for more than 20 years. “If the Center’s history has been anything, it has been weathering the best of times and the worst of times, persevering, and always prevailing.

“I think that opening the Anita May Rosenstein Campus in the midst of the worst presidential administration for our community in history is an illustration of what’s next,” Jean says. “We cannot give up. We must continue to provide what our community needs. We have got to be laser-focused on getting rid of Trump and any anti-LGBT cronies—I don’t care what their party is. We deserve to have pro-LGBT presidents, pro-LGBT members of Congress. So we have to focus on that at the same time that we are continuing to care for those in our community who are most vulnerable and most in need.”

As it turns out, Jean is a history buff, a very helpful trait when organizing a 50th anniversary celebration with as many of the pioneers as remain and can attend the Gold Anniversary Vanguard Celebration and concert on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the historic Greek Theatre.

Jean’s perspective on the Center may differ from the seven other executive directors over the decades. But her perspective on the Center’s history stems from a sense of her own history and her deep commitment to assume its profound responsibility to the LGBTQ community and the intersectional ground on which the community stands.

For the longest serving keeper of the Center’s flame, Jean takes leadership of the institution very personally.

It was February of 1979 when Jean first realized she is a lesbian—and it had nothing to do with Harvey Milk or Anita Bryant. She was in her last semester at Arizona State University and in a student government group for women. A closeted professor with whom she socialized wanted to set her up on a date.

“It was a woman! I was shocked, just shocked! I’m like, ‘A woman?’ To make a long story short, that set me off on self-examination about well, why did she think I was a lesbian? Ultimately, at the end of that very tumultuous process of only a few weeks, I came to the realization that I was a lesbian,” Jean says. “It would be many months before I would have my first sexual experience.”

Months later, Jean moved to Washington, D.C. to go to law school. She also became an activist in the LGBT community. “I became the president of what was the Gay Activist Alliance, whose name I immediately changed to the Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance [in 1986]. My favorite insult happened at that moment when Frank Kameny, for whom I had great respect, accused me of ‘loose and slovenly thinking’ because ‘gay’ includes everyone,” she laughs. “I tried to explain to him why that was not the case.”

Jean was running the all-volunteer GLAA when the AIDS epidemic started hitting hard.

“It was the most rewarding, exciting, passionate work I had ever done,” she recalls. “So I decided that I wanted to work fulltime for the movement. But at that time, the salary scales were so terrible, and I had huge student loans from law school that I could only afford to take one of the top jobs.”

In 1989, she applied to head the Human Rights Campaign Fund and was a finalist with Tim McFeely, who got the job. Realizing she needed to bolster her resume, she brazenly told her boss at the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) she wanted to be “the highest-ranking career employee running the Western regional office, or Region 9, which included California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and all of the civic territories. It was FEMA’s largest and busiest region. There had never been a woman in that job in any of the 10 regions and there had never been a man under the age of 55. I was, at that point, a 32-year-old out lesbian.”

She got the job, moved to San Francisco and immediately had to handle the Loma Prieta earthquake. “We had a presidentially declared disaster an average of every 30 days for my three-and-a-half-year tenure there,” Jean says. But she gained lots of experience “managing people at a huge level and billions of dollars.” She also kept up her activism on the board of Lambda Legal. That board hired former Center board member Deborah Johnson as a consultant.

“Deborah and I liked each other a lot,” she says. So when Johnson called and told her about a job in LA “with your name written all over it,” she balked over the location but was intrigued and submitted her resume. Then Board Co-Chair Rose Green called and schmoozed her. She went to LA and got a lot of help during the interview process from outgoing director Torie Osborn.

Torie Osborn and Lorri Jean years later (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

“I interviewed in the old Center on Highland Avenue, which was a converted motel. It was one of the best LGBT centers that there was at the time. But it was a dump,” Jeans says. “I walked in there and I thought, ‘Oh, my God. My parents will think I’ve lost my mind.’ I mean, I was on the fast track, a young lawyer in the federal government, who’d been promoted to this important position,” Jean says. “Then they took me over and showed me the new building on Hudson Avenue and I was blown away.

“As I learned more about all of the programs and services, I started to get hooked,” Jean says. “I went home and Gina [Calvelli, an attorney and Jean’s now wife] and I had begun seriously dating, but we weren’t living together. I said, ‘This place is amazing. I can’t believe other people in our movement don’t know about it. It’s doing more than any LGBT center I’ve ever heard of anywhere. It’s amazing. If you wouldn’t consider moving to LA, then you need to tell me right now because I don’t want to get hooked.’”

Calvelli agreed to think about moving to LA, enabling Jean to continue the application process. “I really wanted the job and thank goodness, the board of directors offered it to me,” she says.

Jean had no idea that the Center would become her home and with it, the responsibility to be the keeper of such an important historical flame.

“I understood that this was a very important movement institution,” she says. “I never thought that this would become my life’s career because nobody did that back then. In fact, a big part of my decision when the job was offered to me was what would I do afterwards? Would my career be ruined because I had run a gay and lesbian center? I had some people who I cared a lot about who advised me against it for that very reason. But it’s a good thing to be young because you feel like you can take more risks. I wanted to do it, so I ignored that counsel and took the job.”

At the time, November of 1992, the Center was engaged in a multi-million dollar capital campaign and the annual budget, excluding capital, was a little under $8 million—in the middle of the second wave of AIDS. Jean had lost close friends in D.C., wrote last-minute wills and helped de-gay apartments before the parents came.

But the death of Gabe Kruks, director of programs under Torie Osborn, hit her in another way. With Osborn and other institutional Center leaders leaving, she called on her old friends Darrel Cummings and Kay Osberg. But she and Kruks established a rapport, giving her a lot confidence coming in as the new director.

“Then Gabe died suddenly before I ever got here. It really struck me,” Jean says. “Gabe was going to be our fount of information. So when Gabe died, it was very concerning. It was shocking and sad. But I was young. I was an optimist. And I thought, ‘Well, heck. There’s nothing I can’t learn.’”

Here are just some of the moments of Jean’s 20 year career (photos by Karen Ocamb):

The Center was were the community held news conferences. Here’s Lorri Jean hosting a news conference with attorneys John Duran and Jeff Thomas and their HIV+ client Michael Kolcum who successfully sued LA County for denying him HIV/AIDS medications as an inmate.

Lorri Jean often took visiting dignitaries on tours. Here she and Darrel Cummings escort President Clinton’s first AIDS Czar, Kristine Gebbie, with ANGLE and APLA Board members Diane Abbitt and Dr. Scott Hitt following.

After the LA Riots and the firing of anti-LGBT Chief Daryl Gates, one of the first community stops his successor made was to the Center on Highland. In keeping with the overture, then-unofficial LAPD liaison Dave Kalish joined the Center board. Here’s a photo with (l-r) openly gay LA Police Commissioner Art Mattox, Dave Kalish (who would later become the first openly gay LAPD deputy chief and candidate for  Chief), Lorri Jean, LAPD Chief Willie Williams, Sgt. Marc Goodman of the Golden State Police Officers Association, and Mark Thomson, editor of The Advocate’s Long Road to Freedom which was an exhibit at the LA Library.

Jean wanted a signature event that would serve both as a major fundraiser and a symbol of what the Center stood for in the AIDS era. She and others came up with the California AIDS Ride to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. Here’s actress Judith Light with Pat Christen and Lorri Jean in 1996.

The California AIDS Ride, which became the AIDS LifeCycle after a severance with Pallotta Teamworks, was – and remains – one of Lorri Jean’s favorite events with wife Gina Calvelli.

During the fight over marriage equality, the Center headquarters on Schrader Blvd and The Village at Ed Gould Plaza staging grounds for protests over Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoing Mark Leno’s marriage bills, and the battles over Prop 22 in 2000 and Prop 8 in 2008. Lorri Jean, who headed the LA No on Prop 8 effort, is pictured here with campaign director Patrick Guerrero at an Oct. 2008 fundraiser and with Equality California Board Co-Chair John Duran on Election Night as Barack Obama won and Prop 8 passed.

Over her 20 years, Lorri Jean has appeared on many stages and TV screens advocating for LGBTQ rights, HIV/AIDS and issues impacting the community, as this screen grab from the televised and webcast 2018 Women’s March illustrates.

Lorri Jean has developed and maintained significant relationships with other community leaders such as philanthropist Anita May Rosenstein, longtime Jewel’s Catch One Disco owner Jewel Thais-Williams, award honorees like Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, clients like Alice Hermann and elected officials like Rep. Adam Schiff (Photo by Troy Masters) who came to the Center after Donald Trump’s election to let his LGBTQ constituents know he still has the community’s back.

Twenty years later, whether celebrating the pioneers at the 50th Anniversary Gala or prepping for the next AIDS LifeCycle ride, CEO Lorri L. Jean still imparts that spirit of youthful optimism and eagerness to learn. And in a political world seemed set on going back to some old dream that never really was, Jean and the LA LGBT Center insist on forward progress.

 

 

Los Angeles

Capitol insurrectionist arrested in LA after standoff with FBI

Seen wearing a black sweatshirt with ‘Fags for Trump’ silkscreened on it, draped in a Pride flag, & carrying a hammer on January 6, 2021

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Eric Christie, seen standing on a U.S. Capitol Police vehicle on the East Front of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 (Screenshot from video released by anti-fascist activist and security researcher Chad Loder/Twitter(archived))

LOS ANGELES – After an hours long stand-off outside a home at Willis Avenue and Burbank Boulevard in Van Nuys with FBI agents, Eric Christie was arrested for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Christie is seen in multiple video and still photos on the East Front Capitol steps wearing a black sweatshirt with ‘Fags for Trump’ silkscreened on it, draped in a Pride flag, and carrying a hammer.

According to NBC News, Christie is a known local far-right anti-vaxxer and protested against coronavirus pandemic restrictions around the Los Angeles region and often attended rallies supporting former president Trump.

Christie, whom the Associated Press said is 56 years old, was identified for his role in the January 6 insurrection by online sleuths and was publicly identified and named by the anti-fascist activist and security researcher Chad Loder in February 2021.

The U.S. Department of Justice still has Christie’s case under seal, though the criminal complaint reveals some of Christie’s alleged actions that day.

According to prosecutors, he ran toward the Capitol after a crowd pushed through barriers, then runs up steps on the east side of the building while repeating “This is our Capitol” on the bullhorn.

He later stood atop a government vehicle parked near the Capitol and added more chants to his bullhorn, including “It’s a MAGA party, it’s a MAGA party,” “Welcome to MAGA country, District of Columbia” and “Beverly Hills is in the house,” prosecutors said.

“Christie was previously named by a defense attorney in another Jan. 6 case, in which the court filing suggested Christie was a ‘suspicious actor’ and questioned why he hadn’t been arrested yet,” NBC News also reported.

Christie was also a write-in candidate for Los Angeles City Council in 2020.

According to law enforcement sources he was arrested at an address associated with him.

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Mayor Bass declares state of emergency over homelessness crisis

Latest count by L.A. Homeless Services Authority revealed there were 41,980 unhoused people in the city this past year, up 1.7% from 2020

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Karen Bass' first press conference as Mayor of Los Angeles (Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – In her first official press conference, newly sworn-in L.A. City Mayor Karen Bass issued a declaration marking a state of emergency on the city’s homelessness crisis as her first official act as mayor.

Flanked by L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian and Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Janice Hahn along with other elected and city officials, Bass told reporters “we are united and serious about the city’s crisis of homelessness.”

“I will not accept a homeless crisis that afflicts more than 40,000 Angelenos and affects every one of us. It is a humanitarian crisis that takes the life of five people every day,” the mayor added just prior to officially signing the declaration. “It must stop, and change starts now…There will be no holding back on my watch.”

Her campaign for the office of Mayor of L.A. was largely focused on ending the homeless crisis — a promise the new Mayor addressed Sunday in her inaugural speech. 

“Tragically, our city has earned the shameful crown as being home to some of the most crowded neighborhoods in the nation—Pico Union, South L.A., East L.A., the East Valley. We know our mission – we must build housing in every neighborhood,” Bass told the audience gathered at Microsoft Theatre.

The latest count by the L.A. Homeless Services Authority revealed that there were 41,980 unhoused people in the city this past year, up 1.7% from 2020.

“The mayor’s first priority and likely the main one for some time to come is homelessness,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles told KABC 7 Eyewitness News Monday.

“The voters don’t expect a miracle but will be looking for a clear and credible path toward measurable and visible improvement,” Sonenshein said. “It’s an opportunity for an energetic reset on a crisis that has seemed stuck, and also a chance to restore confidence in local government in Los Angeles.”

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declares a state of emergency on homelessness:

The order immediately gives Mayor Bass the power to lift rules and regulations that slow or prevent the building of permanent and temporary housing for the unhoused; to expedite contracts that prioritize bringing unhoused Angelenos inside; and that allow the city to acquire rooms, properties and land for housing for Angelenos in need. Moving forward, Mayor Bass will issue executive directives to advance these critical reforms.

Immediately prior to signing the declaration, Mayor Bass met with her department heads – as well as the heads of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and Metro – to outline her strategy to move Los Angeles forward with a unified approach to homelessness. The Los Angeles County CEO was also present for the meeting.

She also met with frontline service providers and Janice Hahn, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors; Hydee Feldstein Soto, City Attorney; Kenneth Mejia, City Controller; Paul Krekorian, City Council President; Curren Price, President pro tempore, Los Angeles City Council; and Nithya Raman, Los Angeles City Councilmember and Chair of the Homelessness and Poverty Committee.

All of the above attended the signing. 

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LA City Council bans Styrofoam, plastic bags, & have “Zero Waste”

“There is no place in the City of Los Angeles for harmful environmental products like Styrofoam, & today we are making that a reality”

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Trash that has washed up on Los Angeles beaches (Photo Credit: Heal the Bay/Facebook)

LOS ANGELES – In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles City Council today approved an ordinance that will prohibit the distribution and sale of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) products, commonly referred to under the trade name Styrofoam, in the City of Los Angeles.

“I am pleased that we were able to advance yet another transformative environmental policy with unanimous support of the City Council,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the chair of the Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River committee. “Angelenos want to be good stewards of the environment, and this legislation is reflective of that value – as well as the urgency with which it must be implemented. There is no place in the City of Los Angeles for harmful environmental products like Styrofoam, and with today’s decisive action we are making that imperative a reality. I hope that future Councils, along with other jurisdictions across the country and the world, follow our lead on environmental justice and the elimination of products that degrade public health.”

“Our world is drowning in plastic. To the point where, in any given week, each of us ingests enough plastic from our food and water to make a credit card,” said Council President Paul Krekorian.  “The petrochemical industry is lying to the people of the United States by trying to convince them that somehow it’s OK to use these products because they’re recyclable. They’re not. Almost no plastic ever gets recycled and styrofoam definitely does not.  The steps that we’re taking today are an important part of changing industries, changing consumer behavior and educating the public about the harm that this is causing them,”  Krekorian said.

“EPS foam, also known as Styrofoam, is toxic from production to usage to landfill. The Styrene and Benzene in EPS are both known carcinogens and can also negatively affect workers inside EPS factories. The manufacturing process can contaminate neighborhoods outside EPS factories. The toxins can leach into hot drinks and food as people use cups and food containers. And then EPS ends up as little white bits marring our world-class beaches,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz, the author of the original legislation. “Even worse, the manufacturing process releases significant amounts of hydrofluorocarbons, which are massively potent greenhouse gasses. It’s way past time for Styrofoam to go away forever.”

The Council also approved an additional ordinance that adds to the Los Angeles Municipal Code a section promoting the use of reusable bags and regulating the use of plastic and paper single-use carryout bags at apparel stores, farmers’ markets, food or beverage facilities, hardware stores, and open air markets. In addition, the Council approved instructions to LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) requiring reports back to the Council, by April 2025, regarding compliance with these new policies. The Council also instructed LASAN to prepare outreach programs to educate stakeholders on both ordinances.

Additionally, the Council requested that all proprietary departments, along with their respective boards, adopt and implement the ordinance requiring “zero waste” at City facilities and events, along with a direction to LASAN to prepare an outreach program and further instruction to all departments to report back on progress with this ordinance, which was passed earlier this year. 

“LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) has a unique responsibility when it comes to protecting public health and the environment,” said Alex Helou, LASAN Assistant Director. “We do that through the hard work of collecting, recycling and composting materials, but also through the much less visible work of educating residents on what can and can’t be recycled. Items like expanded polystyrene, plastic bags and single-use foodware accessories do not belong in the blue bin.”

“For more than 30 years, Heal the Bay has conducted thousands of cleanups, removing millions of pieces of plastic off of our beaches and out of our waterways. It is clear that cleanups will never solve the issue of plastic pollution. To truly protect public health, we need aggressive and responsible solutions like today’s unanimous vote by the Los Angeles City Council to ban polystyrene addressing upstream sources and slowing the production and sale of plastic products, said Tracy Quinn, President and CEO of Heal the Bay. “We commend Councilmembers Koretz, Krekorian, and O’Farrell for their leadership on this issue and look forward to helping put these laws into effect in the new year.”

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21 years in prison for gunman who shot gay dogwalker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all for your time today.

Ryan Fischer via Instagram

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

Vice President to swear in Karen Bass as Los Angeles mayor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trans remembrance vigil held at LA LGBT Center

“We refuse to let violence rob us of the possibility to gather, to love each other, and to dream together in solidarity”

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LA Blade Photo by Simha Haddad

HOLLYWOOD – A Trans Remembrance Vigil was held at the Los Angeles LGBT Center on Monday, November 21st.

Candles and white, pink, and lavender flowers mounted on tiers draped by a trans flag adorned the center stage. A large monitor served as the focal point of the evening above the memorial display. 

The Trans Chorus of Los Angeles started the ceremony with an acapella performance. Following the song of hope and redemption, opening remarks were given at the pulpit by the Anti-violence project manager for the LGBT center, Mariana Morroquin, and representatives from the Trans Wellness Center, Bienstar Human Services, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Friends Community Center, APAIT, and [email protected] 

Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (LA Blade Photo by Simha Haddad)

“I think it is very important to acknowledge our partners,” said Morroquin, somberly addressing the seated audience of about one hundred and fifty. “We know that hate is real. A lot of us have seen hate pretty close. We are very grateful to have you. We open our arms to receive your love and your support. The way we support each other is by providing jobs, providing spaces for us, and providing opportunities. Because hate is out there. We need this space. We need to welcome everyone. I want you to keep that in your heart. And tomorrow, when we get back to work, let us open our hearts and our minds. Don’t make decisions for us. Invite us to those tables. We know what we need. We’ve been doing this forever. We are going to keep fighting because this is what we do.” 

She then added, “We refuse to let violence rob us of the possibility to gather, to love each other, and to dream together in solidarity. We gather because we must remember what is worth fighting for. For now, we commemorate. We tell the stories of the ones we lost. For tonight, that will be enough.” 

One by one, members of the audience approached the pulpit to read the names and stories of a multitude of trans people whose deaths were the tragic result of hate crimes. The photos, names, and ages of the victims were displayed on the center-stage monitor. 

“My name is Nikai David,” said one speaker, the photo of a pale, curly-haired young lady displayed behind them. “I am a model and social media influencer who aspired one day to own my own clothing boutique. I had just celebrated my birthday a week before I was shot in Oakland California, on December 4th, 202. I was thirty-three years old.” 

Stories of these deaths included shootings by assailants, police, and family members, brutal beatings, and stabbings. The bodies of these victims were found in their homes, in garbage cans, and on streets where they were left, still dying, among other locations. 

The final name read was Daniel David Aston, who died in the recent Club Q mass shooting.  This year, TDOR came on the heels of the senseless massacre in Colorado Springs that left five members of the LGBTQ+ community dead and 25 injured. 

Reverend Valerie Spencer gave an impassioned closing speech, first inviting the audience to take several deep breaths in unison. 

Reverend Valerie Spencer (LA Blade Photo by Simha Haddad)

“We will mourn our family, our siblings,” said Reverend Spencer,  “but we are not having our primary focus on the violent conclusion of their life. We are choosing to see them and know them and celebrate them in the full context of their living. For they were fierce and powerful people.”

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Los Angeles

Karen Bass speaks to Los Angeles for first time as mayor-elect

With her daughter at her side, the mayor-elect spoke of her background & love for the city of LA She addressed issues including homelessness

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Karen Bass speaks to LA for the 1st time as mayor-elect (Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – Rep. Karen Bass, (D-Calif.) addressed the City of Los Angeles for the first time as mayor-elect since she was declared winner Wednesday and her opponent billionaire real estate magnate Rick Caruso conceded in a press conference.

With her daughter at her side, the mayor-elect spoke of her background and love for the city of Los Angeles. She addressed issues including homelessness and economic hardship promising that her administration would work hard to get things done for the city.

Her primary focus she said when she takes office in December is to declare a state of emergency and execute actions on the homeless crisis that has enveloped Los Angeles.

KABC 7: Karen Bass to address city of Los Angeles for the 1st time as mayor-elect:

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Los Angeles

Beloved North Hollywood bookstore suffers arson attack

The Iliad Bookshop has been a fixture in North Hollywood for 35 years, the fire is currently under investigation by LAFD arson investigators

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The Iliad Bookshop/Instagram

LOS ANGELES – The Iliad Bookshop, located 5400 Cahuenga at the corner of Cahuenga and Chandler Blvds. in North Hollywood, was the target of an alleged arson attack at around 11 p.m. this past Thursday evening.

LA Fire firefighters responded to the blaze in front of the rear entrance which was fully engulfed after an unknown person or persons stacked up books and items left out by the store.

In interviews with KCBS2 LA, KABC7, and other media outlets, the bookshop’s owner Daniel Weinstein, said that a flyer, which he categorised as “terroristic,” was left at the scene of the blaze. The damage to the building was primarily to the entrance area with noticeable scorch marks, there was smoke damage inside as well. Weinstein added that the store’s iconic two live-in cats, Zeus and Apollo, were not harmed.

There was no information as to the extent of the damages to the store’s inventory.

In a GoFundMe started by the bookshop to repair and recover from the attack, Weinstein wrote:

“We were very lucky: neighbors saw the flames and flagged down a passing firetruck; had the firefighters arrived mere moments later, the entire store would probably have gone up. As it is, we suffered heavy damage to the main entry. The doors (which are metal) are still functional, but will need to be either replaced or fixed. We lost lighting fixtures, signage, and wood framing; we also suffered damage to the mural on the right side of the doors. Smoke filled the interior of the store, but we were able to rescue our two cats Zeus and Apollo and we’re hopeful that the damage to the books and fixtures is minimal.

We have high insurance deductibles so we need to cover the cost of replacing the exterior lights, sign, and trim, and touching up the mural. We expect the funds we’re looking for to be divided between repair costs and a mural artist.”

The Iliad Bookshop has been a fixture in the North Hollywood community for over 35 years. In a March 2019 profile article by Los Angeleno magazine writer Augustus Britton, the shoppe was described as “a cozy mix of librarial reverence and old lore magic. The walls are lined with literary memorabilia, most notably art by R. Crumb and posters of Bukowski alongside author obituaries from days past. An aged photograph showing Weinstein drowning in a pile of hardcovers hangs on the wall.”

Britton goes on to say: “Weinstein’s 10 employees are awesome. There are no better poetic words to describe them. One could say they all look like fictional characters. Grateful Dead fans, Philip K. Dick spies or Stendhal savants eating Chinese food at the counter while the shop’s spunky cats Zeus and Apollo — more nods to Greek mythology — climb over their shoulders.”

The fire is currently under investigation by LAFD arson investigators.

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Los Angeles

LAPD asking for public’s help finding missing teen in West LA

On Sunday, the LAPD issued a brief statement: “Andrew was located and reunited with his family.”

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UPDATED: Monday Nov. 7, 2022 from KABC 7.

A Los Angeles teen who went missing from his home on Halloween night has now returned safely and been reunited with his family, police said Sunday.

On Sunday, the LAPD issued a brief statement: “Andrew was located and reunited with his family.”

Andrew’s mother Anna posted on Facebook that Andrew came home Saturday. She said her son left home voluntarily because he was struggling with some mental-health issues. He then decided to come home on his own volition after about five days of sleeping on the street.

She expressed thanks to the public for providing support and said Andrew saw some of the missing-person flyers “and knows now that he is cared about by so many people.”

LOS ANGELES – The family of 18-year-old Andrew Jason Wright and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit are asking for the public’s help in locating him. Wright, an 18-year-old high-school senior, was last seen Monday around 6 p.m. near the 1700 block of Federal Avenue in West Los Angeles.

Wright is described as an 18-year-old male Asian with brown hair and brown eyes. He stands 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black coat, maroon vest, gray pants, and black leather shoes.

His mother told KABC Eyewitness news that Wright has recently been suffering from depression and is extremely worried.

“He went on a walk around 6 p.m.” Anna Wright said. “He was supposed to go trick-or-treating with his little brother and sister at 7. And he never came back.”

Andrew’s father set up a search party where volunteers have been going around looking for him and passing out flyers.

If you have seen, or have any information regarding the whereabouts of Andrew Jason Wright, please contact Los Angeles Police Department, Missing Persons Unit, at (213) 996-1800.

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 Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).

Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most Keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

From KABC 7:

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