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Schiff at the LA LGBT Center on the eve of impeachment news

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Rep. Adam Schiff was half-way through his remarks celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles LGBT Center on Sept. 21, joking about going all “fanboy” over CEO Lorri Jean and about Red Dress Day on the AIDS LifeCycle ride when he pivoted to pall hanging over America.

“There’s not much that I can say that would do justice to the magnitude of the accomplishments of the Center’s fearless leader. So I’ll just say that at a time when I don’t need to tell anyone in this room, our country is going through a really dark chapter…” Schiff said.

“Why don’t you impeach him?” someone shouted from the audience, referring to President Donald J. Trump. For a brief moment, the room seemed to erupt in agreement.

Schiff paused. For two days, as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff had been dealing behind closed doors with gaining access to a whistleblower’s “urgent” complaint that Trump had a phone call with a foreign leader to whom he’d made some sort of promise. The Trump administration told the inspector general not to release the complaint to Congress, a violation of federal law.

The pause was brief, suggesting a flicker of maybe sharing some news. But that would be too much of a digression from the significance of the Center event. Schiff quickly resumed his accolades for Lorri Jean.

“I can’t imagine anyone that I would rather have on my side in the fight for healthcare, for equality, for humanity and for basic decency than the woman who has led this organization to this very moment in history,” Schiff said. “Nancy Pelosi likes to say that the times have found us. Well, they have certainly found Lorri Jean and thank god they have.”

The resounding applause refocused the sizable crowd dining under a large tent before heading to The Greek Theater for a spectacular concert.

“There is no member of the United States Congress who makes me prouder than Adam Schiff,” said Jean, accepting an honor from the representative before laying out how, over the past 50 years, “we have seen unprecedented progress and met unimaginable challenges.”

Jean pegs the beginning of the Center’s history to 1969 “when at least one of our founders, the last Morris Kight, first began providing services to LGBT people in need. Now Morris once told me that most of these early services were information referrals and a lot of moral support.”

But in 1969, LGBT people were “virtual pariahs,” frequently arrested “simply for having a drink in a bar with others of our kind.” Being outed meant being isolated, losing jobs, children and being disowned by families. That information and those referrals were vital.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 21: CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center Lorri Jean speaks onstage during Los Angeles LGBT Center Celebrates 50th Anniversary With “Hearts Of Gold” Concert & Multimedia Extravaganza at The Greek Theatre on September 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images)

“Those who dared to speak the truth did so at their peril,” Jean said. “I’d like for you all to think about the audacity and the bravery that it took in that climate for a group of LGBT people to organize around helping one another and to claim our rightful place in society. Yet that is exactly the kind of courage that was shown by our founders and by everyone involved in the Center in its earliest days.”

And they were all volunteers, Jean said, identifying the founders, executive directors and key contributors throughout the years.

“The lesson of our unrivaled history is that no matter the forces aligned against us. No matter our movement’s missteps or the challenges ahead, we will not be dissuaded from advancing our powerful vision,” Jean said. “Every human being deserves freedom, justice and equality, dignity, respect, and love, acceptance, health and happiness. And that is what your Center is fighting for and what we took 50 years building – that is why we persevere.”

The Los Angeles LGBT Center, Jean said, stands as a bulwark against the political chaos swirling around the country. “Our Center’s 50-year history is proof that we cannot be stopped, no matter who is in the White House, the state house, or the court house,” Jean said. “We will not give up. We will continue to fight for what is right with resilient determination and relentless courage. With organizations like our Center and a community like you to support us, I promise you that we will win. We will succeed because an army of lovers shall not fail.”

The next morning, Schiff threw down the gauntlet that has since led to an impeachment inquiry against Trump after revelations that the President tried to intimidate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into digging up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter to help Trump’s 2020 re-election.

“I have been very reluctant to go down the path of impeachment, Schiff said on CNN Sunday morning. “But if the President is essentially withholding military aid at the same time that he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader into doing something illicit that is providing dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is coequal to the evil that that conduct represents….We very well may have crossed the Rubicon here.”

While Schiff may be going into the historic impeachment proceedings with the constitutional determination of a former federal prosecutor, after the Center’s 50th anniversary gala, he also knows he is backed by his LGBTQ constituents.

Photo of Rep. Adam Schiff and Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean by Karen Ocamb

 

 

 

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Los Angeles

LAPD: Body found on fire hanging in tree in Griffith Park likely a suicide

The person’s age, identity and gender have not yet been determined, but they are believed to be a person who frequents the park

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Screenshot/YouTube KABC ABC 7 LA

LOS ANGELES – The body of an unidentified person deceased found hanging from a tree near the Griffith Park’s merry go round was likely a suicide a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday.

The body was discovered at around 12:30 p.m. on fire and hanging from a tree. Los Angeles City firefighters put the flames out and LAPD detectives investigated and found no signs of foul play, determining that most likely the cause of death was suicide.

“It appears to be self-immolation,” said LAPD detective Michael Ventura. “This is going to be somebody who brought some gasoline, brought some lighters. We have had, they are rare, but we do have cases where people will self-immolate. Or they choose to set themselves on fire.”

The person’s age, identity and gender have not yet been determined, but they are believed to be a person who frequents the park on a regular basis Ventura said.

Independent freelance journalist Vishal P. Singh, who was on scene tweeted about the incident:

KABC reported:

Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or dial 988

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Los Angeles

LAPD respond after protestors disrupt LA City Council vote on homeless

All of City Council left except for Councilmembers Raman, Harris-Dawson, & Bonin who have previously voted against the expansion of 41.18

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Jonny Peltz/Twitter

LOS ANGELES – After protestors angrily voiced opposition and one charged towards the council dais disrupting the LA City Council’s impending vote Tuesday on a mass expansion of 41.18 zones, which will prohibit encampments of unhoused persons near schools and daycare centers, the Los Angeles Police Department’s Riot Squad was called-in.

The meeting erupted into chaos after a member of the public who was speaking climbed over a bench and charged toward Council President Nury Martinez. Police quickly filled the council floor to apprehend the person and another member of the public. Activists screamed at police, and at least one audience member attempted to spray water on officers.

Martinez abruptly recessed the meeting as dozens of activists in the room chanted “Abolish 41.18!” – a reference to the city law prohibiting homeless encampments at libraries, freeway overpasses and other locations.

Jonny Peltz, a freelance reporter for Knock LA, a nonprofit community journalism project, live tweeted the proceedings.

KTLA reported the Council voted to ban homeless encampments within 500 feet of city schools and day care centers after protesters again rallied against the expanded motion.

The final vote on the motion 11-3 in favor of the widespread ban.

Before the updated motion passed, camps were banned within 500 feet of facilities deemed sensitive, such as schools, day care facilities, parks and libraries but only if those areas have been designated for enforcement.

Tuesday’s vote means a blanket ban on encampments within 500 feet of every private school and day care centers in the city.

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Los Angeles

LAPD increases patrol force by 200 in Hollywood to combat rising crime

“If you come here to commit crime, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, you will be jailed or imprisoned,” said O’Farrell

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Courtesy Los Angeles Police Department

HOLLYWOOD – The Los Angeles Police Department has been deploying additional resources over the past seven months as the neighborhoods around Hollywood have experienced sharp increases in petty thefts, robberies, shootings and homicides.

On Wednesday, Out Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell hosted an event to spotlight more aggressive actions being taken by the LAPD and other city officials to stem the uptick in crime in the heart of the City’s entertainment district.

“If you plan to come to Hollywood to commit crime, you are not welcome,” said Councilmember O’Farrell. “All Angelenos should feel safe where they live and work. By bringing additional LAPD shifts to Hollywood, we are strengthening the holistic approach my office is taking to public safety – one that brings unarmed services to people in distress, while ensuring our LAPD officers have the necessary tools to effectively prevent and address crime.”

“If you come here to commit crime, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted, you will be jailed or imprisoned,” said O’Farrell adding; “There is no permissiveness in Hollywood. We’re not going to permit or tolerate that.”

Screenshot KABC ABC 7 Los Angeles

“That’s really basically about 200 more officers out on the street here on Hollywood Boulevard. “They’re going to be on foot, they’re going to be in patrol cars, they’re going to be on horseback, they’re going to be on bikes,” LAPD Deputy Chief Blake Chow told attendees and reporters attending the event.

Graphic via KABC ABC 7 News LA

Year to date, Hollywood has seen a 75% increase in homicides and 35.6% increase in shots fired, while robbery and theft have risen by 19.4% and 24.7% respectively, compared to 2021. This latest effort to enhance public safety follows Councilmember O’Farrell’s groundbreaking work to bring the CIRCLE program, the City’s first unarmed model of crisis response, to Hollywood, in addition to supporting a City budget that accounts for attrition rates within LAPD’s ranks.

“People need to feel safe when they’re in Hollywood,” said Deputy Chief Chow. “We’re thankful to Councilmember O’Farrell for these additional resources and look forward to quickly putting them to use to prevent, deter and address crime.”

“Public safety requires robust collaboration and an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said James Hegler, Director of Operations for the CIRCLE Program. “We’re proud of our successful working relationship with Councilmember O’Farrell and LAPD, which helps us bring unarmed services to Angelenos in need so that LAPD can focus their resources on actual crime.”

“Public safety is an essential part of a thriving local economy,” said Kathleen Rawson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hollywood Partnership. “As Hollywood emerges from the pandemic, having officers on the street and available to respond to calls is necessary for our businesses to safely keep their doors open and welcome visitors back to this iconic boulevard.”

In addition to deployment of added LAPD resources, O’Farrell on Wednesday introduced a motion that, when approved by the City Council, would strengthen LAPD’s presence in Hollywood with additional officer shifts.

The $216,000 effort would be funded directly by O’Farrell’s office as part of his comprehensive approach to public safety in Hollywood a spokesperson said in a statement.

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