For several minutes on Saturday, the California Democratic universe stopped jousting for their favorite candidates and gave a rousing vote of confidence to Rep. Adam Schiff, who is steadily leading the House Intelligence Committee’s historic impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump.
Introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal as “our protector,” Schiff opened his remarks to the three-day California Democratic Party (CDP) Endorsing Convention in Long Beach by acknowledging the one minute/20 seconds standing ovation.
“I feel like I should just stop there,” Schiff said wryly in a strained voice. “You will forgive me if I’m a bit exhausted. It’s been an eventful week.”
Schiff has been sounding the alarm about the Trump presidency since before he became chair of the Intelligence Committee, recalling to the Los Angeles Blade the despondency he saw Election Night 2016 at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “The reality of the next two years proved every bit as bad, in some ways worse, than what we feared,” Schiff said Nov. 2018. “It really takes your breath away.”
It’s gotten worse, Schiff told convention delegates. “Our democracy is at risk, more so now than any time in my life,” Schiff said.
“Two years ago, I stood before you and I urged you to resist and you did. But we are more than a resistance now – we are a majority. We are a majority in one House and we will become a majority in the other and we will send that charlatan in the White House back to the golden throne he came from,” Schiff said.
“The most grave threat to the life and health of our democracy comes from within, from a president without ethical compass, without an understanding of or devotion to our Constitution and the beautiful series of checks and balances it established, setting ambition against ambition so no one branch of government could overwhelm another. And most importantly, so no despotism could take root,” said Schiff.
“There is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes he is above the law,” said Schiff.
That has been a theme of presidential candidate California Sen. Kamala Harris who consistently says, “justice is on the ballot.”
Out Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Sen. Kamala Harris, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur (Photo courtesy Equality California)
But Harris’ campaign has been struggling of late — including a drop to 3% in the most recent Iowa poll that caused some buzz among longtime political consultants that she should drop out and save herself the embarrassment of losing in the early states and limping into her home state’s Super Tuesday Primary. However, Harris and her campaign seemed energized at the convention, including an appearance Friday night at a “Dems, Drinks and Drag Queens” party sponsored by the LGBT Caucus and Equality California. “I don’t know what you’ve been told, Kamala is strong and bold,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters he plans on campaigning for her in Iowa.
In fact, all the headlines about Harris’ flagging campaign have caused something of a backlash, especially among black women who are angry that only Harris is being targeted and pressured to drop out among all the other lower-performing candidates. Harris has been endorsed by Higher Heights for America PAC, an organization “dedicated to electing more progressive Black women” that is holding several mobilization events for her in Atlanta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina following Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. The Friday, Nov. 22 event features LGBTQ icon actress Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Harris was the first of eight presidential candidates to take the stage at the CDP/Univision forum Saturday afternoon, which was broadcast and live streamed in both English and Spanish.
Many Democrats were confused and angry that former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren skipped the endorsing convention. Univision correspondent Jorge Ramos told the forum audience that their absence illustrated a broader problem with Democrats because “they know they’re going to get about 70% of the Latino vote and they just take it for granted.”
Taking the Latino vote for granted in California is especially unwise now since this year marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of Prop 187, the Republican anti-immigration initiative that dramatically changed the California political landscape. Latino voters surged in response and the GOP started its steady decline — registering now as a third party behind No Party Preference among California’s 20,328,636 registered voters, 44.1% of whom are Democrats.
Turnout is another matter, according to PPIC. “Voter turnout continues to lag among nonwhite Californians,” PPIC reported last August. “Our surveys over the past year indicate that 45% of Latino adult citizens, 53% of Asian American adult citizens, and 57% of African American adult citizens are likely to vote, compared to 68% of non-Hispanic white adult citizens…. Latinos—California’s largest racial/ethnic group—represent 35% of the adult population, but they account for only 19% of those most likely to vote. Asian Americans comprise 15% of the adult population and 13% of likely voters. The share of African American likely voters matches their representation in the adult population (6%).”
PPIC apparently does not consider California’s LGBTQ population a demographic worth counting.
The need to reach and inspire Latino voters is considerable since California starts vote-by-mail on Feb. 3, for the March 3 Super Tuesday Primary, with nearly 500 delegates at stake. Feb. 3 is the same day as the Iowa Caucuses – and California Democrats have long helped phone bank, fund and advocate for their candidates in the Nevada Democratic Caucus, this year on Feb. 22.
In addition to the CDP/Univision forum, Harris, out South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former HUD Sec. Julian Castro and investor-philanthropist Tom Steyer participated in a 90-minute forum at Cal State Los Angeles on Sunday, which was sponsored by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, the California Latino Legislative Caucus and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).
Univision smartly began their forum with a question from Yvette Mojica, a student at the Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, who wanted to know what Harris would do to help her feel safe about going back to school without being afraid of being shot.
Harris, who has herself experienced the sudden threat of violence, addressed the trauma that’s now the norm among school children.
“I’m sick of what happened to you, to your classmates, I’m sick. I’m fed up with it and it’s got to stop,” said Harris, adding that even elementary students think shooter drills are “normal.”
“And these tragedies keep happening, which tell them that they need to pay attention,” Harris said. And “instead of opening their minds to the wonders of science and art and math, half their brains are worried about who’s going to come bustin’ through the door. It is traumatizing our children and it’s got to stop.”
Harris said that as president, she would take executive action if Congress didn’t present her with a bill in her first 100 days.
Harris segued from mass shootings to the trauma experienced by children afraid to come home to find their undocumented parents taken away by ICE.
And with that, Ramos asked the question that Joe Biden probably expected would be asked: “Can we have an honest conversation about Obama’s legacy? Of course, he gave us Obamacare and DACA and the Paris Agreement. And of course, the country was going through a terrible economic situation, I agree with that. However, he deported more than three million people. Was that a mistake? Do you think President Obama made a mistake?”
Harris probably expected that question, too – but not framed in a way that would create a sound bite around the word “mistake.”
She dodged and stalled. “I think that President Obama did many great things and is probably one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had,” Harris said as the audience applauded.
“I think many people agree with that but he deported three million people,” Ramos said.
Harris shifted to how, as California attorney general, she disagreed with the policy and “informed California law enforcement that ICE detainers are not mandatory.”
“So, do you think he made a mistake?” Ramos asked
“Because I was aware that there were people who were by ICE’s own definition, non-criminals, that were being deported. That was wrong,” Harris said. “I disagreed with it and that’s why I issued that policy for the sheriffs and the district attorneys of California telling them that these were not mandatory.”
That Harris had not used the word “mistake” was underscored when Ramos asked the same question of popular Bernie Sanders, who is the largest recipient of Latino contributions and drew crowds of young Latinos in LA – and Sanders answered quickly with a simple “yes.”
Sanders then pivoted. “What I’m going to tell you is in fact what the American people want, and they want to stop this ugly demonization of the immigrant community and the racism that is coming from the White House,” Sanders said against the larger backdrop of calls for the ouster of white nationalist/deportation mastermind Stephen Miller.
Sanders pledged to reestablish legal status for 1.8 million “Dreamers” on Day 1 of his presidency.
Harris, however, ended the day with the endorsement from the highly regarded, 10,000-member United Farm Workers. She had already been personally endorsed by civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, who co-founded UFW with Cesar Chavez and Gilbert Padilla.
Sanders, who emphasized that his health is good after his heart attack, came out of the convention with the endorsement of the California Young Democrats and the earlier endorsement of the powerful California Nurses Association, affiliated with the National Nurses United.
Meanwhile, during his time in LA, Sanders also endorsed the Rental Affordability Act, a ballot initiative by AIDS Healthcare Foundation on the Nov. 2020 ballot.
The biggest surprise of the convention was the news after his forum performance that Pete Buttigieg had surged to the lead in the Des Moines Iowa poll. He jumped to 25% in the new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers — a 16-point increase since the September CNN/DMR poll.
There was a three-way battle for second place with Elizabeth Warren registering 16%, and Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders coming in at 15%.Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar jumped to 6%, while Harris, Steyer, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and businessman Andrew Yang all ranked at 3%.
Interestingly, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — who has not officially entered the race — got 2%. In fact, Bloomberg created the other major surprise of the weekend by apologizing for his “stop-and-frisk” policing policy during an appearance at a black megachurch in Brooklyn on Sunday. “I’m sorry that we didn’t,” Bloomberg said. “But I can’t change history. However, today, I want you to know that I realize back then, I was wrong.”
Adding another surprise on Monday — Bloomberg received the endorsement of Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin.
“He’s got what it takes and he’s got the resources to take it to Trump,” Benjamin told AP in an interview. “I believe firmly that Mike Bloomberg can win. I think resources are going to matter.”
Buttigieg was circumspect after hearing the polling news in Long Beach, saying they were “extremely encouraging.” But, he added, “We have felt a lot of momentum on the ground.”
To some pundits, Buttigieg’s surge means Iowa voters are favoring a more centrist agenda, underscored by the new presidential ambitions of Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who attended the Long Beach convention, got a few nods and didn’t get booed.
Last Friday, former President Barack Obama expressed concern to a clutch of wealthy liberal donors about more progressive Democratic candidates getting out over their skiis with “big structural” change proposals on health care and immigration issues.
“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality,” Obama said. “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.”
And Buttigieg fits right in that scenario during the Univision forum.
After a few pleasant exchange in Spanish — Buttigieg speaks seven languages — KMEX anchor Leon Krauze asked him about Bloomberg and Patrick getting in the race. “Some seem to doubt whether the current group of candidates is strong enough to beat President Trump. Is it?
“First of all, I think every one of the candidates competing on the democratic side would make a monumentally better president than the one we have right now,” Buttigieg said, adding that he thinks he’s “the best person to go into that competition, but the job is for each of us to go out there and prove it.”
Buttigieg said it was not his “place to characterize somebody else’s plan,” regarding Warren saying she wouldn’t not push for Medicare-for-all until the third year of her presidency. But he still has concerns about commanding people leave their private plans.
“I would rather allow Americans to make the decision for themselves, so the idea of our plan, Medicare-for-all who want it, is we make it available for everybody, but we trust you to decide whether and when you want it,” he said. “And my thinking is if this is the best plan for everybody, then everybody will choose it and it will become the single payer. If, on the other hand, there remains some Americans — I’m thinking, for example, about a lot of union members who negotiated good private plans who would prefer to keep their plan — I’m not going to command them to abandon that plan.”
Buttigieg was also asked about Obama’s apparent advocacy for centrism.
“Here’s what I agree with is the idea that the role of activists is to move the country as far forward as possible and to tug the politicians forward,” Buttigieg said. “That’s different from the role of those seeking office and holding office who have to balance the concerns of different constituencies. But I also believe that being bold and having big ideas should not be measured by how many people you alienate. Because the things I’m proposing, for example, it’s true that they’re not as extreme as some of the others, but they would still make me the most progressive president of my lifetime.”
“The most important thing is to put forward the policies that we believe make the most sense. But also, I think this is very important — right now, there is an American majority ready to back us up, not only on issues like minimum wage and family leave where people have trusted Democrats for a long time, but in the areas where Democrats had been on defense in the past — guns, immigration, healthcare. We should do everything we can to hold that majority together, galvanize, not polarize it. And if we can do that, and I’m talking not just about how to win elections, but how to govern, if we can hold that majority together in a unifying way for a divided country, we have the opportunity to deliver the boldest, biggest changes that we have seen in longer than I had been alive.”
Buttigieg said that, as a veteran, his foreign policy involving committing American troops to conflicts abroad would be “based on the need to save American lives, the knowledge that there is no reasonable alternative, and the network of alliances that helps save American lives and preserve American interests. All of those things have to go together.”
The “real tragedy” of Trump’s “betrayal in Syria is that what you had there was preventing endless war.”
Buttigieg also addressed drug cartels killing Americans in Mexico, border security, the cost of caregiving, and, mass school shootings.
“Finally, Mayor, over the last ten years around 150 shootings have been committed by children, teenagers, minors, 17 and younger. How do we keep guns outside the access of children, at least children?” Krauze asked.
“This is something that has affected my community,” Buttigieg said, referring to South Bend, not Pulse nightclub. “The darkest moments I think for most mayors are the moments when you find yourself consoling parents of children who have been killed or teenagers who have been killed in violence and often it is also teenagers perpetrating gun violence. It is why the time has come to insist that it is a matter of national security that we stop allowing the Second Amendment to be distorted into an excuse to do nothing whatsoever when it comes to common sense gun policy.”
“The things I trained on in the military have no business being sold for profit in American communities,” Buttigieg said. “They’re weapons of war.”
With 90% of Americans, including most gun owners, including most Republicans, supporting background checks and the red flag laws, why has Congress not acted?
“This is what tells us that our democracy is broken and that gerrymandering, money, and politics and the other distorting forces that make our democracy less democratic need to be confronted and need to be reformed to deal with this and every issue,” Buttigieg said. “Everybody can have a water balloon, nobody can have a nuclear weapon. Anyone can have a slingshot, nobody can have a predator drone. So this is not some new constitutional idea we are asserting. It’s just that we’ve got to decide where to draw the line and we need to draw the line tighter than we have so far.”
Buttigieg was not asked if Obama made a mistake deporting 3 million people.
While Buttigieg may have charmed Democrats in Long Beach — including former Rep. Katie Hill who supports Harris but likes Buttigieg — he still has a major problem with black voters as illustrated by the NBC News headline on Sunday: “Pete Buttigieg is struggling with black voters — and not just because he’s gay.”
Janell Ross reported:
“ROCK HILL, S.C. — On a recent Sunday morning, Pete Buttigieg stood before rows of black churchgoers, a group he and the other Democratic 2020 candidates must win over for a reasonable chance of capturing their party’s presidential nomination.
“I know what it is to look on the news and see your rights up for debate,” he told the crowd gathered in the sanctuary of an African Methodist Episcopal events center in Rock Hill. “I also know what it is to find acceptance where you least expect it and to find compassion when you most need it.”
As Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, highlighted his personal knowledge of the marginalized American experience, and as he quoted verses from the books of Proverbs and Matthew, he did not overtly describe himself as gay or mention the husband he adores. He was trying to connect with a group of potential voters who, on the whole, have been skeptical of his candidacy.”
“The true Pete Buttigieg test, the one he’s unquestionably failing,” Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political scientist, “has to do with the résumé and the issues.”
“Buttigieg must contend with questions about his record on race, police accountability and crime reduction in South Bend, which came to the forefront after police there shot and killed a black man in June. The city’s violent crime rate is double the average of comparably sized cities. And the number of shooting victims in the city has nearly doubled since 2018. Buttigieg was also criticized for firing the city’s first black police chief, who viewed himself as working to expose and remove racist white officers, in 2012, the year Buttigieg took office. Buttigieg is widely perceived as not having handled the situation well,” Ross reports.
That, and Biden scored 21 to 39 points ahead of Buttigieg in a series of South Carolina Democratic polls last October.
On Monday, two days before the MSNBC/Washington Post Democratic Primary debate, Buttigieg is in Atlanta with an appearance at Morehouse College where he will have the opportunity to explain the campaign screw up of putting the photo of a black woman and young boy on the cover of Buttigieg’s Douglas Plan to combat racial inequality, which the candidates billed as a “comprehensive investment in the empowerment of black America” —only to discover the photo was a Kenyan woman portrayed in a stock photo.
“This is not ok or necessary,” tweeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Somali-born refugee.
The campaign apologized and said it was “selected while a contractor was running our site.”
There are other issues dogging the campaign. But Buttigieg’s “bold new plan to grow paths to opportunity for all Americans through more affordable college as well as through workforce development and training opportunities,” announced Monday, plus his pledge to make a historic $50 billion commitment to HBCUs, may prompt young black voters to listen to his plans and not make the 37-year old candidate’s mistakes emblematic of his character, his intellect or his ability to compete with others to defeat Trump.
The California Democratic Endorsing Convention ended with only a handful of state and federal seats pulled from the Consent Calendar for further consideration. There was no endorsement in CD 25 in the contest to replace former Rep. Katie Hill because there was not enough time under party rules to consider Assemblymember Christy Smith and her apparent likely Democratic opponent Cenk Uygur who Equality California and others have accused of using anti-LGBTQ, sexist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic rhetoric in multiple videos posted on Twitter. This could be an expensive distraction from keeping the seats Democrats flipped in 2018 out of the hands of Republican Steve Knight who is fighting to get that seat back.
If Donald Trump isn’t impeached and removed from office, 2020 could prove to be the most expensive year for elections in America history.
Featured Local Savings
LA’s Original Farmers Market’s annual Chanukah celebration
Kicking off the festivities is an ice sculpture menorah carving demonstration, followed by arts and crafts for kids to enjoy
LOS ANGELES – The Original Farmers Market invites you to join its annual Chanukah celebration on Sunday, December 10th from 3 to 5:15 pm. Bring your loved ones and immerse yourselves in an afternoon filled with music and fun!
Kicking off the festivities is an ice sculpture menorah carving demonstration, followed by arts and crafts for kids to enjoy. The evening continues with a youth musical performance by JLA, followed by a Chanukah sing-along with Miss Melo. As the sun sets, get ready for the grand finale, an ice sculpture menorah lighting with Miracle Mile Chabad.
Don’t miss out on this bright and festive event full of fun, food, and cheer!
|WHEN:||Chanukah Celebration on Sunday, December 10th from 3:00 pm to 5:15 pm|
|WHERE:||The Original Farmers Market, 6333 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90036|
|EVENT SCHEDULE:||3-4:45 PM Menorah Ice Sculpture Carving Demo And Arts & Crafts Activities |
4:45 PM Youth Musical Performances by JLA
5 PM Chanukah Sing-Along with Miss Melo
5:15 PM Ice Sculpture Menorah Lighting with Miracle Mile Chabad
LA officials: Suspect in homeless murders is in custody
LAPD Chief Moore identified the suspect as Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, of Los Angeles. Powell is alleged to be the gunman
LOS ANGELES – At a press conference on Saturday afternoon, Mayor Karen Bass and LAPD Chief Michel Moore along with Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and LA County Sheriff Robert Luna announced the arrest of the suspect in the murders of three homeless individuals across the city.
LAPD Chief Moore identified the suspect as Jerrid Joseph Powell, 33, of Los Angeles. Powell is alleged to be the gunman behind the murders of homeless men across Los Angeles from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29.
After a multiple agency cooperative investigation triggered by the follow-home murder of Nicholas Simbolon of San Dimas on Tuesday night by LASD homicide investigators, a car and weapon in that case was identified by the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Simbolon was a tenured L.A. County employee, who worked for the chief executive officer as a project manager in the IT department.
“He was key in developing applications, software that helped to propel the office forward, and also helped us to meet our mission to deliver services to citizens and residents of L.A. County,” Sheriff Robert Luna said at Thursday’s press conference.
On Thursday morning, the suspect, Powell, was spotted in Beverly Hills driving the same vehicle and taken into custody.
“When you get to a scene, you just start playing it backwards,” Sheriff Luna said while announcing the arrest [Thursday]. “They start looking at every avenue.”
During the arrest, deputies recovered a gun that appeared to match the description of the weapon used to commit the crime, authorities added.
“Over the course of the investigation of our murders, we were able to identify the vehicle we believe is connected to our three homicides as being the same vehicle that Mr. Powell used in the murder of Mr. Simbolon,” Moore said at Saturday’s press conference. “[We learned] that it was being held in custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as evidence of their murder.”
According to Chief Moore, that vehicle was the same being sought in the killings of the three homeless persons and the gun seized was the weapon used in the killings.
Press Conference Live:
LAPD asking for public’s help with murders of homeless persons
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, Homicide Special Section
LOS ANGELES – Flanked by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, LA Mayor Mayor Karen Bass and Martin Estrada, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, Los Angeles Chief of Police Michel Moore, held a news conference Friday where he announced that three homeless people had been fatally shot while they slept within the past week.
Moore added that authorities believe one suspect is responsible for all three murders.
Detectives from the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division are investigating three separate murders that occurred between November 26, 2023, and November 29, 2023. In each case, the victims were experiencing homelessness.
While some similarities have been identified, detectives are working to determine if these murders are related. A community alert bulletin has been issued to make the region’s unhoused population and the community stakeholders aware of these recent murders.
The suspect in these homicides is described only as male. The suspect was seen in a dark-colored sedan. It is unknown if he was alone or there were any additional suspects.
Police have spotted who they believe the shooter is on surveillance footage — Moore said they believe it’s a man in a hoodie — and they also have images of the suspect’s vehicle, though Moore would not describe it in an effort to avoid misinformation.
“People will see different types of cars, different types of models,” he said. “I don’t want someone to say ‘You called this a Kia and it turns out to be a BMW or Mercedes,” he said.
“A single individual approached each one and shot and killed each one as they slept,” Moore said, though he avoided use of the term “serial killer.”
“The Los Angeles Police Department is employing all available resources to bring justice to these murder victims. I am thankful for our City partners who are working with us closely to ensure the safety of this vulnerable population as we pursue the criminal investigation,” said Moore.
“I want to be very clear about what we’re facing today: This is a killer who is preying on the unhoused,” Mayor Bass said, adding that homeless people should not sleep alone.
“As we always do in the face of a challenge or crisis, our region is mobilizing to respond to this issue. We will work tirelessly to find the individual responsible, arrest them, and hold them accountable. I have met with our partners at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Housing Department and we are moving immediately to get the word out to our unhoused neighbors in housing networks. Our message to our unhoused community is clear – try not to be alone tonight. We will do all we can to make shelter and services available. To the many Angelenos who have friends or family who are unhoused, please let them know the danger that exists. We must stay safe. We will work diligently to bring those responsible to justice,” the Mayor said.
“To the person responsible: We will find you, we will catch you and you will be held accountable,” Bass said.
“I commend the LAPD for creating a dedicated task force to uncover the identity of a potential serial killer preying on the most vulnerable in our community. I’ve assigned our Major Crimes Division, Bureau of Victim Services and our Bureau of Investigation to assist with these efforts. Today, we demonstrate our collective resolve and stand united in our pursuit of justice, unwavering against the darkness that preys on the most defenseless among us,” said LA District Attorney George Gascón.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, Homicide Special Section, at (213) 486-6890. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247).
Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.
Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.
Project Angel Food Thanksgiving, a remarkable group of volunteers
Project Angel Food provides daily meals to 2,500 critically ill individuals & 1.5 mil medically tailored meals annually across Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES — Project Angel Food saw a remarkable gathering of celebrities and 200 dedicated volunteers coming together to prepare and deliver 2,000 traditional turkey meals to critically ill clients on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. The initiative culminated in a total of more than 5,000 meals prepared and delivered throughout Thanksgiving week.
Thanksgiving Day at Project Angel Food was not just about distributing meals but also about the spirit of giving back while cherishing moments with family and friends.
Melissa Rivers, who recently got engaged to lawyer Steve Mitchel on Oct. 13, made a notable appearance — showcasing her stunning 5.6 carat, emerald-cut engagement ring as she volunteered alongside adult son Cooper Endicott. She shared, “Sometime maybe in 2025. It would be my second marriage and his second marriage so if anything, we’ll have a party, and a ceremony might break out. But nobody’s in any rush.”
Amanda Kloots, host of “The Talk”, expressed her deep affection for Project Angel Food, stating that she fell in love with the cause while filming a segment for the hit CBS talk show. She returned with Zach Braff and her four-year-old son Elvis, emphasizing, “I think it is so important to show our kids how blessed we are and how we can help one another.”
Joining the ranks, Lisa Rinna and her husband Harry Hamlin continued their annual tradition of giving back at Project Angel Food on Thanksgiving. Harry offered, “It goes without saying the people of L.A. need to be fed, and we’re here to do it, especially on Thanksgiving.” Lisa added, “It makes you feel good to give back, always, and we need to do it more.”
Actor and model Sam Asghari, marking his first Thanksgiving after his divorce from Britney Spears, refrained from discussing the split but reflected “I think it is important when you have a platform and a voice, and you have the ability to help others it is important to do.”
Unlikely friends Charo and Kat Von D were among the initial celebrity arrivals. Von D explained their unique bond, stating, “We’re Yin and Yang and complement each other. Since she had heard of Project Angel Food through Charo, she wanted to join.” Charo expressed her enthusiasm for volunteering, exclaiming, “I love people. This is my passion!”
The event saw the participation of other notable celebrity volunteers, including Amy Yasbeck, singer Em Beihold, Eve Mauro, Jai Rodriguez, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Laura Pierson, Lauren Tom, Lawrence Zarian, Lisa Foxx, Loni Love, Mary-Margaret Humes, Michael Hitchcock, Peter Porte, Rachel Lindsay, Sandra Lee, Tamara Brown, and Tim Bagley.
Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub expressed heartfelt gratitude stating, “Every day is like Thanksgiving at Project Angel Food. But on this day, we are especially grateful to our celebrity friends and hundreds of volunteers committed to bringing a little light to the thousands of critically ill men, women and children we serve.”
The meals were provided through “drive-by” pick-up for volunteers who then delivered them to Project Angel Food clients. The traditional Thanksgiving dinners included roasted turkey, root vegetables, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Additionally, vegetarian meals were also provided. The Thanksgiving Day meals were sponsored by The Stanley & Joyce Black Family Foundation, with additional support from Joybird, which furnished the Joybird VIP Love Lounge, allowing volunteers to take a break during the morning of service.
Beyond serving meals to 2,000 critically ill individuals, Project Angel Food extended its support by providing Thanksgiving Day meals for 500 people at PATH. PATH works tirelessly to end homelessness by building affordable housing and offering supportive services. Furthermore, actress and director Joely Fisher sponsored Project Angel Food meals, hosting a SAG/AFTRA “Friendsgiving” at Hollywood United Methodist Church for 200+ union members affected by the 118-day SAG/AFTRA strike on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023.
Project Angel Food remains dedicated to providing daily meals to 2,500 critically ill individuals and delivering more than 1.5 million medically tailored meals annually across Los Angeles. Their clients often grapple with serious illnesses compounded by challenges such as poverty, aging, and isolation. Established in 1989 by Marianne Williamson, the organization has prepared and delivered more than 17 million meals in its 34-year history.
Project Angel Food serves up Thanksgiving meals for Angelenos:
George Michael honored with star dedication on ‘Path of Angels’
David Archuleta, reflecting on Michael’s impact, remarked, “George Michael shattered barriers and defied stereotypes”
LOS ANGELES — Project Angel Food proudly dedicated a star on its esteemed Path of Angels to the late George Michael on Monday, Nov. 20. This dedication ceremony, hosted at Project Angel Food on 922 Vine Street, marked the 25th anniversary of Michael’s impactful volunteer work and the memorable press conference he held in the organization’s kitchen the Monday before Thanksgiving in 1998.
Recording artist David Archuleta, K-EARTH 101’s Lisa Stanley and CEO Richard Ayoub, unveiled the star which was seen internationally on Instagram Live. Attendees bore witness to this commemorative occasion, followed by a reception commencing at 12 p.m.
On Nov. 23, 1998, the Monday before Thanksgiving, George Michael was actively engaged in preparing 34 white cakes as a volunteer at Project Angel Food. Media attention escalated swiftly as helicopters, television crews and paparazzi swarmed the location to catch a glimpse of the Grammy winner who had recently come out as gay.
Despite not seeking the media spotlight, George chose to redirect attention towards Project Angel Food’s work. His presence drew focus to the organization’s mission of providing sustenance to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The ongoing support from George Michael’s estate continues to significantly contribute to this cause, upholding his legacy of support.
Reflecting on George Michael’s altruism, Ayoub remarked, “In 1993, during the height of the AIDS crisis, George made his initial donation to Project Angel Food. His consistent support included a substantial annual financial contribution of $25,000 and numerous acts of kindness, such as volunteering in the kitchen and donating a Mercedes for auction to raise additional funds.”
The star dedication pays homage to George Michael’s enduring dedication to philanthropy and acknowledges the contributions made by the George Michael fan group Lovelies.help, among others, who have generously donated more than $35,000 to Project Angel Food in his honor.
Archuleta, reflecting on George Michael’s impact, remarked, “George Michael shattered barriers and defied stereotypes. His honesty became a beacon of hope for countless members of our community yearning for acceptance in a society that often dictated our identities for us.”
The singer-songwriter recalled performing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” at the seventh season finale of “American Idol” as a duet with Sir Elton John, with George surprising the audience with a performance. He became emotional as he said, “After I came out, I went back and listened to that song and had it on repeat. Because the meaning took on so much more than when I first heard it as a closeted 17-year-old on Idol. It holds the combination of feeling the pain life can bring, yet a hope for the future and empowerment that I needed — to feel seen, understood and keep going today. I am grateful for the genuine expression that was always felt in George’s voice as he sang.”
Lisa Stanley fondly remembered George Michael as “an icon, a musical giant, an inspiration, and a star whose bright light outshines all others,” highlighting his permanent place both in the organization’s Path of Angels and in the hearts of many.
Project Angel Food’s mission is monumental. Founded in 1989 by Marianne Williamson in the height of the AIDS crisis, the organization now provides daily meals to 2,500 critically ill individuals facing various medical conditions and delivers more than 1.5 million meals annually across Los Angeles. Our clients confront serious health challenges, often compounded by the difficulties of poverty, aging, and isolation.
I-10 Freeway will reopen ahead of Monday morning commute
CAL FIRE’s investigation into the suspected arson remains ongoing. Any Anonymous Tips- call CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408
LOS ANGELES – This morning Governor Gavin Newsom, alongside Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Alex Padilla, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, and other local, state, and federal officials, announced the I-10 Freeway would reopen ahead of the Monday morning commute, beating the expected timeline by days thanks to around-the-clock work by union crews.
“What began as months has turned into days — before Angelenos hit the road on Monday, we’re opening the 10 back up. Thanks to the tireless work of Caltrans and union construction crews and with help from our partners — from the Mayor’s office to the White House — the 10’s expedited repair is proof and a point of pride that here in California, we deliver,” Newsom told reporters in the early Sunday morning press conference.
“The work that happened here is extraordinary,” said Vice President Kamala Harris. “It was possible with the will and ambition of the workers on the ground, and their commitment as public servants and as union members to get this done and deliver for the people of Los Angeles. This is the kind of work that is happening around the country – where hard-working men and women, carpenters, laborers, and government workers, are rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Thank you to those workers for your commitment to the country.”
“The 10 will be safe to drive on weeks ahead of schedule because of urgent action and collaboration at all levels of government,” said LA Mayor Karen Bass. “When we work together, nothing can stop Los Angeles. Right when this happened, I heard from our state and federal partners that they would let nothing stand in our way. The White House and the Governor’s Office not only lived up to that promise, they helped us exceed all expectations. Today is proof of locking arms delivering real results for the people of this city.”
Today’s announcement, eight days since the fire, comes far ahead of the original project schedule and was made possible because of the around-the-clock efforts of crews and engineers on and off-site, better-than-expected structural testing results, rapid debris removal, and close coordination between state, local, and federal government officials to safely expedite repairs of a major freeway that is a critical backbone to the American and global economy.
As repairs continue over the coming months, the public should expect some temporary closures on occasional weekends and overnight, along with intermittent lane closures.
The 10 Freeway fire began on a site rented by Apex Development, Inc. (Apex). Two months prior to the fire, Caltrans sued Apex, seeking to remove the company from the leased property for failing to pay its rent and subletting the property without authorization. A hearing is set for early 2024 in that lawsuit.
Apex was responsible for maintaining the fenced-off site while they continued to assert rights under the lease. CAL FIRE’s investigation into the fire — suspected to be arson — remains ongoing. A person of interest has been identified and members of the public are encouraged to provide any leads or tips, which can be sent anonymously to the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408 or [email protected].
Last weekend, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Los Angeles County to support the state’s response. The proclamation facilitates clean-up and repair work and directs Caltrans to request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, which the state secured.
The 10 Freeway is a major artery that serves hundreds of thousands of Angelenos daily. After testing samples and assessing damage from the site, state transportation officials determined the damage could be repaired without demolishing and rebuilding the 450-foot span of the freeway, which could have taken upwards of 6 months.
Union crews continue to work around the clock to get the freeway open by tomorrow morning. While I-10 is closed to all vehicles, Caltrans workers are seizing this traffic-free opportunity to carry out a wide-ranging “swarm” maintenance operation – sweeping, repairing bridge railings and broken concrete, painting over graffiti, cleaning drains and culverts, removing litter, weeds, and overgrown vegetation, and sealing broken access doors.
Gov. Newsom announces the 10 Freeway will reopen next week
Newsom credited the tireless and continuous work of repair crews who have been working around the clock to get the 10 freeway reopened
LOS ANGELES – The section of the10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles damaged by a massive arson fire will reopen “five lanes in both directions” no later than Tuesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters in a press briefing Thursday evening.
The major artery that serves 300,000 vehicles daily closed in both directions a week ago after a fire caused significant damage to up to 100 support pillars. Construction crews have erected wooden structures to shore up the overpass while the repair work gets underway.
Last week the governor said the cause of the fire was deemed suspicious by CAL FIRE investigators, and their team continues to investigate the fire as arson. Newsom also shared that the state took legal action months ago to eject the lessee of the site, Apex Development, Inc., for failing to pay rent and violating the lease agreement by subletting the property without state and federal approval. A court date is scheduled for February; however, the state is seeking options to expedite legal proceedings.
During Thursday’s press conference Newsom credited the tireless and continuous work of repair crews who have been working around the clock to get the busy roadway back open to traffic.
“We will be open, five lanes in both directions, Tuesday of next week,” the governor said.
KTLA reported Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass were among the speakers. Both elected officials have promised regular and timely updates regarding the closure, which has crippled traffic in and out of downtown for several days and was initially expected to remain in place for several weeks.
“All of the stars have been aligned,” Bass said, paraphrasing a Caltrans official.
“This is what happens when we work with urgency. This is what happens when we come together. I want to make sure that there are no barriers to completely finishing the repair and that when the freeway opens up it will be completely safe,” said Mayor Bass. “City departments will continue to respond with urgency to the impacts of the traffic closure during the ongoing construction. We will not let up. I want to thank Governor Newsom for joining forces with me to make sure the repair is being expedited to get the freeway back up and running as fast as possible.”
The Los Angeles Times reported Newsom has repeatedly mentioned Apex Development Inc., leasing the area below freeway, had subleased some of its space to various businesses calling the company “bad actors,” and adding that the state was involved in ongoing litigation against it.
The company has been identified as Apex Development Inc., which subleased some of its space to various businesses. The legality over those subleases is under a bit of scrutiny.
The Times reported that Caltrans inspectors and local fire officials conducted regular visits to the site. The company’s attorney told the Times that any claims from government officials that it was unaware of the subleasing activity were false.
Instead, the company’s attorney laid the blame on the local homeless population which lived near the site, claiming that operators of the space repeatedly made calls to report homeless fires, which they allege were brushed off.
Today, the Governor also highlighted he has instructed Caltrans and CAL FIRE to conduct a thorough examination and assessment of all Airspace and Telecommunications Licensing Program (Airspace) sites throughout the state. Airspace sites are state-owned properties located within freeway rights-of-way that can be safely leased for secondary uses.
The Governor’s directive instructs Caltrans and CAL FIRE to conduct a comprehensive review of the Airspace program, and produce an inventory of all Airspace sites that identifies property types, locations, potential concerns, proximity to sensitive structures, tenancy status, site use types, and inspection status, among other details.
Additionally, Caltrans and CAL FIRE have been instructed to prioritize inspections of high-risk Airspace sites across California and recommend necessary programmatic, inspection, enforcement, and/or statutory changes to prevent future incidents similar to the I-10 Freeway fire.
The 10 Freeway fire began on an Airspace site rented by Apex Development, Inc (Apex). Two months prior to the fire, Caltrans sued Apex, seeking to remove the company from the leased property for failing to pay its rent and subletting the property without authorization. A hearing is set for early 2024 in that lawsuit.
Apex was responsible for maintaining the fenced-off site while they continued to assert rights under the lease. CAL FIRE’s investigation into the fire — suspected to be arson — remains ongoing and members of the public are encouraged to provide any leads or tips, which can be sent anonymously to the CAL FIRE Arson Hotline at 1-800-468-4408 or [email protected].
The 10 Freeway is a major artery that serves hundreds of thousands of Angelenos daily. After testing samples and assessing damage from the site, state transportation officials determined the damage could be repaired without demolishing and rebuilding the 450-foot span of the freeway, which could have taken upwards of 6 months.
Union crews continue to work around the clock to shore up the support pillars damaged in the fire. While I-10 is closed to all vehicles, Caltrans workers are seizing this traffic-free opportunity to carry out a wide-ranging “swarm” maintenance operation – sweeping, repairing bridge railings and broken concrete, painting over graffiti, cleaning drains and culverts, removing litter, weeds, and overgrown vegetation, and sealing broken access doors.
Newsom: 10 Freeway on track to reopen to traffic in 3 to 5 weeks
Californians can visit Fixthe10.ca.gov for real-time project updates, alternate routes and public transit options
LOS ANGELES – Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles is on track to at least partially reopen to traffic in three to five weeks. The major artery that serves 300,000 vehicles daily closed in both directions this weekend after a fire caused significant damage to up to 100 support pillars.
After testing samples and assessing damage from the site, state transportation officials currently believe the damage can be repaired without demolishing and rebuilding the 450-foot span of the 10 Freeway, which could have taken upwards of 6 months. Union crews are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to finish removing the extensive debris and shore up the pillars.
These efforts are aimed at making the necessary repairs to safely reopen the freeway to moving traffic as soon as possible. Additionally, on-site environmental monitoring is in place to fortify drains and ensure that every precaution is in place to contain area run-off due to incoming storms. An earlier evaluation of the site identified no highly toxic chemicals in the aftermath of the fire.
Critical materials for the repairs are already on-site and no supply challenges are anticipated at this time.
The Governor also announced that by the end of the week, the state will have a livestream of the construction work so the public can see the progress firsthand.
Californians can visit Fixthe10.ca.gov for real-time project updates, alternate routes and public transit options.
Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced the cause of the fire was deemed suspicious by CAL FIRE investigators, and their team continues to investigate the fire as arson. The Governor also shared that the state took legal action months ago to eject the lessee of the site, Apex Development, Inc., for failing to pay rent and violating the lease agreement by subletting the property without state and federal approval. A court date is scheduled for February; however, the state is seeking options to expedite legal proceedings.
Over the weekend, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Los Angeles County to support the state’s response. The proclamation facilitates clean-up and repair work and directs Caltrans to formally request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, if appropriate.
LA County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, whose District includes the section of 10 Freeway damaged by the arson attack also addressed reporters during the press briefing. In a statement released by her office, Solis said:
“Upon learning about the incident, I immediately had my office connect with the LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and the County’s Homeless Initiative to get our County-funded outreach teams to engage with people experiencing homelessness near the site and get them to safety. I also had the County’s Department of Public Health and the South Coast Air Quality Management District investigate the air quality in the surrounding communities to ensure that residents’ health was not jeopardized by both the fire and traffic congestion. Through the County’s Department of Public Works, our engineers coordinated traffic management across jurisdictional boundaries to minimize disruptions to residents and businesses alike.”
“At the County, we want to be proactive about mitigating disruptions and impacts on residents’ lives. To that end, I plan to introduce a motion next Tuesday that will direct our Office of Emergency Management and Department of Public Works, as well as other County agencies, to not only monitor how this closure impacts unincorporated areas but also to prepare adequate responses, including communications targeting residents and how to best support our businesses in unincorporated areas,” she said.
Governor Newsom & Mayor Bass highlight efforts to repair freeway
Newsom announced the cause of the fire was deemed suspicious by investigators, and their team continues to investigate the fire as arson
UPDATE: California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday says the burned stretch of the 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles can be repaired rather than demolished, and that the work will take three to five weeks.
LOS ANGELES – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom provided an update on the ongoing efforts to fix the 10 Freeway in Los Angeles after a massive fire closed a portion of the freeway over the weekend. Since the incident, work crews have been on-site 24 hours a day.
The state is taking an urgent all-of-government approach to fixing the 10 Freeway, a major artery in Los Angeles, with traffic estimated at upwards of 300,000 vehicles daily.
Californians can visit Fixthe10.ca.gov for updates and alternate routes.
The Governor joined Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and other local and state officials to survey the site where work is already underway to clean the site of hazardous materials, assess damage, and prepare it for necessary repairs. To ensure worker safety, shoring work has begun on damaged pillars, and engineers are on site assessing next steps for repair work. Samples taken from the core of the pillars are being used to determine structural integrity of the bridge. Preliminary results are encouraging, but more testing is required before finalizing repair plans.
“California is leveraging an all-of-government approach — working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to mobilize resources so we can fix the 10 Freeway as quickly as possible. This will be a long process, but we’re setting aggressive deadlines and delivering. We’re leaving no stone unturned as we identify ways to fast-track this work,” said Governor Newsom.
Shailen Blatt, the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), also surveyed the site today and emphasized the federal government is working closely with the state to quickly and safely reopen the 10 Freeway. This work is likely to be eligible for federal reimbursement under the FHWA emergency relief program.
Newsom announced the cause of the fire was deemed suspicious by CAL FIRE investigators, and their team continues to investigate the fire as arson adding the 10 Freeway fire was set with ‘Malice intent.’
The Governor also shared that the state took legal action months ago to eject the lessee of the site, Apex Development, Inc., for failing to pay rent and violating the lease agreement by subletting the property without state and federal approval.
A court date is scheduled for February. Over the weekend, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Los Angeles County to support the state’s response. The proclamation facilitates clean-up and repair work and directs Caltrans to formally request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, if appropriate.
Woodland Hills church targeted with vandalism & thefts
The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – The Los Angeles Police Department’s Topanga Division detectives are seeking the person or person’s responsible for the acts of vandalism and thefts against the Woodland Hills Community Church located at 21338 Dumetz Road in Woodland Hills.
The United Church of Christ congregation’s rainbow peace sign artwork was vandalized with black paint graffiti on October 21, after an altercation with a MeetUp group that agreed to gather at the church without the church’s permission, a church spokesperson representative told KTLA.
KTLA reported that when the MeetUp members tried to get into the church, and were questioned by the youth minister, they responded with “aggressive and racial threats,” according to the church.
An entry for that day on the MeetUp Los Angeles website shows a game-night social was planned, and 68 people had indicated that they would attend.
Later that day, the rainbow peace sign artwork was vandalized with black paint, according to the church, and it was struck again five days later with spray paint and “USA” graffiti.
The church told KTLA that on Oct. 27, the day after the second attack on the peace-sign artwork, all exterior copper piping and back-flow regulators that supply water to the meeting hall and nursery were stolen. Then, on Oct. 30 and 31, one person came back to the church and “damaged and stole” outdoor security cameras and flood lights.
“We are replacing the cameras and repairing the sign for it to be rehung. The emergency pipe repair cost the church $3900 which we did not have in the budget,” said the church spokesperson. “We have since heard from many neighbors that our PEACE sign was a joy to them and gave hope to the neighborhood.”
The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers at www.lacrimestoppers.org, or call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
Anyone with information is also asked to call the church at 818-346-0820 or email [email protected].
Additional reporting by KTLA
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