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WeHo Iranian-American lesbian reacts to U.S.-Iran conflict



For a few moments on Wednesday, Jan. 8, the world held its collective breath waiting to see if the president of the United States would declare war on Iran. For days on Twitter, Donald Trump seemed to be craving a fight like a junkie needing a fix, itching to show the world yet again that he is better and way more macho than Barack Obama. After all, he ordered the drone strike assassination of Iranian bad guy Gen. Qassim Soleimani, something even the Israelis declined to do, fearing unpredictable and uncontrollable repercussions.

Trump entered the White House room for his global address backlit by a blinding white light as if his entrance was stage-produced by Evangelicals. And then, flanked by Vice President Pence and stone-faced generals, Trump breathed heavily through a scripted speech filled with lies and mispronounced words, showcasing his braggadocio – but stepping back from the brink of war. Trump claimed he was taking an “off-ramp” because Iran’s retaliation for the assassination of their number two leader was only two dozen ballistic missiles fired at two U.S. bases in Iraq, destroying nothing and killing no Americans. More economic sanctions, but no more military action, for now, at least.

“I feel relieved that there were no casualties and it seems that sanctions is the option being chosen today rather than a military option,” West Hollywood-based Iranian-American lesbian attorney Sepi Shyne tells the Los Angeles Blade after the speech. “I found his speech to be a political one more so than addressing the situation. It feels to me that the [Iranian Islamic] mullahs have been strengthened in this situation more than anything, which is not good for the people of Iran who want to be free of this oppressive regime.”

Like Shyne, the world exhaled when Trump exited back into the glaring bright light. “But analysts cautioned,” Peter Baker wrote in the New York Times, “that even if the two sides ease off a military clash in the short term, the conflict could very well play out in other ways in the weeks and months to come. Iran has many proxy groups in the Middle East that could stir trouble in new ways for American troops or American allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia, and experts remained wary of a possible Iranian cyberstrike on domestic facilities.”

This is no joke. Axios reports that there are nearly 800 US military bases around the world with between 60,000 and 70,000 US troops stationed throughout the Middle East. Soleimani’s assassination was Trump’s knee-jerk response while on holiday at Mar-a-Lago to seeing a mob protesting at the U.S. embassy in Iraq and fearing he’d be blamed for another Benghazi debacle.

But Trump’s impetuous ordering of the assassination without publicly providing evidence of its necessity has now united previous enemies Iran and Iraq against the U.S. And while the leaders of those countries might prefer stealthy long-term revenge, an organized affiliate like Hezbollah or a sympathetic lone wolf in America might not be so assuaged.

                                                                              US military map of the region

Dread hangs like a heavy pall over much of America, including the families of LGBTQ members of an already weary volunteer military.

“Many of our military families are expressing a real sense of tiredness, dread, and sadness over the latest developments in the Middle East,” Stephen L. Peters II, a Marine veteran and Director of Communications and Marketing for Modern Military Association of America, tells the Los Angeles Blade. “While they continue to dig down deep to find what it takes to support their servicemembers through deployment after deployment, there’s no denying the seemingly endless conflicts are taking their toll. MMAA is working harder than ever to ensure these military families have the support system they desperately need, and we urge every American to show their appreciation however possible, regardless of their political persuasions.”

Waiting during the drums of war is dangerous for LGBTQ people.

“War would stoke nationalist fervor in both the U.S. and Iran, exactly the kind of populism that is so dangerous for those of us seen as different,” Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International,” tells the Los Angeles Blade. “In times of war, majorities scapegoat minorities, and the result is increased verbal and physical hatred toward those of us who are LGBTIQ, women, people of color, immigrant, or members of religious or ethnic minorities. Outright Action International opposes violence in all forms and strongly denounces US aggression towards Iran.”

Fear is palpable in the LGBTQ Iranian-American community in Los Angeles, too. The Los Angeles Blade has heard unconfirmed reports that LGBTQ Iranians have been reaching out for help from inside Iran and elsewhere. Additionally, some local LGBTQ Iranian Americans are fearful of talking to the press or being out and visible to anyone other than their immediate social circle for fear of repercussions here and abroad — a situation that has only intensified since the assassination. Some cite news reports of as many as 60 Iranian and Iranian-American U.S. citizens detained and questioned for up to 12 hours by federal officials at the U.S.-Canada border.

The Persian/Iranian community in Los Angeles grew dramatically after the fall of the modern but despotic Shah of Iran and the coming to power of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, symbolized globally by the taking of American hostages in 1979.  Since then the image of Iranian-Americans has fluctuated between being construed as Middle Eastern sleeper-cell terrorists after 9/11 (hence Trump’s Muslim ban) to being gaudy rich and overly self-absorbed as represented by Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset,” including mustachioed gay Reza Farahan.

Attorney Sepi Shyne, 42, a former and current candidate for West Hollywood City Council, has a unique perspective on the conflict. Born in Iran in 1977, a year before the Iran-Iraq War started, her father worked for the government-run oil company but supported pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as did Shyne’s feminist mother.

Her father “was thrown in jail for a while because he spoke up against the mullahs. After that, we fled the country for our safety,” Shyne says. “My mom is such a feminist. In fact, she’s on Facebook with 5,000 friends, constantly posting in Farsi against the Islamic regime and giving inspiration to the women in Iran who are still really treated horribly under this regime.”

People have misconceptions about Iran. “It is very metropolitan” with “a lot of cultural sites because we do have so much history there.” But “people haven’t been happy with the regime … We’ve heard from family that hundreds and hundreds of people were shot dead” during the recent protests against the regime.

“Unfortunately, this act of killing Soleimani, as much as the anti-Islamic regime Iranians are happy that the guy has been killed because, finally, there’s some act against this regime,” she says. But “it seems like people now in Iran are becoming united against a common enemy, which is now the Trump administration.” On the other hand, Soleimani also kept ISIS out of Iran “and ISIS has been a nightmare for the Middle Eastern countries. It’s a really bad situation.”

After moving to the U.S. in 1982, Shyne experienced “regular bullying,” because she looked different from other kids at school. But the hostage crisis in Iran raised the bullying to a more intense level. “They started saying I’m a camel and all this race-related bullying,” she says. “My family and friends were very scared. Iranian college kids were threatened and had hate crimes committed against them.”

A similar fear is gripping Iranian-Americans now as hate crimes have increased because of an administration “that just tramples on people’s rights. We’ve seen it for three years now with every single group. We call Los Angeles ‘Tehrangeles’ because of the huge amount of Iranians that moved to Los Angeles as a result of the diaspora” who are concerned now about the extreme, volatile Trumpers.

“[Trump] leads with so much hate, that it elevates and stokes the anger in other people. And now we’ve had three anti-Semitic acts of violence in Los Angeles during the holidays. We had the attack on the Persian temple in Beverly Hills and two stores in West Hollywood, the Bayou and Block Party, got vandalized.

“I know that the LGBTQ community and the Jewish community have high rates of hate crimes against them, but these are just so blatant,” she says. “I never thought I would see this again. And so when Trump ordered the attack on Soleimani, the first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, my God, here we go.’”

Shyne thinks Trump might start a war just to distract from his impeachment.  “I do believe he truly believes that’s the way to win reelection and, sadly, most presidents do when we’re in a time of war, so that’s even scarier,” she says.

As Middle Easterners during these times of conflict, “what usually happens is anyone who looks brown ends up being targets,” like Sikhs after 9/11. “I started carrying my passport in my backpack when they were throwing people in cages and separating children….I was so scared because if, for some reason, I can’t prove I’m a U.S. citizen and, in the chaotic government that we have right now, God forbid I get deported to Iran. I’m sure my name is on a list as a lesbian. I’m a very, very out….My mom is absolutely on a list because they monitor social media, the Iranian Islamic agency….I’m so visible, I can never go back to Iran because they would absolutely throw me in jail and then kill me.”

Other visible LGBTQ people have been targeted on social media, Shyne says.

But there has also been a lot more acceptance for LGBTQ Iranians in Los Angeles, she says, at least in the Jewish community. Shyne cites organizations like JQ (Jewish Queer) International that have done “an incredible job to educate the community,” though a lot of Iranians live in Northern California with no such organization as JQ.

“I’m not Jewish. I was born Muslim, but I’m nondenominational. I’m spiritual,” Shyne says. “But JQ was the first queer organization that had an Iranian focus as part of one of its queer Iranian programming that I ever found out about, so I thought it was pretty cool.” It also has an Iranian version of PFLAG, which is “very important.”

Shyne also notes another, newer nondenominational Iranian LGBTQ organization called RAHA International that also has a lot of programming, not just social events, for queer Iranians.

Shyne notes how essential it is for LGBTQ Iranians to support each other.

“Even [former Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad said, ‘We don’t have gay people in Iran.’ That’s the culture. They erase us,” Shyne says. “I came out when I was 19 to my mom and my family and I was the first ever out Iranian to come out to any of our family. It was very hard — it took about 10 years. And slowly, they went from tolerating to accepting and eventually, they’re all advocates now for the community, which is amazing.

“I knew the shift happened when they started coming out for the family to other people,” she says. “My brother was like, ‘Oh, my sister is a lesbian’ to people. I thought, ‘Oh, great. This is it. This is the goal.’ This is when you know, ‘okay, my work has been done now.’ But there are a lot of Iranians that still are in the closet.  They’re afraid to come out because some of them travel back and forth. They maybe feel a little more free —  but they’re still not out because they want to go back to Iran to visit their family and their loved ones and they love their country. They don’t want to give up the right to go back to Iran by coming out and putting themselves in danger.”

LGBTQ Iranian-Americans face a double concern in the U.S. conflict with Iran – being targeted for hate crimes here and fear of deportation and being killed in Iran.

Shyne said she saw the fear intensify during the Muslim travel ban. “What I was concerned about were the LGBTQ people being stuck in Iran and not being able to travel here” she says. “I was also thinking about all of the dictators in power in other countries and there are so many of them right now, way too many.”

But Shyne is also concerned about the dramatic increase in hate crimes in LA County. “I’m definitely concerned about hate crimes because the MAGA group of Trump supporters thrive on his words and his words are very dangerous. And Trump has made Middle Easterners an ‘enemy’ in the media because of all the wars we’ve been in,” Shyne says. “And now we’re at war again, pretty much.”

Sepi and Ashlei Shyne (Photo courtesy Shyne)

The concern is a family affair. Shyne is married to actress/writer Ashlei Shyne with whom she shares a dog named Chloe and three cats, Imon and Ameera that are Siamese twins, and Bastet, who is going to be 18 on March 3rd.

Ashlei Shyne has “a lot of concerns” primarily related to Sepi Shyne’s political visibility after she received numerous anti-Muslim comments.

“This is definitely a concern,” Shyne says. “But, for me, I think it’s more important to be courageous and stand up because I’m not the Iranian or the Middle Easterner that is what everybody thinks, right? I’m an out, liberal, lesbian, born-Muslim Iranian who is very spiritual.”

And spirited. Shyne says she became an attorney after experiencing the humiliation of discrimination while in college.

“My ex and I were holding hands at a coffee shop that was known to be gay-friendly in San Jose. The management had changed and the new manager was homophobic,” she says. “Next thing I know, a police officer and the manager were standing above us. The police officer looks down and says, ‘You two need to get up and leave. The management doesn’t want your kind in this establishment.’ Then cop blew a kiss and winked. We were terrified and we couldn’t call our family because we had just come out recently, so they weren’t going to be happy.  We decided right then and there that we would go to law school, learn the law, and stop things like this from happening to others.”

But being an attorney is no guard against retaliatory terrorism. “I was actually fearful about the Women’s March that’s happening — but we do have a lot of domestic white terrorists in America,” says Shyne, adding that the “pretty savvy” Iranian government would more likely “target Trump properties to get back at him.”

Of continuing great concern, however, is how Iranian-Americans are perceived and treated. “If you see somebody being targeted, speak up. If you see a hate crime happening, try to help and intervene,” Shyne says. “The people of Iran do not hate America. Those people in the streets are the very conservative Islamic people. The majority of the people were the ones protesting that were shot and killed — 1,000 of them — by this government. It’s a delicate situation, but most Iranians don’t want this regime in power.”



Los Angeles

TransLatin@ Coalition celebrates 15 Years of advocacy & progress

The organization has achieved numerous milestones, including founding of the Center for Violence Prevention & Transgender Wellness in 2015



Led by Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, the press conference highlighted the perilous situations faced by transgender and Latinx individuals in their home countries. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the TransLatin@ Coalition commemorated a significant milestone as it marked the launch of its 15th Anniversary Campaign during a press conference held in Los Angeles. The event also served as a platform to unveil the organization’s 2023 Annual Report, shedding light on its journey, accomplishments, and ongoing commitments.

Led by Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition, the press conference highlighted the perilous situations faced by transgender and Latinx individuals in their home countries, where they often confront insurmountable violence.

Salcedo emphasized the harsh reality that many flee to cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco seeking asylum, only to encounter further violence and danger, often leading to deportation and, tragically, sending them back to potential harm or death.

A poignant moment of the event was the unveiling of a new logo commemorating the organization’s 15th anniversary, aptly dubbed their “quinceañera.” This symbolizes not only a milestone but also a renewed commitment to advocacy and support for the TransLatin@ community.

In a groundbreaking announcement, Salcedo revealed plans for a $35 million housing project aimed at providing safe and secure housing for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. With $20 million already secured, this initiative underscores the organization’s dedication to addressing the pressing needs of the community.

The TransLatin@ Coalition, founded in 2009 by a group of transgender and gender nonconforming immigrant women in Los Angeles, has evolved into a nationally recognized organization with a presence in 10 states across the U.S. It offers direct services to transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex individuals in Los Angeles, with a focus on empowering and improving the quality of life for its members.

Since its inception, the organization has achieved numerous milestones, including the establishment of the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness in 2015, the opening of the first-ever TransLatin@ office in 2016, and the launch of the #TransPolicyAgenda in 2019.

The TransLatin@ Coalition’s advocacy efforts have also extended to legislative triumphs, such as the passage of AB2218 in 2020, which allocates grant funding for transgender wellness and equity programs, and supporting bills like AB1163 and AB 1487, aimed at advancing transgender rights.

With the recent expansion to include the El Monte site and the opening of a new building on Sunset, the TransLatin@ Coalition continues to broaden its reach and impact, reaffirming its commitment to serving the community and creating inclusive spaces where history is made and celebrated.

“Beautiful and amazing people, who are trans, gender non-conforming, or intersex, please know that you are beautiful and amazing and that you are valued. Do not feel alone. There is a whole movement that is fighting for you. Continue to assert your presence within the tapestry of our society. We love you, we see you, we thank you,” Salcedo told the Blade.

As the organization looks ahead to the next 15 years and beyond, its mission to advocate for the specific needs of the TransLatin@ community remains steadfast, guided by values of altruism, respect, transparency, and collaboration.

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Los Angeles

LAPD Police Commission names Dominic Choi interim chief

The son of Korean immigrants, Choi began his LAPD career in 1995 after earning his bachelor’s degree from USC



Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass with Assistant LAPD Chief Dominic Choi. (Photo Credit: Screenshot/KABC 7)

LOS ANGELES – Assistant LAPD Chief Dominic Choi will be the first Asian-American to lead the Los Angeles Police Department after the city’s Police Commission unanimously selected him to the role with a start date of March 1, 2024, as current LAPD Chief Michel Moore is set to retire effective at the end of February.

Choi’s the first Korean American to hold the job taking over from Chief Moore, whose retirement Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced four weeks ago in a press conference. The assignment is expected to last only until mid-summer, while a nationwide search is conducted to find a more permanent replacement.

“This appointment will continue our work to make Los Angeles safer. I look forward to working with Interim Chief Choi in the coming months as he provides steady and stable leadership for our police department,” said Mayor Bass. “Interim Chief Choi’s more than 28 years of service to this City as a member of the police department put him in a unique position to not only lead, but to grow and improve our department. I want to thank Interim Chief Choi for his willingness to accept this appointment as we work to make our city safer for all.”

Reacting to the news, LA City Councilmember John Lee wrote on social media: “Congratulations to my good friend Dominic Choi on being named the Interim Chief of @lapdhq!”

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore, Assistant LAPD Chief Dominic Choi & Los Angeles Councilmember John Lee.
(Photo Credit: Office of Councilmember Lee)

The son of Korean immigrants, Choi began his LAPD career in 1995 after earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, KABC 7 News reported.

He worked patrol assignments in different divisions, rising through the ranks to detective, sergeant, and lieutenant. In 2014, he was promoted to captain, serving in both Foothill and Pacific areas. In 2017, he was promoted to Commander of Operations Central Bureau and later became the Department’s Homeless Coordinator. He remained in that position until he was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2019.


Chief Moore has been LA’s top cop since June 4, 2018 after then Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti appointed him to the post which was ratified by the Los Angeles City Council on June 27, 2018. Moore is a veteran law enforcement official having joined the LAPD in 1981.

The Chief during his career in the LAPD, has received numerous commendations and awards for his police service including the department’s Medal of Valor, the Police Medal, the Police Star, and the Police Meritorious Service Medal.

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Los Angeles

Mayor Bass & officials warn Angelenos to prep for Sunday’s storm

The Mayor and officials are cautioning residents to stay at home and to be careful as the second storm approaches



Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley held a press conference Friday afternoon at the LAFD's Station 29 in Hancock Park. (Screenshot KNBC Live)

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley held a press conference Friday afternoon at the LAFD’s Station 29 in Hancock Park as the second of two major storms caused by another atmospheric river approaches.

The Mayor and officials are cautioning residents to stay at home and to be careful as the second storm approaches.

The storm is slated to bring cooler temperatures with heavy rain totals with a likelihood of thunderstorms and localized flooding. This storm is expected to bring three to six inches of rain in Southern California’s coastal areas and valleys. The foothills and mountains could see up to 12 inches Saturday night into Tuesday.

The National Weather Service says Metro L.A. will see the most significant downpour from Sunday night into Monday.

On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California has mobilized more than 8,300 boots on the ground ahead of the next set of winter storms anticipated to bring serious impacts to much of the state this weekend and into early next week.

In addition to increased personnel, California has activated its State Operations Center, Flood Operations Center, Caltrans Emergency Operations Center and the Medical Health Coordination Center – all coordinating a unified response with our local and federal partners.

Supporting recovery efforts from storms in January and late December, Governor Newsom today also proclaimed a state of emergency in Humboldt, Imperial, Monterey, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, which join two counties the Governor proclaimed a state of emergency for last week due to storm impacts.

THE FORECAST: According to the National Weather Service, an atmospheric river will move into California starting early morning on Sunday and will continue through Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. 

  • Rain: Heavy rainfall is possible nearly statewide, but the most likely focus will be on coastal central to southern California. Significant flooding is becoming increasingly likely, including the potential for flooding on roadways, creek and main stem river flooding, mud/rockslides, and debris flows. 
  • Snow: Additional heavy mountain snowfall is expected across virtually the entire state, with snow levels on Sunday starting as low as 2,500-4,500 feet across northern California and 5,000-6,000 feet in southern California. Multiple feet of new snow accumulation are likely in several mountain ranges, and extremely difficult mountain travel conditions are expected. 
  • Wind: Periods of strong, gusty winds will likely lead to outdoor property damage, tree damage, and power outages. 

According to the State Operations Center, Flood Operations Center, and Caltrans Emergency Operations Center:

California has mobilized: 

  • 8,300+ boots on the ground, including:
    • Cal OES, through the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System, has deployed more than 550 local government firefighters and support staff, as well as 19 swift water rescue teams, 1 local government urban search and rescue team, in 19 counties.
    • More than 4,000 Caltrans personnel deployed throughout the state.
    • California Highway Patrol officers and other personnel are available in impacted regions and can activate limited emergency operations centers.
    • CAL FIRE has prepositioned 5 hoist-rescue helicopters, 2 swift water rescue teams, additional four-wheel drive engines, and 6 handcrews.
    • The California National Guard is ready to rapidly deploy if called upon. These resources include high-water vehicles, aviation search and rescue assets, military police, general transportation, and heavy engineering equipment units. 
    • 500 California Conservation Corps members available to support.
  • 1,200+ pieces of winter equipment from Eureka to El Centro – such as snow blowers, graders and sweepers – are available to remove snow and ice from the highways.
    • Caltrans has prepositioned water pumps in flood-prone areas, and is ensuring storm drains are clear of debris, checking portable backup generators, and stocking up on reflective signs in the event of power outages.
  • 7 million+ sandbags prepositioned 
  • Sheltering and food supplies for 37,000+ people, including cots, blankets, water and food.  
  • Other state efforts include:
    • The State Operations Center is activated, whole of state government expertise responding 24/7.
    • Community partner phone banking effort making thousands of calls to sign up Californians for local emergency alerts in the most at-risk counties. 
    • The Flood Operations Center is activated and coordinating flood planning and response. DWR Flood Fight Specialists are also on standby and are patrolling priority levees 24/7. The California Nevada River Forecast Center is in a 24-hour operation, producing updated forecasts every 6 hours throughout the duration of the event.
    • State Parks continues to actively monitor the storm’s impacts on state parks and making real-time decisions on closures as needed. As of this morning, California has fully closed 7 state parks and partially closed 6 and have staff on the ground to respond. The public is advised to stay out of the ocean during the storm. For the latest closure information, please visit

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Los Angeles

Mayor Karen Bass: LAPD Chief Michel Moore will retire in February

Mayor Bass did not name a successor but indicated there will be a nationwide search for the next LAPD chief



In a press conference Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced that LAPD Chief Michel Moore will retire in February. (Screenshot/YouTube FOX 11)

LOS ANGELES – In a press conference Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced that Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore will retire at the end of February. An emotional at times Chief Moore told reporters he was proud of his career at the department.

“It’s been my distinct honor and privilege to have served for more than four decades on the finest police department in the world, and for the last five and a half years as chief, some six years ago, when the opportunity to seek the position of chief of police occurred,” said Moore.

Moore thanked his wife Cindy for her support throughout his career in law enforcement and then told reporters the opportunity to spend time with family factored into his decision to retire.

Moore has been LA’s top cop since June 4, 2018 after then Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti appointed him to the post which was ratified by the Los Angeles City Council on June 27, 2018.

Moore is a veteran law enforcement official having joined the LAPD in 1981. Rising through the ranks he was promoted to Captain and then took over command of the LAPD’s troubled Rampart Division after its former commanding officer Rafael Pérez, was arrested in a scandal in numerous crimes and corruption, notably the shooting and framing of notorious street gang leader Javier Ovando, in addition to the theft and resale of at least $800,000 of cocaine from LAPD evidence lockers.

After years of supervisorial assignments, Moore was promoted to First Assistant Chief and transferred to be the Director – Office of Operations, responsible for overseeing the department’s geographic bureaus and patrol divisions which provide uniformed and investigative services to the city.

The Chief during his career in the LAPD, has received numerous commendations and awards for his police service including the department’s Medal of Valor, the Police Medal, the Police Star, and the Police Meritorious Service Medal.

Mayor Bass did not name a successor but indicated there will be a nationwide search for the next LAPD chief, which Moore will play a continuing role as a consultant.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore to step down

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Los Angeles

LAPD: San Fernando Valley possible hate crimes suspect arrested



64-year-old Edelidio David Wallace was apprehended in the 21000 block of Victory Boulevard at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Police Department said that Topanga Area patrol officers have arrested the suspect in a series of acts of vandalism in the northwestern area of the San Fernando Valley over this past weekend.

64-year-old Edelidio David Wallace was apprehended in the 21000 block of Victory Boulevard at 3:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. The LAPD’s Major Crimes Division, is seeking additional victims of a vandalism suspect in the Topanga area.

An LAPD spokesperson said that Wallace is the man seen in multiple surveillance videos throwing rocks and cement bricks to smash glass windows and doors at over five businesses.


On January 6, 2024, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Topanga Area patrol officers responded to three vandalism incidents within three blocks of the 20900 block of Victory Boulevard. The suspect used rocks and cement bricks to smash glass windows and doors belonging to several closed businesses. The suspect fled from the location on foot.

On January 8, 2024, between 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., the same suspect vandalized additional closed businesses on Vanowen Street, Topanga Canyon Boulevard, and Sherman Way, again throwing rocks and bricks. All the vandalism occurred within a two-mile radius. Major Crimes Division is investigating the vandalism series to determine if there is a hate crime nexus based on three businesses being Jewish-owned. The rocks recovered had “Glory” and “Pay Up” written on them.

Major Crimes Division is also investigating additional vandalisms that occurred on January 5th and January 7th in the same general area to determine if they are related.

Clothing Description:
January 6, 2024: Nike green sweatshirt, black pants, white Nike shoes
January 8, 2024: Nike burgundy sweatshirt, black pants, white Nike shoes

Investigators believe there are other victims who have yet to be identified. A photograph of the suspect is being released in hopes to identify and speak with additional persons who may have been victimized.

If you have been a victim or have information about this investigation, you are urged to contact Major Crimes Detectives Beard or Patin at 213-486-7280. 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 the LA Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P-3 Tips” mobile application and select the LA Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

Suspect arrested in connection with possible hate crime spree in Canoga Park 

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Los Angeles

At least 5 more potential hate crime acts in Canoga Park 

The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers



Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Police Department

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that at least 5 businesses in Canoga Park were vandalized early Monday morning in what an LAPD source said could be potential hate crimes. At least one of those businesses is Jewish-owned.

Officers from the LAPD’s Topanga Community Police Station responded to calls in the 21300 block of Vanowen Street and in the 6000 block of Topanga Canyon Boulevard. A tire store, paint stores, a sign shop, mattress store and an In-N-Out had their windows broken with rocks the LAPD said.

These criminal acts coming on the heels of the acts of vandalism against three Jewish-owned businesses this past week in neighboring Woodland Hills.

The LAPD confirmed that hate crime investigations are underway related to the Woodland Hills incidents, but would not confirm if the Monday morning attacks are believed to be connected.

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, or call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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Los Angeles

Hate crime investigation in vandalism of Jewish-owned businesses

The LAPD noted that if you have any information about these criminal acts, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip to Crime Stoppers



Surveillance video showing suspect throwing a brick through the front windows of a business in the 20900 block of Victory Boulevard. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA 5)

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 against three Jewish-owned businesses this past week.

A spokesperson for the LAPD told local media that officers responded to a call of vandalism at a business in the 20900 block of Victory Boulevard just after 8 a.m. on Saturday morning. 

When they arrived, they found that a rock had been thrown at a business with a note written in Aramaic. Surveillance video captures a man walking up to the business before throwing a rock through the storefront. 

KTLA reported a Jewish-owned business two doors down on the same property was also vandalized, likely by the same suspect or suspects, one business owner believes.

“Apparently, only me and my neighbor who have a mezuzah outside got broken into,” one storeowner told KTLA. “So, we know it’s a hate crime, and oddly enough, when we came in, there was a rock that said ‘payback’ and ‘glory,’ and I don’t know what that means.” 

“Obviously, these guys are not happy with us being Jewish in the neighborhood,” he added.

The owners of the vandalized businesses told KTLA that another business – a dance studio – was vandalized on the same morning, and that another nearby Jewish-owned establishment had been vandalized two days prior. The owner of the dance studio confirmed that she is not Jewish.

The LAPD has not yet released a description of the suspect.

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, or call 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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Los Angeles

Aids Healthcare Foundation acquires LA’s iconic Morrison Hotel

AHF announced that the project will convert the hotel into 111 units of low-income housing estimated to bring a cost of $107,000 per unit



The ceremony celebrating AHF’s acquisition of the historic Morrison Hotel, a 1914 era building in downtown Los Angeles was held on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023. (Photo courtesy of LA-based singer-songwriter, musician & producer Fernando Perdomo)

LOS ANGELES – In a media conference Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) announced that it had acquired the historic Morrison Hotel from LA-based Relevant Group real estate and hospitality development company earlier this month.

Reporting by The Real Deal magazine’s LA bureau, disclosed that the sale price was $12.4 million, according to a deed filed with L.A. County. The magazine also reported Relevant and the nonprofit also signed a “development cooperation agreement” to jointly build a residential, hotel or commercial project, records show. The agreement was a condition of the sale. 

AHF announced that the project, with its plans to convert the building into 111 units of low-income housing is estimated to bring a cost of $107,000 per unit.

Constructed in 1914, the 109-year-old single-room occupancy hotel garnered fame in 1970 when it was featured on the cover of the Doors’ fifth studio album, “Morrison Hotel.” 

Alongside AHF and other dignitaries in attendance at the event Tuesday were famed photographer Henry Diltz, Fernando Perdomo, an LA based singer-songwriter, musician and producer, who was backing David Reeves and one of the surviving Doors band members, drummer John Densmore, 79.

“The people who work in the city can’t afford to live in the city, so the Morrison Hotel is now going to be a solution to that problem,” Densmore said.

Diltz, who shot the famed picture of The Doors for the album cover noted, band members snuck in while the clerk was busy and he quickly shot a series of photos under the “Morrison Hotel” lettering, with singer Jim Morrison front and center in the window.

The 1970 album is highly regarded in rock history, as it reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200, and performed better overseas than the preceding album. It featured classics such as “Roadhouse Blues” and “Peace Frog.”

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Los Angeles

The Hollywood sign is officially a century old

Originally intended to last just a year and a half, the Sign has endured more than eight decades – and is still going strong



A survey crew laying out the upscale residential real estate development neighborhoods circa 1924 a few months after the erection of the now globally recognized billboard sign. (Photo Credit: The Los Angeles Public Library system archives/photographs collection)

LOS ANGELES – The iconic symbol marking Los Angeles as the entertainment capital of the world marked its 100th birthday on Friday, Dec. 8. Universally recognized across the globe, the sign began its sojourn as a literal billboard sign to advertise an upscale residential real estate development. The sign was first illuminated on Dec. 8, 1923, originally saying “Hollywoodland.”

According to the sign’s official preservation website:

Hollywood, which by now represented not just a city, but also an industry, a lifestyle and, increasingly, an aspiration, was officially crowned when the “Hollywoodland” sign was erected in 1923. Built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as an epic $21,000 billboard for his upscale Hollywoodland real estate development, the Sign soon took on the role of giant marquee for a city that was constantly announcing its own gala premiere.

Dates and debates swirl about when the Hollywoodland Real Estate development – and the massive electric sign that advertised it – actually came into being. But a review of local newspapers from the era (i.e., The Los Angeles Times, Holly Leaves, Los Angeles Record, Los Angeles Examiner and the Hollywood Daily Citizen) clears up any confusion. For instance, a Hollywoodland ad in the Los Angeles Times (June 10, 1923) states that the real estate development launched in late March of that year and that by June, 200 men were employed, 7 miles of road had been cut and 300,000 cubic yards of dirt had been moved.

And while some sources still cite that the Sign was born in 1924, the correct date is indisputably 1923. The earliest found mention of the Sign appeared on December 14, 1923 in a Holly Leaves article about the Mulholland Highway soon to be built, which would extend from “…from the western end of the (Griffith Park) road, under the electric sign of Hollywoodland, around Lake Hollywood and across the dam.”

Just two weeks later another Los Angeles Times article (December 30, 1923) with the headline “Hollywood Electric Sign Reached by Car,” reported on actor Harry Neville’s epic, experimental trip to test whether a motorcar could reach the Sign on the unpaved grade, and whether the car’s brakes would work on the precipitous path down. According to the article, “A motley crowd of hillclimbers, workmen, salesmen and curiosity thrill-seekers …stood by with fear and trembling as the loose dirt began to give way but Neville stuck by the ship…” to make it safely back to the “wide smooth roads of Hollywoodland.”

Photo Credit: The City of Los Angeles

There has also been debate about whether the Sign was originally erected without lights (with the thousands of bulbs added later). However, historic photos from the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph collection, taken just as the Sign was being erected, show workers carrying parts of the Sign that include the original lights in frames or “troughs.” Bruce Torrence, curator of the photo collection, notes that the shape of the light boxes indicate that these sections were probably part of the letter “A” and possibly the “L.”

Confusion solved: by the end of 1923, the Hollywood Sign was fully erected, a high-profile beacon – lights ablaze – for the fast-growing Los Angeles metropolis.

The “billboard” was massive. Each of the original 13 letters was 30 feet wide and approximately 43 feet tall, constructed of 3×9′ metal squares rigged together by an intricate frame of scaffolding, pipes, wires and telephone poles.

All of this material had to be dragged up precipitous Mt. Lee by laborers on simple dirt paths.

Few know that a giant white dot (35 feet in diameter, with 20-watt lights on the perimeter) was constructed below the Sign to catch the eye. The Sign itself featured 4,000 20-watt bulbs, spaced 8 inches apart.

At night the Sign blinked into the Hollywood night: first “Holly” then “wood” and finally “land,” punctuated by a giant period. The effect was truly spectacular, particularly for pre-Vegas sensibilities.

Originally intended to last just a year and a half, the Sign has endured more than eight decades – and is still going strong.

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Los Angeles

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



Photo courtesy of The Original Farmers Market

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

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