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Rick Chavez Zbur raises $254,000 for 2022 LA City Attorney race

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                   Rick Chavez Zbur (Photo by Claudia Unger, courtesy Zbur)

The November 3 election can’t come fast enough for many Americans devastated by the Trump administration’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the upending of civil liberties. But with stabilizing the economy and rebuilding the nation’s healthcare system expected to take at least a year after regime change, many in Los Angeles are looking beyond the immediate future to March 2022, when Primary elections will begin to shape a new city government.

Hopeful Angelinos envision a city government shaken free of institutionalized modus operandi and willing to tackle progressive reform by rooting out the systemic injustice that Black Lives Matter and others have been protesting for years.

On the 2022 ballot are races for Mayor, City Controller, and the odd numbered half of the 15 City Council seats, including Districts 11 and 13 now held by out Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Mitch O’Farrell, respectively. But it is the City Attorney who will be called upon to deliver advice and counsel and help develop new policies to address injustice.

Rick Chavez Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California, wants that job. While continuing to lead the organization he’s shaped and expanded since 2015, Zbur is also out sharing this vision for what he would do as the city’s top legal counsel.

And Angelinos are listening. The former senior and first openly gay partner at the famed law firm of Latham & Watkins — where he was known for his advocacy on environmental issues as president and chair of the board of the California League of Conservation Voters — Zbur has already raised $254,000 for a race that’s just under two years away.

“I am proud of my work leading the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, now more than ever. As executive director, raising the funds to continue Equality California’s important work to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people and the diverse communities to which we belong remains my highest priority,” Zbur, who officially launched his campaign in April, tells the Los Angeles Blade. “I will continue to campaign for LA City Attorney — as I have been for the last few months — on my own time outside of work.”

Rick Chavez Zbur with his mom, Erlinda Chavez Zbur (Photo courtesy Zbur)

Political service is personal for the graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School who ran for Congress in 1996. Zbur grew up in a small farm town in the Rio Grande Valley south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where his mother, Erlinda Chavez Zbur and her family have lived for generations.

“Growing up, my mom taught me the values of responsibility, hard work, and what devotion and love for family really means,” says the father of three who recently took his mother’s maiden name, Chavez, to honor her legacy and her 96th birthday.

Zbur is the proud co-parent of a 15-year-old daughter Shireen Valerie and twin 11-year-old sons Rafael Nikhil and Rayan Francisco(Photo courtesy Zbur)

But “family” means more than the tight circle of biology to include brothers and sisters marginalized and left behind by society. With the Equality California board, Zbur has expanded the organization’s mission to advocate for LGBTQ civil rights through an intersectional lens, spotlighting poverty, discrimination and health disparities experienced by people of color, transgender people and LGBTQ undocumented communities locally, statewide and on the federal level.

“Family” also means serving as a role model. If elected, Zbur would be the first out gay and first Latino city attorney in LA history.

“Government serves the people when government is representative of the public that it serves,” says Zbur. “LGBTQ people are not represented in proportion to our numbers in the public. It’s important because we bring a perspective that is important to government. And it’s important that LGBTQ people have role models in government, showing that you can do anything if you work hard and follow your dreams.”

Attorney Bob Burke, San Diego City Councilmember and Assembly candidate Chris Kehoe, attorney Rick Zbur, attorney Cecilia Estolano at a fundraiser for Kehoe at Burke’s house in Hollywood 2000 (Photo by Karen Ocamb) 

Three years ago, Equality California hired Tulchin Research to conduct a statewide poll to gauge what percentage of California’s voters identify as LGBTQ. “We were actually surprised to find the 12% of registered voters in the state of California are members of the LGBTQ community,” a percentage not reflected in the number of out elected officials.

“My running for city attorney, advancing LGBTQ civil rights and social justice clearly will be an important priority, but I’ve dedicated my career to really advancing progressive values and focusing on work that helps improve the lives of average and vulnerable people,” Zbur tells the Los Angeles Blade.

LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, California Senate Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, Equality California’s Rick Zbur, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck at Nov. 3, 2016 press conference on #Transform CA kickoff to support transgender rights. (Photo via @CityAttorneyLA twitter)

Though Zbur has great respect for Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Attorney Mike Feuer, “I consider myself a reform candidate,” he tells the LA Blade.

“We’re starting a new potential eight-year period with a new set of elected officials. And we’re moving into a period now where the world has changed around us,” says Zbur. “I’ll be bringing a fresh perspective that has been advised by the life I’ve lived.”

The job is exciting “because of the power this office has to reform how the city does business,” he says, starting with looking at the city’s problems and how the city attorney can provide strategic leadership in solving some of those  problems.

Zbur wants to create a “reform public policy legal think tank in the city attorney’s office,” becoming partners with the mayor and the city council rather than just respond to proposals that bubble up, “tackling many of the problems that plague our communities.”

The crisis of homelessness is a critical, personal issue for Zbur.

“LGBTQ people are probably the group that is most represented among people experiencing homelessness,” Zbur says, citing statistics from the Williams Institute and a host of other studies. “Four out of 10 homeless youth are LGBTQ. The number is almost as high among homeless adults. So 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ when we may be five to 10% of the population. That’s anywhere from four to eight times higher than our portion of the general public.”

Attorney Rick Zbur c 1996 (Photo by Karen Ocamb)

Los Angeles must deal with this crisis, says Zbur, who has been concerned with these issues since serving as a young attorney in the early 1990s.

“We’ve got to get outside of the boxes that have constrained making progress on it,” he says. “I think that we can address homelessness in a manner that focuses on making sure that we are trying to lift people out of homelessness, and getting them into transition services,” not just use the enforcement authority to sweep people out of areas and charge them with misdemeanor crimes.

“Think about it. You’ve got homeless folks that basically are just racking up misdemeanor, criminal records,” he says. “We need to do things like give them an opportunity to expunge their records when they get on their feet. And we need to have new laws that prevent for-profit criminal reporting agencies from reporting expunged crimes” on background checks. “Part of it is using administrative citation tools, as opposed to criminal enforcement, to get people into transition services.”

Zbur says it’s important to step back and look at all the pieces needed to make improvement happen. As city attorney, “I want to approach problems in systematic and systemic ways.”

The latest LA County homeless report did not include LGBTQ statistics.

“The fact that there’s no LGBTQ data collection happening” means, Zbur says, that “you don’t know the extent to which our community is suffering….If you’re not gathering data, you’re not counting LGBTQ people. We don’t count. We’re invisible.”

Zbur says he would use the bully pulpit of the City Attorney’s office to advocate for state laws, as well as advocating that the city begins gathering LGBTQ data voluntarily.

“Every public agency that gathers demographic data on race and ethnicity should be gathering it voluntarily on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Zbur says. “It’s important information to understand the extent to which our community is facing challenges and disparities and measures of health and wellbeing. And it’s important to understand whether public programs are meeting the needs of our community.”

LGBTQ data is needed to review police charging policies, as well.

“We’ve got many, many cases of transgender people, particularly transgender women, being arrested simply on solicitation charges for really walking around,” says Zbur, who advocates policies that “deemphasize that as a public problem.”

Photo of Rick Zbur by Claudia Unger, courtesy Zbur

Zbur says he wants to scrutinize “differential kinds of enforcement” that wind up with the city mistreating trans people, undocumented immigrants, and members of the Black and Latinx communities.

“I really want to take a new, fresh look at how charging decisions are made and really looking at reforming them and really trying to address some of this systemic discrimination that is embedded in the way our laws are enforced,” Zbur says. Anytime “you’re seeing disproportionate impacts on a particular community, then that raises a flag that you’ve got a problem.”

As City Attorney, Zbur wants to work with the police commission and the police department to do “a full scale review” of the office’s charging policies and to review “where their enforcement priorities are and take real steps to address systemic discrimination that’s embedded in our criminal justice system,” including racism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.

“Systemic problems need systemic approaches to solve them,” says Zbur. “The city attorney not only has a role in deciding whether to prosecute or defend the city in a particular case, it can look at the policies that guide all the city’s actions.”

For more on Zbur’s campaign, including endorsements, go to: https://rickchavezzbur.com/

To get a sense of Zbur, watch his remarks during the 2019 Equality California Equality Awards, celebrating the organization’s 20th anniversary:

“Yes, we face threats from the White House and an administration that’s hell-bent on rolling back the progress we’ve achieved. But at every turn, we keep moving forward because we in California have a special role in leading this movement and doing so boldly. As my friend Congressman Mark Takano likes to say, ‘ We’re here, We’re queer. And we’re Californians.’ We cannot and we will not rest knowing that members of our community or the diverse communities to which we belong, don’t have full lived equality.”

 

 

Los Angeles

Capitol insurrectionist arrested in LA after standoff with FBI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

Mayor Bass declares state of emergency over homelessness crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of the above attended the signing. 

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Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

21 years in prison for gunman who shot gay dogwalker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you all for your time today.

Ryan Fischer via Instagram

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

Vice President to swear in Karen Bass as Los Angeles mayor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

Trans remembrance vigil held at LA LGBT Center

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

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LA Blade Photo by Simha Haddad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reverend Valerie Spencer (LA Blade Photo by Simha Haddad)

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

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Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Los Angeles

Beloved North Hollywood bookstore suffers arson attack

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

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The Iliad Bookshop/Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The fire is currently under investigation by LAFD arson investigators.

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Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).

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

From KABC 7:

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