Connect with us

Los Angeles

Uber and Lyft will continue California operations

Published

on

Photo by Kirk Taylor

UPDATED: The Los Angeles Times broke the news Thursday that Uber and Lyft won’t be putting their services on hold in California after a state appeals court ruled the companies can keep their business models in place while challenging a judge’s order to comply with a state labor law.

The decision is a big reprieve for the ride-hailing companies, whose leaders said they might need to temporarily shut down in their home state if forced on short notice to convert drivers into employees with health insurance and overtime benefits.

Editor’s Note: This story was readied for publication prior to the breaking announcement Thursday. 

SAN FRANCISCO – This Friday hundred of thousands of ride-sharing drivers and their customers in California are set to lose Uber and Lyft operations as those companies are shutting down after a court ordered them to comply with the state’s gig economy law.

Uber employs approximately 140,000 drivers in California and Lyft employs roughly 80,000. As a result, 220,000 Californians will lose their jobs in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying recession.

For many freelance LGBTQI+ people working on the Golden State’s gig economy, driving for these companies has been much needed part-time work or in many cases as a principal means of earning of living.

The battle-lines were drawn a year ago when the California General Assembly passed AB5, which was drafted with the ride-sharing companies specifically targeted, that essentially implemented restrictions on how companies doing business in the state classified their workers. The law required that both Uber and Lyft reclassify their workforce of independent drivers as full employees, and further mandated that the companies provide healthcare and benefits to all the drivers in their system and pay additional taxes.

AB5 workers “can generally only be considered contractors if they perform duties outside the usual course of a company’s business.”

AB5 took affect in January of this year and a suit, California v. Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., CGC-20-584402, launched by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and city attorneys from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, to force the companies into compliance.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan P. Schulman issued an injunction August 10 but put a stay in place allowing the companies a ten day period to appeal which now expires Friday. Sources at both companies tell the Blade that compliance is simply “not affordable nor feasible.”

The Blade spoke with one driver who identifies as gay and works in the LA Metroplex and regions around it. His experience working with both Uber and Lyft has been such where he supports the move by the state to regulate the ride-sharing companies. Because of an ongoing dispute he asked to not be identified.

What a lot of riders don’t understand is that drivers assume all of the risk. If something goes wrong, the responsibility lies with us,” he told the Blade. “On one occasion, I had 3 drunk passengers who got into my car soaked in jungle juice.

I earned roughly $5 for the ride, wasn’t able to drive for 3 days, and had to pay $180 for a professional to get the stains out of my cloth seats. Lyft support was awful. They reimbursed me $30 for cleaning and refused to pay a penny more even after I showed them the cleaner’s invoice.

We are responsible for everything about the car. Maintenance, fuel costs, cleaning. You better not be planning on selling your vehicle, because your car’s value will rapidly drop. Granted, any prospective driver should know these things signing on.

Heaven forbid we get into a wreck while driving as our personal auto policies won’t cover us. The deductible on Uber’s insurance is $1000, and on Lyft’s it is $2500,” he added.

The other factor is the actual income from working as independent contractors. Over the past four years both companies have implemented drastic cuts in rates, making an impact on driver’s earnings. The driver that the Blade spoke with said that even “more annoying” was that he was driving for Uber as well as Lyft and Uber increased its percentage cut of the fare charged, plus the company takes the full booking fee.

If the only way Uber and Lyft can maintain profitability in our market is by exploiting its drivers, then should they really be conducting business in our state? They’ve had months to prepare for the possibility of this court ruling, but all they’ve done is anticipate a win in either the courts or at the ballot box for prop 22, all while launching scare campaigns targeting drivers,” he told the Blade.

Lawyers for both companies argued in court that since the business model of both companies was based upon independent contracting- neither firm actually makes a profit. According to Quartz magazine in a recent article regarding the lawsuit, converting drivers from independent contractors to full-time employees would initially cost approximately $3,625 per driver which would boost Uber’s annual operating loss by more than $500 million and Lyft’s by $290 million.”

Brad Polumbo, a libertarian-conservative journalist and fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education wrote in a recent commentary for the foundation;

Essentially, California legislators put these companies in an impossible position. It makes perfect sense that they’d leave the state in response. It’s clear that despite the good intentions behind the ride-sharing regulation, this outcome will leave all Californians worse off.

All thanks to the naive intervention of Sacramento regulators who thought they could plan the market. Moreover, the millions of Californians who benefit from and rely on cheap, accessible ride-sharing services will be out of luck,” he said.

The pain of this action by the ride-sharing companies to cease operations in California will also have a negative impact on customers, many of who cannot afford more traditional means of ride hailing such as the taxi industry. Others will lose out on the delivery of food and a cheap means to run errands, make appointments for medical, personal, or other reasons.

This past April in a press conference the Blade asked Governor Newsom if he’d be willing to work with lawmakers on a solution to what many saw as a ‘job-killer’ as AB5 has had far reaching impact on many other gig economy jobs. The Governor said that he disagreed with that categorization of the law but then offered no further indication that he was working towards a solution.

The Blade spoke with a source Tuesday at Uber who said that notifications were going out to drivers and customers alike this week and unless a solution is brought forward by lawmakers in Sacramento, riding sharing for Californians would cease.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Los Angeles

LA leaders call for unity & protection for trans community

LAPD has noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent

Published

on

LAPD Deputy Chief Ruby Flores speaks to reporters during a April 15, 2024 press conference. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

LOS ANGELES – Addressing a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQ+ organizations throughout the country, leaders from TransLatin@ Coalition, the Los Angeles Police Department, and other officials gathered in a press conference to denounce acts of intimidation and to call for unity and protective measures for the trans and queer community.

A bomb threat called in to the LAPD on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition specifying today April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities and others. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

The suspect, identified as Henry Nolkemper, a white 61 year old male, was arrested by LAPD shortly afterward after being observed entering his residence on West 53rd Street. The police then searched his residence. Despite the absence of explosives, he was booked under serious charges including criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.

Nolkemper, known to have a history of mental health issues, was on parole for previous threats to the community. His parole has since been revoked and he is currently held on a one million dollar bail.

The press conference today began with remarks from Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, who highlighted the organization’s role as the third largest source of hate crime reporting in Los Angeles, trailing only police sources.

He also stated that LA vs Hate has reported a troubling increase in trans-specific crimes, noting that such incidents are grossly underreported, a sentiment echoed by surveys within the trans community.

Robin Toma, Executive Director of LA vs Hate, Bamby Salcedo at the podium speaking, LAPD Assistant Chief Blake Chow, & Capri Maddox, Executive Director, City of LA Civil + Human Rights & Equity Dept. (Photo by Simha Haddad)

Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of TLC, expressed her gratitude for the continued support from various partners and emphasized the daily challenges faced by transgender individuals. “Every day a trans woman steps out of her home, it is a revolutionary act. We are people who walk with targets on our backs,” Salcedo declared, setting a tone of resilience and defiance against the threats.

Special thanks were given to Supervisor Hilda Solis and Jury Candelario, a partner from APAIT and a Filipino immigrant, who marked 35 years in America by calling the trans-related stress “chronic” in his long tenure as a social worker. Esther Lim, representing Supervisor Solis, condemned the bomb threat as an act of “cowardice” and highlighted Solis’ support through a previous $55,000 contribution to TLC and a new motion to establish LA’s first LGBTQ+ commission.

Assistant Chief Blake Chow and Deputy Chief Ruby Flores of the LAPD provided updates on the legal actions following the threat. They noted a 13 percent increase in overall hate crimes, with LGBTQ+ specific hate crimes up by 33 percent. “Behind each hate crime, there is a victim, there are families,” Flores said, urging the community to report incidents and support anti-hate education initiatives.  “These crimes affect people in ways statistics can’t reflect.” 

Related

The press conference also featured voices from the community like Mariana Marroquin, Associate Director of Trans Wellness, who spoke passionately about the ingrained nature of hate experienced by trans individuals from a young age, and Cari Maddox, who emphatically stated, “Hate has no home in Los Angeles.”

Mark Bayard, representing Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon, affirmed the DA’s commitment to fighting hate crimes vigorously, especially in light of the upcoming election season, which often sees a spike in such incidents.

As the community grapples with this latest threat, the message from today’s conference was clear: solidarity, education, and legal protection are key to combating hate and fostering a society where transgender people can integrate fully and safely.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

24-year-old trans Latina Angeleno & makeup artist shot to death

“This incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence”

Published

on

Meraxes Medina/Instagram

LOS ANGELES – In a tragic incident that has shaken the community and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, Meraxes Medina, a 24-year-old transgender Latina and makeup artist, was fatally shot in Los Angeles on March 21.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Medina was found dead on the road in South Los Angeles. The LAPD said she was shot in the head and that there was evidence she was also struck by a vehicle. Friends and family have confirmed Medina’s identity, celebrating her life and mourning her untimely death, which marks another violent act against transgender individuals.

Medina, known for her work at Universal Studios and her vibrant presence on social media, had begun hormone therapy and was navigating life as an undocumented person who had faced homelessness. Despite these challenges, those close to her remembered her for her potential and the positive impact she had on those around her. Friends have expressed their grief and shock, emphasizing Medina’s kindness, talent, and the bright future they believed she deserved.

The circumstances surrounding Medina’s death reflect a larger pattern of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color. Advocacy groups have highlighted the disproportionate impact of gun violence on transgender individuals, noting that a significant percentage of homicides within this community involve firearms.

The incident has prompted renewed calls for legislative action to address gun control and protect marginalized groups from violence.

California chapters of groups with Everytown for Gun Safety released a statement underscoring Medina was at least the third transgender person killed by gun violence in the U.S.

“We cannot ignore the disproportionate impact of gun violence on our transgender and gender-expansive neighbors, especially its impact on Black trans women and trans Latinas. We must honor Meraxes’ legacy by continuing to fight to protect our transgender and gender-expansive communities not only in California, but across the country,” said Ashley Castillo, a student leader with Students Demand Action and National Organizing Board Member.

As the investigation continues, Medina’s death serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for a societal shift to ensure the safety and dignity of all individuals, regardless of gender identity. “The loss of Meraxes Medina is not only a tragedy for those who knew her but also a call to action to combat hate and violence against the transgender community,” said one activist.

“Meraxes was a young woman who deserved to live out a long and fulfilling life. At just 24-years-old, she had so much more to give. Yet again, we find ourselves honoring the life and mourning the loss of someone from our transgender community killed by gun violence, and that alarming reality should emphasize our collective need to fight against lax gun laws. We need to come together and remind everyone, especially lawmakers and politicians, that our lives are worth saving and worth living,” said Tori Cooper, Human Rights Campaign Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.

Bamby Salcedo, President/CEO of The TransLatin@ Coalition, issed the following statement:  “It’s unfortunate that our sister Meraxes Medina had to perish to the ignorance and violence that we continue to experience as a community, and these are just another examples of what our lives are, and we want to ensure that we hold elected officials accountable for bettering our lives and our future.”

KABC 7 reported between 2017 and 2023, there were 263 reported homicides of transgender people in the U.S., according to the organization. A gun was used in 193 of them.

In California, there were 14 homicides of transgender people reported between 2018 and 2024 so far, and 37% were in Los Angeles.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

LAPD monitoring threats against TransLatin@ Coalition

“These acts of violence underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us”

Published

on

Los Angeles Police Department vehicles responding to a call for service. (Los Angeles Blade/LAPD file photo)

LOS ANGELES – In a concerning escalation of threats against LGBTQIA+ organizations throughout the country, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) confirmed that a bomb threat was called in to the department on March 28, aimed at the TransLatin@ Coalition (TLC), a vanguard organization for Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) Latinx communities.

The threat, specifying April 15 as the target date, has prompted an immediate and ongoing response from local authorities to ensure the safety of those at the coalition’s facilities. The LAPD has since been closely monitoring the site. 

This recent threat comes at a time when the TLC, alongside other organizations within the LGBTQIA+ community, faces increasing hostility, underscored by a series of bomb threats and hate mail aimed at destabilizing the work and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals.

In response to the threat, Bamby Salcedo, the President and CEO of the TransLatin@ Coalition has amplified security measures at TLC and reinforced the importance of emergency preparedness among the staff, emphasizing the coalition’s dedication to fostering a secure and supportive environment despite the daunting challenges posed by such threats.

The bomb threats have been accompanied by hate mail, filled with vitriolic anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and attacks on the Democratic Party, aimed at undermining the coalition’s mission and intimidating its leadership, including Salcedo and Vice President/COO Maria Roman Taylorson.

Despite these attempts to sow fear, the TransLatin@ Coalition stands firm in its mission. “We refuse to be silenced or intimidated,” Salcedo said.

The organization continues to call for unity and action, urging the public to stand in solidarity with TGI communities, report threats or violence, and advocate for greater acceptance and understanding of TGI identities.

The coalition’s commitment to the rights, empowerment, and well-being of TGI Latinx individuals in the United States remains unwavering. Through advocacy, education, and community organizing, the TLC addresses the unique challenges and systemic injustices faced by this community, emphasizing the intersectionality of race and economic status.

As the TLC navigates through these trying times, they have also taken to social media to call for support and positivity, highlighting the unexpected financial strain of heightened security measures. 

This recent threat against the TLC occurs amidst a broader climate of heightened animosity towards the LGBTQIA+ community, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The HRC’s documentation of fatal violence against transgender and gender-expansive individuals in 2024 alone paints a grim picture of the dangers faced by the community.

“These acts of violence and discrimination underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to protect and uplift the most vulnerable among us,” HRC noted.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Suspects break into home of Real Friends of WeHo’s Joey Zauzig

Reports indicate that a resident in the area contacted the LAPD while the burglary was in progress at a residence on Marmont Lane

Published

on

Joey-Zauzig (Screenshot/YouTube Instagram)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – An attempted robbery unfolded in the Hollywood Hills early Monday morning at the residence of television personality and influencer Joey Zauzig, known for his role in “The Real Friends of WeHo.”

“Last night at around 12am, 3 men, armed with face masks broke into our house while we were sleeping,” Zauzig posted in an Instagram story. “I woke up to it and triggered the alarm as they shattered one of the glass doors. We are ok and the dogs are safe… thank god they were at training camp.”

Zauzig added that it was truly one of the scariest things that has ever happened to him. “Seeing the footage on our cameras and waking up to it,” he said. “I’m still very much in shock. Please be careful always set your alarms”

He later posted video footage of the three suspects creeping into their home and a screen grab of the vehicle believed to be the getaway car.

Joey Zauzig Instagram screen grab

“I thank you guys so much for all the messages and the love,” he posted in an update. “I’m just wondering when I’m gonna feel back to normal because I definitely don’t and a lot of messages are unfortunately from people that have gone through the same thing.”

He said that he’s getting a lot of recommendations for therapy, but all he hopes to do is to get back to normal. “Last night got zero sleep,” he said. “I had the worst nightmares…this is so f*cked up, but now I’m like at a point where I’m just like angrJoey Zauzigy and now I really want to share this to like, catch these people and it’s the worst feeling ever.”

Earlier posts on Instagram show Zauzig enjoying the sun in a Cabo trip, and indication that he was out of town.

Reports indicate that a resident in the area contacted the police while the burglary was in progress at a residence on Marmont Lane in Hollywood Hills just after midnight on April 8, 2024.

The Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson informed KTLA 5 that the burglary occurred shortly after midnight on Marmont Lane. The suspects, described as three individuals—one wearing a black shirt, one in a blue hoodie, and the third in all black—had fled the scene before law enforcement arrived, LAPD stated.

The Real Friends of WeHo reality series premiered on MTV, on January 20, 2023. The show follows the lives of six LGBTQ+ celebrities, personalities, and entrepreneurs living in West Hollywood, feature Brad Goreski, a celebrity stylist; Todrick Hall, a choreographer and singer; Curtis Hamilton, an actor; Dorión Renaud, CEO of Buttah Skincare; Jaymes Vaughan, a TV host and business owner; and Joey Zauzig, who was described at the time as a digital entrepreneur. The show was not picked up for a second season.

**************************************************************

Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

******************************

The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

LA’s chief financial officer says the city has big financial problems

Projected deficits for years to come will force wrenching choices that threaten the vital services Angelenos rely on

Published

on

LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia. (Screenshot/YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – The City is under going an audit of finances and spending on Mayor Karen Bass and the city’s Inside Safe program after the LA Alliance for Human Rights and a federal judge expressed frustration over the management of funds to tackle homelessness through that and other services programs.

LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia however, is raising alarms over what he says is a serious budget deficit that is creating greater financial issues for the City. “It’s fair to say that the city of L.A. should be worried about our financial health. It’s not looking good and the people of Los Angeles will suffer based on decisions that City Hall makes,” Mejia told KABC 7.

According to Mejia, Los Angeles has a projected budget deficit of $476 million dollars, which is made up of $289 million in overspending and $187 million in less than expected revenues. The overspending occurred in three departments: police and fire – mainly because of staffing issues and overtime – and in liability claims.

“We’re not in a recession. This is not COVID. This is a budget deficit that we made here in City Hall,” said Mejia.

The City Controller in a statement when his office released the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) in January said: “It is my responsibility to report the bad news: this year the City is spending well beyond our actual revenues. Projected deficits for years to come will force wrenching choices that threaten the vital services Angelenos rely on. This is not the result of a sudden economic downturn, but the culmination of years of short-term budget balancing at the cost of long-term fiscal sustainability.”

Mejia also pointed out that “despite widespread staff vacancies, General Fund departmental spending actually exceeded last year’s adopted budget by nearly $200 million. Had the vacancy rate been closer to normal, the budget would have been in the red.

As our Office has consistently pointed out, citywide deferred maintenance of vital infrastructure requires urgent attention. Last year’s underspending of $316 million in budgeted capital expenditures underscores that the City continues to fall behind – which means even higher costs in the long run.

Again, as we have warned, current staff shortages and long-term underinvestment in the training, technology, equipment and facilities for our workforce hobbles productivity and shortchanges our residents. The homelessness crisis and the reality of a changing climate put even further strain on City resources.”

Mejia told KABC 7 he’s against eliminating 2,000 vacant positions to save money.

“It’s not like these positions have been vacant for many years. They haven’t. All these departments have been trying to fill these positions. A few months ago, we were talking about ‘We need to fill these vacant positions. Come on, join the city.’ And now, we’re like ‘Oh wait. We need to hold back because we’re overspending on police, liability claims, on fire.’ Now, we have to cut other positions in other departments in order to cover that overspending,” said Mejia.

He also warned that without a long-term approach to “putting our fiscal house in order, short-term decisions will doom Los Angeles to an inexorable decline in public services, undermining our quality of life and the economic prospects of our residents.”

In a statement provided to KABC 7 and the Blade, the mayor’s office said they remain “focused on the work that has resulted in thousands more Angelenos coming inside last year than the previous year, a record number of LAPD applications, and finalizing a budget in partnership with our city department heads that will be balanced and protect services for Angelenos.”

The deadline for Mayor Bass to release her budget for next year is April 22.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

900 Los Angeles homeless deaths in 2023- 23% lower than 2022

Across all of LA County, there was a total of 1,467 deaths of homeless people in 2023. The City’s 900 deaths make up 61% of County deaths

Published

on

A homeless man sleeps in front of Grand Park along Grand Avenue. (Photo Credit: Mayra Vasquez/Los Angeles County )

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia released a new report Thursday that showed that 900 people died while experiencing homelessness within the City’s boundaries in 2023. According to the data, this was down nearly 23% from the previous year’s total of 1,167.

Mejia noted that “any number of unhoused deaths is unacceptable.” The City Controller’s Office also released a map of unhoused deaths in 2023 using data obtained from the Los Angeles County Medical-Examiner Coroner’s office.

Mejia stated “We made this map to bring visibility to the hundreds of deaths suffered by unhoused people in the City of LA that otherwise happen quietly with little attention.”

2023 map and analysis: http://unhouseddeaths2023.lacontroller.app

In response to Mejia’s report, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued the following statement Thursday: “Every death that occurs is a tragedy and we express our condolences to those friends, family and community members who have lost a loved one due to this crisis.”

Bass added, “The focus of our work has been to take urgent action to save lives and while the controller’s data released today indicates a decrease in deaths, we know that there is still much more work to be done.”

The data from the report showed that about 678 deaths or 75% were categorized as accidental, while 160 (or 18%) of deaths were natural, 16 (or 2%) were suicide and 6 (or 1%) were undetermined. The report further detailed that about 40, or 4%, homeless people were the victims of homicide in 2023, accounting for 12% of all murders in the city.

The data on homicides noted the fact that the homeless population makes up roughly 1% of the city’s total population yet accounted for 12% of all homicides in the city.

Racial disparity was also a major point the report noting that while Blacks are only 8% of the City’s population, as a group they accounted for 33% of the total homeless population and 31% of the total number of deaths in 2023. About 274 (or 30%) of white homeless people died in 2023, and 289 (or 32%) of Hispanic/Latino homeless died in 2023.

 

Additionally, at least 338 (or 73%) of deaths were in streets or areas without proper utilities, such as tents, parking lots, parks, RVs and vacant buildings, according to the Controller’s analysis.

Also according to the Controller’s analysis January, February and March were the most deadly months for homeless people in 2023.

City Council Districts with the highest numbers of deaths of homeless in 2023 were 1 and 14 encompassing the downtown, north, northeast areas. District 14 had 269 deaths, accounting for 29.9% of unhoused deaths in 2023, followed by 105 deaths or 11.7% in District 1, and 77 or 8.6% of deaths in District 13 in the Hollywood area.

In the 2022 Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority survey, the highest numbers of people experiencing homeless were in City Council Districts 14, 9 and 1, followed by Districts 6 and 13.

Nearly 70% of deaths were suffered by people ages 31-60. Ages 51-60 had the highest death rate.

Across all of Los Angeles County, there was a total of 1,467 deaths of homeless people in 2023. The City of LA’s 900 homeless deaths make up 61% of County deaths.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

South LA trans woman murdered, LAPD are looking for suspects

Surveillance footage captured near the scene of the March 21 murder showed a person dragging the victim’s body out of a light-colored sedan

Published

on

LAPD & CHP patrol vehicles/LA Blade file photo

By Rob Salerno | LOS ANGELES – A trans woman believed to be in her early 20s was murdered in the early morning of March 21 near the corner of West 70th and Figueroa Streets, the latest in what appear to be a string of slayings of sex workers in the area.

The LAPD are still looking for information and have not yet made any arrests.

The LAPD responded to a call around 4:20 am and found the victim suffering a gunshot wound to the back of the head. She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. 

Two days earlier, officers had responded to a call around 8:50pm on Hoover St between Slauson Ave and West 59th, where they found a woman who had been killed by a gunshot. Police believe both women were shot with a 9-millimeter firearm.

Police believe both women were engaged in sex work but have not released any information identifying them.

The Los Angeles Times reported that surveillance footage captured near the scene of the March 21 murder showed a person dragging the victim’s body out of a light-colored sedan next to the parking lot of a high school before driving off.

Police speculated that the victim was shot in the car after a sexual encounter that went wrong. The area is known as a place where sex workers are picked up by clients who drive to nearby motels on Figueroa St. 

The LA Times noted that another 25-year-old sex worker was killed on nearby Western Ave in February when someone in a vehicle fired a gun at the corner she was standing on. Another man was shot in the same incident, but he survived. LAPD does not consider this event to be linked to the other two murders.

LAPD are asking anyone with information to come forward.

******************************************************************************************

Rob Salerno is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles, California, and Toronto, Canada.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

L.A. Marathon is Sunday & here are road closures to avoid

Roughly 25,000 runners will stream through city streets with the goal of completing Sunday’s 39th Los Angeles Marathon

Published

on

L.A. Marathon 2023 (Photo Credit: City of West Hollywood/Jon Viscott)

LOS ANGELES – Celebrating its 39th year of running, the Los Angeles Marathon course will begin at Dodger Stadium and it will conclude at Century Park in Century City. The portion of the route that runs through the City of West Hollywood remains unchanged.

Roughly 25,000 runners will stream through city streets, passing by iconic venues, all with the goal of completing Sunday’s 39th Los Angeles Marathon. The 26.2-mile course begins at Dodger Stadium, with the competition getting underway at 7 a.m. and going through several communities, including Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Century City.

The finish line is at Santa Monica Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars in Century City. Most streets will reopen by 1 p.m. Sunday, with parts of Avenue of the Stars and Century Park East near the finish line being the last to reopen at 8 p.m.

The Los Angeles Marathon route for 2024 will guide runners westbound into the City of West Hollywood along Sunset Boulevard at Marmont Lane, just west of N. Crescent Heights Boulevard. From the Sunset Strip, runners will turn left (south) onto N. San Vicente Boulevard; then right (west) onto Santa Monica Boulevard; then left (south) onto N. Doheny Drive, where they will enter the City of Beverly Hills. The Marathon will run through West Hollywood between miles 14 and 15 of the course.

To ensure the safety of the large numbers of Los Angeles Marathon runners, there will be several street closures in the City of West Hollywood on Sunday, March 17, 2024 from 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.; crews will work to reopen roads to vehicle traffic as quickly as possible as the Marathon moves through the City of West Hollywood:

  • Sunset Boulevard between Marmont Lane and Clark Street/N. San Vicente Boulevard (the route enters the City of West Hollywood from the City of Los Angeles west along Sunset Boulevard from Marmont Lane, just west of N. Crescent Heights Boulevard);
  • N. San Vicente Boulevard between Sunset Boulevard and Melrose Avenue;
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega Boulevard and N. Doheny Drive;
  • N. Doheny Drive between Santa Monica Boulevard and Beverly Boulevard (the route exits the City of West Hollywood to the City of Beverly Hills south along N. Doheny Drive).

Parking will be strictly prohibited along the Los Angeles Marathon route. “No Parking” signs will be posted prior to the event. Vehicles in violation will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.

Los Angeles Marathon spectators and community members who are searching for alternative parking solutions in West Hollywood during the Los Angeles Marathon are encouraged to visit the City of West Hollywood’s website, where a directory of parking structures and municipal lots with hours of operation and rates is available online. Members of the public are encouraged to carpool and to use public transportation, taxis, or ridesharing options.

Roads will be closed to the public for the event as early as 3 a.m. on Sunday. They include roads along the route. A map of closures can be found below:

A map of road closures along the L.A. Marathon course for Sunday, March 17, 2024. The closures will begin as early as 3 a.m. (Google Maps)

A full list of complete-street closures can be found at this link: L.A. Marathon course closures.

Along with the fully closed roads along the entire course, several streets will be local access only, meaning only residents can access these roads since they aren’t on the race course. Residents can ask for local access at the traffic closure.

A list of local-access only areas can be found at this link: L.A. Marathon additional street closures.

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

Crescenta Valley councilman urinates on doorway to LGBTQ bar

One of the men on the video was later identified as Chris Kilpatrick, an elected member of the Crescenta Valley Town Council

Published

on

DTLA LGBTQ+ bar manager scuffles with men after they urinate on bar's employee entrance doorway. (Screenshot/YouTube KABC 7)

UPDATED: The Crescenta Valley Town Council (CVTC) on Thursday announced councilman Chris Kilpatrick had resigned. “Today, Councilmember Chris Kilpatrick tendered his resignation from the Crescenta Valley Town Council,” CVTC said in a statement posted to Instagram.

LOS ANGELES – In an incident caught on surveillance security video this past weekend at the Precinct DTLA queer bar located at 357 South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, two men are seen walking into the alcove of the employee entrance to the bar and urinating on the door.

One of the men on the video was later identified as Chris Kilpatrick, an elected member of the Crescenta Valley Town Council. In an interview with KABC 7 Eyewitness News, Jeremy Lucido, bar’s general manager said:

“I was walking to my car on the sidewalk, noticed two guys, drunk with their full cocktails,” Lucido said. “I recognized the glasses from our bar so I knew they (had been) inside. I told them ‘whatsup! You can’t have your drinks out here’ and I went to grab one of the cups and the tall dude pushed me and I flew back.”

Lucido said that when he later reviewed the surveillance security video, he realized that they were the same men he had the altercation with. He told KABC 7 that he posted the video to the bar’s Instagram account which then racked up over 5,000 views and reactions.

“Two bros walk into a bar. 🍻👬😵🚫 Last Saturday night, these two party boys decided to show everyone what not to do at Precinct. They first left the bar with full cocktail glasses in hand, then decided to go to our employee entrance, whip out their 🍤 and piss all over it together. 💛 When done, they rounded the corner where one of the managers spotted the drinks and tried to take them away; the big one reacted by physically assaulting him, throwing him to the ground. Precinct is a safe space for all; let’s have a good time. Don’t be a d*ck. 🫶🏼 oh, yeah, we also have several bathrooms.”

KABC 7 reported that the video has racked up nearly 1,000 comments. Many commenters identified one of the men as Kilpatrick.

“The comments just grew very fast with different stories, other parties and party hosts, and bar managers, like ‘oh yeah, we know them’,” Lucido told KABC 7.

John Duran, an attorney for Kilpatrick in a statement to KABC claimed that Lucido did not identify himself as a bar employee. He says Kilpatrick acted in self-defense, believing he was going to be gay-bashed.

The attorney’s statement read in part: “…public urination is not a criminal offense. It is an infraction under the Los Angeles Municipal Code and one can be cited to pay a fine for this violation. Battery is a misdemeanor offense including an unlawful touching as exhibited by individual one, who grabbed my client first. Pushing back is an affirmative defense if done to defend oneself or others.”

Continue Reading

Los Angeles

LAPD seeking additional victims of celebrity photographer

If you have been a victim or have information about this investigation, you are urged to contact LAPD’s Special Assault Section: 213-473-0447

Published

on

Kenneth Howard Dolin via screenshot YouTube & headshot provided via the Los Angeles Police Department

LOS ANGELES – Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations-West Bureau Special Assault Section (SAS) are seeking additional victims in a series of sexual assaults in the Hancock Park area.

On January 10, 2024, a 29-year-old woman reported that she was sexually assaulted by Kenneth Howard Dolin at his residence/photography studio in Wilshire Division. Dolin is a well-known photographer and acting coach.

KTLA 5 news reported that Dolin’s website includes photos of “Saturday Night Live” stars like Chris Parnell and Molly Shannon, former Laker and actor Rick Fox, “numerous multiple Oscar and Emmy Award winning actors” and “luminaries from the worlds of business and media,” he writes.

He has significant connections in the entertainment industry and has been known to solicit victims on modeling websites. The detective’s follow-up investigation revealed that two additional female victims in their mid-twenties also accused Dolin of sexual assault in 2017. All three incidents began with professional contacts that led to reports of Dolin touching women inappropriately during photo shoots when they were alone in his studio.

On March 4, 2024, SAS investigators arrested 64-year-old Kenneth Howard Dolin for 289(a) P.C., Penetration with a Foreign Object (booking #6769557). He has since been released from custody pending further investigation. 

“These victims felt trapped and had to comply with his advances,” said Detective Brent Hopkins, a supervisor with the Special Assault Section. “There’s a huge difference between art photography and sexual assault. We want to make sure we know everything that happened and make sure that line does not get crossed again.”

Investigators believe other victims have yet to be identified. A photograph of the suspect is being released to identify and speak with those victims.

If you have been a victim or have information about this investigation, you are urged to contact Officer Richard Podkowski, Special Assault Section, at 213-473-0447.

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 L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly towww.lacrimestoppers.org.

Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

Continue Reading

Popular