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UCLA kicks runner off team after homophobic & racist video surfaces

Weiland, who is white, uses both homophobic and racist language

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Photo Credit: University of California Los Angeles Athletics Instagram

LOS ANGELES – A member of the University of California Los Angeles cross-country, track and field teams has been removed after a months-old video surfaced this past Sunday from a UCLA runner who used homophobic and racist language directed at an ex-girlfriend.

Chris Weiland, a senior, was removed permanently on Monday by UCLA Track and Field Director Avery Anderson who released a statement Monday evening.

According to a video posted by the account ucla_is_racist on Instagram, the 4½-minute long video recorded inside a darkened car, appears to show Weiland talking about his girlfriend cheating on him with a person later identified as his mother according to sources knowledgeable of the incident who also identified and verified that the person in the video was in fact Weiland.

Weiland, who is white, used both homophobic and racist language;

“When she says she doesn’t, you know, want to get back together, why do you think?” Weiland asks. “It’s because she wants to be with this fucking faggot who has no future. She’s going to be with a stupid nigger who’s going to be in community college all his life.”

The woman identified as his mother responded telling him not to talk like that. He snapped back: “I don’t give a fuck.”

“When first learning of this a few months ago, I was disgusted and immediately suspended him indefinitely from the team,” Anderson said in his statement. “Even in my disgust, as a coach, my intentions are always to lead and educate and make the change happen that I want to see in the world. I can talk about changing the world, or I can put in the work to do so. and that is what I have done over the last few months with this individual.

Anderson’s decision to have Weiland reinstated in January touched off a firestorm of protest by other student athletes and members of the UCLA student body.

“In January, I decided to reinstate him to the team. However, after team members and the athletic community expressed concern, it became clear that his continued involvement with the team is incompatible with the culture of mutual support and respect we’re fostering, ” Anderson wrote Monday then added; “I know realize that the decision to reinstate him was not the right decision, and that the action today is best for the well-being of our team.”

The UCLA Black Student-Athletes Alliance issued a statement Monday on Instagram asking for Weiland’s removal for the team:

“As a university that champions itself on the accomplishments of its Black athletes that have broken the barriers of social justice, we find it deeply disturbing to learn that UCLA knew about an incident of blatant racism, homophobia and sexism and did very minimal actions about it. The racist actions that took place by a member of the cross country team, are unacceptable and disrespectful, and we at BSAA refuse to accept the actions of that athlete, as well as the lack of action to address the issue by the coaches, staff and administration. We do not feel safe with this person on campus, and we demand UCLA athletics take action immediately and remove this student from the team.”

UCLA Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, gymnast Margzetta Frazier and women’s basketball player Michaela Onyenwere were among the current UCLA athletes with verified Instagram accounts who commented “@uclaathletics” on BSAA’s post to bring attention to the university’s athletic department the San Bernardino Sun reported.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the video was recorded before Weiland enrolled at UCLA in the fall of 2019.

Weiland is from Rancho Cucamonga. He spent one season at Cal State San Marcos two more at Mt. San Antonio College before transferring to UCLA in 2019.

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West Hollywood

The Los Angeles Blade celebrates West Hollywood as it turns 37

The City of West Hollywood was incorporated on November 29, 1984 by a coalition of LGBTQ activists, seniors, and renters

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Courtesy of the City of West Hollywood

LOS ANGELES – Incorporated on this date 37 years ago, the City of West Hollywood became the 84th city in Los Angeles County. The “Creative City” was formed during an extremely difficult time for the LGBTQ+ people who lived in the region as the HIV/AIDS pandemic took countless lives.

The city’s founding was also unique as it brought together an eclectic mix of renters, seniors, LGBTQ+ and others to form the basis of what is arguably one of the world’s most prominent LGBTQ+ communities.

The spirit of that inclusivity and free-spirited thinking continues today even as the city and the surrounding greater LA region has survived yet another pandemic.

Celebrate West Hollywood’s 37th Birthday!

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California

California expands broadband infrastructure & internet access across state

The initial project locations based on unserved/underserved areas that don’t reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second

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California Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of California)

SACRAMENTO – Advancing California’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has identified 18 projects to begin work on an open-access middle-mile network that will provide missing infrastructure paths to bring broadband to all communities.

As part of the historic $6 billion broadband investment advanced in partnership with legislative leaders earlier this year, the initial project locations are based on known unserved and underserved areas across the state. The projects will connect to the core of the global internet and interconnect to last-mile infrastructure, which is the final leg that provides internet service to a customer.

“California is committed to taking on the challenges laid bare by the pandemic, including the digital divide holding back too many communities across the state,” said Newsom. “These projects are the first step to delivering on our historic investment that will ensure all Californians have access to high-quality broadband internet, while also creating new jobs to support our nation-leading economic recovery.”

The initial 18 projects represent a range of geographic locations and technical approaches. Projects are being initiated in the following tribal communities, counties and cities: Alpine County; Amador County; Calaveras County; Central Coast; Coachella Valley; Colusa Area; Inyo County; Kern County; Kern/San Luis Obispo Area; Lake County Area; Los Angeles and South Los Angeles; Oakland; Orange County; Plumas Area; Riverside/San Diego Area; San Bernardino County; Siskiyou Area; and West Fresno.

Evaluation of project areas included consideration of public comments, prioritization of unserved or underserved areas of the state, and inclusion of tribal communities, cities and counties. An unserved or underserved area has households that do not reliably have download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) and upload of at least 3 Mbps.

“Core to our success will be the deep partnerships we’ve built with a diverse set of community organizations and last mile providers. Through many years of engagement with metropolitan planning organizations, CPUC-supported broadband consortia, Tribal organizations, community-based broadband advocacy groups, and organizations like the Rural County Representatives of California, the NAACP, and the California Emerging Technology Fund, we are now ready to take this historic step towards broadband equity for California,” said Louis Fox, Founder and Chair of GoldenStateNet, the state’s third-party administrator.

State partners implementing the middle-mile initiative include the California Department of Technology, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Caltrans. GoldenStateNet was selected as the Third-Party Administrator (TPA) to manage the development, acquisition, construction, maintenance and operation of the statewide open-access middle-mile broadband network. As the TPA, GoldenStateNet will partner with key stakeholder groups across the state to investigate the best technical, financial and operational models to meet the needs of the project sites.  

A map and additional information on the initial projects can be found here.

“A reliable broadband connection makes the difference between having access to full-service health care, education and employment or sometimes going without,” said State Chief Information Officer Amy Tong. “Through a historic partnership between our Governor, the Legislature, state agencies and a third-party administrator, we are taking immediate action to improve connectivity for Californians in the northern, central and southern parts of the state.”

“These initial routes have been identified to accelerate projects in areas of the state that are unserved because of the lack of open middle mile infrastructure to serve them. We are accelerating the selection of a diverse set of routes — those that are ready to build and those that are not ready to build.  This allows the state to partner with locals on these diverse projects and learn by doing, as we concurrently work to finalize all the needed routes in the State. There are many more communities like those in Phase I that will be included in the final map,” said Martha Guzman Aceves, Commissioner at the CPUC.

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Santa Monica

Sen. Alex Padilla & Santa Monica College- Thanksgiving grocery giveaway

“As we approach Thanksgiving, it is important to support each other and our communities, and give back when we can” 

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Santa Monica College volunteers & Senator Alex Padilla (Photo courtesy of Senator Alex Padilla)

SANTA MONICA — Ahead of Thanksgiving, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) on Tuesday volunteered with Santa Monica College (SMC) for their 2nd Annual GIVING THANKS(giving) Holiday Grocery Drive-Thru Giveaway.

Padilla joined dedicated SMC volunteers, along with state and local officials to provide fresh holiday groceries to 1,500 food insecure students.

“As we approach Thanksgiving, it is important to support each other and our communities, and give back when we can,” said Senator Padilla. “I was proud to join Santa Monica College and regional partners for their annual holiday food drive to make sure students have access to fresh food and groceries this holiday season. But this is also a stark reminder that there is more work to be done to address student food insecurity, an issue that existed since before the pandemic. I’ve introduced the BASIC Act to give students the resources they need to stay focused on their education. No student should have to worry about meeting their basic needs while pursuing their education.”

“Having Senator Padilla attend today’s event is so powerful because it raises the importance of giving back to our community,” said Lizzy Moore, president of the Santa Monica College Foundation and Santa Monica College’s dean of institutional advancement. “The Santa Monica College community is grateful for his leadership in the Senate to push for the BASIC Act and other legislative proposals to address the dramatic rates of food insecurity that exists on all college campuses including Santa Monica College.”

Even before the pandemic, 50 percent of California Community College students were food insecure.

Senator Padilla has been a strong advocate for addressing food insecurity and ensuring students can meet their basic needs while pursuing a higher education. This year, Padilla introduced the Basic Assistance for Students in College (BASIC) Act, bicameral legislation to ensure college students are able to meet their basic needs while pursuing their education. Specifically, the legislation provides $1 billion for grants to ensure institutions of higher learning have the resources they need to support their students’ most fundamental needs, and directs the federal government to streamline data sharing across agencies to help students qualify for aid – particularly Pell Grant recipients and attendees of community colleges and minority-serving institutions.

Senator Padilla also joined his colleagues in introducing the Student Food Security Act of 2021. This bicameral legislation helps address food insecurity on college campuses by enabling more low-income college students to access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), improve data collection and sharing, and create a new grant program to help colleges and universities support their students.

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