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Equality California’s Zbur announces run for the Assembly

I’ve thought long and hard about the next phase of my life

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Rick Zbur (Photo Credit: Equality California)

LOS ANGELES – In 2014, Rick Zbur left his Los Angeles area law firm to become the Executive Director of Equality California, (EQCA) the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. Tuesday, March 30, some seven years later he officially entered the race for California’s 50th State Assembly District.

Zbur took over EQCA at a time when the only clear cut victory in the battle for LGBTQ+ rights had been the dismantling of the “Don’t Ask- Don’t Tell” policy which had barred open military service by gay and lesbians although still without a clear path forward for Trans Americans to serve openly.

In 2017, EQCA along with then California Attorney General Xavier Becerra were plaintiffs in the case, Stockman v. Trump. Alongside the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) they sued the Trump administration representing the four active-duty Californian transgender service members, and three transgender people who hope to enlist in the U.S. military to end the discriminatory bad.

Earlier this year President Joe Biden signed an executive order ending the ban and clearing a path forward for Trans military service.

Federal marriage equality came in the first year of his term as Executive Director with the U. S. Supreme Court decision  on June 26, 2015, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision which occurred on the second anniversary of the United States v. Windsor ruling that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages, as being unconstitutional. (Previously in 2013, the SCOTUS decision Perry v. Hollingsworth  legalized same-sex marriage in the state of California.) 

Working closely with the legislative leadership, and in close consultation with the LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, mobilizing the membership of EQ California, Zbur pushed through passage and signature into law major legislation that had impact on the Golden State’s diverse LGBTQ population.

Zbur has also pushed hard for intersectional legislative efforts in areas including gun law reform, immigration, and especial racial justice issues.

Zbur’s significant accomplishments in shepherding through critical legislative included AB 2943, which made California the first state in the nation to ban the widely discredited practices of “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy,”  from being performed on both children and adults. Senate Bill 239, which modernizes the outdated HIV criminalization laws in California, and then SB 159 which authorizes pharmacists to furnish pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to patients without a physician prescription.

In making his announcement, Zbur also indicated he will withdraw from the race for Los Angeles City Attorney in order to run for Assembly. He enters the race as the first declared candidate with a significant cash advantage — as of his most recent campaign filing on December 31, Zbur had $202,632 on hand, which can be moved from the City Attorney Committee to the Assembly Committee.

Zbur launched his campaign for Assembly by releasing the following statement:

“Last September, my beautiful sister Jackie lost her three-year battle with ALS. She was one of the bright lights of our world and one of the most important people in my life. Watching her fight this truly horrendous disease — both physically and financially, spending her entire life’s savings on her care — broke my heart and devastated my entire family. I’m glad that she’s finally at peace, but losing her was unbelievably painful. Too many families in our community, throughout California and around the world have endured similar pain over the last year — too many empty chairs at kitchen tables, too many empty nightstands on the other side of the bed.

“Since Jackie passed, I’ve thought long and hard about the next phase of my life — how I can make the greatest impact on the toughest issues our communities face: healthcare, the environment, civil rights and economic inequality. After many conversations with my family, friends and community leaders, I’ve decided to run for Assembly District 50, and I can’t wait to get to work.

“I’m running to represent the people of California’s 50th Assembly District because during this unprecedentedly difficult time, our communities need bold, progressive leadership, an unyielding commitment to equality and an unbending resolve to achieve racial, gender, economic, environmental, educational and health equity and justice for all. I’m running to make sure someday, no one else has to go through what my sister Jackie did — to fix our broken social safety net for the most vulnerable members of our communities. I know that together, we can build a brighter future for our children and for generations to come.” 

A campaign statement noted that Zbur grew up in a rural farming community in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, the same area that his mother Erlinda Chavez and her family lived for generations. On the farm, his parents taught him the values of hard work, commitment to family and service to community. He and his siblings worked before and after school on the family farm and helped care for their grandparents. 

He ultimately became the first person from his rural community to attend an Ivy League university. After graduating from Yale College and Harvard Law School, Rick moved to Los Angeles in 1985 and joined Latham & Watkins, one of the nation’s most respected law firms. There he practiced law for over 25 years, became the firm’s first openly gay partner in 1994 and was recognized as one of California’s leading environmental and government law attorneys.

Photo Credit: From the collection of Karen Ocamb

Zbur saw hundreds of his friends become ill during the initial years of the AIDS crisis, which motivated him to become an AIDS activist at a time when the federal government was failing to act.  He worked to help elect public officials including former President Bill Clinton and former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer as a part of that effort.

In addition to his work as an environmental lawyer, served on the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters for over 20 years — as president for six of those years. As board president, Rick helped shape the organization’s priorities to address environmental justice and a focus on vulnerable communities that are hardest hit by pollution, and to advance sustainable housing and green job programs to address climate change. 

The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus also released the following statement with their endorsement of Zbur’s campaign:

“LA County has had a rich history of strong LGBTQ+ representation in the Legislature for decades — from Sheila Kuehl and Jackie Goldberg to John Pérez and Ricardo Lara. Unfortunately, today there is not a single openly LGBTQ legislator representing the nation’s largest county. The California Legislature should reflect the dynamic mosaic of California’s population — the people we serve. We also need more bold LGBTQ+ leaders who are ready to take on California’s toughest issues and deliver results for our communities. For these reasons and so many others we are proud to support Rick Chavez Zbur in his run for California’s 50th Assembly District.”

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San Francisco

13th annual Bay Area First Nations Two Spirit Society powwow

The Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirit powwow was held at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center from February 5 to February 10, 2024

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Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) exists to restore and recover the role of Two-Spirit people within the American Indian/First Nations community by creating a forum for the spiritual, cultural and artistic expression of Two-Spirit people in Northern California. (Photo by Mishaa Degraw/ProBonoPhoto.org)

SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area American Indian Two Spirit Society held their 13th annual powwow on February 10th 2024, Commemorating the Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits 25th Year Anniversary.

The 13th Annual Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirit powwow, held at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center. (BAAITS) exists to restore and recover the role of Two-Spirit people within the American Indian/First Nations community by creating a forum for the spiritual, cultural and artistic expression of Two-Spirit people.

For the past 25 years, Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) has been creating sober gathering spaces and events for the Two-Spirit & IndigeQueer community in the Bay Area and  beyond. Originally founded in 1999 by Two Spirit community members organizing the International Two Spirit Gathering in the Bay Area, BAAITS proudly continues to grow and expand to welcome Two-Spirits, IndigeQueer, and TG/GNC LGBQIA+ people as they/we learn and reconnect with their/our Indigenous roots.  

BAAITS was excited to continue this legacy with a successful week of events from February 5, 2024 to February 10, 2024 culminating with the 13th Annual BAAITS Two-Spirit powwow.

BAAITS is a community-based volunteer organization offering culturally relevant activities for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Native Americans, their families and friends. Two-Spirit refers to the commonly shared notion among many Native American tribes that some individuals naturally possessed and manifested both a masculine and feminine spiritual qualities.  American society commonly identifies Two-Spirit People as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender.

Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits comes together to socialize, share and network in an alcohol and drug-free environment. BAAITS sees itself as an organization for Two-Spirit people to explore their rich heritage in a safe environment.  To that end, BAAITS is committed to offering culturally relevant activities for LGBTQ individuals of Native American ancestry and their families and friends.

Photos:

(Photo by Mishaa Degraw)
(Photo by Mishaa Degraw)

(Photo by Mishaa Degraw/ProBonoPhoto.org)

(Photo by Mishaa Degraw)
(Photo by Mishaa Degraw)
(Photo by Mishaa Degraw/ProBonoPhoto.org)

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California

California is surveying its older LGBTQ+ residents on aging issues

Residents asked about myriad concerns, from health issues & insurance coverage to living arrangements, social activities, & relationships

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Photo courtesy of the California Department of Aging/California government

By Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor | SACRAMENTO -For the first time California is surveying its older LGBTQ residents to find out what issues they are dealing with as they age. The response to it has already surpassed expectations.

The UCSF researchers conducting the survey, Annesa Flentje, Ph.D., and Carol Dawson-Rose, Ph.D., on behalf of the California Department of Aging noted on its introductory page they expected about 2,000 people to participate by the time it concludes on March 31. They had reached that amount a little over a month after the survey went live online in early January.

As of February 14, the number of people surveyed had surpassed 2,640.

“We had an inkling there would be great interest in this because it really hasn’t been done,” said Susan DeMarois, a straight ally who is director of the state agency. “We are so happy there is this response. It really shows there is a need for this survey on this population statewide.”

There is no cap to how many people can take the survey before it concludes next month.

“There is no baseline for data on this population, so the survey will be all the more richer from having more people who participate. There is no limit,” said DeMarois, 58, who was appointed director of her agency on November 1, 2021. “Absolutely, this is the first time our department has done this.”

The state agency budgeted $899,304 toward the survey and expects to begin reporting out its findings later this year. Respondents are asked about myriad concerns, from their health issues and insurance coverage to living arrangements, social activities, and relationships.

The questions also inquire about such varied topics as HIV status and transportation to employment and end-of-life matters. Anyone age 50 and older who identifies under the LGBTQIA+ acronym and lives in California can fill out the survey, which should take about 20 minutes to complete.

The age range is purposefully broad, noted DeMarois, due to the agency wanting to gather information from people at different stages of their older adult lives, whether in their 50s approaching retirement age or well into their golden years.

“We are sort of straddling meeting current needs and projecting future needs. It is a wide age swath,” she said. “Part of it is we want to know what you and your husband might need down the road. At the same time we really want to hear from people in their 70s and 80s today.”

The agency is also striving to reach a geographically diverse set of respondents to the survey. In addition to partnering with LGBTQ senior service providers in urban centers, such as San Francisco-based Openhouse, it is also working with its network of 33 Area Agencies on Aging to spread the word about the survey.

“We have come at it from lots of angles so people hear about it through whatever channels they rely on,” said DeMarois. “We also hope people in their 40s and 50s share this information about the survey with someone in their 60s, 70s, or 80s.”

In his last email as the LGBT+ senior program manager for the Spahr Center in Marin County, Bill Blackburn encouraged people to take the survey.

“If you live in California, are over 50-yo (ahem) and identify as LGBTQI or A, I encourage you to participate,” wrote Blackburn, who was laid off in early February as the nonprofit service provider is facing a financial crisis. “Completely confidential, with no way of tracking you, the survey aims to shed light on our unique challenges, hopes and contributions. Your engagement will directly improve resources, services and policies available to us.”

Identifying gaps

The intent of the survey is to identify gaps in the needs of the state’s LGBTQ older population and highlight priorities for both the state aging department and lawmakers in Sacramento. It also ties into the state’s Master Plan for Aging, a 10-year blueprint mapping out numerous initiatives and steps policymakers can take to assist people as they age in the Golden State.

It is used as a basis for what goals the aging department sets during each two-year session in the Legislature. The plan does take into account the needs of the LGBTQ community, and the survey findings will further bolster the initiatives the state agency undertakes in the years to come.

“I fully expect something notable relative to the LGBTQ community as a result of this survey we will focus on in the next two years,” said DeMarois, who noted she and her staff met with the 12-member Legislative LGBTQ Caucus to apprise them about the survey. “We briefed the LGBTQ caucus, which is larger than it has ever been in the history of the state. They are very interested in this and very interested in legislation that includes the older adult population.”

Because the U.S. census doesn’t ask about people’s sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) on the forms used for the decennial count of the country’s population, there is no exact picture of how many Californians over the age of 50 are LGBTQ.

UCLA School of Law think tank the Williams Institute released a report last year estimating the number of LGBTQ adults age 18 and older living in California was 1,459,600. Throughout the U.S. it estimated the LGBTQ adult population to be a little more than 13.9 million, with people age 50 and older accounting for 4.5%.

“I don’t know what the population of LGBTQ seniors is in California,” acknowledged DeMarois, who added that her agency does ask about SOGI on various forms it uses, though answering the questions is voluntary. “We are interested in collecting more accurate data.”

One of the first government entities to survey LGBTQ older adults was San Francisco, which released its report in 2014, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported. Santa Clara County released the findings of its own survey in 2021.

The state of Oregon published the findings of a survey on its LGBTQ senior population in 2021. California’s survey was initially to be rolled out last year, but it got pushed back to 2024 due to a desire to translate it into multiple languages.

It is offered in English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Chinese. In producing the survey, the state’s aging department partnered with Openhouse and UCSF’s Sexual and Gender Minority Health Equity Lab. Also assisting on it were two centers based at UC Berkeley, the Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

“We are really hungry to learn more and put it into action,” said DeMarois. “We hope as early as this summer to share some of the preliminary findings.”

Survey participants will be eligible to win one of 40 $25 gift cards chosen by random drawing. The winners are to be notified by June 1.

To access the survey online, visit aging.ca.gov/Survey_of_LGBTQIA/

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The preceding article was previously published by the Bay Area Reporter and is republished with permission.

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Southern California

Heavy rain at times with flash flooding, landslides & mudflows

The storm will affect the area through Wednesday, bringing periods of moderate to heavy rain- potential for flooding, rock slides & mudslides

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NWS/KTLA 5 Live Radar screenshot February 19 at 11:00 AM

LOS ANGELES – As heavy rainfall hampered the President’s Day commuting traffic, around the Southern California region the latest storm system is bringing heavier precipitation and a more likely threat of flooding to Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Calabasas until 6:00 PM.

“Radar and automated rain gauges indicated light to moderate showers overspreading the warned area,” NWS said Monday morning. “Heavier showers will overspread the warned area throughout the day.”

The storm is expected to dump 2 to 5 inches of rain along the coastal areas and valleys of metro Los Angeles through Wednesday morning with higher totals in the foothills and mountains

The Los Angeles Times noted that compared with the historic storm that pummeled the region earlier this month, forecasters expect “much less rain” for Los Angeles County this time but warned that there are still concerns about the prospect for flooding, landslides and mudflows — particularly in the Santa Monica Mountains and Hollywood Hills — because of the soaking Southern California received from the previous storm.

KTLA 5 News is bringing current conditions up-to-date in its live updating here: (KTLA)

From KTLA:

The Emergency Operations Center in Los Angeles has activated “Level 2” preparedness to respond to the storm.

” Emergency crews remain ready to respond to the effects of the storm and potential of mud and debris flows, power outages and roadway obstructions,” city officials said.

Latest:

105 FREEWAY ON-RAMP CLOSURE

Related

A SigAlert has been issued for the Hawthorne Boulevard on-ramp to the eastbound 105 Freeway due to roadway flooding.

The closure will last for an unknown duration, CHP officials said on X, formerly Twitter.

L.A. COUNTY EVACUATION WARNING

An evacuation warning has been issued along Santa Maria Road north of Topanga Canyon Boulevard near Woodland Hills, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Lost Hills Station.

The warning, issued due to possible mud and debris flows in the area, began at 9 a.m. Monday and lasts through 9 a.m. Wednesday.

NWS Forecast: A strong storm will affect the area through Wednesday, bringing periods of moderate to heavy rain (2-5 inches of rain, except 4-8 inches in favored mountains and foothills), mountain snow (1-3 feet above 7500 feet), strong south to SE winds, potential for flooding, rock slides and mudslides, and possible power outages. The heaviest rain and most significant impacts will be tonight through Tuesday Stay safe: avoid low-lying areas and large waves at the coast, be prepared for coastal flood impacts Monday and Tuesday mornings. Monitor the latest weather forecast.

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West Hollywood

The Abbey Food & Bar faces suit over alleged breach of contract

The lawsuit alleges multiple causes of action, including breach of written contract, money had and received, accounting, and conversion

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The Abbey Food and Bar in West Hollywood - WEHO TIMES

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – A legal development concerning the Abbey Food & Bar, located at 692 N Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood, has revealed that 3 Corners Holdings LLC, a California-based limited liability company, has filed a lawsuit against Abbey Restaurants and Bars USA LLC, its Delaware counterpart Abbey Restaurants and Bars USA-LA LLC, Cocorio Inc., and ten unnamed defendants.

The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles, alleges multiple causes of action, including breach of written contract, money had and received, accounting, and conversion.

The plaintiff, 3 Corners Holdings LLC, asserts that it entered into a written profit interest agreement with the defendants on August 15, 2010. The agreement stipulated that Abbey Restaurants and Bars USA-LA LLC would pay 3 Corners Holdings LLC a 25% share of the “Operating Cash Flow” of The Abbey WeHo, formerly known as the best gay bar in the world. This arrangement was to continue until the defendants or their affiliates no longer owned a direct or indirect interest in The Abbey.

However, 3 Corners Holdings LLC alleges that despite their adherence to the agreement’s terms, the defendants have “failed and refused, and continue to fail and refuse,” to pay the owed profits interest, resulting in damages of no less than $1,600,000. Furthermore, the complaint accuses the defendants of failing to provide necessary documents requested under the agreement’s audit rights, thereby breaching the contract and depriving the plaintiff of its entitled profits.

The legal battle sheds light on the complex financial and operational dynamics between The Abbey, a cornerstone of West Hollywood’s vibrant nightlife, and its stakeholders. The lawsuit also underscores the complexities of managing partnership agreements and profit-sharing models in the hospitality industry.

Legal experts suggest that the case could have broader implications for how profit interest agreements are structured and enforced in California’s competitive restaurant and bar scene. “This lawsuit highlights the importance of clear and enforceable contracts in business partnerships,” said Daniel Medyoni, an attorney representing 3 Corners Holdings LLC. “It also serves as a reminder for companies to diligently uphold their financial obligations to their partners.”

Additionally, The Chapel at The Abbey WeHo was sold to Tristan Schukraft, a notable figure in the LGBTQ+ community and an entrepreneur with various business interests. This sale marks a significant change in ownership for these iconic West Hollywood venues.

Furthermore, allegations of druggings and sexual assaults at The Abbey have resurfaced, highlighting concerns about patron safety at the venue. These legal and public issues present a complex picture of the current state of affairs surrounding The Abbey Food & Bar.

As the case progresses, it will undoubtedly be closely watched by legal and business professionals for its potential to set precedents in contract law and partnership agreements within the hospitality industry. The defendants have yet to publicly respond to the allegations.

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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.

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

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California

Ahead of severe storm, Newsom activates state operations center

These severe storms have proven to be deadly. The state is taking this storm seriously & we ask all Californians to take steps now to prepare

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Governor Gavin Newsom has activated the Emergency State Operations Center to help coordinate state, local and federal response to the storm. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced actions the state is taking as another potentially dangerous winter storm is set to impact much of California between now and Wednesday. The storm is anticipated to be brief but intense.

Governor Newsom has activated the State Operations Center in Mather to help coordinate state, local and federal response to the storm. The Governor also directed the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to strategically preposition swift water rescue crews and other rescue personnel and equipment in multiple counties to be able to respond if needed.

According to the National Weather Service, this storm could bring significant rainfall and snow throughout much of the state, as well as potential for thunderstorms, debris flows and mudslides. 

“Already this year, severe storms have proven to be deadly up and down California. Our state is taking this next storm seriously, and we ask all Californians to take steps now to prepare,” said the governor Sunday.

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Southern California

Significant rainfall moving into water-logged SoCal

The heaviest rain and most significant impacts will be Sunday night through Tuesday. Flood watches have been issued for much of the region

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NWS/Los Angeles Blade Graphic

OXNARD, Calif. – A strong storm will affect most of Southern California through Wednesday, bringing periods of moderate to heavy rain (2-5 inches of rain, except 4-8 inches in favored mountains and foothills), mountain snow (1-3 feet above 7500 feet), strong south to SE winds, potential for flooding, rock slides and mudslides, and possible power outages. The heaviest rain and most significant impacts will be Sunday night through Tuesday. 

Graphic by National Weather Service LA/Oxnard

Although the upcoming storm isn’t expected to bring the same amount of rainfall to Southern California as the previous one, NWS meteorologist David Gomberg told KLTA the storm still poses a threat.

“Even though the rainfall totals aren’t as significant as last week, we could see some fairly high-intensity rainfall,” he said. “That presents its own risk as well. Kind of a shorter duration, higher intensity with any potential thunderstorm activity, or just even heavier shower activity.”

Flood watches have been issued for much of the region.

Gomberg adds that the biggest concern for the region is that the soil in the ground is still very saturated.

“There hasn’t been enough time related to do much drying, so we are more vulnerable than normal,” Gomberg added. “It’s not going to take as much rain, in terms of amount or intensity to cause some additional issues.”

In the Los County region, the City of West Hollywood is urging residents to stay informed and use caution during continued heavy rains.

The heavy rains, which are currently forecasted to take place Sunday, February 18, 2024 through Wednesday, February 21, 2024. A National Weather Service flood watch is in effect for Los Angeles County from 4 p.m. on Sunday through 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

During heavy rains, stay prepared:

  • Keep emergency supplies, such as a flashlight, water, food, a first-aid kit, portable radio, and extra batteries on-hand and easily accessible.
  • Clear all drains and rain gutters on your property and dispose of all trash and yard trimmings properly to avoid blocking drains.
  • Know how to turn off utilities.
  • Monitor forecasts to be aware of weather that may impact the area.
  • Subscribe to receive Alert LA County emergency notifications by email or text message by signing up at https://ready.lacounty.gov/alerts and subscribe to Nixle public safety alerts by texting your ZIP code to 888-777.

As a reminder, driving in rain, whether a drizzle or a heavy downpour, can be dangerous. Rainy conditions are directly associated with higher accident rates. Adjust your driving style for wet roads and reduced visibility. The following tips will help ensure driving safely during rainy days: slow down; turn on headlights; use windshield wipers; maintain a safe distance; avoid heavy braking; watch for standing water; let off the accelerator when hydroplaning; and ventilate your car during rain.

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California

Newsom announces Project Homekey funds another 370 homes

Newsom announced 6 new Homekey projects, creating 370 affordable homes to serve individuals experiencing homelessness throughout the state

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Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new Homekey grant awards for six new projects that will create an additional 370 homes for Californians at risk of or experiencing homelessness. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

OAKLAND – Today, in Oakland, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new Homekey grant awards for six new projects that will create an additional 370 homes for Californians at risk of or experiencing homelessness, including several developments focused on young people transitioning to adulthood.

Communities benefiting from these new awards include Oakland, Fresno, San Diego, Yuba City, and Los Angeles.

“Homekey continues to deliver needed housing faster for Californians struggling with homelessness,” Newsom told reporters at a press conference. “By utilizing existing facilities including hotels, motels and former office spaces, properties are being quickly transformed into housing — helping to solve the homelessness crisis while creating welcoming places for Californians to call home,” the governor added.

Today’s $99.9 million in grants is administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and will create new affordable housing in the cities  of Oakland, Fresno, San Diego, Yuba City, as well as the city and county of Los Angeles. To date, this innovative program has funded 250 projects that will include 15,319 homes, serving more than 167,164 Californians over the projects’ lifetimes.

“The homes created through the Governor’s Homekey initiative will change lives for generations,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Tomiquia Moss. “Through the projects awarded so far, more than 167,000 vulnerable Californians will be relieved of the burden of housing insecurity, providing them with a solid foundation – and critical services – from which to explore opportunities that once may have seemed out of reach.”

“Homekey continues to deliver needed housing faster for Californians struggling with homelessness,” Newsom told reporters at a press conference in Oakland Friday. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

“The evolution of Homekey has inspired creativity among localities and developers to embrace new building models that bring critical affordable housing online more quickly,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “Through Homekey, we are now able to provide the foundation of housing stability to young people entering adulthood without the family support so many take for granted, as demonstrated through several projects today.”

The project the Governor toured in Oakland today is a former Quality Inn that was previously awarded $20.4 million and will be converted to housing with a total of 104 permanent units serving individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness, as well as homeless youth. In total, the community of Oakland has received $133.5 million in Homekey funding.

Homekey originated as Project Roomkey early in the COVID-19 pandemic as an effort to provide shelter to unhoused Californians in a non-congregate setting. While early Homekey projects focused on hotel and motel conversions, projects in the third round of Homekey have included a hospital conversion, new builds, and innovative modular construction models. The program goal remains to rapidly expand availability of affordable housing to help Californians exit or prevent homelessness.

To learn more about today’s awardees, click here.

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Southern California

Triple A: Gas prices continue upward for third week

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.64, which is five cents higher than a week ago

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Triple A Auto Club/Los Angeles Blade

LOS ANGELES – Southern California gas prices are still rising this month as refineries in the area are conducting both planned and unexpected maintenance due to equipment breakdowns, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $4.64, which is five cents higher than a week ago. The average national price is $3.28, which is 13 cents higher than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $4.80 per gallon, which is eight cents higher than last week, 17 cents higher than last month, and eight cents higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $4.80, which is six cents more than last week, 15 cents higher than last month, and eight cents more than this time last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $4.75, which is five cents higher than last week, 10 cents higher than last month, and nine cents more than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $4.68, which is nine cents higher than last week, 21 cents higher than last month and nine cents higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $4.58 average price is two cents higher than last week, nine cents lower than last month, and six cents lower than a year ago today.

Casinos, like any other businesses, may be affected by changes in transportation costs. If a casino relies on goods and services that are transported by vehicles running on gasoline, increased gas prices could lead to higher operational costs for the casino.

“Southern California refineries are continuing to report planned and unplanned maintenance, which creates supply uncertainty and drives up prices at the pump,” said Auto Club Spokesperson Doug Shupe. “Local gas prices tend to rise throughout most of the early months of the year, so drivers should make sure they are shopping around for the best pump price and economizing on fuel usage as much as possible by combining trips, driving the speed limit and avoiding sudden braking and ‘jackrabbit’ starts.”

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Feb. 15, averages are:

021524

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Los Angeles County

New on the LA County Channel

You can watch on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

New on the County Channel

LA County’s state of emergency on homelessness is one year old. This seismic shift has accelerated service delivery, cut red tape, and sparked critical change for LA County and our communities. Watch this video to learn more about how LA County is charting a new course to end homelessness.

To learn more about LA County’s response to the homeless emergency, visit homeless.lacounty.gov/emergency/year-one/.

You can watch more stories like this on Channel 92 or 94 on most cable systems, or anytime here. Catch up on LA County Close-Up here.

In Case You Missed It

Make Your Plan to Vote By Mail – Register by February 20!

The March 5th Presidential Primary Election is quickly approaching, and we want to make sure you’re ready to make your voice heard. This year, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk has made it easier than ever to be a voter.

Skip the lines and make your plan to Vote by Mail today.

It’s fast, easy, and convenient to Vote by Mail:

  1. Register to vote by February 20th to receive your Vote by Mail ballot. Have you moved? Are you new to L.A. County? Will this be your first time voting? Update your voter registration here.
  2. Drop your ballot off in the mail or at an Official Ballot Drop Box. Look out for your ballot in the mail. When you receive it, fill it in, sign it, and drop it off at a mailbox on your way to work, on your daily walk, or when dropping the kids off at school. You can also drop it off at any Ballot Drop Box near you.
  3. Securely track your ballot with the Where’s My Ballot? tool. Hesitating to Vote by Mail because you want to make sure your vote is counted? The Where’s My Ballot? tool will maintain your privacy and track your ballot every step of the way. Track your ballot here.

When you Vote by Mail, you ensure that work, school, long lines, or a bad commute on Election Day won’t stop your ballot from being counted. Make your plan to vote today!

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, and the County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control has opportunities for pet owners to spay and neuter their pets at a reduced cost.

To see if you qualify for a reduced-cost voucher, send an email to: [email protected] or call (562) 345-0321.

Remember, spaying and neutering your pets are required by law in LA County.
To learn more about the Department of Animal Care and Control visit: animalcare.lacounty.gov.

At Your Service

Misfortune & Calamity Tax Relief

If your home was damaged by the recent flooding and mudslides, you may be eligible for tax relief. To qualify, you must file an application with the Assessor’s Office within 12 months from the date the property was damaged or destroyed, and the loss must exceed $10,000 of the current market value.

To learn more, visit assessor.lacounty.gov/tax-relief/disaster-relief.

Out and About

Celebrate Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month with Los Angeles County at one of many events happening throughout the County. We also encourage you to join us in a month-long tribute to the trailblazers who have influenced our community and the world. 

For more information, or to find an event near you, click here.

Photo Finish

LA County’s Military and Veteran Affairs’ Gallery of Heroes – African American Military History. (Photo: Los Angeles County / Mayra Beltran Vasquez)


Click here to access more photos of LA County in action.

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Los Angeles County

Erosion and storm damage to close PCH in Malibu nightly

Full closure of PCH in Malibu nightly 6PM-7AM or later until further notice due to erosion. Check traffic app/website before driving

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This photo released on Feb. 14, 2024 shows the damage to the Pacific Coast Highway after the recent storms. (Photo Credit: Caltrans)

LOS ANGELES – Officials from Caltrans District 7 in Los Angeles and the City of Malibu announced that the Pacific Coast Highway, (PCH) California Highway 1 from Sycamore Canyon Road in the City of Malibu to Las Posas Road in Ventura County will be closed to traffic  “until further notice” from 6 p.m. to at least 7 a.m. daily “until further notice.”

According to CalTrans, significant erosion and storm damage from the back to back atmospheric river events coupled with heavy rainfall and high tide wave action damaged sections of PCH’s ocean side shoulder.

A spokesperson for the agency acknowledged that more expected storms is likely to further impact the damaged sections of the roadway.

“Caltrans plans to install k-rails to block off the righthand ocean side lane and begin emergency steps to stabilize the collapsed slope,” the agencs said. “A Caltrans inspector must assess the damage each morning and determine when it’s safe to reopen.”

Once PCH does reopen each morning, it will likely be limited to two lanes in both directions, as “crews will shift lanes to the land side.”

The City of Malibu released a statement noting:

Full closure of PCH nightly 6PM-7AM or later, Sycamore Cyn – Las Posas until further notice due to erosion. Check traffic app/website before driving

All lanes of PCH in both directions will be closed nightly 6:00 PM to 700 AM (or later) from Sycamore Canyon Rd to Las Posas Road in Ventura County until further notice due to erosion of ocean side shoulder from high tides and storm damage, and more expected storms. Reopening times may vary based on high tides or storm conditions. Motorists should use alternate routes.

Caltrans plans to install k-rails to block off the righthand ocean side lane and begin emergency steps to stabilize the collapsed slope. A Caltrans inspector must assess the damage each morning and determine when it’s safe to reopen. Crews will shift lanes to the land side to provide two lanes in both directions. Watch for reduced speed limit signs, and workers and work vehicles in the road. Under California law, traffic violation fines are doubled in construction zones.

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