LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency has added more security to Union Station, after staff and the SEIU United Service Workers Union which represents caretakers working there, demanded that the agency take steps to protect workers from ongoing assaults by some of the homeless population living near the station.
“These workers are essential workers, and they should not have to fear for their lives every time they punch in to keep our region’s premier transit station clean for its many patrons,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who also serves on the LA Metro Board of Directors.
“This is a good first step,” said Alejandra Valles, a spokesperson for SEIU United Service Workers West, which represents caretakers working there. “But there is no fix. This is a long-term problem that requires long-term solutions.”
According to a source at Metro with knowledge of the security issues within the system and who asked to remain unidentified, the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Long Beach Police Department who have the current contracts to patrol Metro’s transit system, have experienced a sharp uptick in incidents involving homeless people on transit properties but with a higher percentage of assaults at Union Station.
During the pandemic, the station became a haven for homeless men and women, many with serious mental health problems.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times described widespread fear among low-wage workers at the transit hub who were often mocked and threatened while working. A caretaker was beaten with a club in the bathroom last year where homeless men and women often bathe or use drugs.
During the first two months of this year, violent crime at the station has increased by 94% compared to the same period last year and property crime has doubled.
“Safety is still our top priority,” Metro spokesman David Sotero said in a statement late Thursday. He said the agency works with law enforcement, social services providers and private security “to increase physical security at Union Station and combat criminal activity.”
The Los Angeles Times also reports violent crime is up 94%. Union Station is owned by Metro and the Los Angeles Police Department patrols the property, but in small numbers and not at night.
Private security at the station hasn’t stopped the attacks experienced by janitors, SEIU president David Huerta told KABC 7 last week. “Our understanding, and through the workers’ testimony, is that when the call the police, the police escort the folks off the premises and those folks come right back,” said Huerta. “This is a center point of Los Angeles, the same way that the airport is a center point of L.A. You can see plenty of secured officers at the airport. There needs to be more resources put here to ensure workers can work in safety.”
#HappeningNow @SEIU members are protesting working conditions at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, where employees tell us they don’t feel safe because of the large homeless population that frequents the transportation hub. Some janitors have been attacked @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/acDQc2w8eV— Josh Haskell (@abc7JoshHaskell) May 5, 2022
From Monday, Metro will check that customers have business at the station and kick out anyone who engages in illegal activities. The entrances to the southern and northern gardens where the homeless often rest will be closed. Psychiatric teams will be deployed at the station, in addition to reinforced patrols. And all employees will receive quarterly training in de-escalating tense and potentially dangerous situations.
Deputy Chief of the LAPD Transit Services Bureau Donald Graham declined to say how many officers were deployed but said the department has doubled its resources at Union Station and is now working with private security to coordinate responses.
LA Mayor Garcetti volunteers at Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving
For many of the celebrities joining Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving Day volunteers the day was about sharing the experience with family
LOS ANGELES – In the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day, Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub, celebrity supporters and 225 volunteers and staff to prepare and deliver 7,400 meals on Thanksgiving Day to seriously ill and housing insecure people throughout 4,700 square miles of L.A. County.
“Mayor Eric Garcetti epitomizes what it is to be part of a community and lift one another through compassion and service. As he rolled up his sleeves and helped plate meals, he brought attention that while this is a day most of us are surrounded by people we love, we need to remember that some people don’t have that,” Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub said. “He reminded us that no Angeleno should be alone and with a warm smile, a conversation and a meal, our volunteers can change the entire day for our clients, become angels in the City of Angels,” Ayoub added.
For many of the celebrities joining Project Angel Food’s Thanksgiving Day volunteer pool, the day was about sharing the experience with family. Volunteers included Lisa Rinna and husband Harry Hamlin; “Weird Al” Yankovic with his wife Suzanne and daughter Nina.
Also volunteering was Out actor and singer Cheyenne Jackson and husband Jason Landau with their twins Willow and Ethan. Jackson said the couple brought the children because, “I want to teach my kids to be grateful and thankful for everything that we have, and when you have the capability to give to other people, do it.”
He also talked about the death of friend Leslie Jordan, a Project Angel Food supporter who died exactly one month earlier. “He was one of my best friends and it hit me really, really hard like so many people,” he said.
American Idol favorite Ava Maybee with her mother, and Melissa Rivers with son Cooper Endicott, continuing her mother Joan Rivers’ legacy of volunteering on Thanksgiving.
Avatar: The Way of Water star Trinity Bliss brought her parents just weeks before the December 16 release of the highly anticipated film. “I’m so honored to work alongside so many people to bring a warm, delicious, tasty meal to people in need.”
Of her much-anticipated film, Avatar: Way of Water, Trinity added, “Avatar was amazing, but I think Avatar: The Way of Water is going to be just so much more dramatic and be an experience people are going to need to experience in theaters.”
Lisa Rinna reflected on the fact that Project Angel Food is the primary source of food for most of its clients. “It’s so important because that is going to be their only meal of the day.” her husband Hamlin added, “to have the opportunity to give back is amazing.”
Other celebrities included Eileen Davidson (RHOBH, Days of Our Lives), Peter Porte (Days of Our Lives), Juan Pablo Di Pace (DWTS, Fuller House), Olympian Tai Babilonia, Tim Bagley (Gracie & Frankie, Will & Grace), Michael Hitchcock (The Resort, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Lawrence Zarian (The Kelly Clarkson Show), Marc Malkin (Variety), James Wallington and Will Jardell (Amazing Race Season 32 winners), Romeo Escobar (Survivor 42 runner-up), and parenting author Donna Tetreault.
The 7,400 meals being delivered on Thanksgiving included 1,600 traditional turkey dinners to critically ill men, women, children and their caregivers, 5,600 Medically Tailored Meals and breakfasts regularly scheduled for Thursday delivery, and another 200 meals were provided to Project Angel Food community partner PATH for residents for two of PATH’s Interim Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing sites.
Volunteers provided contactless “drive-by” pick-up of the meals which were then delivered to Project Angel Food clients. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners consisted of roasted turkey, root vegetables, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. Vegetarian meals were also provided.
The meal was sponsored by the Stanley and Joyce Black Family foundation with Glamazon (Amazon’s affinity group for the LGBT+ community) sponsoring the volunteer event.
Project Angel Food CEO Richard Ayoub noted that Project Angel Food strives to end food insecurity and improve health outcomes of critically ill men, women and children in Los Angeles with Medically Tailored Meals, delivered with care and compassion.
Over 2,500 clients are fed daily. Project Angel Food delivers 1.3 million meals each year.
Culver City Police are investigating anti-Semitic hate incident
The publication was produced by a known hate group who has distributed similar hate materials in surrounding cities
CULVER CITY – Police investigators are looking into anti-Semitic hate incident that involved the distribution of anti-Semitic hate publication in one Culver City neighborhood on Sunday. Multiple neighbors reported copies of this publication.
The publication was produced by a known hate group who has distributed similar hate materials in surrounding cities.
“The Culver City Police Department condemns all forms of hate, and we stand in solidarity with our Jewish Community. We will utilize all resources available to us to fully investigate this matter and bring any criminal offenders that are identified to justice. We are working diligently with our community partners, neighboring agencies, and other law enforcement partners on this incident. Any criminal activity that is discovered as a result of this investigation will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for criminal filing consideration,” the department spokesperson said in a statement.
Anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to contact the Culver City Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Sergeant Edward Baskaron at 310.253.6316, or the Watch Commander at 310.253.6202.
United Against Hate holds LGBTQ+ Zoom meeting town hall
The meeting was hosted by the LA District Attorney’s LGBTQ+ advisory board, LA County Human Relations Commission, & the US Attorney’s Office
LOS ANGELES – As part of United Against Hate Week, a free and open-to-the-public LGBTQ+ Town Hall was held on Wednesday, November 16th via zoom.
The meeting’s objective was to provide public education on how to recognize hate crimes, hate incidents, and acts of discrimination and to encourage the community to report and help prevent acts of hate against the LGBTQ+ community.
The meeting was hosted by members of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s LGBTQ+ advisory board, LA County Human Relations Commission, and the US Attorney’s Office Central District of California. Hosts included George Gascón, Los Angeles County District Attorney, Bamby Salcedo, President & CEO, [email protected] and Chair of LADA’s LGBTQ Advisory Board, and Matthew Barragan, Assistant United States Attorney, Civil Rights Section.
A poll sent out during the meeting confirmed that at least 84% of those attending the meeting had either personally been or knew someone who had been affected by a hate crime. This finding is congruent with the most recent FBI hate crime statistics, which indicate the highest number of hate crimes occurring in over twenty years. The overall number of hate crimes reported in California in 2021 was 1,763 – an increase of 32.6% from 2020. There was also a 30.2% increase in anti-gay male hate crimes, a 21% increase in anti-homosexual bias hate crimes, and an 18% increase in anti-lesbian bias hate crimes.
Unfortunately, many hate crimes go unreported, leaving the community even more susceptible to the crimes and misconduct of prejudiced individuals. The two main reasons for this gross underreporting are victims and witnesses preferring to handle the situation in another way and fearing that the police would not or could not respond in a way that would help the situation. All meeting hosts sought to rectify this by calling for all community members and allies to report any hate crimes, incidents, and acts of discrimination.
“This is really a process of bringing our community together,” said Gasćon in a closing statement. “Understand that while we are using this week to underline the issues surrounding hate crime and fear, this is an all-year effort.”
LA vs. Hate & United Against Hate Week launched
“United against Hate Week provides opportunities for every resident to get involved, show our strength, and take a real stand against hate”
LOS ANGELES – A panel of leaders from different cultural sectors of Los Angeles stood on the steps of Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration on Monday, November 14, to launch LA vs. Hate- United Against Hate Week.
Behind them, supporters stood with signs depicting the hands of two people of different races clasped together in unity under the words “TOGETHER,” and “JUNTOS.” Before the panel, a small crowd gathered in anticipation.
The rally was led by Robin Toma, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, lead agency for LA vs Hate. Also present were Holly Mitchell, Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District Two, Esther Lim, Justice Deputy, Office of Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, District 1, George Gascon, LA County District Attorney.
Also in attendance were Maria S. Salinas, President and CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce & UAHW Honorary Co-Chair, Debra Duardo, Superintendent, Los Angeles County Office of Education UAHW Honorary Co-Chair, Martin Estrada, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, Shawn Landres, Immediate Past President, Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission & UAHW Co-Chair, Dean Chalak Richards, Dean of Student Life, Diversity & Belonging, Pepperdine Caruso School of Law & UAHW Co-Chair and Hildy Sterns, South Bay Social Justice Work Group Founder.
Each took their turn expressing their dedication to the Stop the Hate Initiative, and detailing the steps they would take to realize the initiative’s mission.
“The release of the commission’s annual hate crime report will confirm what we have been experiencing,” said Mitchell, addressing the crowd, “which is a historic rise in hate crime across one of the most diverse counties in the country. A county with the largest Native American population of any county in the nation, a county with the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia, a county with the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, a county in which two hundred and twenty-four identified languages are spoken on a daily basis. We can and must, my fellow Angelinos, be proactive. United against Hate Week provides opportunities for every resident to get involved, show our strength, and take a real stand against hate.”
In a panel discussion major focus was on stopping hate in the workplace and in schools.
“The chamber is committed to supporting businesses to stay abreast of changing business practices to make strategic, employee-centered investments that promote business growth and advance employment opportunities,” said the Chamber’s Salinas.
Dean Richards proudly listed competing schools, such as Southwestern Law School, UCLA School of Law, USC School of Law, and Loyola, stating that these institutions have come together with the shared goal of coming against hate. She stated that through the initiative, students and their families alike are being taught how to recognize hate and utilize resources such as the law to help them stop hate crimes in their tracks.
Sterns spoke regarding the anti-hate coalition’s community-wide event last Sunday with activities to raise awareness and bring the community together. On Tuesday, Stearns invited everyone to watch a free screening of the new documentary, “Race to be Human,” which will be followed by a panel discussion.
Finally, on Friday, she added that she encouraged everyone to take part in a moment of silence at 9:31AM to think about how Angelenos can support others within the community. Lawn and window signs will also be distributed throughout Manhattan Beach with the slogan, “Manhattan Beach Stands United Against Hate.”
Estrada announced the start of The U.S. Department of Justice’s initiative called “United Against Hate.” The initiative will include local forums to connect community groups to federal, state, and local partners. The goal is to increase awareness about reporting hate crimes and incidents, and to create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement, government actors, and the community.
This past September, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced on September 15 during the White House United We Stand Summit, that over the next year, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) will host a new nationwide initiative to combat unlawful acts of hate. The United Against Hate program is convening local forums that connect community groups to federal, state, and local law enforcement to increase community understanding and reporting of hate crimes; build trust between law enforcement and communities; and create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement and other government partners and community groups to combat unlawful acts of hate.
“The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing federal hate crime laws,” said Attorney General Garland. “That is why the Justice Department has launched its new United Against Hate program. This initiative brings together community groups, community leaders, and law enforcement at every level to build trust and strengthen coordination to combat unlawful acts of hate.”
On Wednesday, Estrada’s office will partner with the LA County District Attorney’s office in an LGBTQ+ portion of the United Against Hate Initiative.
The rally ended with the unveiling of a “Wishing Tree” art intervention inspired by county residents. All attendees were invited to contribute a wish to the art piece.
Iconic Hollywood Bowl appoints new Superintendent, Mark Ladd
Prior to joining the Hollywood Bowl staff, Mark was Operations Coordinator at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena
LOS ANGELES – Mark Ladd was appointed by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation to serve as the Hollywood Bowl Superintendent. Mark will carry on the Hollywood Bowls 100 years of tradition in serving as a premiere destination for live music in Southern California.
With over 1,000,000 visitors and over 100 events annually, the Hollywood Bowl, managed on behalf of the County by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (LA Phil), elevates the transformative power of live music.
“It is a great honor to receive this appointment,” shared Mark Ladd, Hollywood Bowl Superintendent. “I look forward to serving in a stewardship role and continuing the tradition of constant improvement at this historic facility.”
Since 1994, Mark has served in the dual role of Assistant Superintendent for the Hollywood Bowl, representing the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as handling the duties of Associate Director of Hollywood Bowl Operations, where he was recently promoted to Director, on behalf of the LA Phil. During his time at the Hollywood Bowl, the venue has hosted over 2,700 events.
“I am excited about the appointment of Mark Ladd as the Director Superintendent of the Hollywood Bowl,” stated Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “This beloved performance venue is an asset in the Fifth District that requires thoughtful stewardship. Mark offers a long history of committed service to the Bowl and its visitors. I look forward to working with him so that we can continue our coordinated community engagement strategies. I am pleased we share a common vision, and both prioritize soliciting community feedback to address sound, traffic, and long-term mitigation projects.”
When asked to recall his most memorable experiences at the Bowl, Mark notes that in addition to witnessing many outstanding events, serving a principal role in the construction of several buildings on the Bowl campus, most notably, the renovation and rehabilitation of the Bowl’s iconic performance shell/stage, which was completed in 2004. In addition, he served on the team that developed the Hollywood Bowl Design Guidelines.
“We are delighted that Mark Ladd has been promoted to serve as only the 3rd ever appointee to hold the position of Superintendent, Hollywood Bowl,” said Chad Smith, Chief Executive Officer, David C. Bohnett Chief Executive Officer Chair Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. “His incredible knowledge and passion for the iconic Hollywood Bowl will continue to serve audiences and artists alike as we move into the second century of this beloved Southern California venue’s tradition.”
Prior to joining the Hollywood Bowl staff, Mark was Operations Coordinator at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Sports Arena. His experience also includes several New Year’s Day Rose Bowl Games, multiple Super Bowls, as well as the 1984 Olympics.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association
Under the leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil offers live performances, media initiatives and learning programs that inspire and strengthen communities in Los Angeles and beyond.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra is the foundation of the LA Phil’s offerings, which also include a multi-genre, multidisciplinary presenting program and such youth development programs as YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles).
Performances are offered on three historic stages—Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and The Ford—as well as through a variety of media platforms. In all its endeavors, the LA Phil seeks to enrich the lives of individuals and communities through musical, artistic and learning experiences that resonate in our world today.
The Hollywood Bowl
One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922 and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music, offering something for everyone.
It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz performances. In June 2021, the Hollywood Bowl was awarded Amphitheater of the Decade at the 32nd Annual Pollstar Awards. It was also awarded the Outdoor Concert Venue of the Year award at the 31st Annual Pollstar Awards, an honor bestowed 14 previous times, as well as Top Amphitheater prize at the 2017 and 2018 Billboard Touring Awards. For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer.
“The County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation is proud of its co-stewardship with the Los Angeles Philharmonic of the Hollywood Bowl, one of the most iconic and world-renowned outdoor performance venue and park,” shared County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Director Norma Edith García-González. “I am excited about Mark Ladd’s leadership, a career professional with extensive and invaluable experience in operating the Hollywood Bowl. I am confident he will lead the next centennial of the Hollywood Bowl legacy with a commitment to providing a welcoming and enriching experience.
As a fifth-generation Californian, Mark has a life-long interest in the state’s native flora and fauna. He has spent several years researching and digitizing an extensive family photograph collection that spans to the pre-Civil war era. He served on the Board of Trustees of Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, where he resides with his wife Angie. They have two adult children.
LA County Public Health: Student & parent trainings on Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a high potency synthetic opioid that is colorless and odorless and can cause rapid respiratory depression resulting in death
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is hosting virtual Public Health Ambassador training sessions for students and parents to learn more about fentanyl, including the current overdose trends, risk factors associated with youth opioid use, how to recognize an opioid overdose, and how naloxone (Narcan) can reverse opioid overdose.
The trainings will also review effective communication strategies families can use to talk about opioids and fentanyl, and youth-specific resources for accessing ongoing support and treatment.
Participants who are first time Public Health Ambassador Program attendees will receive a $25 stipend and opportunity to earn an additional $25 for outreach.
Monday, November 14, 2022: 5:00-6:00pm (English)
Tuesday, November 15, 2022: 5:00-6:00pm (Spanish)
Parents can sign up for a Parent Training by visiting tinyurl.com/odpatraining or scanning the QR code below:
Wednesday, November 16, 2022: 4:30-5:30pm
Students can sign up for a Student Training by visiting tinyurl.com/obsatraining or scanning the QR code below:
Background Information on Fentanyl:
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has issued multiple health alerts related to adolescents overdose involving the purchase of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, including one student found deceased on campus at Bernstein High School in Hollywood in September 2022. Since then, additional Los Angeles County youth have overdosed or died from consuming counterfeit pills.
Nationwide, there has been a growing trend of illicit drugs (particularly methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine) and counterfeit pills contaminated with fentanyl and other life-threatening substances. This has impacted both adults and youth. In 2021, fentanyl was identified in about 77% of adolescent overdose deaths nationally, and over 80% of drug overdose deaths among adolescents aged 15 – 19 in 2015 were unintentional. Fentanyl and methamphetamine-related overdose deaths have increased in Los Angeles County even prior to the pandemic and continue to rise at an alarming rate.
Fentanyl is a high potency synthetic opioid that is colorless and odorless and can cause rapid respiratory depression resulting in death. Awareness of the risk of fentanyl in counterfeit pills, stimulants, and other substances sold outside of pharmacies is essential for both the general public, including youth and adults, as well as healthcare providers.
From the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Public Affairs:
On October 19, 2022, at approximately 0730 hours, LA County Sheriff’s Narcotics Bureau Detectives and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents assigned to a task force at the Los Angeles International Airport seized approximately 12,000 suspected fentanyl pills.
The suspect attempted to go through TSA screening with several bags of candy and miscellaneous snacks with the intent of boarding a plane. However, it was discovered that inside the “Sweetarts”, “Skittles”, and “Whoppers” candy boxes were fentanyl pills and not candy. The suspect fled prior to being detained by law enforcement but has been identified and the investigation is on-going.
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