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For Tracy Carpenter and Nikki Shallenberger, the appeals hearing for the Lincoln Project Apartments on Thursday will be a dramatic, David vs. Goliath showdown. The two moms are in the fight of their lives, a struggle that affects the safety of the 800 children who attend a nearby school, live in their neighborhood, or both. 

 

The mothers are opposed to the building of the Lincoln Apartments project at 2469 Lincoln Boulevard. The $20 million project is in partnership with the Venice Community Housing Corporation (VCHC) and Safe Place for Youth (SPY). The apartment building would share a property line with St. Mark School and would be located in a neighborhood where dozens of other  children live and play. 

 

NIkki and her kids volunteering to help paint St. Mark

“We’re not attorneys or land-use consultants.” “We are mothers concerned for our children’s safety and the eight-hundred children who live or go to school in this neighborhood.”

The proposed project would  consist of 39 apartment units of affordable housing, with 19 apartments set aside for those experiencing chronic homelessness and 20 for transition-aged (18 to 24) youth. 

 

Part of the funds used to pay for the project would be supplemented by Proposition 2 money, which means the inclusion of adults with serious mental illness requiring acute psychiatric inpatient care. Residents could also be subject to outpatient crisis intervention because they have a mental disorder, are violent or chronically homeless, or are at risk of chronic homelessness. 

 

“It is egregious, reckless and downright dangerous to house drug-abusing and mentally unstable people in a building that shares a property line with an elementary school,” says Shallenberger. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in our community who isn’t interested in discussing solutions to the housing problem, but forcing this project through back-channel ‘nonprofit’ money laundering is wrong—especially when there are elected officials involved.” 

 

Call to Action

 

When Carpenter first learned about the project, she started an online petition that eventually garnered more than 1,400 opposition signatures. “My neighbors and I wrote letters to [L.A. City Councilman Mike] Bonin and the [Proposition] HHH committee,” says Carpenter. “We went to a backyard chat with Bonin last July, where we expressed our opposition to the project.” During that meeting, Carpenter says Bonin appeared to be displeased by their opposition. 

 

Reasons for concern

 

Carpenter and Shallenberger say the only thing that they and many other members of the community are concerned about is the safety of their kids. Period. 

 

The SPY center, which currently acts as a drop in facility for teens who are experiencing homelessness  is next door to Saint Mark School, an elementary and middle school. Reports obtained for this story show the LAPD and LAFD have been called to SPY 117 times in the last three years for, among other things, an assault with a deadly weapon, violent mentally ill persons, overdoses, battery, burglaries, and vandalism.

 

In January, a shutdown at St. Mark took place after a SPY client wielding a chain started smashing nearby windows and threatening people. Carpenter says that this was just one of many instances when children have been threatened. The lockdown, as described by Shallenberger, was terrifying because no one knew what was going on. 

 

“It was the most terrifying minutes of my life,” she says. “Children deserve to feel safe at school and at home, and that’s not the case right now. Our school’s position is that they oppose this project because of the myriad threats it poses to the schoolchildren. It is infuriating that we are painted as selfish, greedy NIMBYs who don’t care about the homeless.”

 

In the last 2 years, Gateway Apartments, one of VCH’s supportive housing project [with 20 units], has had 129 Police and Fire Department responses. Compare that to a market rate apartment building on the same block [ 28 units], and that building had only 11 Police and Fire Department calls in the same time frame.  Some of the calls were; missing child, assaults with a deadly weapon, batteries, burglaries and thefts. VCH’s Horizon apartment building has similar egregious police and fire response calls.

 

A letter sent out by Saint Mark to parents stated: “As Venice residents who deeply recognize the urgent need to address the homeless crisis, we [nonetheless] cannot allow the developers’ good intentions to compromise the safety and security of our school children. … Furthermore, since rumors and speculations are circling around about the official position of the Saint Mark Administration, we feel now is the time to publicly voice our grave concerns and our opposition to this project. This step has been made in close consultation with the leadership of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It gives me no pleasure to oppose this effort to house our fellow human beings. However, in our view, the developers have not demonstrated sufficient compassion for our most vulnerable population, and we need to stand up for the safety of the children who are entrusted to our care.” 

 

Going through the motions

 

In January, Carpenter says she heard about a community workshop concerning the Lincoln Apartments at the SPY center from VCHC’s email list. Carpenter says she was there for about 90 minutes, along with four other people.

 

“The lack of people attending made it clear that there was no outreach done in our neighborhood or to St. Mark’s parents,” says Carpenter. “We went into the first Land Use Planning Committee (LUPC) meeting with very little information.” LUPC agreed and asked VCH to do more outreach.

 

The project was eventually voted on and denied by LUPC in a 5-2 vote. It was also voted down by the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) unanimously after hours of testimony from those for and against the project. 

 

“Hundreds of us stayed up until after midnight at that meeting and felt vindicated when they voted unanimously to oppose the project after reviewing the facts and listening to hours of testimony,” says Carpenter. “Even board members who said they supported VCH said they could not support this project due to the clear safety issues and the close proximity to schools and a neighborhood full of children.”

 

 “If you’re putting kids even in a one or two percent greater chance of seeing something horrible or experiencing something horrible, then it’s a no-brainer. It’s surprising it got this far. It’s not the right place.” – VNC Board member 

 

On May 28, the motion went in front of the City Planning Commission (CPC)—and that vote was unanimous. But not in the community group’s favor.

  

“The CPC meeting was heartbreaking, but not surprising,” says Carpenter. During the meeting, the CPC chastised the opposition, including Carpenter and the Venice Neighborhood Council’s vote, on the record. 

 

“They completely ignored the hundreds of pages of police and fire records that were buried inside the CPC staff report and claimed that there was no evidence of safety issues,” says Carpenter. “Even after Commissioner Marc Mitchell said, ‘I volunteered at SPY, and I have seen disorganization at the site that does lead to safety issues.’”

Unanswered CPRA requests

Carpenter submitted a CPRA request to Bonin’s offie requesting any communications and information his office had in regards to the project.

 

According to documents obtained for this report, the CPRA request was sent on May 28. On July 2, a response was given to the the  CPRA request. According to Carpenter, the response included numerous redacted items. It was also missing emails, including three Carpenter herself wrote.  In response,  Carpenter once again emailed Bonin’s office. That email was sent on July 7 and read, ” I find it hard to believe that there was basically no communication regarding this project in 2019.”  “Personally, I sent three emails to Bonin’s office in 2019 and none of them are included in this report. My public records request is incomplete and I ask that 2019 documents and communications from Bonin and/ or his office regarding Lincoln Apartments be included in a new report.”

 

Carpenter also stated in her emails that  “There are emails missing between Becky Dennison and Mike Bonin and I request that any emails between them regarding Lincoln Apartments from January 2019 until now be included in a new report.  These emails should have been part of my original CPRA request on May 28, 2020, but were not included and the absence of them is a violation of the California Public Records Act.”

 

Bonin’s office responded saying various staff members were working to provide [Carpenter] with the documents she requested that were cut off or illegible.   On July 17 and July 27 emails were again sent to Bonin to follow up on the missing or redacted emails. On August 25, Carpenter received a response from the office saying,  “It appears that the emails we provided to you are complete.”  Carpenter states she never received the emails from 2019 that she requested.

 

 Up next

 

At an appeal hearing this Thursday, September 3, Carpenter and The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will stand before the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee.

 

“This truly feels like a David and Goliath situation, and the more we uncover, the more impossible it feels, because the web of corruption is so tangled,” says Shallenberger.

 

 The appeal and identified connections and conflicts 

 

  • The Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC LA) gave VCH a $4.5 million pre-development loan for this project. One of the conditions of this loan was that they have community support. Carpenter claims this is not the case. 
  •  CPC Commissioner Helen Leung was a paid fellow of LISC LA, and Leung also voted to approve the project.
  •  The executive director of LISC LA is on the HHH Oversight Commission.
  • LISC LA is affiliated with the National Equity Fund, which purchased 99.99 percent of VCH’s Gateway Apartments.
  • VCH has a faith-based support letter on its site, which is led by Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries. It states that VCH worked with stakeholders even though they failed to do community outreach, which is the reason LUPC declined to vote on the project originally and sent it back, demanding that VCH do more outreach. Also, this letter states that VCH worked with neighborhood councils, but failed to mention that the Venice Neighborhood Council voted unanimously to oppose the project. It also fails to mention the VNC vote of ‘No Confidence’ in the CPC based on its vote to approve the project. www.vchcorp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Lincoln-Apartments-Faith-Support-Letter.pdf
  •  Councilman Bonin’s husband, Sean Arian, is on the board of Homeboy Industries, and as the Executive Director of LA-Tech.org, Arian recently gave $100,000 to Homeboy Industries.
  • VCH Board Treasurer Sylvia Aroth purchased 2469 Lincoln Boulevard (the lot next to McDonald’s that SPY currently occupies) and then sold that property to SPY (the Friends of Venice Youth LLC) in 2017. Now, SPY is in a long-term escrow with VCH so that VCH can develop the property.
  • A Supportive Housing Clarification memo from City Planning states: “Those services are intended for residents of the building only.”

What will be the outcome? 

 

Carpenter says she hopes that the police and fire records for VCHC and SPY are reviewed and not ignored at the appeal hearing. She also says she hopes the PLUM committee members read the testimony of nearby neighbors, parents and businesses and vote with the community, not with the homeless service lobbyists. 

 

“I’ve sacrificed time with my children to work on fighting this project because I want to keep them safe,” says Carpenter. “I am showing them that you have to stand up for what is right. My kids don’t have a voice in this. I am their voice.”

 

Editors Note: A letter obtained by The Venice Current previews responses to the appeal.


The Venice Current reached out to SPY and VCHC for this story and have not heard back. 

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The City Council voted Tuesday (12-0) unanimously to approve the recommendation to amend the definition of a Neighborhood Council Community Interest Stakeholder and adopt a uniform minimum voting age, minimum board member service age, and optional Youth Seat for Neighborhood Councils.

 

According to the motion, a Community Interest Stakeholder is now a member or participant in a Community Organization, which has maintained a physical address within NC boundaries for at least one year, and whose ongoing, verifiable activities or operations confer some benefit to the community served by that NC. According to a press release sent out by Empower LA, those could include nonprofits, schools, or faith-based institutions.

 

Individuals must be age 18 years or older on the election or election day to serve on an NC board, except Youth Seat board members, who must be between the ages of 14 and 17. Each NC has the option to have one Youth Seat on its board.

 

 

Voters in NC elections must be age 16 or older on the election or election day, except for voters for Youth Seat candidates, who must be age 14 or above.

 

 

In all cases, none of the above changes apply retroactively, and any currently seated NC member whose eligibility to serve may be impacted when the new ordinances take effect may still perform the remainder of their term.

 

 

These recommendations were the outcome of the Neighborhood Council Reform motion made by Councilmember David Ryu in May 2018. See the original motion and the adopted ordinances in City Council File 14-0467.

Early in the pandemic, José Guzman said he asked his managers at the Farmer John meat packing plant in Vernon, just south of Los Angeles, for a mask and hand sanitizer.

 

“They said they were not responsible. They could not give us masks because they had no masks,” said Guzman, a 61-year-old from San Bernardino who commuted 60 miles to the plant where he worked as a meat-trimmer. “There was no social distancing – I could reach out and touch my fellow worker with my hand. They didn’t do the right thing at the beginning, so that’s why so many people got infected.”

 

Guzman is among the 266 workers infected in a COVID-19 outbreak at the plant, as of Aug. 24, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. While his employer has publicly defended its safety practices, Guzman filed a COVID-19 workers’ compensation claim as soon as he was able—one of more than 35,000 Californians to do so since the pandemic began.

 

Workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19 have spiked dramatically in the past two months, from about 4,700 in May to about 10,900 in June and more than 11,600 in July, according to data from the California Department of Industrial Relations, which oversees the program.

 

Those claims could mean more than $2 billion in costs for employers and their insurers, according to projections  by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California, although workers’ comp claims unrelated to COVID-19 fell as the economy contracted.

 

California employers are required by law to pay for workers’ compensation coverage, which provides wage and medical benefits to injured workers and death benefits to the families of those killed on the job.

 

The families of at least 140 workers applied for death benefits, according to data collected by the institute.

 

Health care workers comprised nearly 40 percent of all COVID-19 claims, while public safety and other government workers, retail employees and manufacturing workers collectively made up another 30 percent of claims.

 

Imperial County had the highest rate of COVID-19 workers’ comp claims. The rural county along the Mexican border in June reported the state’s highest rate of COVID-19 cases and had to transport patients from its overwhelmed hospitals to other counties.

 

Essential workers like Guzman have extra protections because of an executive order Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in May. The order presumes these workers who contracted COVID-19 were infected on the job, and puts the burden on employers to prove otherwise.

 

Still, even essential workers can see their claims denied. The order allows employers to present evidence rebutting employees’ claims. Workers are covered by the order if they tested positive after March 19, when the state issued its first stay-at-home order, and if they worked at their employer’s place of business within 14 days of being diagnosed. Some workers may have been infected earlier, worked from home, or could not access tests that, especially earlier in the pandemic, were in short supply.

 

About 28 percent of all (not just essential worker) COVID-19 claims filed were denied in May, but that denial rate dropped to 20 percent in July and is on track to decline to nearly 10 percent in August, according to state data.

Health care workers comprised nearly 40 percent of all COVID-19 claims, while public safety and other government workers, retail employees and manufacturing workers collectively made up another 30 percent of claims.  

 

Alex Swedlow, president of the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, said the number of claims filed and the denial rate will change because employees can file weeks or months after their injuries. Employers have 30 days to dispute a worker’s claim under the executive order.

 

State lawmakers are considering measures that would make more permanent the protections offered by the governor’s executive order, which expired in July.

 

One bill, AB 644, would extend workers compensation protections to first responders and some health care workers if they are infected with COVID-19 or any other disease that results in a statewide public health emergency declaration.

A related bill, AB 196, covers essential workers not covered by AB 644. Another measure, AB 1159, would cover public safety and health care workers infected with COVID-19 through July 2024. The bills are pending.

Guzman was hospitalized for two weeks starting in mid-April, returning home with supplemental oxygen to relieve his lingering pneumonia. He said he unknowingly infected his wife. His doctor has not yet cleared him to return to work.

 

Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, which owns the Vernon meat processing plant where Guzman worked, maintains it has protected workers by providing testing and access to masks and hand sanitizers “as quickly as the CDC guidance was issued and supplies became available,” according to a letter it sent in late June, responding to criticism from two U.S. senators about its handling of the pandemic.

 

“The reality is that we have spent tens of millions of dollars on personal protective equipment (PPE) to include millions of masks and face shields to outfit every single team member, and tens of thousands of sanitizer stations,” Smithfield Foods’ executive Keira Lombardo , Smithfield Foods’ executive vice president for corporate affairs and compliance, said in an emailed statement to CalMatters.

 

After recovering at home, José Guzman now feels better, but he said his doctor told him some of his symptoms, like coughing and shortness of breath, could linger for months.

 

“I don’t know how this is going to end, if I feel worse or if the symptoms I’m feeling right now are not going to let me work full duty,” Guzman said, concerned that he might have to apply for temporary or even permanent disability. “I want to be protected. I’ve got a family. I’m already 61, so it’s not going to be easy for me if I’m not able to do my work (at) full duty.”

This story has been revised to provide the correct source of the projected costs of workers’ compensation claims. And the chart has been corrected with the correct source for the data on claims by month

A woman is arrested Wednesday after a property manager says she and two other homeless people were staying in a house he was looking after.

 

It happened around 3:30 p.m. near Dudley Ave. and South Main.

 

According to the property manager, two people exited the home upon his arrival. When he asked who they were–the two told him they lived at the home. After telling them who he was–the two took off.

 

Upon entering the home, the property manager came upon a third woman who he said became belligerent. The proper manager then called 911.

 

The property manager said criminal trespass charges were filed on the third person.

 

Councilmember Mike Bonin is asserting jurisdiction over a hotel project in Venice. A project approved by the Venice Neighborhood Council and the WLA APC after eight years of public hearings, multiple downsizing revisions, numerous accommodations, and concessions to alleviate parking, density and environmental concerns.

 

The Los Angeles City Council approved the motion on consent to allow Bonin to assert Sect. 245 of the Los Angeles City Charter, a motion rarely used by council members, allowing jurisdiction over the West Los Angeles Area Planning Commission’s (WLA APC) actions.

 

The motion was folded into a group of motions voted on by the City Council on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.

Members of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) were not alerted to the motion, violating the Empower LA Early Warning System. The Regulations of Early Warning Systems establish procedures for receiving input from Neighborhood Councils before decisions by the City Council, City Council Committees and boards and commissions.

 

 

James Murez, who owns an adjoining property supports the project said “It’s disheartening that any councilmember would insert themselves at the last minute into a project that has already cleared the Venice Neighborhood Council and the West LA Area Planning Commission – especially with a motion on consent without honoring the proper Empower LA procedures –and a project that has gone through eight years of a myriad of clearances.”

 

Sec 245 and a motion to remove it

In May, Councilmember Paul Kortez from Council District 5 put forth a motion to remove Section 245 of the City Charter to eliminate the ability for the City Council to overwrite the actions of planning commissions and instead align the City Council’s oversight of planning commission decisions with the authority and process in place for all other city commissions. 

 

In his motion Kortez stated, “This subsection of the Charter gives each City Councilmember immense land use control over the cases within their respective districts.” Adding that while this authority is rarely used and actions taken using 245 are made publicly, the option is too vulnerable to misuse behind closed doors.

20-0609_mot_05-19-2020

Several public statements were attached to Koretz’s motion, including an article including a recent report by Jack Humphreville, LA’s Corrupt City Council: Silence is Deafening.

 

The Venice Place Project 

 

The subject of Bonin’s action was The Venice Place Project, which is a proposed development of a mixed-use structure located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. The mixed-use includes a hotel that would consist of 78 guest rooms along with four dwelling units. The project would also house a restaurant and retail space, including a market and room for office use. 

 

 According to public records, The Venice Place Project has a long history that includes thorough and exhaustive Environmental Impact Reports EIR, and vetting at two zoning administrator hearings for more than four hours each, with dozens of speakers and public comment at each. In the past eight years, project leaders have also hosted 25 community outreach meetings, open houses, and received support from the Venice Neighborhood Council, the Los Angeles Business Council, the Venice Chamber of Commerce and hundreds of members of the Venice Community. The project has also had more than 800 letters of support. 

 

The application for the hotel project was first filed in 2012 with the City. According to public documents, as a result of substantial community engagement between 2012-2014, the project size and scale was reduced to be entirely consistent with the Venice Coastal Land Use Plan, the Venice Coastal Zone Specific plan and the LAMC.

 

Background and approval/denial from WLA APC

 

Yelena Zeltser, UNITE HERE Local 11, Keep Neighborhoods and People Organized for Westside and Renewal (POWER) made the appeals. 

 

Among the appeals, the WLA APC took up, a look at the traffic analysis. A determination in the appeal’s documentation showed that LADOT approved all project trip generation calculations during the study scoping process. In addition to the rates identified in the Specific Plan, rates per hotel unit and per 1,000 square feet of commercial floor area were also approved.

 

Keep Neighborhoods First also issued an appeal. The appeal argued The Project would demolish three affordable single-family residences subject to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance and Mello Act.

 

A Determination issued by the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA), ) dated July 6, 2010, found that no affordable units existed on the property. LAHD’s determination found the property has been a daycare center since 2004.

 

Also stated, since the proposed project includes constructing four new Residential Units (dwelling units within an apartment hotel), the project would not result in a conversion and would maintain a residential use on the project site. 

 

 On August 7, 2020, on a 3-0 Vote, the WLA APC voted to approve a liquor license, a conditional use permit to allow the hotel to be built within 500 feet of a Residential Zone, a Site Plan Review for the construction of a mixed use project with more than 50 rooms and Mellow Act compliance review. The project was approved and all outstanding appeals were denied. 

Next steps

 

According to rules of Sec 245, members of the Planning and Land Use Management PLUM committee need to take action within 21 days. PLUM will then send their vote to the City Council. No meetings have been scheduled to date. 

Empower LA is hosting a virtual neighborhood elections feedback session for homelessness liaisons on Saturday, August 29, 2020. The session will be held from 9:30am-10:45am.

 

According to a notice sent out, attendees will have a chance to provide input and suggestions for how Empower LA can best reach residents experiencing homelessness through outreach efforts and support them throughout the candidate selection and voting process for the 2021 NC Elections.

 

This also includes those without a physical mailing address and/or internet access. No further details are available at this time.

Click here for a link to the calendar 

BY DAN WALTERS

Four of the 12 measures on California’s November ballot were placed there by the Legislature.

 

Let’s assume that legislators had also appropriated $100 million in taxpayers’ money for campaigns to persuade voters to approve the four. It would have been an outrageous and likely illegal misappropriation of public funds under several laws.

 

Using public funds to pass ballot measures is also illegal at the local level. Government Code Section 54964, for instance, forthrightly declares, “An officer, employee, or consultant of a local agency may not expend or authorize the expenditure of any of the funds of the local agency to support or oppose the approval or rejection of a ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters.”

 

Nevertheless, as California’s city, county and special district officials place measures on their local ballots, particularly bond issues and tax increases, they often spend countless millions of taxpayer dollars on lavish “information” campaigns that don’t even pretend to be neutral.

 

They hire professional campaign management firms to conduct advance polling, draft measures’ wording in positive terms and then generate radio and television spots, mail appeals and other forms of political propaganda to persuade voters to approve the measures.

 

These blatant uses of taxpayer money for political purposes draw criticism and formal complaints from those opposed to the targeted measures, but local prosecutors routinely refuse to go after their fellow politicians for violating Government Code Section 54964 and other laws.

 

The only agency that even expresses interest is the state Fair Political Practices Commission, because anyone who spends money on political campaigns is supposed to file reports on their activities.

 

Occasionally, the FPPC has penalized miscreant local agencies, the latest being Los Angeles County, which in 2017 spent a million dollars for an ill-disguised campaign to pass Measure H, a quarter-cent increase in the sales tax.

 

The campaign included broadcast commercials in English and Spanish that used the slogan “Real help. Lasting Change.”

 

The campaign was very successful, as Measure H passed with nearly 70% of the vote. It’s now raising an estimated $355 million a year for 10 years to deal with the county’s out-of-control homelessness crisis.

 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association complained about the use of public funds, but as usual, the county’s district attorney refused to investigate. The organization filed a lawsuit and complained to the FPPC.

 

Last week, it was announced that county officials had agreed to a settlement — without admitting liability — and a $1.35 million penalty.

 

“This has been an ongoing frustrating issue for taxpayers throughout the state of California, and that is seeing the brazen use of taxpayer dollars for political advocacy,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “This is not a situation where they’re merely engaging in informational outreach, which is allowed, but blatantly taking sides and using taxpayer dollars to do so.”

 

In a statement, spokeswoman Lennie LaGuire said the county “is pleased to resolve this matter so we can continue to focus on the health and safety of the people of Los Angeles County.”

 

The FPPC’s action reminds local officials that it’s illegal to use public funds for campaigns, even for worthy causes. However, when you get down to the bottom line, even a $1.35 million fine — paid from taxpayer dollars — is small potatoes in comparison to a tax that will raise more than $3.5 billion.

 

Therefore, the practice will likely continue unless prosecutors suddenly find their backbones and put some officials in jail for misappropriation of public funds.

A 22- year old is stabbed to death outside an apartment complex in Venice Sunday night.

 

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the stabbing took place around 9:30 p.m. in the 500 block of North Venice Boulevard.

 

Police say an argument broke out between the victim and a suspect in the case.

 

The stabbing is not gang or transient related.

 

No other details are available at this time.

POST TAGS:

Few new details are released in two separate shootings in on or near Ocean Front walk in a 48-hour window.

 

The first shooting happened on August 14, 2020, at approximately 4:25 a.m. According to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers responded to a call of a “shots fired investigation” in the vicinity of Ocean Front Walk and Sunset Blvd.

 

Police say that upon arrival, the officers located the first victim they say was uncooperative and refused to tell them what had happened.

 

Officers say the victim drove to Brotman Hospital. A patrol unit was sent to the hospital to follow up.

 

The second victim was shot on his left foot and remained at the scene.

 

Police say they provided a statement to the officers. That victim was later transported to Cedars-Sinai Marina Hospital.

 

Police say officers recovered shell casings from the shooting location and a related video.

 

Pacific Detectives are continuing their investigation of the shooting and are seeking any information from the public related to this incident.

3115 Ocean Front Walk shooting

A shooting the next evening happened around 10:30 p.m.

 

The LAPD said that Pacific Officers responded to a radio call of a shooting at 3115 Ocean Front Walk. Officers arrived and located a male with a gunshot wound to the hand and a female with a gun shot wound to the elbow. Both were treated at the scene and transported to Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital in stable condition.

 

According to police, evidence and witnesses suggest that the male victim was arguing with another male at the location. The male victim appeared to reach in his pocket to get a gun when it accidentally went off, striking him and his girlfriend.

 

The male was arrested and the City Attorney’s Office filed several firearms charges.

August 13 stabbing

An arrest was made in a stabbing that took place on August 13, 2020 around 10:30 at 103 Ocean Front Walk.

Police say that David Powell was arrested after stabbing someone multiple times. Officers say Powell and the victim got into a verbal fight. During the fight, exchanges were made about the victim’s sexual orientation.

Powell was located and arrested by the Santa Monica Police Department on August 17th, for a Pacific Area warrant.
The District Attorney’s Office filed Attempt Murder with Hate Crime enhancement charges on the suspect.  

Since the federal weekly $600 boost expired last month, unemployed Californians have been living on impossibly low budgets — and expect to do so in the coming months even if President Trump’s weekend executive order helps break a partisan impasse in Congress. That’s because even if the federal unemployment stimulus gets extended, the state Employment Development Department estimates it could take the agency’s antiquated system as much as 20 weeks to deliver the payments.

 

Overnight, the maximum insurance benefit fell from $4,200 every four weeks to $1,800 — below the federal poverty line for a family of three. The loss of the boost is not the only rug being pulled from under the feet of nearly 1 million California renters who lost a job because of COVID-19.

 

On Aug. 14, a statewide moratorium on eviction expired, leaving many vulnerable to homelessness if they’re late on rent. State lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom are scrambling to find a legislative stopgap, but it is unclear whether several proposals currently being negotiated in the state Legislature will be completed in time.

 

Raising a newborn during a pandemic — on $10 an hour

This is not how Jessica Gallup, 37, thought the first five months of her daughter’s life would go.

 

She didn’t expect that Sunny, born late February, wouldn’t be able to have in-person check ups, that her friends wouldn’t be able to hold the newborn, or that her entire family in Hawaii wouldn’t be able to meet her.

 

She never imagined she’d be a stay at-home mother. Rather, after eight weeks of maternity leave, she planned to go back to work as a corporate event coordinator, a career built over 21 years that seemed to crumble in the time it took her daughter to be on the verge of crawling.

 

Gallup spent most of her baby’s first months calling the state’s unemployment agency over 3,600 times, by her count, to help resolve her unemployment claim. Without any income for eight weeks, she drained her savings.

 

Jessica Gallup mixes gummy candies with salted plum powder to make a traditional Hawaiian treat. Gallup craved this candy throughout her pregnancy but couldn’t find the ingredients in the Bay Area, she now has her family send it from Hawaii so she can make it herself. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

Jessica Gallup mixes gummy candies with salted plum powder to make a traditional Hawaiian treat. Gallup craved this candy throughout her pregnancy but couldn’t find the ingredients in the Bay Area, she now has her family send it from Hawaii so she can make it herself. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

 

“Without the $600, I can’t even pay my rent,” Gallup said, as she rocked Sunny in her chair. “I get $450. That comes out to $10 an hour. There’s nowhere in California where minimum wage is $10 an hour.”

Gallup’s determined to stay positive for her daughter’s sake. She started selling home-made candy that she grew up eating in Hawaii to make up for the disappearance of the $600.

 

She asks herself these questions: Should I move to a lower-cost state? Should I try to find “essential” work? Perhaps switch careers to the medical field? Can I find a job that won’t disappear, leaving my livelihood in the hands of state and federal lawmakers?

 

Hopeful that the state will come through

 

When Heather Stockwell first moved to Los Angeles, she was homeless, alternating between couchsurfing or sleeping in her car.

 

Four years later, the 42-year-old had found stability. Now an event audio engineer, she’d found a rare deal in Los Angeles: a $900 room in a house shared with her landlord.

 

She realized everything was about to change during her last big gig before the shutdown — a tech conference planned for 250,000 people. Only about 20,000 showed.

Heather Stockwell, a furloughed audio engineer, says she’s late on rent and would be at risk of eviction if not for the goodwill of her housemate, who is also her landlord. Photo via Stockwell

Her company continued paying employees the first month of the shutdown. Then she was furloughed. Then the company stopped paying health insurance.

 

Stockwell liquidated her 401(k) and funneled the weekly $805 she got in unemployment benefits to her housemate to buy food and pay his mortgage. She found a silver lining: finally, she has long stretches of time to work on songwriting, to find poetry amid a pandemic.

 

Now, with the disappearance of the federal $600 boost, Stockwell’s down to $820 a month in unemployment benefits, which doesn’t cover rent. Stockwell considers herself fortunate: with her housemate’s word that he won’t kick her out.

 

She said she doesn’t think state lawmakers will leave Californians high and dry.

 

“They have been talking about giving Californians the $600,” Stockwell said, referring to reports that Democratic state legislators are considering a state supplemental unemployment benefit.

 

“That gives me hope. California is the fifth largest economy in the world. They don’t need to wait for the rest of the country.”

‘Is there a lottery that I’m not a part of?’

For Forrest Batson, 34, the loss of the $600 feels purely theoretical. Part of the state agency’s backlog of 1 million unresolved unemployment claims, he has yet to receive any of the federal bonus payments.

 

A downtown Los Angeles chef, Batson filed for unemployment days after the statewide shelter-in-place order. After weeks of silence, he got through to an EDD representative who informed him that his benefits were stalled by an alleged false statement he had made on a prior unemployment claim that resulted in overpayment. Batson was flabbergasted; he’d never been notified.

Forrest Batson, a downtown Los Angeles chef who has recently turned to work at reduced hours after his restaurant closed for three months, has yet to receive any of the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits. Photo via Batson

Forrest Batson, a downtown Los Angeles chef who has recently turned to work at reduced hours after his restaurant closed for three months, has yet to receive any of the extra $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits. Photo via Batson

He began receiving $167 a week in federal aid for freelancers and others who didn’t qualify for regular assistance in late April. However, he said EDD representatives told him that the agency won’t delay benefits for past false statements during the pandemic, yet his account remains mysteriously pending, and he hasn’t received the money.

 

“Is there a lottery that I’m not a part of? This is a livelihood,” Batson said.

 

Newsom announced 5,300 temporary hires and appointed a “strike team” to help the EDD get through the backlog before the end of September, but 61 legislators told Newsom in a scathing letter last week that his promises didn’t nearly go far enough.

 

So Batson isn’t holding his breath for the extra $600. Though he’s been able to go back to work with reduced hours, “every other second we’re on the edge of another shutdown so I’m being told to prepare,” Batson said. He has dipped deep into savings. His plans to start his own catering business or move into a bigger place with his girlfriend will have to wait.

 

What stings most, he said, is the way he’s been treated by EDD representatives: hung up on, yelled at, and told conflicting information from one phone call to the next.

 

As for the $600, Batson said, “I haven’t even been able to experience the luxury of this extra money.”