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Headlines: 1 in 5 People Murdered In The City Of L.A. Were Unhoused, According to Preliminary Coroner Data

10:47 AM PST on March 7, 2023

LA Sanitation discards of homeless people’s belongings and trash during an ‘CARE’ cleaning.

Welcome to L.A. TACO’s daily news briefs, where we bring our loyal members, readers, and supporters the latest headlines about Los Angeles politics and culture. Stay informed and look closely.

—Los Angeles: More than 1,110 unhoused people died in the City of L.A. in 2022, according to preliminary data from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner. An analysis of the data by Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia's office found that nearly 3/4 of unhoused deaths occurred on the streets "or areas without proper utilities." Twenty percent of all murders city-wide involved an unhoused victim. Despite making up less than 10 percent of the city's population, 30 percent of unhoused deaths were of Black people. "We made this map to bring visibility to the approximately 1,167 unhoused deaths in 2022 in the City of LA that otherwise happen quietly with little attention," Mejia's office said in a statement. View the map here.

An independent investigation found that gang members hold some of the "highest levels" of power in the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. "The Department currently contains several active groups that have been, and still are engaged in harmful, dangerous, and often illegal behavior," the report reads. The report found that deputy gangs operate much like the mafia and street gangs. The civilian oversight commission, a board of civilians that monitors the sheriff's department recommends that joining and participating in deputy gangs should be prohibited. "The COC urges Sheriff Luna to adopt a policy that prohibits deputies from being members of Deputy Cliques and thereby ending Deputy Gangs," the report reads. Read the report here. [Rolling Stone]

Ukrainian World Congress, a non-governmental organization, sent a letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, asking the group to reject films funded by “Russian oligarchs or other enablers of Russia’s genocidal war on Ukraine.” The letter comes two months after The L.A. Times reported on a lawsuit alleging Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev played a major role in funding Top Gun: Maverick. Ukrainian World Congress is asking The Academy to reconsider Top Gun's nominations. [LAT]

—DTLA: A DTLA jury awarded $1.5 million in damages to a deputy district attorney who alleged she was denied important positions in retaliation for complaining about directives set forth after the 2020 election of District Attorney George Gascón. [City News Services]

—South Los Angeles: A law firm filed a lawsuit against the City of L.A. on behalf of Strategic Actions for A Just Economy (SAJE) alleging that the city broke the law when they "overrode regulatory decisions and allowed publicly owned land in South Central Los Angeles to be developed into a luxury hotel." The lawsuit centers on a lot at 3685 S. Vermont Avenue. Before sitting vacant for a decade the property was home to the Bethune Library since the 70s. “We believe the city abused its discretion in approving this hotel,” Maria Patiño Gutierrez, Director of Policy and Research at SAJE, said in a press release. “Permits for this project were denied twice by regulatory agencies, but the city council nullified those decisions. As long as city officials are allowed to specially exempt land-use decisions in their districts from laws and regulatory processes, we are not going to solve our housing crisis.”

—Frogtown: The owners of DTLA's Cha Cha Cha are opening a new bar/restaurant called Loreto in Frogtown on March 20. The new venture is described as a "gastronomic trip through the Mar de Cortés, where the dry desert meets one of the most abundant oceans in the world." Expect "bold and spicy" seafood from Sinaloa as well as "charcoal grill" flavors Sonora and "delicate flavors" from Baja. Chef Paco Moran, Executive Chef at Cha Cha Cha will be curating the menu and running both kitchens.

—Long Beach: Terri Henry, a well-known Long Beach-based foodie known for launching the non-profit Black Restaurant Week, is facing criticism for using the N-word on more than one occasion. In an email sent to Black Restaurant Week vendors, Henry admitted, “in a one nano-second slip of the tongue I used the N-word with an ‘er’ instead of ‘A’. Completely accidental and unintentional, I swear to you, and to be honest I should not have been using it in any form, even ending with an ‘A’." [LB Post]

—DTLA: Jury selection is expected to start today for the trial of suspended Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who faces federal corruption charges alleging he routed county contracts to USC's social work school in exchange for benefits to his son. According to prosecutors, Ridley-Thomas allegedly arranged for the former dean of the school, Marilyn Flynn, to funnel $100,000 from his campaign account through the school to a nonprofit operated by his son, Sebastian, who had recently resigned from the state Assembly amid a sexual harassment probe. Prosecutors contend Ridley-Thomas wanted to provide the money to support his son's nonprofit, but didn't want the funds linked to him or his campaign. So he agreed to provide the money to Flynn, who sent $100,000 in university funds to the nonprofit, known as the Policy, Research & Practice Initiative. Ridley-Thomas has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. [City News Services]

"Don't worry, this isn't Twitter, we won't cancel you for admitting you don't like people shitting directly outside your window." Reddit users discuss the "ethical ways" to displace people living on the streets in Los Angeles who have nowhere to go. [Reddit]

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