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WEATHER REPORT: Through the weekend, it's going to continue to be lovely with highs in the mid to upper 70s. For the work week, it's going to get a bit warmer. Expect low to mid 80s in Metro, and then low to mid 90s in the (any) Valley.
Hey there. This week got out of hand for me, so no feature story in this Edition #5 of LA Newsletter. You’ll have a good one next week, I promise. 
 
What I can give you right now are all 21 episodes of LA Podcast’s previously paywalled bonus show called Thirty Mile Zone. It’s a show where we talk about LA movies and what they seem to be saying about our city. You can find all the episodes on our Patreon page: LA Podcast Patreon
 
Maybe, if you like it, you’d also like to support us with a contribution? You can also do that on the Patreon page
 
Another way to support us is to tell a friend about LA Podcast, and recommend they listen. And the same goes for this newsletter. Use that dusty email forward button, or send them over to the subscription page
 
With all that said, here are a couple of news items, and some good things to read.

— Matt Tinoco
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AROUND TOWN:

  1. Nury Martinez is officially out of the 2022 LA Mayor’s race. The President of LA’s City Council said in an interview that she will not be campaigning, according to the Los Angeles Times. Martinez is the latest high profile politician to publicly opt out of the hunt for the Mayor’s seat after speculation Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas announced the same a few weeks ago.

    It's an indicator that might mean the Council President doesn't plan to stick around at LA City Hall for the long term. We’re going to officially speculate she has her eyes on a seat over at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, a couple blocks up Temple Street.

    Supervisor Shelia Kuehl has previously indicated she’s not going to seek reelection when her current term expires at the end of 2022, which means there’s an approaching vacancy to represent LA County’s Third Supervisorial District. It’s already a crowded race, with West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath, LA City Controller Ron Galperin, and Westside State Assemblymember Richard Bloom already in. 

    As for who’s nudging off the Mayor’s Office hopefuls, we’re betting it’s Congressmember Karen Bass. If the hunch is correct, Martinez’s bow-out could mean a formal entry into the race from Bass is coming any day now.

    By the way, the City of Los Angeles has never once elected a woman as its Mayor in its long and colorful history.

     
  2. On September 10th’s Board of Public Works Agenda was a proposal to add the Melrose shopping corridor between Fairfax and La Brea to the City of LA’s “No Vending” zones. These are the crudely signed street vending prohibition zones, often in tourist districts and other areas where big business and other politically powerful actors can sufficiently lobby the city to outlaw sidewalk vendors.

    According to lawyer Doug Smith, the BPW didn’t actually hear the item for discussion on that date, but the proposal still stands. And if you want to learn the reasons why the city officially wants to outlaw street vending on Melrose, you should definitely read the report itself by clicking here. Among them: tourists displaying cash to street vendors making them easy targets for mugging, and “the shell game.”

    “By  restricting  street  vending  along  Melrose Avenue, sidewalks will remain less cluttered and pedestrian traffic will flow. With a lack of loitering individuals and the cash transactions which take place in public view, there will be fewer opportunities for criminals to identify and victimize community members and tourists,” reads the report, written in September 2021 by the City of Los Angeles.

    The report wildly links street vendors to “crime,” and says out loud that “the presence of street vending has increased along the corridor and has played a role in a decrease in quality of life and an increase in criminal activity within the Melrose community.”

    For a response to the proposal, see this statement on the proposal by the LA Street Vendor Campaign. This is also the same stretch of Melrose where a proposal to redesign the street so it was more friendly for people on foot and other non-car conveyances got "Koretzed," as they say.

  3. Last week in this newsletter you read about how neither the City or County of Los Angeles, nor the LAUSD, could immediately provide more information about how many of their public employees are fully vaccinated.

    On Tuesday, the City of LA’s Personnel Department circulated an internal memo with this information for city departments. According to the memo, only 48% of city employees are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 40% of the City of LA’s employees have not even responded to the survey. (Likewise, Reporter Claudia Peschiutta learned that less than 40% of the county’s 108K person workforce has said they’re fully vaccinated.)

    The information put out on Tuesday does help answer the original question I had last week, about how many public employees in LA City are vaccinated, with data at a department level. While the LAPD and LAFD* are less vaccinated than the general public, they are apparently* more vaccinated than other city departments like the Recreation & Parks Department, LA City Sanitation, the Department of Water and Power, and even the Department of Aging.

    In all of those departments, a majority of employees haven’t even responded to the survey, which makes me wonder what else is going on out of sight. It might have something to do with the ongoing bargaining process between public employee unions and political leaders about consequences for employees who fail to get vaccinated. But neither labor nor management seem remotely interested in sharing any information on how that’s going with me.

    *This asterisk here is because it’s become apparent some of the numbers in the internal memo might be a little bit off. Among the issues, the LAFD numbers on the memo are notably different from the numbers LAFD directly provided me last week. According to an LAFD spokesperson last week, LAFD is 59% fully vaccinated. In the memo, LAFD is only 34% fully vaccinated.
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