A big-money Hollywood dognapping, a local radio station re-litigates allegations of racism, a gentrification battle rages in Little Tokyo, and some more good numbers regarding local COVID-19 hospitalizations. It’s Friday. It’s your news brief. Now, take it!
Morning News Rundown
Lady Gaga’s prized French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav, were stolen at gunpoint on Wednesday. Gaga’s dog walker shot and wounded, and questions linger about a possible kidnap-for-ransom plot. The singer is currently offering a $500,000 reward for the two dogs, no questions asked. An investigation is ongoing. [CNN]
A massive fire broke out at an industrial complex in Compton early Friday morning, engulfing several structures and a nearby bus depot. A gigantic plume of smoke from the blaze could be seen as far away as Malibu. No injuries were reported, and no cause is yet known. [ABC 7]
In deposition testimony taken earlier this month, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he never personally saw any improper behavior by former political aide Rick Jacobs. This past July, a former member of Garcetti’s security detail sued the city, alleging Jacobs had sexually harassed him with inappropriate touching and comments. Jacobs has denied the allegations. [L.A. Times]
Yesterday, L.A. County hit another heartening milestone in the downtrend of coronavirus spread. The total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations dipped below 2,000 for the first time since November. To date, there have been 1,187,474 positive cases and 21,102 deaths from COVID-19 in the county. [Public Health]
Former KCRW producer Cerise Castle’s recent interview on LA Podcast put a spotlight on race relations at the station. When Castle departed her role last year, she penned a resignation letter describing an employment experience “marked by microaggressions, gaslighting, and blatant racism.” In the wake of that letter, KCRW hired an independent law firm to examine the allegations, but investigators ultimately found Castle’s claims to be “unsubstantiated or not corroborated.” [L.A. Times]
An anti-gentrification group in Little Tokyo is fighting hard to stop a new retailer from opening in Japanese Village Plaza. Earlier this month, Mokuyobi Threads announced it would open a new flagship store at Japanese Plaza by April of this year. In response, J-TOWN Action と Solidarity’s petition has gathered 1,000 signatures demanding the plaza’s landlord cancel the lease. [L.A. Taco]