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News Brief: Postal Service Protests Pick Up Momentum

August 24, 2020 by Brian Champlin
Photo by Aranami via flickr cc

Angelenos worried about their mail are taking to the streets. Also: Protestor clashes rising, encampments swept off the beaches of Venice, and criminal charges in the “Bong Row” fire. Finally, how did the L.A. Times‘s food section become one of the worst places to work in the city? First, some news.

Morning News Rundown

This morning, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is back in the Congressional hot seat as he testifies in a House Oversight hearing. DeJoy’s defense of his management of the USPS, along with promises to pause reforms, have done little to assuage the fears that the Postal Service won’t be able to handle a potential flood of mail-in-ballots this fall. Even here in Los Angeles, worries about the USPS have spurred people into action. On Saturday, protests sprung up at multiple post offices in the greater SoCal area, including Hollywood, Atwater Village, Santa Ana, and Irvine. Expect to see more of this in the weeks to come. [LAist]

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Since we’re on the topic of protests, let’s look to Sunland-Tujunga where a weekly pro-Trump protest drew counterprotesters on Friday, which in turn attracted the presence of police. A smoke bomb was detonated. Rubber bullets were fired. On Saturday, a protest in Beverly Hills saw outbursts of violence between Trump and anti-Trump factions. We’ve still got 71 days until the election. [LAist]

The so-called “Bong Row” fire, which took out a string of smoking supply warehouses back in May and took over 200 firefighters to extinguish, now has criminal charges attached to it. Developer Steve Sungho Lee, owner of the four buildings that burned, faces 135 criminal counts just on his own. Worth noting: Times reporter Emily Alpert Reyes points out on Twitter that Lee has a track record of big money donations to groups supporting city council candidates. [LA Mag]

From Full House to the Big House: On Friday, Lori Laughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli received sentencing for their part in the College Admissions Scandal. Laughlin got two months in prison plus two years of supervised release. Giannulli was sentenced to five months in prison, plus two years of supervised release. The couple will also pay a $250,000 fine. [LA Mag]

The LAPD is cracking down on tents used by unhoused people in Venice Beach, an apparent reversal of an agreement struck last week between Councilmember Mike Bonin and law enforcement to relax enforcement over beach encampments. LAPD told KCAL/CBS on Saturday that 30 tents were forced to relocate. My question: to where? [CBS Los Angeles]

Reign of Toxicity

Peter Meehan was supposed to be a visionary that would revitalize L.A. Times food coverage. Instead, he created one of the most toxic work environments in Los Angeles, even while barely managing to set foot in the city. Meghan McCarron chronicles Meehan’s reign in a deep dive for Eater. [Eater]

Fire Aid

The latest figures on California’s wildfires are staggering: Over 1,000,000 acres burned, even as over 13,000 firefighters battle blazes throughout the state. It’s easy to feel helpless watching news footage emerge of the destruction and promises of more yet to come, but my colleague Juliet Bennett Rylah has catalogued some ways you can help, including donations, non-profit support, and volunteer opportunities. [We Like L.A.]

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