TODAY’S ESSENTIAL NEWS
» “I failed:” Kevin de León Says He Is Refusing To Resign From L.A. City Council Despite rampant calls for resignation in the nearly two weeks since he was heard on racist leaked audio, Councilmember Kevin de León says he will not be following the footsteps of Nury Martinez, who announced her resignation from the L.A. City Council last week. “I failed in my leadership,” de León says. “I didn’t step up and intervene. I didn’t put a stop to it.” In the leaked audio from October 2021, de León is heard comparing Councilmember Mike Bonin’s 2-year-old Black son to one of former Council president Nury Matinez’s handbags. So, he’s right, he certainly did not “put a stop to it.” [CBS]
» Firefighter Misconduct Cases Increase at L.A. City Fire The number of on and off-duty misconduct investigations of L.A. City Fire Department firefighters increased 71% between 2019 and 2021. A new report by the Board of Fire Commissioners states that dozens of other cases have been stalled because the Department has not been able to conduct enough administrative trials. Firefighters facing discipline for refusing the COVID vaccine or refusing to accept additional work days were the most frequent allegations in recent years. The report also noted that seven sustained, or proven, domestic violence cases were recorded in 2021, compared with only a single sustained case between 2017 and 2019. [NBC]
» Anna May Wong Will Be the First Asian American on U.S. Currency As a 14-year-old girl who was the daughter of immigrants in New York’s Chinatown, Anna May Wong talked her way into her first acting role in a movie. Over the decades-long career that followed, she rose to become the first Asian American film star in Hollywood. Now, Wong is gaining another coveted role—on the quarter coin. The U.S. Mint on Monday will begin producing coins pressed with Wong’s image, a close-up of her face resting on an elegant, manicured hand. [NY Times]
» Cal State Fullerton Won’t Send Student Teachers To OC District That Banned Critical Race Theory Earlier this year the Placentia Yorba-Linda Unified school board voted to ban critical race theory. Now, Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education Dean Lisa Kirtman says that sending students to the Orange County school district for teacher training would place the college in conflict with its goals. Kirtman said in a statement that the university aims to prepare teachers with “pedagogical approaches rooted in diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, race and gender theories, cultural linguistic studies, social emotional well-being, and tenets of Critical Race Theory.” [LAist]
» Waymo To Launch Its Next Robotaxi Service Google’s self-driving car project, Waymo, is bringing its Waymo One robotaxi service to Los Angeles—a city of endless freeways, legendary traffic jams, and many pressing transportation needs that are unlikely to be addressed by adding more cars. Waymo currently operates robotaxis in Phoenix and San Francisco. The company is one of a handful of firms trying to launch a widescale commercial service built around autonomous vehicles, like Amazon’s Zoox, Argo AI (which is backed by Ford and Volkswagen), and Cruise (which is backed by General Motors and Honda). [Verge]
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Barn Hunting, Rat-Sniffing Dogs Compete in SoCal’s Newest Sport
In Chino Hills, just beyond the Community Center and the Trader Joe’s, Tina Bevan at Silver Rose Ranch tends to her rat condo. All in a day’s work.
“I think sometimes the rats try to taunt the dogs,” she says. “They’re not at all traumatized. Trust me.”
Doting on the rats is a part of what it takes to prepare for the ranch to host Barn Hunts—a relatively new dog sport that’s suddenly catching on across the country. Though the sport began in Columbia, Missouri as the brainchild of Robin Nuttall, a proponent of dog sports and agility since the 1980s, Bevan was one of the earliest Barn Hunt converts.
She signed on to host trials at the ranch all the way back in 2014, helping to bring the sport to life in Southern California. “I just kind of immediately saw the potential that this could really be very popular,” she says. So much so that, in those early days, she was inspired to drive to Arizona just to sit in on a judge’s workshop.
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