Morning Brief: Officials Alarmed by Inequity in Vaccine Distribution

Also an LAPD officer charged for stealing a pickup truck, and more

» Black, Latino, and Native American residents of Los Angeles county over age 65 are being vaccinated at a far lower rate than their white peers. “We’re alarmed by the disproportionality we’re seeing in who has received the vaccine,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Monday. [Los Angeles Times]

» The land where East L.A.’s ‘El Pino’ pine tree grows has been purchased. A developer is now proposing plans to build around the landmark tree, but some community members don’t like the idea. [ABC Los Angeles]

» An LAPD officer has been charged with stealing a car off a dealership lot, and then using a fellow cop’s ID to report the vehicle as recovered. Matthew Calleros allegedly forged a license plate, created falsified DMV documents, and continued to drive the Chevy Silverado for more than a year, including using it to drive to his job. He was arrested in the employee parking lot outside the LAPD Hollenbeck Division.  [KTLA]

» TikTok has cut a licensing deal with Universal Music Group that gives the video platform access to the label’s massive catalog of songs. The news comes immediately on the heels of an announcement that UMG artists, like Ariana Grande and Drake, will no longer appear on TikTok competitor Triller.  [dot.LA]

» The trendiest language courses at UCLA are in Korean, with students eager to learn more about the pop-culture powerhouse. Now the university’s scholars of German, Italian, and French are looking for new ways to make their programs feel relevant to today’s young people.  [Los Angeles Times]


» A Judge Sides with Deputy District Attorneys Fighting a George Gascón Policy Change Doing away with certain sentencing enhancements has been a key part of the new DA’s agenda

» New Dodger Trevor Bauer Is Known for Pitching Fits Along with Fastballs The L.A. native joins the team as the biggest earner in baseball. He’s also renowned for Twitter feuds, drone mishaps, and on-field tantrums

» Paparazzi ‘Godfather’ Who Obsessively Tailed Jackie O. Still Thinks She Liked the Attention Aging celebrity photographer Ron Galella looks back at his controversial career on a new episode of ’The Originals’ podcast


vada watson somerville
(Photo via the Sindecuse Museum at the University of Michigan)

Black History Month Spotlight: Col. Allen Allensworth, Founder of a Black Utopian Township

Born in Pomona in 1885, Vada Watson Somerville was a civic leader in Los Angeles for more than 50 years. In 1913, together with her husband, John, she founded the L.A. chapter of the NAACP, and in 1918, she became the second Black person to graduate from the USC School of Dentistry (John was the first). The first Black woman to become a licensed dentist in the state of California, she was beloved by her patients, as was her husband. But despite their busy professional lives, the Somervilles were leading intellectual lights in L.A., and hosted luminaries including Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, and W.E.B. Du Bois.

In 1928, the couple opened the Hotel Somerville (later known as the legendary Hotel Dunbar), a luxury hotel catering to wealthy people of color. That same year, L.A. hosted the National convention of the NAACP at the hotel, which, sadly, the Somervilles lost during the Great Depression. Vada continued her work in education and civil rights, serving on numerous boards including the League of Women Voters, USC Half Century Club, and the Council of Public Affairs.

She died in 1972, only months before John, to whom she’d been married for 60 years.


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