Morning Brief: Joe Biden Taps California AG Xavier Becerra for a Cabinet Post

Also smoggy skies return, guests and employees allege discrimination and harassment at the Magic Castle, and more

» Joe Biden has tapped California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. The selection is considered a surprise, though the former L.A. Congressman has been a powerful voice on numerous health-related issues. Becerra had frequently been mentioned as top candidate for Kamala Harris’s Senate seat.  [The New York Times]

» Los Angeles County shattered COVID-19 records again on Sunday, reporting 10,528 new cases. That single-day number, a key indicator, is more than double what it was seven days ago. [ABC Los Angeles]

» One demonstrator was arrested outside Mayor Garcetti’s residence on Sunday amid a confrontation between protesters and police. Protesters have gathered at the residence daily in an attempt to call attention to what they see as failings of the mayor which, they say, should disqualify him for consideration for a Biden administration post.  [NBC Los Angeles]

» Los Angeles will end 2020 under the smoggiest skies in decades. Back in spring, the city saw a long stretch of clean-air days, but summer heat and wildfires turned the trend around. So far this year, there have been 157 bad air quality days.  [KTLA]

» The Magic Castle has been engulfed in scandal, with multiple guests and employees lodging discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct claims against key staff, performers, and members of the Academy of Magical Arts. One former waitress at the Magic Castle who says she was assaulted describes a “corrosive corporate culture.” [Los Angeles Times]


» California’s New Stay-at-Home Order Goes Into Effect in Southern California Just over 10 percent of ICU beds in the region are currently available, triggering new restrictions

» FBI Busts ‘Con Queen of Hollywood’ After Years of Alleged International Scams A 41-year-old man with a flair for accents is accused of impersonating a slew of powerful women in the industry

» Where to Get Hanukkah Dinner To-Go in L.A. Brisket, latkes, and sufganiyot for days. Eight of them, in fact 


century plaza hotel


When the Century Plaza Hotel Reopens, Will Anything Original Remain?

The 16-story, 54-year-old landmark in Century City is set to return with fewer (but larger) super-luxury rooms and 331 condos. Inside the hotel, the heavy draperies and British Beefeater costumes of the ’60s have given way to a more modern, streamlined look. The only major interior element remaining will be the white plaster ceiling recesses. But developers painstakingly returned the midcentury sparkle to the exterior bronzed aluminum, marble, and porte cochere. “If you brought [original architect] Minoru Yamasaki back, would he recognize it?” says an architect who visited the site. “Yes, he would.”


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