Original Article Credit :  NBC4 LA

 

Ex-Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal criminal charge for obstructing an investigation into whether he took cash, escort services and other gifts from a businessman involved in major real estate development projects in the city.

Englander is among four defendants to agree to plead guilty in the continuing federal probe of City Hall that ensnared Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar — and will be the third to formally enter his plea before a judge.

The former councilman faces up to five years in prison on the single count of scheming to falsify material facts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A sentencing date will be set by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter after the plea is taken.

 Sentencing was set for Sept. 28.

 

Englander issued a brief statement through his attorney after the hearing.

“I accept full responsibility for my conduct and I am truly grateful to my family and friends for their support,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to contribute to my community and helping others.”

 

 

Englander represented Los Angeles Council District 12 in the San Fernando Valley from July 2011 until he resigned two years ago after investigators began asking questions about his activities.

Among his other duties, Englander, 49, served as the council president pro-tempore and was a member of the powerful Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), which oversees many of the city’s biggest commercial and residential development projects.

According to his plea agreement, Englander, of Santa Monica, schemed to cover up cash payments, costly meals and other gifts offered to him from a businessman who operated companies in Los Angeles relating to big development projects and sought to increase his business opportunities in the city.

Two months after a Las Vegas trip with Englander and others in 2017, the businessman began cooperating with the FBI in an investigation focused on suspected pay-to-play schemes involving Los Angeles public officials — and made secret recordings of Englander’s interactions with him, federal prosecutors said.

Huizar, the central figure in the five-year probe of City Hall, is charged with accepting $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of downtown building projects. Huizar, who was suspended from the council following his arrest last month, said he “intends to respond to the government’s allegations in court,” not in the media, according to his attorneys.

Huizar represented downtown L.A. and was the chairman of PLUM. After FBI agents raided his home and offices in November 2018, Huizar was removed from his committee assignments, including his role in the land use management committee. He is scheduled for arraignment on July 20.

 

Richardson Downtown LA

 

Streetwear brand Richardson expands its reach beyond New York and Tokyo, this time to downtown Los Angeles, California. The label is set to open its latest retail venture in the booming Arts District, neighboring with cafes, restaurants and local supporters from Little Tokyo and Skid Row.

Richardson’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection continues with an exclusive selection of chino shorts, all subtly branded with the recognizable logo embroidery positioned atop the rear zippered pocket. Beige, black and blue colors offer options for those looking at casual shorts this blistering summer. Alongside the bottoms, Richardson also releases its latest Hardware tee, with the new location highlighted across the back in traditional form.

 

Richardson Downtown LA

 

The new location and its coinciding T-shirt is featured and modeled by actress Julia Fox, who recently appeared in the Safdie Brothers’ hit hustle film Uncut Gems. The tee arrives in a heather grey color with bold black font across the front. The back dons the new shop’s location and phone number.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the shop will be open for curbside pick-up on July 7. The location will also honor phone orders as well as email orders placed with [email protected] Its hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. PDT.

Richardson Downtown LA

Richardson Los Angeles
311 Avery Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: 323-300-6024

If you’re unable to stop by the store, the products are also now available at the Richardson Online store. Recently, Richardson’s US Brand Manager Ian Anton remarked on our article how retail stores need to reinvent themselves amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Original Article Credit:  By   For The Architects Newspaper

Downtown Los Angeles’s A+D Museum, a home for progressive architecture, avant-garde exhibitions, and speculative futures, has announced that it will be closing its physical home and “decentralizing.”

Yesterday, June 17, the museum posted the following announcement on its website:

“The A+D Museum is thrilled to announce an organizational restructure that reprioritizes our audience and impact through exploratory programming through digital platforms and short-term community-driven physical exhibitions and events to reach a more comprehensive, increasingly inclusive audience. As a means of reaching a wider, increasingly inclusive audience and engaging new communities, we are excited to move on from our singular physical presence and advance into our next chapter of the A+D Museum. We thank you, our audience and our supporters, for your ongoing participation and look forward to going on this new venture with you. Visit our redesigned digital home with our news, updates, and projects going live on July 1, 2020.”

What this means in practical terms is that the A+D Museum will now host all of its exhibitions online after July 1, and for real-world shows, will stage temporary pop-up installations in L.A. and beyond, including in Detroit, Miami, and elsewhere across the United States.

 

The museum’s executive director Anthony Morey told the Los Angeles Times that although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic played a part in the transition, the museum had been planning this move for a while; the downtime afforded by their closure and seeing how other institutions pivoted to offering their exhibitions online helped speed the decision along.

“The world of creation, collaboration and experimentation was,” Morey told the Times, “for a long time, defined by a physical presence, sitting at a table working together and being present.” He added that the museum’s experimental and contemporary focus would only be enhanced by the move, as the medium and message converged (not having to pay rent for the building anymore is plus, too). Rather than enacting layoffs, the museum will also be expanding and hiring four full-time staff members, including a new digital researcher. This will be the second move in recent memory for the museum, as it hopped from Wilshire Boulevard to the Arts District in 2016. The institution’s current home will be emptied by the end of June.

The museum’s Future of Space exhibition has already begun the transition to the virtual realm, and installation shots are viewable on the digital gallery site.

 

Original Article Credit:  ABC 7  Los Angeles

 

Activists on Saturday toppled a statue of Junipero Serra, widely regarded as the founder of the California Missions, from its perch on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Video footage tweeted by local news outlet L.A. Taco captured a group of demonstrators hauling down the controversial statue with a rope around its neck. The hands and head of the statue were seen covered with what appeared to be red paint.

“Natives just tore down the statue of Junipero Serra at Placita Olvera in solidarity with #BLMprotest #antiracism #antislavery,” the tweet read.

Serra was an 18th Century Franciscan priest responsible for founding nine of the 21 Catholic missions in California with the aim of bringing native peoples into the fold. The assimilation and exposure to foreign diseases ultimately led to the destruction of indigenous tribes across the region.

Community activist Joel Garcia said the statue of Serra was targeted because it represents mass incarceration.

“Mass incarceration, as it exists now, began with the Mission system and California has its own legacy of slavery,” Garcia said. “The legacy of policing that we see now began through the mission system so it’s important to reconcile with that, to understand that, the Serra statue represented all of that.”

 

Pope Francis canonized Serra back in 2015, which was met with backlash from the Native American community.

In San Francisco, demonstrators also tore down statues or busts of Ulysses Grant, the missionary Serra and Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” and was a known slave holder.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Metro and the city of Los Angeles are partnering to improve 5th and 6th Streets in downtown Los Angeles. The goal is to enhance mobility and safety for the thousands of people who walk, bike, roll, ride transit or drive in the area. Up to 80 buses per hour use 6th Street and up to 70 buses per hour on 5th St.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has been supportive of the project, which advances the goals of Executive Directive 25, L.A.’s Green New Deal.

The 5th St/6th St Improvement Project is located between Flower Street on the west and Central Avenue on the east, and will make needed road improvements and add bus only lanes to the corridor, as well as protected bike lanes from Spring Street to Central Avenue, to better connect the eastern portion of downtown to the rest of the bike lane network.

 

Moving from west to east, StreetsLA construction crews began their repaving work last week on 6th Street and will be working on 5th Street this week. Construction activity* will continue through the end of the month, and is scheduled for weekdays only from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In early July, LADOT will begin restriping the lanes and installing bus only lanes and protected bike lanes on both streets. (*Please note this schedule is subject to change.)

This project is one of the many recommendations resulting from the Bus Speed Engineering Working Group, authorized by the Metro Board of Directors and the L.A. City Council in July 2019. It is a collaborative effort between Metro and LADOT to identify, design, fund and implement transit supportive infrastructure to speed up transit service as part of the NextGen Bus Plan.

 

 

 

A real estate development consultant has pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge for his role in a pay-to-play scheme at City Hall allegedly tied to now-suspended Councilman Jose Huizar’s approval of large building projects in downtown Los Angeles.

George Chiang, 41, of Granada Hills pleaded guilty via videoconference Friday to one federal count of conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars. Because of his cooperation, Chiang is expected to receive a far lighter penalty when he is sentenced on Feb. 22.

Chiang is among four defendants to agree to plead guilty in the continuing federal public corruption probe of City Hall, and was the second to formally enter his plea before a judge.

 

The central figure in the five-year probe, Huizar, was arrested Tuesday and charged with accepting $1.5 million in bribes from developers in exchange for his support of downtown building projects. Huizar, who was suspended from the council following his arrest, said he “intends to respond to the government’s allegations in court,” not in the media, according to his attorneys.

Chiang admitted in his plea agreement to playing a role in a scheme allegedly run by Huizar in which a Chinese real estate company bribed city officials in exchange for approval to build a 77-story skyscraper in the councilman’s district.

 

Huizar represented downtown L.A. and was the chairman of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), the powerful panel that reviews the city’s largest development projects. After FBI agents raided his home and offices in November 2018, Huizar was removed from his committee assignments, including his role in PLUM.

U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said the continuing probe has exposed “significant and blatant corruption” at City Hall, and indicated more charges could be forthcoming.

Huizar is scheduled for arraignment on July 20.

Earlier this month, Justin Kim, a former City Hall fundraiser, pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge for arranging a $500,000 bribe for Huizar.

 

Kim’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 17 but prosecutors have asked for a six-month continuance because they plan to call him to the stand if Huizar’s case goes to trial.

Former Huizar aide George Esparza agreed last month to plead guilty to the racketeering conspiracy count and has been cooperating in the investigation. A date has not yet been set for Esparza to plead guilty.

In March, ex-City Councilman Mitch Englander separately agreed to plead guilty to scheming to falsify facts in a probe of his acceptance of cash and other gifts from a businessman — the same one accused of bribing Huizar. He is expected to enter his plea on July 7

 

 

Bodhi Bowl Closes Downtown LA DTLA

Original Article Credit : Veg Out LA

Downtown LA’s beloved Bodhi Bowl is closing for good. *Sigh* This vegan fast casual spot was opened three years ago by the wonderful Alison Cruddas. She had been working as a private chef for vegan clients and decided to open Bodhi Bowl to extend her reach by providing healthy plant-based options for people in the area, vegan and non-vegan alike. And that’s exactly what she did! Bodhi Bowl has offered a safe, welcoming environment with nutritious meals for all people––and pups!

The decision to close Bodhi Bowl came about in response to the citywide shutdown. “Downtown is pretty deserted and my customer base is just no longer there, as the majority of my customers are office workers. COVID has taken its toll on us all in DTLA,” said Cruddas.

The doors to this fan-favorite vegan haven will permanently close Thursday, July 2nd. Cruddas shared, “I want to say how humbled and grateful I am by all the love and support I have received these past three years of my Bodhi Bowl journey. It has been incredible, and I hope that I can take that love and give it back in whatever I do next.”

What’s next? Cruddas told us she hopes to open Bodhi Bowl again at another time and place.“Providing healthy vegan food and making people happy is my mission in life, so I will definitely be doing something very soon!”

Stop by Bodhi Bowl before their official closing for the last hurrah––and grab a few to-go meals while you’re there! Bodhi Bowl is located at 645 W 9th St #107, Los Angeles, CA, 90015.

 

 

Original Article Credit: For Abc7 News

 

One of the oldest music stores in DTLA, The International House of Music, Inc., was ransacked by looters over the weekend, who stole an estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

 

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Employees at The International House of Music, Inc., started cleaning up the shattered glass and destruction left by looters after the store was ransacked Saturday night.

“We just went through COVID and we were just barely about a week opening in, trying to get back in, trying to get our employees back in,” said Oscar Naranjo Jr., co-owner of the store. “We got to move forward and now with this, it’s hard.”

The owners estimate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was stolen from the music store.

“It’s mixed feelings because they didn’t take everything, they didn’t burn it down. So, we’re grateful for one thing,” said Naranjo. “But the reality is they did … it’s not just on TV anymore, it’s real.”

The looters left a large display of guitars nearly empty, but they didn’t ransack the entire store. The acoustic room, with about $150,000 worth of equipment was untouched. According to the owners, the lights were off in this room and the door was closed.

“There were items in here from other stores. Some bags,” said Naranjo. “Mixed in with shoes thrown everywhere. Because maybe they had one pair of shoes and they’d rather take a guitar than a shoe.”

The store will temporarily be closed to the public until it’s safe to reopen, according to the owners.

“It’s so many mixed feelings. We understand why this is going on and I think there needs to be a change,” said Naranjo. “But I don’t think this is the right way.”

The business is one of the oldest music stores in Downtown Los Angeles — which dates back to 1902.

During the LA riots, individuals shattered the windows but didn’t ransack the store, according to the owner.

“We don’t know exactly why they stopped at breaking the windows in 1992,” said Naranjo. “We were blessed for some reason, and we’re still blessed that the store is still standing after what happened last Saturday night, too.”

The owners moved in October 2019 to their new location in the Fashion District.

 

 

As thousands of demonstrators continue to take to the streets throughout Southern California to protest police brutality after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, public health officials said people should take precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19.
Downtown LA Protests 2020
Marcus Owen, with bullhorn, leads a rally for George Floyd as hundreds of protesters gather outside Los Angeles City Hall in a daylong protest. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Original Article Credit:  MATTHEW ORMSETH, BENJAMIN ORESKESCOLLEEN SHALBY

For The LA Times 

JUNE 3, 2020

More peaceful demonstrations occurred across Southern California on Wednesday, with thousands converging at the Los Angeles civic center to protest Dist. Atty Jackie Lacey.

The downtown protest was the biggest of numerous marches to express outrage at police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. There were marches in Hollywood, Whittier, Hancock Park, Long Beach, West Hollywood and Newport Beach.

Lacey has long been a target of some activists, who have criticized her for not prosecuting more police officers for misconduct. She’s locked in a runoff for reelection.

Thousands were standing in Grand Park in front of the criminal courthouse.

 

In West Hollywood, protester Nick Atkinson said: “I’m so freaking mad.”

He repeatedly yelled at sheriff’s deputies who were present about how they should be wearing masks, taking a knee and be held accountable for their actions.

He said he has lived in Los Angeles 20 years and wanted to publicly protest to make clear that the killing of black men and women is wrong.

Downtown LA Protests 2020
Downtown LA Protests 2020

“Where are your masks. Why aren’t you wearing your masks? You’re all paid to serve and protect us,” he yelled. “Where are your masks?“

For Gale Oliver Jr., a pastor at the Greater Light Family Church in Santa Ana, a protest against racism and police brutality in one of Orange County’s wealthiest enclaves was a sign of the times.

“It’s a blessing that this is going on in Newport Beach,” Oliver, who is black, said. “I mean, this is going on in Newport Beach? I guess America is finally listening.”

Oliver said pastors in Santa Ana began meeting regularly with Orange County law enforcement officials about five years ago in hopes of ending “policing from the point of view that they’re under attack.” He’s seen progress but more needs to be done, he said, here and throughout the country.

“Two men have said, ‘I can’t breathe.’ One said it eight times, one said it 11 times,” Oliver said, referring to the deaths of Floyd and Eric Garner, who died while being restrained by a New York City policeman. “I can’t breathe — what that really means is there’s things that will suffocate you. Racism will suffocate you. Hate will suffocate you.”

Kyle Scallon, 21, turned out Wednesday to protest not just Floyd’s death, but a discriminatory approach he believes law enforcement in Orange County has practiced for too long. Driving in his hometown of Mission Viejo and elsewhere in the county, Scallon said, he has been pulled over by officers intent on questioning his girlfriend, who is Creole.

“They ask me for my license,” he said, “and they ask her where she lives, where she’s going, what she’s doing in the car.”In his experience, Scallon said, the default view for police is to assume people of color are doing something wrong, no matter the circumstances of the encounter.

“I’m here because I just want cops to realize not everyone’s bad,” he said, standing with a group of protesters on the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. “It’s become the system, but they need to realize not everyone they meet is bad.”

 

The mayor added that the program would provide people with up to three months of support.

Councilman Curren Price said the program could be launched as soon as mid-March, and is also supported by Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

“We can’t build our way out of this disaster,” Price said. “Individuals … are falling into homelessness faster than our services can help them out. We’ve seen the positive effects of these programs in Chicago and New York, and I firmly believe that it can be part of the solution in Los Angeles.”

Garcetti said an average of 150 people become homeless each day in Los Angeles County, but 133 are housed at the same rate, and if the city and county could find a way to close that gap, it could be the beginning of ending homelessness.

Another program that’s coming online is LA: EnterPRISE, which is intended to give people who are living on the street or nearly homeless a chance to get job training and assistance in finding a career path. About 200 people will be entered into the program.

“Every Angeleno should have a chance to nurture their talents, pursue their dreams and earn an income,” Garcetti said. “The goal of LA: EnterpRISE is to empower people in need, to give them the support, training and encouragement they need to start a new chapter.”

Ana Zimmerman, who said she was living in a shelter before she started working with a similar program, FreeFrom, said she was able to move into her own apartment within 19 months by selling inspirational cards.

Vans Downtown LA
Photo Credit Hypebeast

Original Article Credit : Jeff Yeung For Hypebeast

Despite California being the skate brand’s base, Vans has never opened a retail store in Downtown Los Angeles — until now.

Finding its home at 808 S. Broadway, the DTLA store doubles as an events space, its design and decor paying homage to both the local and skate communities. Featuring a mural by LA-based artist Geoff McFetridge, as well as various works by local sign painter Julien Besser, other walls of the 11,500 square-foot space are dotted with photographs taken by legendary skateboarders such as Anthony Acosta, Tino Razo, Mike O’Meally, and Ray Barbee.

 

Vans Downtown LA
Photo Credit Hypebeast

 

Aside from artists and skateboarders, the Vans DTLA store also hopes to represent local skate brands, offering a skate shop stocked with brands such as Baker, WKND, Girl, and Alva, along with its own Vans Pro Skate collection. Its second floor houses Studio808, a gallery collaboratively created with lifestyle magazine Monster Children, which will host various talks, exhibitions and workshops every month.

 

Finally, to make an even bigger impact on its local community, the skate company has partnered up with non-profits Chrysalis and Goodwill — both of which have workforce development initiatives for previously homeless or underprivileged youth — to recruit new talent and staff for its brand new store.

For those interested, you can learn more about Vans’ DTLA branch and its upcoming events over on its website.

 

9th Street Ramen’s sleek, slightly futuristic Downtown space at 11 W. 9th Street should be ready for its big reveal next week. Reps for the restaurant say the plan is to keep daily hours from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and on to midnight Thursday through Saturday.

 

 

LA Art Show: The reasons we seek to connect with art are as plentiful as paintings in a museum, which means that the thousands of visitors at this colossal convention of modern and contemporary art, art dealers, artists, and art fans will be there looking to buy, see, ponder, find inspiration, find surprise, and meet other aficionados of paint, clay, and other media. It’s on at the Los Angeles Convention Center through Feb. 9, so go admire, absorb, and art-it-up.

 

Los Angeles has emerged as a global epicenter of art & culture, with a distinct, interwoven multi-cultural influence unique to the city. Diversity is our strength and art is most impactful when it includes or transcends all borders. As LA rises as the world-class destination for art, the LA Art Show continues to lead the way with innovative programming and one-of-a-kind experiences for an expanding collecting audience. LA Art Show is the unparalleled international art experience with over 120 galleries from more than 20 countries exhibiting painting, sculpture, works on paper, installation, photography, fashion, design, video and performance. All works presented by galleries are available for your purchasing pleasure.

More than 200,000 square feet of exhibition space is committed to today’s prominent galleries. These domestic and international galleries, beyond their booths, curate special exhibits that are at the forefront of the burgeoning contemporary art movement. The fair offers an extraordinary array of works and experiences in specialized sections.

 

Kobe Downtown LA

 

Original Article Credit: 

 

Soon after his passing, Bryant received a number of tributes from local leaders. In a statement, Mayor Eric Garcetti gave condolences to Bryant’s family and said that the former Laker “will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles.”

“Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved,” Garcetti said in the statement.

Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 out of Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, but was traded that same night to the Lakers for Center Vlade Divac. During his professional career, Kobe won five NBA Championships, two-time NBA Finals MVP, an 18-time all-star and earned the 2008 league most valuable player awards. He was also a prolific Olympic player, taking home two Olympic gold medals as part of the U.S. National team. After their 2010 championship, the Lakers entered a slump and Bryant retired at the end of the 2015-2016 season. By the time of his 20-year career with the Lakers ended, Kobe had scored the third-most points in NBA history. He was surpassed by LeBron James on that list just a day prior to his death.

 

(Photo By Ted Soqui)

James released a long statement on Instagram Tuesday morning.

“Man I love you big bro,” James wrote. “My heart goes to Vanesa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man.”

Bryant will be honored posthumously as a 2020 inductee in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this summer alongside Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

HOF chairman and former USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo told the sport’s website The Athletic that with Kobe added to the 2020 class, that “Kobe will be honored the way he should be.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shared a statement remarking on Bryant’s contributions to the game of basketball.

“He will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability,” Silver’s statement read. “He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”

Bryant was in the early stages of the second leg of his career, focusing heavily on youth basketball, with a particular eye on the women’s game. Bryant was an outspoken supporter of the WNBA, actively working alongside his friend and former teammate Derek Fisher, who now serves as head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. His Thousand Oaks multi-sport facility Mamba Sports Academy, also placed a particular focus on women’s sports.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert highlighted Bryant’s support for the league in a statement on Sunday.


(Photo by Ted Soqui)

“Kobe’s support for the WNBA and women’s basketball along with his passion for helping young girls and boys follow their dreams made him a true legend for our sport,” the statement read.

As the day stretched into night on Sunday, some fans left Staples. At the Golden Gopher bar on Eighth Street a few blocks away, Michael Carroll reminisced about the late player. Wearing a Bryant jersey, he said that when he first saw the news he thought it was a joke, as Lebron James had just passed Bryant for third in all-time NBA scoring the night before.

“I can’t [expletive] believe it. I can’t believe it,” Carroll said. “He’s not family but I’m devastated.”

It capped a playing career that was not without its controversy. His career was marred by a 2003 allegation that he raped a hotel worker in Colorado. The criminal charges were dropped and a civil case was settled out of court. After leaving the NBA, he worked as an investor. He also won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018 for the movie Dear Basketball.

A game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers set for Tuesday, Jan. 28 has been postponed, with a makeup date yet to be announced. The Lakers, on Monday broke their daylong silence with a statement, thanking fans for their support during a difficult time.