Abandoned on Los Angeles Train Tracks: Family Photos and Covid Tests

The images surfacing on my social media feeds in recent days look as if they belong to a post-apocalyptic film rather than present-day Los Angeles.

Train tracks in Lincoln Heights, a neighborhood on the city’s Eastside, are covered with thousands of discarded packages apparently left behind by thieves. Among the detritus are rapid coronavirus tests, torn Amazon boxes and family photos.

My colleagues recently published an article explaining how the problem got so bad, which you can read in full here.

To me, the thefts are further evidence of Southern California’s key role in the movement of goods around the world, made especially relevant by the ongoing supply chain crisis.

Forty percent of all seaborne imports to the United States come through either the Port of Los Angeles or the Port of Long Beach. And a majority of those goods eventually end up on a train.

On their way to their final destinations, some of those trains pause on the Union Pacific tracks in Lincoln Heights. There, they are reconfigured for routes toward Canada or Chicago, creating a window for thefts — and further shipping delays.

The problem is so severe that Union Pacific has hired workers to salvage items from the wreckage, The Associated Press reported.

One such worker, wearing a bright yellow vest as he headed to pick up car tires along the tracks, said he had seen thieves use bolt cutters to break locks on the cargo containers. The stolen merchandise was then loaded into vans or trucks.

“They do it right in front of us,” he told the news outlet. “At first I was shocked. I was amazed by it.”

Indian-ish baked potatoes.

Today’s travel tip comes from Sharon Frazier, who lives in Laguna Niguel. Sharon recommends the city of Arroyo Grande on the Central Coast:

“Just 20 minutes south of the more popular San Luis Obispo, ‘AG’ (as the locals call it) is filled with quaint shops, great restaurants and coffee houses, and roaming roosters that don’t seem to mind hanging out with us humans.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Most R.V. park owners don’t allow vehicles that are more than 10 years old. But not Stewart Silver.

Silver owns three R.V. parks in California and is building a fourth in an effort to increase the availability of low-income housing in the state, ABC7 reports.

Latonya Harvey, who lives in one of Silver’s parks in Santa Clarita, said she and her family had “searched everywhere for a place to park our R.V.”

“We lost everything during this pandemic,” she said. “I don’t want to leave here. I’m comfortable right here.”

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Like a cactus (5 letters).

Guillermo Hernandez Martinez, Jack Kramer and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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Who Wants to Be the Next Mayor of Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is an enormous city, and its challenges — climate change, homelessness, the pandemic — are increasingly existential. Still, more than a dozen people are vying for the chance to try to solve them as the next mayor.

Recently, we explored how rising frustration with the magnitude of these problems is already shaping the race. Today, we’ll introduce you to some of the candidates.

First, though, the basics of the election: The primary will be on June 7, and if no single candidate gets a majority of votes, the runoff will be on Nov. 8. For the first time, that’s on the same schedule as big state and federal elections, and every registered voter will be sent a ballot — a system that’s expected to amplify turnout among Latino, Asian and younger voters in particular.

In the meantime, Mayor Eric Garcetti, who can’t run again after serving two terms, is awaiting confirmation as U.S. ambassador to India. He may be gone, with an interim in place, by the election. He told us he was “between two worlds.”

So who is the front-runner to replace him? Representative Karen Bass, the former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, who was on President Biden’s shortlist for vice president, is a formidable force, experts say.

Bass is well-known in Los Angeles, where she was a community organizer in the 1990s. She has garnered support from both progressive activists and members of the city’s political establishment, including Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor; Jeffrey Katzenberg, the entertainment and tech mogul; and Representative Adam Schiff.

She has long been thought of as a potential mayoral contender, but said she did not seriously consider the job until midsummer. She hesitated initially, she said, because an old friend, Mark Ridley-Thomas, then on the City Council, had long had mayoral ambitions, and she had focused for much of her career on uniting California’s Black elected officials.

But then Ridley-Thomas told her over dinner that he would not be running. Weeks later, in a development that stunned many Angelenos, he was indicted on federal bribery charges, accused of making a deal with the University of Southern California to benefit his grown son, who had resigned from the California Assembly amid sexual harassment accusations. “He absolutely said nothing” about his legal issues, she added. “It was just a question of him not having the fire in the belly to want to do this.”

By August, she said, “there was this drumbeat and it just escalated,” helped along by polls showing her far ahead of other prospective candidates. The mayoral post, she added, seemed a natural extension of her decades-long representation of southwest Los Angeles.

When she kicked off her campaign in October, her rally was attended by hundreds of supporters. “Los Angeles, you have called me home,” she told the crowd through tears.

Another high-profile progressive candidate is Kevin de León, a city councilman and former State Senate leader who rose through organized labor. De León, a son of Guatemalan immigrants — including a father who he said is of Chinese descent — told us that while demographic groups are, of course, not monoliths, it is important that the city is 49 percent Latino. Historically, Latino voters have been underrepresented in L.A.’s mayoral races, but changes in next year’s election rules are likely to significantly amplify turnout.

“I think the city of Los Angeles wants a mayor that will lead the entire city, not just some parts of the city,” he said.

Two other candidates are currently elected officials in Los Angeles, including Mike Feuer, the city attorney and former state lawmaker. Feuer has emphasized his experience in government and has vowed to visit all of Los Angeles’s 101 neighborhoods to make his pitch.

“People are hungry for specific, practical solutions and they want to know that you have the ability to actually deliver,” he told us.

The other is Joe Buscaino, currently a city councilman and formerly a Los Angeles police officer who is buttressing his campaign with a ballot measure to completely ban tent encampments. He calls the recent election of New York’s next mayor, Eric Adams, also a former police officer, a personal inspiration and, perhaps, a prescription for Los Angeles.

“Yeah, we’re different skin colors — let’s be honest — with different lived experiences,” Buscaino, who is white, told us recently. “But how I see this is, you need more first responders running cities today, because we lead with urgency. Eric Adams, like myself, knows the importance of moving quickly, as if we’re responding to a 911 call.”

A variety of local businesspeople have jumped into the fray, as well. They include Jessica Lall, who heads a downtown business group and has served as an adviser for other public officials; Ramit Varma, an entrepreneur who founded an online tutoring firm; and Mel Wilson, a real estate agent.

Two more business figures loom over the race, though neither is officially running: Rick Caruso, the billionaire developer of the Grove outdoor mall, has hired a team of top political consultants and hasn’t ruled out a campaign. And Austin Beutner, a wealthy investor and former Los Angeles school superintendent, has considered a run.

For more:

Today’s travel tip comes from Harold Bass, a reader who lives in Porter Ranch:

“The Great Wall of Los Angeles is a labor of love inspired and directed by Chicana artist Judith Baca. It is a half-mile-long mural depicting the history of California along the west wall of the Tujunga Flood Control Channel in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles. The mural, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is divided into 81 sections. It extends along Coldwater Canyon Avenue between Burbank Boulevard and Oxnard Street.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to [email protected]. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Holiday gift ideas for the vegetarian in your life.

Last August, a fire in the Mojave Desert sliced through one of the world’s largest Joshua tree forests and killed more than a million of the iconic trees.

What remains is a jarring sight: Trees lay prone, or have been reduced to piles of ash. Some are still standing but are singed black.

This year, volunteers began planting Joshua tree seedlings in the Cima Dome Joshua tree forest to help replace what’s been lost, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Though their efforts will undo only a fraction of the damage, nurturing new life at least feels hopeful, volunteers say.

“This really pulled on my heartstrings,” a New Mexico firefighter, Marc Sandoval, told the newspaper. “As a firefighter, you don’t often get to be involved in the rehab after a fire. To see all the scorched trees, it’s really a lot to take in.”

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back tomorrow.

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Gadget banned in all U.S. national parks (5 letters).

Soumya Karlamangla, Jack Kramer and Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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Fox, Hield Lead Kings Over Lakers 141-137 In Triple OT – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — De’Aaron Fox scored 34 points, Buddy Hield had 13 of his 25 after regulation and the Sacramento Kings beat the Los Angeles Lakers 141-137 in triple overtime Friday night.

In a game that saw 19 ties and 23 lead changes, the Lakers led 126-124 a minute into the third overtime when the Kings went on an 11-2 run to go up by seven with 1:54 remaining. Marvin Bagley III had five points during the spurt, including a three-point play to give Sacramento the lead.

READ MORE: LAPD Releases Video Of Officer Using Taser Gun On Man With Sword

Carmelo Anthony hit a 3-pointer with 9.4 seconds remaining to get the Lakers within a basket, but Hield sank a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession to put it away.

Tyrese Haliburton had 19 points for the Kings, who had seven players in double figures. They are 2-1 under interim coach Alvin Gentry.

The Lakers, who are 10-11 after dropping five of their last seven, had four players with at least 20 points with the first time this season. LeBron James led the way with 30 points, Russell Westbrook added 29, Anthony Davis 23 and Malik Monk 20.

The Lakers scored the first six points of the first overtime and were up 110-103 before the Kings scored seven straight, including Hield’s 3-pointer to tie it with 28 seconds remaining. Davis had a driving layup with 9.0 seconds remaining but Sacramento forced a second OT on Hield’s 18-foot jumper.

The largest lead anyone had in the second overtime was three points. James made a driving layup with 24 seconds remaining to tie it at 124. Sacramento had the final possession, but couldn’t get a shot off.


Monk scored 11 points during a 24-8 second-half run that saw the Lakers turn a three-point deficit with 4 minutes to go in the third quarter into an 86-73 advantage with 10:02 remaining.

READ MORE: Black Friday: Another High-End Store Is Robbed, Prompting LAPD To Issue City-Wide Tactical Alert

The Kings would counter through with a 22-5 rally, including eight points from Alex Len, to seize a 98-93 advantage with 2:26 to go. Los Angeles, though, scored seven of the last nine points of regulation to send it to overtime.

After a layup by James gave the Lakers a 100-98 advantage, Fox tied it with a layup with 21 seconds to go. The Lakers had the final shot, but James missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send it to overtime.


Kings: It was Fox’s second game this season with at least 30 points. He scored 37 on Nov. 10 at San Antonio. … Terence Davis had 13 points before fouling out in overtime. … Harrison Barnes (right foot sprain) and Richaun Holmes (right eye contusion) were out of the lineup.

Lakers: Anthony (16 points) was 6 of 13 from the field after going 7 of 27 the past two games. … This was Monk’s third game with at least 20 points since joining Los Angeles during the offseason. … Davis reached 800 career steals when he stripped the ball from Fox during the first overtime.


Kings: Travel to Memphis Sunday.

Lakers: Host Detroit Sunday.

MORE NEWS: Group Of Men Steal Tools From Lakewood Home Depot

 (© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Thanksgiving Travel – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

The Auto Club noted that the increase in travel will come at a time when Southern California residents are paying the highest gas prices ever on the Thanksgiving holiday, with an average price of about $4.50 per gallon.(courtesy photo)

Pandemic-weary Angelenos will be hitting the roads
and airways in large numbers this Thanksgiving, with about 4.4 million
Southern California residents expected to travel for the holiday, according to
estimates released by the Auto Club.

The anticipated number of holiday travelers marks a 16% jump from last
year. According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, this year
will be the second-busiest Thanksgiving travel volume on record for the region,
just 3% below the 4.5 million people who traveled for Thanksgiving in 2019.

“This is a remarkable comeback for travel, especially considering
that cruises and some other modes of transportation have only recently
restarted,” Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products
and services, said in a statement. “To help meet consumer demand, AAA is
hiring travel advisers. We are also strongly recommending that people not wait
to book trips in 2022 because there are deals and availability that are being
offered now that will go fast.”
According to the Auto Club, the top five destinations for Southern
California Thanksgiving travelers will be San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand
Canyon, Yosemite and Santa Barbara/Central Coast.

Nationally, Anaheim is expected to be the second-most popular holiday
destination for travelers, thanks to Disneyland. Anaheim will be second only to
another Disney hub — Orlando, Florida.

Nationwide, the Auto Club is predicting this Thanksgiving will be the
third busiest on record, with 53.4 million travelers, trailing only behind the
56 million from 2019 and 53.7 million in 2018.

Of the 4.4 million anticipated Southern California travelers, 3.8
million are expected to travel by car, while 494,000 will travel by air, and
79,000 will use some other means, such as a bus or cruise ship.

The Auto Club noted that the increase in travel will come at a time
when Southern California residents are paying the highest gas prices ever on
the Thanksgiving holiday, with an average price of about $4.50 per gallon.

According to the Auto Club, analysts from the transportation firm
INRIX have determined that the afternoon and evening of Wednesday, Nov. 24,
will be the busiest times for Southland freeways. The stretch of the Golden
State (5) Freeway between Colorado Street and Florence Avenue is predicted to
see the heaviest congestion, with traffic volume at 385% above normal levels.

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Best International Restaurants in Los Angeles

One of the things that makes LA truly great is that, as a city full of transplants, it has no shortage of restaurants and bars that offer truly transportive experiences. In a time when travel has been drastically limited and we’ve stretched the boundaries of what it means to make the best of being at home, that aspect of the city has never been more valuable. We’ve got endless options that can make us feel like we’re across the country, across the pond, across the seven seas, or across the universe. Here are 9 culinary experiences that will make you feel like you’re exploring the world while staying close to home.

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Los Angeles Lakers travel to the Thunder

Los Angeles Lakers (2-2, seventh in the Western Conference) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (0-4, 15th in the Western Conference)

Oklahoma City; Wednesday, 8 p.m. EDT

BOTTOM LINE: The Oklahoma City Thunder host the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oklahoma City went 12-30 in Western Conference play and 10-26 at home during the 2020-21 season. The Thunder averaged 105.0 points per game last season, 15.5 from the free throw line and 35.7 from beyond the arc.

Los Angeles went 41-30 overall and 25-17 in Western Conference games during the 2020-21 season. The Lakers allowed opponents to score 107.0 points per game and shoot 46.1% from the field last season.

INJURIES: Thunder: None listed.

Lakers: Talen Horton-Tucker: out (thumb), Trevor Ariza: out (ankle), LeBron James: out (right ankle), Kendrick Nunn: out (ankle/knee).

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13 Common Mistakes Travelers Make in Los Angeles – and How to Avoid Them

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The Latest Scandal at Los Angeles City Hall

Mark Ridley-Thomas was criticized in 2014 for having county-paid crews remodel his garage and in 2015 for having them wash his car two or three times weekly during a drought. That year, emails revealed a potentially questionable donation to his political action committee. But none of those accusations resulted in legal trouble.

“Mark Ridley-Thomas was shocked by the federal allegations leveled against him, and with good reason,” his lawyer, Michael J. Proctor, said in a statement on Thursday. “They are wrong, and we look forward to disproving them.” He added that “at no point in his career as an elected official” had Ridley-Thomas abused his position for personal gain.

Flynn’s lawyers, Vicki I. Podberesky and Brian Hennigan, said their client had devoted her entire professional life and 45 years in academia to the city’s social welfare network and “has not committed any crime.”

Ridley-Thomas, 66, and Flynn, 83, were each charged with conspiracy, bribery and honest services mail fraud and wire fraud.

The charges shake a City Hall that is already unsteady, with Mayor Eric Garcetti awaiting uncertain confirmation on his nomination to become U.S. ambassador to India and neighborhoods arguing over the redistricting of the 15 council districts.

The Council president, Nury Martinez, has threatened “appropriate action” against Ridley-Thomas. Garcetti, whose father was a Los Angeles district attorney, has said “everything should be on the table,” including the Council’s “prerogative” to suspend him. Joe Buscaino, a councilman running for mayor, called for his resignation.

Paul Krekorian, another councilman, would not go that far on Thursday, but noted that “when people are facing federal indictments, it’s very difficult for them to do their jobs.”

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Southwest Airlines Issues Travel Advisory Due To Weather, Traffic Control Issues – CBS Los Angeles

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