Southern California breaking news and trends

Covered California hosts enrollment workshops at LA libraries

Panorama City Library

Alice Walton/KPCC

The branch library in Panorama City is just one library hosting enrollment workshops for Covered California.

Covered California

Alice Walton/KPCC

A Covered California representative helps two Angelenos enroll in health insurance.

Covered California

Alice Walton/KPCC

A Covered California rep passes out information on the Affordable Care Act to patrons at the branch library in Panorama City.

With a looming deadline to get signed up for health insurance, officials around Los Angeles County hosted a number of enrollment events to encourage more participation in the Covered California health exchange. 

Dozens lined up outside the  Panorama City branch of the Los Angeles Public  Library on Saturday to get help enrolling.

It was one of many libraries throughout the county that has partnered with Covered California to host enrollment workshops. Saturday was the deadline to sign up for health insurance that will take effect on March 1. Open enrollment ends on March 31 and anyone without insurance after that date could face a tax penalty.

That’s why Mayra Albarado showed up to the Panorama City branch library.

“I’ve been trying to apply since December, and it’s just difficult trying to get an agent to speak to you,” Albarado said. “It’s actually pretty difficult to talk to someone right now, too. But, I just don’t want to get charged the fees.”


Weakened LAX shooting suspect Ciancia makes brief appearance at federal court downtown

LAX Shooting

Bill Robles/AP

This courtroom drawing shows Paul Ciancia during an appearance at the West Valley Detention Center wearing a bandage on his neck and with bruises on his face on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Alleged LAX shooter Paul Ciancia made a brief appearance in a downtown L.A. federal court today for a status update. The 23-year-old is suspected of opening fire in an LAX lobby, killing TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez and injuring several others. 

Ciancia's appointed attorney, Hilary L. Potashner, told the U.S. District judge that her client was under 100 pounds — too weak to be removed from the San Bernardino medical jail facility where he's been housed since November, City News Services reported. 

Judge Philip S. Gutierrez ordered he be kept in San Bernardino, rather than the Los Angeles
federal detention center where he's expected to be held. According to the news service: 

  Gutierrez asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald when a death
penalty decision might be reached.

   The prosecutor indicated it was up to Attorney General Eric Holder to
decide whether death is an appropriate penalty in the case, and no timetable
for that decision had been set.


Santa Monica battles FAA for right to control airport land

Santa Monica Airport 7

Ken Scarboro/KPCC

The Federal Aviation Administration has been sued by the city of Santa Monica, which wants to close its airport in 2015.

Santa Monica's legal case to control future use of its airport land is heavy with language about quitclaim deeds and statutes of limitations. But the heart of its case against the Federal Aviation Administration is this: the city shouldn't have to run an airport forever.

The jet that crashed into a Santa Monica Airport hanger and killed four last year added urgency to the city's ongoing campaign to reduce or end flights there. City leaders have been engaging the public in talks about alternate uses for the airport for the past several years. But it was an open question whether they would be able to halt flights.

City officials had been trying to get the FAA to embrace a non-airport potential future, but in October, the city sued the agency.

The city argues that it owns the property, and should be able to halt flights and change the land's use when the current operating agreement expires in July 2015.


$575K settlement for woman who says she was sexually assaulted by LAPD officers

Los Angeles Police Department

Eric E Johnson/Flickr/Creative Commons

The L.A. City Council has approved a settlement for a former drug informant who says she was sexually assaulted by two LAPD officers from the Hollywood Division.

The Los Angeles City Council signed off on a $575,000 settlement Wednesday for a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by two LAPD officers.

Tammy Kim says she was a confidential drug informant for the Los Angeles Police Department as far back as 2009. Last year, she sued the department, alleging two officers from the Hollywood division forced her to have sex — and at times threatened to send her to jail.

A spokesman for the LAPD said the two officers involved in the case have been removed from duty and are awaiting disciplinary action.

The settlement comes one week after a woman in another case said she was sexually assaulted by an LAPD officer while she was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. The 28-year-old woman in that case was injured when she fell out of the back of that moving car.


Behind the battle to preserve LA's historic Lummis Home

Lummis Home - tower and mission-inspired wall

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The curved wall was inspired by the missions Charles Lummis saw in California.

Lummis Home -- exterior cracks

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Curator Ariel van Zandweghe shows cracks in a window and wall of the Lummis Home

Lummis Home - interior crack

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Ariel van Zandweghe, curator of the Lummis Home, points out large cracks in an interior wall.

Lummis Home - front exterior

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The front exterior of the Lummis Home was left unfinished after the death of Charles Lummis' son at age 6 of pneumonia. Lummis said that if his son could not enter the house through that door, nobody else would. A balcony connecting two upstairs doors and shading the large front door was never built.

Lummus Home -- bell

Sharon McNary/KPCC

A bell in the wall of the Lummis Home. Historians say it may be from the refectory of the San Gabriel Mission.

Lummis Home -- dining room

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The dining room of the Lummis Home, appearing much as it did in the 1920s.

Lummis Home -- plaque

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The ashes of Charles Lummis are interred behind a plaque at the home he built above the Arroyo Seco.

Lummis Home -- Breezeway

Sharon McNary/KPCC

A breezeway provides shade on the courtyard of the Lummis Home

Lummis Home -- fountain and guest house

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The two guest homes built next to the Lummis House lost their second stories to damage in the 1971 Sylmar Earthquake.

Lummis House -- tower

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Stone tower at the Lummis House.

Lummis Home -- kitchen roof vent

Sharon McNary/KPCC

Charles Lummis intended the kitchen to have a large open pit fire at its center, hence the large roof vent.

Lummis Home - hours

Sharon McNary/KPCC

The Historical Society of Southern California opens the Lummis House to the public 12 hours a week. The rest of the time, it serves as the society's headquarters.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks is looking for a new caretaker to help make the historic Lummis Home more self-sufficient. That might mean ousting the Historical Society of Southern California, which has been headquartered in the building since 1965.

In the past year or so, cracks appeared on both inside and exterior walls and are growing beyond the society's ability to pay for repairs.

"On the corner of this wall, this chimney is part of the fireplace, and there are some cracks over here," Lummis Home curator Ariel van Zandweghe told KPCC during a recent tour. "Eventually, if it’s not fixed, if not reinforced, the chimney can fall."

The Historical Society of Southern California wants to fix the problem and restore the home, but without a long-term lease, the group says it cannot get grants to diagnose the damage or to reconstruct the building to the high standards needed for a state landmark that's also on the National Register of Historic places.