Categoria: Top Stories SGVT

Glendale Council Members Jumped COVID Vaccine Line, Lawsuit Alleges

LOS ANGELES — A Glendale Fire Department battalion chief is suing the city, alleging he was subjected to a backlash when he reported that the then-fire chief was ordering him to provide the coronavirus vaccine in the early states of its release to city officials who were not yet eligible by law.

Brian Julian’s Los Angeles Superior Court retaliation suit seeks unspecified damages. A Glendale city official did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Tuesday.

Julian was hired in September 1995 and rose through the ranks until he became a battalion chief in December 2016, then three years later he was promoted again to have the same rank within the GFD’s Emergency Medical Services, the suit states.

In December 2020, Julian was asked to assist the city in administering coronavirus vaccines during a three-phase plan enacted by Los Angeles County, the suit states.

The first phase of the vaccine allocation in the county applied to health care personnel, including personnel in emergency medical services, with the only exception allowed to prevent waste of the vaccine, the suit states.

However, in late December 2020 then-GFD Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas called Julian and told him that a Glendale City Council member and four city department heads would be coming over to receive the vaccine, even though none were qualified to receive the shot during the first phase, the suit states.

Julian reasonably believed that Lanzas’ order violated a federal, state or local regulation, the suit states.

In January 2021, Lanzas again instructed Julian to provide additional vaccine doses to other city department heads and City Council members, prompting the plaintiff to object, the suit states.

“In response, Lanzas became very angry with plaintiff and raised his voice …,” the suit states. “Further, Lanzas informed plaintiff that if (the plaintiff) refused to provide the vaccines to the various City Council members and department heads, Lanzas would provide them with the vaccines himself.”

According to another battalion chief, Lanzas was believed to be skirting the county’s COVID-19 vaccine regulations so that he could garner favors with the city of Glendale officials and departments heads, the suit states.

Less than two weeks later, Julian was removed from his assignment as EMS Chief and demoted to battalion chief of operations, a clear demotion in that it resulted in a pay decrease and had a negative impact on his ability to be promoted, the suit states.

Julian reported his concerns to the city’s human resources director, who took no action, the suit alleges.

Julian is still assigned as the battalion chief of operations. His reputation has been damaged and he has experienced financial losses and suffered emotional distress, the suit states.

Lanzas retired last April to take a leadership position in the private sector.

City News Service City News Service is a regional wire service covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Its reporting and editing staff cover public safety, courts, local government and general assignment stories. Contact the City News Service newsroom at 310-481-0404 or

L.A. Marathon: Jemal Yimer, Stacy Nwida Win – And She Earns Bonus

LOS ANGELES — Jemal Yimer waited patiently until nearly two hours into the 38th Los Angeles Marathon to make his move. That’s when the 26-year-old from Ethiopia decided to break away from the pack at mile 23, on his way to winning by nearly one minute in a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 13 seconds.

The 26.2-mile course, which began at Dodger Stadium and moved through downtown L.A., Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Century City, ended with a jubilant fist pump by Yimer as he broke the tape.

“It’s a good race. I’m happy today,” Yimer said. “Thank you so much, Los Angeles.”

Kenya’s Stacy Ndiwa, 30, not only won the women’s race in a personal-best 2 hours and 31 minutes. She won a $10,000 bonus by holding off a late charge by Yimer to be the first person to cross the finish line in the marathon chase challenge. The time differential for the marathon chase challenge was set at 18 minutes and 19 seconds.

“I was so prepared for this race,” Ndiwa said.

Her coach, Haron Lagat, said the additional prize money means the world to Ndiwa.

“As soon as I told her … she started crying because I know what she has gone through,” Lagat said. “She lost her (running) contract a few years ago when she had a baby. I feel like companies should not be cutting women. When you have a baby they should let you keep your contract because men are having babies (too). Why are they not cutting men?”

Lagat said Ndiwa’s win was about making a statement in the marathon, especially because it was her trip to the USA.

“The name itself, L.A., is very important,” Lagat added. “When you win L.A., when you’re a champion of L.A., everyone knows L.A., so actually the most important part is the city. I feel like this event should be way bigger than it is.”

Kenya’s Stacy Ndiwa gives it her all to win women’s race at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer won the men’s race. @ladailynews @lamarathon #LAMarathon

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

The men’s race was down to a lead pack of six runners before mile 2, including Yimmer, who was among the leaders from start to finish.

At the halfway point, five runners were still in contention: Kenya’s Emanuel Ngatuny, Thomas Rono and Barnaba Kipkoech, and Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay and Yimer.

Tsegay, 37, finished second in 2:14:06. Kipkoech, 29, finished third in 2:14:27.

The L.A. Marathon was also a prime opportunity for Americans to chase a qualifying time for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials which will be held on Feb. 3, 2024, in Orlando, Fla.

The men needed to run 2:18 or faster. The women needed to run 2:37 or faster.

The fastest American man was Hosava Kretzmann of Flagstaff, Ariz. Kretzmann, 28, finished sixth in 2:19:55.

“It was tough,” Kretzmann said. “Hills are always tough. This was my first marathon too. So I wasn’t expecting any of this. I was hoping for it to be flatter but I just went out and tried to hold on.”

Kretzmann said after making his marathon debut he’s going to keep pushing for 2 hours and 18 minutes or faster.

“That’s what I was shooting for today,” Kretzmann said. “I thought it was going to be a piece of cake, but running this course is tough. Hill after hill, you never know what’s going to happen. I didn’t really look at the course, so I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to run into it with an open mind. I’m just happy that I’m here.”

The fastest American at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon was Hosava Kretzmann of Prescott, Arizona. Kretzmann made his marathon debut and finished in 2:19:55, which is less than two minutes from qualifying for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. #LAMarathon @ladailynews…

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

The fastest local runner was Jason Yang of Los Angeles. The 22-year-old finished ninth in 2:27:57.

Meanwhile, the women’s race was down to just three runners before mile 6: Kenya’s Grace Kahura and Martha Akeno, and Ndiwa.

Only Ndiwa and Akeno were in contention at mile 10. Nwida broke away at mile 19 along Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City and never looked back.

Akeno, 29, hung on to finish second in 2:34:25. Kahura, 29 finished third in 2:38:15.

The fastest American woman was Ashley Paulson of Mendon, Utah. Paulson, 41 and a mother of four children, finished fourth in 2:48:47.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had them ever come and bring a flag,” Paulson said while holding back tears. “I’ve seen so many athletes that I admire have that, and what a cool experience to be able to do that. It wasn’t my fastest marathon, but it’s really special and I’ll never forget having this feeling and I want it again and again now.”

Ashley Paulson of Utah was the fastest American, finishing 4th at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. It was her first time ever being draped in the American flag after a marathon, which made her emotional. @ladailynews @lamarathon #LAMarathon

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

The fastest local runner was Margaux Curcuru of Rosamond. The 31-year-old finished sixth in 2:53:02, which was a new personal best.

Her time was also a 39-minute improvement from her 3:32 result at last year’s L.A. Marathon.

Margaux Curcuru finished 6th with a personal best time of 2:53:02 at the 38th Los Angeles Marathon. She improved 39 minutes on her time from last year’s race. @ladailynews #LAMarathon

— John W. Davis (@johnwdavis) March 19, 2023

Why ‘unretirement’ Is Bringing Older Workers Back Into The Workplace

Q. I happily retired two years ago as a senior manager of a manufacturing company. Given my work ethic and commitment, several friends asked if I was planning to go back to work. My answer was, “Definitely no. There is a lot more to life than news, weather and sports.” My friends were surprised by my answer. Was their question unusual? And am I atypical? B.J.

You are not atypical. Millions of retirees in the U.S. are happy with their decision to retire and leave the work arena.

However, your friends’ question is not unusual given the increased popularity of the relatively new term called “unretirement.” It simply refers to people who are retired and decide to go back to work in a field that is familiar or unfamiliar to them. 

Unretirement recently has been popularized by football player Tom Brady. On February 1, 2022, at age 44 Brady retired and then unretired on March 13 of the same year. One year later, Brady retired once again, and as of March 7, he was sticking with it. Granted, Brady is not your usual retiree. However, he is a good example of the growing unretirement trend. 

 According to an NBC broadcast on May 5, 2023, “Unretirement is becoming a hot new trend in the sizzling U.S. labor market.” Several factors are contributing to this trend: a thriving market where retirees have lots of choices, inflation that can create uncertainty about financial security and a volatile stock market. Then, there are always the uncertainties of COVID-19 and its impact. 

For many, working is not only about money. It can provide a structure to one’s day, opportunities for social contact and a sense of purpose. Note, having a sense of purpose is one of the characteristics of the longest-lived people in Okinawa. They call it “ikigai,” a reason to get up in the morning. 

For many, retirement is a time for choices and options. It’s personal. Yet retirement has been referred to as a roleless role, a position where no one expects anything from you. Work can fill that vacuum. It can provide opportunities to create, convene, produce, help, support, grow and just have a place to show up.

Award-winning journalist and author Chris Farrell devotes his entire book on the subject with this title: “Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and the Good Life” (Bloomsbury Press, 2014). Farrell writes, “Welcome to unretirement, a revolution in the making. He writes, “We are reimagining the last third of life building on a better educated, healthier workforce that can continue to earn an income well into the traditional retirement years.” As a qualifier, he acknowledges that not all retirees are sufficiently healthy to be part of this unretirement movement. 

Currently, 3.2 percent of retirees have unretired, which is close to where it was before the pandemic. One out of six retirees is considering a return to work. About half have unretired because of financial need, nearly half because of boredom; slightly less than half report loneliness as their motivation. 

The U.S. is not the only industrialized nation that recognizes this unretirement phenomenon. It has emerged in New Zealand and Japan as well as Poland, Italy and Ireland. 

In general, America is a work-oriented society with workers putting in more hours than their counterparts in many other industrialized countries. The Protestant work ethic remains strong. 

The French seem to value their time in retirement by not working. As the French Senate voted to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64, more than one million workers went on strike nationwide. A New York Times article of March 8, 2023, captured a sentiment about their outlook on retirement. A money manager in Paris is quoted as saying, “Life is not just about working; there is a time for work and then a time for personal development.” Others add, “There is a vision in France that working time is time waiting to be able to enjoy life” while another added, “People shouldn’t wait for retirement to have liberty.” 

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators are discussing raising the age for Social Security to age 70. If that becomes policy, will we react similarly to the French? 

Thank you, B.J., for your good question. Enjoy your retirement knowing that unretirement can be an option. And as a reminder, know that kindness is everything. 

Helen Dennis is a nationally recognized leader on issues of aging and the new retirement with academic, corporate and nonprofit experience. Contact Helen with your questions and comments at Visit Helen at and follow her on

Praise, Support Arise For Ailing Gloria Molina, ‘relentless’ LA County Trailblazer

Beyond her curriculum vitae, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina’s role in the history of Latinos in Southern California came into sharper focus last week, when the 74-year-old politician announced she is battling terminal cancer.

“I enter this transition in life feeling so fortunate,” Molina wrote on Facebook. “Throughout my life I’ve had the support of many people.”

Angelenos lauded all of Molina’s firsts: the first Latina elected to the California state legislature, and in 1987, as LA City Councilmember. She is also the first Latina elected to the county Board of Supervisors in 1991.

For 23 years, she served the First District, which includes Pico-Union, East Los Angeles and much of the San Gabriel Valley.

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina seen in 2010 speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new El Monte Station. Molina, now 74, has announced that she is battling terminal cancer. (File photo by Keith Durflinger)

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina seen with other Los Angeles officials, including Supervisor Hilda Solis, at a grand opening of the East Valley Community Health Center in West Covina in 2008. (File photo by Leo Jarzomb)

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina seen in 2011 at a conference in Pasadena with then-Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. (File photo by Walt Mancini/SCNG)

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina seen with Margaret Clark, vice chair of Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, and LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, in Azusa in 2006. (File photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/SCNG)

Gloria Molina, the first Latina elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors in 1991, speaks at a November 2010 dedication at Sorensen Library in Whittier. Molina, now 74, has announced that she is battling terminal cancer. (File photo by Keith Birmingham/SCNG)

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina seen at a 2010 dedication of the county’s first eco-friendly library, made of 40 percent recycled steel, at Sorensen Library in Whittier. (File photo by Keith Birmingham/SCNG)

Gloria Molina seen in a photo with soccer players in 1997. (Photo courtesy of The Huntington Library archive)

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina at a dedication at Mayberry County Park in Whittier in 2009. (File photo by Raul Roa/SCNG)

Gloria Molina seen in 2014 with Cal State L.A. officials in 2014, about a new bioscience incubator program that provided students and start-up businesses an opportunity to work together on innovative bioscience projects. (File photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)

Gloria Molina, the first Latina elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors in 1991, speaks at a November 2010 dedication at Sorensen Library in Whittier. Molina, now 74, has announced that she is battling terminal cancer. (File photo by Keith Birmingham/SCNG)

Gloria Molina, the first Latina elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors in 1991, seen at a California Task Force 2 recognition ceremony at the LA County Fire Department Headquarters in Feb. 2010. Molina, now 74, has announced that she is battling terminal cancer. (File photo by Leo Jarzomb/SCNG)

In 2014, Molina retired from the Board of Supervisors due to term limits, ending a 32-year career in public service for the City of Angels.

Supervisor Hilda Solis, who succeeded Molina, called her a “role model.”

“Los Angeles is as great as it is because of her persistence and determination to fight for our most vulnerable communities,” Solis said.

Solis said she will propose to rename Grand Park in downtown L.A., which she helped to open as chair of the Grand Avenue Authority.

Clay Stalls is curator of California and Hispanic Collections for The Huntington in San Marino, where Molina donated more than 200 boxes worth of her papers in 2014.

“In general, Gloria Molina was a relentless advocate for public services for the underrepresented,” Stalls said. “When running for supervisor, she made it clear that she came from the district, and understood the problems and strengths of her largely Hispanic district.”

Molina’s parents, Leonardo and Concepcíon Molina, immigrated to the suburbs LA County suburbs from Mexico. Molina grew up in Pico Rivera and attended El Rancho High School, East Los Angeles College and Cal State L.A.

In an oral history interview from 1990, Molina opened up about her personal and political life, from growing up in Montebello and Pico Rivera, attending El Rancho High School, Rio Hondo College, and Cal State Los Angeles, and joining the Chicano movement in the 1970s.

Molina said she hoped the interview would help people understand what makes politicians tick, and how they make decisions.

As a county supervisor, she largely supported public health, jobs, education, parks and recreation, and the arts.

She supported organizations including the Central American Refugee Center, and was involved with the Mothers of East Los Angeles. In 1994, she fought against Proposition 187, which limited undocumented immigrants from health and public services.

Stalls said she funded arts programs in her district, supported economic revitalization groups and health clinics, and bolstered the building of bike trails in East Los Angeles.

“She especially took note of unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County that might receive short shrift regarding county services.”

Stalls said that Molina served on the Democratic National Party Committee as a vice-chair, on the board of the Mexican-American Legal and Educational Defense Fund (MALDEF), and also has her own youth education program.

Abelardo De la Peña, a spokesperson for LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Los Angeles, said a tribute to its ailing founder is in the works.

Molina helped start the community hub to celebrate Latinx culture through art. She was on hand to open its newest venture, the LA Plaza Cocina culinary museum in 2022.

“What impresses me most about her is her fortitude,” said De la Peña. “When she started her career as an activist and political leader, she fought for her community. She was able to rally people around whatever cause she’s fighting for. In the political arena, even when things were stacked against her, she didn’t back down.”

De la Peña worked with Molina on MALDEF, where he got to know the “straight-talking” politician who “could also be warm and friendly,” doling out hugs and talking Mexican food with joy, he said.

“(Younger) Latinas may not be aware of Molina’s legacy, but they’ve benefited from her being a pioneer. She paved the way.”

Zev Yaroslavsky served with Molina on the Board of Supervisors from 1994 to 2014. On Facebook, Yaroslavsky lauded his colleague for facing cancer in the same way she confronted all the challenges in her life: unvowed and unintimated.

“As a colleague you were a loyal ally as well as a worthy adversary, (though) I liked it better when we were on the same side,” he wrote. “Long ago you earned my utmost respect as an honest and indefatigable public servant. You have left a monumental legacy.”

Staunch admirers who worked under Molina called themselves “Molinistas,” and flooded social media with tributes to the 74-year-old.

Guadalupe De La Torre, an analyst for LA County, said she counts being part of Molina’s team for 17 years as “one of her greatest accomplishments.”

“You are an inspiration that will live on forever,” she said.

De la Peña said confronting her terminal illness, with grace, is “classic Molina.”

“She gave us the news and you see it’s on her own terms,” he said. “That’s her trademark.”

Season Review: USC Basketball Overachieves, Setting Up A Bright Future

For the second year in a row, USC’s season ended in the first round of the NCAA tournament, this time with a 72-62 loss to Michigan State.

It was a disappointing loss for the Trojans, given that their own offensive shortcomings played a major role in the defeat. But entering the season there was no guarantee this was even a tournament team. Only Drew Peterson and Boogie Ellis were key rotation pieces a year ago, and the Trojans had to rely on many untested freshmen and sophomores.

Only the team dynamic worked, and the young Trojans developed into some valuable role players.

Reese Dixon-Waters was Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year with his ability to score and defend off the bench. Kobe Johnson led the conference in steals and shot 36% from 3-point range. Tre White showed flashes as someone who can create his own shot. Joshua Morgan was an intimidating rim protector. Vincent Iwuchukwu had moments on offense when he was healthy enough to play. Kijani Wright developed into a reliable defender.

Which means, moving forward, all the pieces are in place to play around the dynamic force that is joining the team next year. We’ll touch more on him in a moment, but this season could end being looked at as a springboard to greater success in a year.

Highlights Two top-25 home wins over Auburn and UCLA certainly rank near the top of the list. So does a sweep of the Mountain road trip, something the Trojans never take for granted. And overcoming a season-opening loss to Florida Gulf Coast to finish tied for second in the Pac-12 was certainly an achievement. But the aforementioned player development will likely be the lasting legacy of this USC season.

Lowlights It has to be the way the season ended. Losing to Arizona with outright second place on the line, almost blowing senior day to Arizona State only to come out completely flat in the Pac-12 tournament opener to the Sun Devils was bad enough. But that trend of slow starts and offensive droughts followed USC to Columbus as the Trojans shot 34.4% from the floor in the second half against Michigan State.

Who’s gone Peterson is graduating, while Ellis has made clear he intends to forgo his fifth season of eligibility and declare for the NBA draft. The pair did an admirable job leading these young Trojans as captains this season.

Though he had a tendency to be streaky, Peterson was always capable of stuffing a stat sheet in multiple ways. And he fought through back spasms over the course of the last three weeks of the season, refusing to miss a game despite his obvious discomfort.

Ellis’ blossoming into a true playmaker was one of the highlights of USC’s season. He arrived in Los Angeles in 2021 as a renowned scorer but an unbalanced game. But as his senior season progressed, he turned into a true point guard, impressing coaches and teammates with his decision making as he looked to make the right basketball play rather than just score.

Who’s on the fence There’s no Mobley brother weighing an NBA decision this spring. Most of USC’s contributors are expected to stay for next season, though it’s possible there are a couple players who opt to transfer and create scholarship spots for head coach Andy Enfield and his staff.

Who’s on the way The nation’s top overall recruit, point guard Isaiah Collier, should light the Galen Center up next season. He likes to push the tempo, running in transition and finishing with ferocious dunks. He has a smooth jumper and likes to drive to the rim with slippery moves. And most importantly, he is a true point guard who makes clever passes when his gravity inevitably pulls the defense in.

He’ll be joined by high school teammate and four-star center Arrinten Page. At 6-foot-9, Page is an athletic, high-flying big with impeccable chemistry with Collier. And four-star combo guard Silas Demary Jr. rounds out the recruiting class as a pure scorer.

As of now, all 13 scholarship slots are accounted for next year. But if anyone transfers out, USC would like to add another perimeter scorer who can create his own shot or a low post big who can take entry passes and find ways to score.

Trump Says He Expects To Be Arrested March 21, Calls For Protest

By Michelle L. Price

Donald Trump said he expects to be arrested Tuesday and called on supporters to protest as a New York grand jury investigates hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president. There is no evidence, however, that prosecutors have made any formal outreach to him.

In a Saturday morning post on his social media platform, Trump said he expected to be taken into custody as the Manhattan district attorney eyes charges in the investigation. Trump would be the first former president ever to be charged with a crime.

Trump’s post said “illegal leaks” from the office of prosecutor Alvin Bragg indicate that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.”

Should Trump be indicted, he would be arrested only if he refused to surrender. Trump’s lawyers have previously said he would follow normal procedure, meaning he would likely agree to surrender at a New York Police Department precinct or directly to Bragg’s office.

There is no evidence that prosecutors have made any formal contact to warn Trump that he would be taken into custody. A Trump spokesperson said Saturday that “there has been no notification” of a pending arrest.

Danielle Filson of the district attorney’s office said prosecutors “will decline to confirm or comment” on questions related to Trump’s post, as well as potential charges. Trump’s lawyers, Susan Necheles and Joseph Tacopina, did not immediately return messages seeking comment about Trump’s post or the timing of a possible arrest.

Trump’s call for his supporters to protest that was especially jarring, evoking language that the then-president used shortly before the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

After a rally near the White House that morning, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, breaking through doors and windows and leaving officers beaten and bloodied as they tried to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s White House election.

A statement from the Trump spokesperson said Trump’s Truth Social post was not based on any notification from prosecutors “other than illegal leaks” to the news media.

“President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponization of our injustice system,” the statement said.

The indictment of Trump, 76, would be an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings. It is likely to galvanize critics who say Trump, already a 2024 presidential candidate, lied and cheated his way to the top and to embolden supporters who feel the Republican is being unfairly targeted by a Democratic prosecutor.

In his social media post, Trump repeated his lies that the 2020 presidential election he lost to Biden was stolen and he urged his followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”

Law enforcement officials in New York have been making security preparations for the possibility that Trump could be indicted. There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case, including any potential vote on whether to indict the ex-president.

Trump’s posting echoes one made last summer when he broke the news on Truth Social that the FBI was searching his Florida home as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents.

News of that search sparked a flood of contributions to Trump’s political operation, and on Saturday, Trump sent out a a fundraising email to his supporters that said the “MANHATTAN D.A. COULD BE CLOSE TO CHARGING TRUMP.”

The grand jury has been hearing from witnesses, including former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who says he orchestrated payments in 2016 to two women to silence them about sexual encounters they said they had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump denies the encounters occurred, says he did nothing wrong and has cast the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor bent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 campaign.

Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.

Porn actor Stormy Daniels and at least two former Trump aides — onetime political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokesperson Hope Hicks — are among witnesses who have met with prosecutors in recent weeks.

Cohen has said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payouts were to buy their silence about Trump, who was then in the thick of his first presidential campaign.

Cohen and federal prosecutors said Trump’s company paid him $420,000 as reimbursement for the $130,000 payment to Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses. The company classified those payments internally as legal expenses. The $150,000 payment to McDougal was made by the then-publisher of the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which kept her story from coming to light.

Federal prosecutors agreed not to prosecute the Enquirer’s corporate parent in exchange for its cooperation in a campaign finance investigation that led to charges against Cohen in 2018. Prosecutors said the payments to Daniels and McDougal amounted to impermissible, unrecorded gifts to Trump’s election effort.

Cohen pleaded guilty, served prison time and was disbarred. Federal prosecutors never charged Trump with any crime.

In addition to the hush money probe in New York, Trump faces separate criminal investigations in Atlanta and Washington over his efforts to undo the results of the 2020 election.

A Justice Department special counsel has also been presenting evidence before a grand jury investigating Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified documents at his Florida estate. It is not clear when those investigations will end or whether they might result in criminal charges, but they will continue regardless of what happens in New York, underscoring the ongoing gravity – and broad geographic scope – of the legal challenges confronting the former president.

Associated Press writers Colleen Long and Eric Tucker in Washington and Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.

Gardening: These Orchids Can Be Grown Outdoors In Southern California

Orchids are commonly thought of as delicate plants for indoor use, yet there are at least three species that can readily be grown outdoors in Southern California. There are an additional four species I have observed thriving outdoors on separate occasions, although I cannot vouch for their general suitability for outdoor growing in our area.

Cymbidium: Locally, this is the best orchid for growing outdoors in containers. I recently received a photo of a glorious cymbidium orchid growing in a container in Huntington Beach. The photo was taken six years after its caretaker, Janet Guillen, divided an orchid she inherited when her mother passed away. She had split the original plant in two, planted the divisions in Miracle-Gro Potting Mix in medium-sized containers, and situated them on a patio sheltered from direct sun.  

Cymbidium orchid in Huntington Beach. (Photo courtesy of Janet Guillen) When I asked Guillen what she does in terms of maintenance, she replied, “I just water them,” but also wanted to know what to do going forward since roots were growing through the bottom of her pots. Many orchid species, and cymbidiums in particular, flower at their maximum potential when crowded. In the case of cymbidiums, roots can be growing over the side of the pot or through drainage holes and continue to bloom heavily for many, many years. 

There is a great temptation to repot when roots are not confined to the interior of the pot, but you need to be aware that should you divide your plant, you may have to wait several years until you see flowers again. In nature, cymbidiums may be either epiphytes (tree dwellers), lithophytes (meaning they grow on rocks), or terrestrial (meaning they grow directly in the earth). There are also miniature cymbidiums that grow as small as eight inches tall with tiny flowers to match. 

Interestingly enough, if you keep Cymbidiums exclusively indoors, they will never bloom. According to Tony Glinskas of Huntington Beach, who is a member of the Cool Growing Orchid Society of Orange County, “Cymbidiums must have about a 20-degree Fahrenheit change in temperature between day and night in the fall or flower spiking will not occur. I have seen cymbidiums bloom in Hawaii only because they truck them up to the high mountains for a few days to get that temperature spread.” 

Glinskas adds that “most orchids require more light, humidity, and temperature variation than we normally have in our homes.” The one exception is the ubiquitous moth orchid (Phalaenopsis), seen wherever indoor plants are sold. Its temperature range for growth resembles that of human beings (a constant 60-85 degrees) although it will need 10-12 hours of daily light exposure to bloom the way it should. 

When I first visited the unforgettable garden of Richard Lynch in San Pedro, large clumps of cymbidiums planted in the ground had burst into bloom. Speaking with him the other day, he tells me that due to the many different cymbidium cultivars that he grows, he sees a steady show of cymbidium flowers starting in November and continuing at least through the month of March.

Epidendrum: I first encountered this plant, known as reed orchid due to its slender stems, growing in a large flower bed in Granada Hills that faced south but backed up to the facade of a house. It has been my experience that walls have a moderating influence on extreme temperatures where plant growth is concerned. This was definitely the case here although these orchids are known for growing in both full sun, which may turn their stems red, and partial shade. 

Epidendrums make excellent container plants as well and, like cymbidiums, bloom in a wide range of colors including yellow, orange, red, burgundy, bronze, pink, lavender, purple, and white. Inflorescences consist of clusters of small, star-shaped blooms. I have encountered Epidendrums – whether growing in the ground or in containers – throughout the San Fernando Valley, and all points south of there. They spread vegetatively through underground rhizomes.

Bletilla: Known as Chinese ground orchid or simply hardy orchid due to its cold tolerance down to 25 degrees, this is a carefree terrestrial orchid that is highly suitable for use as a ground cover, proliferating through its aggressive rhizomes, and I once saw a front yard in Sherman Oaks that had been completely overtaken by it. Flowers are fuchsia, purple, or white, and resemble diminutive versions of Cattleya or corsage orchids.

Oncidium: Its common name of dancing ladies refers to the form of its small yellow flowers that are studded in great profusion along its stems. I once saw this orchid growing in a container under an arbor in Thousand Oaks.

Zygopetalum: Planted in the ground, I witnessed the purple flowers of this most fragrant of all orchids and enjoyed their scent as it wafted through the San Pedro garden previously mentioned. This orchid’s caretaker informed me that it blooms on and off throughout the year.

Dendrobium: I was privileged to encounter pink rock orchid (Dendrobium kingianum) in a small backyard planter in Westwood. Its delicate blooms were quite enchanting. 

Laelia: Closely resembling cattleyas, with which they freely hybridize, there are cold-tolerant cultivars that grow outdoors as far north as San Francisco. My first encounter with a Laelia was when I saw a dazzling specimen vining up the trunk of a large cycad in Glendale. 

You are invited to tell me about your orchid-growing experience so I can share it with readers of this column.

A musical version of “The Secret Garden” is now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre, located in The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. This is a classic story of personal transformation, as well as achieving family peace, through the restoration of a garden. Performances will continue through March 28th and tickets are available online at

Manzanita Arctostaphylos densiflora var. Howard McMinn.(Photo by Joshua Siskin) California native plant of the week: I am astonished each year at the spectacular bloom of my manzanita, a plant that never gets any attention from me except when I gaze or gawk, glare or stare at it. Each year, it blooms with more flowers than the year before and it has been doing this for the past two decades. 

I am privileged to have planted Arctotsaphylos densiflora ‘Howard McMinn,’ a variety second to none when its abundant bloom and symmetrical form are considered. It is slowly approaching its ultimate size when height and girth will reach eight feet. 

Alas, I have never seen the fruit (manzanita means “little apple” in Spanish) for which this plant is named. There can only be one explanation for this: the native bees responsible for causing vibrations that move pollen to stigma – which is needed for fruit and seed development – are not present in this part of California when this manzanita is in bloom. 

With all manzanitas, these native bees grasp hold of the flowers and through “buzz pollination” or sonication dislodge pollen, allowing it to move down the flower, an inverted urn, until it rests on a stigma. This same phenomenon happens with the flowers of blueberry bushes, which are relatives of manzanita and prove this relationship with urn-shaped flowers of their own. Manzanitas run the gamut when it comes to form with mat-like ground-hugging species, compact bushes, large shrubs and trees all included in the wide-ranging repertoire of the Arctostaphylos genus.

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California Homeownership Hits 11-Year High But Still Nation’s 3rd Lowest

”Survey says” looks at various rankings and scorecards judging geographic locations while noting these grades are best seen as a mix of artful interpretation and data.

Buzz: The share of Californians living in their own home hit an 11-year high last year but the state’s homeownership rate is third-worst in the nation.

Source: My trusty spreadsheet analyzed state homeownership stats from the Census Bureau, looking at 2022’s average rate vs. the pre-pandemic 2010-19 average.

Topline California’s 55.3% average homeownership rate in 2022 was the state’s best since 2011 – but only Washington, D.C., at 42% and New York at 54% were lower.

The highest ownership rates in 2022 were found in West Virginia at 79%, then Wyoming at 75%, Minnesota at 75%, Maine at 75% and Delaware at 75%.

And what of California’s economic rivals? Texas was No. 45 at 64%, while Florida was No. 31 at 67%.

Details The pandemic era’s low mortgage rates and increased urges for larger living spaces elevated ownership rates in many places

Look at California’s rate. It rose 0.6 percentage points vs. the pre-coronavirus 2010-19 average of 54.7%. That was the 16th-smallest rise nationally.

The biggest jump was seen in Rhode Island which rose 5.1 points to 65.9% vs. 60.8%. Then came Wyoming (up 4.3 points – 75.2% vs. 70.9%), Maryland (up 4.2 points – 71.9% vs. 67.6%), Iowa (up 3.9 points – 73.8% vs. 69.9%) and Nevada (up 3.9 points – 60.3% vs. 56.4%).

Let’s also note that 10 states saw falling homeownership.

The largest drops were in Connecticut (down 2.4 points – 64.8% vs. 67.2%), Massachusetts (down 1.6 points – 61.2% vs. 62.8%), Ohio (down 1.6 points – 66% vs. 67.6%), New Jersey (down 0.8 points – 64.2% vs. 65%) and North Carolina (down 0.7 points – 65.9% vs. 66.6%).

Texas ownership grew 0.6 points – 63.6% vs. 63%, 34th best, while Florida increased 1.2 points – 67.3% vs. 66.1%, No. 25.

Bottom line Boosting homeownership is a complex issue, but in some ways, it’s simple and mostly tied to prices.

Look what we see when my spreadsheet sliced the states into thirds based on their homeownership ranking.

The 17 states with the highest ownership averaged 73.7% in 2022. That rate was up 1.9 percentage points vs. 2010-19. And the average home values in these states, using Zillow data, ran $287,400.

The 17 states with the lowest ownership averaged 61.7% last year, up 0.8 points vs. 2010-19. Homes there cost $437,500.

So, in the places where homes cost one-third less, homeownership runs one-fifth higher.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at

Jonathan Lansner | Business columnist Jonathan Lansner has been the Orange County Register’s business columnist since 1997 and has been part of the newspaper’s coverage of the local business scene since 1986. He is a past national president of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing and a 1979 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Senior Moments: When You Feel Crummy, Even A Pest Makes Good Company

Notes from my COVID-19 quarantine journal: Be careful what you ask for.

After 10 days of going it alone, the one thing I was longing for most was a visitor. I wanted to sit down at the breakfast room table and share a cup of tea with a friend. Maybe dig into some of the goodies that well-wishers had been leaving on my doorstep.

“Are you feeling better?” my wonderful neighbor Sue called to me through the closed window as she left her homemade lasagna outside the front door.

We both knew I would have to wait until she left the front porch before I could open the door and take in the blue and white casserole dish that held a new surprise each time she left it.

“I’ll feel much better when you can actually come in for a visit,” I mumbled through my N95 mask. But she was already too far away to hear me so my longing for company went unheeded. Or so I thought until I reached the kitchen and discovered a counter full of ants. They arrived, families on their backs, seeking food and shelter from the rain that was leaking in from an unseen entry to the garden window.

“What are you doing back after I worked so hard to get rid of you last summer?” I asked.

“You said you wanted visitors,” the leader at the head of the pack responded.

“How do you know what I said?”

“We were listening from the tiny crack in the garden window tile.”

If Lark had actually been a cat, instead of a princess, I would have asked for her help with the ants. But she looked at me with disdain and exited the kitchen leaving me to fend for myself.

“What happened to the raisin toast crumbs that were always next to the toaster in the morning?” The pack leader asked. I had moved the toaster during the summer ant take over.

After some thought, I offered them a one-time deal. I shredded some raisin bread and put the crumbs on a paper plate. They could share the food and stay until the rain stopped if they agreed to keep out of my office, no ants on my keyboard. They surrounded the sweet bread and nodded in agreement.

It was not the company I had been hoping for, but I am making do.

Email Patricia Bunin at Follow her on Twitter @PatriciaBunin. Website

USC’s Offense Disappears In NCAA Tournament Loss To Michigan State

COLUMBUS — Perhaps this was the way it was always meant to end. A USC men’s basketball team whose offense had a penchant for disappearing for vast stretches of games, vanishing at the worst possible moment.

It’s something USC could get away with at times over the course of the season, but not Friday, as the 10th-seeded Trojans fell to seventh-seeded Michigan State 72-62 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

USC shot 11 for 32 from the floor in the second half. Eleven turnovers – eight in the second half – generated 16 Michigan State points. Leading scorers Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson combined to shoot 7 for 22 from the floor.

“This game did not go as planned in the second half,” Trojans head coach Andy Enfield said. “A lot of timely shot-making by Michigan State and some timely misses on our part.”

And somehow worse, with USC down nine with two minutes left, after Michigan State missed three consecutive front ends of one-and-one free throws, the Trojans (22-11) missed two jumpers and turned the ball over, netting zero points, as the opportunity for a comeback slipped away.

“When you’re trailing and you’re trying to figure it out and gauge trying to get 3s versus easier twos, it’s just something that’s part of the game,” Peterson said. “We tried to find the best shot possible.”

Not to say USC’s offensive woes began in the second half.

The Trojans quickly fell behind by 11, in part due to allowing Michigan State (20-12) to make 10 of 18 attempts with open looks. But the bigger problem for USC was its own shot selection.

USC missed nine of its first 12 attempts and 12 of its first 15 shots were jumpers. The Trojans were settling for long looks, including one 30-foot Ellis 3-pointer that left Enfield flabbergasted.

After averaging 25.8 points across the last six games of the regular season, Ellis never got comfortable against Michigan State. He was held to six points, his lowest point total since Dec. 7. And his five assists were offset by three turnovers.

“I let my teammates down today,” Ellis said. “I didn’t change my pace all year. I play with a great pace. But today I played a little bit too fast. So that’s on me.”

But USC found an unlikely first-half hero, as is so often the case in March.

Michigan State opted not to defend center Joshua Morgan when USC drove to the rim, instead deploying his man to double-team the ball handler. So USC started feeding Morgan. The center made a jumper and three layups, and USC was within three.

When Morgan returned to the bench during the ensuing MSU timeout, he could hardly stand up straight he was so out of breath. But that didn’t stop assistant coach Eric Mobley and freshman Vincent Iwuchukwu from mobbing him.

After the break, Ellis hit a floater – his first basket of the game, 17 minutes in – and Kijani Wright sank a free throw to tie it, and that’s how the Trojans and Spartans would enter halftime.

But USC again could not find enough energy to start the second half. The Trojans opened 2 for 8 from the field, while Michigan State made 7 of 11. USC went scoreless for three minutes while Tyson Walker, moments after injuring his elbow on an Ellis charge, found Joey Hauser for a 3, then drove in for a second-chance layup.

When Carson Cooper put back a miss for a two-handed dunk, Enfield called timeout with USC trailing 49-40.

A driving, one-handed dunk from Johnson stopped the bleeding, then a dump down from Dixon-Waters to an open Morgan for a dunk got USC within five again.

But USC suffered another scoring drought, this one four minutes long. USC missed five consecutive shots and turned the ball over three times, including a pass from Morgan out to the perimeter that A.J. Hoggard intercepted and took the distance for a layup.

So when USC fell behind by 15 as Michigan State hit back-to-back corner 3s, Jaden Akins bouncing up the court in celebration after the second. The large Spartan contingent at Nationwide Arena jumped about, too, sensing the win in hand.

Even when Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get within nine, Michigan State was able to survive not by hitting free throws but by grabbing the rebounds of USC’s repeated misses.

Unfortunately for USC, cold spells on offense were not an uncommon occurrence in losses this year. Asked if he needed to do a philosophical reevaluation of the USC offense this offseason, Enfield put the onus on his players.

“The scoring droughts are usually either you miss open shots or guys try to do too much on their own, one-on-one, instead of just moving the ball and spacing and cutting,” he said. “It is frustrating at times throughout the season. But for the most part our guys played the right way.”

But not enough to move on this March.