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Los Angeles Times


Column: One step, then another. With determination and new therapies, there's hope for paralysis patients

Los Angeles Times

Ignacio Montoya pauses, gathers strength, takes a step. With the assistance of a walker, an exoskeleton suit and robotic legs that are attached to his own and help propel him forward, Montoya is making his way up and down the promenade along the water's edge at the Marina del Rey boat basin, next to the Trader Joe's. "Christopher Reeve would be amazed," says UCLA scientist Reggie Edgerton, who worked with the late actor and is now watching Montoya's every move. But some improvements in function, thought impossible until recent years, are now being realized. Montoya was nearly killed in 2012 when a minivan crossed into his path while he was on his motorcycle.


Judge denies L.A. police union's request to block vaccine mandate

Los Angeles Times

A judge on Wednesday denied a request by the Los Angeles police union that he block the city's COVID-19 vaccination mandate for police officers from taking effect. Having rejected the Police Protective League's petition for a temporary restraining order, California Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff must still rule on a related request for a preliminary injunction, which would halt the mandate for officers while a lawsuit the union filed against the city over the rollout of the vaccine requirement goes forward. A court hearing on the injunction is scheduled for next month. The judge did not explain the reasoning for his decision in court records available online Thursday. Under the city's mandate, all city employees including police officers are required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 18 unless they are granted a medical or religious exemption, and agree in the run-up to the deadline to submit to regular coronavirus testing if they are unvaccinated.


Apple-1 computer, 'holy grail' of vintage tech, to be auctioned off in Southern California

Los Angeles Times

Apple's new-model, top-of-the-line MacBook Pro laptop computer could set you back nearly $4,000 before taxes. But that will seem like a Black Friday steal when a 45-year-old Apple computer goes on sale this week in Monrovia, where it may fetch six figures or more, even without a 16-inch, high-definition screen and the latest microprocessors. On Tuesday, John Moran Auctioneers will auction off a functioning Apple-1 computer hand-built by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and others in a Los Altos, Calif., garage in 1976. The system was the rock upon which the trillion-dollar Apple empire was built. In his 2011 biography "Steve Jobs," Walter Isaacson quotes Wozniak as saying of the Apple-1: "We were participating in the biggest revolution that had ever happened, I thought. I was so happy to be a part of it."


Tesla is ordered to pay former worker $137 million for racism at plant

Los Angeles Times

Tesla Inc. lost a case brought by a Black former elevator operator and must pay him $137 million for having turned a blind eye to racial taunts and offensive graffiti he endured at the electric-car maker's Northern California plant, according to the man's lawyer. A federal jury in San Francisco decided Monday that Owen Diaz, a former contract worker hired in 2015 through a staffing agency, was subjected to a racially hostile work environment, said Lawrence Organ, a lawyer for Diaz. The verdict couldn't immediately be confirmed in electronic court records. Diaz's case marked a rare instance in which Tesla, which typically uses mandatory arbitration to resolve employee disputes, had to defend itself in a public trial. The company almost never loses workplace arbitrations, though it was hit with a $1-million award in May in a case brought by another ex-worker that was similar to Diaz's.


How Valley Boulevard is weathering the pandemic

Los Angeles Times

Green onion pancakes and steamed pork buns individually wrapped in plastic at the 99 Ranch hot bar. A wheeled robot serving dim sum at Longo Seafood. Masks hanging off the ears of the Chinese millennials who smoke and play cards outside Boba Ave 8090 in San Gabriel. The new normal in the east San Gabriel Valley is here, and things may never be the same along Valley Boulevard, a vibrant commercial corridor that joins the four majority-Asian cities of Alhambra, Monterey Park, Rosemead and San Gabriel. Over the last decade, Chinese investment has transformed the area into an internationally known tourist area, and Valley Boulevard has become a kind of bellwether for Chinese investment in Southern California.


Podcast: Trying to smash sexism in the video game world

Los Angeles Times

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sounds like a bureaucratic borefest, but it's actually pretty important. It files lawsuits against companies and landlords accused of discrimination. Today we talk about California's lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. The Santa Monica company made $8 billion last year on the strength of classic video game titles like "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft." But the state argues the company let fester a "pervasive frat boy workplace culture" that led to sexual harassment against women.


L.A. County sees another sharp rise in coronavirus cases as mask rules set to take effect

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County recorded more than 1,900 new coronavirus cases Friday, another major jump, as a mandatory mask restriction for inside public places takes effect Saturday night. Over the last week, L.A. County has reported an average of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day -- a tally that, though merely a fraction of the sky-high counts seen during previous surges, is still six times as high as what the county was seeing in mid-June. Daily case numbers have jumped: 1,537 new cases were reported Thursday, and 1,902 more were added Friday. COVID-19 hospitalizations also doubled over that same time period, from 223 on June 15 to 462 on Thursday. More than 8,000 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized countywide during the darkest days of the winter wave.


Bird rescue operation in Long Beach seeks to save elegant terns

Los Angeles Times

It's been a tough year for elegant terns in Southern California. A drone crash in June forced an estimated 3,000 of the sleek seabirds with their pointed orange bills to abandon their eggs on Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Orange County. Experts say it's possible that many of the birds set up camp on two commercial barges in nearby Long Beach Harbor. Now droves of the baby birds are falling into the ocean and drowning. "They basically landed on the barge a day or so, and it may have been two or three days, after the incident involving the drones when they left Bolsa Chica," said Tim Daly, spokesman for California Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Critics say physicians 'cartel' obstructing efforts to punish bad doctors

Los Angeles Times

As injured patients and consumer rights groups fight for tougher penalties on grossly negligent doctors, California's powerful physicians lobby is working hard behind the scenes to water down any proposed reforms. So far, the lobbyists seem to be winning. It gained fresh momentum this week in the wake of a Times investigation that found the Medical Board of California, which oversees physicians, has consistently allowed negligent doctors to keep practicing and harming patients: leaving them dead, paralyzed, brain-damaged and missing limbs. The board allowed some doctors to keep practicing even after accusing them of misleading patients -- and the board's own investigators -- to conceal significant medical errors. On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose office is responsible for appointing most of the board members, refused to be interviewed about The Times' findings or to offer comment.


$5,000 reward offered for information on drone crash in Bolsa Chica bird reserve

Los Angeles Times

The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced Thursday a reward of $5,000 for information on the person or people who operated a drone that crashed-landed in May into nesting grounds at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach. About 3,000 elegant terns -- notable for their orange bills and black crests -- fled the reserve after the crash in mid-May. They left behind 1,500 to 2,000 unsavable eggs, the largest abandonment that scientists who work there could remember. The operators of drones that fly over state wildlife preserves and disturb habitats can face charges for nest destruction and harassment of wildlife, according to Officer Nick Molsberry of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tim Daly, a spokesperson for the agency, said that he had no knowledge of the drone operator in the Bolsa Chica incident having been identified or of the birds having returned to the reserve, which spans more than 1,000 acres.