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Inside Los Angeles

Inside Los Angeles (Aug 21st, 2019)

☀️ It'll be warm and sunny tomorrow and through the weekend. The high/low tomorrow will be 84/66 downtown, 75/66 near the beach, and 88/63 in the valley.

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1. The Los Angeles Unified School District is taking back control of programs that serve special needs students. A court order from 1996 required all programs for students with disabilities to be supervised by an outside monitor, as it was determined at the time that the district was in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Since then, LAUSD has worked to make significant improvements to programs for students with autism, dyslexia, blindness and other disabilities. The independent monitor, however, believes the move is a mistake, and that the district is still in violation of the ADA on many campuses. Over 64,000 LAUSD students – about 13 percent of the total number of students educated in the city – live with a disability. – LA TIMES

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2. "The Mountain," a huge tract of land north of Beverly Hills that once had a listing price of $1 billion, has sold at auction for a mere $100,000. The buyer was, technically, a former owner – a trust set up by the late Mark Hughes, founder of Herbalife. Hughes sold the property in 2004, and the person who purchased it from him later defaulted on a loan from the Hughes trust. According to an attorney for the former owner, "the debt owed to the lender amounted to $200 million by Tuesday – meaning the real cost of the property amounts to far more than the $100,000 paid." Confused yet? You're not the only one. Needless to say, the 158-acre property will likely sell again, and for far more than $100,000. You might still need to shell out $650 million. – CURBED LA

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3. Another piece of famous, pricey Los Angeles real estate is also on the market – The Emoji House. The Manhattan Beach duplex was on Airbnb until a neighbor reported the owner – short-term rentals are illegal in the coastal town. Some time later, the house was painted bright pink and adorned with two goofy emoji, which neighbors believed was an effort to bully them. The 1,528 square foot duplex is listed at $1,749,000 and, according to the listing, "has undergone various upgrades within the last year." – ABC7

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4. "Little Free Pantries" – outdoor boxes filled with non-perishable food, water, and toiletries – are popping up around the city. LAist spoke with Tara Duffy, who manages the pantry outside the South Hills Church in Burbank. She says anyone can come to drop off or take an item from the box without judgment. The boxes, which aim to help people suffering from food insecurity, are an extension of the Little Free Pantry movement started in Arkansas by Jessica McClard. Her website currently lists three Los Angeles pantries among the over 600 locations in the U.S. The LA Food Bank estimates that food insecurity affects about 17 percent of households in a given year. – LAIST

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5. Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers are giving every student in LA a new backpack. The Clippers Foundation and Leonard are working with nonprofit group Baby2Baby to deliver backpacks to all students in Los Angeles Unified, Moreno Valley Unified, and Inglewood Unified School Districts. The announcement was made at Cloverdale Elementary School in Moreno Valley, which Leonard attended. According to the Clippers' press release, the gift is the largest single donation in LAUSD history. Leonard recently signed a three-year contract with the Clippers; their new season kicks off Oct. 22 against the LA Lakers. – SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

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6. Japanese kaiseki restaurant n/naka in Palms was named one of the 30 best restaurants in the world by Food & Wine Magazine. The only LA-area restaurant to make the list, n/naka features 13 courses of seasonal, local ingredients prepared by Niki Nakayama and sous chef Carole Iida-Nakayama. Writer Besha Rodell, who curated the list, says she included n/naka not just for its food, but how it celebrates LA's diversity and cultural experience. Nakayama was born in Southern California but trained in Japan – to Rodell, her kaiseki dining experience is "almost as Californian as it is Japanese." – NBC LOS ANGELES

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7. The City of Santa Monica has set aside $2 million to help subsidize the rent of low-income seniors. The program aims to support long-term residents among a rise in the cost of living in a state where over half of all senior citizens say they don't have the income to meet basic expenses. The city believes the program can alleviate financial pressure among its seniors and is more cost-effective than building new low-income housing. – SANTA MONICA DAILY PRESS

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8. An iconic Rocky & Bullwinkle statue, that stood for decades on the Sunset Strip before being removed in 2013, will have a new home at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Holloway Drive. The statue was initially installed in 1961 outside of Jay Ward Productions, the animation studio that created "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends." At the time, it acted as a parody of a similar installation of a showgirl outside the Sahara Hotel. Since the statue's removal six years ago, many local residents have clamored for its return. The community hopes that Moose and Squirrel will be in their permanent location by November 19, the 60th anniversary of the show's premiere. – LA MAG

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9. A former LA planning director has admitted to ethical misconduct, accepting consulting fees from the city while illegally lobbying. In 2016, Michael LoGrande successfully convinced City Hall managers to allow Soho House to build a private club in the Arts District. Soho House paid him a $70,000 consulting fee, despite LoGrande having been the head of LA's planning department only four months earlier, in violation of the city's "revolving door" law. An ethics commission has levied a $281,250 fine against LoGrande. – KTLA

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10. In celebration of the character's 45th anniversary, LA is getting a month-long Hello Kitty pop-up. Hello Kitty's "Friends Around the World Tour" will be open at the LA Plaza Village in Chinatown from Sept. 20 to Oct. 20, and promises to be "fully immersive" and "multi-sensory." Southern California already has several Hello Kitty Cafes, featuring donuts, mini cakes, and plenty of other items in the shape of the fictional Japanese cartoon character. – WE LIKE LA

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Jonathan Harris is a Los Angeles-based writer. Previously, he wrote for The Huffington Post, TakePart.com, and the YouTube channel What’s Trending. He’s a frequent performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood. Follow him on Twitter @countrycaravan.

This newsletter is edited by Inside senior editor Bobby Cherry, a Pittsburgh-based journalist who's always on social media. Reach him at bobby@inside.com.

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