With approval from the team, the Clippers’ star Kawhi Leonard did not travel with his teammates Wednesday to Orlando, Florida, according to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes and confirmed by a league source. The two-time two-time NBA Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year is expected to join the squad in a few days at the Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex as the Clippers prepare to resume the season.
According to Haynes, Leonard was attending to a family matter.
In his first season with the Clippers, the 6-foot-7 Leonard was averaging career highs in points (26.9) and assists (five) and had equaled his career-best mark in rebounds (7.3) when the season was postponed on March 11.
His Clippers are 44-20, 5 1/2 games behind of the top-seeded Lakers, returning to action as one of the favorites to win the NBA championship, which would be the first in franchise history.
The Clippers are scheduled get started again when they open an eight-game seeding schedule against the Lakers on July 30. In the teams’ previous three matchups this season, the Lakers defeated the Clippers just once, on March 8.
The rematch later this month is slated to be the second game of a TNT doubleheader on “opening” night, along with the New Orleans Pelicans against the Utah Jazz.
The state agency also reports 814 hospitalized patients in the last 14 days (suspected and positive) in 33 hospitals across the county as of Wednesday.
The state’s coronavirus-tracking dashboard shows Orange County has at least 40% of its ICU beds still available.
The county estimates the number of recoveries from the virus is 9,174 as of Wednesday. The count of people who have recovered is based on the prior 28-day cumulative case count.
Countywide, 285,482 tests have been reported since testing began, with data through July 6. The state’s coronavirus dashboard gave a 12.4% test positivity rate for the county with 86,025 tests over the last 14 days.
The county’s breakdown of deaths by age is as follows:
85 and older: 32% (122)
75-84: 27% (101)
65-74: 17% (63)
55-64: 12% (45)
45-54: 9% (33)
35-44: 2% (8)
25-34: 1% (4)
24 and younger: 0%
Data posted each day is preliminary and subject to change, officials emphasize. More information may become available as individual case investigations are completed.
Total cases by city (note map scale has changed since Monday).
Map for Monday July 6:
Cases from June 6-July 6:
Hospitalizations as of July 6:
Orange County total cases by ZIP code:
Click on the map below to see the county case counts by city:
Want to quickly become a landlord with a collection of beach town properties?
A portfolio of five Laguna Beach rental properties — 23 residential units and two small retail spaces — is on the market for $47 million.
Four of the properties being marketed by the Corona del Mar office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties are on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway:
Sunset Cove Villas at 683 Sleepy Hollow Lane has eight units with one-to-three bedrooms and ocean views.
The Retreat Laguna at 729 Ocean Front has eight units with ocean views.
Duplex at Sleepy Hollow at 689 Sleepy Hollow Lane has two luxury apartments with ocean views and a four-car garage
691 South Coast Highway has two retail spaces, plus a three-bedroom residential unit.
The fifth property, The Cliff and Cedar Buildings at 150 Cliff Drive, has four, two-or-three bedroom units and is in the city’s downtown.
Aaron Valenty of Berkshire Hathaway, who’s selling the property, would not disclose the owner’s identity. But he noted the investor cobbled this collection of short-term rentals over many years. That effort included buying up all four condos at the one downtown property.
Despite much economic turmoil, certain real estate investments are regaining momentum since coronavirus hit. Historically low interest rates and government stimulus cash don’t offer much investment return for safety. The stock market has rebounded, but its many gyrations don’t sit well with everybody. And even being a traditional landlord has been tricky, with rent collections in doubt due to high unemployment.
So a deep-pocketed investor might be lured to this collection of short-term rentals — where rent is paid in advance — that can be booked from $1,200 a night for the best ones in high-season to $250 a night for smaller units in the off-season, Valenty says.
Those room rates add up to an estimated $1.7 million in annual income for the portfolio. And when compared with the asking price, this translates to a buyer getting an initial cap rate — real estate lingo for yield on the investment — of 3.8%.
A global pandemic has clobbered the tourism business and might make this an odd time to be selling beach-close rentals. Yet the Laguna Beach short-term rental business has been surprisingly good in the pandemic, Valenty says.
Like many parts of the tourism business, these rentals were hit with vacancies as coronavirus first hit in late winter. But with Los Angeles County taking a tougher stand on “stay at home” orders compared with Orange County, these units “became a place to ride out the pandemic” for some well-to-do folks, Valenty says. So, the units are 100% full for the rest often summer.
“Action has been brisk,” Valenty says of buyer inquiries on this Laguna Beach portfolio. A sale that otherwise might take years to pull off, could be completed within months, he adds.
A national coalition of labor unions, along with racial and social justice organizations, will stage a mass walkout from work this month, as part of an ongoing reckoning on systemic racism and police brutality in the U.S.
Dubbed the “Strike for Black Lives,” tens of thousands of fast food, ride-share, nursing home and airport workers in more than 25 cities are expected to walk off the job July 20 for about eight minutes — the amount of time prosecutors say a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee on the neck of George Floyd in May — in remembrance of Black men and women who died recently at the hands of police.
The national strike will also include a handful of worker-led marches through participating cities, organizers said Wednesday.
According to details shared exclusively with The Associated Press, organizers are demanding sweeping action by corporations and government to confront systemic racism in an economy that chokes off economic mobility and career opportunities for many Black and Hispanic workers, who make up a disproportionate number of those earning less than a living wage.
They also stress the need for guaranteed sick pay, affordable health care coverage and better safety measures for low-wage workers who never had the option of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have to link these fights in a new and deeper way than ever before,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents over 2 million workers in the U.S. and Canada.
“Our members have been on a journey … to understanding why we cannot win economic justice without racial justice. This strike for Black lives is a way to take our members’ understanding about that into the streets,” Henry told the AP.
Among the strikers’ specific demands are that corporations and government declare unequivocally that “Black lives matter.” Elected officials at every level must use executive and legislative power to pass laws that guarantee people of all races can thrive, according to a list of demands. Employers must also raise wages and allow workers to unionize to negotiate better health care, sick leave and child care support.
The service workers union has partnered with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the American Federation of Teachers, United Farm Workers and the Fight for $15 and a Union, which was launched in 2012 by American fast-food workers to push for a higher minimum wage.
Social and racial justice groups taking part include March On, the Center for Popular Democracy, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of over 150 organizations that make up the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, a strike organizer with the Movement for Black Lives, said corporate giants that have come out in support of the BLM movement amid nationwide protests over police brutality have also profited from racial injustice and inequity.
“They claim to support Black lives, but their business model functions by exploiting Black labor — passing off pennies as ‘living wages’ and pretending to be shocked when COVID-19 sickens those Black people who make up their essential workers,” said Henderson, co-executive director of Tennessee-based Highlander Research and Education Center.
“Corporate power is a threat to racial justice, and the only way to usher in a new economy is by tackling those forces that aren’t fully committed to dismantling racism,” she said in a statement
Trece Andrews, a Black nursing home worker for a Ciena Healthcare-managed retirement home in the Detroit area, said she feels dejected after years of being passed over for promotions. The 49-year-old believes racial discrimination plays a part in her career stagnation.
“I’ve got 20 years in the game and I’m only at $15.81 (per hour),” she said in a phone interview.
As the single mother of a 13-year-old daughter and caregiver to her father, a cancer survivor, Andrews said inadequate personal protective gear makes her afraid of bringing the coronavirus home from her job.
“We’ve got the coronavirus going on, plus we’ve got this thing with racism going on,” Andrews said. “They’re tied together, like some type of segregation, like we didn’t have our ancestors and Martin Luther King fighting against these types of things. It’s still alive out here, and it’s time for somebody to be held accountable. It’s time to take action.”
The strike continues a decades-old labor rights movement tradition. Most notably, organizers have drawn inspiration from the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike over low wages, benefits disparity between Black and white employees, and inhumane working conditions that contributed to the deaths of two Black workers in 1968. At the end of that two-month strike, some 1,300 mostly Black sanitation workers bargained collectively for better wages.
“Strike for Black Lives” organizers say they want to disrupt a multi-generational cycle of poverty perpetuated by anti-union and other policies that make it difficult to bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions.
Systemic poverty affects 140 million people in the U.S, with 62 million people working for less than a living wage, according to the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a strike partnering organization. An estimated 54% of Black workers and 63% of Hispanic workers fall into that category, compared to 37% of white workers and 40% of Asian American workers, the group said.
“The reason why, on July 20th, you’re going to see strikes and protests and the walk-offs and socially distanced sit-ins and voter registration outreach is because thousands and thousands of poor, low-wage workers of every race, creed and color understand that racial, economic, health care, immigration, climate and other justice fights are all connected,” the Rev. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said in a telephone interview.
“If in fact we are going to take on police violence that kills, then certainly we have to take on economic violence that also kills,” he said.
Organizers said some striking workers will do more than walk off the job on July 20. In Missouri, participants will rally at a McDonald’s in Ferguson, a key landmark in the protest movement sparked by the death of Michael Brown, a Black teenager who was killed by police in 2014. The strikers will then march to a memorial site located on the spot where Brown was shot and killed.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed on May 25, nursing home workers will participate in a caravan that will include a stop at the airport. They’ll be joined by wheelchair attendants and cabin cleaners demanding a $15-per-hour minimum wage, organizers said.
Angely Rodriguez Lambert, a 26-year-old McDonald’s worker in Oakland and leader in the Fight for $15 organization, said she and several co-workers tested positive for COVID-19 after employees weren’t initially provided proper protective equipment. As an immigrant from Honduras, Lambert said she also understands the Black community’s urgent fight against police brutality.
“Our message is that we’re all human and we should be treated like humans — we’re demanding justice for Black and Latino lives,” she told the AP.
“We’re taking action because words are no longer bringing the results that we need,” she said. “Now is the moment to see changes.”
Morrison is a member of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison.
Downtown Disney along with Disney’s two Anaheim theme parks and three hotels have been closed since mid-March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme parks and hotels remain closed indefinitely.
Here are the Downtown Disney businesses that plan to reopen on Thursday:
Food and Beverage
Asian Street Eats
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes
Earl of Sandwich
Naples Ristorante e Bar
Salt & Straw
Uva Bar & Cafe
Wetzel’s Diggity Dog
Disney Dress Shop
Disney’s Pin Traders
Rinse Bath & Body Co.
Sugarboo & Co.
World of Disney
Notably missing from the Downtown Disney reopening list:
Ballast Point Brewing Co.
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Splitsville Luxury Lanes
The Void virtual reality experience
The Disneyland resort’s flagship World of Disney store along with the company-operated Disney Dress Shop, Disney Home and Marceline’s Confectionery locations will all reopen on Thursday at Downtown Disney.
Current state guidelines allow Orange County restaurants to operate with outdoor dining. Indoor dining is prohibited.
Most Downtown Disney restaurants, such as Naples Ristorante and Black Tap Craft Burgers and Shakes, have outdoor dining areas. Additional patio seating has been added ahead of the Downtown Disney reopening.
A number of Downtown Disney eateries like Starbucks and Wetzel’s Pretzels focus on grab-and-go takeaway orders.
The rebranded and remodeled Jamba had just reopened in late February a few weeks before the coronavirus closure of the Disney mall. The Asian Street Eats food stand debuted in early January.
Some retail locations — including World of Disney and Marceline’s Confectionery — will use a mobile wait list when the shops or queues to get into the stores reach capacity. Shoppers on the mobile wait list will be notified by smartphone when it is time to return.
Only a few kiosk vendors like California Churro and Disney’s Pin Traders are included in the reopening list. A number of Downtown Disney vendor kiosks are currently stored in the Stitch cast member parking lot along Magic Way.
Orange County bars must remain closed unless they serve food with any alcohol purchases. Downtown Disney locations like Uva Bar offer both bar and food menus.
Some Downtown Disney businesses like Splitsville Luxury Lanes face a variety of COVID-19 guidelines with the state reclosing bowling alleys but allowing outdoor dining. The Splitsville Anaheim website lists the location as “temporarily closed” and dining reservations remain unavailable.
The Void virtual reality experience will not be returning to Downtown Disney after the coronavirus closure. The termination of a license agreement between Walt Disney Studios and Void VR triggered the termination of the Downtown Disney lease, according to a notice posted to the Anaheim storefront.
The reopening of Downtown Disney comes more than six weeks after the state allowed shopping malls in Orange County to resume operations in late May amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, Disneyland has announced and been forced to delay a proposed reopening date while the state has reinstated prohibitions on indoor dining and reclosed bars in O.C. amid an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Downtown Disney shoppers will self park in the Simba lot at Disneyland Drive and Katella Avenue and enter the mall at the security checkpoint near the Disneyland Hotel and Earl of Sandwich restaurant.
Shoppers approaching from the rideshare drop-off area on Harbor Boulevard will enter Downtown Disney at the security checkpoint on the esplanade between Disneyland and DCA. The security checkpoint between the former ESPN Zone and the former Rainforest Cafe will be temporarily closed.
Downtown Disney will reopen with additional health and safety measures including mandatory face masks, temperature checks, reduced capacity, social distancing and enhanced sanitization.
Temperature checks will take place before visitors pass through the metal detectors and bag check areas at the security checkpoints. Downtown Disney will not use the new Evolv Express no-touch bag check system being tested at Florida’s Disney Springs.
Mandatory face masks must be hands-free, snug fitting, secured with ties or ear loops and cover the nose and mouth. Costume masks are prohibited.
Disney’s new Guest Experience Team will be available throughout Downtown Disney to explain the new health and safety protocols, answer questions and encourage visitors to follow the rules.
Downtown Disney restaurants will have additional outdoor seating. Digital or single-use menus will be available at many eateries. Reservations will be available for some table-service restaurants — either through the Disneyland app or the eatery’s reservation system or virtual waitlist.
Ground markings for restaurant and store queues will help delineate proper physical distancing. Cashless transactions will be encouraged and plexiglass barriers will be installed at some cash registers.
Downtown Disney operating hours will be limited to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld Trump administration rules allowing some employers to decline to provide contraceptive coverage on religious or moral grounds, which could leave more than 70,000 women without cost-free birth control.
The high court ruled 7-2 for the administration, which made a policy change to allow some employers who cite religious or moral objections to opt out of providing no-cost birth control required by the Obama-era healthcare law. Lower courts had previously blocked the Trump administration’s changes.
“We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a majority of the court.
The government had previously estimated that the rule changes would cause about 70,000 women, and at most 126,000 women, to lose contraception coverage in one year.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited those numbers in dissenting.
“In accommodating claims of religious freedom, this Court has taken a balanced approach, one that does not allow the religious beliefs of some to overwhelm the rights and interests of others who do not share those beliefs. Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree,” she wrote.
Two liberal justices who sided with the administration, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Stephen Breyer, nonetheless suggested the legal fight over the Trump administration changes may not be over. Future administrations could also attempt changes.
Birth control has been a topic of contention since the health care law was passed. Initially, churches, synagogues and mosques were exempt from the contraceptive coverage requirement. The Obama administration also created a way by which religiously affiliated organizations including hospitals, universities and charities could opt out of paying for contraception, but women on their health plans would still get no-cost birth control. Some groups complained the opt-out process itself violated their religious beliefs.
That opt-out process was the subject of a 2016 Supreme Court case, but the court, with only eight justices at the time because of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, didn’t decide the issue. It instead sent both sides back to see if they could work out a compromise.
After the Trump administration took over, officials announced a rule change that allows many companies and organization with religious or moral objections to opt out of covering birth control without providing an alternate avenue for coverage. But the change was blocked by courts after New Jersey and Pennsylvania challenged it.
Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman contributed to this report.
HAWTHORNE — Hawthorne-based SpaceX will try again Wednesday to launch 57 internet satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida as it continues its quest to build a worldwide broadband network.
The launch of the Starlink satellites, along with a pair of Earth-observation satellites operated by a separate company, was originally planned for June 26, but it was scrubbed to allow more time for additional “pre-launch checkouts.”
Wednesday’s launch is scheduled for 8:50 a.m. California time.
Following the launch, SpaceX also plans to again attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket by landing it on the company’s “Of Course I Still Love You” barge in the Atlantic Ocean. The recovery process is an effort to slash the costs of launches by allowing rockets to be reused.
The first stage of the rocket being used for Wednesday’s planned launch was used in four previous SpaceX missions, including two previous Starlink satellite missions.
For SpaceX, the launch will be the 10th in its effort to build the Starlink worldwide internet array. The array is planned to provide low-cost internet access to people around the globe, particularly in under-served areas.
The latest batch of satellites will increase the Starlink array to nearly 600 satellites in orbit. It’s unclear exactly how many satellites will ultimately be included in the constellation. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said previously that the service could begin operating when it reaches 1,000 satellites, and the company has already begun soliciting people to be “beta” testers of the service. But the more satellites that are deployed will mean more comprehensive internet coverage.
In addition to the 57 Starlink satellites, the SpaceX rocket will also be carrying a pair of satellites for Spaceflight Industries on behalf of Earth-observation company BlackSky.
BlackSky is in the process of building its satellite array, with four already in orbit. The launch will increase the array to six, and the company has an initial goal of launching 16 by early next year. The array could ultimately have as many as 60 satellites, but timing on that expansion hasn’t been determined.