After hours of debate, Anaheim council approves details of Angel Stadium sale

The deal isn’t totally done, but the Anaheim City Council early Wednesday, Sept. 30, approved the terms on which they’ll sell the city’s biggest asset, Angel Stadium, and allow the surrounding property to be developed with thousands of homes, offices, shops and restaurants that are expected to generate millions in revenue.

The council’s vote, which came at the end of a more than seven-hour meeting, was not a surprise – a majority led by Mayor Harry Sidhu in December agreed to the framework of the deal, and their public comments have been supportive of the details that were unveiled earlier this month.

  • The plan for developing the Angel Stadium property includes improving the connection to the ARTIC transportation center, by opening the outfield to “create a dramatic new entrance to the stadium surrounded by a wide range of retail, dining and entertainment experiences to be enjoyed game day and every day.” (Courtesy of SRB Management)

  • The Stadium Development Plan is a proposed 30-year master plan that would bring “a diverse housing, transit-oriented and walkable community to the Platinum Triangle – all anchored by parks, offices, public spaces, shops, restaurants and entertainment entirely connected to Angels Baseball.” (Courtesy of SRB Management)

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  • The development plan for the Angel Stadium property envisions guests arriving on game days via local transportation hubs and parking area will be able “to enjoy two dynamic retail, dining and entertainment hubs on the property in the future.” (Courtesy of SRB Management)

  • The plan for the development of the Angel Stadium property would create a 7-acre central gathering place along with an additional five-acres of linear parks, landscaped paths and playing fields. (Courtesy of SRB Management)

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When the sale closes, likely in late 2021, the city will turn over the stadium and the 150 acres on which it sits to SRB Management, Angels owner Arte Moreno’s business partnership, in exchange for $150 million in cash and another $170 million in community benefits that include 466 units of housing for lower income residents and a 7-acre public park that is expected to be a showpiece.

Sidhu, who helped negotiate the deal, said any city council would be happy to make a deal like this, with a projected 30,000 construction jobs and 45,000 permanent jobs, a walkable development with 15% affordable housing, a high-quality urban park and a long-term commitment from a Major League Baseball team to play in town.

“I truly believe residents for generations to come will thank us for (this), and actions we take tonight will truly benefit all residents in our city,” he said.

In a statement, SRB Management spokeswoman Marie Garvey said, “Tonight was an important vote by the City of Anaheim and will secure a long-term home for the Angels. While there are still more steps to go, we are pleased that the Stadium Development Plan continues to move forward. In the future, this property can play a key role in Anaheim’s recovery by creating thousands of jobs and building an exciting destination and community for residents and fans.”

Two council members, Denise Barnes and Jose Moreno, have been critical of the deal, which they say grossly undervalues the property and deprives the city of millions of dollars that could be used to fund services and programs that benefit all Anaheim residents. They cast the only two no votes Wednesday.

Barnes tried to postpone the issue until the city holds an in-person public workshop, but only Moreno supported that suggestion. The city held three online town halls this month at which residents could submit questions, but no in-person meetings have taken place since March due to the pandemic.

Moreno continued to question whether the deal was negotiated appropriately, and he objected to crediting SRB Management about $46 million for a park that would be a selling point in what’s expected to be a high-end development.

“It’s not only a community benefit, it’s a benefit to the developer,” he said.

Some residents and Angels fans have applauded the deal, in part because it includes a commitment agreement that locks the team into playing in Anaheim at least through 2030 (the owner could face a penalty of at least $100 million if the team were to leave early). It also provides for Moreno to either renovate or replace the 1966 stadium, but no decision on that has been announced. The city will be out of the business of maintaining the stadium.

But others, including two former Anaheim mayors, have been critical of what they said is a rushed process with limited public input, and they have questioned why the city is crediting the buyer for millions of dollars in housing and park space, benefits that in some other cases have been negotiated at no cost to a community.

Anaheim officials have noted that the city has no affordable housing mandate requiring a percentage of housing be designated for lower incomes and the 7-acre park is in addition to smaller parks that help the development meet city requirements for new construction.

Moreno also unsuccessfully sought to tweak the language of the agreement that commits the Angels to play in Anaheim for at least 30 more years, citing what he said might be a loophole that could let the team go elsewhere in Orange County.

In 2006, the city lost a lawsuit over the team’s name change to “Los Angeles Angels” when a court determined the lease language allowed it. This time, city staff told the council SRB officials had already agreed to shore up the promise to remain in the city, making Moreno’s suggested change unnecessary.

The city has already been paid $5 million from the sale and may get another $45 million as soon as October. The remainder of the cash payment would come in $20 million installments over the next few years after the sale closes. The council still must take a second, procedural vote on the sale deal, expected at its next meeting.

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Family of nursing home resident who died: ‘She had 3 really good years there and 1 really bad week’

Karen Johnson, 77, spent about three years in the Highland Springs Care Center in Beaumont.

“She was at an unlocked memory care facility in Hemet, but she got to the point with her Alzheimer’s and dementia … where she needed to be in a locked facility,” said her daughter, Dena Garcia.


Eye of the Storm

Southern California Nursing Homes during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Latest installments in a continuing series

  • Part One:  What do Southern California nursing homes hard hit by COVID-related deaths have in common? We spoke with experts, nursing home administrators and advocates to find out.
  • Part Two: A tale of two Pasadena nursing homes. One, Gem Transitional Care Center, hard hit by COVID deaths and another, Camellia Gardens, about four miles away, that wasn’t.
  • Today, Part Three: Highland Springs Care Center in Beaumont has one of the highest percentage of COVID-19 deaths per average daily number of residents of any skilled nursing home in Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino counties.

The series was produced by correspondent Brenda Gazzar and SCNG staff writer Beau Yarbrough, participating in the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s California Fellowship.


Garcia, who lives in Moreno Valley, would visit her mother regularly.

“I had a really good relationship with people who worked there. I knew them, they knew me, I could show up at any time,” she said.

And her mother seemed to like Highland Springs:

“She was a very outdoorsy person, so I think she liked getting outdoors and still feel like she was getting outside,” Garcia said, although she noted that Johnson still wasn’t allowed to leave the grounds.

In March, as the coronavirus pandemic swept into Riverside County, Highland Springs stopped all visitation. Management told residents’ families they had a rigorous routine for keeping staff, residents and the facility clean and virus-free. All employees were screened for temperatures when they arrived each day, for example. According to her family, Johnson even appears in a March 23 video about hand washing on the Highland Springs Facebook page.

“She had three really good years there and one really bad week,” said Johnson’s grandson, Kyle Garcia, who lives near Fort Worth.

On April 11, Dena Garcia was told that her mother was running a fever. Three days later, Johnson was sent to the emergency room at Banning’s San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, where she was nonresponsive. Previously, she was capable of holding conversations and, her dementia and Alzheimer’s aside, was in generally good shape, according to her family.

Highland Springs spokeswoman Liz Tyler blames asymptomatic spread for the virus getting into Highland Springs.

“It’s not like the memory care facility created this virus or served it with breakfast,” she said. “It came in from the outside.”

Despite housing those most vulnerable to COVID-19, nursing homes don’t have the same tools as hospitals do to fight it, she said.

“Nursing homes, they don’t have negative space rooms like you have in hospitals. They have shared ventilation,” Tyler said. “It is an extraordinary effort to contain it.”

Highland Springs stopped admitting new residents on April 13, after the facility was first informed a resident had tested positive for COVID-19.

On April 17, Highland Springs was told Johnson had tested positive for COVID-19. Staff ended up testing all of their patients that same day, Tyler said. Sixty-one out of 86 residents tested positive, most of whom were asymptomatic.

“Their suspicion is it came with an asymptomatic staff member and it may have been a staff member who had a job in more than one facility,” Tyler said.

The facility gave employees an ultimatum, requiring them to only work at one facility, and residents who had tested positive were put in isolation.

Johnson died April 19 — the only person to die of COVID-19 in Riverside County that day, according to county health officials. She was the 75th person to die in the county of the disease.

A nurse at the hospital held up the phone so Dena Garcia could say goodbye to her mother.

“I just told her that I loved her and that we didn’t want her to suffer,” she said. “If it’s your time, it’s your time and you can go. Even without the coronavirus, Alzheimer’s is just a terrible, terrible disease.”

It has been a tough year for Dena Garcia: The last time she saw her mother alive was the day before Garcia’s father was buried. Two of Johnson’s six other siblings also have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

As of Sept. 11, 20 Highland Springs residents have died of COVID-19, roughly 24% of their 84 average daily residents, according to an analysis of data from Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare database and the California Department of Public Health’s Skilled Nursing Homes COVID-19 database.

According to Tyler, Highland Springs hasn’t had any new residents test positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of June.

“They got hit with an invisible bomb, they jumped on it, they did the isolation necessary,” she said. “Even with their dementia population, they kept it from spreading.”

The Garcias feel Highland Springs wasn’t as forthcoming as it should have been about the spread of the coronavirus in the facility, something Tyler denies. But the family is sympathetic to the challenge that Highland Springs faces trying to keep dementia and Alzheimer’s patients from contracting COVID-19.

“You can’t teach them to not eat off each others’ plates. You can’t teach them to keep their hands to themselves. You can’t teach them to not pick up a half-smoked cigarette and smoke it for themselves,” Dena Garcia said. “It’s just going to happen.”

According to Tyler, the big challenge isn’t keeping the virus controlled inside nursing homes; it’s keeping it from coming in from the world outside, where, six months on, the public still can’t agree on how to prevent the virus’ spread.

“This bug is easy to kill. You just have to know it’s there. Once you know it’s there, you separate, do all the cleaning and all the things like that and you get rid of it, like this facility did,” Tyler said. “But any facility in this country, no matter how good their protocols are, they’re just one day from an asymptomatic person coming in.”

This article was produced as a project for the USC Center for Health Journalism’s California Fellowship.

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Coronavirus: Reopening of Orange County schools now delayed to Sept. 22, at the earliest

Orange County’s schools may be able to open in-person on Sept. 22 – not Sept. 8 – the Orange County Health Care Agency announced late Monday night via Twitter.

Under a new four-color, tiered monitoring system, Orange County is in the most restrictive of the tiers, but it’s on track to bump up to the next tier on Sept. 8.

The county would then remain for 14 days in that tier, county health officials confirmed with the the California Department of Public Health, according to the late-night Tweet.

That means that the earliest schools could welcome students to campuses is on Sept. 22.

When Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the new color-coded tier system on Friday, there was initially much confusion among Orange County educators as to what it meant for school reopenings. Then, the county’s health officer, Clayton Chau, tweeted that the switch to a new monitoring system did not reset the 14-day countdown and schools could still open as soon as Sept. 8, if lower case trends continue.

I confirmed with the State that has not changed for OC except for the update in the new blueprint usually occurs on Monday and the State posts on Tuesday, so the school reopening would be Tuesday, September 8, right after Labor Day weekend.

— OC Health Care Agency (@ochealth) August 28, 2020

On Saturday, county health officials cast doubt on that opening date. In a Tweet, officials said they requested clarification from schools on the 14-day wait cycle. “State indicated we would get credit for those days. More to come.”

Update re: Gov.’s new system. We’ve requested additional clarification from State re: schools as there are several counties, including #OC, who are in limbo as we were part way thru prior 14 day cycle to re-open. State indicated we would get credit for those days. More to come.

— OC Health Care Agency (@ochealth) August 29, 2020

The answer apparently came late Monday night.  The earliest Orange County schools can open to in-person learning will be Sept. 22.

County Health Officer received confirmation from @CAPublicHealth that #OC is on track to enter into Red Tier on Sept. 8. Providing we meet Red Tier metrics at that time, there will be a 14-day wait for all K-12 schools to be eligible for reopening, which could happen on Sept. 22.

— OC Health Care Agency (@ochealth) September 1, 2020

Al Mijares, county superintendent of schools, said in a statement Monday night: “I know how frustrating it is to be in this position, given the complex planning it takes to restart our campuses.”

“Dr. Chau has advocated strongly on our behalf, but the state was firm in its response.”

To learn more about the new color-coded monitoring system: Orange County lands in most restrictive tier of new coronavirus tracking system 

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These O.C. parents have a message for Gov. Newsom, teachers’ unions: ‘Open up the schools.’

A pro-charter school group brought some 75 parents, teachers and a couple of Orange County Board of Education members together Tuesday evening to rally for the reopening of schools that were closed because of coronavirus concerns.

Parents, they said, should be making the choice of whether their children learn on campus or online.

“Open up the schools,” the crowd briefly chanted.

  • Jeff Barke, right, leads a rally outside the Santa Ana Educators Association office in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. The rally calling for the reopening of schools was organized by the California Policy Center’s “Parent Union.” (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cecilia Iglesias, left, and Orange County Board of Education member Mari Barke, right, join others outside the Santa Ana Educators Association office during a ‘reopen the schools’ rally in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. The rally was organized by the California Policy Center’s Parent Union, a pro-charter school group. Iglesias, a former Santa Ana councilwoman and school board member, works for the center and organized the meeting with Barke’s help. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Rhonda Furin, center, joins others during a reopen the schools rally outside the Santa Ana Educators Association in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. The rally was organized by a group called “Parent Union.” It’s a pro-charter school group under the libertarian California Policy Center. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A man holds up a sign during a ‘reopen the schools’ rally outside the Santa Ana Educators Association office in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. The rally was organized by a“Parent Union.” (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • About 75 protesters gathered outside the Santa Ana Educators Association office for a ‘reopen the schools’ rally in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cecilia Iglesias protests outside the Santa Ana Educators Association office during a reopen the schools rally in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Iglesias, a former Santa Ana councilwoman and former School Board member, organized the rally as the head of the “Parent Union,” a pro-charter school group under the libertarian California Policy Center. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jeff Barke, a physician who advocates for the reopening of schools without social distancing or face masks, leads a ‘reopen the schools’ rally outside the Santa Ana Educators Association office in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. The rally was organized by the California Police Center’s Parent Union group, a pro-charter group that said parents should have the choice of whether their children can return to campus for in-person learning or continue with online education. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Protestors gather outside the Santa Ana Educators Association for a reopen the schools rally in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. The rally was organized by the California Policy Center’s “Parent Union.” (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jeff Barke, right, leads a rally outside the Santa Ana Educators Association office in Santa Ana on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. The rally calling for the reopening of schools was organized by the California Policy Center’s “Parent Union.” (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Flanked by American flags and punctuated with religious references and prayer, the rally was organized by the Orange County-based California Policy Center’s “Parent Union,” which pointedly chose to host its event in front of the offices of the Santa Ana teachers’ union.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Jeff Barke, an Orange County physician who regularly advocates for reopening schools without face masks or social distancing but mentioned neither safety precaution during the rally. Instead, he and others focused attention on teacher unions, which have advocated for resuming school online for now.

“We’re here to let them know we’re sick and tired of the schools being closed. It’s not based on science. It’s not based on statistics. It’s not based on facts. It’s based on union power. “

Barbara Pearson, president of the Santa Ana teachers’ union – the Santa Ana Educators’ Association – called the protest “another desperate grab for attention in their struggle to stay relevant.

“It has nothing to do with the reopening of schools or the students of Santa Ana.  Governor Newsom made the decision to close schools, not the unions.  Our priority is the safety of staff and students,” Pearson wrote in an e-mail Tuesday night.

On July 17, Newsom ordered that all public and private schools in counties seeing a spike in coronavirus cases could not reopen for in-person learning in the new academic year. That affected all of Orange County’s schools, except for those elementary schools that are applying for a waiver. (State officials unveiled the waiver application process Monday night; it’s likely to impact mostly private and parochial schools.)

During the rally Tuesday, a few teachers spoke about the detrimental effects of online learning on all students, but especially those who need special services. Students have regressed academically since schools shut down mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, they noted. And many who are in vulnerable situations, some speakers said, have been made even more vulnerable, exposing them to abuse and even suicide, because they don’t have their safe haven – school – to turn to.

Mari Barke, an elected member of the Orange County Board of Education and Jeff Barke’s wife, told the crowd, to “keep fighting” to reopen schools.

“Parents are in the best position to make decisions for their children,” Mari Barke said.

Last week, her board voted to file a lawsuit against Newsom to force a reopening of schools. Fellow Trustee Ken Williams also addressed the crowd, invoking God and talking about “the fight for the children.”

The rally was organized by Cecilia Iglesias, a former Santa Ana councilwoman and former School Board member who works for the California Policy Center, a libertarian think tank that focuses on issues like pension reform and charter schools. The Center runs four chapters of the Parent Union in Southern California. Iglesias said she hopes to hold similar rallies in other counties.

“Our call is a call to action, to let parents choose,” Iglesias said prior to the rally. “We’re suggesting: open up the schools, following safety guidelines, and give parents the choice.”

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Orange County supervisor says she expects announcement relaxing mask requirement on Thursday

Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau, who is also serving as the interim public health officer, is expected on Thursday, June 1, to issue a new order making it a “strong recommendation” people in the county wear a face covering instead of a mandate during the coronavirus pandemic.

The expected change in policy comes days after Dr. Nichole Quick, who issued the mask mandate last month, abruptly resigned Monday following threats and a protest in front of her home, as well as push back from Orange County supervisors.

Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said Chau is expected on Thursday to alter Quick’s order to make mask wearing “strongly recommended” instead of required – the new order would take effect at midnight that day.

Bartlett said she wants to keep in place the county’s mask ordinance adopted in April for grocery stores and other retail businesses.

“I want to keep that in effect, not only to protect the public, but the workers,” Bartlett said. “There are certain businesses where you can’t do the six feet of social distancing.”

Bartlett said the mask order will help boost confidence of diners and shoppers.

“I think the public at-large would feel more comfortable knowing that businesses are taking those extra precautions when they can’t socially distance,” Bartlett said.

During a Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday, Chau defended Quick’s mask order, which was issued in May as county officials received permission from the state to reopen some businesses, including dining in restaurants.

Quick had said she issued the mask mandate, which is required whenever a resident cannot maintain six feet of social distancing, because she feared an outbreak of cases as more people congregated as stay-at-home orders were relaxed.

On Friday, the county is expected to a further relax restrictions on businesses to allow bars, gyms, family entertainment centers, community pools and others allowed in the beginning of Stage 3 reopenings in the state.

Chau was appointed interim public health officer on Tuesday. At the time, he declined to say when the order might be revised, suggesting it was something he would discuss it with the county’s next permanent health officer.

Chau, who also has a doctorate in clinical psychology, was appointed head of the Health Care Agency in April to succeed Richard Sanchez, who took over as head of CalOptima, the county’s insurance program for low-income residents.

Staff Writer Alicia Robinson contributed to this report.

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Cheering for Kobe Bryant was a ticket to Southern California life for many of the region’s Asian Americans

With limited English, 10-year-old James Kim broke the ice at lunch with his new classmates talking about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and how they took the Los Angeles Lakers to the championships in 2001.

Now living in Long Beach, cheering for Bryant was how Anne Milo Shanahan still connected with cousins back home in the Philippines.

  • Laker fans gather in front of a mural of Kobe Bryant on the 1300 block of Lebanon Street across from the LA Convention center in Los Angeles Monday, January 27, 2020. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 28: Fans leave condolence message on boards to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, at a memorial set up outside of Staples Center on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Kobe his daughter Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on January 26 in Calabasas, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 28: Fans gather to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant at LA Live on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 28: Items left by fans to pay their respects to Kobe Bryant at LA Live on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 28: Fans shoot baskets at a memorial wall near Staples Center in honor of former NBA great Kobe Bryant who, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died January 26 in a helicopter crash, on January 28, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Kobe and “Gigi” were among nine people killed in the crash in Calabasas, California as they were flying to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where he was going to coach her in a tournament game. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • People mourn Kobe Bryant outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier is lit in purple and gold in honor of LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
    (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

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And, watching the basketball legend run the court on television with her 90-year-old grandmother are special memories for Yvette Tung.

“That’s what you talked to people about,” Tung, 38, of Hacienda Heights, said. “All of a sudden, you have integrated. You’re in LA now.”

Southern California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community grew significantly in the 2000s, just as Bryant reached his peak with the Lakers. For many in the community trying to find their place in the ever-sprawling region, Bryant was their gateway to Southern California and its culture, to a classroom with few immigrant peers, to a family divided by generations or continents.

And with the news of his death and eight others on Sunday, Jan. 26, in a helicopter crash in the Calabasas hills, several said they still find themselves mourning days later.

“Kobe was our guy,” Josh Chung, 26, of Los Angeles, said. “Now, it’s all gone.”

In 2000, Kim was dropped into foreign surroundings when his family moved from South Korea. He hadn’t watched many Laker games in Korea, but in Burbank he found new friends as he fell in love with the team just “when Kobe and Shaq were going nuts.”

“It was always the topic of conversation you can bring up to people,” Kim said. “Our core friend group was white kids, Mexican kids, half-Asian kids, but we were religiously following Kobe. That was really what tied us together.”

“Ask a Korean” blogger who writes under the pen name T.K. Park moved to Cerritos from Korea as a 10th grader in 1996, just as rookie Bryant was emerging with the Lakers.

“Just starting conversation was so much easier. You had to just talk about the Lakers,” said Park, who now lives on the East Coast. “It’s like magic, where you have to say a certain word and you gain admission into the society.”

Southern California is “self-segregated,” he said, “there’s nothing that really holds it together other than sports.”

And, you didn’t have to be a kid to find a lifeline in Bryant. Tung said her grandmother emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the mid-1990s. Ready to move beyond the safety of a familiar mahjong club, her grandmother gravitated toward watching Laker games, Tung said.

“She would relate to the small guys because my grandmother used to be a small guard too,” Tung said. “And she really, really appreciated that Kobe makes most of his free throws.”

Her grandmother doesn’t know English well – she calls players by their numbers – but she and Tung can connect watching and talking about the Lakers.

“It’s really been a connecting tissue,” she said.

Shanahan came to the United States from the Philippines when she was turning 5 and has lived in Long Beach ever since. She remembers when Bryant visited the island country in 1998, dancing with the locals and checking out basketball courts.

“It really helped the Filipino community feel close to him,” Shanahan said. “We don’t have a lot of prevalent icons, so he kind of felt like that for many of us.”

Chung said he also saw a dedication in Bryant that resonated with him and a lot of his friends.

“We grew up with people telling us, whether parents or coaches, you have to work hard,” he said, “and that’s that immigrant narrative that a lot of us saw in Kobe.”

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Irvine council picks Great Park golf course site for Orange County veterans cemetery

A 100-acre plot that had been intended for a golf course in the Orange County Great Park will become a veterans cemetery, the Irvine City Council decided late Tuesday, July 23.

The decision is intended to settle more than five years of debate over where the county will lay its military service members to rest, but a few outstanding issues could slow or derail the project.

Council members chose the golf course site in a 4-1 vote after several dozen residents, including veterans, urged them to move forward – though some speakers and Councilwoman Melissa Fox, who cast the sole no vote, favored a site on the Great Park’s northern border that was originally pitched for the cemetery in 2014.

Known as ARDA, that northern site still contains buildings, runways and contamination such as asbestos from the former El Toro Marine air base, and state estimates peg the cost of cleanup and the first phase of a cemetery at $95 million.

A formal review of the golf course site, which is south of the ARDA parcel and was also part of El Toro, hasn’t taken place but city officials project a cemetery’s initial phase could be built there for just under $59 million.

Much of Tuesday’s discussion, which included comments from several dozen residents, centered on which site would be better, cheaper or faster to build on, and there were plenty of disputes over which side’s facts were accurate.

FivePoint Holdings, which is overseeing development of much of the Great Park and the surrounding homes, has pledged $28 million – of which $18 million had been promised to build the golf course – toward the cemetery project.

Officials also expect $24.5 million from the state and a potential $10 million in federal reimbursement for the project.

The company’s offer led some speakers to accuse council members of conspiring with FivePoint to free up the ARDA site for development, an assertion Mayor Christina Shea called “ridiculous.”

To address that, Councilwoman Farrah Khan asked for a future council discussion on rezoning the ARDA property, where current rules allow 250 homes, two hotels and a retail center. That issue should come up next month.

One remaining obstacle is a state bill that designates the ARDA site for the cemetery; it will have to be amended.

And former mayor Larry Agran, who has led the charge to build on the ARDA site, could pursue a ballot measure to enforce what he says is the will of city voters. Agran backed a 2018 initiative that overturned a council-approved land swap that would have put the cemetery on a different site owned by FivePoint that is now used to grow strawberries.

Some veterans just want to see the matter settled for themselves and their fellow service members. Vietnam veteran Bill Cook urged the council before the vote: “Don’t kick the can down the road any farther.”

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Graduation 2019: Villa Park High in commencement photos

Orange Unified School District’s Villa Park High celebrated its Class of 2019 at a commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 13, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

  • Alexandria Poteat gives a zot sign during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Carly Shotwell, right, waits in line with her fellow graduates before the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Graduates walk across the field during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Confetti gets caught in the safety nets as parents celebrate during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Underclassmen applaud as graduates head to their seats at Angel Stadium during the Villa Park High School graduation in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Aaron Duncan shows off his diploma during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates prepare to walk across the field during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates cross the infield at Angel Stadium during the Villa Park High School graduation in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates wait in line before the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Dr. Kenneth Miller, principal at Villa Park High School, speaks during their graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates prepare to walk across the field during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates wait in the tunnel before the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates celebrate during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Brianna Schroeder speaks during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates listen to the National Anthem during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates line up before the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Nathan Cerulli waits with his fellow graduates before the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Dalia Verde celebrates with family after the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates head to their seats at Angel Stadium during the Villa Park High School graduation in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • James Gagliardi celebrates during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A pigeon decides to crash the party during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Julien “JuJu” Franklin waves to his family during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Karla Bustamante waves to family after receiving her diploma during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Nayeli Gonzalez poses for photos in front of Angel Stadium after the Villa Park High School graduation in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Brianna Guerra gets a hug during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Family members of Sydnie Johnson celebrate after the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduate Jillian Cline smiles as she shows off her diploma during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cameron Illingworth poses for photos with family after the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Family members wait for their graduate after the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates, including Sophia DeLoera, center, celebrate during the Villa Park High School graduation at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Graduation 2019: Brea Olinda High, in Brea, commencement photos

Brea Olinda Unified School District’s Brea High celebrated its Class of 2019 at a commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 13, on campus.

  • New graduate Rania Jaradat, left, takes a selfie with her sisters Jeneene, center, and Dania after the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Kaylen Cradle reacts when she sees her family in the stands as she enters the stadium to begin the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Parents react when they see their son or daughter enter the stadium during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates take their positions at the start of the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • History teacher Johnpaul Wilson, left, gets a hug from Isabella Ortega after she received her diploma during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Brea Olinda High’s principal, Dr. Ixchel Sanchez, right, congratulates a graduate after she received her diploma during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Andrew Ryan, right, gives coach Michael Baker a hug after after receiving his diploma during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jacob Anquiano gives the “hang loose” hand sign as he enters the stadium to at the start of the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Callalily Egan wore spectacular earrings for her graduation during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Nathan Wyse points out his diploma to his family in the stands during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduates throw their graduation caps into the air at the conclusion of the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduates embrace at the conclusion of the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Jaylene Hernandez, center, is all smiles as joins fellow graduates in their seats during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Faith Wood waves to her family as she stands in line to receive her diploma during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduate Rayna Alonzo, center, is joined by her family for a fun group photo following the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduates line up for a group photo after the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Daniel Parahnevich, left, and his girlfriend Ashley Chen hold up photos of Parahnevich’s sister and graduate Liza during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Seung Yeon Choi waves to her family in the stands during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • John Cruz waves to his family in the stands during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates motion with their arms as they sing the school’s alma mater at the conclusion of the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Efren Zuniga, left, struggles to pick up his son Efren, Jr. as his family members, right, laugh at his efforts following the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduate Marcellus Brown, center, is photographed with his parents, Frankie and Cheryon following the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduates Keona Saltas, left, and Rachel Spadt celebrate after the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hundreds of family members and graduates pack the field for celebration and photos after the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Craig Smith, left, takes a photo of his granddaughter Khalil Morton against the school banner after the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduating seniors sing “Season of Love” from the musical “Rent” during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Melanie Oliva, center, gives the valedictorian address during the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • As graduates and their families celebrate, John Ojeda, a custodian at Brea Olinda, begins stacking chairs following the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • After the majority of graduates and families left the stadium a few stayed around for a few more photos after the 2019 Brea Olinda High School commencement ceremony in Wildcat Stadium at Brea Olinda High in Brea on Thursday, June 13, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Graduation 2019: Fountain Valley High in commencement photos

Huntington Beach Union High School District’s Fountain Valley High celebrated its Class of 2019 at a commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 12, at LeBard Stadium in Costa Mesa.

  • A graduate shows off her diploma to her family in the stands during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Joely Knoob jumps off the platform after receiving her diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Trinity Kuiland, 17, left, gets a hug from her boyfriend Jaylen Flores, 17, after he graduated at the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A graduate shows off her diploma to her family in the stands during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The Carranza family hold up photos of graduating senior Giselle Carranza, 18, as she enters the stadium at the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Moises Prado lifts up his son Christian after he graduated in the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduate Jerome Dovan, 18, left gets a hug from his mother, Vananh Nguyen after the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A graduate does a dance around his diploma he laid on the field during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Thousands of parents and family members attend the 2019 Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate celebrates after receiving her diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A graduate points to his family in the stands after receiving his diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Family crowd around a railing to photograph their graduation senior during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate celebrates after receiving his diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate celebrates after receiving her diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate celebrates after receiving her diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate gets a high-five from a faculty member during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate shows her diploma to her family in the stands during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A graduating student gives the thumbs up during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A new graduate does a dab after he receives his diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Joely Knoob celebrates after receiving her diploma during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduate Marlon Atuatasi, 18, is loaded down with leis after the 2019 Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Graduates pose for photos after the 2019 Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduated Jamal Assaf, 18, poses for a photo with his family after the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduates embrace immediately after the 2019 Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • New graduate Ivy Duong, 17, left, poses for a photo with her nephew Zed Apricio 6-months after the 2019 Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A family gathers for a photo after the 2019 Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Hundreds of graduating students take their seats during the Fountain Valley High School graduation ceremony in LeBard Stadium at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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