When can Disneyland reopen? The answer comes with a huge asterisk

It seems like the simplest question, but it is one that has vexed fans and operators alike for more than 10 months now: When can Disneyland and other California theme parks reopen?

The simple answer comes with the world’s biggest asterisk: California theme parks can reopen as soon as mid-March.

That would be nearly a year to the day since Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flag Magic Mountain, SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California and other California theme parks closed in mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now to that asterisk. California theme parks can reopen in six weeks if the counties they reside in can reach the least-restrictive yellow/minimal tier 4 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. But that is a huge if.

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SEE ALSO: Disneyland to remove ‘negative depictions of native people’ from Jungle Cruise ride

A six-week timeline to reopening Disneyland is merely a best case scenario and highly unlikely. But it does offer the first possible date the park can reopen under state guidelines.

The best estimate at the moment is that California theme parks can reopen in spring or summer under COVID-19 health and safety reopening guidelines issued by the state. But the pandemic has cast aside estimated opening dates many times before.

All but four of California’s 58 counties remain in the most-restrictive purple/widespread tier 1 risk level after exiting the state’s stay-at-home order this week. That puts California theme parks back on the path to reopening — but still as far as they can get from a full return to operations under the state’s color-coded system.

California theme parks will be allowed to reopen on a county by county basis under Newsom’s four-tiered system. At the moment, every major theme park in the state is in a county stuck in the most-restrictive purple tier. Every day a theme park’s county remains stuck in the purple tier pushes a potential reopening date that much further out in the calendar.

State mandates require counties remain in each tier for at least three weeks before moving to a less-restrictive tier. That means every California theme park will have to wait at least three weeks for their county to pass through the red/substantial tier 2 and another three weeks at a minimum to make it through the orange/moderate tier 3 before reaching the yellow/minimal tier 4.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland reveals new annual pass options in passholder surveys

The six-week timeline to reopening California theme parks is far from a certainty. Counties can and have remained mired in a single tier for months during the pandemic without making any progress. There is no telling how long it will take larger counties like Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange to even exit the purple tier and start the six-week countdown toward the least-restrictive yellow tier. And there is nothing to stop a county from slipping backward a tier or becoming hopelessly stuck in a tier during that hypothetical six-week journey.

Then there’s the biggest challenge of all. The California Attractions and Parks Association says the state’s large theme parks could remain closed indefinitely if their counties can’t reach the yellow tier.

SEE ALSO: Disneyland attendance to rebound by 2022 due to pent-up demand, analysts forecast

The greatest unknown of all: What happens to California theme parks once they reach the yellow tier and have their attendance capped at 25%? The state has not announced how Disneyland and other major theme parks can move out of the yellow tier and return to full operations.

Unfortunately, we have about as much certainty now about when Disneyland and other California theme parks can reopen as we did at the beginning of the pandemic.

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Anchor Steam’s beer logo redesign: Love it or really, really hate it?

With the debates raging nationally over coronavirus vaccines and economic bailouts, this hardly seems the time to get agitated about a beer label.

On the other hand, this might be the just the thing to take our collective mind off pandemic politics now that we’ve exhausted virtually all of the Bernie meme possibilities.


The classic Anchor Steam label. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

For those who haven’t heard, here’s the outrage roiling the beer world:

San Francisco’s storied Anchor Brewing Co. has changed its logo.

Yes, as part of its 125th anniversary celebration, the brewery — now owned by Sapporo — has decided to ditch the classy label and invigorate the brand with bold colors and typography that can be seen for a mile through fog.

Granted, they haven’t (yet) altered what’s inside the bottle. But, as we’re pretty sure Don Draper told us many times, you don’t mess with an American classic. You don’t change the recipe for Heinz Ketchup. Or replace the Levi’s button on jeans. Or play seven innings of baseball (OK, unless it’s a double-header during an abbreviated season).

And need we mention the New Coke debacle?

Design detractors were quick to flood social media with their opinions.

“Oy. Someone skipped the research budget of this campaign,” Amy M. said on Twitter.

Tony Wessling posted simply: “#brandfail.”

And Reza Esmaili wrote: “Particularly alarming since they were #WestCoast pioneers of #SteamAle & that label is iconic. Let’s hope this is a limited release for their 125th anniversary?”

Many observers speculate that the decision by Sapporo Brewing, which purchased the company in 2017, is meant to increase sales by appealing to a new, younger generation of drinkers.

If that’s the case, we think a new product could do the trick. How about a low-calorie, fruity alcoholic beverage?

Oh wait, that’s already in the works. Anchor’s new brew, Little Weekend, “a light golden ale brimming with mango flavor,” will make its debut in March as part of the the aforementioned anniversary festivities.

So we’re good. Now bring back the classic label.

 

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Mural of butterflies at Mirage Jewish Community Center remember young lives lost in Holocaust

“Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.”

The phrase is the last line of a poem, “The Butterfly,” penned in 1942 by Pavel Friedman, who was in the Terezin concentration camp and ghetto constructed by the Nazi Gestapo in the Czech Republic. More than 150,000 Jews were sent there.

  • Scott Braswell, Executive Director at the Merage Jewish the Merage Jewish Center of Orange County is shown next to the giant mosaic butterfly display at the Steven Fainbarg Children’s Holocaust Memorial in the Holocaust Memorial Garden at the Merage Jewish Center of Orange County in Irvine on Saturday, January 25, 2020. The Butterfly Project, founded in 2006 by educator Jan Landau and artist Cheryl Rattner Price, was created to commemorate Yom Hashoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Fainbarg and Chase Families will officially dedicate the Steven Fainbarg Children’s Holocaust Memorial on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A detail of the giant mosaic butterfly display at the Steven Fainbarg Children’s Holocaust Memorial in the Holocaust Memorial Garden at the Merage Jewish Center of Orange County in Irvine on Saturday, January 25, 2020. The Butterfly Project, founded in 2006 by educator Jan Landau and artist Cheryl Rattner Price, was created to commemorate Yom Hashoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Fainbarg and Chase Families will officially dedicate the Steven Fainbarg Children’s Holocaust Memorial on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The giant mosaic butterfly display at the Steven Fainbarg Children’s Holocaust Memorial in the Holocaust Memorial Garden at the Merage Jewish Center of Orange County in Irvine on Saturday, January 25, 2020. The Butterfly Project, founded in 2006 by educator Jan Landau and artist Cheryl Rattner Price, was created to commemorate Yom Hashoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Fainbarg and Chase Families will officially dedicate the Steven Fainbarg Children’s Holocaust Memorial on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The giant mosaic butterfly display, left, in the Holocaust Memorial Garden at the Merage Jewish Center of Orange County in Irvine on Saturday, January 25, 2020. The Butterfly Project, founded in 2006 by educator Jan Landau and artist Cheryl Rattner Price, was created to commemorate commemoration of Yom Hashoah or Holocaust
    Remembrance Day. The Fainbarg and Chase Families will officially dedicate the Steven Fainbarg Children’s Holocaust Memorial on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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The poem has served, in part, as inspiration for The Butterfly Project, a global endeavor to create 1.5 million ceramic butterflies, each one representing a children killed in the Holocaust.

Roughly 20 months ago, the Mirage Jewish Community Center in Irvine began crafting its contribution to The Butterfly Project.

This week, the center announced the completion of the Steven Fainbarg Children Holocaust Memorial at its garden.

The memorial, a mural, is named for Steven Fainbarg, a member of the center and one of the county’s leading Jewish philanthropists, officials with the center said.

“Our mission is to create a welcoming Jewish environment not only for our members, but for all the residents of Orange County,” said the center’s board chairman, Hal Altman, in a statement. “We have hundreds of visitors each year who come to this garden for educational programs, memorial ceremonies and opportunities to connect with the lessons of the Holocaust in their own personal way.”

The center’s announcement coincides with International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, which marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau, by the Soviet Red Army on Jan. 27, 1945.

Installed on an outside wall facing the center’s Holocaust Memorial Garden, the mural is made up 400 ceramic butterflies, each one painted by community members connected to the center.

San Diego artists Cheryl Rattner Price and Helen Segal created 18 mosaic wings from the 400 butterflies and designed the mural.

It may grow to take up even more of the wall as more ceramic butterflies get painted in the future, said Debbie Meline, the center’s director of education.

Holocaust survivors, families, children, local synagogues and center staff participated, Meline said.

The education director expects the memorial to be a useful tool for teaching children about the Holocaust.

“We wanted it to be a real community statement about the Holocaust,” she said. “We always have to find new ways … and new lights to shine on the Holocaust. It is our responsibility as educators.”

Rattner Price and educator Jon Landau founded The Butterfly Project in 2006 at the San Diego Jewish Academy.

So far, more than 250,000 butterflies have painted around the world, making up installations in the United States, Israel, Poland, Argentina, Australia, Germany and  Panama.

Because of restrictions in place during the coronavirus pandemic, the Children’s Holocaust Memorial is not yet open to the public, Meline said.

But the center hopes to invite the individuals and groups who helped create the memorial for a more public dedication in early April to coincide with Yom HaShoah, the national day of remembrance recognized by the State of Israel.

Yom HaShoah commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which took place from April 19 to May 19, 1943.

“We can’t forget all of the children who died,” Meline said. “They would grandparents now. They never had children and they never had grandchildren.

“The fact that we are remembering them through this memorial and our programs and inviting people to come and be a part of it and see it, is our way of insuring that the memory continues.”

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New rules: COVID-19 dominates California’s latest workplace regulations

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, California lawmakers and regulatory agencies spent much of 2020 passing legislation and issuing regulations to prevent and address the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Many of these laws and regulations went into effect Jan. 1 and will continue impacting California businesses well beyond 2021.

New measures in workplaces

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health approved sweeping emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 infection prevention in November for all employees not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard. The state’s ATD regulations commonly apply to workers in health care facilities, laboratories, public health as well as paramedic and emergency response services.

These regulations took effect Nov. 30. They remain in place for 180 days (until the end of May) and may be extended.

The ETS regulations require employers statewide to implement a written COVID-19 Prevention Program, either as a standalone document or part of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. These plans must address items like communications with employees, responding to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, personal protective equipment, record-keeping, return to work criteria and more. A model document is available via dir.ca.gov to help employers develop this CPP.

Employers must also provide employees with training on COVID-19 and how to prevent its spread. For employees who are excluded from the workplace due to a workplace COVID-19 exposure, the regulations state that an employee’s salary, seniority and benefits must be maintained. Additionally, Cal/OSHA laid out testing requirements regarding outbreaks in the workplace that are defined as three or more COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period.

On Jan. 8, Cal/OSHA issued clarified guidance in its Frequently Asked Questions. Of note, the ETS regulations require employers to “offer” or “provide” testing to employees who have had close contact with a COVID-19 case in the workplace or where an outbreak has occurred.

Cal/OSHA confirmed that the terms “offer” and “provide” are synonymous here. Employers need only to offer their employees testing. Employees can be directed to free public testing sites, but employers must ensure that COVID-19 testing is done without cost to employees and that tests are administered on employer-paid time. Also, when determining whether an outbreak occurred in a workplace, a single building can be viewed as more than one workplace, and an area that is only passed through while wearing a mask is not included.

The state’s quarantine guidelines for workers were also updated by Gov. Gavin Newsom in Executive Order N-84-20 and under guidance from the California Department of Public Health, issued Dec. 14. Employees exposed to COVID-19, meaning anyone with close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative 15 minutes or more over 24 hours), can end quarantine after day 10 from the date of last exposure if they remain asymptomatic.

Health care, emergency response and social services workers can return to work after seven days with a negative COVID-19 test collected after day five when there is a critical staffing shortage and other protocols are followed. Employers should always check their local county health order from any stricter requirements.

Additionally, lawmakers passed the following measures to address COVID-19 in the workplace:

Assembly Bill 685 places notice and recordkeeping requirements on employers when a COVID-19 case is confirmed in the workplace. Employers must provide written notice to all employees and contractors who were at the same worksite as the COVID-19 case. If an outbreak is confirmed, employers must notify local public health agencies. Additionally, the law grants Cal/OSHA the new authority to shut down a workplace if employees are deemed to face an “imminent” hazard of COVID-19 infection.

Senate Bill 1159 extended Executive Order N-62-20’s rebuttable workers’ compensation presumption that an employee who contracted COVID-19 did so in the workplace. The presumption now covers employees who worked between March 19 and July 5, and tested positive within 14 days of reporting to work; first responders and health care workers diagnosed with COVID-19 after working on or after July 6 and employees diagnosed with COVID-19 after a workplace outbreak (four or more cases) on or after July 6.

Assembly Bill 2537 requires acute general hospitals to maintain a three-month stockpile of PPE, including N95 and surgical masks, isolation gowns, eye protection and shoe coverings starting April 1. Failure to maintain the requisite stockpile could mean a $25,000 penalty for each violation.

Alison D. Alpert is a partner in the Labor & Employment practice group at Best Best & Krieger LLP. She can be reached at alison.alpert@bbklaw.com.

Laura J. Fowler is of counsel at Best Best & Krieger LLP and is a member of the Labor & Employment practice group. She can be reached at laura.fowler@bbklaw.com

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Eddie Van Halen immortalized in Hollywood Guitar Center mural

Guitar Center in Hollywood is celebrating the life, legacy and music of Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen and unveiled a massive mural on what would have been the rock icon’s 66th birthday on Jan. 26.

Van Halen died on Oct. 6, 2020 surrounded by his family in Santa Monica following a lengthy battle with cancer. He co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Pasadena rock band that became Van Halen, which went on to have numerous hits including “Panama,” “Jump,” “Hot for Teacher” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.” He tops numerous best guitar player lists, and played the iconic solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

As the news broke of Van Halen’s passing, artist Robert Vargas, who is known for his larger-than-life murals — including a portrait of the late Laker Kobe Bryant at 5th and Hill in Downtown Los Angeles — stopped by the Rock Walk in front of Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, where Van Halen’s handprints are preserved in cement, to leave flowers and pay his respects.

“Robert actually came up to us and said, ‘Hey, I want to paint a mural of Eddie on your wall. I knew him and I knew the brothers; I’m a guitar player and huge fan and I want to help you guys memorialize him,’” Eric Bradley of Guitar Center’s artist relations said during a recent phone interview.

The mural is about 17 feet tall by 105 feet long and covers the entirety of the outer wall at the rear entrance of the store.

“It’s really an honor to have that presence there forever,” he continued. “When you come in and you want to try out a guitar, the first thing you see is Eddie Van Halen going, ‘Look, I can do it, you can do it, too.’ It’s been such an inspiration to watch so many famous guys from Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society) and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains and all sorts of people in between coming by as the painting has been going on.”

Jean-Claude Escudie, Guitar Center’s category manager, said it’s not uncommon to walk through the store and hear someone trying to emulate Van Halen’s style by attempting “Eruption” or messing with the chords on “Poundcake.”

“Eddie was a hometown hero,” Escudie said. “When I was young and getting turned on to rock and roll music, the biggest names in rock and roll and guitar playing were so mysterious and they had this talent that seemed so unattainable. When Eddie came onto the scene, he seemed so accessible, natural and friendly. It felt like one of us had finally made it.

“When I think about the mural on the side of our store,” Escudie said. “It’s the story of an immigrant and a kid who picked up a guitar. It’s a SoCal kid who made it big and that’s what makes it so special.”

Bradley said Van Halen was a frequent patron of the Hollywood Guitar Center and added that he felt fortunate to have had so many interactions with him. Former co-workers told Bradley stories about the Van Halen brothers coming in to hang out at the store in the ’80s, buying, trying and trading gear.

“He was an extremely generous person with his time and energy,” he recalled of meeting Van Halen and his son, Van Halen bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, in the early ’00s. “The first time I met him it was like speaking to an old friend. It took all of maybe eight minutes for him to be walking around in the store before he had a flock of people around him wanting autographs and he was just smiling.”

Van Halen also invited the Guitar Center staff down to the Forum in Inglewood for a friends and family party and private show when the band reunited with original vocalist David Lee Roth back in 2015.

“He called the store and said, ‘Anyone who is working today, you guys can all come to the show at The Forum,’” he said. “They had kegs on the floor and free parking, so like 30 or 40 of us went down there. How unbelievable is that? Who invites a whole store to the party? That’s because they were a Southern California band and wanting to give back to their community.”

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Internet outage strikes many on East Coast

By Noor Zainab Hussain and Munsif Vengattil | Reuters

Individuals across the East Coast of the United States reported outage issues with online services including Alphabet Inc’s Google, YouTube, Zoom and Slack Technologies Inc, disrupting essential services as many tried to login for work Tuesday morning.

Verizon Communications Inc alerted users about a fiber cut in Brooklyn, saying it has no estimated time of repair yet.

Check back for updates.

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President Biden to pause oil, gas drilling on public lands, AP sources say

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to announce a wide-ranging moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands, as his administration moves quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment and address climate change.

Two people with knowledge of Biden’s plans outlined the proposed moratorium, which will be announced Wednesday. They asked not to be identified because the plan has not been made been public; some details remain in flux.

The move follows a 60-day suspension of new drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters announced last week and follows Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change. The moratorium is intended to allow time for officials to review the impact of oil and gas drilling on the environment and climate.

Environmental groups hailed the expected moratorium as the kind of bold, urgent action needed to slow climate change.

“The fossil fuel industry has inflicted tremendous damage on the planet. The administration’s review, if done correctly, will show that filthy fracking and drilling must end for good, everywhere,” said Kierán Suckling, executive director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that has pushed for the drilling pause.

Oil industry groups slammed the move, saying Biden had already eliminated thousands of oil and gas jobs by killing the Keystone XL oil pipeline on his first day in office.

“This is just the start. It will get worse,” said Brook Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma. “Meanwhile, the laws of physics, chemistry and supply and demand remain in effect. Oil and natural gas prices are going up, and so will home heating bills, consumer prices and fuel costs.”

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, which represents oil and gas drillers in Western states, said the expected executive order is intended to delay drilling on federal lands to the point where it is no longer viable.

“The environmental left is leading the agenda at the White House when it comes to energy and environment issues,” she said, noting that the moratorium would be felt most acutely in Western states such as Utah, Wyoming and Alaska, where Biden lost to former President Donald Trump.

Under Trump, federal agencies prioritized energy development and eased environmental rules to speed up drilling permits as part of the Republican’s goal to boost fossil fuel production. Trump consistently downplayed the dangers of climate change, which Biden, a Democrat, has made a top priority.

On his first day in office last Wednesday, Biden signed a series of executive orders that underscored his different approach — rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, revoking approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and telling agencies to immediately review dozens of Trump-era rules on science, the environment and public health.

A 60-day suspension order at the Interior Department did not limit existing oil and gas operations under valid leases, meaning activity would not come to a sudden halt on the millions of acres of lands in the West and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where much drilling is concentrated. The moratorium also is unlikely to affect existing leases. Its effect could be further blunted by companies that stockpiled enough drilling permits in Trump’s final months to allow them to keep pumping oil and gas for years.

The pause in drilling is limited to federal lands and does not affect drilling on private lands, which is largely regulated by states.

Oil and gas extracted from public lands and waters account for about a quarter of annual U.S. production. Extracting and burning those fuels generates the equivalent of almost 550 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a 2018 study.

Under Trump, Interior officials approved almost 1,400 permits on federal lands, primarily in Wyoming and New Mexico, over a three-month period that included the election, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. Those permits, which remain valid, will allow companies to continue drilling for years, potentially undercutting Biden’s climate agenda.

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Niles: Jungle Cruise changes get Disneyland on the right side of history

With its announced changes to the Jungle Cruise ride, Walt Disney Imagineering is taking another step toward getting on the right side of history. But will Disney ever get there?

Disney said that it will change the Jungle Cruise rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World to add a new story line and remove what sources in the company called negative depictions of indigenous people. We cannot judge Disney’s Jungle Cruise specific changes until we see them, but Disney did do the right thing in deciding to make a change.

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Jungle Cruise always was intended to be corny. There is nothing serious about this fake cruise through a fake jungle to look at fake animals. It’s a joke — brought to life by the spiel of its real-life skipper.

But one generation’s joke can become another generation’s insult. So it is with the attraction’s caricatures of African natives. There’s a saying that tradition is peer pressure by the dead. Just because past generations of Disneyland fans laughed at Jungle Cruise should not force the company to deliver the same experience to a new generation that cringes at the racist symbolism those past generations missed, or worse, embraced.

Yet there remains plenty in Jungle Cruise worth saving, starting with its skippers and many of their jokes. Imagineers are doubling down on the skipper with their new script, which will include an animatronic skipper in addition to the live ones. But there remains more to change around Disney’s theme parks.

Peter Pan’s Flight also contains slanderous caricatures of native people — a depiction so bad that Disney is now providing a disclaimer about it in front of the Peter Pan movie on Disney+. In Florida, Hall of Presidents misses its chance to educate visitors about the conflicts that have divided Presidents in favor of an idyllic roll call that makes no distinction between those who helped and those who harmed America.

History might be what happened in the past, but history’s judgment is something that awaits us in the future. Artists, including theme park designers, strive to pass that test of time. Even when individual works are designed to close or decay, artists want memories of them and their influence to endure. By changing attractions such as Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain, which is scheduled to be re-themed to “The Princess and the Frog,” Imagineers can help these attractions continue to delight and reward new generations of fans.

Traditions end when a new generation see no good reason to continue them. If Disney wants visits to its theme parks to remain a tradition for millions of families around the world, it needs to keep working to ensure that its theme park experience remains one that welcomes people rather than insulting them. Ridding attractions of racist caricatures such as those found on Jungle Cruise are a necessary next step toward reaching that essential goal.

But because the world is always changing, it’s just one step in what will remain a never-ending quest.

 

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Inglewood will use eminent domain to acquire land needed for LA Clippers arena

Inglewood plans to use eminent domain to secure 11 properties needed for the proposed Los Angeles Clippers basketball arena project, according to a staff report.

The properties along Century Boulevard near Prairie Avenue, just across the street from SoFi Stadium that is home to the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, include two warehouses and a Church’s Chicken. The rest are vacant or only used for billboards, the report states. Once acquired, Inglewood will transfer the land to the arena’s private developers with a covenant requiring the land be preserved for public use indefinitely.

Inglewood’s City Council will hear public testimony from property owners at its meeting 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, and then vote on whether to begin eminent domain proceedings. Inglewood had each property appraised and sent offers to the owners in late 2020, according to the report. A spokesperson for the city was unable to provide the total cost of Inglewood’s offers Monday evening.

If the owner and the city can’t agree on a price, a jury will determine the fair market value.

While the project is privately funded, Inglewood’s attorneys say the arena meets the standard of public use by providing residents with “access to amusement, enjoyment and recreation,” according to the report. Inglewood cites several cases in which cities have used eminent domain to condemn land needed for private stadiums and other sports venues.

Construction of the arena will promote the city as a “premier regional sports and entertainment center,” bring an NBA team back to the city, stimulate the local economy, provide publicly accessible space, and spur $100 million in community benefits, the report states. Inglewood argues the arena is the best use for the land, which is otherwise limited by the Federal Aviation Administration because of overhead flight paths to Los Angeles International Airport.

The Clippers hope to begin construction on the $1.8 billion arena by this summer and open in time for the 2024-25 NBA season, despite initial delays caused by a legal tiff with the former owners of The Forum that ended when Clippers owner Steve Ballmer bought the iconic concert venue for $400 million. In September, Murphy’s Bowl, the developer backed by Ballmer, agreed to pay $66.25 million for the 22 acres of land needed for the project. Proceeds of the sale will be split between the city, the FAA, Los Angeles World Airports, and other local entities, including the Inglewood Unified School District.

The Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center (IBEC) will feature up to 18,500 seats, an 85,000-square-foot training facility, 71,000 square feet of team office space, a 25,000-square-foot medical clinic, an outdoor plaza with a stage and basketball court, and up to 63,000 square feet of space for retail, food and beverages, security, restrooms and other ancillary services. Two parking garages and a 150-room hotel also will be built on the site, which will host concerts and other events in addition to basketball.

All but one of the properties to be acquired through eminent domain are located within the arena’s footprint. One property, the Church’s Chicken, is adjacent to the arena, but is “needed for restaurant, food service, retail and other public serving uses that are necessary to protect and preserve the attractiveness and usefulness of the IBEC project.”

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2 Albertsons in Irvine closing in February with H Mart taking their place

Two underperforming Albertsons supermarkets in Irvine are closing next month and will be replaced by Asian-owned H Mart grocery stores.

In a statement issued Monday, the Southern California division of Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions announced the closure of stores at 3931 Irvine Blvd. and 3825 Alton Parkway. They are expected to cease operation by Feb. 19.

“Like all retailers, we are continually evaluating the performance of our stores,” the company said. “Closing a store is always a tough decision, but we are focused on growing our business by being the favorite local supermarket and running stores where people love to shop.”

Workers at the stores were notified of the pending closures Jan. 5. The company said its human resources team is working with the employees and their union to share employment opportunities at surrounding stores.

Officials with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324, which represent the workers, said the move will result in “a loss of good union jobs for the city,” although the organization was informed that members placed at other stores will retain their wages, benefits and seniority.

The closures will impact roughly 60 employees at each location. The Irvine Boulevard Albertsons is  52,120 square feet and the Alton Parkway store is 59,974 square feet.


H Mart stores offer a broad range of food, including meat, seafood, curry, Ramen noodles, seasonings, seaweed, rice and grains, as well as health supplements, beauty products, clothing and kitchen items. (Photo courtesy of H Mart)

The new H Mart supermarkets are scheduled to open by the end of the year.

Headquartered in Lyndhurst, N.J., H Mart has 97 locations nationwide. 

H Mart stores can be found throughout Southern California in Arcadia, Buena Park, Cerritos, Diamond Bar, Garden Grove, Irvine, Los Angeles and Torrance. Additional  stores can be found in San Diego and San Jose.

The Korean-American markets offer a broad range of food, including meat, seafood, curry, Ramen noodles, seasonings, seaweed, rice and grains, as well as health supplements, beauty products, clothing and kitchen items.

Supermarkets have been considered essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, but like other businesses that handle a large daily influx of shoppers they have grappled with virus outbreaks among workers.

A recent report from NBC 4 noted 146 outbreaks last month alone at supermarkets in the southern part of Los Angeles County and in Orange County, according to data obtained from UFCW, Local 324. That includes outbreaks at 31 Ralphs stores, 17 Vons and 16 Albertsons supermarkets.

Read more about 2 Albertsons in Irvine closing in February with H Mart taking their place This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Irvine Shredding Service

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