Era of ‘free’ COVID vaccines, test kits, and treatments is ending. Who will pay the tab now?

Time is running out for free-to-consumer COVID vaccines, at-home test kits, and even some treatments.

The White House announced this month that the national public health emergency, first declared in early 2020 in response to the pandemic, is set to expire May 11. When it ends, so will many of the policies designed to combat the virus’s spread.

Take vaccines. Until now, the federal government has been purchasing COVID-19 shots. It recently bought 105 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster for about $30.48 a dose, and 66 million doses of Moderna’s version for $26.36 a dose. (These are among the companies that developed the first covid vaccines sold in the United States.)

People will be able to get these vaccines at low or no cost as long as the government-purchased supplies last. But even before the end date for the public emergency was set, Congress opted not to provide more money to increase the government’s dwindling stockpile. As a result, Pfizer and Moderna were already planning their moves into the commercial market. Both have indicated they will raise prices, somewhere in the range of $110 to $130 per dose, though insurers and government health programs could negotiate lower rates.

RELATED: Risk of developing diabetes after COVID-19 continued in Omicron period, Cedars Sinai study says

“We see a double-digit billion[-dollar] market opportunity,” investors were told at a JPMorgan conference in San Francisco recently by Ryan Richardson, chief strategy officer for BioNTech. The company expects a gross price — the full price before any discounts — of $110 a dose, which, Richardson said, “is more than justified from a health economics perspective.”

That could translate to tens of billions of dollars in revenue for the manufacturers, even if uptake of the vaccines is slow. And consumers would foot the bill, either directly or indirectly.

If half of adults — about the same percentage as those who opt for an annual flu shot — get COVID boosters at the new, higher prices, a recent KFF report estimated, insurers, employers, and other payors would shell out $12.4 billion to $14.8 billion. That’s up to nearly twice as much as what it would have cost for every adult in the U.S. to get a bivalent booster at the average price paid by the federal government.

As for covid treatments, an August blog post by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response noted that government-purchased supplies of the drug Paxlovid are expected to last through midyear before the private sector takes over. The government’s bulk purchase price from manufacturer Pfizer was $530 for a course of treatment, and it isn’t yet known what the companies will charge once government supplies run out.

How Much Of That Pinch Will Consumers Feel?

One thing is certain: How much, if any, of the boosted costs are passed on to consumers will depend on their health coverage.

Medicare beneficiaries, those enrolled in Medicaid — the state-federal health insurance program for people with low incomes — and people with Affordable Care Act coverage will continue to get COVID vaccines without cost sharing, even when the public health emergency ends and the government-purchased vaccines run out. Many people with job-based insurance will also likely not face co-payments for vaccines, unless they go out of network for their vaccinations. People with limited-benefit or short-term insurance policies might have to pay for all or part of their vaccinations. And people who don’t have insurance will need to either pay the full cost out-of-pocket or seek no- or low-cost vaccinations from community clinics or other providers. If they cannot find a free or low-cost option, some uninsured patients may be forced to skip vaccinations or testing.

Coming up with what could be $100 or more for vaccination will be especially hard “if you are uninsured or underinsured; that’s where these price hikes could drive additional disparities,” said Sean Robbins, executive vice president of external affairs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Those increases, he said, will also affect people with insurance, as the costs “flow through to premiums.”

Meanwhile, public policy experts say many private insurers will continue to cover Paxlovid, although patients may face a co-payment, at least until they meet their deductible, just as they do for other medications. Medicaid will continue to cover it without cost to patients until at least 2024. But Medicare coverage will be limited until the treatment goes through the regular FDA process, which takes longer than the emergency use authorization it has been marketed under.

Another complication: The rolls of the uninsured are likely to climb over the next year, as states are poised to reinstate the process of regularly determining Medicaid eligibility, which was halted during the pandemic. Starting in April, states will begin reassessing whether Medicaid enrollees meet income and other qualifying factors.

An estimated 5 million to 14 million people nationwide might lose coverage.

“This is our No. 1 concern” right now, said John Baackes, CEO of L.A. Care, the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan with 2.7 million members.

“They may not realize they’ve lost coverage until they go to fill a prescription” or seek other medical care, including vaccinations, he said.

What About COVID Test Kits?

Rules remain in place for insurers, including Medicare and Affordable Care Act plans, to cover the cost of up to eight in-home test kits a month for each person on the plan, until the public health emergency ends.

For consumers — including those without insurance — a government website is still offering up to four test kits per household, until they run out. The Biden administration shifted funding to purchase additional kits and made them available in late December.

Starting in May, though, beneficiaries in original Medicare and many people with private, job-based insurance will have to start paying out-of-pocket for the rapid antigen test kits. Some Medicare Advantage plans, which are an alternative to original Medicare, might opt to continue covering them without a co-payment. Policies will vary, so check with your insurer. And Medicaid enrollees can continue to get the test kits without cost for a little over a year.

State rules also can vary, and continued coverage without cost sharing for COVID tests, treatments, and vaccines after the health emergency ends might be available with some health plans.

Overall, the future of COVID tests, vaccines, and treatments will reflect the complicated mix of coverage consumers already navigate for most other types of care.

“From a consumer perspective, vaccines will still be free, but for treatments and test kits, a lot of people will face cost sharing,” said Jen Kates, a senior vice president at KFF. “We’re taking what was universal access and now saying we’re going back to how it is in the regular U.S. health system.”

KHN correspondent Darius Tahir contributed to this report.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

Mayor’s Campaign to Eliminate Homelessness Attracts Federal Support

Mayor Karen Bass and Jeff Olivet representing President Joe Biden meet with government officials and service providers to combat homelessness. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)


The Biden-Harris Administration is the latest entity to join Mayor Karen Bass’ efforts to assist the unhoused as Jeff Olivet, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, announced the federal government’s support of the mayor’s initiatives.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 7, Bass, Olivet and service providers vowed to unite to address the connection between homelessness and substance abuse in hopes of reducing the numbers of people affected by both issues.  The group met at AADAP – Asian American Drug Abuse Program – in South L.A. to discuss the devastating impact of the two components.

“I’m very proud to be here at the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, an organization that’s been in our community for decades and that I have worked with personally for decades.  Today, we welcomed the second senior White House official to come to Los Angeles – Jeff Olivet representing President Biden – standing side-by-side, arm-in-arm, as we confront the crisis of 40,000 people living on the street,” said the mayor, who previously welcomed U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge to the city.

Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum of LASHA, left, participated in the meeting. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

A few weeks ago at a White House meeting, Bass urged Olivet to include L.A. in the administration’s goal to reduce homelessness in the nation by 25%.  Referring to L.A. as the “epicenter of that crisis,” Bass said that assisting Los Angeles would help make “a significant dent in achieving that goal.”

During his daylong visit, the mayor and Olivet toured homeless encampments on the L.A. Skid Row and stopped in on agencies helping unhoused individuals such as L.A. Community Action Network. Also, they traveled to 90th and Figueroa Streets where an Inside Safe program was introduced to replace a large encampment along the freeway off-ramp.

Inside Safe, a housing-focused initiative launched by Bass in December, is designed to permanently bring people inside from tents and encampments and prevent the encampments from returning.  City departments work closely with county agencies and service providers to obtain housing for homeless individuals and families.


Mayor Bass address the media during the press conference. (Andra Higgs/HUD)

“People are very thankful to be leaving the streets,” said Bass, who added that the unhoused individuals are temporarily residing in motel rooms, but will eventually live in permanent supportive housing.

“Oftentimes, it’s not just an issue of resources. As I have said all along, if we do not address substance abuse and mental health, we are kidding ourselves in our ability to end homelessness in Los Angeles,” insisted Bass.

“That is why we are at the Asian American Drug Abuse Program – because we wanted to highlight and emphasize the need to have substance abuse treatment as part of the continuum of care.  To address this problem, we need to have a complete alignment of every level of government – federal, state, county and the city,” she noted.

Expressing the federal government’s intention to collaborate with the mayor, Olivet said the Biden-Harris administration “set the 25% goal and we can’t get there without Los Angeles making serious progress so we’re very invested in your work.”

In another demonstration of the federal government’s backing in battling homelessness in L.A., HUD recently awarded $60 million in grants and vouchers to aid unsheltered people in the city and county of Los Angeles.

“The $60,000,000 award will support a range of permanent supportive housing options, new models of intensive case management services in partnership with health care providers, and rapid rehousing and crisis-response approaches for the most vulnerable in the community,” said HUD Region IX Regional Administrator Jason Pu, who also attended the Feb. 7 press conference.

Other participants in the meeting and press conference included Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, newly appointed CEO of Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LASHA); Mercedes Marquez, chief of housing and homelessness in the Office of the Mayor; Maria Oliva, CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness; and Dean Nakanishi, CEO of AADAP.

Voters Will Determine Fate of Fast-Food Workers Pay Raise


February 09, 2023

By Edward Henderson

California Black Media


Last September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 257 into law. Supporters of the legislation, authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), hailed it for its promise to provide a minimum wage and improve working conditions for fast food workers.

But late last month, the future of AB 257 — also known as “the Fast Act” or “the Fast Food Recovery Act” — came into question. California Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber’s office announced that a referendum seeking to overturn the law had gathered enough signatures to be placed on the November ballot.

“To qualify for the ballot,” the Secretary of State’s office wrote, “the referendum needed 623,212 valid petition signatures, which is equal to five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2018 General Election.

When AB 257 passed last year along party lines, it authorized the establishment of the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act or FAST Recovery Act. The bill established the Fast Food Council within the Department of Industrial Relations, to be composed of 10 members to be appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Senate Rules Committee.

According to the bill’s language, the purpose of the council is to establish “sector-wide minimum standards on wages (up to $22/hour in 2023 with capped annual increases), working hours, and other working conditions related to the health, safety, and welfare of, and supplying the necessary cost of proper living to, fast food restaurant workers, as well as effecting interagency coordination and prompt agency responses in this regard.” The act prohibits retaliation against fast-food workers for making certain workplace complaints.

Opponents of AB 257, led by a coalition called Save Local Restaurants, gathered more than 1 million signatures on a referendum petition. 712,000 of them were deemed to be valid by Weber’s office putting the referendum on the Nov. 5, 2024, ballot.

The Los Angeles Times published an article telling the stories of 14 voters who say they were misled by canvassers collecting signatures for the referendum. Many of them said that information was withheld from them about the nature of the campaign and were simply told it would support fast food workers.

But the laws’ opponents insist that their challenge to AB 257 is widely supported.

“California voters have made clear that they want a say on whether they must shoulder the burden of higher prices and job losses caused by the FAST Act,” said Save Local Restaurants in their press release. “This legislation singles out the quick service restaurant industry by establishing an unelected council to control labor policy, which would cause a sharp increase in food costs and push many Californians, particularly in disenfranchised communities, to the breaking point.”

The referendum means that the law is suspended until the November 2024 election when voters will decide whether to repeal it.

Holden, who is a former franchise owner said he believes AB 257 would protect both owners and employees – if those opposing the law allow it to work.

“Given, the final version of the bill removed many expressed concerns of subpoena power and joint-liability. While, strengthening the over-site role of the legislature, providing for equal Sector Council representation and adding a sunset clause to evaluate effectiveness.  As a result, this first in the nation worker protection bill is worthy to become law in California,” Holden said when Newsom signed the law last year.

Labor advocates believe the legislation could create a precedent in the U.S for negotiating workplace standards, which would, in turn, revolutionize the collective bargaining process.

However, the coalition of businesses opposing the law feel it would leave businesses with higher labor costs and hiked-up food prices.

According to the nonpartisan Fair Political Practices Commission, fast-food corporations and business trade groups including In-N-Out, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, Starbucks and the National Restaurant Association donated millions to support the referendum effort.

“The FAST Act is bad policy that threatens not only quick service restaurants, but the independents operating in the same neighborhoods,” National Restaurant Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs Sean Kennedy said in a press release. “There is no way that the regulations passed by this unelected council would not damage the state’s restaurant industry, harm its workforce, and leave diners paying the bill. We’re pleased that Californians will get the chance to exercise their constitutional right to vote on this law and will continue to support the operators, small business owners, and workers that make the restaurant industry so important to our customers’ lives.”

Inaugural Brain Health Fair Offers Resource-Rich Tools

11-year-old Atreyu Evans making healthy sandwiches. (CCC)

On Sunday, January 29, Crenshaw Christian Center (CCC) hosted a brain wellness event in response to the outsized impact of dementia and a form of Alzheimer’s disease on the African American community.

The effort builds upon the ministry’s years-long address of the disease with caregiver support for congregants, their families, neighbors, and co-workers. What began as a stand of faith through prayer and applied resources of the day, has expanded as greater knowledge about the disease has surfaced.

What we know today is that there are 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, a disease which can develop 20-30 years before symptoms occur and can begin to develop in individuals as young as 20 years of age. Additionally, there are 11.2 million Americans providing unpaid care to someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Two-thirds of them are women.

African Americans are twice as likely as Whites to develop Alzheimer’s; Latinos 1.5 times. One third of Alzheimer’s cases may be preventable by addressing lifestyle factors, and it’s never too early to start.

“This is a horrible disease, and we want to do our part to not only meet people where they are in this journey, but to prevent its occurrence,” says Angela Evans, president of Crenshaw Christian Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. “We want to be known as the healthy church and aim to equip generations with useful lifestyle tools to drive community change. We invite everyone to make use of the thoughtfully curated resources for their optimal health.”

A formed a partnership with the non-profit Healthy Minds Initiative (HMI) and National Academy of Medicine have enlightened the ministry’s understanding for a measure of control navigating a disease where a loss of control is often the felt sentiment. HMI is an evidence-based program that supports communities on their path to brain health. Founders, and husband and wife, Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, neuroscientist and neurologist respectively, began to investigate how communities could be empowered to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Dr. Ayesha Sherzai serving Spicy Jackfruit Tacos. (CCC)

They looked at how technology could play a role in outreach, habit forming, and intervention, and found that involving the community through the entire process — from investigation, to research, to intervention — empowered people to make significant lifestyle changes.

Dr. Dean Sherzai states, “Ultimately, these changes can significantly reduce diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and dementia.” Both Drs. Sherzai have personal experience with dementia, with each having a grandparent affected and having served as hands-on caregivers.

Dr. Dean Sherzai continues, “growing up with humble means in Pennsylvania, I watched my grandfather eat a donut every day for 40 years. I discovered the long-term health impact in my research, learning that the brain needs healthy fuel to thrive.”

Dr. Ayesha has her own family story, and these realities served as an impetus for their passionate work in this field — starting with the population most disproportionately affected — African Americans. They have done work at Cedars Sinai, they run the brain health clinic at Loma Linda University, and have recently accepted a request to establish a brain health center at Charles Drew University.

The first-time Brain Health Fair at CCC began with a morning worship service address by Drs. Sherzai to impart statistics and ways to counteract realities with lifestyle changes such as beloved food recipe adjustments, exercise, sleep hygiene, stress reduction and more.

Dr. Dean Sherzai presenting during the worship service. (CCC)

After worship service, 589 people of all ages attended the Fair whose aim was to cement health management as a daily imperative. The robust effort, which was held in the Youth Activity Center, also known as the Price Knights’ school gym, included cooking demos of healthy versions of favorite foods: Uncle Michael’s Tableside Guacamole, The Perfect Peach Cobbler by Queen Bee’s Delightful Catering, Dr. Ayesha’s Spicy Jackfruit Tacos, and sandwiches made with whole grain bread, organic almond butter, organic bananas, and organic reduced sugar raspberry preserves by 11-year-old Atreyu Evans.

Free blood pressure screenings were provided by CCC Reception Committee Nurses, giveaways including seeds for starting a home garden, 100 Omron blood pressure monitors, and coffee provided by Tessie Cleveland Community Services Corporation’s (TCCSC) Coffee Truck were popular, as was an exercise obstacle course.

Prizes of 100 Starbucks and Jamba Juice gift cards and more than 100 of Drs. Sherzai books, “The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevention and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age” and “The 30-Day Alzheimer’s Solution: The Definitive Food and Lifestyle Guide to Preventing Cognitive Decline” were appreciated. Mental health professionals from TCCSC shared information and encouraged patrons to take advantage of free resources. Brain health videos played, and handouts on caregiving, healthy eating for healthy weight, fitness, high blood pressure and hypertension prevention were distributed.

Learn more and download materials at View the worship service, including the Sherzais presentation on the Ever-Increasing Faith Ministries You Tube channel and at


Tips to help protect your identity during tax season

Tax season began this week as the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) bureau reminds taxpayers to take extra steps to protect their identities and wallets when filing their taxes. The filing period in California has been extended to May 15 for individuals and businesses affected by the recent storms and flooding.

“Every year we identify and investigate individuals who perpetrate tax schemes that take advantage of not just our tax system, but of innocent people and businesses who are trying to fulfill their duty to file and pay their fair share of taxes,” stated Special Agent in Charge Tyler Hatcher of the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Los Angeles County Field Office.

Tips to help prevent fraud:

— Choose a tax preparer wisely. Look for a preparer who is available year-round.

— Ask your tax preparer for their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). All paid preparers are required to have one.

— Don’t use a “ghost preparer.” They won’t sign a tax return they prepare for you.

— Don’t fall victim to tax preparers’ promises of large refunds. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. All taxpayers must pay their fair share of taxes.

— Don’t sign a blank tax return. Taxpayers are ultimately responsible for what appears on tax returns filed with the IRS.

— Make sure you receive your refund. Your refund should be deposited into your bank account, not your tax preparer’s.

— The IRS will not call you threatening legal action. If you receive a call like this, hang up, it’s a scam!

— Don’t respond to or click links in text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS. They may contain malware that could compromise your personal information.

— Protect your personal and financial information. Never provide this information in response to unsolicited text messages, emails or social media posts claiming to be the IRS.

In fiscal year 2022, IRS-CI identified $5.7 billion in tax fraud, initiated 1,388 criminal tax investigations and obtained 699 criminal sentences for tax crimes.

Discrimination Enforcement Division Established

On Tuesday, Councilmember Price joined the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department (LA Civil Rights) and colleagues Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Paul Krekorian for the official launch of the city’s Discrimination Enforcement Division.
The creation of this division allows the city to investigate alleged discriminatory practices in the private sector areas of commerce, education, employment and housing and enforce the city’s Civil and Human Rights Law.
“The establishment of a Discrimination Enforcement Division is yet another reminder that Los Angeles is the epicenter of equity and opportunity and there’s no place for discrimination here,” added Councilmember Price. “Over the last few years and most recently last month, we have been mired in scandals involving hatred and bigotry from Hollywood to politics. The sad truth is that discrimination and racism are real in Los Angeles – and we need all the resources we can get to fight against it.”
LA Civil Rights can investigate discrimination against protected classes that occurred in the City of Los Angeles within three years of a complaint being filed. Complaints can be filed online or via telephone at (213) 978-1845. Based on outcomes of the investigation, financial penalties up to $250,000 and other corrective actions may be implemented.

Karen Bass 1st Black Woman, 2nd Black Mayor of Los Angeles

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass will soon have a new title – “Madam Mayor.” (courtesy photo)

Los Angeles Sentinel Was The First News Outlet to Declare Historic Victory for Los Angeles First Female Mayor

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass will soon have a new title – “Madam Mayor.” With a lead of more than 5% that is continuing to grow, the longtime community advocate is pulling away from billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso.

One week after election night where Caruso led by a very slim margin of less than 2%, Bass has not only surpassed Caruso, but has also enlarged the gap making the race virtually impossible for Caruso to overcome.

The results posted on Tuesday, Nov. 15, by the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office marks the fifth update since election night that Bass has trended upwards to a point where it would be almost impossible for Caruso to overcome.

Representative Karen Bass now holds a 52.55% – 47.45% lead following Tuesday night’s update.  Bass has held a 60% – 40% margin or better over Caruso in every ballot count released since Thursday, November 10. Bass’ late surge is a repeat of the June 7 primary election where Caruso had a slight lead over the Congresswoman and several other candidates on election night, only to see that advantage disappear and Bass ending up the top vote getter, leading all challengers by 7% or more.

Rep. Karen Bass (File photo)

Rick Caruso spent an ‘extraordinary amount of money in an attempt to win the Los Angeles mayoral race with a budget exceeding $100,000,000, compared to Bass who raised and spent in the neighborhood of $9,000,000.

“In biblical terms, this was David vs. Goliath or Karen vs. Goliath.  The amount of money that Rick Caruso spent in an attempt to buy the mayor’s race was unprecedented, but the results of this election show that ‘Dollar Power’ cannot overcome ‘People Power,’ ” said Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., board chairman of the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade and executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and Bakewell Media.

Karen Bass is a longtime Democrat with years of political and community organizing experience.  Bass, who was the first African American woman ever elected Speaker of the California State Assembly, will now make history again as Los Angeles first female mayor and only the second African American mayor following in the footsteps of Tom Bradley, who defeated Sam Yorty for mayor in 1973.

While Rick Caruso is no newcomer to Los Angeles politics, previously serving as a Bradley appointee on the Los Angeles Water and Power Commission and later on the Los Angeles Police Commission, this is his first venture seeking an elected position.

“The citizens of Los Angeles saw through Rick Caruso’s claims to be a Democrat.  We all knew that he was a lifelong Trump-like Republican and only changed his voter registration in order to run for mayor,” noted Tracy Mitchell, president of Mothers in Action, a local nonprofit that provides numerous resources to the residents of the South Los Angeles community.

The lead in the vote totals changed hands three times in the hours immediately after the polls closed on Nov. 8, with Caruso holding a 2.5-point lead on Wednesday, Nov. 9. But since then, every new release of voting information from county officials has favored Bass, with the congresswoman taking the lead on Friday, Nov. 11.

Unlike in years past, or pre-COVID, where votes were generally counted in precincts and pundits could forecast outcomes based upon a candidates popularity in one area over the other, now we are in a post-COVID environment.  In post-COVID times and with mail-in ballots becoming the norm throughout California, the late ballot vote counts come from a broad array of areas, demonstrating that Bass popularity is citywide instead of in a distinct part of the area such as her congressional district in South Los Angeles.

This fact means that there is no reason to expect that any batch of ballots will be largely different from the previous voting trends, which have been coming in for over a week.  At this point, the likelihood that Rick Caruso could reverse a week’s worth of election trends is virtually impossible and he could only win with an astounding reversal of the current voting trends, which appears to be highly unlikely.

As the votes are counted, most campaigns await a news agency to call the election and the victory.  Given the continuous voting trends and the virtually mathematical impossibility of a Caruso victory, the Los Angeles Sentinel is proud to proclaim Karen Bass as the winner and Mayor of the city of Los Angeles!

Karen Bass is currently in Washington D.C., fulfilling her role as the Congressional Representative for District 37, (that is, until Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who was currently leads Jan Perry in a race to succeed Bass in Congress, assumes that spot). Rep. Bass stated, “I am honored and grateful for the support we are continuing to see. I am optimistic and looking forward to the next update.”

The Caruso campaign has yet to release a statement concerning the continuous slide, falling further and further behind.  But earlier ton Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Caruso campaign did email out a letter to “supporters” thanking them for their backing and encouraging voters to track their ballots and insinuating that there were possible missed signatures and/or mismatch signatures on the ballots, in hopes of somehow reversing the trend of falling further and further behind.


The Office Of Racial Equity

The City Council voted to approve the Immigrant Affairs, Civil Rights, And Equity report to design the framework and establish a five-year action plan for an Office of Racial Equity.
The new office will operate under the Civil, Human Rights, and Equity Department (CHRED) and help establish Citywide definitions and specific approaches necessary to implement and achieve equity principles to be embedded as a core element of the goals, objectives and strategies of the City. To read more on the approved report, please click here.

Cannabis In Our Community – A Virtual Townhall

Special announcement for District 9 neighbors! Are you concerned about illegal cannabis activity and the City of LA’s stance on enforcement?
CD9 residents are invited to participate in the “Cannabis in Your Community: Partnering on Progressive Enforcement” virtual town hall, happening next Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.
For more information, visit the LA Department of Cannabis Regulation website at, via email at or call (213) 978-0738.
Click here for the Zoom link.

Biden calls for resignation of LA city council members over racist remarks

Nury Martinez attends Women’s March Action: March 4 Reproductive Rights at Pershing Square on Oct. 2, 2021 in Los Angeles.

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

“Unacceptable” and “appalling” is how White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre described the crude and disparaging racist remarks that surfaced this week in a recording of three city council members in Los Angeles. President Biden believes all three council members should give up their seats, Jean-Pierre said. The recording was first reported by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Nury Martinez announced that she intends to take a leave of absence, but she stopped short of submitting her resignation. Martinez employed racist and derogatory language to describe the son – who is black – of another council member, using a Spanish term meaning “little monkey” and stating that the boy needed “a beatdown.” In addition, she described Oaxacan immigrants in Koreatown as “short little dark people.” Council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León also participated in the conversation.

All three council members have issued apologies.

The president’s statement comes as he embarks on a West Coast tour where he is scheduled for several public events, including a fundraiser with Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. He joined high-ranking California officials in his call for the council members’ resignations. Scores of outraged protesters interrupted a city council meeting on Tuesday.

The White House used the occasion to excoriate Republicans for their treatment of incidents of racism within their own party.

“Here’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans: When a Democrat says something racist or antisemitic … we hold Democrats accountable,” said Jean-Pierre. “When a MAGA Republican says something racist and or antisemitic, they are embraced by cheering crowds and become celebrated and sought after.”

Councilman Mike Bonin — whose son was the subject of the derogatory remarks — gave an emotional statement on Tuesday. “I take a lot of hits, but my son?” said Bonin. He called his fellow council members’ comments unforgivable.