Issue No. 43 – January 22, 2021

The Thorn West is a state and local news roundup compiled by members of DSA-LA. Our goal is to provide a weekly update on the latest developments in state and local politics, and to track the issues that are most important to our membership.

Coronavirus and Relief

  • The California State Legislature is once again playing chicken with the state eviction moratorium, which ends on January 31. It is expected that the legislature will extend the deadline in some fashion but it is still unclear what shape that will take. The LA Times discusses how the rent relief funds that were part of December’s stimulus bill can be applied for (still unclear), and how they will be disbursed (direct payments to landlords).
  • Some councilmembers in the city of West Covina have proposed that the city form its own department of health, independent from Los Angeles County, as a way for the city to make their own health regulations and safety decisions that would weigh the interests of business more heavily.

Housing Justice

  • Yesterday, the City Planning Commission’s Equity Day listening session offered a chance for residents to participate in presentations and extensive public comment, which focused largely on how development in this city has failed to conserve communities and community resources, in South LA and other neighborhoods, and how these needs can be met in the future. The event was live-tweeted here. 
  • The Pasadena Star checks in with Pasadena’s new mayor in the aftermath of another failed appeal of the state’s affordable housing requirements. California cities have repeatedly pushed back against the municipal affordable housing benchmarks in the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment. At the moment, however, the state only requires that each municipality be legally prepared to hit its benchmarks — not that the housing ever actually be built.
  • This week the LA City Council asked for a report back in 30 days on the feasibility of turning the LA Convention Center into an emergency shelter for unhoused Angelenos. Skepticism over whether this is an adequate or safe response to the city’s housing crisis is expressed here.


  • KNOCK.LA has continued reporting on the aftermath of Prop 22, this time focusing on the ways labor is fighting back: pushing for federal legislation, filing lawsuits in the state, and organizing on the ground. The same topics were also discussed this week on Ground Game LA’s Twitch, at 12:53. (Also featured in this video is Daniel Lee, the Culver City councilmember and DSA member who is running in a special election to fill Holly Mitchell’s seat in the State Senate.)
  • Though it may end up largely a symbolic gesture, the Screen Actors Guild is considering expelling former President Trump for his role in inciting the January 6 Capitol riot.

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Sixty-five current and former elected prosecutors filed a brief supporting Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón in the civil case brought by the Los Angeles County prosecutors’ union. The union is suing to reverse several less-punitive policies Gascón put into place when he took office, which some prosecutors claim are “unfair” to be asked to follow (because it is their preference not to).