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Angelica

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The three UCLA basketball players arrested Nov. 7 in China on suspicion of shoplifting have been released on bail.  Sources say LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill—all freshmen—were accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to their hotel. 

 

LiAngelo is the son of outspoken basketball dad and shoe company mogul LeVar Ball.  He is also the brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.  

 

ESPN reported that police came to the team hotel in the city of Hangzhou early Tuesday morning and took the players into custody.   

 

UCLA Coach Steve Alford said they would be benched.  “The university came out with a statement, so I won’t have any further comment on this other than in answering that question — those individuals won’t play on Saturday,” he said in a statement.

 

The university also said in a statement that it is cooperating fully with the investigation.  The Bruins open the season against Georgia Tech at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday in Shanghai. Three players from Georgia Tech were also questioned about alleged shoplifting, but were not arrested, according to ABC News.

 

Details surrounding the arrests are still unclear.  However, the senior Mr. Ball said via ESPN, “I’m going to wait until I get more intel on what’s going on,” and added, “He’ll be fine. Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.”

 

Meanwhile at the UCLA campus, most students took a “wait and see” approach.  I think we should wait until we know more about it.  There are two sides to every story,” one student said.  Another suggested that the students could be victims of racial profiling.

 

The arrests came ahead of Trump’s visit to China.  The president had not commented about the incident at press time.

 

President Donald Trump called for the end of a U.S. visa program Tuesday after a man believed to be connected to ISIS used his rented truck to deliberately mow down cyclists on a popular bike path in Lower Manhattan. It happened just minutes from the World Trade Center. 

 

Sayfullo Saipov, 29, was shot in the stomach by New York Police, and is expected to survive.  The incident that police are calling an act of terror left 8 people dead and 11 others injured.

 

“We need quick justice and we need strong justice.  What we have now is a joke and a laughing stock,” he said.  The president said he would ask Congress to eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery Program--the program that Saipov used to enter the U.S.   Trump is demanding a “merit-based” immigration system.  

 

“We do not want chain migration where someone like him will be able to bring in many, many members of his family.  We don’t want that,” Trump said.

 

A handwritten note in Arabic, reportedly recovered from the scene, referred to the Islamic State enduring forever.

 

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff told MSNBC on Wednesday that Saipov was a green card holder and that he had no new information. “I think it’s absurd to be using it (diversity visa) as part of a debate. There are legitimate reasons on how many to take as immigrants on diversity, and how many to take on merit.  I’ve never heard this used in terms of security.” 

 

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who created the diversity visa program, attacked the president for dividing the country.  “He proposed to cut funds (to fight terrorism) in his most recent budget,” Schumer said.  He is calling on the president to rescind the diversity visa ban immediately

 

Trump said he would consider sending Saipov to Gitmo Prison, where terrorist suspects are kept in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

 

By Veronica Mackey

 

As Republicans in D.C. hammer it out to try and get a tax bill passed by Christmas, the Russian collusion case involving former Trump advisors has gained new momentum.    

 

On Monday, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates were indicted by a federal grand jury.  Manafort was charged with 12 counts, including money laundering and conspiracy.  FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether Trump  campaign officials colluded with Russians to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections.  

 

Manafort and Gates acted as unregistered agents of the Government of Ukraine, the Party of Regions, a Ukrainian political party whose leader Victor Yanukovych was president from 2010 to 2014, and the Opposition Bloc, according to Fox News.   Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their work in Ukraine.

 

Of key interest is the charge that Russian officials hacked into then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails to help Trump win.  The FBI found, among other evidence, that Manafort has 3 passports with  3 different ID numbers. Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty, and are under house arrest. They are considered high flight risks due to their wealth and foreign connections. 

 

News was also revealed that George Papadopoulos, former Trump foreign policy advisor, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI when probed about his ties to Russian officials.  He was arrested in July.  Papadoupoulos lied about the timing of his contact with the Russians, saying it happened earlier than it did.  According to an FBI statement, a Russian official only became interested in Papadopoulos when he learned of his ties to Trump.   

 

There is evidence that Papadopoulos exchanged emails with high ranking Trump officials during his involvement with the campaign, including Manafort and former campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders distanced Trump from his associates, saying “Papadopoulos is someone doing the wrong thing when the campaign was doing the right thing.” 

 

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Clovis, a controversial nominee for the U.S. Department of Agriculture under President Trump, encouraged Papadopoulos to set up a meeting with Russian officials during the campaign.  Clovis asked Papadopoulos to take an “off the record” meeting with Russian officials.

 

Clovis was summoned by Mueller’s office last week.  According to a statement by Clovis’ lawyer, Clovis did not encourage Popadopolis to make the trip to Russia.  However other evidence confirmed Clovis told him to “make the trip as usual.”

 

Investigators have found key evidence to suggest that Russians offered the Trump campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton along with thousands of her emails. Discussions began between campaign officials and Russia as early as April 2016, according to officials.  Mueller is pursuing the trail to see who else in the campaign might be involved.

 

Though Trump has repeatedly denied having any contact with the Russians, as a candidate, he  publicly encouraged Russians to hack into Clinton’s emails after it was revealed that Wikileaks would be releasing her messages.

 

“This is a growing disaster,” said Ezra Klein, Editor-at-large at VOX.  “The Trump Administration had a very serious problem with leaks and infighting. Now, people are turning on the people they worked with or talked to.”

 

It’s not looking good for the president, as evidence begins to mount that there is no way he could not have known about Russia interfering with the election.  One news commentator said as early as April of 2016, there appeared to be an offer of help by the Russians, and an acceptance of help by the Trump campaign.

 

Everyone from the president to former campaign staff and current employees are on edge, not knowing where the investigation will lead, and who will be in the hot seat next.

 

Jonathan Capehart, a reporter for the Washington Post, said: 

 

“We are now 48 hours into ‘Mueller’s America.’ What no one knew about was the guilty plea by  George Papadopoulos, and now we find out that Sam Clovis has already spoken to the grand jury in the Mueller investigation.  If you’re in the White House now, this adds ‘freak out’ in the West Wing about who’s next and what’s going to happen next. And Mueller, from what I understand, is not someone to be trifled with.”

 

 

 

By Veronica Mackey

 

The rapidly rising value of real estate in Inglewood was brilliantly illustrated in a comment by resident Ray Davis at Tuesday’s council meeting:

 

“I wish my name was Wong and I was in the hotel business.  The owner bought a hotel in 2001 for $400 thousand and they just sold it for $18 million! How can that be bad? The gentleman who bought it said he’s going to refurbish it. Don’t believe it. He’s going to knock it down and he’s going to build something 10 times grander,” Davis said.

 

“That $400,000 paid off very well,” Mayor James Butts said.

 

Property values in Inglewood will no doubt go higher as the City continues to improve streets and build the new football stadium and new housing.

 

Councilman Alex Padilla said street improvement in District 2 is well underway. Motorists are advised that a portion of La Brea Avenue is being repaved.  The councilman visited the Inglewood Imaging Center recently and was happy to see the center’s commitment for bringing awareness of cancer to the public. Dressed in Dodgers gear for Halloween, he cheered on his favorite team: “Go Dodgers!”

 

Councilman George Dotson announced a “Coffee with the Cops” event on November 15 from 8-10am at Flip It Café, 441 E. Manchester Boulevard.  He encouraged the community to come out and support the Inglewood police.  The District 1 Christmas Toy Drive takes place on Thursday, December 7 at St. Mary’s Academy, 701 Grace Avenue. Warren Lane and Kelso Elementary schools will be represented.  

 

A woman complained about parking restrictions on 105th and 106th streets.  Councilman Ralph Franklin explained that the notice she received was part of a test project to determine how to improve parking in the area.  “This is a pilot program,” Franklin said.  “It is the second one in the last several years. This is not permit parking, where you have to pay before parking on the street.”  

 

Morales added that “with the stadium, we anticipate so many issues.  We’re trying new things because we want to get it better for residents.  If it (pilot) doesn’t work, it goes away.” 

 

Mayor Butts piggy-backed on Padilla’s comments about street improvements.  He related street construction and traffic to “having work done in your home, and having to stay in the back bedroom.”  

 

The City of Inglewood will enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra to negotiate for the sale of the property located at 101-105 S. La Brea Avenue. The City purchased the property, formerly known as the AMAN Inc. Building, for $4.1 million.  The Philharmonic wants the building to house its youth program, which offers free music and training programs. 

 

 

The council accepted a draft of the Transit Oriented Development Plan for the Westchester/Veterans and Crenshaw/Imperial Metro Stations; and voted to allow City employees to participate in the State of California’s Public Employees’ Medical and Hospital Act, available through the California Public Employees Retirement System, effective January 1, 2018.  

 

The City adopted Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of the 1964 Compliance Plan Update for the Senior Transportation Program of the City of Inglewood.  A contract for residential sound insulation will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder.

 

An ordinance was passed to the Inglewood Municipal Code, Chapter 2, Article 3, to remove 5 City employee Commissioners on the Housing Advisor Commission, as well as adding 1 Commissioner that is nominated by the mayor. 

 

The mayor closed the meeting with a report on how the city is doing.  “Sales taxes (in Inglewood) outpaces sales taxes in L.A. County.  Crime has decreased 70 percent.  Inglewood still has the lowest rent in the entire South Bay.  Building permit revenues have tripled, compared to 2013…” 

 

By Veronica Mackey

 

Astros fans everywhere celebrated Wednesday night as they closed out Game 7of the 2017 World Series with a victory.  The game was destined to make history whichever way it went.  It is the Dodger’s first time in the World Series since 1988, and would have been the first one that the team has won at home. It is also the first Astros World Series ever.

 

The Astros were a sentimental favorite going into the series, due to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston that claimed the lives of at least 90 and caused at least $70 billion in economic damages.  A FOX 11 newscaster said she would have bet on the Astros, if the “boys in blue” had not advanced to the championship.

 

This season’s contest has been a fight to the finish, thrilling baseball fans to no end.  ESPN said, “The 2017 World Series has been building toward a crescendo from the moment Jackie Robinson's family threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1. The Dodgers and Astros have traded leads, home runs, home-field advantages, gut punches and momentum under a California sky, a retractable roof in Texas and back again.”

 

The iconic Game 5 was a nail biter for sure, lasting over 5 hours and ending with a 13-12 victory by the Astros.  The Dodgers came back in Game 6, beating the Astros 3-1. 

 

Pitcher Kenley Jansen closed it out at the top of the ninth inning with multiple no-hitters—a strong finish for a guy who has struggled throughout the series.  

 

“The real, rightful, regular Jansen reappeared in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win in Game 6 on Tuesday, throwing only 19 pitches — 18 of them strikes — to work two perfect innings, bail out a bullpen still reeling from the wild Game 5 loss, and secure the victory,” USA Today reported.

 

The Dodger’s were so close to a victory—coming into Game 7 and tied 3-3 in the series.  Close, yet so far. The boys in blue gave it everything they had.  But sadly, even the great pitching skills of Jansen and fellow pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish were not enough to stop the team from Houston.

 

Wednesday marked the 39th time the World Series has gone seven games. Some fans paid as much as $25,000 per ticket. Yikes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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