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Early Voting Begins In LA County Ahead Of March 3 Primary

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Early Voting Begins In LA County 11 Days Ahead Of March 3 Primary

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Rather than a mad dash to the polls on the first day of voting, it was more like a trickle. Los Angeles County revamped its voting system this year in hopes of getting more people to the polls. Instead of opening polling locations for just one day, the count began opening voting centers Saturday that will operate every day leading up to the March 3 primary election day.

“The last time we were lined up out the door this is much better,” said George Gonzalez, who was one of the first to cast his ballot at a West Hollywood location. “It all went very smoothly! I was a little nervous about it because I’m not that good with computers.”

In addition to adding 10 more days for […]

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Crime & Safety

Petition Circulating to Ask Judge to Keep Ed Buck in Jail

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Ed Buck

LOS ANGELES — On the eve of the one year incarceration of Democratic donor and activist Ed Buck in the deaths of two Black gay men, Justice 4 Gemmel and All of Ed Buck’s Victims has begun gathering signatures for a petition calling upon Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver to deny bail to Buck. 

The petition comes after Ed Buck, 65, petitioned the court arguing that he is at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 while in jail due to his age and because he says he suffers from gum disease and needs specialized cardiac care.

“Nah. He says he has gum disease and a heart issue. So then while in jail, he needs to watch what he eats, brush his teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss and use some mouthwash,” said Jasmyne Cannick who advocated for Buck’s arrest.  “He might also consider not engaging in any type of physical activity that would excite him.  The bottom line is that he’s a danger to Black men at any age–COVID or no COVID. He was in his 60s when Gemmel and Timothy died so he should not be allowed to use his age now to get out of jail.”

Buck is awaiting trial on charges of supplying illegal drugs to two men who overdosed and died inside of his West Hollywood apartment within a year and a half of each other.

Ed Buck’s attorneys have said that he would sign a $400,000 appearance bond, surrender his passport, and would agree to electronic monitoring if released.

Buck is charged with nine federal counts–including one count alleging that he knowingly enticed 26-year-old Gemmel Moore to travel to the Los Angeles area to engage in sex work and provided him methamphetamine who overdosed on the drug and died on July 27, 2017. Buck also is charged with another count of enticing another man to travel with the intent of engaging in prostitution. On January 7, 2019, Timothy Dean died of a methamphetamine overdose in Ed Buck’s apartment.

After his arrest last year on Sep. 17, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging that Buck “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment,” which is a practice described as “party and play.” Buck allegedly solicited victims on social media platforms, including a gay dating website, and used a recruiter to scout and proposition men.

Buck also faces charges, including operating a drug house, that were filed last year by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Cannick continued, “Even if the courts mandated that Buck cannot use a computer, fly people into town, or use social media dating sites, there is nothing in his history to indicate that Buck would change his previous behavior that led to the deaths of two men and the near-death of countless others. Nothing.”

Ms. Cannick also shared that many of Buck’s victims have contacted her and are concerned about their safety should Ed Buck be released.

“I’m disturbed and devastated,” added Joann Campbell, sister of Timothy Dean.  “The thought of this dangerous man– who I believe killed my brother– even being considered for bail is outrageous. I am pleading to the judge to hold Ed Buck in jail until his trial. He is responsible for two deaths in his apartment.  My brother and Gemmel Moore are dead because of Buck.  This is a slap in the face to our families. He is a dangerous man and will most likely kill again if let out. Please keep him behind bars.  I’m afraid for Black gay men in Los Angeles if he is released.”

“Ed Buck’s previous history shows he is a danger,” said LaTisha Nixon, the mother of Gemmel Moore. “After Gemmel was killed we warned that another person would end up dead if he wasn’t arrested and Buck did not prove us wrong as Timothy Dean was killed just a year and a half later. We repeatedly told authorities Ed Buck was out of control and still after my son and Timothy Dean died, he was up to his old tricks and attempted to fatally overdose another man. If he is released he will continue to prey upon Black gay men. Ed Buck is a menace and deserves to be held in custody to ensure that no other person is killed by Ed Buck.”

“I am just speechless as well as restless just thinking of what will happen next–who will be the next to die–if Ed Buck is released from jail,” said Joyce Jackson, sister of Timothy Dean.

Cannick concluded with, “I am all for bail reform, but people like Ed Buck should not be the beneficiaries of the bail reform movement.”

The petition will be delivered to the Magistrate Judge and to federal prosecutors at the September 25 hearing in Los Angeles. Anyone interested can sign the petition here.

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Business

RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic

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Another LGBTQ+ Nightlife Destination Has Fallen Victim to the Pandemic

WEST HOLLYWOOD (L.A. Magazine) — Rage nightclub has been a destination for LGBTQ+ nightlife in the bustling Santa Monica Boulevard corridor of West Hollywood for decades. Now, nearly 40 years after first opening its doors, the club has announced it has permanently closed, yet another local business to collapse amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rage nightclub management lays some portion of the blame on their landlord, Monte Overstreet. The club’s now-former general manager, Ron Madrill, told Q Voice News that rent for the location was already “very high” prior to operations shutting down in March. He says he believes an impasse over rent payments may have contributed to Rage’s closure.

Overstreet also reportedly owns the space formerly occupied by neighboring bar Flaming Saddles Saloon, which also announced […]

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Hit & Run

Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of Pedestrian on Sunset

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HOLLYWOOD — A 21-year-old man has been sentenced for the hit-and-run fatality of an Australian man in Hollywood last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Kristopher Ryan Smith of Norwalk was sentenced yesterday to 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service and three years of formal probation.

Deputy District Attorney Kristopher Gay said Smith pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of hit-and-run driving and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

On April 18, 2019, at 1:30 am, the defendant was driving and hit and killed 56-year-old Andrew Mallard as he was walking across an uncontrolled portion of Sunset Boulevard at Formosa Avenue. Smith fled the scene but later turned himself in.

Case BA479208 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, West Traffic Division.

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