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LA Consumer Alerts Issued on Popular Holiday Gift Items

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CITY ATTORNEY MIKE FEUER AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY JACKIE LACEY ISSUE CONSUMER ALERTS ON POPULAR HOLIDAY GIFT ITEMS

LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey have addressed the serious safety threats posed by counterfeit and recalled products.

Specifically, they focused on popular holiday gift items such as phone chargers, helmets, toys and car seats.

“Holiday shoppers need to be vigilant,” said Feuer. “It’s all too easy to buy counterfeit or recalled items online that rip you off financially and pose a threat to the safety of you and your family.”

“Counterfeit phone chargers don’t work and carry the real risk of shock and electrocution.

Recalled bike helmets, like the one we were able to purchase on Walmart.com, might not provide the necessary protection for your child. The same goes for recalled or counterfeit child car seats.

Please follow key tips and protect yourself and your loved ones.”

“The sale of counterfeit goods not only undermines our economy but also may place hazardous items in the hands of our children,” District Attorney Lacey said.

“Counterfeit toys, car seats and mobile phone chargers may sound harmless, but they do not go through the same vigorous safety checks as legitimate items. As a result, they may endanger the health and safety of our loved ones.”

Joined by representatives from Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, LAPD, LA County Sheriff, LA County Department of Health Services and safety-certification company UL, Feuer and Lacey warned that counterfeit items, like fake phone chargers, rarely meet industry safety standards necessary to protect users.

Recently, UL tested 400 counterfeit chargers and found a 99% failure rate. All but three failed basic safety tests and were hazards for electrocution and shock. In 2018, the City Attorney’s Office partnered with UL and Apple to prosecute civil enforcement actions against downtown merchants selling counterfeit iPhone chargers. 

Discounted prices are a sign that the products are likely counterfeit. Among the other tips they shared to help holiday shoppers avoid possible counterfeit or recalled items: 

  •  Consider buying from a brick-and-mortar store, or online directly from a manufacturer.  
  • Check labels. Legitimate items have safety and other labels attached to indicate they have passed testing requirements and are in compliance with applicable industry standards.
  • If the price of an item seems too good to be true, it may be. Check competitor prices, and be wary that products with below-market prices may be counterfeit or recalled.
  • Be careful to examine the quality of a product. Flimsy or poorly printed packaging, missing stickers or trademarks, misspelled or abnormally large logos, and component parts that appear cheap or broken can all signal an item is counterfeit. 
  • And to verify that products haven’t been recalled, check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

For helmets, the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission, which regulates them, said, “Helmets and safety gear are a must. Helmets should fit properly and be worn at all times. Consumers should beware of bicycle helmets that do not have a label indicating they meet CPSC’s mandatory safety standard because they may not protect your head in a crash.” 

In addition, these statements must be present on helmets: 

  • Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets for Persons Age 5 and Older, or
  • Complies with U.S. CPSC Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets for Persons Age 1 and Older (Extended Head Coverage).
  • They should also include the name, address and telephone number of the manufacturer or importer. And for kids under the age of 5, it must specifically say “…is safe for persons age 1 and older.”

For car seats, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), urges consumers to avoid using or purchasing those that do not meet federal safety standards. They have identified the following “telltale signs” of potential safety issues: 

  • Car seats without lower anchor attachments;
  • Car seats without proper labeling;
  • Car seats lacking a chest clip, or only secured by a seat belt crossed over the seat and not correctly installed.

NHTSA’s website provides a wealth of further resources, including a Car Seats and Booster Seats section, an ease-of-use car seat ratings section and an online checker for car seat recalls. NHTSA also encourages consumers to register their car seats in order to receive recalls and safety notices from car seat manufacturers, and to sign up to receive e-mail alerts from NHTSA about car seat and booster seat recalls. Additionally, NHTSA encouraged consumers to report suspected safety issues and concerns about car seats or other child restraints to its Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236, or by filing a non-vehicle complaint.

Consumers who would like FREE assistance with their car seat installation can make an appointment by calling LAPD’s Child Safety Seat Coordinator at (818) 644-8143 or with the NHTSA, which also offers Spanish-speaking technicians.

Residents with information regarding the sale of counterfeit or recalled phone chargers, bicycle helmets, or car seats are urged to contact the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office at 213-978-8070 or online

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LA County Workers Cut Down Beach Volleyball Nets Due to Coronavirus

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LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — The coronavirus pandemic is giving new meaning to the March tradition of cutting down nets … beaches across Los Angeles County are making sure no one plays volleyball.

L.A. County workers are busy cutting down volleyball nets across the Santa Monica, this only hours after California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay home to help slow down the spread of the novel virus.

The decision to take volleyball off the table makes sense when you think about it … everyone in a volleyball match touches the ball, and they’re usually sweating and perspiring, which is not a good combination when it comes to COVID-19.

Despite the “Safer at Home” order for California residents, people can still go outside to walk and get exercise … officials urged folks not to congregate at the beach, and now there’s no way to get a volleyball game going.

We’re used to seeing basketball players cut down the nets during March Madness … but that’s just another annual tradition suspended due to the pandemic.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)


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City

WeHo JFS Service Changes For Seniors and Others Due to Virus

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WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood is taking every precaution to prioritize community health and well being to respond to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The City is getting the word out about updates regarding services for seniors at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park and services available from Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS)

  • JFS has immediately cancelled all activities at the West Hollywood Comprehensive Services Center at Plummer Park until April 10, 2020 as a precaution to safeguard health and safety and JFS will make assessments as the situation evolves;
  • The JFS meal site will provide a frozen meal for each client coming to its meal sites on Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and the organization anticipates providing additional meals for clients in order to minimize client contact and support recommendations for social distancing;
  • Additionally, SOVA, the JFS food pantry, located on Pico and Robertson Boulevards, continues to remain open for community members.

The JFS West Hollywood Comprehensive Service Center remains a vital resource for seniors and people with disabilities and it will continue to be operational at this time. Operated by Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS), funded in large part by the City of West Hollywood, and located in the community center at Plummer Park, the Center is a one-stop source of support and assistance.

In response to concerns about coronavirus, JFS requests that community members contact the Center by phone instead of in person. Currently, case managers are reaching out to connect with clients and assess needs. For more information, please call (323) 851-8202.

For additional information about social services in the City of West Hollywood, please call (323) 848-6510.

The City of West Hollywood will post updates on its website at weho.org/coronavirus. The City is updating its calendar and information will be available at weho.org/calendar.

For updates from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health about Coronavirus, please visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus.

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WeHo Cancels All Non-Essential City Gatherings to Combat Coronavirus

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West Hollywood City Hall will Remain Open at this Time for Business Transactions; City has Implemented Increased Sanitization Protocols for City Facilities

For Updates Related to West Hollywood Visit www.weho.org/coronavirus

WEST HOLLYWOOD — The City of West Hollywood is continuing to follow the lead of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health), the California Department of Public Health (CA Public Health), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The City of West Hollywood is taking every precaution to prioritize community health and well-being. Based on public health recommendations from lead agencies, and in an effort to safeguard public health and slow the rate of transmission of novel coronavirus, the City of West Hollywood is immediately implementing a series of immediate actions. During the coming weeks, following the direction of public health officials, the City may revise plans, as appropriate.

The City of West Hollywood is implementing the following actions through June 30, 2020:

  • All non-essential events and meetings, including City-sponsored events, City co-sponsored events, and City-funded events — as well as any events or filming that require a permit — will be postponed or cancelled;
  • The City encourages postponement or cancellations for private gatherings that cannot accommodate space for social distancing of at least six feet per person;
  • The City encourages businesses in the community to develop plans to limit occupancy in order to encourage social distancing mindful of public health recommendations;
  • Gatherings of individuals who are at risk for severe illness from novel coronavirus, such as seniors and people with immunodeficiency or autoimmune disorders, should be limited to no more than 10 people (examples include people at senior centers, assisted living facilities, multi-unit housing buildings, and support groups for people with underlying medical conditions);
  • All public meetings, including Advisory Board and Commission meetings, will be cancelled unless the City determines there are essential business items to be discussed; the City Council meeting calendar is currently being reviewed and updates will be posted at weho.org
  • Cancellations include the Helen Albert Certified Farmers’ Market; and
  • Christopher Street West will postpone all events related to the LA Pride in West Hollywood, which had been scheduled in June 2020, and organizers will assess.

The City of West Hollywood is immediately implementing the following actions regarding recreation programs for a one-week period through March 19, 2020 and the City will assess public health guidance during this period in order to extend cancellations, if necessary, in order to safeguard public health:

  • The West Hollywood Aquatic Center/Pool and all current Recreation programs and classes are cancelled immediately for a one-week period; and
  • Childcare programs will remain open, but are subject to change based upon public health direction.

The City of West Hollywood is in the process of updating its calendar of events and meetings and updates will be available at www.weho.org/calendar

“Public safety is job number one and the City of West Hollywood is taking great care to assist our partners in public health to the fullest extent possible,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “Right now, our focus is doing our part to flatten the curve of the disease progression by focusing on essential City business functions and cancelling events under the City’s purview. Social distancing has been proven effective in other regions and we are following best practices to slow down the spread of this virus so our healthcare system does not become overwhelmed at this time. Please remain calm and take care of yourselves and each other. Follow the guidance from L.A. County Public Health and the CDC. Our community navigated the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and we will get through this if we follow guidelines – and, please, let’s do this the WeHo way with kindness and empathy.”

The City of West Hollywood’s decision to cancel and postpone events and meetings is a precautionary measure in response to public health recommendations for social distancing. The timely implementation of aggressive strategies that create social distance and those that reduce close contact of people not regularly together, including limiting gatherings, has proven effective in prior pandemics at delaying rates of transmission and reducing illness and death.

In a recent statement, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed. said: “With the discovery of community spread yesterday, we will continue to see more cases of COVID-19 in L.A. County. With more cases, we are urging people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, and the elderly to practice social distancing by avoiding non-essential travel, public events, community gatherings, and indoor venues.”

Public health experts note that local communities are the first step in working together in the United States and across the globe to slow the rate of transmission of novel coronavirus and that communities can do their part to “flatten the curve” to help contain the virus spread. That means taking precautions, even by people who are not sick or at high-risk. The epidemic curve, a statistical chart used to visualize when and at what speed new cases are reported, could be flattened, rather than being allowed to rise exponentially by employing tactics such as social distancing and cancelling of non-essential events and travel. 

At this time, West Hollywood City Hall will remain open for business transactions with newly implemented protocols for sanitization. At City facilities, the schedule of sanitization and cleaning has been increased and additional hand-sanitizer stations and individual hand sanitizer bottles at service counters have been made available; disinfecting wipes are available on an as-needed basis. The City has also begun use of a disinfectant solution at all transit shelters and kiosks and in heavily trafficked locations in public rights of way.

The City of West Hollywood will post updates on its website at www.weho.org/coronavirus and the City encourages community members to follow @wehocity on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and turn on notifications for up-to-date information regarding details in the City of West Hollywood.

To view essential-business City meetings, tune in to WeHoTV at:

For notifications by email, subscribe to the City’s E-Notifications at www.weho.org/email. Visit the City’s event and meetings calendar atwww.weho.org/calendar and news archive at www.weho.org/news.

For updates and information about the current numbers of COVID-19 cases in the United States and in Los Angeles County, the spread of the virus, severity, treatments, precautions, and other important public health information in multiple languages, please visit websites for:

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