Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu Resigns Amid Federal Investigation Related To The Sale Of Angel Stadium

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has resigned amid an FBI’s corruption probe related to the sale of Angel Stadium.

His resignation takes effect at midnight Tuesday.

The resignation comes as it was revealed last week that the mayor was the subject of a probe by the FBI, which alleged in a search warrant affidavit that he had fed insider information to Angels executives in the stadium deal and arranged to have a helicopter bought registered in Arizona so he could save money on taxes.

The FBI alleges that Sidhu was hoping to get a $1 million-dollar campaign donation from the team. That never happened and the FBI says the Angels were unaware of the scheme, but this has been building for a while now.

“A fair and thorough investigation will prove that Mayor Harry Sidhu did not leak secret information in the hopes of a later political campaign contribution,” Sidhu’s Attorney Paul S. Meyer said in a statement. “His unwavering goal form the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship would continue…

“Mayor Harry Sidhu has has always, as his foremost priority, acted in the best interests of the City of Anaheim, and he does so today. In order to continue to act in the best interests of Anaheim and allow this great City to move forward without distraction, Harry Sidhu has resigned from his post as Mayor effective May 24, 2022.”

This comes as last week, three Anaheim City Council members called on Mayor Sidhu to resign amid the FBI corruption probe into his involvement in the proposed sale of Angel Stadium to team owner Arte Moreno.

Source: ABC7

Magic Johnson Chose Converse Over Nike And Missed A Chance To Earn $5.2 Billion: Nike Offered $1 For Every Pair Of Shoes Sold And 100,000 Shares Worth $0.18 At The Time

Magic Johnson is one of the biggest names to have ever played in the NBA, and very few players have enjoyed the hype he did coming into the NBA. Having led his college team to the NCAA championship over his rival Larry Bird in what was the most-watched college basketball game ever, Magic entered the league as the man of the moment and would go on to be Finals MVP in his rookie season as well.

Understandably, Johnson was a coveted property when it came to endorsements and there was a bit of a battle in terms of which shoe company he would sign with. Both Nike and Converse made offers to Magic and the decision came down to whether he would take stocks instead of cash, with the 19-year-old choosing Converse, who had offered him $100,000 a year at the time.

However, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s the offer that Nike put on the table that would have made him a lot more money had he chosen to go with them. The company offered Johnson $1 for every pair of shoes sold along with 100,000 shares in stock options, with the stock valued at $0.18 at the time.

When contextualized, considering that Nike stock is worth $134 today, Johnson would have $5.2 billion to his name had he decided to sign with the company. However, Converse was a bigger brand than Nike at the time, which adds some more context as to why Magic made his decision as well. 

Nike went on to explode with Michael Jordan, who did end up becoming a billionaire, thanks largely in part to his partnership with the shoe company. There were suggestions that Jordan’s rise and the hype around him and Nike were factors in souring his relationship with Magic a little in their early years, but the two went on to bond during their stint with the 1992 Dream Team. Also, considering that Magic is now worth an estimated $600 million, it’s safe to say he didn’t do too badly for himself either. 

Source: Yardbarker

CalOptima Abruptly Fires Entire Legal Team As Concerns Mount Over Agency’s Direction — Orange County’s Health Care Plan For Poor And Disabled Residents Is Drawing Scrutiny, With High Turnover Among Agency Leaders

The board for CalOptima, which provides publicly funded health coverage for nearly 900,000 needy Orange County residents, abruptly fired its entire in-house legal team of attorneys and support staff late last week. Some had been with the agency for more than 20 years, according to records.

The agency instead will rely on a contract with Sacramento firm Kennaday Leavitt for legal services.

The board approved a $1 million contract with that firm in November, for two outside attorneys to support CalOptima’s nine-member legal team, whose salaries totaled roughly $1.5 million. The agency said at the time that additional help was needed as demands for legal services increased. CalOptima now says the decision during a closed session meeting Thursday night to fire the in-house team was about “improved efficiency.”

The move comes amid increasing concerns about how the agency is operating under the direction of its board chair, Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, with substantial turnover in key positions over the past two years while salary levels for newly created or replacement positions have jumped significantly.

The agency’s chief medical officer, executive director of quality initiatives, communications director and other key staff members all have left in recent months. The last chief executive officer stayed only a year, with an interim CEO in his place. And the salary for that job jumped in September from a minimum of $400,000 to at least $560,000.

Do could not be reached for comment Monday.

A CalOptima spokesperson didn’t respond to a request about these concerns or additional information on the legal team’s departure. She instead emailed a statement that said: “CalOptima has taken action to utilize external legal resources to improve efficiency of the agency in support of its mission and to better serve our members.”

CalOptima is the health care insurer for poor and disabled O.C. residents, a majority who qualify for Medi-Cal coverage. The agency has an annual budget of $3.7 billion and operates under the direction of an eight-member board of directors.

The board started discussing the idea of contracting for outside legal services in late 2020. Do led an ad hoc committee that formed Dec. 3, 2020, to consider getting help to “address the substantial and increasing demand for legal services.”

During its Sept. 2 meeting, the eight-member board unanimously voted to request proposals from outside law firms to “augment, and integrate with, the legal services currently provided by the agency’s employed and contracted lawyers,” according to a board report.

Two months later, at the Nov. 4 meeting, the board approved using up to $1.05 million in reserves to contract for a year with Kennaday Leavitt, which has attorneys specializing in health care law, for general counsel to “work with internal lawyers.” The contract includes two additional one-year extension options and covers two full-time attorneys at $70,000 per month plus up to $210,000 in business expenses.

When the request for proposals went out, it included a requirement that the firm must have its main office in the Southern California area. But that requirement was dropped when the committee came back to the board with a recommendation to contract with Kennaday Leavitt, with veteran healthcare attorney James Novello in the top post.

During the Dec. 20 meeting, the board met behind closed doors to discuss Kennaday Leavitt’s job performance. Then, on Thursday, Feb. 3, the agenda listed a closed-door session to discuss “public employee discipline/dismissal/release.” Following that meeting, a clerk reported the board had “approved the closed session item.” The Register learned all seven in-house attorneys plus a supporting paralegal and office staff member were let go.

Supervisor Doug Chaffee, who said he recently moved from alternate to full board member and has only attended a couple CalOptima meetings, said the process of changing the legal staff started before his tenure. But he said the current interim CEO, Michael Hunn, reviewed the situation “and concluded that it was not very efficient,” Chaffee said, so Hunn asked the board to “make an organizational change” to exclusively use the new outside counsel.

Chaffee said the dismissed legal staff will receive severance packages per the agency’s policy, but he didn’t have details on the amount. As to using a contracted firm instead of in-house staff for legal services, he said, “I think there is a cost savings; time will tell exactly how much.”

In recent years CalOptima has weathered its share of criticism. In 2013, the county’s Grand Jury raised flags about a wave of CalOptima staff departures and issues with leadership.

The agency seemed to have course-corrected, with little controversy for several years. But since Do took the helm of the agency, some local healthcare officials have started to criticize recent changes.

In December, a past chairman of CalOptima’s board raised concerns with the recent appointment of Do’s deputy chief of staff to a newly created position at the agency, pointing to the staffer’s lack of experience in the healthcare industry and starting salary of $282,000, the Voice of OC reported.

The month before that, the Hospital Association of Southern California expressed dismay that a majority of the OC Board of Supervisors ignored its recommendation on whom to appoint to a vacant CalOptima board seat, picking someone from Los Angeles County instead of someone with local experience, according to another Voice of OC story.

Source: OC Register

Kelly Price: My Sister Tried To Seize My Money As I Almost Died From COVID

In this clip, Kelly Price talks about the coming together of her core family members for the making of an album that was inspired by Christmas. She also explains that the reason why she can no longer listen to the tracks anymore is because nearly everyone from those recordings have passed away, since the LP was made. The New York native also shares the details about her first album release after she left Def Jam and that she left the label’s subsidiary, Def Soul, because of her lackluster working relationship with L.A. Reid. Kelly Price goes on to talk about the inspiration behind her first live gospel album. Lastly, the R&B crooner talks about partaking in Tyler Perry’s play  “Why Did I Get Married” and what it was like to tour with the cast of the production.

Kelly Price also addresses the lawsuits that she was hit with by numerous promoters due to the cancellation of multiple shows. She explains that the reason behind the cancellations was a combination because of random “acts of God” and the fact that she contracted COVID-19. She added that the severity of these occurrences caused her to lose money because of smear campaigns at the hands of the promoters. Lastly, Kelly Price explains that she nearly became a victim of a conservatorship by members of her own family, because her health was deteriorating and they didn’t want her estate to go to her husband in the event that she passed away.

Van Lathan And Vlad Argue About Los Angeles Being “Fake”

In this clip, Van Lathan spoke about moving to Los Angeles in 2005 and being determined to make his own way. When Vlad spoke about his experience living in L.A. for the first time and feeling like it was fake, Van explained that he sees a lot of people falling into the same trap because they get caught up in what they believe is the L.A. lifestyle. Van then detailed how he took the bus to his first job at a video game company, and he added that he met a lot of real L.A. people by interacting in his community. From there, Van spoke about how people succeed in L.A. by sticking it out and figuring out their own way. To hear more, including Van speaking about celebrities tricking him into not being filmed for TMZ, hit the above clip.

Faizon Love On Raiders Coach Saying Black Man’s Lips Size Of Tires

In the latest clip, Faizon Love offered his thoughts on Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigning after racist emails from a decade ago were exposed during the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team’s work environment. The comedian questioned if the emails made Gruden racist, questioning if he himself would be considered racist if he made the exact same remarks. To hear more, view the clip above.

Mexico’s Secret Chinese Underworld 🇲🇽 Mexicali, Mexico

Mexicali, Mexico – This is the capital of Baja California, Mexicali, and it has such a unique history to the fabric of Mexico, Gareth Leonard had to add this place as the last stop on his first Northern Baja road trip. Between the mid-1800s and the 1940s, Mexicali, became Mexico’s largest Chinatown.

By 1920, Mexicali’s Chinese population outnumbered the Mexican population 10,000 to 700, and yet, many people still didn’t even realize how many were here.

We meet up with our local guide Diego, to get the full story.

Now here’s the most interesting part for Gareth about La Chinesca.

Just beneath the surface of central old town, in the neighborhood of La Chinesca, there’s a labyrinth of basements and tunnels that once were home to an entire population of Chinese immigrants. During Prohibition in the United States, La Chinesca in Mexicali housed just about all of the city’s casinos and bars, and established a tunnel system to connect bordellos and opium dens to neighboring Calexico on the U.S. side.

Along with being a passageway for bootleggers into the United States, this underground world was also where Chinese people would live here in Mexicali.

What The Russell Westbrook Trade Means For The Los Angeles Lakers

The quest to maximize whatever elite years remain in LeBron James took another turn, and perhaps the sharpest one yet, with the Los Angeles Lakers getting Russell Westbrook in a major Draft-day trade.

This was a deal that required the Lakers to cross their fingers while shaking hands with the Washington Wizards. That’s because, as combustible as Westbrook is — he’s rewritten all the triple-double records in the book — his skill-set fits only in certain systems and situations. Placing Westbrook next to LeBron and also Anthony Davis will require adjustments and sacrifices with everyone involved in this Big Three experiment, but especially with Westbrook.

First, the deal itself: Westbrook, the 2024 second-round pick and 2028 second-round pick go to the Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and the 22nd pick go to Washington, as first reported by The Athletics’ Shams Charania.

Westbrook is easily the heavyweight in the deal, as a former MVP and nine-time All-Star who’s coming off his third career season averaging a triple-double – 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists in his only season with the Wizards.

Westbrook now goes to his fourth team in four years, and just as curious, he’s aligned with yet another superstar in an effort to develop championship chemistry. There was no payoff in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and then Paul George, or the Rockets with James Harden, and certainly not the rebuilding Wizards who had little to offer as help besides Bradley Beal.

With the exception of reaching the NBA Finals with Durant — and that happened almost 10 years ago — Westbrook has advanced as far as the conference finals just twice despite those starry tandems.

Westbrook proved last season at age 32 that he’s still a highly productive point guard who plays at a rapid pace. That aids him at reaching the rim for layups, pushing the ball upcourt on the fast break, and out-rebounding taller players even in traffic. It also results in turnovers, too, as a result of his high-risk, high-usage style.

He’ll be teammates with LeBron, a player he respects, and a player who’d be willing to adjust for someone of Westbrook’s caliber. One area where LeBron can and probably must sacrifice is ball-handling. While LeBron assumed that role since arriving in LA three years ago to great success, Westbrook is most effective with the ball. Without it, Westbrook must play off the ball, where his shooting issues become more glaring.

Also, Westbrook has never had a big man with Davis’ talent. Therefore, the change of scenery plus an uptick in the caliber of running partners should trigger something positive within Westbrook, or at least the Lakers hope.

Whether it results in another championship is anyone’s guess, though. LeBron and Davis are coming off a frustrating season because of injuries largely to blame for their first-round playoff exit. Now they’ll get a celebrated third partner who will allow them to recharge and reboot.

The reason for adding Westbrook is clear: The Lakers are doing whatever they can, within the constraints of the salary cap, to give LeBron as many swings at the championship plate as possible. With LeBron entering a 19th season, he’s running out of time to get a fifth ring. And Westbrook is running out of teams.

Source: NBA

Reflecting On L.A.’s Chinese Massacre After Atlanta Shootings

The Los Angeles of 1871 was a violent, lawless place.

Historians have described it as one of the last cities to establish civil law enforcement institutions, relying instead on vigilante justice and mob rule.

It also was a place notorious for its mistreatment and exploitation of Black, Asian, Latino and Native Californians at the hands of white settlers. But the venom against Chinese Americans was particularly poisonous, fueled by editorials in the Los Angeles News that attacked them as “barbarians taking jobs away from whites.”

“Los Angeles in 1871 was a dirty, violent city of nearly 6,000 people. Though the city had a higher homicide rate than New York or Chicago, it employed only six police officers to maintain law and order. Lynchings and mob justice were commonplace,” the Los Angeles Public Library wrote.

It was this world 150 years ago that spawned the Chinese Massacre, a bloody siege that brought shame to Los Angeles and widespread changes in the way the city operated. But it did little to alter the core racism that Asians and other groups would continue to endure.

Oct. 24, 1871

The violence of this day was on a scale that even a city known for its brutality and racial attacks had never seen. In 1999, Cecila Rasmussen of The Times provided this narrative of the chain of events:

Gunfire erupted at 4 p.m., just as former city assessor-turned-patrolman Jesus Bilderrain was polishing off a whiskey at Higby’s saloon. Most of the barroom patrons shrugged off the commotion, but Bilderrain — pistol in hand — dutifully went out the swinging doors into the street. A short distance away, he found a man named Ah Choy shot through the neck (it was later determined this shooting was related to a feud between two Chinese gangs). As Bilderrain blew his whistle to summon help, bullets struck him in the shoulder and wrist.

Running to his rescue, saloon-owner-turned-rancher Robert Thompson was killed, shot through the heart by the same unseen gunmen, who also wounded some of the bystanders.

The rioters, meanwhile, rampaged on. Some climbed to the rooftops and used pickaxes to chop holes, firing through them at the immigrants inside. Two men who ran out into the street were cut down by gunmen on the roofs.

One by one, more victims were hauled from their hiding places, kicked, beaten, stabbed, shot and tortured by their captors. Some were dragged through the streets with ropes around their necks and hanged from a wooden awning over a sidewalk, a covered wagon or the crossbeam of a corral gate. Finally, 15 corpses — including those of a 14-year-old boy and the Chinese community’s only physician, Chee Long Tong — dangled in the City of the Angels. Four others died from gunshot wounds, bringing the death toll at the hands of the mob to 19 — 10% of the city’s tiny Chinese population.

Then, every rickety shanty in Chinatown was looted. “Boys, help yourselves,” was the cry. One lynching victim’s finger was cut off for the diamond ring he wore.

The leaders of the massacre paraded through the streets, displaying their booty, to the laughter and praise of the mob. An estimated $40,000 in cash, gold and jewels was stolen.

The next day’s local newspapers called the riot a “victory of the patriots over the heathens.”

The aftermath

In the end, 19 people died in the attacks.

“Ten percent of the Chinese population had been killed. One of the Chinese caught up in the mob violence was the respected Dr. Gene Tong. In fact, of the killed, only one is thought to have participated in the original gunfight,” the library wrote in its history of the massacre.

Bringing justice for the massacre was going to be a tall order for a city with such weak government institutions and little inclination to hold those who killed accountable. As Rasmussen wrote:

During the subsequent coroner’s inquest and grand jury hearings, police and other city officials — fearful of being labeled “Chinese lovers” — shielded the guilty. “I didn’t recognize anyone” was the recurring statement.

There were no other witnesses, since discriminatory state legislation then prohibited Chinese from testifying in California courts. Still, 37 rioters were indicted, 15 tried and eight convicted of manslaughter. A little more than a year later, however, the California Supreme Court reversed the convictions on the grounds that the original indictment had failed to establish that the Chinese physician had been murdered.

An embarrassed U.S. government subsequently paid imperial China an indemnity to settle the whole affair.

The massacre was a black mark for Los Angeles, and city leaders responded by building up the Police Department and criminal justice system. Vigilante rule began to fade. But the racism endured by Chinese and other minority groups actually worsened.

“The massacre did not result in racial tolerance, in fact, anti-Chinese sentiment increased in the following years. The Anti-Coolie club was formed in 1876, counting many prominent citizens among its members, and the newspapers resumed their editorial attacks against the Chinese,” the library said in its account.

The massacre was largely forgotten for generations. But the history was revived in recent decades, in part by Chinese American activists. It was the subject of two history books: “Eternity Street” by John Mack Faragher and “The Chinatown War” by Scott Zesch.

Michael Woo, the first Chinese American councilman in Los Angeles, ended his review of “The Chinatown War” this way:

“Zesch asks whether the right lessons have been learned. He argues that the 1871 massacre may have marked the end of mob justice in Los Angeles. But Zesch attributes this milestone primarily to improved law enforcement, not to the better angels of our nature taming our impulse to scapegoat, pander and pick up a gun.”

Source: LA Times