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Councilman Huizar faces harassment charge; 3 firefighters injured in Boyle Heights fire; Chandelier Tree unplugged

Sep 23, 2018

EDITED by BARRY LANK

A recap of some of the past week’s scenes, sightings and stories from across the Eastside.

A well-known off-road motorcycle racer shot himself to death in front of the LAPD Rampart police station. Retired racer Tyler “One Punch” Evans had followed his girlfriend to the station, and was outside while she told officers that Evans had a firearm. She had also filed a domestic violence report against him a week earlier. As officers then approached him, Evans refused to comply with their orders, and shot himself, police said. Evans was regarded as a large and colorful personality in the sport of Supercross, in which off-road motorcycles race on an artificial, man-made dirt track consisting of steep jumps and obstacles. The Eastsider and Racer X

Termed-out Eastside Councilman Jose Huizar is facing charges of harassment, discrimination and retaliation. A special committee was ordered to convene after the allegations were made on the city’s new complaint website on Sept. 13 – the same day Huizar’s wife, Richelle, announced she will run for his seat. Huizar said, “I take great pains to ensure that my staff and I conduct city business in a professional environment and treat all employees and visitors with the upmost dignity and respect.” Five years ago Huizar’s former deputy chief of staff and once mistress accused him of sexual harassment But an investigatory panel formed by Council President Herb Wesson, a Huizar ally, found the claims unsubstantiated. Los Angeles Times

One firefighter was left in critical condition and two others sustained lesser injuries when a portion of the roof they were on gave way during a major fire in a Boyle Heights commercial building. The firefighter in critical condition partially fell through the roof while battling the blaze, but was assisted by the two other firefighters as he tried to lift himself up. He sustained the most serious burn injuries of the three. The injuries of all three firefighters were described as non-life threatening. It took fire crews about two hours to knockdown the blaze on the 2800 block of E. Pico Boulevard. The Eastsider

Is the bizarre contest between Katy Perry and the nuns finally over? Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick said she won’t hold another hearing to consider a new trial in a real estate battle that pitted pop star Katy Perry and the Catholic church against some nuns and an Eastside restauranter who backed them. Silver Lake businesswoman Dana Hollister purchased the former Los Feliz convent from two nuns who had lived there and hoped to create a boutique hotel on the 8-acre site. The sisters had argued they had could sell the property, but the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which sold it to Perry, disagreed and filed suit. In the end, Hollister, who owns Cliff’s Edge restaurant and the Paramour Estate, lost the fight late last year and later filed for bankruptcy protection after being ordered to pay $15 million in damages. (During the legal battle, one of the nuns died inside the court). Los Feliz Ledger

One suspect was killed and two sheriff’s deputies were wounded during a deputy-involved shooting at Salazar Park in East L.A. Another suspect was wounded, and one of the four suspects remains at large. The two deputies who were shot, described as men in their 30s, remain in serious but stable condition. The Eastsider

A mountain of flowers outside Barlow Respiratory Hospital next to Elysian Park hints at the love story unfolding inside, where Stacy Title is battling ALS, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Title can no longer walk, talk or eat on her own. She and her husband, Jonathan Penner, celebrated their 27th anniversary in her hospital room, and his dream was to fill her room with flowers. But because the Echo Park facility is a respiratory hospital, pollen-laden flowers aren’t allowed. So he began to put the blooms outside her window. So did her friends until her view became a colorful wall of flowers from yellow daisies to pink lilies. “She is thrilled to see the outpouring of love,” he said. CBS L.A.

A fire that sent a huge plume of smoke over Glassell Park caused an estimated $1 million in damage at a party rental business. The fire ripped through a two-story building occupied by Palace Party Rental. And now, the locale isn’t taking new orders. Los Angeles Fire Department called it a total loss. KNX 1070 reporter Claudia Peschiutta

More details about possibly letting homeless people live in their cars overnight in Echo Park’s Edendale library parking lot. Safe Parking LA, the likely vendor, operates other “safe parking” lots that include these elements: Lots are open for safe parking starting one or two hours after the library closes and ending one or two hours before it opens; lots have an unarmed security guard present as well as access to a maintained, cleaned restroom; lots are open only to qualifying applicants (designated by a parking permit), and are free to park in and operate on a first-come, first-served basis. The Eastsider

Will USC and local government’s well-intentioned efforts price Eastsiders out of their home? A joint city and county effort to grow a bioscience industry hub along a thoroughfare through Lincoln Heights, El Sereno and City Terrace is getting pushback from community activists who worry about displacement. The university says the move would bring jobs. Neighbors worry the jobs will go to others, while housing costs in the neighborhood will shoot up. Boyle Heights Beat

Other protests in Boyle Heights are citing eviction proceedings against longtime resident Teresa Alfaro. Housing activist marched the streets using Alfaro’s case as a rallying cry over the steep rise in rents and gentrification in the Downtown-adjacent neighborhood. KABC

Investigative reporter and Echo Park resident Charles Rappleye, 62, died after a six-year battle with cancer. A dogged reporter who illuminated overlooked corners of Los Angeles history, Rappleye had a long stint at the L.A. Weekly in its investigatory heyday and more recently turned to chronicling historic figures. Los Angeles Times

Scene of the Week

Dripping with crystal lamps and other light fixtures, The Chandelier Tree in Silver Lake has been turned off, after complaints from some residents about the lights, potential risk and the evening crowds that gather by the tree. The tree is in the public right of way. So Councilman David Ryu’s office said it is working with Tenenbaum to obtain to complete the paperwork necessary to keep the tree illuminated. The Eastsider

In the meantime, others are copying the Chandelier Tree concept down in Orange County. Rancho Mission Viejo unveiled three oak trees, strung with a total of 56 chandeliers, inside its Esencia village. L.A. Times

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