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L.A. Weekly’s Slush column is an aggregated, link-filled look at L.A. news and culture — what people are talking about, balking about, posting on social media and IRL (in real L.A. life).

Burn Baby Burn

[Update 10/11:  Sadly the fires ignited just as we feared after this was posted. For the latest alerts on local fires in Sylmar and surrounding areas go to www.lafd.org/alerts  – Ed.]

It is that time of year — when everyone in the Golden State holds their collective breath, and we’re not talking about Halloween shrieks. The end of summer and the advent of Autumn brings fire weather, fierce dry winds, low humidity and far too much available fuel for the burning. Northern California has already been placed on high alert by the National Weather Service, as the aforementioned conditions are already evident there.

Though it’s cooled notably this week, warmer temps are still expected in Southern California this month, as Santa Ana winds are expected to blow through  Los Angeles County mountains off and on for the next few weeks. With the threat of fire, Pacific Gas & Electric may consider preemptive power shutoffs, in order to reduce the possibility of wildfires being started by downed utility lines. And residents of South Pasadena may see a different kind of firefighter in their midst. A herd of goats have been deployed to Moffatt Canyon, where they’ll be munching on vegetation as part of the city’s fire prevention efforts. We’ll keep you posted as this story heats up.

(Ninian Reid/Flickr)

Take Our Breath Away

Fifty years ago, Los Angeles was known for its smog as much as it was known for its stars. Gas-guzzling Detroit steel rolling along the city’s freeways (yes, traffic was bad even back then) belched so much filth into the air that the city was cloaked in a semi-permanent haze of brown, making visibility a challenge on some days. Acknowledging the problem, state officials moved to enact stricter environmental standards than ones set by the federal government. It took a decade or so, but soon the air became manageable and L.A.’s air quality ceased to be a national joke.

But the Trump administration recently moved to end California’s act of self determination by revoking a federal waiver that allowed the state to set its own environmental policy. That waiver, set in 1968, required auto makers to meet more stringent clean air standards than the rest of the country. However, 12 states and the District of Columbia joined California’s standards, which forced auto makers to adopt them industry-wide. It was cheaper to just make cars that fit California standards than build different vehicles for the other 37 states. Reportedly, the Trump Administration now wants to roll back California’s set goal of 51 mpg by 2026 to 37 mpg.

Given the president’s penchant for climate change denial, it’s one more example of his administration dismantling longstanding environmental regulations. As of this writing, 22 states and several metropolitan areas followed filed a lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. California isn’t going to take this sitting down that’s for sure. As California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement directed at soon-to-be impeached POTUS, “We’re ready to fight for a future that you seem unable to comprehend; we’ll see you in court if you stand in our way.”

“It’s a move that could have devastating consequences for our kids’ health and the air we breathe if California were to roll over,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom added. “We will fight this latest attempt and defend our clean car standards.”

Viral Bites

Mosquitoes and bites were seemingly been more plentiful in L.A. this past summer, but now it seems an even more concerning threat is bringing negative buzz: West Nile Virus. It’s been detected around L.A. before, but for the first time, it’s been found in the Los Feliz area, according to a recent reports from

Health Department officials. Samples were detected in Boyle Heights and Whittier as well.

West Nile virus is incurable and the bite from an infected mosquito can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including headache, nausea, fever, body aches, and in some cases, even death. It is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are steps that you can take to reduce the breeding environment for mosquitoes. Eliminate all areas of where standing water can gather. Change your pet’s water and birdbaths often. Make sure that swimming pools and spas are properly treated. Report neglected swimming pools to your neighborhood’s vector control district.

Credit: R4vi/Flickr

(R4vi/Flickr)

Talking Trash

We’ve all seen it, that trashed bedroom set lounging on the sidewalk, the archaic busted tube TV, the fridge resting comfortably on its back, the wet sofa sans the cushions, and my personal favorite, the mattress set that looks it was in a CSI episode. Los Angeles is being overwhelmed with trash.

A  report from the mayor’s office this past summer stated that an average of 228.2 tons of illegally dumped junk was collected during the first part of 2019. That number has tripled in August, when an astounding 2,195 tons of refuse was gathered off the streets of Los Angeles. Much of the increase can be blamed on the increase of homelessness. People are losing their apartments and just leaving their households along the sidewalk. Citizens are encouraged to visit the L.A. city website for instructions on how to safely dispose of bulky items, as well as hazardous and electronic waste. You can also call 311 to report illegal dumping.

(Lina Lecaro)

L.A. is a Good Sport

[Update 10/10: Our Dodgers’ lost. Damn! – Ed.]

It’s the happiest time of the year for L.A. area sports fans. With a total of nine professional and college teams (not including two more in O.C,) in action, it is pretty easy to get overwhelmed. The Dodgers had little competition this season, sewing up a seventh consecutive NL West crown with three weeks to spare. With a 100+ win season, a balanced and powerful offense, a shutdown pitching staff and an experienced manager in Dave Roberts,  this might finally be the year the Dodgers take the World Series after being bridesmaids the last two seasons. They are due.

Last year’s Super Bowl runner ups, the Rams have picked up where they left off, storming out to a 3-0 start. The hard luck Chargers are much better than their 1-2 record would suggest. Both teams will be playing in the state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium in Inglewood next season

Not much is expected from the USC or UCLA football squads this season. The Trojans are still a top 25 team but struggling with injuries while the Bruins are clearly having an off year.

The Lakers and Clippers both start camp with completely rebuilt and star-studded rosters. Both teams opened their checkbooks and signed big names, but for once the Clippers stole the Lakers spotlight. In landing NBA champion and superstar Kawhi Leonard along with star forward Paul George, the Clippers finally are among the elite in the NBA. The Lakers look to recover from a frustrating season, adding Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard to a roster that already has the king, Lebron James. Los Angeles is once again the epicenter of the basketball world.

The Kings look to bounce back from a disappointing year where they were clearly a team in transition. If new coach Todd McClellan can get their talented youngsters to compliment the big three of Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick, they have a shot at the playoffs.

Last but not least, Los Angeles is a soccer town. Newcomers LAFC have the best record in the MLS, and Mexican striker Carlos Vela might just set the league record for most goals in a season. Might, because across town the Galaxy have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, still one of the finest forwards in the world, also threatening to break that very record. Both teams have already clinched post-season bids.

(Public Domain/Wiki Commons)

R.I.P.

Sad farewells since the last Slush column to: ground-breaking actress Diahann Carroll (Julia, Dynasty), confetti-throwing funny man Rip Taylor ($1.98 Beauty Pageant, Jackass) and prolific drummer Ginger Baker (Cream).