Franchise Opportunities in Los Angeles, CA

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Baby Boomers and The Need for An Independent Lifestyle

Statistics show that most baby boomers have a strong desire to remain independent as they age. These hardworking Americans are turning their noses up at the idea of spending their golden years in a strange nursing home. They have an unshakeable yearning to live life at home as long as possible. This factor, combined with advances in modern medicine that are helping seniors live longer, has set the stage for more home care franchise opportunities than ever before.

Millions of Americans Need Home Care Right Now

Research by the University of Alabama shows that more than seven million people in the U.S. need some form of home care. This fact is bolstered by the rising trend of "aging in place." Seniors not only want to be self-sufficient - they wish to remain at home, where the surroundings are familiar and family is near. Always Best Care nurtures this need by providing quality in-home care that helps both the seniors in need and their families.

When you implement Always Best Care's proven business model, your senior care franchise in Los Angeles, CA will become a pillar in your community. You will be part of a highly regarded, reputable organization that others will respect. While you refine your reputation and earn respect, you'll be living an entrepreneurial lifestyle that lets you make a difference in other people's lives.

Recession Resistant, Essential, and Rewarding

Great entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for recession-resistant franchising opportunities. In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, in-home care is now an essential service -- one that will continue to be needed, regardless of the economy. No matter what hurdles we must overcome, one thing is for sure: people will always need care.

At Always Best Care, our proven franchise model enables hundreds of dedicated franchisees the opportunity to achieve financial freedom in the most uncertain times. Our award-winning training program provides franchisees with the tools to succeed and the stability they need.

Always Best Care is one of the fastest-growing senior care franchise systems because our franchisees are more than just business owners, they are compassionate professionals dedicated to helping others. Perhaps most importantly, their home care business lets them care for people in their community while building a rewarding business for themselves.

Corporate-support

Corporate Support

Our experienced corporate team works with new in-home care franchise owners to provide comprehensive training for you and your staff, marketing resources, performance metrics, turnkey operating tech, systemwide benchmarking, national accounts, and customer satisfaction support.

Local-suppor

Local Support

Your local Area Representative and our National Directors work with all new franchisees to arrange mentoring opportunities, communications and team-building strategies, and ongoing strategic planning. That way, you have a leg up in your market and access to key resources to build your confidence as you develop your business.

Assistance-with-state-licensing

Assistance with State Licensing

Your Always Best Care franchise development specialist will make sure you have contact information in your state to complete any state licensure requirements. We link you to the nation's top health care licensure consultants, thus allowing you to discover the most cost-effective and time-efficient procedures to get your license, launch your business, and begin serving your community.

Exclusive-protected-territories

Exclusive, Protected Territories

Each Always Best Care franchise territory is protected and exclusive to you using zip codes in your state.

Our powerful combination of corporate and local support paves a clear and proven path for new Always Best Care franchise owners to succeed. And with your initial training, field training, and ongoing support, you always have access to Always Best Care repesentatives as you grow your senior home care business.

Get Started on Your Journey

If you have made it this far, it's now time to learn more about Always Best Care and the enriching opportunity that lies ahead. If you are ready to turn your dreams of living an entrepreneurial lifestyle into reality, you're closer than ever before. By downloading our free E-Book , you're taking the exciting next steps towards building a home care business that makes a true difference in your community.

Learn More About this Opportunity

Latest News in Los Angeles, CA

Voracious Jumping Worms That Leap Foot Found In California

Gardeners beware: an invasive, thrashing worm that's every bit as destructive to the soil as the earthworm is helpful, is here.CALIFORNIA — Earthworms are a gardener's best friend, but an imposter and invasive species known to deplete nutrients from the soil has now been detected in 34 states including California.The jumping earthworm gobbles nutrients from the soil, leaving it barren...

Gardeners beware: an invasive, thrashing worm that's every bit as destructive to the soil as the earthworm is helpful, is here.

CALIFORNIA — Earthworms are a gardener's best friend, but an imposter and invasive species known to deplete nutrients from the soil has now been detected in 34 states including California.

The jumping earthworm gobbles nutrients from the soil, leaving it barren and unable to sustain forests. It's been newly confirmed in the Golden State, and residents are being warned to watch out for the voracious little thrashing worms. They are capable of edging earthworms out of their native habitats and doing serious damage to forest ecosystems.

These invasive Asian jumping worms — their scientific name is Amynthas agrestis — earn their nickname and their reputation. They're also called Alabama jumpers, Jersey wrigglers, wood eel, crazy worms, snake worms and crazy snake worms.

Their common names are descriptive of "the way they thrash around," USDA Forest Service soil scientist Mac Callaham said in a post last month on the agency's website. "They can flip themselves a foot off the ground."

Beneficial earthworms aerate the soil and help prep it for growth. But once jumping worms have had their way in your dirt, it will have the consistency of coffee grounds — and be about as useful for growing things as the dredges from the morning pot of joe.

An entomologist conducted DNA sequencing to confirm the first finding of a jumping worm last year in Napa County.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, "It is likely that Amynthas agrestis will be able to establish a widespread distribution through California's forest habitat and ornamental production sites, particularly in residential and commercial environments."

They could become a real problem for the Golden State.

"Amynthas agrestis poses a serious threat primarily to California's forests. However,they may also be detrimental to commercial ornamental nurseries due to the presence of the pest in field and containerized plants that may be distributed to residential and commercial gardens and parks," according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. "The worms can deplete thick layers of leaf litter that serve as rooting media thereby, disrupting the natural decomposition of leaf litter on forest floors and turning the soil into grainy, dry worm castings that cannot support understory forest plants... Once they are established, they

are impossible to eradicate.

Jumping-worm populations grow quickly through a couple of generations a season. Like other worms, they're hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs, but with a distinction: Jumping worms reproduce on their own.

Jumping worms are wreaking havoc with soil and, ultimately, the circle of life, Callaham told Sarah Farmer, a science writer for the Forest Service's Southern Research Station in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jumping worms expend a lot of energy, which they fuel by eating everything in their path. That includes leaf litter, the first layer of soil on the forest floor — home not only many unseen tiny creatures but also an important source of nutrients plants need to sprout and grow.

All earthworms feed on leaf litter, but jumping worms are "voracious," Callaham said.

"Soil is the foundation of life — and Asian jumping worms change that," the soil scientist continued. "In fact, earthworms can have such huge impacts that they're able to actually engineer the ecosystems around them."

It's a conundrum for scientists, who say they need to learn more about the ecology of jumping worms before prescribing a management plan. The intelligence on them so far by about two dozen scientists was collected last year in a research paper detailing the second wave of jumping worm infestation in North America.

"We cannot really manage them once they are here," Andrea Davalos, an assistant professor of biology at State University of New York-Cortland and one of the authors of the research paper, told Upstate New York.

"There's no appropriate method to get rid of them," said Davalos, who also is a member of New York's Jumping Worm Outreach, Research & Management collaborative.

What Davalos and others have found in New York is that while jumping worms are widespread from Long Island to Ontario, Canada, their colonies are "very patchy." A colony of up to 30 jumping worms can live in a 2.6-square-foot garden plot, but a similarly sized space nearby may have none.

Maine state horticulturalist Gary Fish told NECN, an NBC affiliate serving the Northeast, said his office has seen the number of reports of jumping worms increasing over the past five years and that their spread has been "a problem across the whole Northeast."

"Forestry-wise," he told NECN, "I would say it's disastrous."

Of particular risk, he said, are the maple trees in Vermont used to make syrup, and others used for wood products such as ash.

Similar stories emerge elsewhere across the country.

"Because of their ability to clone themselves, just one jumping worm can start a population, which makes them a different species to manage," Ryan Hueffmeier, an ecologist, environmentalist and professor in University Of Minnesota Duluth's College of Education and Human Service Professions, told KSMP, a Fox News affiliate in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

More from Los Angeles

Prepping for the Dry Days Ahead

In two weeks, new restrictions on outdoor watering will begin, but EcoTech Services Inc. is already seeing an increase in business. Malcolm McLaren, the president of the Azusa water system company, said that the boost has come from homeowners taking a more active approach to how they manage their yards and gardens.McLaren said that the next big thing to come will be homeowners changing their plant material to ones that can take the new one-day-a-week watering schedule. “We haven’t seen a lot of changes yet,” McLaren ...

In two weeks, new restrictions on outdoor watering will begin, but EcoTech Services Inc. is already seeing an increase in business. Malcolm McLaren, the president of the Azusa water system company, said that the boost has come from homeowners taking a more active approach to how they manage their yards and gardens.

McLaren said that the next big thing to come will be homeowners changing their plant material to ones that can take the new one-day-a-week watering schedule. “We haven’t seen a lot of changes yet,” McLaren said. “Some homeowners are being proactive and are doing turf removal projects to change their landscape and know this is coming.”

But once the summer months come and temperatures reach into the 90s for days in a row, cities are going to start seeing a massive die off of plants as residents are forced into the one-day watering routine. “Cities that don’t supply their own water need to be ready to figure out how they are going to support their community when they start seeing lawns go brown and plants begin to die off,” he added.

For when it comes to irrigation, ignorance is not bliss. “You cannot just rely on your gardener to be the sole person in charge of watering,” McLaren said. “You as the homeowner need to pay attention as well.” As do business owners, particularly those with a lot of landscaping.

Sarah Wiltfong, director of advocacy and policy for the Los Angeles County Business Federation, or BizFed, said businesses such as restaurants and car washes should not be impacted by the new standards. “It is my understanding that this is mostly affecting landscaping,” Wiltfong said.

“Anecdotally, I don’t think I’ve heard of any restrictions specific to carwashes or breweries,” added a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Water District, or MWD. The MWD, which acts as a wholesaler that sells to water departments and companies, is asking its member water agencies to either go to a one-day a week watering schedule or go on a “water budget” – a setting of volumetric limits on the amount of water used. The new requirements start June 1.

A MWD spokesperson said that the agencies that don’t enforce the one-day-a-week watering restrictions or those that exceed their volumetric limits would face financial penalties from the district. “It is not a per-person use,” the spokesperson said about the volumetric limits. “It is a total amount for the member agency, and they determine what they need to do to not purchase more water than that from Metropolitan.”

Businesses have a lot of questions about the MWD restrictions, particularly those in the landscaping industry who are hearing from their customers. Desiree Heimann, vice president of marketing at Armstrong Garden Centers in Glendora, said that businesses see the new restrictions as an opportunity for locals to water more wisely.

“What we find is that most people overwater their gardens and using some really good watering practices will actually reduce their water consumption while being able to maintain a healthy and beautiful garden,” Heimann said. Armstrong recommends that customers water between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to make sure there is no evaporation, and to ensure that the water really penetrates the roots of the plants, Heimann added. Gothic Landscape Inc. in Santa Clarita also is taking more than a few questions from its customers that include developers, facilities managers, homeowner association managers and university officials.

Nada Duna, chief operating officer at the landscape company, said that in Southern California there is a lot of concern over fire hazards as well as questions about how the watering restrictions will impact construction. “Will there be requirements to do less installation of plants or limit the amount of construction? Duna asked. “We do not know the answers to those right now.”

But one thing that its clients can expect is a rise in the water rates, she said. “People should expect water costs to go up, even if they use less water,” Duna noted. Craig Kessler, director of public affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, a Studio City advocacy group for golf courses, said that that its members are not in a panic mode over the new regulations.

The good news is that the golf industry started a quarter of a century ago to reduce its water footprint, Kessler said. “The bad news is we have to do it faster and better in order to remain a viable industry in California,” he added. As a large landscape area – defined in state and local laws as parks, sports fields, cemeteries and golf courses – the courses can avail themselves of a program under the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power that allows them to keep 100 percent control over their irrigation practices, Kessler continued.

“In other words, they can irrigate three days in a row or different days or different times,” he said. “However, they must do so at a percentage savings from a budget that is assigned them by the Department of Water and Power based on a maximum allowable water allocation formula that is embedded in California code.”

The golf industry has invested in expensive irrigation equipment while at the same time has moved to planting one-season grasses and removed a lot of turf and has plans to remove more turf, Kessler continued. “(It has) done anything and everything to reduce the water footprint,” he added.

The city’s DWP announced May 10 that it would go with the water budget option and would allow watering twice a week. “In selecting the option offered by MWD to go on a water budget, we believe we can manage our system to meet the limitations in water delivery by MWD by going to two-days-a-week watering, while giving customers recognition for the significant conservation efforts they have already made for over a decade,” LADWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Martin Adams said in a statement.

The restrictions, unanimously adopted by the MWD’s board during a special meeting on April 26, apply to dozens of cities and communities in Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties, according to a release from the district. The new limits apply only to areas served by agencies that get most of their water from the State Water Project in Northern California. “With deliveries from the State Water Project severely reduced over the last three years because of drought, these communities face water shortages this year,” the district’s release said.

The Los Angeles City Council still needs to approve the DWP’s move into phase 3 of its water restrictions, which would start on June 1. For all DWP customers with street addresses ending in odd numbers, watering will be limited to Mondays and Fridays. For all customers with addresses ending in even numbers, watering will be limited to Thursdays and Sundays, according to a release from the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The changes come on top of existing watering restrictions, which stipulate that customers watering with sprinklers are limited to eight minutes per use; watering with sprinklers using water conserving nozzles is limited to 15 minutes; and watering between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. is prohibited, regardless of the watering day, the mayor’s release said. BizFed understands the reasons behind the new restrictions yet supports the acceleration of other water projects, Wiltfong said.

The organization is highly supportive of the Cadiz Inc. water project in the planning stages for 15 years that would use water beneath the Mojave Desert; of the Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant being built by Poseidon Water in Carlsbad; and the MWD’s recycled water program, she said.

“We are trying to find new innovative ways to bring water into the area so that we are not so dependent on the State Water Project,” Wiltfong added. “So that when issues like this come up, we are not nearly as impacted, and our businesses are not nearly as impacted as they are going to be currently.”

Death Cab For Cutie Reveal Tour Dates with Los Angeles Date at Greek Theatre, Anaheim Date at House of Blues

Death Cab For Cutie have announced ...

Death Cab For Cutie have announced tour dates with a Los Angeles concert at The Greek Theatre on October, 21. Additional Death Cab For Cutie tour dates include nearby shows at the House of Blues Anaheim in Anaheim (Oct. 18), Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara (Oct. 19), Venue TBA in San Diego (Oct. 22), Fox Theater in Oakland (Oct. 23 & 24) and many more tour dates. See the full list of Death Cab For Cutie tour dates below. Supporting Death Cab For Cutie on select dates of their tour run will be iluminati hotties, Low, and Yo La Tengo.

Tickets to Death Cab For Cutie at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles will go on sale to the general public on Friday, May 20 at 10am. Tickets are priced from $24.50 – $119.50. There is a fan presale happening on Monday, May 16 at 10am. Fans can access Death Cab For Cutie presale for their Los Angeles concert at the Greek Theatre by using the following ticket link and password: ROMANCANDLES.

There will be a second venue presale for their Greek Theatre show on Thursday, May 19 at 10 am. Use the following ticket link and presale code: GREEK2022. Fans can also jump on the Live Nation presale for their House of Blues Anaheim show by using the following ticket link and password: FINALE.

Eight-time GRAMMY® nominees Death Cab for Cutie have released the first single from their forthcoming tenth studio album Asphalt Meadows, out Sept. 16 via Atlantic Records. The band’s new single “Roman Candles” is out now and can be streamed on all streaming platforms. Watch the official lyric video below designed by Juliet Bryant (Justin Vernon, Japanese Breakfast, Laura Jane Grace).

Here’s what Death Cab had to say about song inspiration:

“Roman Candles’ is about the crippling, existential dread that goes hand in hand with living in a nervous city on a dying planet. And that the only way to be in the moment is to let it all go.”

* Festival Performance† w/Special Guests illuminati hotties^ w/Special Guests Low# w/ Special Guests Yo La Tengo

SEPTEMBER22 – Madison, WI – The Sylvee ^23 – Minneapolis, MN – Surly Brewing Festival Field24 – Chicago, IL – The Salt Shed26 – Columbus, OH – KEMBA Live! ^27 – Washington, DC – The Anthem ^29 – Philadelphia, PA – The Met ^30 – New York, NY – Forest Hills Stadium ^OCTOBER1 – Boston, MA – Leader Bank Pavilion ^3 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater ^4 – Atlanta, GA – Coca-Cola Roxy ^6 – Richmond, VA – Virginia Credit Union LIVE! ^7 – Asheville, NC – Rabbit Rabbit ^8 – Charleston, SC – Firefly Distillery ^10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE ^11 – Detroit, MI – The Masonic ^13 – St. Louis, MO – The Factory ^

14 – Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland ^15 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom17 – Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren18 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues Anaheim #19 – Santa Barbara, CA – Santa Barbara Bowl #21 – Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre #22 – San Diego, CA – Venue TBA #23 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater #24 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater #26 – Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre27 – Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre

Letters to the Editor: Poseidon was rejected, but California still needs desalination

To the editor: While Orange County might not need the water from Poseidon’s desalination plant now, most of the arguments against it were spurious. (“California Coastal Commission rejects plan for Poseidon desalination plant,” May 12)There is no way to predict how long this drought will last nor how intense it will become. A desalination plant can be used both to convert seawater int...

To the editor: While Orange County might not need the water from Poseidon’s desalination plant now, most of the arguments against it were spurious. (“California Coastal Commission rejects plan for Poseidon desalination plant,” May 12)

There is no way to predict how long this drought will last nor how intense it will become. A desalination plant can be used both to convert seawater into potable water and to recycle waste water.

The figures I’ve read indicate desalinated water will cost the average household an extra $6 per month. That’s less than the cost of a bottle of water a week. Thirsty people will be willing to spend more than that.

Israel desalinates water with minimal environmental impact. We can do the same.

Ian Halsema, Los Angeles

..

To the editor: The decision by the California Coastal Commission to reject Poseidon Water’s proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach was not only a victory for protecting our coastal environment, it was also a triumph over the practice of partisan arm-twisting and incessant big-money lobbying.

Many public officials who sold out to this practice should be ashamed of themselves for putting politics and profits over people. The coastal commissioners should be applauded for resisting political pressure and calling it as they saw it.

Tim Geddes, Huntington Beach

..

To the editor: So the California Coastal Commission denied approval to the Poseidon Water desalination plant in part because of fears that it would be a boondoggle. OK, then let’s look at another project: California’s high-speed rail system.

In its 14th year of development, the bullet train is massively over budget and shamefully behind schedule. When completed, the first section will allow a high speed rail option for the hordes wishing to travel between Bakersfield and ... Merced? Talk about a boondoggle.

How may desalination plants can be built with the money wasted on this useless project? How many reservoirs?

If Gov. Gavin Newsom believes water supply and desalination are so critical (as do I), perhaps he should demonstrate tactical leadership by abandoning the Central Valley boondoggle and focusing those resources on creating a robust water management system for the state.

Jerrold Coleman, Santa Clarita

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To the editor: Seeing as California is now under an extreme drought yet again, I want to bring to people’s attention an idea from experts at UC Santa Cruz, who in 2021 published a study showing the benefits of covering California’s nearly 4,000 miles of water canals with solar panels.

This would not only provide more sustainable, green energy, it would also reduce evaporation to ensure a larger water supply.

I urge Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state leaders to give this a look. I believe that we will eventually land on a solution, but if we start now we can mitigate the fallout from drastic climate change.

Reagan Wallace, Los Angeles

Letters to the Editor: Critics of the new math curriculum framework, you have any better ideas?

To the editor: I admire the devotion shown by UC Berkeley professors Jennifer Chayes and Tsu-Jae King Liu to improving K-12 math education. But their op-ed article criticizing the proposed state framework omits key information that explains why their “better solution” will fail: It describes what California has been attempting for the last 30 years. (“California’s math educa...

To the editor: I admire the devotion shown by UC Berkeley professors Jennifer Chayes and Tsu-Jae King Liu to improving K-12 math education. But their op-ed article criticizing the proposed state framework omits key information that explains why their “better solution” will fail: It describes what California has been attempting for the last 30 years. (“California’s math education needs an update, but not the one proposed,” Opinion, May 12)

Only 18% of students who take Algebra I ultimately take an advanced math course beyond Algebra II, per the Public Policy Institute of California. The proposed framework, while not perfect, acknowledges the need for pathways that allow the remaining 82% to develop their mathematical reasoning in rigorous courses that provide an onramp to higher education.

Robert Gould, Los Angeles

The writer is vice chair of the Department of Statistics and director of the Center for Teaching Statistics at UCLA.

..

To the editor: As someone whose expertise is in learning, I want to commend Chayes and Liu for making excellent points that often get lost in the shuffle when discussing how to effectively teach math.

First, a strong foundation in math is essential for success in higher-level courses. Second, “fundamental math skills build on one another.” Finally, mastery should be the goal in all classes. Thus, mastering each of the small steps that build on one another will build a strong mathematical foundation.

One last point, which is integral to achieving success in math, is to adopt evidence-based curriculums that break math skills into their component steps and ensure students master each step before moving on to the next one, even if they do so at different speeds.

Teachers also need to adopt the philosophy that all students can master the material, given the right teaching

Henry D. Schlinger Jr., Glendale

The writer is a psychology professor at Cal State Los Angeles.

..

To the editor: The authors say virtually nothing about what should be done in lieu of adopting the proposed framework.

There are aspects of math teaching in California now that are appalling, such as Algebra II, which includes useless, difficult and confusing topics and needs to be dumped entirely. More basic algebra is vital to progress in math and science, despite what some complainers say.

Geometry is sneered at despite the fact that it is a useful introduction to logic and rational thought, and can appeal to students with an antipathy to numbers.

It is not hard to construct math courses that are comprehensible, make sense and cover the necessary ground. It is essential that they be presented with enthusiasm.

Rory Johnston, Hollywood

The writer headed a math department at a preparatory school in London.

California pauses plans to require COVID-19 vaccinations for schoolchildren

SACRAMENTO —California will not require schoolchildren to be immunized for COVID-19 after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that he is pausing a state mandate set to go into effect before the upcoming academic year while an influential Democratic lawmaker said he will drop his bill pushing even stricter inoculation rules.Newsom made headlines in October when he announced California would be the first state to mandate the vaccine in schools once shots were fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for chil...

SACRAMENTO —

California will not require schoolchildren to be immunized for COVID-19 after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that he is pausing a state mandate set to go into effect before the upcoming academic year while an influential Democratic lawmaker said he will drop his bill pushing even stricter inoculation rules.

Newsom made headlines in October when he announced California would be the first state to mandate the vaccine in schools once shots were fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for children ages 12 and older, with the requirement going into effect by July 1. On Thursday, the California Department of Public Health announced that the timeline will be pushed back to at least July 1, 2023, since the FDA has not yet fully approved the vaccine for children and the state will need time afterward to initiate its rule-making process.

Newsom’s office said that after the FDA approves the vaccine for children 12 and older, state public health officials will consider recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other groups “prior to implementing a school vaccine requirement.”

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is fully approved for ages 16 and older, and there is only an emergency authorization in place for ages 5 to 15, which is a lesser standard than full approval.

“CDPH strongly encourages all eligible Californians, including children, to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” California Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón said in a statement. “We continue to ensure that our response to the COVID-19 pandemic is driven by the best science and data available.”

Newsom’s mandate is limited to grades seven through 12 and allows parents to opt out because of personal beliefs. The state is required to offer broader personal belief exemptions for any newly required vaccine unless it is added through a new law to the list of shots students must receive to attend California schools.

Newsom’s announcement came hours after state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said he will pull from consideration Senate Bill 871, which would have added COVID-19 vaccines to California’s list of required inoculations for attending K-12 schools, prerequisites that can be skipped only if a student receives a rare medical exemption from a doctor.

Pan introduced SB 871 in January, saying it would ensure schools can stay open while offering backup to districts such as Los Angeles Unified that have struggled with their own mandates. He said the state needs to focus on increasing access to COVID-19 vaccines and ensuring families have accurate information about the benefits of inoculation.

“Until children’s access to COVID vaccination is greatly improved, I believe that a statewide policy to require COVID vaccination in schools is not the immediate priority, although it is an appropriate safety policy for many school districts in communities with good vaccine access,” Pan said.

The bill, however, faced familiar backlash from anti-vaccine activists and parents who said the state should not make medical decisions for their children.

“This is a major victory for students and parents across California who made their voices heard,” said Assemblymember Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin), a vaccine mandate critic.

In December, the L.A. Unified school board voted to push back enforcing its mandate from January to this fall, citing concerns over disrupting learning for students. At the time, the district would have had to transfer thousands of unvaccinated students into its online independent study program, which was already struggling.

The district’s mandate will require students 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of the fall semester, unless they have an approved medical exemption or receive a rare extension. In delaying the directive, the district said 87% of eligible students had shown proof of vaccination, obtained a medical exemption or received an extension.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for L.A. Unified, after being asked about Pan scrapping the legislation and the state’s vaccine mandate postponement, said the district “will continue to review, assess and consult with our medical experts as we remain guided by the prevailing science and updated policies from local, state and federal health authorities.”

Pan’s decision to pull his bill marked the second time in recent weeks that a vaccine bill was held. Last month, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) said she would suspend action on Assembly Bill 1993, which would have required employees and independent contractors, in both public and private workplaces, to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment unless they have an exemption based on a medical condition, disability or religious beliefs. Wicks cited improved pandemic conditions and opposition from public safety unions.

The two bills were part of a larger package of legislation introduced by Democratic lawmakers who formed a vaccine working group earlier this year. The bills that remain active include Senate Bill 866 by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which would allow children 12 and up to be vaccinated without parental consent and Assembly Bill 1797 by Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego), which would allow California school officials to more easily check student vaccine records by expanding access to a statewide immunization database.

Also moving forward is Assembly Bill 2098 by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), which would make it easier for the Medical Board of California to discipline doctors who promote COVID-19 misinformation by classifying it as unprofessional conduct.

“I and my colleagues in the Vaccine Work Group will continue to advance policies to protect Californians from preventable COVID disease,” Pan said.

Snapchat co-founder pays off college debt of new graduates at L.A. art and design school

Yaritza Velazquez-Medina took a chance on a major career turn when she decided to drop her work as a crisis counselor in 2018 to pursue her artistic passions. She enrolled at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles to become a graphic designer — even though she racked up about $70,000 in college debt to do so.But after she crossed the stage Sunday to receive her diploma at commencement ceremonies, she and 284 other graduates in the Class of 2022 received stunning news: Their college debt would be completely paid off throug...

Yaritza Velazquez-Medina took a chance on a major career turn when she decided to drop her work as a crisis counselor in 2018 to pursue her artistic passions. She enrolled at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles to become a graphic designer — even though she racked up about $70,000 in college debt to do so.

But after she crossed the stage Sunday to receive her diploma at commencement ceremonies, she and 284 other graduates in the Class of 2022 received stunning news: Their college debt would be completely paid off through the largest donation in the school’s century-old history by Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel and his wife, Miranda Kerr, who is founder of the beauty company Kora.

Charles Hirschhorn, Otis president, made the announcement during the commencement ceremony at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel, drawing gasps and cheers from the audience. Some graduates hugged, cried and jumped for joy.

“I’m speechless,” Velazquez-Medina said, tears streaming from her eyes.

Spiegel — whose creation of the popular instant messaging app with two former Stanford University classmates made him the world’s youngest billionaire in 2015 — took summer classes at Otis during high school.

“It changed my life and made me feel at home,” Spiegel told the graduating class. “I felt pushed and challenged to grow surrounded by super talented artists and designers, and we were all in it together.”

Spiegel and Kerr are founders of the Spiegel Family Fund. They said in a statement that the college is “an extraordinary institution that encourages young creatives to find their artistic voices and thrive in a variety of industries and careers.

“It is a privilege for our family to give back and support the Class of 2022, and we hope this gift will empower graduates to pursue their passions, contribute to the world, and inspire humanity for years to come.”

The donation comes as student loan debt has soared in the last few decades, driven by rising college costs and less public funding to cover them. More than 43 million Americans owe the federal government $1.6 trillion — an average $37,000 per person — making up the biggest share of consumer debt in the U.S. after mortgages.

In California alone, 3.8 million residents owe $141.8 billion, the largest share of any state. Those struggling most with crushing debt are disproportionately students who are low-income, underrepresented minorities and the first in their families to attend college.

The financial burden is harming mental health, delaying marriages, preventing home ownership and discouraging new businesses, researchers have found. The widespread effects are intensifying pressure on the Biden administration to craft a student debt relief plan; one proposal under consideration is federal forgiveness of at least $10,000 in debt for people making less than $125,000 a year.

The crisis has also prompted some donors to pay off student loan debt. In 2019, billionaire Robert Smith made national headlines when he announced he would cover the loan debt of the entire graduating class at Morehouse College by donating $34 million to the historically Black men’s school in Atlanta.

Hirschhorn did not disclose the size of the Spiegel family gift but said it surpassed the college’s previous largest gift of $10 million. Spiegel and Kerr offered their historic donation after Hirschhorn told them the college wanted to award the couple honorary degrees and invited them as commencement speakers this year. The couple was not available for an interview.

“My reaction was euphoria,” Hirschhorn said. “Student debt weighs heavily on our diverse and talented graduates. We hope this donation will provide much-deserved relief and empower them to pursue their aspirations and careers, pay this generosity forward, and become the next leaders of our community.”

The private nonprofit college, established in 1918 as the first professional arts school in Los Angeles, educates about 1,200 students — 77% identifying as non-white and 30% as the first in their family to attend college. The diversity enriches the school’s creative output, with student designs featuring Black, Japanese, Persian, Mexican American and other cultural inspirations.

Annual tuition is $49,110 for 2022-23, and 92% of students receive financial aid. The median total federal debt after graduation is $27,000, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Hirschhorn said 90% of graduates find jobs in their field of study within six months of graduation and earn an average entry-level pay of about $50,000. The college offers programs in communication arts, digital media, environmental design, fashion design, fine arts, product design and toy design. According to its annual report on California’s creative economy, the sectors directly employed nearly 1.4 million people and produced $687 billion in gross regional product in 2020, nearly a quarter of the state’s output.

Graduate Farhan Fallahifiroozi couldn’t believe the news Sunday that his student debt was paid for.

“All of it, really?” he asked, still trying to absorb the shock.

Fallahifiroozi emigrated with his family from Iran in 2015 to find better opportunities he said were unavailable to them as members of the minority Baha’i faith. They landed in Texas, where he found a passion in fashion design in high school and took on more than $60,000 in student loan debt to finance his four-year degree program at Otis.

The family flew in for his graduation. “My mom was crying,” he said. “They were so worried about it for me.”

“I had so much debt. If it’s really all gone, it puts me so much ahead.”

Even without the gift he said the investment was worth it. He found rigorous academic programs, caring mentors and industry connections — interning at Abercrombie and Fitch, for instance, and working on school projects with mentor Trish Summerville, the costume designer known for her Hollywood work on “Mank,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” He has accepted a job offer in his top field of interest, bridal design.

For Velazquez-Medina, the Spiegel family donation is a lifesaver. Her $70,000 student loan debt is not something her working-class parents, who emigrated from Mexico, could help pay off, but she regarded it as a worthwhile investment in herself and her passion to give creative voice to marginalized communities through design. Her school projects include a visual book on Spanglish and creative females. She has lined up a paid internship with the Libertine fashion brand in Hollywood.

“I am so grateful and so happy,” she said of the gift. She and her friends have been talking about what the future holds.

“For a lot of us, because of the pandemic, it’s hard to find a job,” she said. “It’s such a relief. It’s a weight off your shoulders.”

Hope Mackey, who grew up in Las Vegas, always loved art — “I was that person who doodled in notebooks during math class,” they said. Mackey fell in love with Otis after visiting the school’s toy design floor during a California college tour but was nervous about the financial prospects of a career in the field, especially with the five-figure student loan debt needed to get through the program.

“I immediately burst into tears,” Mackey said upon hearing the news on Sunday. “It’s insane. I can’t believe this is actually happening.”

Now unburdened of student debt, Mackey is excited to start a job with Mattel Inc. The graduate, who identifies as queer/trans, will be working in the Barbie family division and dreams of developing nonbinary dolls.

“I want every kid to feel represented,” Mackey said.

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