State officials grapple with elections held during a pandemic

People wait to cast their votes in a special election to replace former Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill in Santa Clarita, California, on May 12, 2020. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Elections are about choice. At a basic level, a choice between the Democratic or Republican parties, one candidate or the other. But there are many barriers people face that add another layer of choice. Have to work on election day? It’s a choice between your income or your vote.

This year, voters face a new choice. As the Covid-19 pandemic forces social distancing, in-person voting is a health risk. The question becomes: Your vote or your life?

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I was lying in bed under the light from the bedside lamp. Eyes glued to the pages in my hands. I don’t know when I started or when I will stop, I just know that I need to know what happens next. My eyes dart from line to line as my head plays out each scene with every vivid detail written down.

“Lauren!” I hear my mother yell from the kitchen downstairs. It’s a harsh pause from the movie in my mind.

“What!” I yell back, annoyed and impatient to return to the magic. No response.

“What Moooooom!” I yell…


Hi, my name is Lauren. I am a journalist.

I have covered neighborhood oil drilling, Japanese cultural festivals, art-house film reviews and rent control policy. I aspire to write for TV shows like “Veep” or “New Girl.”

And yes, I wrote self-insert One Direction fanfiction in middle school.

Don’t roll your eyes just yet. …


INTRODUCTION

When I see my friends on a Monday morning, we usually talk about what we did over the weekend, who we saw, and what we watched. When we talk about current affairs news toff the week, the conversation usually starts with “Did you see on Twitter…?” or “Did you see that SNL sketch?” or “Did you watch John Oliver last night?” Notice none of those phrases included a traditional news media program. No one asks if I caught World News Tonight with David Muir on ABCNews. Even the audio medium is shifting. …


State officials grapple with elections held during a pandemic

Voters line up to cast their ballots at a voting precinct in South Los Angeles.
Voters line up to cast their ballots at a voting precinct in South Los Angeles.

Elections are about choice. At a basic level, a choice between the Democratic or Republican parties, one candidate or the other. But there are many barriers people face that add another layer of choice. Have to work on election day? It’s a choice between your income or your vote.

This year, voters face a new choice. As the COVID-19 pandemic forces social distancing, in-person voting is a health risk. The question becomes: Your vote or your life?

Before this pandemic interrupted life and disrupted the presidential primary, several states were already making efforts to improve voter accessibility by expanding voting…


Every level of English as a Second Language instruction is provided to adult learners at the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library. (Courtesy of Monterey Park)

In a small library study room, a group of Monterey Park residents was discussing a fender bender that struck one of their peer’s car that morning.

Nancy Cheung was walking to her parked car when a driver pulled out of the spot behind her without checking oncoming traffic. That’s when another car struck the driver, who then slammed into Cheung’s back bumper.

“Nancy did not have a good day,” said instructor Daisy Lui, who then asked another student, Tony, to recap what had just happened to Cheung.

Tony had a blank stare and an embarrassed grin buried in his hands…


President Donald Trump greets supporters as he walks on stage during a campaign rally, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

A lot of preparation goes into the long-anticipated Thanksgiving dinner. Preparing the table, preparing the food and preparing yourself mentally to deal with that certain family member with some less-than-agreeable political views.

At Thanksgiving this year, we had two rules: Don’t get seconds until your plate is clean, and don’t talk about politics.

It is a common rule that one should never engage in politics in mixed company. For me, every family holiday dinner is usually mixed company. I am the blue sheep in my Republican family. …


The Jefferson oil drill sits feet from residential homes in South LA. (Courtesy of STAND-LA).

The rain was coming down hard on the roadways. Each drop echoing in the floor-to-ceiling marble meeting room in city hall. Traffic was more of a mess than usual. Still, the rows of seats in the room were nearly filled. A little bit of precipitation couldn’t stop these folks from having their voices heard.

Rain in Los Angeles is an unusual occurrence. But so was this hearing.

Never before has an oil drill site in LA closed due to this strong of a push from a concerned and dedicated community.

Roughly four blocks from the University of Southern California campus…


Artwork form residents painted on utility boxes around South Pasadena. (Courtesy of South Pasadena Arts Council).
Artwork form residents painted on utility boxes around South Pasadena. (Courtesy of South Pasadena Arts Council).

As support for arts education across the country has declined, one school district is shifting the narrative to make art an essential part of learning.

“We focus of arts integration in schools by using arts to teach other disciplines,” said Howard Spector, CEO of The South Pasadena Arts Council “It’s helpful for students with multiple intelligence and who learn differently than just the traditional methods.”

Arts integration is learning that is active, experiential, reflective, collaborative and focused on problem-solving, according to research from the Kennedy Center.

Integration relies on a sequential curriculum of the arts that starts in elementary school…


Refuse Fascism protesters dawn signs with the group’s message, “Trump and Pence must go!” (Courtesy of Refuse Fascism).
Refuse Fascism protesters dawn signs with the group’s message, “Trump and Pence must go!” (Courtesy of Refuse Fascism).

Across Los Angeles, cries for change can be heard blasting through megaphones from the anti-Trump group Refuse Fascism vowing to protest every day until the president is removed from office.

Protests like these are not unique to Southern California. Since the election last November, the nation has seen a resurgence in political activism against President Donald Trump. Angry citizens have taken to the streets to rally against policies they believe to be unjust and dangerous to society.

But just how effective are these protests? Most large demonstrations receive media attention, but few actually affect policy.

“Protest is not enough,” said…

Lauren Giella

These are a collection of unpublished articles I wrote as a student journalists at USC from 2017 — present.

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