Los Angeles County residents are reminded of several fraud schemes designed to prey on the vulnerable in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Reports of malicious websites, email schemes, and suspicious links have come to the attention of law enforcement and public officials.
“Malicious actors can prey upon those that are distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and use it to their advantage,” stated Los Angeles County Chief Information Officer William Kehoe. “The public needs to be mindful and careful, and avoid websites, phishing emails, and scams that engage people through false information about the health crisis, and steal personal user information and data. By clicking on fraudulent weblinks, hackers can deliver malware and then gain access to passwords, browsing information, credit card numbers, and other personal information. We all need to stay vigilant.”
Currently, there are several Coronavirus tracking and mapping sites that are actually malware websites. Instead of clicking on these links, cybersecurity experts advise that website users should instead hover over the link to verify the uniform resource locator (URL) before moving forward. Online hackers may also send users emails from fraudulent accounts impersonating official websites and doctors, or offering medical supplies and services.
A trusted COVID-19 mapping resource is the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Global Map, which can be found at coronavirus.jhu.edu. Additionally, there are several websites the County of Los Angeles recommends for accurate, up-to-date information on COVID-19. The following is a list of sites:
As residents in Los Angeles County practice “Safer at Home” directives, they are spending more time at home and online. Scammers are also taking advantage of this change in circumstances by reaching out door-to-door asking for donations and fundraising contributions through cash, Bitcoin, or Paypal.
The County of Los Angeles reminds residents that they are not required to open their door, and encourages everyone to not feel intimidated by a false sense of urgency to answer door-to-door solicitations.
The following is a list of safety tips the public can follow:
Everyone should remain vigilant and take these steps to avoid being victimized by malicious scammers trying to profit from the COVID-19 crisis. If you believe you have been scammed, contact your bank immediately and report the information to local law enforcement.
(Information provided courtesy of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce)
Message from President and CEO Genevieve Morrill:
As issues and concerns continue to arise, the Chamber is taking actions to minimize any threats to our members and our community.
With this in mind, we have added a page to our website with current resources for employers and employees, as well as links to various health organizations. Please click here for complete list.
We are working closely with the City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Travel + Tourism Board to monitor the situation and keep everyone up to date on the latest developments.
For more information related to disability, paid family leave, and unemployment benefits, visit Coronavirus 2019 FAQs.
To learn about employee leave options, compensation, and salary, visit the Labor Commissioner’s Office
FAQs on Coronavirus Disease.
For information about job protection and employment discrimination, visit the Department of Fair Employment and Housing website.
Consult these additional resources for up-to-date information.
Stay germ free everyone!
Genevieve Morrill + West Hollywood Chamber Board and Staff
Sunday Brunch on the Sunset Strip. It's practically a sport here in West Hollywood. I invite you to add the new brunch menu at Ardor in The West Hollywood EDITION to your list of faves. Ardor opened successfully back in November, and restaurateur and Chef John Fraser recently expanded his menu offerings with this weekend brunch menu. This hot spot is already buzzing Thursday through Sunday for dinner, drinks and the club downstairs, but the new brunch offering is still a best kept secret. But not for long.
Continuing to bring the best of California cuisine to West Hollywood, Ardor’s brunch menu features vegetable forward offerings such as cauliflower tandoor, soft scrambled tacos with sweet potatoes and whole wheat skillet pancakes (so delicious, and very Instagrammable). For the egg-lover at heart (that’s me!), the new brunch menu features eggs of all varieties, from the lobster scramble, or the forest mushroom omelet, to the classic benedict or egg sandwich. He even put his own spin on the Los Angeles favorite, chilaquiles, and added luscious crab and perfectly poached eggs to the dish.
Cloaked in lush greens, moody wood and vibrant chartreuse, Ardor at The West Hollywood EDITION transports guests from the hustle and bustle of Sunset Blvd to an enchanted plant-filled oasis. And it wouldn't be an oasis without a delicious cocktail menu now, would it?
Brunch includes popular rosé options (which are expanding as we speak ... shhhhhh!), as well as cocktails on the spectrum of colors and emphasizing mezcals and tequilas. We opted for the Magenta and the Green. I may have had more than one.
Commenting on the new weekend brunch menu at Ardor, Chef John Fraser said, "I wanted to be able to play it both ways. We’ve applied Ardor’s vegetable-forward philosophy to brunch, so there are plenty of colorful, flavorful and healthful dishes, but I also love to make brunch an occasion for casual indulgence. Our brunch cocktail line up is full of good reasons to make an afternoon out of it." Click here to see what we ordered.
Menu items range from $7 for specialty muffins, to $35 for the Greek Orata.
Ardor is perfect to take a business meeting for breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour and now brunch. The West Hollywood EDITION has space for up to 200 seated and even offers a screening room. The rooftop offers sweeping views of West Hollywood - a perfect place to close your next deal. With a location near the West end, the location is steps away from the rich music history of the Sunset Strip. For beauty and lifestyle brands looking for a beautiful venue to host your next activation, we suggest you scout this location immediately.
Weekend brunch runs from 11:00am to 3:00pm. / Reservations: +1 424 310 1572 |
See what Maxine had for brunch at Ardor here.
Maxine Tatlonghari is an award-winning entrepreneur and lung health/clean air activist. She is also a lifestyle blogger who loves to share her favorite finds with her readers. She serves as the Special Events Chair for the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and has been featured in Forbes and Huffington Post. She lives, works and plays in West Hollywood.
The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce strongly supports AB 1907 and we thank you for authoring it.
California is experiencing a housing crisis. The statewide population of people experiencing homelessness has jumped nearly 17% since 2018, leaving another 150,000 California residents homeless.
In the face of a crisis the status quo is unacceptable. Abusing CEQA to delay the construction of emergency shelters, supportive housing and affordable housing cannot be allowed to continue.
CEQA needs major reform. AB 1907 addresses one of the most pressing needs.
We stand ready to assist you in passing AB 1907.
The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce must respectfully OPPOSE SB 850 because it will eliminate flexibility in the workplace for both employers and employees, deny employees the opportunity to work additional hours if desired, limit employers’ ability to accommodate customer demands, and subject employers to unnecessary layers of penalties, investigative actions and costly litigation.
SB 850 requires employers to provide “modification pay” for changes made to an employee’s schedule with fewer than 7-days’ notice. Although SB 850 provides several exemptions as to when “modification pay” applies, employers will nevertheless be wary to make any changes to an employee’s schedule in order to avoid the potential of having to pay “modification pay.”
SB 850 applies to any restaurant, grocery store or retail store establishment, regardless of size. The scope of this bill is daunting and the likely burden it will impose is overwhelming. Even the San Francisco Ordinance that applies to larger employers, who have more sophisticated scheduling software and technology, has created significant challenges regarding advance scheduling and accommodating schedule changes. A small employer with limited resources will not be able to manage the 21-day “work schedule” that must be given to employees at least 7 days in advance of their first shift, or the nuances with regard to when “modification pay” applies.
SB 850 requires all employers who sell food or merchandise to basically provide a 28-day notice of an employee’s schedule. Specifically, SB 850 requires a 21-day work schedule that must be given to an employee no fewer than 7 days in advance before the first shift. First, this mandate fails to take into consideration the varying business models for employers who sell food or merchandise. While some may have predictability in their business cycle and, therefore, can provide such extensive notice, others simply cannot predict their staffing needs so far in advance.
For these reasons, we respectfully OPPOSE SB 850.
This is an important reminder that the City of West Hollywood's minimum wage rate is aligned with the State of California and is NOT the same as the County of Los Angeles. Effective January 1, 2020 the state minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $12 per hour from the current $11, and the state minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees will increase to $13 per hour from the current $12.
In summary, if you are a business in West Hollywood the new minimum wage rate is:
$12 per hour (25 or fewer employees)
$13 per hour (26 or more employees)
By Kelly R. Decsy, Esq.
The passing of California Proposition 64 on November 8th, 2016, marked a new era in the state’s storied history and relationship with cannabis, also known as marijuana. Capturing 57% of the vote, Prop 64 marked the first time ever that the state had successfully passed legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational consumption across California.
Less than two months later, cannabis dispensaries and storefronts soon opened up, lines of customers eager to experience history rounded city corners, and a new gold rush for cannabis products and businesses soon flourished across the Golden State.
In that time, California has reaped the benefits, bringing in an estimated $345 million dollars of revenue in 2018 alone that in turn gets pumped back into communities. These businesses have created jobs, expanded the market, and helped establish new products for consumers and hobbyists eager to expand their knowledge, understanding, and recreation with the product. The City of Los Angeles is already home nearly 200 cannabis dispensaries, a number that illustrates the popularity and demand for the recently legalized substance.
On top of that, a new wave of cannabis restaurants, bars, and clubs with marijuana infused products will soon take hold, including LA’s first cannabis cafe Lowell Farms, which just opened its doors in West Hollywood in September 2019. All in all, there’s a welcomed sense of excitement and opportunity when it comes to the cannabis industry’s growth across California and more specifically Los Angeles.
But legalizing marijuana in California comes with growing pains. Ambiguities still exist when considering cannabis laws both at a state and federal level, and many investors, professionals, or executives within the industry still face legal hiccups that hinder their ability to serve their customers.
For international investors or professionals hoping to get into the cannabis industry, doing so comes with risks that could damage your ability to live in and enter the United States.
Marijuana is still illegal in terms of federal law and is classified as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. When applying for citizenship or a green card, foreign nationals will be asked if they have "ever violated or engaged in a conspiracy to violate any law related to controlled substance?" This question alone stands between many foreign investors, workers or professionals from entering the cannabis industry while they consider their options when applying for visa, green card, or citizenship status through USCIS.
The Trump administration itself has outlined how those using or working within cannabis would conflict with “good moral character” in a guidance issued earlier this year.
“The policy guidance clarifies that an applicant who is involved in certain marijuana-related activities may lack good moral character if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity has been decriminalized under applicable state laws,”
Even traveling to the United States for cannabis business meetings, conferences, events, or tourism could create problems for you at the border. And considering that border patrol officers are now more diligent in searching social media accounts of those people entering the country, you could potentially face heartbreak when trying to come to the U.S. if there is anything marijuana related on your social accounts.
Posting any photos, videos, or content on your social media accounts showing you engaging in any marijuana activities, attending cannabis industry events, or smoking/ingesting marijuana, even in countries where cannabis is legal, could damage your chances of earning a U.S. visa or green card in the future, so be careful with what you share online.
Foreign nationals as well as current visa holders can expect to be asked by border patrol officers about previous cannabis use when entering and re-entering the United States. Keep in mind that officers are permitted to deny entry to individuals who have admitted to using cannabis or engaging in aspects of any marijuana-related offense.
Even if you are planning on moving to California or other states where marijuana is legal, it does not matter in the eyes of the federal U.S. government. Lying to border patrol officers is even worse; if you are caught engaging in fraud you could be barred from entering the United States for life.
If you work in the cannabis industry, and are considering taking your work to the United States, or employing foreign talent interested in entering the U.S. for this business, we advise to discuss your specific needs and goals with an immigration attorney. It’s never safe to act on assumption; just because a colleague, friend, or other industry professional was able to figure out their situation does not mean that your case will be the same. It’s advised not to gamble with your or your employees future given the potential consequences.
Be knowledgeable, be prepared, and always err on the side of caution.
D’Alessio Law Group is a fully integrated international law firm with lawyers located across three continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, tech leaders and entrepreneurs, innovative startups, longstanding production and talent organizations, leading universities, next-level entertainers and artists, and talented professionals across the international tech, corporate, and entertainment industries.
This article is written by Attorney Kelly R. Decsy for D’Alessio Law Group. This information does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.
About Kelly Decsy, Esq.
As the daughter of refugees who immigrated to the U.S. from Cold War Hungary, Kelly Decsy has a personal passion for helping others achieve their immigration dreams. Kelly represents clients on a full range of immigration matters, with a particular focus on employment-based visas for technology and entertainment professionals. Her practice emphasizes a personalized approach, using case strategies tailored to each client’s unique individual needs.
Kelly is proud to help foreign talent and their employers navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration, and enjoys working in a field where her professional duties can align closely with her personal background. Before joining DLG, Kelly worked as a senior trial lawyer at a fast-paced Los Angeles law firm. She received her BA from the University of California at Riverside, before earning her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School. As part of her law training, Kelly studied in the United Kingdom through the University of London’s International Entertainment Law Program. She has received numerous accolades, including both the prestigious CALI Award and Southwestern Law School’s Witkin Award for Academic Excellence.
Show Notes – Episode 1
Welcome to the inaugural podcast from the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce where we share what’s going on in the City and help you get plugged into the business community.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
WeWork Green – WeWork’s new Media & Entertainment location in the Pacific Design Center Green building. This coworking space is wired and ready for your next big creative project from soundproofed editing rooms to state-of-the-art screening rooms and media-ready spaces.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for one (1) hour FREE rental in any of their media studios by using code WHCC
Check them out online at We.co/entertainment
Nars on Melrose 8412 Melrose Avenue
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (Beverly Center) – 4 hours validated valet parking with restaurant purchase
1 Kitchen by Chris Crary @ the 1 Hotel (8490 Sunset Blvd)
Welcome to the Neighborhood:
Come Hang Out with Us:
Whisky a Go Go
CicLaVia – August 18th “Meet the Hollywoods”
The West Hollywood PickUp Trolley