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Garcetti shuts off power at Cahuenga Pass party house after COVID-19 violations

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a news conference July 27.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti authorized the disconnection of utilities at a Cahuenga Pass residence this week after officials said its owner and residents threw large parties in defiance of coronavirus-related health orders.

The move was the second time the city has shut off utility service at a reported party house and comes amid continued warnings about the dangers of attending or hosting crowded gatherings — which officials say heighten the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll on our city and country. Yet the power to stop the spread of this virus and save lives rests in our hands — by wearing masks, washing our hands, keeping our distance and avoiding large gatherings,” Garcetti said in a statement Tuesday.

“The owner and residents of this home have failed to follow our public health orders and ignored multiple warnings to stop hosting large parties. So today, the city disconnected utilities to this house.”

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Garcetti’s statement did not indicate precisely how long utilities would be disconnected at the property. The mayor’s office also declined to provide the exact address.

Garcetti announced Aug. 5 that he would authorize the city to shut off water and power services to residents who hold large parties in violation of rules meant to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Gatherings of any size are prohibited under Los Angeles County’s coronavirus health order.

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Officials said this specific house in the Cahuenga Pass hosted “a large gathering” on Aug. 24, prompting a visit from the Los Angeles Police Department. At that time, police posted warnings on the property that noted the potential consequences of violating the party prohibition — including the possibility that utilities could be shut off.

However, the house again played host to a gathering Sunday, officials said. After that, Garcetti authorized the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to disconnect utility service at the property.

This is the second house to have its utility service shut off for such violations.

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Garcetti also ordered the power cut Aug. 19 at a swanky residence on Appian Way in the Hollywood Hills that police say held parties in violation of public health orders. Social media stars Bryce Hall and Blake Gray were charged in Los Angeles last week with misdemeanors in connection with parties thrown at the rental home.

Police also left a warning notice on a Fairfax area home in the 700 block of North Gardner Street that hosted a large party Tuesday night, according to KTLA-TV Channel 5.

With bars, nightclubs and other nightlife spots closed due to the ongoing pandemic, authorities say some Angelenos have turned to private parties as a substitute. Aside from the coronavirus risks, some recent gatherings have also ended in violence — with at least four shootings reported at house parties in Los Angeles County last month alone.

The city attorney’s office has said homeowners with a history of renting to partygoers could face criminal prosecution and six months in jail.

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With the Labor Day weekend just around the corner, elected and health officials are also pleading with residents to act responsibly and avoid the kind of gatherings with friends and family they say can contribute to major spikes in coronavirus infections.

“Gatherings — parties, cook-outs and the other activities we usually do with non-household members on holidays — can easily lead to increases in transmission, hospitalizations and deaths,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement this week.

Deciding to host or attend a party, Garcetti added, “can mean the difference between life and death.”

“No matter how young you may be, your choices threaten your health. If you’re thinking about joining a party this Labor Day weekend, cancel those plans,” he said. “If you want to be able to hang out with friends in the near future, or see schools and more businesses reopen, we have to be smart, be safe and defeat this virus.”


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