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News AAND Notes: Hmm... Edition

A Trump Tower named desire; You might be a Nashvillian if...; Fighting fire on a shoestring; Trouble in East Bay

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A TRUMP TOWER NAMED DESIRE

Russian nationals Ksenia Khodukina and husband Yevgen Rizanov, both 29, got popped on July 11 on charges of “remotely running a high-end prostitution service called the ‘Russian Dolls’ from their Trump Towers III apartment in Sunny Isles Beach,” reports Miami New Times. After being busted in Florida, they were extradited to New York to face the charges, to which both are pleading not guilty.

According to prosecutors, MNT adds, from 2015-2018, the two flew women from Russia to NYC, where they kept them in Brooklyn and farmed them out for sex. In Sunny Isles Beach, which is so filled with Russian expats that it has earned the nickname “Little Moscow,” the two reportedly resided in a Trump Tower owned by Miami’s Dezer family, close personal friends of the president. Otherwise, there is nothing linking Trump with the prostitution ring. TBH, not sure if the most surprising part of the story is that Trump has friends, or that there’s a prostitution ring that he isn’t associated with.

YOU MIGHT BE A NASHVILLIAN IF…

In a stunningly hilarious cover feature called “You Are So Nashville If,” for the 30th year in a row, Nashville Scene has collected readers’ insights into local culture. Some of our favorites include, “You’re drinking the charter-school Kool-Aid, and the kids in Metro schools are drinking lead,” “You never go downtown before 10 p.m., unless it’s for the controlled demolition of a Christian bookstore headquarters,” “You valet parked at the Poor People’s March,” and “You have to use Google Translate to decipher, ‘Mas Tacos.’” And who could leave out, “You have baby-birded a beer from the carcass of fish on television,” “You think pink is a good color for your fake, racist horse,” and the winner, “Nashville is cancelled. Also, the TV show was not renewed.”

Clearly, Country Music City has an excellent sense of humor about itself.

FIGHTING FIRE ON A SHOESTRING

Monterey County Weekly reports that a local fire district is askingvoters for help funding a fourth station and some new equipment that the chief says it desperately needs to serve its 125-square-mile territory. Unless voters approve a ballot measure that will tax residential parcels $39, vacant parcels $63.75 and 10 cents per square foot of each industrial property, the district could be forced to lay off two or three of its 31 firefighters.

The trouble began when the state changed how it assessed the value of a nearby power plant, which significantly devalued it. Previously, the district was receiving roughly $1 million annually in taxes from the plant; it now receives $300,000-$400,000, which has significantly impacted its ability to maintain a district that MCW reports is “one of the busiest in the county.” If approved, the tax measure will bring a much-needed $963,000 annually.

TROUBLE IN EAST BAY

In May, then-publisher of East Bay Express Stephen Buel pulled reporter Azucena Rasilla’s coverage of a festival from the website and later called her and editor Kathleen Richards into a meeting where he accused the former of being “racist against white people” and himself used the n-word, saying, “You know, if a rapper puts it in his lyrics, it’s free game for anyone to say [the n-word].” Rasilla’s coverage had included criticism of how white the festival was, and expressions of discomfort over rich white people singing along to songs with the n-word. Rasilla subsequently resigned; later, Richards followed suit, as did a calendar writer. All are women of color.

As the news spread, on July 13, Buel, an owner of the company, issued an apology for using the slur, and for removing the content. He also pledged to do better. The following day, Buel resigned as publisher of East Bay Express and the other titles in the company. Seems Buel’s apology and promises rang hollow in many ears, including those of Rasilla, who penned her account of what had transpired on the blog of journalist Gustavo Arellano on July 16. Following Buel’s resignation, Richards decided to stay on. It is now believed likely that the entire company, Telegraph Media, will be sold.

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