Hello, it’s Wednesday, Oct. 26, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Bass and Caruso on public safety and policing
Although L.A. mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso have offered different visions on crime, public safety and policing in the lead-up to election day, in some ways they are not as far apart as they appear.
Both have advocated for hiring more gang intervention workers, as well as investing in certain alternatives to policing, such as sending unarmed professionals to calls involving the mentally ill. And both called for hiring hundreds more police officers; where they diverge most sharply is on just how many the city needs.
And neither candidate has shown a willingness to “take on the LAPD,” as one antipolice activist put it.
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The LAPD has launched a criminal investigation into the leaked racist recordings
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore confirmed that his department had launched an investigation into the source of the racist audio that thrust City Hall into a harsh national spotlight. The department is doing so at the request of those at the center of the scandal including former L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilmembers Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo, Moore said.
The recordings were met with almost universal condemnation, with leaders including President Biden and Gov. Gavin Newsom calling for the resignation of the three council members. So far, only Martinez has resigned, while De León and Cedillo have resisted despite mounting pressure.
- Ashton Carter, who as Defense secretary under President Obama opened military combat jobs to women and ended a ban on transgender people serving in the military, has died at age 68.
- The search has already begun to find another charismatic, unifying leader for the left wing of the Democratic Party. Who will lead progressives after Bernie Sanders?
- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday took aim at Valero Energy Corp.’s “record profits” this year — a rise of 500% — as gasoline prices soared, escalating his battle with the powerful oil industry.
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Remote workers could be the first to go
As recession winds blow and the prospect of layoffs grows, many remote workers are beginning to worry about a potential downside to the at-home arrangement that took hold during the pandemic and has continued even as the crisis recedes.
Are those who seldom visit the office and have little direct physical contact with their supervisors more likely to be fired than those who work at desks just a few feet away? in one large-scale survey, 60% of managers said remote workers would probably be laid off first.
COVID symptoms may depend on vaccination status
Now that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is settling in for a long stay among humankind, researchers are finding that the symptoms it causes have begun to look more and more like those of the flu, colds and even allergies.
Among the vaccinated, that trend has become particularly pronounced. But even when the unvaccinated are infected, they’re often reporting a clutch of generalized symptoms that could pass for one of several other common infections, all of which are currently on the rise in the United States.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
Can saving a marsh also save this town from sea level rise?
The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the largest, most ambitious tidal wetland restoration project west of the Mississippi. This effort, taking root along a stretch of San Francisco Bay, has gone on for so long that most people today have forgotten it exists.
That’s because saving a vanishing marsh — while also figuring out what to do with a community that would drown if its existence continued to be overlooked — takes decades if not generations, costs hundreds of millions of dollars and requires the ability to think so long-term and so large-scale that every step seems unprecedented.
The project could ultimately reframe how California adapts to sea level rise. If done right, this multilayered effort to rebalance the land would pave the way for even more imaginative projects that seek to build with nature rather than against it.
L.A.’s October spooky season is back in full force
Whether it’s theme park scare-actors, cemetery aestheticians, professional ofrenda artists or part-time evil clowns, the people who breathe life into Southern California’s spooky season every year are gearing up for an October like no other now that pandemic precautions have eased.
“People are trying to make up for lost time,” said Rick West, co-founder of the Halloween and horror convention Midsummer Scream. “We’re seeing that every event, every show, everything seems to be through the roof.”
Spooky festivities have also expanded, part of what’s sometimes called “season creep.” Originally coined to describe the effects of climate change, season creep now also refers to “Santa Baby” in September and pumpkin spice on Independence Day.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
They seized vacant El Sereno homes at the start of the pandemic. What happens now? More than a dozen families who were homeless or at risk seized homes the California Department of Transportation had left empty after abandoning a freeway expansion project. The state allowed them to stay. But nearly three years later, those leases are expiring, setting up a standoff.
Anaheim’s former mayor refused to publicly disclose emails. Harry Sidhu wouldn’t disclose emails and text messages from personal accounts he used to conduct city business. The move has called into question how thoroughly a city-commissioned investigation can probe a corruption scandal tied to the aborted sale of Angel Stadium and a self-described “cabal” that allegedly steered city politics.
A 5.1 earthquake hit near San Jose, rattling the Bay Area. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake was felt as far south as Salinas and Monterey, as far east as Merced and as far north as San Rafael. The agency estimated moderate shaking and said major damage was unlikely. The temblor is a good reminder that we live in earthquake country; to prepare, sign up for our free six-week newsletter, Unshaken, for lessons on earthquake kits, evaluating quake insurance and more.
The owner of a car buried at a Bay Area mansion had reported it stolen and collected an $87,000 insurance payout. Landscapers found the car buried in the backyard of a $15-million mansion in Atherton. The district attorney described the case as having the elements of a true crime novel but with missing parts. “This book has 15 chapters in it and we’ve only got two chapters,” he told a local news outlet.
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Germany’s president visited Kyiv as Western allies mulled a rebuilding plan. In Berlin, European Union leaders brought together experts to start work on a “new Marshall Plan” for the future rebuilding of Ukraine — a reference to the U.S.-sponsored plan that helped revive Western European economies after World War II.
A Japanese Cabinet minister resigned over ties to the Unification Church. Economy Minister Daishiro Yamagiwa’s resignation is a further blow to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government, which has been rocked by his party’s close ties to the controversial South Korean-based church following the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July.
U.K.’s Rishi Sunak is the first prime minister of color in a nation grappling with inequality. Sunak is the first Hindu and the first person of South Asian descent to lead the country, which has a long history of colonialism and has often struggled to welcome immigrants from its former colonies — and continues to grapple with racism and wealth inequality.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
James Gunn and Peter Safran were named to lead DC Studios. Warner Bros. Discovery named the filmmakers as co-chairmen and chief executive officers of DC Studios, where they will oversee the creative direction of the superhero franchise productions. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has promised investors a 10-year plan modeled on Disney’s successful Marvel Studios strategy.
Matthew Perry reveals near-fatal overdoses and love faxes to Julia Roberts in his new memoir. “I was Chandler,” Perry writes in his book, out Nov. 1, explaining that both he and his most famous character used humor to compensate for their crippling fears, relationship anxieties and self-sabotaging behavior. Perry detailed decades of intractable addiction and how he finally got sober.
Leslie Jordan was best known for being himself. Some actors are admired, and many enjoyed, but Jordan, who died unexpectedly, had the rare gift of being beloved, writes television critic Robert Lloyd. No matter what part he played, he was never not to some degree himself; most every role offered a combination of Leslie Jordan and whoever else he was supposed to be.
The push for a union at Amazon’s Moreno Valley warehouse stalled. A group of Amazon workers at a fulfillment center in Moreno Valley have withdrawn a petition to hold a union election, the National Labor Relations Board confirmed. The move came after Amazon raised doubts about whether organizers had gathered enough worker signatures. Union leaders say the withdrawal is a temporary setback.
Those math and reading scores were horrible, but beware of the political spin. There’s nothing good to say about the newly released national test scores in reading and math for fourth- and eighth-graders. But there’s another danger suggested by the reactions to the NAEP scores: using the results to justify school policies that were made on ideological grounds and based on what are by any standard incomplete and confusing data.
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Naps, yoga and chargers. What UCLA and USC can learn from Hawaii’s travel experiences. The Rainbow Warriors are expert in the discipline. Flying six hours one way to play their closest conference foes every other week, Hawaii athletic programs provide a timely case study for UCLA and USC, which will be due for an upgrade to their frequent-flier status once they join the Big Ten Conference in 2024.
It’s your first World Series, Joe Davis. Be ready for the haters on social media. Davis, the voice of the Dodgers, will also be the voice of the World Series starting Friday. For the first time in 25 years of Fox broadcasts, the World Series will be called by Joe Davis, not Joe Buck. The charge of bias almost certainly will be leveled against Davis, no matter what he actually says on the air, writes The Times’ Bill Shaikin.
Rams star Aaron Donald is among the athletes cutting ties with Kanye West’s Donda Sports. Donald said he had parted ways with the marketing and content agency owned by West. West has made antisemitic comments online and in television interviews in recent weeks.
ONLY IN L.A.
Every weekend is Halloween for this horror-themed hot dog cart. If the tip jar that reads “Hope to urn your tip” and the massive torso of Frankenstein’s monster didn’t make it clear, the owners of the Frankenstand are really into Halloween. The cart has been popping up around Los Angeles since 2005, serving cheeky horror with hot dogs.
Named for Frankenstein’s monster — which subsisted on a vegan diet of berries and acorns in Mary Shelley’s novel — the all-vegan Frankenstand blares Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy from the speakers while incense wafts up around a skeleton. Specials include the Swamp Thing, a vegan “frankenfurter” drowned in owner Ray Alishan’s chili of beans, spices and soy meat, plus his house-made nacho-cheese-like sauce. If you dare, you can find it in Burbank on Saturdays or Santa Clarita on Sundays.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Seventy years ago today, on Oct. 26, 1952, Hattie McDaniel died at age 57. The Times wrote in 2000 about the “unconventional and independent” McDaniel, the first African American actress to win an Academy Award: “Though she is best remembered for her Oscar-winning and controversial part as Scarlett O’Hara’s maid in ‘Gone With the Wind,’ her finest role was as the good-humored but indomitable pioneer who opened doors for other African American artists.”
McDaniel had a quick wit, a ready smile and a generous spirit, yet she suffered not only from discrimination but also personal pain, The Times wrote.
She weathered criticism in the Black community for the comic, stereotypical roles in which she was often cast. She also gained respect for flexing her muscle in her CBS radio show late in her career; she stipulated in her contract that she would speak no dialect and would have the right to alter any script she didn’t approve of. She had 20 million nightly listeners. McDaniel also was “a pillar of strength” for Black neighbors in West Adams Heights in their fight against racially restrictive housing covenants. Angry white neighbors wanted them out. But their lawsuit set the stage for a later Supreme Court decision overturning such covenants.
Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.
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