By Amy Hubbard and Jason Sanchez
Hello, it’s Friday, Oct. 7, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Biden pardoned thousands for simple marijuana possession
President Biden pardoned all individuals convicted on federal charges of simple marijuana possession, a move the White House estimated would affect more than 6,500 people nationwide. The president urged all governors to follow his example, and called for a formal review of marijuana’s classification in federal law as a Schedule I drug — the same classification as heroin and LSD, and a stricter classification than fentanyl.
A change to the legal classification of marijuana, although not certain, would be a significant reform, clearing the way for major changes to the federal government’s approach to the drug.
- The U.S. has pledged $240 million to address migration in Latin American countries.
- Is it time for Pelosi to go? San Francisco voters say yes — and no, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak.
- Rep. Karen Bass and businessman Rick Caruso sparred over USC, Scientology, policing and housing in their second one-on-one L.A. mayoral debate.
- Also: Jeffrey Katzenberg donated $1 million to support Karen Bass’ bid for L.A. mayor.
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More water restrictions are likely as California pledges to cut its Colorado River use
With the Colorado River in crisis and reservoir levels continuing to decline, some California water agencies are planning to significantly reduce the amount they take from the river starting next year.
With the agencies under pressure to shoulder substantial cutbacks, four water districts and the state’s Colorado River Board said in a letter to the federal government they were proposing to reduce water use by as much as 9% of the state’s total water allotment from the river for the next four years.
Officials with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said they planned to endorse mandatory conservation measures to begin rationing water for cities and local agencies that supply 19 million people across six counties.
California taxpayers are set to get refunds starting today
The Golden State will begin sending tax refunds to about 23 million Californians to help them navigate rising costs due to inflation. California will spend $9.5 billion as part of the “Middle Class Tax Refund Estimator” program, with one-time payments ranging from $400 to $1,050 for couples who filed jointly on their 2020 state income tax return and $400 to $700 for those who filed independently.
A high school ended its football season after a racist online chat
Just moments before the match between Amador High, a mostly white school in the foothills southeast of Sacramento, and Rosemont High, a largely Black and Latino school tucked into the city’s industrial eastern fringe, Amador officials abruptly called it off. As shaken parents and kids made their way home, rumors swept both communities that an ugly act of racism had triggered the extraordinary action
That aborted game on Sept. 16 marked the sudden end of the Amador High football season — a shocker in a community where high school football games are the social event of the week. In the following days, the district’s superintendent announced she’d placed three staff members on leave and alerted law enforcement of allegations from a “disturbing” chat thread involving a majority of the football team. She noted officials were “very limited” in what could be shared. Many in the community said the chat was titled: “Kill the Blacks.”
The majority of the state’s voters favor a gasoline-car phaseout
In August, California regulators issued a mandate both dramatic and historic: Ban the sale of most new gasoline-powered cars and light trucks by 2035, in favor of electric vehicles. So far, a majority of state voters back the move, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. Fifty-five percent of registered voters favor the mandate and 39% oppose it.
On electric vehicles more than on most issues, however, even a minority in opposition could seriously hold back the policy’s success because voters are also consumers who will be buying cars and trucks over the next decade.
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MPX cases have fallen dramatically in L.A. County. New weekly MPX cases in the county are now one-sixth of what they were at the peak, thanks to vaccinations and suspected long-lasting immunity for survivors.
Gas prices saw a slight drop. How long will it last? In L.A., the average price for regular was $6.491 a gallon Thursday, down from $6.494 the day before, according to AAA. San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties — which all set new records this week — also saw minor drops Thursday. But Wednesday’s announcement by OPEC+, a coalition of two dozen oil-producing countries, to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day has the potential to affect California prices, officials said.
For a historic Black community, the Crenshaw/LAX Line is “a blessing and a curse.” The K Line is already bringing new money to the cultural hub of L.A.'s Black community. But many fear high prices will push residents out.
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Two people were killed and six injured in “unprovoked” stabbings in front of Las Vegas’ Wynn casino. The stabbing with multiple victims was reported around 11:30 a.m. Thursday and occurred in front of the casino on the Las Vegas Strip, police said. A suspect was taken into custody, authorities said.
The U.S. announced it would screen travelers coming from Uganda for Ebola. Travelers who have been in Uganda at any point during the last 21 days, the incubation period for the virus, are being redirected to one of five U.S. airports for Ebola screening. There have been no Ebola cases from the outbreak reported outside Uganda, and the risk in the U.S. is considered low.
A federal judge has halted key parts of New York’s new gun law. In a ruling that doesn’t take effect immediately, U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby found multiple provisions in a state law passed this year to be unconstitutional. The judge wrote that the state’s new licensing rules went too far, including one that required applicants to be of “good moral character,” and another that made applicants turn over information about their social media accounts.
Two Russians sought asylum in U.S. after reaching a remote Alaska island. The pair said they fled the country to avoid compulsory military service. They requested asylum in the U.S. after landing in a small boat on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office said.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
The battle of the divas. Hovering over the 65th Grammys race is the prospect of an epic rematch between two veteran superstars: Beyoncé and Adele, both of whom are nearly certain to be tapped for album, record and song of the year. If a showdown materializes as predicted, the rivalry would precisely echo the 59th Grammys in 2017, when the two went head to head in the same major categories.
Breaking down the controversy over the new Anthony Bourdain book. The new biography, “Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain,” by Charles Leerhsen, has been causing a stir well in advance of its Oct. 11 publication — especially among those who knew the late chef and TV personality best. The Times dipped into the book to find out what’s making some relatives and friends of Bourdain cringe.
He ran Viacom and built Nickelodeon. Now his daughter is helping to tell his story. Frank Biondi’s unceremonious departure from Viacom is one of many memorable tales included in his memoir, which was self-published last month by his family after he died. The story of how the book came to be is a remarkable testament to a daughter’s determination to make sure her father’s legacy is honored — and remembered.
Kanye West told Tucker Carlson that supporting Trump “threatened” his life and career. The rapper — legal name Ye — has been embroiled in controversy this week after wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at Paris Fashion Week. But he found a kindred spirit on the conservative Fox News network. West appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for a sprawling conversation (the second part airs today).
In honoring Annie Ernaux, the literature Nobel Prize gets it exactly right. The choice of Ernaux, best known for her 2000 book “Happening,” is a victory for literature. But, first and foremost, it represents an overdue recognition of an author whose idiosyncratic brilliance has been, over the course of a nearly 50-year career, as bracing as it is rare.
Are visa approval delays keeping free-spending international tourists from visiting L.A.? Los Angeles was one of the nation’s hottest tourist destinations before the pandemic struck. With most pandemic travel restrictions gone, the nation’s tourism leaders say delays by the federal government in approving tourist visas are now robbing L.A. and other U.S. tourist destinations of millions of visitors and billions of dollars in tourism spending.
The Twitter trial against Musk was halted to allow the deal to close. A Delaware chancery judge is giving Elon Musk and Twitter Inc. until 5 p.m. Oct. 28 to complete the $44-billion deal for Musk to purchase the social media giant. The judge said that if the transaction wasn’t done by that time, she would set trial dates in November. The ruling is a win for Musk, who said the social media company “will not take yes for an answer” after he revived his bid to buy it.
OPEC’s move to raise oil prices is all about Russia. Pushing up oil prices at this moment is an expression of support for Russia, presumably aiming to build a deeper relationship between this major oil producer and member states, most of which are in Africa and the Middle East. That strategy already appears thoroughly wrongheaded.
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Introducing the Cardinal Divas of SC. More than 3 million views streamed in on the video of Princess Lang and her new majorette team dancing in the front row at the Coliseum during USC’s football game against Fresno State. The junior theater major and Chicago native was not prepared for what followed, including: ESPNW shared a clip on Instagram, and the Divas were invited to appear on “The Jennifer Hudson Show.”
The fan who caught Aaron Judge’s 62nd home run has been offered $2 million for the ball. JP Cohen, president of Memory Lane Inc. in Tustin, told the Associated Press that he had texted and emailed Cory Youmans, the man who caught Judge’s milestone shot Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas. Cohen said Youmans had not yet replied. “I feel the offer is way above fair, if he is inclined to sell it,” Cohen said.
Go on a dumpling crawl. Food columnist Jenn Harris in an episode this week of “Bucket List” visited three Korean dumpling specialists. They included Pao Jao Dumpling House, a stall inside the food court at Koreatown Plaza, where she sampled spicy shrimp dumplings and grilled fried dumplings. At CHD Mandu on Wilshire, owner Jihyung Park showed Jenn how to make the restaurant’s signature mandu sampler, with galbi, shrimp, pork, kimchi and jalapeño-stuffed mandu. Then it was off to Myung In for some of Jessica Kim’s Chinese-Korean dumplings. There, the softball-size steamed King mandu are a favorite. Watch here.
Visit the long-awaited Orange County Museum of Art. From the street, the museum maintains a relatively low profile — horizontal and unadorned, blending into the surroundings. However, at the traffic roundabout where the Avenue of the Arts meets Sunflower Avenue — the place at which many visitors will likely arrive — it rises up, steps back, twists in space and emphasizes fluidity through curved trajectories of tiled walls. Here the structure identifies itself as something distinctly different from everything around it — all the hallmarks of a Morphosis building that push industrial construction into digitally warped visual territory, writes art critic Christopher Knight.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
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The United States of Confederate America: More and more, it’s race, religion and education — rather than geography — that determine support for Confederate symbols and monuments. “Southernification” means Rebel flags fly in states including Michigan, “which lost 13,000 sons in service of the Union cause,” Ohio (31,000), Wisconsin (11,000), and Pennsylvania (27,000). A new survey says “the South is no longer simply a region: A certain version of it has become an identity shared among white, rural, conservative Americans from coast to coast.” The Atlantic
The Onion wrote a friend-of-the-court brief. It’s serious — and funny. The satirical website wrote a defense of parody on behalf of an Ohio man who was arrested over a Facebook page mocking his local police department. Charged with “using a computer to disrupt police functions,” he was found not guilty. Now he’s suing Parma, Ohio, for damages, and the Supreme Court is reviewing his request to take up the matter. In the brief, the Onion claims a readership of 4.3 trillion and that it “owns and operates the majority of the world’s transoceanic shipping lanes.” A chapter heading states “It Should Be Obvious That Parodists Cannot Be Prosecuted For Telling A Joke With A Straight Face.” New York Times
FROM THE ARCHIVES
One hundred and two years ago today, on Oct. 7, 1920, The Times reported on a visit by Louise Peete to the scene of a Los Angeles murder — a crime for which she would soon be convicted.
“The musty basement sepulcher of J.C. Denton was visited yesterday by Mrs. R.C. Peete, the central figure in the case. Her trip to the palatial house at 675 South Catalina street was the dramatic climax to her first public interview since her arrival, as a ‘voluntary witness,’ in California,” The Times wrote.
Peete was subsequently found to have robbed and killed mining executive Denton, her employer, according to L.A. Magazine. His body was found in the basement buried in dirt that she’d earlier arranged to have dumped there, saying she “planned to raise mushrooms.” She served 18 years in prison for that crime and was paroled. But in 1945, she was convicted of a second murder. She killed Margaret Logan, a wealthy woman who had befriended Peete while she was in prison and helped care for Peete’s daughter, Betty.
Peete had once again made use of a large pile of dirt. She liked to grow and display flowers, and had installed a raised flower bed, but it was empty of flowers. That’s where Logan’s body was found, The Times noted in a 2003 article. Peete is the second woman of four who have been executed in California.
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