Newsletter: A reopening retreat? Not in California

Ventura Coast Brewing Company on May 21.
Morgan Eales posts new signs of opening at Ventura Coast Brewing Company in downtown Ventura on May 21.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Despite a worrisome coronavirus spike in California, don’t expect stay-at-home orders to quickly return.


A Reopening Retreat? Not in California

California’s first-in-the-nation stay-at-home order is widely credited with helping prevent the massive COVID-19 death tolls seen in places like New York and New Jersey. But now, some are wondering whether California reopened too soon.

Still, despite new record daily highs in coronavirus cases and an alarming spike in hospitalizations, California health officials appear to have little appetite at least right now for a widespread retreat from bringing back economic activity.

Even some of the strongest advocates of stay-at-home orders in local government — the health officials of the San Francisco Bay Area, who crafted the nation’s first regional shelter-in-place order — say progress needs to be made in reopening society.

For one thing, they argue the economic repercussions of stay-at-home orders are unsustainable and devastating on their own. And before officials began easing the rules, there was evidence people were getting back to their old routines, often without the social distancing and other safety rules experts say is crucial.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said a sudden return to stay-at-home is not the right solution. “You don’t really need to go back to lockdown,” Fauci told the Sacramento Press Club this week. “You need to pause and say, ‘Wait a minute. We’re starting to open and things aren’t going right. What do we need to do to correct that?’”

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Just weeks after the coronavirus overwhelmed hospitals in and around New York City, medical centers in Arizona, Florida, Texas and other states with skyrocketing infections are rapidly filling with sick patients, threatening state healthcare systems.

— Across the nation, the final Thursday in June saw jobless claims top 1 million for a 14th straight week and another record day of new coronavirus cases — at least 40,184. It compelled a growing number of Republican governors and members of Congress to issue urgent public health warnings. President Trump called it a success story.

— Amid the pandemic, the Trump administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court late Thursday night arguing that the Affordable Care Act is invalid, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions.

— The federal government’s internal watchdog said that the IRS sent stimulus checks to more than 1 million dead people — worth more than $1 billion — under the coronavirus relief package approved earlier this year.


— L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is urging Angelenos to continue staying home as much as possible, even as the region’s economy gradually emerges from its pandemic-induced slump.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

The Toppling of the Statues

Across California, the massive antiracism protests that have followed the police killing of George Floyd have led to an unprecedented reckoning with public symbols of slavery and oppression. This month, statues have been toppled. Mascots have been changed. A coastal town’s Confederate-linked name has been reconsidered.

Marcus Hunter, chair of African American Studies at UCLA, said he thinks the statues are falling at such great numbers and with less pushback than in years past because white people and others who are not Black are joining the protests and helping pull them down. He also believes that people being forced to stay home during the pandemic could not ignore Floyd’s killing and the movement it sparked.

“I’ve been calling this the great pause,” Hunter said. “It wasn’t just a slowdown. It was 90 days of shelter in place. Either people are going to change America, or it’s going to remain the same.”


Nationwide, protesters are targeting statues of slave-owning presidents. The reaction from the White House: President Trump tweeted that he had authorized the federal government to arrest people who deface monuments on federal property and threatened 10 years in prison. On Wednesday, the Army activated some 400 National Guard troops to protect monuments in the nation’s capital.

More About Race in America

— A week after a deputy shot and killed 18-year-old Andres Guardado in Gardena, setting off heated demonstrations, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has yet to fully explain how the shooting occurred and has not interviewed the two patrol deputies involved. But details are emerging about the deputies, including earlier allegations faced by the officer who fatally shot Guardado.

Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and other protest groups are asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order and injunction to forbid the Los Angeles Police Department from using baton strikes and “rubber” bullets to control crowds during future protests.

“Defund the police”: What does it mean? This video explains.

A Tower Project in the Spotlight


It was Halloween of 2018 and a real estate developer had just gotten a treat: The blessing of the L.A. City Council for a new high-rise in the Arts District.

The real estate executive crowed in an email that it was a “truly amazing” accomplishment — the council had approved the tallest building yet in the Arts District, and with “minimal” requirements for affordable housing, according to federal prosecutors.

Now federal investigators are describing the Arts District project as one of the real estate developments entangled in a criminal scheme headed by L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar. “Thanks to Mr. Huizar, the development would have minimal affordable housing units, despite the fact that this area is desperate for low-income housing,” Hanna said. In a criminal complaint, prosecutors estimated that Huizar’s changes to the project saved the developer $14 million.

Huizar, who was arrested this week and is suspended from the council, is accused by federal prosecutors of running a “criminal enterprise” fueled by developer bribes. His attorneys said this week that the councilman “intends to respond to the government’s allegations in court.”


On this date in 1952, Marilyn Monroe testified against two men who were accused of trying to sell “indecent” photos of young women, including Monroe, by writing fake letters signed with her name.

A story in the next morning’s Los Angeles Times explained: “After actress Marilyn Monroe indignantly denied that she had penned come-on letters to promote the sale of ‘art studies’ advertised as featuring her, two men who traded on her name were found guilty yesterday on five of nine misdemeanor charges against them.

“Municipal Judge Kenneth L. Holaday returned the guilty verdict against Jerry Karpman, 46, photographer, and Morrie Kaplan, 32, salesman, after the onetime calendar girl denied she had ever met them.”



— Can we have summer parties during the pandemic? Here are 42 ways to minimize the risk.

— Hoping to take a vacation this summer? Why bike touring could be your safest bet.

Berry pies are a summer treat best served cold.

— TikTok plant positivity guru Garden Marcus has some important life lessons for you.


— In Los Angeles County’s first proposed budget reflecting the pandemic-related economic slowdown, officials announced that public safety will bear the brunt of an overall 8% cut in spending, with the Sheriff’s Department eyed for more than 400 layoffs and $162 million trimmed from its $3.3-billion budget.


— Transportation officials pushed L.A. County’s transit system to start a reform of policing on buses and trains, including no longer sending armed officers to respond to nonviolent crimes.

— Officials say all remaining criminal charges against demonstrators who blocked a section of the 101 Freeway in protest of President Trump in 2017 have been dismissed, ending a years-long legal drama that revealed L.A. police placed an informant inside of a nonviolent political group.

— A mountain lion was captured after spending the night under a Monrovia home.

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— In a victory for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court has upheld the government’s power to arrest, question and quickly remove immigrants who are caught crossing the border illegally.

Seattle’s police-free zone was created in a day. Dismantling it will take much longer.


— The U.S. Postal Service’s famous motto — “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers” — is being tested like never before, by challenges that go well beyond the weather.

Eastern Congo has marked an official end to the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. It killed 2,280 people over nearly two years, as armed rebels and community mistrust undermined the promise of new vaccines.


Splash Mountain and its imagery rooted in the dated and racist 1946 film “Song of the South” will soon be a thing of the past. Walt Disney Imagineering has unveiled plans to re-theme the ride to its 2009 animated work “The Princess and the Frog,” a fairy tale that stars the company’s first Black princess.

— The country band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks debuted a new song — and under a new name: the Chicks.

— Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams belt out cheesy pop earworms as fictional Icelandic dreamers in Netflix’s “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” But is it worth your patience?

“Adventure Time” has moved to HBO Max. Our TV critic says the magic remains intact in the first of four specials.


— The California Air Resources Board has approved the nation’s toughest clean-air mandate on trucks, in effect ordering manufacturers of medium-duty and heavy-duty commercial trucks to begin selling zero-emission versions in 2024, with 100,000 sold in California by 2030 and 300,000 by 2035.


Chuck E. Cheese is filing for bankruptcy protection. The 43-year-old chain, which drew kids with pizza, video games and a singing mouse mascot, was struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic. But it said the prolonged closure of many outlets led to the Chapter 11 filing.


— Less than a week before the Dodgers reconvene for spring training 2.0, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said members of the organization have tested positive for COVID-19 but declined to specify the number or place within the franchise.

— Los Angeles remains a contender to be designated one of two “hub” sites for the reconfigured Stanley Cup playoffs. The field shrank to five on when the Canucks said Vancouver will not be a host city when the league resumes play in late July or early August.

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— No wonder Trump is in a snit. Joe Biden is crushing him in the polls.

— Atty. Gen. William Barr has more ways to politicize the Department of Justice, writes legal affairs columnist Harry Litman.



— White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany wrote about Jesus, “my hero,” for a sixth-grade poetry assignment. Now she does battle with the media. (The Atlantic)

— A massive Saharan dust plume has moved into the Southeast U.S. Here’s how it formed. (The Conversation)


The famous Case Study Houses — a group of 36 experimental homes scattered across Southern California designed to address the post-World War II housing shortage — feature the work of some of the most prolific Midcentury architects at the top of their game. One of the most notable names at the time, Richard Neutra, mocked up four homes for the collection, but only one came to fruition — officially, that is. Case Study House No. 13, which Neutra designed for the program in 1947 but was built independently two years later, just listed for $5.999 million in South Pasadena. But looking is free.

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