Newsletter: Today: California’s new coronavirus limits
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has outlined his administration’s response to the rapid virus spread.
California’s governor is ordering new regional restrictions on businesses and activities as COVID-19 cases soar.
California’s New Coronavirus Limits
Californians will soon be hit with strict limits on community outings, travel and in-person shopping under a statewide order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, a set of new and far-reaching restrictions tied to regional strains on critical care services as COVID-19 cases rise.
The rules, which take effect Saturday afternoon, will last for at least 21 days once intensive care units approach capacity — and given the deluge hitting many hospitals, they could stretch into the new year. The new regional stay-at-home order is similar to the original sweeping order issued in March but is significantly limited in some ways. All retail stores will be allowed to remain open, as will be outdoor spaces such as parks and beaches.
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But will Californians comply as willingly as they did in the spring, especially over the holidays? The surging infection numbers, experts and officials say, suggest many are already rule-weary and less inclined to stay home. And the politics of the pandemic complicate things further.
Meanwhile in Washington, lawmakers have become increasingly panicked about the prospect of heading home for the holidays without passing another economic aid package. As pressure on them grows, Democratic and Republican leaders say they hope to strike a deal — but with just a few days left on their calendar, that’s far from certain. Millions stand to lose assistance otherwise.
More Top Coronavirus Headlines
— President-elect Joe Biden said that he will ask Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks as one of his first acts as president, stopping just short of the nationwide mandate he’s discussed before.
— Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton all say they would get a coronavirus vaccine publicly, once one becomes available, to boost Americans’ confidence in it.
— Weeks after overturning limits on religious services in New York City’s hardest-hit neighborhoods, the Supreme Court has told federal judges in California to take a hard look at the state’s ban on most indoor services. While the order appears to have no immediate legal impact, it suggests the state’s ban is likely to fall.
— A Fontana megachurch pastor died of COVID-19 about a month after his church reopened indoor services.
— In a deal with Hollywood’s major unions, commercial producers have agreed to adopt COVID-19 testing for workers on sets, bringing safety protocols on commercial sets more in line with those used on film and television productions.
For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.
Who Will Succeed Sen. Harris?
Newsom faces a politically daunting task in the coming weeks: appointing a replacement for Sen. Kamala Harris, who will resign before being sworn in as vice president in January.
The governor, who has not said when he’ll make an announcement on Harris’ successor, is facing an onslaught of competing pressures over what is perhaps one of the most pivotal and politically consequential decisions he will make during his first two years in office. There have been televised news conferences lobbying for prospective candidates, and Newsom has been inundated with calls, emails and texts. And in some eyes, he’s at a vulnerable moment.
Latino lawmakers and activists are among those making the case for Newsom to send California’s first Latino to the U.S. Senate in its 170 years of statehood. And former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown recommended that Newsom himself head to the Senate — or appoint a Black woman.
The Never-Ending Fire Season
By now, it’s an all too familiar pattern: First come the winds, then come the fires.
The latest round in California’s never-ending fire season began Wednesday night with the Bond fire erupting in Orange County’s canyon country, prompting evacuations and threatening homes. It quickly jumped into the nearby hillsides, whipped by Santa Ana winds and fueled by bone-dry brush that also drove three smaller fires in Riverside.
Once again, air quality in Southern California plummeted. Once again, power was shut off to tens of thousands of customers. And once again, there’s more dry weather in the forecast. See the latest with our interactive fires map.
An Ecological Mystery, Solved
Mysterious die-offs of coho salmon from Northern California to British Columbia have stumped biologists and toxicologists for decades. Numerous tests ruled out pesticides, disease and other possible causes, such as hot temperatures and low dissolved oxygen.
Now, after 20 years of investigation, researchers in Washington state, San Francisco and Los Angeles say they have found the culprit: a poisonous yet little-known chemical related to a preservative used in car tires that kills fish quickly.
“We pretty much figured out that anywhere there’s a road and people are driving their car, little bits of tire end up coming off your tire and end up in the stormwater that flows off that road,” said Ed Kolodziej, an environmental engineer and chemist.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On this date in 1881, the first edition of the Los Angeles Times, then known as the Los Angeles Daily Times, was printed. Owing to the technology of the time, the front page looked quite different from how it does now. The same can be said for the production process and even the building.
Before moving to El Segundo in 2018, The Times occupied four headquarters buildings in downtown L.A. — including one that was blown up on Oct. 1, 1910, killing 21 employees.
That’s why, when constructing the building that succeeded it, “the aim of the builders [was] to make the building as nearly fireproof, earthquake-proof and dynamite-proof as is humanly possible.” The new building was dedicated on Dec. 4, 1912, and would be the home base for Times journalists until 1935, when an Art Deco masterpiece was built.
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— Torrance-based real estate developer Samuel Leung has pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy, closing a major chapter in a campaign money laundering case that covered more than six years’ worth of political contributions to more than half a dozen Los Angeles politicians while his apartment project was being reviewed at City Hall. It was approved in 2015.
— As pandemic unemployment fraud plots are revealed inside California prisons and jails, district attorneys are calling on state leaders to help them stop, investigate and prosecute the fraud — but they say help has been slow to materialize.
— Hundreds of thousands of residents in L.A. County got new homeowners insurance protections, as state officials expanded a moratorium banning insurers from dropping policies in fire-stricken areas to include those affected by the Bobcat fire.
— A handful of clergy members and L.A. County officials gathered on a scrubby grass hill in a Boyle Heights cemetery to memorialize the county’s unclaimed dead. The ceremony usually draws hundreds of attendees; because of the coronavirus, it was closed to the public and shown online.
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— Allegations of sexual misconduct by the tech-entrepreneur founder of the nonprofit Quality of Life Plus and concerns of a toxic workplace are now threatening to derail the organization that works with colleges to help injured veterans. One of those colleges was Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
— The Supreme Court will consider whether the heirs of art dealers can sue Germany and its state museum to redress the forced sale of a collection of medieval Christian relics to the Nazis.
— Azerbaijan said it lost nearly 2,800 soldiers in 44 days of fighting with Armenian forces over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia’s Health Ministry said that at least 2,718 Armenian servicemen were killed in the fighting. Scores of Armenian civilians were also killed.
— Diego Armando Maradona, the most transcendent soccer player of his generation, lived a chaotic, tabloid-ready life. His death has been just as messy, as family members and prosecutors raise questions about his medical care.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— Warner Bros. says it will release its new movies in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time for the next year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has turned the traditional film distribution business upside down. But executives say it is a short-term fix and does not change the studio’s business model.
— Radio Disney, which had a hand in launching the careers of such pop stars as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, is ending its run after more than two decades.
— David Sheehan, one of the most prominent entertainment journalists and critics in the Los Angeles TV news arena for more than 30 years, has died at 82.
— How Johnny Canales, the Mexican American Dick Clark, helped make Selena a star.
— A portfolio of large-scale shipping centers where Amazon, Walmart and Target assemble and ship boxes of goods for customers has sold for $2 billion in a deal that underscores the boom in online shopping during the pandemic. Among the 23 properties are two in the Inland Empire, where many e-commerce companies base their Southern California operations.
— Beware of debt parking — when a collector places dubious obligations on your credit file so they’ll surface when you apply for a loan or seek a job, in the hopes you’ll pay just to make the problem go away, writes columnist David Lazarus.
— All-Star forward Anthony Davis, who pushed his way toward L.A. in a trade last offseason, has signed a five-year deal to stay with the Lakers. It comes just after LeBron James signed an extension that marked a step toward Lakers history.
— The Dodgers have acquired former All-Star Corey Knebel and offered contracts to all their remaining arbitration-eligible players.
— The UCLA community is remembering Olympic champion Rafer Johnson, who died this week, as “the greatest of all Bruins.” Johnson was more than a great athlete, writes columnist Helene Elliott; he was a great man.
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— Alex Villanueva has reached the midpoint of his term as Los Angeles County sheriff. The first two years have not been pretty, The Times’ editorial board writes.
— Once Donald Trump vacates the White House, we will remember that he has always been fundamentally a pop culture phenomenon. And pop culture is fickle, columnist Virginia Heffernan writes.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— Why does the presidential transition process in the U.S. take so long? (NPR)
— Spotify Wrapped, a review of the “most memorable listening moments of the year,” is a source of pride for some, shame for others — or perhaps a bit of both. (Refinery 29)
ONLY IN L.A.
In a market where every homebuilder is constantly trying to one-up the rest, L.A.'s spec developers — those who build homes without a buyer lined up, including extravagant mansions that often aim for more than $10 million — will try just about anything to set their properties apart. For one new West Hollywood luxury complex, that means throwing in a supercar. For $16 million, you can get a McLaren 765LT — there’ll be only 765, and the 2020 allotment has already sold out — plus a showroom for it with your two-story penthouse. The catch? You don’t get to keep the car; it’s on a one-year lease.
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