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Today’s Headlines: Turmoil atop the California National Guard

A fighter jet above the ground
An F-15C Eagle from the California Air National Guard flies over Death Valley National Park.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

A shake-up at the California National Guard results in the firing of one general and the suspension of another.

TOP STORIES

Turmoil Atop the California National Guard

In the California National Guard, the general who commanded its air branch has been fired, a second key general was suspended, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has placed new limits on the organization’s use of fighter jets for civilian missions.

Newsom’s office and the head of the Guard, Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, refused to provide details on the reasons behind the recent leadership changes other than a statement from the Guard saying that the organization “is committed to facilitating a positive working environment for all of its members, regardless of gender and ethnicity.”

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The air branch’s former commander, who was forced out two weeks ago, told The Times he did nothing wrong and said Baldwin had “lost touch with reality.”

The abrupt actions against the two generals mark the second major shake-up in California’s Military Department in as many years. They were announced on the heels of a Times report that Guard members were concerned that their leaders had readied an F-15C fighter jet last year for a possible mission in which the aircraft would fly low over civilian protesters to frighten and disperse them.

Baldwin denied that the jet was placed on an alert status for that purpose, and a Newsom spokeswoman said the governor would never authorize such a mission. Erin Mellon said in a statement to The Times that Newsom wanted to be “crystal clear” about restrictions on the use of military aircraft for domestic missions.

More Politics

— How three political novices with turbulent pasts helped spark the Newsom recall. (This story is a Times subscriber exclusive.)

— Nearly every speaker at the California Democratic Party convention showered effusive praise on Newsom as he fights the effort to oust him from office.

— Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he thinks the GOP’s debate over loyalty to former President Trump will fade as new candidates emerge.

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— The question of whether to serve a search warrant for Rudolph W. Giuliani’s records simmered inside the Justice Department in the waning months of the Trump administration.

A Shot at Recovering

A number of factors have fueled California’s remarkable turnaround from being the national epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic to having one of the lowest case rates in the U.S. But one element has gone largely unnoticed: Californians’ general embrace of COVID-19 vaccines.

Federal data indicate only about 11% of Californians are estimated to be vaccine hesitant, a lower rate than in all but four states: Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Hawaii.

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Officials and experts say there’s no one overriding reason why certain groups or individuals might be more dubious about the doses than others. Some may be skeptical for political reasons or because of deep-rooted distrust in the healthcare systems that have long overlooked or underserved them. Others may just be uncomfortable with the seeming speed at which the vaccines were developed.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— It was anxiety — and not a problem with the shots — that caused fainting, dizziness and other short-term reactions in dozens of people at COVID-19 vaccine clinics in five states, U.S. health officials have concluded.

— Los Angeles County public health authorities on Sunday reported no new deaths related to COVID-19, though it may have been due to reporting delays.

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— The U.S. has extended mask requirements on planes until September.

An L.A. Legacy

Eli Broad made his billions building homes, and then he used that wealth — and the considerable collection of world-class modern art he assembled with his wife — to shape Los Angeles, the city around him.

By the time of his death at 87 on Friday, the native of New York had had a greater effect on his adopted home than perhaps anyone else in the city’s modern history, endowing medical and scientific research programs, funding charter schools, championing the massive Grand Avenue development and putting his stamp on the art world and museums.

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Though L.A. now has a conspicuous void in philanthropy and leadership, many believe the civic leaders of the future need to take a different approach to meet the vast challenges of a city that needs not just building and development but also fixing and healing.

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

— U.S. troops are leaving Afghanistan, but Al Qaeda remains and there are many uncertainties about counter-terrorism strategy.

— In Knoxville, Tenn., a predominantly Black high school contends with a massive rise in teen shootings. The killings don’t follow some of the familiar narratives.

USC’s $1.1 billion in settlements to about 17,000 patients of a former campus gynecologist has left some exuberant and others feeling cheated.

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— The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. vowed to change after a Times investigation highlighted allegations of financial and ethical lapses and the group’s lack of Black members. Then came turmoil. What went wrong?

Disneyland reopened Friday and reemerged as a beacon of optimism. Our video shows what visitors can expect.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this date in 1978, Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager for Digital Equipment Corp., sent out the first spam over the network of government and university computers known as the ARPAnet.

Thuerk said he wanted to publicize open houses in Los Angeles and San Mateo where the company’s latest computers would be unveiled. He wrote it in all capital letters. And after it angered some recipients, he was told to never do it again.

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“I was the pioneer,” he told The Times in 2003. “I saw a new way of doing things.”

A man in front of a keyboard
Gary Thuerk became known as the father of spam.
(Associated Press)

CALIFORNIA

— A suspected smuggling boat capsized and apparently broke apart off Point Loma, leaving at least three people dead and more than two dozen hospitalized, a fire official said.

— Federal prosecutors allege “indirect bribes” went to family members of officials in an L.A. City Hall corruption case.

— San Diego is launching a comprehensive analysis of its laws governing cannabis businesses to see how they could be loosened to allow more minorities and low-income residents to become part of the lucrative industry.

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— The L.A. County Library system will reopen an additional 30 branches for in-person services on May 10, doubling the number of locations to emerge after more than a year of pandemic-related shutdown.

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NATION-WORLD

— The United States and Iran are in active talks over the release of prisoners, a person familiar with the discussions said, as Washington denied a report by Iranian state-run television that deals had been struck.

— At least 93 police officers were injured and 354 protesters were detained after traditional May Day rallies in Berlin turned violent, the city’s top security official said.

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— Officials have come under growing scrutiny for ignoring warnings about safety lapses at one of Israel’s most visited holy sites, as the country mourned 45 ultra-Orthodox Jews killed in a stampede at a festival.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The Grammys have eliminated secretive nominating committees after an outcry over the Weeknd’s shutout from this year’s ceremony. But the Recording Academy’s interim chief executive says it was in the works before that.

“About Endlessness,” the latest film from the Swedish writer-director Roy Andersson, is another tragicomic marvel from him.

— The director’s cut of Prince blowing minds on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” now has more Prince, as you can see here.

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— Five Black comic book creators discuss five ways of seeing this inclusive superhero moment.

BUSINESS

— The prices of commodities such as steel, copper, corn and lumber are surging, threatening to raise the cost of goods on lunchtime sandwiches, gleaming skyscrapers and everything in between.

SpaceX safely returned four astronauts from the International Space Station, making the first U.S. crew splashdown in darkness since the Apollo 8 moonshot.

SPORTS

— The Dodgers staged an overdue eruption on offense with grand slams by AJ Pollock and Matt Beaty to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 16 to 4 and avoid a series sweep.

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Bob Baffert became the all-time winningest Kentucky Derby trainer when Medina Spirit gave him his seventh victory in the most famous of all horse races.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

OPINION

Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 prey on Latinos, writes author Jean Guerrero.

— Three psychology scholars on why live theater makes us better people.

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— “The competing demands of work and motherhood have some white-collar women choosing part-time work — and loving it.” (The Atlantic)

Buzz Aldrin on going to the moon and back with Michael Collins, who died last week. (Wall Street Journal)

ONLY IN L.A.

In an unassuming Hollywood alley, running east to west from Cosmo Street to Cahuenga Boulevard, cinematic history was made. Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton all shot notable scenes for their movies there. But you’d never know it.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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