Today’s Headlines: The recall campaign’s defining issues


With COVID-19 declining in California, a host of other issues could determine whether voters will recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.


The Recall Campaign’s Defining Issues

The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom from office could lose one of its strongest selling points by the time voters are asked whether to remove him this fall — namely, the devastation that ensued during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Recall organizers remain confident that animosity will continue to linger over past school closures, job losses and the billions of dollars the state paid out to fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic, along with Newsom’s missteps, such as attending a lobbyist’s birthday party at Napa Valley’s French Laundry restaurant after asking Californians to refrain from similar gatherings.

Other Newsom critics say the recall campaign must tap into discontent over homelessness, sky-high housing costs and other central issues beyond the pandemic if the effort hopes to succeed.

The governor’s prospects appear bright at the moment. California has the lowest COVID-19 positivity rates in the nation, driven in large measure by high vaccination rates and a state budget windfall that could top $30 billion by next summer. The governor has also vowed to reopen California’s economy by mid-June.

But anything could happen between now and this fall.

More Politics

President Biden is making his first stop in a red state to pitch his multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and jobs proposal, heading to Louisiana today as he seeks to redefine more broadly what it means to win bipartisan support.

— A federal judge in Washington blocked a nationwide eviction moratorium the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established as millions of renters lost their jobs.

— Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, publicly called for the removal of Rep. Liz Cheney from the party’s leadership, adding momentum to the drive to topple her after she clashed repeatedly with former President Trump.

— A representative for Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez said she is weighing a run to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti in the June 2022 election.

Like It or Not ...

The decision by Facebook’s Oversight Board to extend a ban on former President Trump on the world’s largest social media platform is a major political blow, at least for now, that denies him access to a huge audience he needs to help amplify his message, maintain his fundraising base and retain his dominance over the Republican Party.

But the board said it was inappropriate for Facebook to have set that suspension “indefinitely,” and said the company should, in the next six months, review the case and make a clear decision about whether he will be banned from the site permanently or for a specific amount of time.

The decision, whenever it finally arrives, promises to send wider ripples through Silicon Valley, giving Twitter, Snapchat and other platforms cover to maintain their own bans or impose new ones.

The Doctor Is In

When Dr. Nadine Burke Harris received her COVID-19 vaccine in Oakland last month, she internally rejoiced.

As California’s first surgeon general, she was glad to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to show others it was safe. But one of the most crucial parts of the pandemic’s vaccine rollout — reassuring Black and brown communities that the vaccines available are safe — is an ongoing task.

“I think that I myself probably didn’t realize how ... just that level of tension that I was holding, you know, around it,” said Burke Harris, a Jamaican American pediatrician born in Canada and now based in San Francisco.

“The fear of exposure, the fear of getting sick, it wasn’t even conscious for me. It was that awareness, that idea of being protected. ... I would, of course, want everyone to feel that feeling.”

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— The Biden administration is throwing its support behind efforts to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to speed the end of the pandemic.

— In a dramatic shift, California’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are now at their lowest since the pandemic started.

— Scientists have found that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is capable of infecting two types of brain cells. The discovery could shed light on the bewildering array of neurological symptoms that can come with infection.

— As Los Angeles County enters the yellow tier, here’s what to expect from restaurants and bars.

Magnets for Air Pollution

Southern California’s warehouse boom has brought more pollution into areas already hit hard by dirty air.

Hundreds of thousands of Southern Californians breathe higher levels of air pollution and face increased risk of illness from living near warehouse distribution centers and other goods-movement hubs, which are disproportionately concentrated in communities of color.

On Friday, air quality officials are set to vote on rules that for the first time would hold warehouses in the nation’s smoggiest region accountable for pollution from the diesel trucks they attract.

For more stories, such as a federal judge’s order to house the homeless and the forgotten roots of Cinco de Mayo, check out our new daily news podcast, “The Times.”


When the sky brightened over Los Angeles at 5:15 a.m. the morning of May 7, 1952, it wasn’t the sunrise waking Angelenos. It was an atomic bomb test about 300 miles away in Yucca Flat, Nev., captured here from a balcony at The Times’ building and published in the next day’s paper. (The light ray from atop City Hall is from the Lindbergh Beacon.)

The Times reported on May 8: “Despite a cloudy sky, the intense brilliance carried 300 miles between here and the atomic test site to fringe downtown buildings in a brief aura of fierce light.

“Photographs taken from Civic Center show the northeastern sky luminous from a man-made sunrise. The detonation was at 5:15 a.m. — 43 minutes before dawn. ...

“Observers at the control tower at International Airport described the sight as resembling bluish lightning. The flash observed here was instantaneous. No afterglow was discernible.”

Los Angeles City Hall and the brightened sky
May 7, 1952: A view of Los Angeles City Hall from a balcony at the L.A. Times building at 5:15 a.m. as an A-bomb is exploded in a test in Yucca Flat, Nev., about 300 miles away.
(Los Angeles Times)


— Banners in the Central Valley proclaim thousands of jobs created by the bullet train project. The real numbers are more complicated.

— Los Angeles County lawyers are seeking to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Vanessa Bryant, saying there was no invasion of her privacy amid allegations that sheriff’s deputies shared grim photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Kobe Bryant, and their daughter Gianna.

— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has tapped a high-level aide to serve as the city’s top budget official, a post that will be crucial as the city grapples with a homelessness crisis and works to recover from the pandemic.

— Virtual court proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic have seen their share of cyberblunders. In Silicon Valley, a hot mic captured an insurance adjuster calling a judge an idiot.

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— A jury in Rome convicted two friends from the Bay Area in the 2019 killing of a police officer in a small-time drug sting gone awry, sentencing them to life in prison.

— Within days or a couple of weeks at most, the cicadas of Brood X will emerge after 17 years underground en masse in 15 states — one of nature’s weirdest events.

— The largest section of the rocket that launched the main module of China’s planned space station into orbit is expected to plunge back to Earth as early as Saturday, but the location remains unknown.

— Across  Myanmar, boys and young men are disappearing as the country’s security forces conduct a sweeping bid to crush the three-month uprising against a military takeover. 


— More than 30 former and current employees at talent agency ICM said that the company tolerated a hostile work environment, where women and people of color were subjected to harassment, bullying and other inappropriate conduct. (This story is exclusive to Times subscribers.)

— “I didn’t just want this to be about loss.” Maya Lin talks about the climate change statement she makes in a new art installation, her redesign of a library near to our columnist’s heart, and how the pandemic shaped her art and architecture.

— The sublime sadness of Mexican indie star Ed Maverick: “It’s better to expect nothing, so that when something cool happens, you can really appreciate it.

— Netflix gave “The Disciple” an unceremonious release. But it’s already one of the year’s best movies, writes film critic Justin Chang.


— California’s jobless claim backlog is growing yet again, sparking lawmaker opposition to a proposal for a new state agency to improve working conditions.

Peloton is recalling its treadmills after one child died and 29 others were injured after being pulled under the rear of the treadmill.


— Who would win a playoff series between the Lakers and the Clippers? The intriguing possibility of one came alive again this week, columnist Helene Elliott writes. Heading into today’s matchup, Patrick Beverley’s return has made the Clippers hopeful.

— Sports fans, don’t get too excited about L.A. County’s move into the yellow tier. Distancing requirements mean venues still can’t put many more fans in stands — well, unless you’re vaccinated.

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— There is no drought; the current climate is the norm, The Times’ editorial board writes. We have to build, and grow, and legislate, and consume for the world as it is, not as we may remember it.

— Whatever Newsom’s motive, his move to shut down oil production in California is a game-changer, columnist George Skelton writes.


— “Kent State had haunted them both, from opposite ends of the lens.” The story of the woman who, kneeling above a dead protester at 14, became the face of the tragedy of that massacre of four college students by U.S. soldiers — and the story of the photographer whose image made her one. (Washington Post Magazine)

— The untold story of how Jeff Bezos beat the tabloids covering his affair. (Bloomberg Businessweek)


Mister Cartoon has made an international name for himself taking the “low-brow” culture of tattoo art and lowrider cars in Southern California to galleries and museums. Now he’s auctioning an NFT asset of his real-life 1964 Chevrolet Impala — that is, a digital lowrider built virtually with crypto-voxels (similar to Minecraft or digital Legos). Confused? This story and video will explain.

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