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Today’s Headlines: An answer to living on the street?

Aerial view of tents lined up in rows at San Francisco's Civic Center
The city-sanctioned homeless encampment at San Francisco’s Civic Center, among similar efforts that are becoming more widely accepted in U.S. cities.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Sanctioned tent encampments have become a key part of San Francisco’s homelessness response — and a lightning rod for debate among activists, politicians and homeless people.

TOP STORIES

An Answer to Living on the Street?

Confronted by the high cost and slow progress of building housing for homeless people, cities including Seattle, Sacramento and San Francisco have turned to sanctioned tent encampments as a solution. They offer services such as toilets, meals and help finding a permanent place to stay.

These efforts, once anathema among some homeless service providers, are becoming more widely accepted as unsheltered homelessness has grown and government officials deal with a pandemic that has made placing people in large shelters dangerous.

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The Times spoke with more than two dozen people who either have stayed or currently stay in these sites. Many wished for a room in a hotel or an apartment to call their own. Still, a majority said that they appreciate these lots, some of which will eventually have supportive housing built on them.

In Los Angeles, public anger about large unsanctioned encampments has also led politicians to seek out immediate solutions. One sanctioned encampment on the West L.A. campus of the Department of Veterans Affairs opened last summer. Another site opened recently on a parking lot in East Hollywood after the closure of Echo Park Lake and removal of homeless people there. More could follow.

On the Campaign Trail

Caitlyn Jenner announced April 23 that she was entering the race to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in the coming recall election, but this was the Republican’s first week actively campaigning. She gave three major interviews — to conservative commentator Sean Hannity, CNN and the Los Angeles Times. She released her first ad. And she beefed up her campaign website.

But she also found out this week that running for governor is trickier than appearing on reality television. On “Hannity,” Jenner lamented that a friend is leaving California because he hates seeing “the homeless” when he walks down the street. She was interviewed in her private airplane hangar. The friend has one too.

When asked by TMZ on Sunday whether trans girls should be allowed to compete in sports, the 71-year-old said, “it just isn’t fair. And we have to protect girls’ sports in our schools.” Yet the transgender Olympic athlete has competed in women’s golf tournaments, in particular the LPGA Tour’s ANA Inspiration tournament in Rancho Mirage.

Jenner did not respond when asked about the LPGA tournament during an interview with The Times on Thursday. A campaign aide ended the interview and later responded to a follow-up question sent by email: “Caitlyn was playing in a charity tournament with LPGA pros where everyone was playing from the same tee. It’s disappointing some want to use a charity event in a political way.”

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More Politics

— Black moms are more likely to die in childbirth. Will Congress do anything about it? Democrats hope to include a package of bills focused on maternal health in President Biden’s massive infrastructure and tax bill.

— Conservative grievances with Big Tech over censorship allegations, complaints of “woke” corporate values and billionaire influence have empowered an antitrust push that’s uniting Republican lawmakers and progressives.

— Faced with climate change and the possible extinction of tens of thousands of species, the Biden administration announced plans to protect 30% of the nation’s land and ocean territory by the end of the decade.

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The ‘Shecession’

Before the coronavirus took hold, Californians of both sexes enjoyed the same low unemployment rate, 4.1%. But in the last year, women have suffered more: 12% have lost jobs statewide, compared with 10.4% of men.

Economists call it a COVID-19 “shecession,” with disturbing consequences for the American workforce after decades of hard-earned gains by working women. “No one believes the new normal is going to be exactly like things were before,” said María J. Prados, a USC economist who sees the pandemic as a major setback to the struggle for workplace equality.

Unlike the recession of 2007-2008, when male-dominated sectors such as construction and manufacturing suffered the largest losses, the pandemic-driven recession has especially cut through service occupations that women tend to hold, such as hairdressing and housekeeping.

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A swath of white-collar jobs survived over the last year as lawyers, accountants and software developers worked from home. If they continue to do so, many jobs for women in janitorial companies, restaurants and retailers serving office workers may disappear, economists say.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Do COVID-19 vaccines prevent coronavirus infection? Two new studies bolster scientists’ suspicion that they do.

— In Orange County and elsewhere in California, authorities are closing mass vaccination sites as bookings drop. Their new focus: “getting hyperlocal,” with a focus on lower-income populations and vulnerable people with limited time or mobility.

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Young Latino and Black people have the lowest rate of COVID-19 vaccination among any age, racial and ethnic group in Los Angeles County, and officials say they need to do more to make the shots easy and convenient for more people.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In 1952, Los Angeles City Hall was blown up. Well, a replica of City Hall. And it was a small explosion — simulated destruction for a scene in the movie “War of the Worlds.” Paramount was producing a updated take on the H.G. Wells story, made famous by Orson Welles’ radio rendition that many Americans mistook as real.

The Times observed as special effects crews created the scene with a special “breakaway” plaster, according to the May 9, 1952, paper. Staff photographer Phil Bath captured a series of a photos as the model crumbled. It was realistic enough that The Times ran with photos with the headline “If A-Bomb Wrecked City Hall, Blast Might Look Like This.”

a city hall model explodes
May 8, 1952: A model of Los Angeles City Hall is blown up during filming of special effects for the 1953 movie “War of the Worlds.”
(Phil Bath / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA)

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YOUR WEEKEND

— Moms who are wild at heart or don’t want to skip their daily steps may like a Mother’s Day hike. Here are six trails to try.

— Mother’s Day sneak up on you? These 12 L.A. flower shops are happy to bail you out.

Zoom cooking classes liberated a new breed of students and their teachers. You can learn to make anything from spring rolls to sweet potato enchiladas.

— See some balloon art in a downtown L.A. fountain, plus 23 other best bets for the weekend.

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CALIFORNIA

— A report from Stop AAPI Hate shows the breadth of anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. Racist attacks, some verbal and some physical, were reported in cities such as Alhambra, New York and Muskegon.

— Defying a state Supreme Court ruling, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department routinely rejects requests from relatives of people who are shot, journalists and other members of the public to learn the names of deputies who open fire while on duty.

Three teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of starting a Thousand Oaks brush fire last week that forced residents to evacuate.

— No more pajamas: With high school campuses reopening across L.A. County, teens are redefining the back-to-school wardrobe.

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— For the second year in a row, the LA Pride parade, one of the nation’s oldest and largest LGBTQ celebrations, will not take place this summer amid ongoing concerns about the coronavirus.

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NATION-WORLD

— “For once, justice in Italy has worked.” Here is how Romans are responding to the life sentences handed down to two Californians in the fatal stabbing of a police officer.

— Cutting the super-potent greenhouse gas methane quickly and dramatically is the world’s best hope to curb global warming, a new United Nations report says.

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Texas Republicans are pushing to restrict voting, straining their close ties with the business world as companies and executives make an 11th-hour push against the legislation. And in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Republican voting law critics call “un-American.”

— Amid massive NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken vowed in Kyiv to stand by Ukraine in the face of “destabilizing actions” from Moscow — sending a clear warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Biden administration would punish the Kremlin’s behavior.

— For the last 12 years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics. Now his rule is under threat.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— A homeless L.A. musician helped create the Daft Punk classic “One More Time.” So why hasn’t he seen a dime? (This story is exclusive to Times subscribers.)

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— Members of the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voted to move forward with sweeping reforms proposed by its board earlier this week. Will it be enough to save the Golden Globes?

— A new Federal Writers Project for the COVID-19 era went from wild idea to a bill aimed at documenting the pandemic’s impact, honoring the lives lost and creating a national archive of work.

— For all her success, Bebe Rexha is still finding her place. The music business is “the most toxic industry there is,” she says.

— Peacock’s new comedy “Girls5eva” mocks the “misogynistic” culture behind the rise of ’90s girl groups. It also might break your heart, writes television critic Robert Lloyd.

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BUSINESS

— The best thing that may come out of the vaccine patent waiver debate could be a fresh look at how pharmaceutical research and development is funded, and how its benefits should be distributed, columnist Michael Hiltzik writes.

Grocery prices are soaring. Here’s why.

SPORTS

— What’s wrong with the Dodgers? Andrew Friedman blames an “imperfect storm.” To columnist Bill Plaschke, the best team in baseball history has played its last 17 games like the second-worst team in baseball.

— The Angels released future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols rather than bench him. “There’s never a good time for this. But we felt like it was the best thing for the organization,” said general manager Perry Minasian.

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— With his 1,000-point milestone this week, the Kings’ Anze Kopitar reaffirmed his place among the most accomplished athletes who have played in L.A. and the NHL, and underscored that going off the beaten path was the right move for him and the team, writes columnist Helene Elliott.

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OPINION

— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti would make a fine ambassador, a job he’s reportedly being considered for — but this is too important a moment for his city for him to abandon his constituents, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— Rep. Liz Cheney may soon lose her position as chair of the House Republican Conference for challenging Trump’s claims. She’s not the only victim of the party’s Trump cult, writes the editorial board.

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

“They’re trying to exhaust us.” Excavating the history and the implications of the Republican war against trans kids. (GQ)

Burgers for breakfast? Sure! (LAist)

ONLY IN L.A.

“It was the day we scattered my mother-in-law’s ashes in the San Gabriel Mountains, not far from where she had grown up. Diana had been an avid hiker and camped into her late 60s. Her daughter and one of her granddaughters created an altar out of flowers beside a tree where we honored the woman who loved us so well,” writes Shannon Driskill. “It was a good day, full of emotion.... As my husband, our two teens and I drove out of the mountains, headed for dumplings at Din Tai Fung to celebrate Diana with a family meal, the song ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by Dire Straits came on the radio. Suddenly, tears were streaming down my face.”

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


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