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Today’s Headlines: A bipartisan infrastructure deal, maybe

President Biden speaks with Sen. Rob Portman and other lawmakers outside the White House
President Biden speaks with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), left, and other members of the bipartisan group of senators on the negotiating team while announcing an infrastructure deal outside the White House.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

A bipartisan infrastructure deal, maybe

President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a nearly $1-trillion infrastructure plan — the culmination of months of negotiation over a proposal to fortify the nation’s roads, bridges and broadband internet access.

It’s a big step forward and validation for the Senate negotiators and a president determined to show that working across the political aisle is still possible in such a partisan era. But, given the deep divide in Washington and Democrats’ thin congressional majorities, securing the votes to pass a bipartisan package won’t be easy.

“We made serious compromises on both ends,” Biden said, acknowledging that Republicans weren’t going to back the investments in “human infrastructure” he’s called for. Biden said he would push those in a separate package that would require support from every Democratic senator. “We’ll see what happens in the reconciliation bill and the budget process.”

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The plan calls for $109 billion for road and bridge projects; $7.5 billion to build a new network of electric vehicle-charging stations; $55 billion to replace all lead pipes and upgrade water infrastructure; and $66 billion in rail line expansion.

White House officials and congressional Democratic leaders will have a short timeframe to gather support for the agreement and get it enacted, especially if they simultaneously advance both bills.

Biden’s challenge now will be gathering enough Republican and Democratic support to get the deal through the Senate, where he is starting with about two dozen votes.

More politics

— An appeals court suspended Rudolph W. Giuliani from practicing law in New York, saying he made false statements while trying to get courts to overturn former President Trump’s loss in the 2020 election.

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is creating a House commission to study the Jan. 6 insurrection attack on the Capitol after the Senate failed to create a bipartisan commission.

— The Biden administration has extended the nationwide ban on evictions for 30 days to help tenants who are unable to make rent payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

— Former Vice President Mike Pence laid out his vision for the future of the Republican Party in a speech, attempting to unite the party’s quarreling factions by appealing to both traditional small-government conservatism and populist Trumpism.

Scores missing in building collapse

A beachfront condo building partially collapsed Thursday in Surfside, Fla., outside Miami, killing at least one person and trapping others in the tower, which resembled a giant fractured dollhouse, with one side sheared away. Dozens of survivors were pulled out, and rescuers kept up a desperate search for more.

A wing of the 12-story building came down with a roar around 1:30 a.m. By late evening, nearly 100 people were still unaccounted for, authorities said, raising fears that the death toll could climb sharply. Officials did not know how many were in the tower when it fell.

“The building is literally pancaked,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said. “That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who toured the scene, said television images did not capture the scale of what happened.

Garcetti faces new upheaval

In politics, behind-the-scenes gossip and smack talk are as commonplace as groundbreakings and ribbon-cuttings. Still, the revelations that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s chief of staff disparaged elected officials, city employees and heroes of organized labor on a private Facebook group have stunned even the most jaded political veterans.

The scandal created another major distraction for Garcetti, now finishing his eighth year in office. His longtime advisor, chief of staff Ana Guerrero, has been placed on indefinite leave because of her Facebook posts, adding to the instability felt at the upper levels of City Hall.

Garcetti is already viewed as someone with one foot out the door, awaiting a presumed invitation to join the Biden administration. He has another aide facing sexual harassment allegations. Now, the scandal over the private Facebook group has pulled back the curtain on what some see as a catty, two-faced culture in his office.

In an interview Thursday, Garcetti called Solid Gold a “defunct private Facebook group” whose contents do not define the culture of his office. The mayor said his decision to put Guerrero on leave “communicated the gravity of the situation” to the city and his co-workers.

Conservative activists push voter fraud claims

Conservative activists who have long promoted unproven and often false claims of voter fraud in California are spearheading a major new effort to capitalize on the upcoming gubernatorial recall, attempting to recruit tens of thousands of volunteers to police the polls on election day.

The effort is the outgrowth of a campaign waged for nearly three decades to challenge ballots and voter registrations in California — one often aimed at immigrants, a Times investigation has found.

With the state on the brink of a nationally watched election this fall, activists are promoting their claims to raise money and recruit volunteers as well as to propel conspiracy theories of stolen elections.

Addresses they flagged for having suspiciously large numbers of registered voters included college dormitories, convents and a monastery. Lists of voters who activists claimed no longer lived at registered addresses and should have their voter registration canceled included members of the military away from home on active service. Others had changed their postal address, not their residence.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

In 1952, two men — Jerry Karpman and Morrie Kaplanwere accused of selling “indecent” photos of young women, including Marilyn Monroe. The actress testified against the men.

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.”

Marilyn Monroe in court
June 26, 1952: Marilyn Monroe is photographed in court, where she testified against Jerry Karpman and Morrie Kaplan, who were accused of trying to sell “indecent” photos of her.
(Los Angeles Times)

YOUR WEEKEND

— Sometimes you need a change of scenery. Here are seven Santa Barbara-area hotels for a post-reopening getaway.

— In Grand Central Market, a beloved chef begins a new chapter at Shiku, writes food critic Bill Addison.

— A dozen delectable plant-based recipes for vegans, vegetarians and anyone looking to eat less meat this summer.

CALIFORNIA

— With a record $20-billion operating budget for the upcoming academic year, the L.A. Unified School District board is promising students and parents a reshaped, reinvigorated experience this fall that seeks to undo the harms of pandemic-forced school closures.

— In Huntington Park, a series of allegations, a City Hall arrest and suspicion over cannabis business licenses have touched off a firestorm in an area of Southern California known for political scandals.

— A 500-pound bear died after being struck by a car while crossing a road in northern Pasadena — a relatively rare occurrence, officials said.

— A 31-year-old man died this week after falling from a broadcast tower atop the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck station in Boyle Heights. The death has sparked a review of building security.

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THE CORONAVIRUS

— Federal figures show 3 in 5 Californians are now at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s more than 60% of Californians, the latest milestone in the state’s vaccine rollout.

— Here is everything you want to know about COVID-19 booster shots.

Ohio launched the national movement to offer millions of dollars in incentives to boost vaccination rates. But the state concluded its lottery program Wednesday without succeeding in cracking the 50% vaccination mark.

NATION-WORLD

— The label “Northern Triangle” is in the news again as the Biden administration focuses on reducing illegal immigration. What does it mean and why is the U.S. focusing its policy there?

— A punishing drought in the U.S. West is drying up waterways, sparking wildfires and leaving farmers scrambling for water. Next up: a plague of voracious grasshoppers.

— Leaders of Indigenous groups in Canada said investigators have found more than 600 bodies in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school for Indigenous children — a discovery that follows 215 bodies found at another school.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— In Netflix’s “Lupin,” a new hero avenges Europe’s racist past: the immigrant worker.

— With “F9,” the “Fast & Furious” franchise mostly recovers from its days of blunder. Here’s how the “F9” team sought justice for Han and shaped the franchise’s future.

— Americans may be bleary-eyed from Zoom fatigue, but not concerts. Virtual events are here to stay, despite the return of music festivals, movies and comedy shows.

— Instead of scaling back, “Top Chef” embraced the limitations of the pandemic. The result is instant-classic reality TV.

BUSINESS

— Delegates to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters convention voted overwhelmingly for a nationwide push to organize hundreds of thousands of Amazon’s warehouse and delivery workers, a formidable task given the e-commerce behemoth’s fierce antiunion stance.

BuzzFeed is going public, with plans to merge with a special purpose acquisition company. The deal, which is expected to close later this year, will give BuzzFeed a valuation of $1.5 billion and the ticker symbol BZFD.

Apple has converted a downtown L.A. cinema into a high-end store. The tech giant intends the retail and event space to be one of its most prominent and a symbol of its Hollywood ambitions.

SPORTS

— The Clippers began digging out of their series hole with a Game 3 win over the Suns.

— The agreement in which the city of Anaheim sold Angel Stadium and the surrounding parking lots to a company affiliated with Angels owner Arte Moreno “may be in violation” of state law, a state agency has warned the city.

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OPINION

— It’s best to think of the bipartisan infrastructure proposal as the first act in a longer play, and take it for what it’s worth: a sign that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, at least, can agree on something important. That’s necessary, even if it’s not sufficient, writes The Times’ editorial board.

Tortilla-tossing has a long, strange history in California. It’s not often racist — until it is, writes columnist Gustavo Arellano.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Ahead of her In Bloom performance with Grey Goose, SZA opens up about her upcoming LP, her mental health and why she thinks “TikTok is so scary.” (People)

— Celebrity photographer Raven B. Varona shares what it takes to thrive as a creative entrepreneur. (Forbes)

Roth IRAs are supposed to help Americans save for retirement. Billionaire Peter Thiel and others have used them to avoid paying taxes on their fortunes. (ProPublica)

ONLY IN L.A.

While completing orders and going over inventory, employees at a San Joaquin Valley pistachio company realized something didn’t add up. They seemed to be missing some nuts — and more than just a few. An audit launched earlier this month revealed that roughly 42,000 pounds of pistachios had vanished.

Today’s newsletter was curated by Daric L. Cottingham and Laura Blasey. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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