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Today’s Headlines: Newsom asks Californians to cut water usage

Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday expanded his regional drought state of emergency to apply to 50 California counties, or roughly 42% of the state’s population.
(Office of the California Governor)

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Newsom asks Californians to cut water usage

Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking Californians to voluntarily cut back on household water consumption by 15% compared with last year as drought conditions worsen and temperatures continue to rise across the western United States.

The governor also expanded his regional drought state of emergency to apply to 50 California counties or roughly 42% of the state’s population. Newsom added Inyo, Marin, Mono, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties to his regional emergency order. The governor’s original order on April 21 applied to Mendocino and Sonoma counties before he added 39 more counties on May 10.

Southern California appears to be in better shape than other areas. Only Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura are not under a regional drought state of emergency at this time.

Some local communities have stepped up their own household water conservation rules, and officials expect more urban restrictions in certain parts of the state.

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According to the governor’s office, if achieved, a voluntary 15% water reduction statewide would save roughly 850,000 acre-feet of water, which is enough to supply 1.7 million households for a year.

More politics

— The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is moving ahead of schedule, President Biden said. Troops will leave by Aug. 31 and officials are working to relocate Afghan translators and other contractors as the Taliban advances.

— Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the Democratic National Committee would more than double its planned spending on voter registration and outreach ahead of the 2022 midterm elections as Republicans move to limit voting.

A fire season seemingly without end

At Oak Flat Fire Station in the Angeles National Forest, veteran firefighters are already getting a bad feeling about this year.

Rising temperatures caused by climate change have made the landscape drier than they’ve ever seen. They’ve watched the rugged mountains of the forest around the Castaic station change before their eyes, from a place of seasons to a place that seems like it is in perpetual summer. And with homes creeping farther into the terrain each year, more people are in harm’s way.

An alarmingly low rainfall year has contributed to that dryness, with the state’s fire officials warning that a single spark or strike of lightning is enough to ignite a potentially catastrophic blaze.

But perhaps one of the greatest challenges heading into the 2021 fire season is the psychological toll. Firefighters are finding it necessary to increase the pace and scale of their work even though there aren’t always accompanying increases in resources. During the worst months of fire season, they are regularly assigned to 24-hour shifts. Amid drought and worsening heat — another hot spell is now hitting California — the fire season hardly seems to end for them.

City crews remove Venice homeless campers

For more than three hours, a crew of about a dozen Los Angeles sanitation and recreation and parks workers accompanied by several officers from the Los Angeles Police Department went to work on Ocean Front Walk, sweeping up detritus from one portion of a homeless encampment that has set Venice on edge for months.

But after all was said and done, they had moved only two people. The rest had left earlier in the week.

It was a case study in how complicated it can be to move unhoused people when the goal is to avoid the kind of blunt-force dispersal that the city carried out this spring at Echo Park Lake.

Officials said the final push in Venice was done in the wee hours of the morning to enforce a 2 a.m. curfew on the narrow berm adjacent to the boardwalk, a city park where more than 200 tents had accumulated over the last year. The timing also afforded the cover of darkness for the labor-intensive and politically sensitive moments when the threat of arrest is the last negotiating chip against those who refuse to leave.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

In 1977, Walt Disney Productions went full throttle promoting its third “Herbie” film about the infamous 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. Before the wet-concrete ceremony, a parade on Hollywood Boulevard featured a Chinese band, firecrackers, 25 Lancia sports cars, clowns and cheerleaders. The Goodyear blimp flew overhead.

L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley declared July 11, 1977, as “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo Day” in Los Angeles. Costars Dean Jones, Don Knotts and Julie Sommars attended.

After the ceremony, an invitational screening of “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” was held inside the Chinese Theater.

Herbie the love bug leaves tire prints in the wet concrete at Mann’s Chinese Theater
July 11, 1977: Herbie the love bug leaves tire prints in the wet concrete at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood for the opening of “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.”
(Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times)

YOUR WEEKEND

— Enjoy the great outdoors this weekend with the 50 best hikes in L.A.

Staying in for the weekend? Then try these delicious summer desserts as a perfect pairing to your latest TV binge.

— From Shakespeare to a “Golden Girls” drag show, here are the 10 best bets for your weekend.

— Vacationers aren’t the only ones making the trip from L.A. to Las Vegas. An influx of diverse, innovative dining options from Los Angeles is transforming the Strip.

CALIFORNIA

— After COVID-19 outbreaks and the deaths of at least four people who worked in Los Angeles County courthouses, California’s workplace safety agency plans to fine the local court system more than $25,000 for multiple violations.

— Despite repeated pledges by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti over the years to address gender equity in the Los Angeles Fire Department, women say they still endure a “frat house” culture.

— Not only are California’s firefighters up against severe heat and extreme dryness as they battle multiple blazes across the state, but extreme weather conditions have also created fire-induced tornadoes. See one in action.

— A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck California’s eastern Sierra Nevada on Thursday afternoon, sending strong shaking through a rural mountainous region and light shaking across much of Northern California.

Be ready and resilient: Sign up for our Unshaken newsletter for a six-week course on earthquake preparation.

THE CORONAVIRUS

— After months of pandemic quarantine, RSV, a virus that typically sickens children in colder months. has reemerged. It is baffling pediatricians and has put some infants in the hospital.

— New research from France adds to evidence that widely used COVID-19 vaccines still offer strong protection against the Delta variant that is spreading rapidly around the world and now is the most prevalent strain in the U.S.

Pfizer is planning to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that another shot within 12 months could dramatically boost immunity and maybe help ward off the highly contagious Delta variant.

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NATION-WORLD

— Rescue workers now focused on finding remains instead of survivors in the rubble of a Florida condominium collapse vowed to keep up their search for victims until they cleared all the debris at the site.

— Two Seattle police officers who were in Washington, D.C., during the Jan. 6 insurrection were illegally trespassing on Capitol grounds while rioters stormed the building but lied about their actions, a police watchdog said in a report.

— A New York judge sentenced Trump antagonist and combative California lawyer Michael Avenatti to 2½ years in prison for trying to extort up to $25 million from Nike.

— The European Union handed down $1 billion in fines to major German car manufacturers, saying they colluded to limit the development and rollout of car emission-control systems.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The original “Gossip Girl” was a sensation. But for all of the heavy investment from HBO, the reboot is not as powerful a charm machine as its predecessor, writes television critic Robert Lloyd.

— Excitement quickly turned to hurt when Laci Mosley became the target of racist viewers shortly after the announcement of her casting in the “iCarly” revival this spring. Hollywood can learn from her response.

— “The Purge” series has always been political. The latest offering — “The Forever Purge” — takes it further, with a cast and crew that relied on bilingual teamwork and cross-cultural enlightenment to subvert expectations.

— There’s a teaser trailer out for “Encanto,” the upcoming movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios featuring songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and as its name promises, the magic is strong with this one.

BUSINESS

Hollywood is known for comebacks. Now the neighborhood is working on its own, trying to encourage rebounds for real estate, restaurants and stores.

— COVID-19 ravaged L.A.'s restaurants. Will permanently allowing outdoor dining help save them?

SPORTS

— Fans were banned from the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics, which will open in two weeks, after the city was put under a state of emergency.

Julio Urías gave the pitching-stressed Dodgers a lift in 6-1 victory over the Marlins.

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

— The pandemic broke the state’s unemployment department. And it’s still not fixed, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— One of the most damaging legacies of the Trump presidency may be that it persuaded people with absolutely no qualifications that they could and should run for public office, writes columnist Nicholas Goldberg.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— In an exclusive essay, Naomi Osaka details why she puts mental health first — and her plans for Tokyo. (Time)

— In 2017, the New Yorker published a short story called “Cat Person” that quickly went viral. One woman spent years wondering why it felt too familiar. (Slate)

ONLY IN L.A.

Meet Sheryl Calipusan Ung, Janessa Molina Maquindang and Melissa Limbago, the Filipina American cousins behind L.A.'s effortlessly cool FlyPlant Shop. They founded the shop in June 2020 with a passion for helping plant parents — or, as the FlyPlant ladies call them, “fly plant mamas and papas” — care for their urban jungle.

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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