Today’s Headlines: California’s costly recall sparks a push for change


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California’s costly, confusing recall sparks an effort to rethink the rules

The rules governing recall elections in California will be subject to new scrutiny and possible changes. Though election returns remained incomplete after Tuesday’s contest, recall supporters found their effort millions of votes short with projections that Newsom easily won enough support to complete the final year of his current term.

California lawmakers agreed to spend at least $276 million in the most recent state budget to cover the costs of the recall, but some elections officials have estimated the final tab will be closer to $300 million.


Some lawmakers said they intend to launch a bipartisan effort by early next year to review the existing procedures governing statewide recalls, and a number of ideas to reform the process that have been offered in recent weeks by academics and constitutional experts. Any substantive change would have to be approved by California voters at the statewide primary or general election next year.

L.A. columnist Mark Z. Barabak says the recall election was a complete and utter waste. With $276 million down the drain, it’s time to revamp the California recall.

More California politics

— There are many ballots yet to be counted, but Gov. Newsom has an overwhelming lead. Here’s where and how he won the election.

— An off-year recall election in a deep-blue state like California can’t tell us how midterm elections nationwide will turn out. But there are plenty of lessons about the state of national politics to learn from Newsom’s sweeping victory Tuesday night, such as former President Trump still wins elections — for Democrats.

— Though Newsom can rightly boast that a sizable majority of voters want him to finish the term to which he was elected in 2018, the election returns offer no such mandate for his style of governing. Will he take any lessons from it?


— Smith: Trump branded the GOP a party of racists. Larry Elder as standard-bearer won’t help. Here’s why.

— There’s only one other person who has been through the bizarre experience that Gavin Newsom just went through, and that’s Gray Davis. Columnist Nicholas Goldberg shares what he has to say now.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting, including full coverage of the recall election and the latest action in Sacramento.

L.A. County plans to require proof of vaccination at indoor bars

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges in Los Angeles County under a forthcoming health order aimed at further armoring the region against the pandemic.

The mandate, which will be issued by Friday, will require patrons and employees to have at least one vaccine dose by Oct. 7 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Though there are indications that the latest surge is losing some steam, officials are already turning a wary eye to the fall and winter.

More top coronavirus headlines

— Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about COVID-19 lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases.

— Influential government advisors will debate Friday if there’s enough proof that a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective — the first step toward deciding which Americans need one and when. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday posted much of the evidence its advisory panel will consider.

— The results in California’s historic recall election are in, and Gov. Gavin Newsom survived. A closer look at the county-level results, which are still preliminary as late-arriving mail ballots are tallied, reveals a strong relationship between the governor’s support and COVID-19 vaccination rates.

— Twitter didn’t lock Nicki Minaj’s account amid brewing backlash over her cringe-worthy vaccine tweets.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

KNP Complex fire burns within mile of Giant Forest

Extensive growth of the KNP Complex fire tearing through Sequoia National Park prompted evacuations for portions of the foothills community of Three Rivers, and it has risen to a top firefighting priority as containment remained elusive.

Composed of the lightning-sparked Paradise and Colony fires, which ignited Thursday amid regional thunderstorms, the blaze had ballooned to 7,039 acres with 0% containment by Wednesday.

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Twenty-five years ago today was a banner year for Southern California theme parks, which in turn boosted the regional tourism market.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland reported record crowds the summer of 1996, with predictions for the best-ever attendance figures for 1996. Meanwhile, Los Angeles County hotels were having their best year since 1989, and some tour groups were even having trouble finding enough charter buses to handle all the sightseers.

“People have decided it’s OK to come back here now,” said tourism researcher Melissa Mills of San Francisco-based PKF Consulting. “We haven’t had a disaster now in a year.”

A view of Sleeping Beauty Castle from Main Street at Disneyland
A view of Sleeping Beauty Castle down Main Street at Disneyland as crowds roam the theme park in Anaheim.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)


— At least four more Los Angeles police officers are suspected by prosecutors of putting false gang information on field interview cards, according to an internal record from the L.A. County district attorney’s office.

— A Los Angeles Fire Department captain severely burned in a May 2020 explosion inside a downtown L.A. warehouse has sued the owners of the building and a vaping supply shop housed there, accusing them of hazardous activity, premise liability and negligence.

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— Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles told Congress on Wednesday that “enough is enough” in emotional testimony along with other Olympic gymnasts about her sexual abuse at the hands of USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Biles blamed not only the gymnastics organization but also federal law enforcement.

— Spurred by the pandemic, congressional Democrats are proposing a foundational shift in how the nation pays for child care — placing responsibility largely on taxpayers rather than parents, as dozens of other wealthy countries have.

— The Justice Department has asked a federal court in Texas to stop the enforcement of a new state law that bans most abortions in the state while it decides the case.

— The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday criticized South Korea’s president and threatened a “complete destruction” of bilateral relations after both countries tested ballistic missiles hours apart.


— Clint Eastwood confronts his own legacy — again — in the creaky, meandering “Cry Macho,” writes film critic Justin Chang.

— Psychedelic therapy is a key part of Hulu’s limited series “Nine Perfect Strangers.” Director Jonathan Levine hopes the show can help it go mainstream.

— Mank’s grandson tells all in a new book, a tragic portrait of the screenwriting brothers Mankiewicz. Nick Davis offers a tasty combination of film history, family album and psychological study.

— CBS’ forthcoming series “The Activist” has already received significant backlash. Co-host Julianne Hough responded this week, thanking her critics for their “voices” and “candor.”


— Rivian Automotive Inc., the electric pickup maker backed by Inc., says it has received full regulatory certifications and can start delivering its first electric vehicle to U.S. customers.

— A billionaire, a physician assistant, a geoscience professor and an engineer rocketed to space aboard a SpaceX capsule in the latest milestone for the commercial space industry — the first time an entire crew of people who aren’t professional astronauts reached orbit.


— Donte Williams’ coaching status is interim; his place in USC history is permanent.

— Commentary: Dave Roberts, best manager ever? Numbers back up the notion.

— San Pedro football standout Robert Sarmiento, who is unrelenting as a receiver, defensive back and returner, will make you shake your head in astonishment: “I’m that roach you can’t kill.”

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— Here’s why California doesn’t need a bill requiring gender-neutral toy sections.

— A COVID diary: My Black family’s struggle with vaccine hesitancy.


Brewer James Jin moves with great purpose — it’s almost a dance — as he takes care of business at Nova Brewing Co., the only craft sake brewery and tasting room in the Los Angeles area. There’s science and data involved, but Jin seems to approach the brewing more as an art, smashing a few steaming grains of rice between his gloved fingers to see its “heart.” While doing his best to honor traditional Japanese brewing methods, Jin is determined to create a style unique to Southern California.

Today’s newsletter was curated by Seth Liss and Laura Blasey. Comments or ideas? Email us at