Today’s Headlines: L.A. workers have more time to get COVID shots, but it’ll cost ’em


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


L.A. City Council OKs plan that cuts unvaccinated city workers more slack

Los Angeles police officers, firefighters and other city workers who have yet to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will have more time to get the shots under a plan approved by the City Council.

City workers who haven’t followed the requirements by Dec. 18 will face “corrective action,” according to the plan. Until then, unvaccinated workers will have to get tested twice a week for the coronavirus, on their own time and at the cost of $65 per test deducted from their paychecks, according to the approved plan.


More coronavirus news

— An FDA advisory panel endorsed kid-sized doses of the shots made by Pfizer and BioNTech for ages 5 to 11.

— Documents shows that in the midst of the pandemic, Facebook carefully investigated how its platforms spread misinformation about lifesaving vaccines. They also reveal that rank-and-file employees regularly suggested solutions for countering antivaccine misinformation on the site, to no avail.

— Officials in Northern California closed a second Bay Area In-N-Out Burger after employees repeatedly failed to check customers eating indoors for proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result.

— Drugmaker Moderna says it will make up to 110 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine available to African countries.


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

What does record-breaking rain mean for Southern California’s fire season?

The record rain that fell this week could mean the end of fire season for much of Northern California, experts said, but conditions in the Southland remain tenuous. The region’s prime fire months often come later, with huge blazes of the past burning into November and December.

Villanueva ordered to testify in Vanessa Bryant lawsuit

A federal judge ordered Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to testify under oath in a lawsuit brought by Vanessa Bryant alleging that deputies shared gruesome photos of the crash scene where her husband, Kobe Bryant, daughter Gigi and seven others died.

The judge said Villanueva, along with L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, appeared to have “unique firsthand, non-repetitive knowledge” relevant to the case.

Baldwin’s role as producer scrutinized

The specific duties Alec Baldwin may have taken on as producer for the western “Rust” have come under scrutiny in the wake of the death of Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot by a prop gun fired by the actor on the movie’s set outside of Santa Fe, N.M.

Meanwhile, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham suggested that the state might adopt stricter safety protocols for productions filming there.

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— Assaults on law enforcement officers increased nationwide in 2020, and Los Angeles reported the most attacks on police officers in the line of duty in the past decade, according to federal and state data.

— The application window for a $1,000-a-month cash assistance program in Los Angeles, run by City Hall, kicks off Friday. L.A. is the biggest city in the nation to launch such an initiative.

— In a tiny corner of far Northern California, extreme water scarcity was a concerted government effort to “choke out” a problem that had vexed Siskiyou County officials for years: the illicit, large-scale cultivation of marijuana in a single subdivision that is largely Asian. Is it racism or crime crackdown?

— California has given away at least $20 billion to criminals in the form of fraudulent unemployment benefits, state officials said Monday, confirming a number smaller than originally feared but one that still accounted for more than 11% of all benefits paid since the start of the pandemic.

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— Many of Afghanistan’s journalists have fled. Those who remain face a harsh new world. The Taliban has issued edicts that are likely to smother what few independent media outlets survived the collapse of the U.S.-backed government.

— Justice Department officials announced the arrests of 150 people and the seizure of more than $30 million in an international investigation targeting drug trafficking on the darknet.

— Japan’s Princess Mako quietly married a commoner. Her marriage to Kei Komuro cost Mako her royal status.

— A cyberattack crippled gas stations across Iran, leaving angry motorists stranded in long lines.


— President Biden headed to Virginia to campaign for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a tight and increasingly bitter governor’s race, a test of the president’s popularity in a state he won handily a year ago.

— Biden is going to Rome for the G20 summit. What is the G20 going to do about COVID-19? Will there be new climate commitments? Plus other crucial questions we’re hoping to answer.

— In the scramble to scale back their massive social-safety-net spending bill, Democrats are discussing cuts to funds for homelessness, public housing, racial inequities in homeownership and renters’ assistance. The proposed cuts have set off a West Coast-East Coast tug-of-war.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.


A photo portrait of Questlove.
Questlove, Ahmir Khalib Thompson, poses for a portrait at the Whitby Hotel in New York. The musician’s book “Music Is History” is now out. The Times said of his music history savvy: “Questlove is a human Wikipedia, a 6-foot-2 World Book, a one-man Library of Congress. He doesn’t search Google, Google searches him.”
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)


— The “Dune” sequel has been greenlighted. That’s good news for those who would like to have seen more of top-billed star Zendaya. Many fans were miffed that the actor was in only seven (count ’em) of the film’s 155 minutes.

— TV is still failing Latinos. UCLA’s latest Hollywood Diversity Report confirms that representation in Hollywood remains abysmal.

— As Grammy voting begins, Gen Z acts are favorites. But could a 95-year-old take the top prize?

— Colin Kaepernick’s fingerprints are all over his Netflix biopic — even what it leaves out.


— The developer of “The One” mega-mansion filed for bankruptcy protection in a last-minute bid to stop a scheduled auction of the estate. The 105,000-square-foot Bel-Air property is the largest modern home in the United States.

— The union representing film and TV crews has reached an agreement with the major studios on a new contract covering 20,000 workers outside of Los Angeles and New York City.


— Jorge Soler powered the Braves to a smashing start in the World Series. Making his first start since testing positive for COVID-19, Soler became the first player to begin a World Series with a home run. Atlanta, despite the loss of pitcher Charlie Morton to a broken leg, hushed the Houston Astros 6-2 on Tuesday night in Game 1.

— The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani was honored with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award for his unprecedented two-way performance this season. It was the first time since 2014 the award had been handed out.

— The grind to repeat as champions proved too much for the Dodgers. An uncharacteristic lack of organizational depth, combined with bad injury timing, a relentless schedule and faulty pitching plans, left them limping to the finish line.

— The Chicago Blackhawks mishandled allegations that an assistant coach sexually assaulted a player during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010, according to an investigation commissioned by the franchise. General manager Stan Bowman resigned in the wake of the findings, and the NHL fined the team $2 million.

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— Does Hollywood need to use real guns to tell good stories? No, it doesn’t.

— As Confederate statues fall, we should build monuments to Black heroes at risk of being forgotten, writes journalism professor Howard W. French.

— Don’t expect the gun-drunk conservatives mocking Alec Baldwin to feel shame, writes columnist Robin Abcarian. They have none.


An oil tank made to look like a jack-o-lantern sits by an oil tank made to look like a Dodgers jersey.
This year, it’s Smilin’ Jack plus a salute to the Dodgers at the Wilmington refinery.
(Andrew Camacho / Phillips 66)

A 1965 photo of the decorated oil tank in Wilmington in Tuesday’s newsletter spurred a reminder from the PR folks at Phillips 66 of an only-in-L.A. Halloween event. At the annual drive-through at the refinery at 1660 W. Anaheim St., you can get your picture taken with Smilin’ Jack and take home some caramel popcorn (while supplies last). The event is Thursday and Friday, from 6 to 9 p.m.


A child talks into an old fashioned telephone.
On Halloween 1935, Guyline McCoy makes a call. The Times’ caption said the 2-year-old was a “lost child.” We hope a candlestick-telephone call to the folks did the trick.
(Los Angeles Times)

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