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Today’s Headlines: L.A. Unified pushes back its student vaccine mandate

Man sits with his son as he gets a COVID-19  shot
Aidan Williams sits with son Ocean, 5, as he gets a COVID-19 vaccination.
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Dec. 15, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

LAUSD won’t enforce its vaccine mandate until fall 2022

The Los Angeles school board agreed to push back enforcement of its student COVID-19 vaccination mandate from Jan. 10 to the fall. The decision came after about 28,000 students failed to comply and, under the rules, would be barred from in-person schooling and enrolled in independent study.

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Incoming Supt. Alberto Carvalho weighed in on the issue during a news conference in L.A., calling the move “the right decision” considering the fluid circumstances of the pandemic and high vaccination rate — 87% of L.A. Unified students 12 and older have shown proof of vaccination.

More top coronavirus headlines

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

The California Medical Board routinely reinstates doctors who sexually abuse patients

A Times investigation found 10 California doctors since 2013 who successfully regained their licenses after losing them for sexual misconduct. The state medical board reinstated more than half of all sex abusers who sought to get their licenses back. This is a rate significantly higher than for doctors who lost their licenses for all other reasons, a Times review of board data found.

Any sexual contact with patients violates a physician’s code of ethics as laid out by the American Medical Assn. and violates California law. But the board has wide latitude when considering applications for reinstatement. That process focuses on the doctor’s rehabilitation, usually with the testimony of therapists hired by the doctors, and no input from the patients who were harmed, The Times found.

Other healthcare stories

A federal appeals court won’t allow the reversal of Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy

In a Monday night ruling, a federal appeals court dealt another blow to the Biden administration’s attempt to undo former President Trump’s policy requiring people seeking asylum in the United States to remain in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed.

The administration had appealed the August decision but also began working with Mexico to reimplement the policy while the legal battle continued. Earlier this month, U.S. authorities sent the first two migrants back to Mexico under the reinstated policy.

More politics

  • The House voted to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a special committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, setting the stage for possible criminal prosecution of an advisor to former President Trump.
  • Congress averted a catastrophic debt default early Wednesday morning after Democratic majorities in both chambers voted to send a $2.5-trillion increase in the nation’s borrowing authority to President Biden, over lockstep Republican opposition.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti testified before a congressional panel weighing his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to India. He faced questions over allegations of misconduct by one of the mayor’s advisors.
  • Garcetti’s office employees play a key role in the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles. But some good-governance experts say the city needs to be more transparent about solicitations sought by city employees.

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

Atrocities mount under Myanmar’s junta

The recent slaughter of 11 villagers in northwestern Myanmar adds to a lengthening list of horrors committed by the military junta, which seized power in a Feb. 1 coup. The victims’ ages ranged from 14 to 40 and included four 17-year-olds, according to a list of the dead released by Myanmar’s shadow civilian government. The oldest victim was paraplegic.

At least 1,300 people have been killed by junta forces, including children and pregnant women, according to the Assistance Assn. for Political Prisoners, a Myanmar-based human rights group. The killings are intensifying as the junta — facing months of condemnation by the international community — is moving to crush resistance.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

 Storm surges pound the sea wall at Cabrillo Beach
The season’s first significant storm arrived in Southern California on Tuesday with a wallop — snarling traffic, delivering gusty winds and dropping a steady deluge of rain and snow across the region.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

As the LAPD struggles to restore its ranks, council members are paying extra for police coverage. Since the start of this fiscal year, when the LAPD was allocated a budget of its own of $1.76 billion, council members have tapped into their own council funds to pay for more than $1.5 million in extra LAPD overtime.

L.A. school board approves contract for Alberto Carvalho. The new Los Angeles schools superintendent promised to bring energy, passion and compassion to his new role, shortly after the school board approved his four-year contract with an annual $440,000 salary.

Seedling by seedling, Joshua trees will rise again in the fire-scorched desert. Even if many survive, they will replace only a fraction of the destroyed trees. But for these volunteers, nurturing new life in the desert is a way for hope to triumph over grief.

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NATION-WORLD

A study finds winter tornadoes will get more powerful as the world warms. Nasty winter tornadoes — like the deadly ones last week that hit five states — are likely to be stronger and stay on the ground longer with a wider swath of destruction in a warming world, experts say.

Michigan suspect’s parents appear in court to face involuntary manslaughter charges. Judge Julie Nicholson granted prosecutors and defense lawyers a request to postpone until Feb. 8 a key hearing that will determine whether James and Jennifer Crumbley will face a trial.

The new Webb telescope could reveal the origins of the universe. The telescope, equipped with the most sophisticated array of stargazing equipment ever assembled, will be able to peer into the farthest reaches of space, some 13.8 billion light-years away. Here’s how it works.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Sorry, haters. ‘No Way Home’ is a joyous valentine to Spider-Man movies and their fans. Directed by Jon Watts, the film strives to pull off something memorable, and largely succeeds, writes Times critic Justin Chang.

How a new wave of Native stories took a ‘sledgehammer’ to Hollywood’s closed doors. In Hollywood, Indigenous artists have been fighting to be seen for over a century. This year has witnessed important strides in Native-led storytelling in TV and film, with unprecedented opportunities for Indigenous talent in front of and behind the camera.

BUSINESS

Don’t try to reach this robocaller. It doesn’t pick up the phone. Like millions of Americans, business columnist David Lazarus gets spam calls almost every day. His quest to look into a North Carolina company illustrates why spam calls are so pervasive — and so difficult to stop.

A $40-million home has surfaced from Suzanne Somers’ empty land in Malibu. It’ll be one of the city’s priciest sales of the year if it gets anywhere close to $40 million, but in a year when Malibu redefined the ceiling of the Southern California real estate market, anything is possible.

SPORTS

Odell Beckham Jr. is among nine Rams players put on reserve/COVID-19 list. Coach Sean McVay said the Rams were in intensive COVID protocols mandated by the NFL and would work remotely Tuesday and Wednesday. The Rams play the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Embracing disability helped Team USA’s Jamal Hill blossom in Tokyo. The 26-year-old won a bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle in August, setting an American record at 25.19 seconds.

The Lakers join the rest of pro sports affected by a spike in COVID-19 cases. As new pandemic fears and anxieties centered on a highly contagious variant, locker rooms around the NBA, NFL and NHL have seen waves of players test positive for the virus.

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OPINION

Trump’s clout with Republican voters seems to be slipping away, writes columnist Jonah Goldberg. Trump still polls well among Republicans, but according to a Pew survey in October, about half don’t want to see him run again.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Texas-style gun ploy is an emotionally satisfying, and very bad, idea. Witnessing Texas’ destruction of women’s rights is no justification for following its path, even in the laudable quest to decrease the proliferation of guns and the consequent and shocking increase in murder and other violent crimes.

ONLY IN L.A.

“Shop till you drop” did not always mean “shop till your phone drops from your trembling, bargain-hunting hand,” writes columnist Patt Morrison. For a very long while, “going shopping” in Los Angeles, especially for the holidays, meant a journey through vast downtown flagship department stores and the centrifugal spread of suburban malls.

While you may remember the mall boom of the 1980s, L.A.'s love of cathedrals of commerce started much earlier — the great department store era of the 1880s.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Bullet mark on Joan Bennett's Cadillac
A dent was made by a bullet glancing off Joan Bennett’s car as her husband met her and her agent in a parking lot.
(Los Angeles Times)

Seventy years ago today, actress Joan Bennett’s third marriage made headlines when her husband, film producer Walter Wanger, shot her Hollywood agent twice in the groin in a Los Angeles parking lot.

The film producer later told police he shot the agent, Jennings Lang, because he believed Lang “was breaking up my home.” But Bennett said Wanger was distraught over finances and denied any romantic relationship with Lang. Wanger was arrested and served a four-month prison sentence for the shooting.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com. — Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey


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