Today’s Headlines: Newsom’s record depends on progress on current problems, meeting future needs

California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Newsom unveils his proposed 2022-2023 state budget during a news conference in Sacramento on Monday.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Hello, it’s Thursday, Jan. 13, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California’s overflowing coffers hand Newsom ‘every politician’s dream’

There seems to be nothing standing in the way of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Another year of gushing tax revenue ensures that the politics of plenty will continue to define his first four years in office. A Legislature teeming with Democrats and his easy defeat of the recall election have made him even more powerful.

Newsom’s allies say his good fortune provides him a rare opportunity to focus on creating a better California for future generations. But amid a recent statewide spate of smash-and-grab retail thefts, a worsening homelessness crisis and other pressing issues, Newsom’s record as governor will hinge on whether he can make progress on today’s problems and meet the needs of tomorrow.


More politics

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination to serve as U.S. ambassador to India was confirmed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  • On Tuesday, California Democrats’ single-payer healthcare plan passed its first hurdle. But it also faces significant bipartisan challenges moving forward.
  • Two Senate Republican incumbents announced last weekend that they planned to run again — and their races provide a look at the opposing efforts the GOP is taking in regard to Donald Trump as it fights to recapture the Senate majority.
  • The Senate was barreling toward a showdown on voting rights legislation and rules changes, even as Democratic leaders conceded they didn’t yet have the numbers to pass any bills or change the rules to circumvent a GOP filibuster.

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Omicron cuts through U.S. defenses despite Biden’s efforts

Little seems to be slowing Omicron’s spread, despite President Biden’s insistence that he’s “confident we are on the right track” as the pandemic enters its third year. Although vaccines are preventing what could have otherwise been a devastating death toll, hospitals are being pushed to their limits.

In big cities, hospitals are reporting hundreds or thousands of workers out sick with COVID-19 each week. California’s healthcare system is expected to face continued stress in the coming weeks. But some state leaders and others have also expressed guarded optimism that Omicron’s meteoric rise may be met with an equally quick fall.


Meanwhile, Americans are frustrated with confusing public health guidance, the struggle to find tests and renewed uncertainty over whether schools will keep their classrooms open. Biden plans to update the country on his administration’s efforts today, a speech that comes as his administration faces escalating criticism from health experts and even some former advisors.

More top coronavirus headlines

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

A blood shortage forced the trauma center at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to close for hours

Blood shortages forced the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to shut down the trauma center at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center to new patients for more than two hours on Monday, officials at the county department said Wednesday. The trauma center had to reach out to other hospitals in the DHS system for blood to reopen.

Health officials said the county has not closed a trauma center to patients because of inadequate blood supplies in more than 30 years. They also said the critical shortage in blood, combined with surging hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients and staff shortages, could affect how hospitals can care for the public “in much more serious ways” than the surge last winter, resulting in canceled surgeries and delayed care for people in need.


Almost a third of Asian Americans in the San Gabriel Valley have experienced anti-Asian hate

Nearly a third of Asian Americans in the San Gabriel Valley said they or their family members have experienced anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic, with most incidents involving verbal attacks, a new survey found. Nearly half of those surveyed said they feel less safe than before the pandemic, and the majority said they are more “vigilant and defensive” when they leave home.

Of those who are parents, about half said they are concerned about their children being the victims of racist bullying or insults at school. The San Gabriel Valley is home to more than a half-million Asian Americans — one of the highest concentrations in the United States.

‘I really thought I was gonna die’: Patrisse Cullors is healing after quitting BLM

Patrisse Cullors had endured threats and criticism for years, but the turning point came in April 2021, when news outlets reported that Cullors had been on a personal “million-dollar real estate buying binge.” She was denounced by the usual critics on the right. But the stories also generated anger from inside the movement, including from family members of people killed by police.

Cullors denounced the reports as misleading but stepped down from the Black Lives Matter Global Network a month later. Five weeks after that, in July, she entered treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, six months since that day, Cullors, 38, is still recovering from the experience and says she’s still committed to Black lives.


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A long open space with an arched ceiling and a glass wall.
The Audrey Irmas Pavilion is a new event space for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

She really wanted to like it. The Times’ Carolina Miranda, author of our sister newsletter Essential Arts, reviews the new Audrey Irmas Pavilion, “a leaning and gleaming 55,000-square-foot event space for Koreatown’s Wilshire Boulevard Temple.”

Miranda writes: “Is there a compound word that describes the feeling of alienation induced by really wanting to embrace a new piece of architecture but being viscerally unable to do so? A disarchpointment? A designchantment? A stuporstructure?”


Newsom announces a plan to deal with extreme heat. The plan includes recommendations on monitoring deaths caused by heat waves and the possible establishment of temperature limits for residential units.

Black Lives Matter activists sue L.A. over protest crackdown outside the mayor’s home. The activists said their demonstration, held in opposition to Garcetti getting a job in Biden’s administration, was entirely peaceful. Still, they said, Los Angeles Police Department officers violently stormed into the crowd and began assaulting people.


‘Suspicious’ fire in San Diego scorches home of former legislator Lorena Gonzalez. Gonzalez, San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and their children got out safely after waking up to smoke alarms at about 4 a.m. Wednesday and finding the front door of their home “engulfed in flames.”

Real estate heiress settles a wrongful-death suit brought by her ex-boyfriend’s family. Tiffany Li, whose family made a fortune in real estate construction in China, was acquitted of murder charges in 2019 in the death of the father of her children. The announcement caps off a series of events that prosecutors say started April 28, 2016, at a pancake restaurant and resulted in Keith Green’s death.

L.A. City Council will consider renaming a street in singer Vicente Fernández’s honor. Los Angeles City Council Member Kevin de León introduced a motion to rename Bailey Street between 1st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in honor of the man known as El Rey, the king of ranchera.

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Jan. 6 panel requests an interview from GOP leader Kevin McCarthy. The request comes as the panel shifts its focus to former President Trump’s inner circle — and what he was doing as hundreds of his supporters brutally beat police, stormed the building and interrupted the certification of Biden’s victory.

The lawsuit against Prince Andrew will go ahead despite an old legal settlement with Jeffrey Epstein. A judge has, for now, refused to dismiss the lawsuit by an American woman who says Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17. Andrew’s lawyers had said the lawsuit lacked specificity and was disqualified by the deal she reached in 2009 with lawyers for Epstein.


Ten years later, the Costa Concordia disaster is still vivid for survivors. Today, Italy is marking the 10th anniversary of the disaster with a daylong commemoration that will end with a candlelit vigil near the moment the ship hit the reef: 9:45 p.m. Jan. 13, 2012.

The late Sen. Harry Reid was remembered Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. Reid was remembered as a “legendary leader,” a hardscrabble Democrat who rose from poverty in a dusty Nevada mining town to deliver landmark legislation from the chamber’s most powerful position. Biden paid silent tribute, stopping by briefly as Reid lay in state at the Capitol Rotunda.


‘Rust’ armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed sues weapons provider on the Alec Baldwin film. Gutierrez Reed alleges the weapons provider supplied a mismarked box of ammunition containing live rounds to the set, contributing to the deadly accident involving actor Baldwin.

The nominations for the 2022 SAG Awards are here. Leading the film nominees this year are “House of Gucci” and “The Power of the Dog,” while “Ted Lasso” and “Succession” are tied for most TV nominations. “Squid Game” also made history as the first non-English-language TV series and the first Korean series to score a nomination. Plus: what the surprises and snubs mean for the Oscars.

Harry Styles, Kanye West and Billie Eilish are set to headline Coachella 2022. The show will mark the first time Coachella has taken place in three years, after the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ronnie Spector, ‘60s girl-group icon who sang ‘Be My Baby,’ dies at 78. Spector died Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer, her family said. “Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face.”



U.S. consumer prices soared 7% in the last year. The jump marks the highest inflation rate since 1982 and the latest evidence that rising costs for food, rent and other necessities are heightening the financial pressures on America’s households.

Christmas was saved from the supply-chain bottleneck. The next challenge: Lunar New Year. A fresh surge of cargo from Chinese manufacturers is expected to flood U.S. ports before Chinese businesses close up to celebrate the Year of the Tiger starting Feb 1.

Roku doubles down on L.A. as it makes a big programming push. The free, ad-supported service started small, offering nearly 500 hours of licensed programming. Now the industry’s fifth most popular streaming service is making a big push into original programming.


Lakers re-sign Sekou Doumbouya to a two-way contract. Doumbouya, a former first-round pick for Detroit in 2019, played two games with the Lakers earlier this season before the team released him after a foot injury. To make room for Doumbouya, the Lakers waived rookie center Jay Huff.

Hungry for success, Tyger Campbell’s three-point plan is a winning recipe for UCLA. Like a layer in his namesake sandwich at Fat Sal’s, Campbell has added one ingredient that was missing from his repertoire: a trustworthy three-pointer.

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Listen to the neighbors of homeless encampments. We aren’t just grousing. Our city leaders and “experts” say that the surge of homelessness is caused by housing costs and scarcity, but they do not see what we see. These people are suffering, and the situation is dangerous for everyone around.

What failed U.S.-North Korea nuclear talks can teach us about negotiating with Iran. If you think a nuclear North Korea is a problem, Iran with the bomb will be so much worse. Recent events have proved how important nuclear talks are.


What does L.A.’s cannabis landscape look like in 2022? What trends and factors will shape the look and feel of the local weed scene?

Although there are about as many opinions as there are places to legally buy a bag of bud in L.A. County, five industry insiders offer their predictions: more big dispensaries and fewer smaller ones, experimental offerings, entertainment and more.


A dog stands atop the witness stand in court. A man in a suit holds his leash.
Jan. 13, 1939: Ernest Osborne stands in the witness box with King, a 160-pound St. Bernard.
(Los Angeles Times)

Eighty-three years ago, King the dog stood accused of severely injuring a customer while the man was being forcibly ejected from a downtown Los Angeles cafe owned by Ernest Osborne, King’s owner.

The Times wrote: “‘Well, I’ll be doggoned,’ might have been the words of King, 160-pound St. Bernard dog, yesterday as he learned of the verdict in Superior Court acquitting him as an accomplice in a damage action.” The judge said King “was only protecting his master.”


We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at — Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey, Amy Hubbard