Today’s Headlines: UC system to pay $243.6-million settlement in gynecologist sexual abuse case

Three people walking
Former UCLA gynecologist Dr. James Heaps, right, leaves court in 2019 accompanied by his wife, Deborah Heaps, and attorney Leonard Levine.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Feb. 9, and it’s been two days since St. Louis Post-Dispatch food writer Daniel Neman attempted a dig at Los Angeles Rams fans by claiming that L.A. has no good food. He’s wrong, obviously, and we have proof. The Times’ Food staff, editors and our local friends compiled a list of top food options near SoFi Stadium to cover you for Sunday’s Super Bowl game (and Neman the next time he’s in town).

Even if you’re not going to the game, SoFi Stadium is a pin worth dropping on your digital map as the center of an enriching array of restaurants and eateries. Inglewood, Southwest L.A., Hawthorne, El Segundo and communities a bit farther afield have for decades been generating a culinary map that is uniquely reflective of the various cultures that converge there.


Now, here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today.


Patients who accused a UCLA doctor of sexual abuse to share settlement

The University of California system has agreed to pay $243.6 million to settle a lawsuit by more than 200 women, some of them cancer patients, who alleged they were sexually abused by a former UCLA gynecologist. The agreement covers 203 former patients who have sued over the conduct of Dr. James Heaps. It comes on top of a $73-million class-action settlement involving more than 5,000 patients from 1983 to 2018.

The settlement does not cover more than 300 patients who are continuing to sue. Heaps is also facing criminal charges involving seven of those patients. Some women who said they were abused by Heaps called the settlement a vindication after complaining about the doctor for years and seeing little done.

Omicron hobbles California’s new Medicaid prescription system

On Jan. 1, the state handed control of its Medicaid drug program, known as Medi-Cal Rx, to Magellan Health, which is administering prescription drug coverage for California’s 14 million Medicaid patients, most of whom previously got their medications from about two dozen managed-care plans.

But Magellan has tripped up implementation. It didn’t anticipate that calls to its help center would take so long, and a large number of call center workers have been sickened during the Omicron surge — with 100 of 220 absent during the first two weeks of January, state officials said. Magellan also didn’t get some data it needed from managed-care plans.

This has left Californians from Redding to Oceanside without their medications for days, sometimes weeks.

More top coronavirus headlines:

  • Los Angeles County is probably weeks away from lifting its indoor mask mandate, and at the latest could ease the order by the end of April.
  • A general easing of coronavirus rules is set for Feb. 15 — when California is poised to lift mask mandates for vaccinated residents in indoor public places. But state officials did not announce what will happen in schools.
  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday moved to take COVID-19 vaccine mandate enforcement responsibilities away from Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has repeatedly said he would not fire deputies who refuse to get vaccinated.

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

Silicon Valley’s tech monopoly is over. Is the future in Austin, Texas?

Elon Musk’s decision to move Tesla’s headquarters to Austin may signal gathering clouds on the horizon of California’s economic future. For the present, things are still looking bright for the state. For years, California has suffered a net out-migration of people to Texas. But the losses in population tended to be at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, and the state has grown steadily richer despite the large outflows of people.

What worries some economists and other analysts is that this favorable pattern may be starting to change. Tesla was one of an accelerating number of California companies, including other big tech names such as Oracle and HP Enterprise, that have relocated their headquarters to Texas.

L.A. wants to ban bike sales and repairs on city streets. Critics say it targets homeless people

Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino, who is running for mayor and has focused his campaign on public safety and addressing homeless encampments, introduced the motion in the fall targeting bicycle “chop shops.” He said the city shouldn’t be sending the message that a right of way can be blocked, noting that large collections of bikes in homeless encampments have made it hard for people to walk.

On Tuesday, the City Council voted 10-4 to ask City Atty. Mike Feuer to draft a law prohibiting bikes from being repaired or sold on streets or sidewalks. But critics of the move noted that bicycle theft is already illegal and called it a thinly veiled attempt to criminalize people living in encampments.

More politics:

  • Millions of U.S. taxpayers could face delays in having their tax returns processed by the IRS and in receiving their refunds, according to the nation’s taxpayer advocate.
  • Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell said it was “not the job” of the Republican National Committee to censure Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for participating in the House investigation of the Capitol attack.
  • Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, on Tuesday was evacuated from a Washington high school after school officials received a bomb threat.
  • Los Angeles mayoral candidate U.S. Rep. Karen Bass unveiled her public safety plan on Tuesday. If elected, she would move 250 police officers out of desk jobs and into patrols, she said.
  • Downtown business leader Jessica Lall ended her brief Los Angeles mayoral campaign on Tuesday.

Get the lowdown on L.A. politics. In this pivotal election year, we’ll break down the ballot and tell you why it matters in our L.A. on the Record newsletter. Sign up here.

‘The Power of the Dog’ — and the power of streaming — dominates the Oscar nominations

Battered and weary after navigating two years of pandemic, Hollywood soldiered on with one of its most hallowed traditions Tuesday morning, unveiling nominations for the 94th Academy Awards.

Academy voters found plenty worth celebrating from the past year, spreading their love to films and performances across a wide range of genres. “Don’t Look Up” and “The Power of the Dog” powered Netflix to 27 Oscar nominations, the most of any studio, reflecting a year when streaming was again the dominant force in Hollywood.

The awards are scheduled for March 27.

More about the Oscar nominations:

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At an oceanside basketball court, a person sits on a car. A person shoots a basketball from the open sunroof of another.
Shooting hoops and creating content: Social media stars Tyler Currie, left, and Anthony Hamilton Jr. record a one-on-one basketball competition, via cars, Monday at Angels Gate Park in San Pedro.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)


City outlines $5 million in recovery funds for the community where LAPD exploded fireworks. The blast occurred after the LAPD seized a stash of illegal fireworks from a home and miscalculated its explosive power before detonating it in a blast containment vehicle — destroying that vehicle and nearly 40 others, damaging 35 properties and injuring 17 people.

A judge tosses a case against three LAPD officers charged in a gang labeling scandal. In reaching his decision, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor noted that the officers had been accused of misrepresenting evidence in a single case, “not a pattern” of offenses, as are three other LAPD officers who have been charged in another case.

L.A. temporarily halts the impounding of vehicles with five or more unpaid tickets. The move came in response to a federal judge’s ruling against the city in a lawsuit brought by Breonnah Fitzpatrick last year. The Koreatown resident accused parking officials of wrongfully impounding her Toyota Yaris for about $9,000 worth of unpaid citations.

Turkeys are trashing a NASA research center in Silicon Valley, so they’re getting the boot. Though the birds have lived there for several years, a group of them has been wreaking havoc, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Cars, gardens, even people have fallen victim to the birds’ aggression.

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A Michigan teenager accused of a mass shooting and his mother texted about the gun day before the shooting. The text was one of several between Jennifer and Ethan Crumbley on Nov. 29, after school officials left a voicemail informing her that the 15-year-old was looking up ammunition on his phone.

France’s Macron says Putin told him Russia will not escalate the Ukraine crisis. French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks during a visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, came after Moscow denied reports that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had struck a deal on de-escalating the crisis. Macron and Putin met earlier this week.

What’s Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Europe? U.S. President Biden has threatened to block the undersea pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine. It directly links Russian gas to Europe via Germany and is complete but not yet operating.


How accurate is history of New York’s Black elite in ‘The Guilded Age’? We checked. In an unusual twist for this kind of society tale, “The Gilded Age” follows the Scotts, a prominent Black family from Brooklyn. The show’s creator turned to Black writers and historians to get the story right.

Super Bowl halftime dancers’ $15-an-hour contract is ‘a disappointment,’ advocates say. Treatment of volunteers — who include aspiring dancers, actors, singers and musicians recruited from local drill teams as well as theatrical, community and athletic groups — emerged as a flashpoint in the dance community last month.


Football came to Inglewood. Home prices and rents jumped. Home sellers profit from area development, including SoFi Stadium, site of Super Bowl 2022. Rents are up, too. Now, the city is less affordable.

In the streaming era, Super Bowl commercials will be working overtime. More young viewers prefer watching video entertainment online — preferably without commercial interruptions. Those commercials now need to be conversation starters that can engage consumers who will spread advertisers’ messages on social media.

A controversial home-ownership model is gaining steam again in L.A. — with a twist. An L.A. developer has a new approach to the so-called tenancy-in-common, or TIC, model, in which residents share ownership of the property. Instead of converting old, rent-controlled buildings into TIC properties, the developer is replacing single-family homes with new townhomes.


Trevor Bauer will not face criminal charges following sexual assault allegation. After a five-month review of the Pasadena police investigation into allegations of sexual assault against him, the Dodgers pitcher will not face criminal charges, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office determined Tuesday. The decision does not mean Bauer has been cleared to rejoin the Dodgers.

L.A. emerges as a vibrant and unexpected hotspot for curling. In the land of the Rams and Dodgers, curling has been a passion for growing numbers of Southern Californians. The game, which originated in ancient Scotland, has evolved a unique culture and language.

Why the NFL doesn’t hire Black coaches. Seventy percent of the NFL’s players are Black, yet the league has only two Black head coaches. A lawsuit asks why.

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So much for nonpartisan. Republican Supreme Court justices are helping to elect Republicans. It is hard to understand the court’s ruling Monday to reinstate a congressional district map drawn by the Alabama Legislature as anything other than an effort by the conservative justices to help Republicans in the midterms.

SoCalGas used customers’ money for pro-fossil-fuel advocacy, again. That’s shameful. State regulators want to impose a $9.8-million fine on the gas company for violating a 2018 order that it stop using customer money to fund advocacy work against stronger energy efficiency standards.


A view of a grand staircase entryway at SoFi Stadium illuminated in blue light at night.
The curving entrance that leads to the upper concourse of SoFi Stadium.
(Nic Lehoux / HKS)

The best places to be — architecturally speaking — at SoFi Stadium. During Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, SoFi Stadium will be seen by an expected 145 million viewers. The 3.1-million-square-foot stadium — the largest in the NFL — has plenty of wow factor. But there’s more to see than what’s on the field.

Carolina Miranda, author of sister newsletter Essential Arts, looks at five super-cool spots to seek out in the stadium. Here’s one: Go to the northern entrance, off Touchdown Drive, where the ride-hailing drop-off point is. “Here, a broad curving staircase sweeps up under the bend of the roof to the upper concourse.” The escalator alongside the stairs provides one of the best rides in L.A. “On a clear day you can see all the way to the Hollywood Hills and downtown. ... Once you’ve reached the upper concourse, you can keep admiring the views from the Pacifico Patio. Who needs a game when there’s architecture and beer?”


The hoods of cars stick out from the edge of a collapsed floor or wall.
Feb. 10, 1971: Crushed cars in the aftermath of the Sylmar earthquake.
(Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

Fifty-one years ago today, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck the northeast San Fernando Valley. The Times reported on Feb. 10, 1971: “The worst earthquake since 1933 struck Southern California a massive blow 42 seconds after 6 a.m. Tuesday, awakening millions to a day of disaster.”

Buildings collapsed at two hospitals, and 40,000 were ordered to evacuate the area below the threatened Lower Van Norman Dam in the Valley. A dozen overpass bridges fell into freeway lanes, and broken gas lines touched off hundreds of fires. Gov. Ronald Reagan declared L.A. County a disaster area.

The death toll from the Sylmar earthquake was 64 but could have been catastrophically worse had the dam not held, The Times’ Doug Smith reported in 2021, on the 50th anniversary of the disaster. The quake “managed to wake California up to a danger that was largely unrecognized. The modern era of earthquake awareness and preparedness is deeply rooted in Sylmar.”

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