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Today’s Headlines: 30 years after L.A. riots, poll finds residents deeply pessimistic about race relations

An LAPD officer trains his weapon on suspected thieves
A police officer trains his weapon on suspected thieves as another officer handcuffs one on May 1, 1992, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Vermont Avenue.
(Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Thursday, April 28, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

L.A. residents are deeply pessimistic about race relations 30 years after riots

For all the strides that have been made since 1992, many Angelenos believe their city may still be a powder keg, according to a survey by the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University.

Over decades, the percentage of residents who expected another wave of “riots and disturbances” steadily dropped. But this year, 68% said it was either very or somewhat likely that “other riots and disturbances will occur … in the next five years.”

That finding is not a surprise to UCLA history professor Brenda Stevenson, an expert in African American history. The last several years have been a tumultuous time in Los Angeles and beyond.

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Parts of SoCal face a full outdoor watering ban by September if conditions don’t improve

The Metropolitan Water District said the unprecedented decision to reduce outdoor watering to one day a week for about 6 million Southern Californians could be followed by even stricter actions in September if conditions don’t improve, including a total ban in some areas.

The news came as residents of the Southland scrambled to unpack the latest restriction, which will take effect June 1 and apply to areas that depend on water from the State Water Project. The MWD’s board has never before taken such a step, but officials said it became an inevitability after California’s driest ever January, February and March left snowpacks shrunken and reservoirs drained.

Russia cuts gas to Poland and Bulgaria as the West mounts a new arms push

Moscow turned off the natural-gas spigot to the front-line Eastern European nations of Poland and Bulgaria, signaling its willingness to take sharp economic aim at those who aid Ukraine. Russian forces, meanwhile, rained shells in the east as they pressed ahead with their devastating 2-month-old invasion.

Addressing the first such supply disruption since the war’s start, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov strongly hinted that other European economies may be next. He told reporters that if some customers “decline to pay under the new system” Russia has instituted — meaning in rubles instead of dollars or euros — they “of course” could face the same treatment.

More about Ukraine

  • In a country that has harbored deeply pacifist beliefs since the end of World War II, a majority of Germans oppose taking a tougher stance against Russia.

Coronavirus cases climb in California. Will hospitalizations follow?

Coronavirus cases are continuing to grow in California, but it remains unclear whether hospitalizations will also begin to tick upward, as is already happening nationally. California is now reporting an average of about 5,000 new coronavirus infections a day, up nearly 85% from last month.

Statewide, the coronavirus case rate has risen to 95 cases a week for every 100,000 residents. A rate of 100 or more is considered a high rate of transmission — the worst of four categories defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But hospitalizations have yet to follow the same path in California, and in fact are at near-record lows. On Monday, 950 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized statewide.

More top coronavirus headlines

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

Goodbye, L.A. and San Francisco. Hello, Riverside and Central Valley. California moves east

Across the state, Californians are trading city life in major urban centers such as the Bay Area or Los Angeles for suburban and rural communities.

A growing number of families have moved inland over the last few years, data show, but the shift grew even more pronounced amid the pandemic as the barriers to moving dropped for many in large cities, spurred by a newfound ability to work remotely.

Many who move to inland cities say they are drawn by more affordable housing, new job sources and the chance to escape big-city hustle — even if the reality of rural life doesn’t always match glossy Instagram portrayals.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

three people sit wearing blond wigs, gold dresses and holding guitars
At the gentle, joyful ‘Golden Girls’ convention, everyone’s a pal and a confidant. Golden Con welcomed 3,500 fans, many of them in gray wigs and 1980s-inspired dresses, at Chicago’s Navy Pier last weekend to swap trivia, eat cheesecake and listen to an ungodly number of “Thank You for Being a Friend” renditions. Pictured are Read-a-booke, left, Fox E. Kim and Angel Lobear as the Donatello Triplets.
(Lyndon French / For The Times)

CALIFORNIA

California’s malpractice payouts would rise under a deal to avoid a costly ballot fight. The overhaul to a longstanding 1975 law was outlined in a bill in the California Legislature, with the deal requiring that it be signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom before June 28 — the deadline for removing a related measure from the Nov. 8 statewide ballot.

A push to limit offshore oil after an O.C. spill is threatened by high taxpayer costs. An ambitious legislative effort to shut down three offshore oil rigs along the Orange County coast, where beaches and fragile wetlands were soiled after a major spill in October, could be hobbled by concerns over the eventual cost, though the final price tag has not yet been determined.

A year after disappearing, a federal informant in the Trump probe was found dead at an L.A. high school. Valentin Broeksmit was an informant who worked with federal authorities investigating former President Trump’s relationship with the German financial giant Deutsche Bank. He was found dead on a high school campus in the El Sereno neighborhood. There was no evidence of foul play or unusual circumstances, police said.

Charges were dismissed against two more LAPD officers in a gang labeling scandal. L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor dismissed the earlier cases after concluding that the LAPD at the time had vague policies around documenting gang affiliations, allowing officers to report that someone had “self-admitted” to being a gang member based on a range of factors, including tattoos, and not necessarily on actual verbal admissions.

Aiming for ‘zero waste,’ L.A. backs new restrictions on plastic food ware. The City Council unanimously approved more than a dozen measures to tighten restrictions on plastic bags, utensils, food containers and other disposables with the goal of making Los Angeles a “zero waste” city.

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NATION-WORLD

Russia releases a U.S. Marine veteran as part of a dramatic prisoner swap. The surprise deal involving Trevor Reed, an American Marine veteran imprisoned in Moscow who was traded for a convicted Russian drug trafficker, would have been notable even in times of peace, but it was all the more extraordinary with relations between Moscow and Washington at their lowest point in decades.

SpaceX launches NASA astronauts, including the first Black woman on a long-term flight. The company launched four astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, less than two days after completing a flight chartered by millionaires. It’s the first NASA crew composed equally of men and women, including the first Black woman making a long-term spaceflight, Jessica Watkins.

A federal judge halts preparations for the end of the U.S. asylum limit. For now, the decision is a temporary setback for the Biden administration, but the judge staked out a position that is highly sympathetic with Louisiana, Arizona and 19 other states that sued to preserve so-called Title 42 authority, which, on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19, denies migrants a chance at asylum.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Masks are off, COVID rates are up and musicians are once again on edge about touring. For artists and crews on the front lines of the live business, COVID-19 diagnoses can mean weeks of lost work and isolation expenses far from home. From indie acts to major stars, many artists have postponed recent dates after contracting the virus themselves or simply from an abundance of caution.

A new show about ‘The Godfather’ is full of embellishments. The truth is dramatic enough. “The Offer” is a 10-part limited series premiering on Paramount+ that leans into the movie’s mythology in ways that are sometimes entertaining, too often ridiculous and, on occasion, quite possibly libelous, writes entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp.

‘I heard this shot’: ‘Rust’ armorer recounts the moment of Alec Baldwin’s fatal blast. Newly released videos from Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office show a woman struggling to grasp the enormity of the incident and her potential liability.

While onstage at CinemaCon, Olivia Wilde reportedly got served legal documents from Jason Sudeikis. Without missing a beat, Wilde resumed her prepared remarks about her highly anticipated psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, KiKi Layne, Nick Kroll and Gemma Chan.

BUSINESS

Twitter was at the forefront of content moderation. What comes next? Although social media platforms have struggled to respond to misinformation, hate speech, election interference and incitement to violence, Twitter has taken a more nuanced and thorough approach than its peers. But Elon Musk says he favors moderation only when legally required.

MGM film leaders are leaving the company after an Amazon deal. Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, the heads of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios’ film business, are leaving the company, in a move that comes shortly after Amazon took over the storied studio. Amazon closed its $8.5-billion deal to purchase MGM in March.

SPORTS

‘He’s found his place’: How Dodgers’ Gavin Lux cleared mental hurdles to ignite his career. Lux struggled physically and mentally to begin his major league career, but now in his second full season with the Dodgers, he’s playing like a top prospect.

Cooper Kupp is the best example of how the Rams have hit it big in the third round of NFL drafts. Barring a trade to move into the first round, the Rams will not be active during opening night. The Rams have not selected a player in the first round since 2016, when they traded up 14 spots to pick quarterback Jared Goff.

Judy Seto, a longtime Lakers training staff presence, is no longer with the team. Seto had been the team’s director of sports performance since 2019. Prior to that, she served as the Lakers’ head physical therapist between 2011 and 2016. She worked closely with Kobe Bryant before that, with the Hall of Famer calling her work “indispensable.”

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OPINION

L.A. Times electoral endorsements for 2022. To help voters choose, The Times editorial page publishes endorsements based on candidate interviews and independent reporting.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s attempt to intimidate a Times reporter is a gaslighting assault on the press. Criminally investigating a journalist for doing her job is a shocking assault on constitutionally protected press freedoms and aligns Villanueva with any number of tin-pot dictators and power-hungry functionaries who abuse their power to retaliate against reporters for critical coverage.

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

San Diego’s park system will serve as a sweeping canvas for local artists starting in May. The city has announced a public arts collaboration, Park Social, in which 23 local artists have been commissioned to create 18 projects that use local landscapes as backdrops for site-specific, interactive works. The artists will transform open spaces in 28 parks, including canyons, urban and residential neighborhood parks, large hiking destinations and shoreline-adjacent spaces.

Each artist or art collective was given $15,000 to create new work. The art — mostly installation-based works and performances — will be on view at different parks throughout the city from May 21 to Nov. 20. All of it will be free to the public.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Muhammad Ali speaks at UCLA in 1971.
Muhammad Ali speaks at UCLA in 1971.
(Los Angeles Times)

Fifty-five years ago today, an Army officer in Houston summoned heavyweight world champion Muhammad Ali three times to step forward for induction into military service during the Vietnam War. He refused each request.

Ali’s refusal stripped him of his boxing license and World Boxing Assn. title, and it stopped him from traveling abroad for the multiple fights he was offered. The State Department and FBI labeled him a flight risk after an all-white Texas jury convicted him of felony refusal to be drafted.

As appeals were made to keep him out of jail, and Ali rejected overtures for a compromise to enlist, the stripped champion at his peak was kept out of the ring from March 22, 1967, until Oct. 26, 1970.

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.


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