Today’s Headlines: Orange County women could upend congressional races after abortion rights fight

Seal Beach resident Danielle Sams stands in front of the city's pier.
Seal Beach resident Danielle Sams often votes for Republicans but says she’ll reconsider that in light of the Supreme Court draft opinion overturning federal protection for abortion.
(Photo by Priscella Vega)

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Tuesday, May 10, and before we get into today’s news, we’d like to shout out Times photojournalist Marcus Yam for winning the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. Yam won for his poignant and searing pictures of last summer’s fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, to Taliban fighters.

But that’s not all. The Times was also a finalist for its dominant coverage of the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the “Rust” set, beginning with a scoop by reporters Meg James and Amy Kaufman, who used text messages and other reporting to show that producers had been warned about safety breaches five days before the accident. We are all extremely proud of their powerful and relentless reporting.


Now, on to the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Orange County women could upend congressional races

The Supreme Court’s expected decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade could galvanize Democrats and turn some reliable Republican voters — especially women — blue, according to polls and interviews. It’s a small bit of hope for Democrats, who are widely expected to lose control of Congress in this year’s election.

Polling shows that women are more likely than men to consider a candidate’s position on abortion when deciding how to vote. Women who are college graduates are also more supportive of abortion rights.

These college-educated women could be pivotal in congressional races in Orange County, where they make up more than 40% of voters — as well as in contests in similar swaths of the nation, such as the suburbs of Atlanta and Phoenix, said Mike Madrid, a GOP consultant who favors abortion rights.

More politics

  • California lawmakers are troubled by state Controller Betty Yee’s relationship to a company seeking a $600-million no-bid government contract, prompting some to call for a hearing into the failed deal.
  • Is Gov. Gavin Newsom running for president? No, but he sure sounds like it in his recent comments on abortion and national issues, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak.

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


Putin defends the invasion of Ukraine during a display of Russian might

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a strident speech at an annual military parade in Moscow, accusing the U.S. and the West of provoking the conflict and comparing it to the Soviet Union’s fight against Nazi Germany in World War II.

But the Russian leader stopped short of using the occasion — known as Victory Day to mark the defeat of Adolf Hitler’s forces 77 years ago — to declare an all-out war with Ukraine. Russia still refers to the invasion as a “special military operation.”

Standing in front of decorated veterans in Red Square, Putin characterized Russia as having had no choice but to strike back against the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the West’s refusal to provide Moscow with security guarantees.

California’s two largest reservoirs are at ‘critically low’ levels


At a point in the year when California’s water storage should be at its highest, the state’s two largest reservoirs have already dropped to critically low levels. Shasta Lake, which rises more than 1,000 feet above sea level when filled to the brim, is at less than half of where it usually should be in early May. Lake Oroville, the largest reservoir in the State Water Project, is currently at 55% of total capacity.

In the U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest report, officials described both reservoir conditions as “critically low” going into the summer. Other water officials in recent days have called this “the worst drought in the history of the State Water Project.”

This latest reservoir assessment is yet another wake-up call that California is in for a parched and challenging summer. Millions of residents across Southern California are facing the harshest-ever water restrictions beginning June 1.

Gun ownership data are often limited — and the NRA knows it stands in the way

California has long played a pivotal role in the study of gun violence, maintaining a unique repository of detailed information on gun owners that it shares with researchers. The National Rifle Assn. and other gun rights groups have filed lawsuits challenging that long-established practice.

The NRA’s research director previously acknowledged at a private meeting that the group’s opposition to gathering such data has severely hampered gun violence studies in the United States. With narrow exceptions, all firearms transactions in California must go through licensed dealers, who relay information on purchasers to the California Department of Justice.


For more than 30 years, the DOJ has shared data with public health researchers, who have used it to find connections between gun ownership and homicides, suicides and other violence. They say this baseline information is key to understanding the risks and benefits of having a gun.

The deaf education vote is the latest parents’ rights battleground in L.A.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is poised to vote on a controversial proposal that could reshape education for thousands of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, a key battle in a long national fight over how such children learn the language.

Oscar winner Marlee Matlin and the American Civil Liberties Union are among those urging the Board of Education to pass Resolution 29, inaugurating a new Department of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education.

The move would elevate American Sign Language alongside Korean, Mandarin, French, Arabic, Armenian, Japanese and Spanish in the district’s dual language and bilingual program. The resolution also would introduce ASL-English bilingual instruction for many of the district’s youngest deaf learners.

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People stand in a barren field as a plane flies overhead.
Times photographer Marcus Yam’s poignant and searing pictures of last summer’s fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, to Taliban fighters earned him the Pulitzer Prize. See more of his work here (content warning: graphic images).
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


California COVID-19 deaths near 90,000, but the per capita rate is among the lowest in the U.S. California also now has the lowest cumulative COVID-19 death rate of the nation’s 10 most populous states, 229.5 deaths for every 100,000 residents. By comparison, the cumulative COVID-19 death rate in Florida is 359.4 per 100,000 residents. In New York, it’s 348.8; and in Texas, it’s 316.1.

UC and CSU are unaffordable, Californians say in a poll. Most believe the university systems are unaffordable, and they highly value community colleges and vocational training as alternative paths to career success, according to a statewide poll.

Mater Dei football players allegedly sexually assaulted a teammate, police record says. The incident allegedly happened in late August, two weeks after the student started school at Mater Dei, home to one of the country’s most celebrated high school football programs. He wasn’t physically hurt, but the episode left him suffering from anxiety, police said in the document. He left Mater Dei shortly afterward.

A woman said she killed her three children with help. A 38-year-old mother admitted to killing three of her children with help from an unidentified 16-year-old, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The woman and the 16-year-old were arrested on suspicion of murder at a home in West Hills.

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Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon hit a record for the month of April. Satellite alerts of deforestation in April corresponded to nearly 400 square miles, the highest figure for any April in seven years of record-keeping. The change reflects a worrisome uptick in destruction in a state deep within the rainforest after similar new records were set in January and February.

A dictator’s son is far ahead in the Philippine presidential vote. With 80% of the votes tabulated, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had 25.9 million, far ahead of his closest challenger, current Vice President Leni Robredo, a champion of human rights, who had 12.3 million.

The U.S. charges a political rival in the killing of Haiti’s president last year. John Joel Joseph made his initial appearance in federal court in Miami, according to court records. The Haitian citizen faces charges of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in death, knowing or intending that such material support would be used to prepare for or carry out the conspiracy to kill or kidnap. He faces a possible life sentence.

Two journalists were killed in Mexico — the 10th and 11th of the year. The Veracruz State Prosecutor’s Office said via Twitter that it was investigating the killings of Yessenia Mollinedo Falconi and Sheila Johana García Olivera, the director and a reporter, respectively, of the online news site El Veraz in Cosoleacaque.


Ingredients for a Taco Bell musical? Dolly Parton, Doja Cat, Mexican Pizza, TikTokers. Parton has joined forces with the “Need to Know” rapper and a number of TikTok stars for “Mexican Pizza: The Musical” to salute the crunchy, cheesy snack, the latest chapter in the messy saga of the fast-food item’s comeback.

Remember ‘Avatar?’ A teaser for the sequel is finally here after ‘13 freaking years.’ Disney’s 20th Century Studios released a teaser trailer for the long-anticipated sequel to director James Cameron’s motion-capture blockbuster starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver.


Kim Kardashian wore Marilyn Monroe’s dress — but did she really get Marilyn’s hair? It turns out — according to a social media post from a Monroe historian — the lock of hair may not be as authentic as Monroe’s Jean Louis gown, which Kardashian wore upon arrival at the 2022 Met Gala.


Cedars-Sinai workers strike for the first time in decades and negotiate for higher wages. The previous three-year contract between Cedars-Sinai, a nonprofit healthcare organization, and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West expired March 31 and the next round of negotiation is set to take place.


Inside the NFL schedule war room — ‘making everybody equally disappointed.’ The five people who build the NFL schedule will unveil their latest masterpiece this week. This collection of beautiful minds spends months analyzing, debating and reshuffling a Rubik’s Cube of 272 games aimed at maximizing viewership and fan interest while trying to maintain fairness for the teams.

Dodgers takeaways: Mookie Betts shares the secret to his surge; Walker Buehler hits 100. Despite their MLB-best 19-7 record, which the team added to with a dominant three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field during the weekend, the Dodgers are still waiting for several stars to look more like themselves.

The Canelo Álvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol rematch might not happen. Here’s why. It’ll be on Álvarez to exercise the rematch clause in his contract with Bivol. In his post-fight news conference, Álvarez reiterated multiple times that his best weight is 168. He said he didn’t feel completely comfortable fighting at 175. He speculated that’s why he was fatigued at the end of the fight.

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Put a price cap on Russian oil while the EU hammers out an embargo. Pledging to end Russian oil imports in six months could increase demand now and boost the price of oil. One fix is to impose a per-barrel price cap during the transition.

If Rick Caruso becomes mayor, will Los Angeles be all dancing fountains and trolley rides? On some subtle, subliminal level, the mall-developer-turned-candidate is selling the Grove’s faux urbanism.


A statue with a furry figure with long claws and a small girl with striped socks and purple hair.
“League of Legends” characters Annie and Tibbers greet those entering Riot Games headquarters in West Los Angeles.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Riot Games’ L.A. home is cooler than where you work. The Los Angeles creator of “League of Legends” has quietly grown into one of the region’s largest office tenants at nearly 1 million square feet, with more on the way as the video game industry evolves into a major economic player in Southern California.

The Times got a rare look inside the company’s newly expanded headquarters on Olympic Boulevard in West L.A. It’s nearly invisible to passersby, but it’s unlike any office you’ve ever seen: There’s a dining commissary with one of the biggest commercial kitchens on the Westside, a Korean gaming hall, a “League of Legends”-themed coffeehouse, a library of video games going back to the dawn of the industry — and even a trio of hawks who keep away food-snatching pigeons.


Beneath a soaring bridge, a man in shirtsleeves and tie carries a woman in heels and gloves.
Circa 1958: Jimmy Stewart, as Det. Scottie Ferguson, rescues Kim Novak, as Madeleine Elster, in a scene from “Vertigo.”
(Paramount Pictures / Getty Images)

Sixty-four years ago this week, Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” premiered in San Francisco. Former Times film critic Kenneth Turan, in a 1996 story in The Times, wrote of the film’s poor reception among critics when it debuted. “‘Another Hitchcock-and-bull story,’ sneered Time magazine. The New Yorker said the director had ‘never before indulged in such farfetched nonsense,’ and this newspaper lamented that the film ‘bogs down in a maze of details.’ Partisans conceded as well that this was minor Hitchcock at best.”

The film went on to become an “icon of modern cinema,” Turan wrote, “an audacious, brilliantly twisted movie, infused with touches of genius and of madness.”

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