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Today’s Headlines: A far-right insurrection, at the ballot box

A smiling man stands behind a counter. In back of him is a display of guns.
Gun shop owner and Shasta County Supervisor Patrick Jones is allied with a group running a slate of candidates to take more control of the county government.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
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By Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Friday, June 3, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

‘Liberty Committee’ looks to gain more control in Shasta County

Far-right activists, including members of a local militia, led a successful recall campaign in February against a Republican Shasta County supervisor. Now the newly formed “Liberty Committee” is backing an all-male Tuesday election slate to further consolidate power. The group’s website declares that “our country is under assault. It’s time to take it back, one state, county and city at a time.”

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The county’s voters now face a stark choice between the Liberty Committee’s slate and the traditional Republican establishment. Though Shasta County is home to just 180,000 people, the election is being watched as a harbinger of rising radicalism in local government, particularly because the recall contingent has touted its playbook as a national model.

Biden made a rare prime-time address to press Congress to act on gun control

With the country reeling from three mass shootings in the last three weeks, the president called on Congress to deliver common-sense reforms to curb gun violence during the address from the White House.

“For God’s sake,” Biden said, “how much more carnage are we willing accept?”

His seizing of the bully pulpit reflected a determination to show the country his commitment to eradicating a distinctly American epidemic of gun violence and an optimism that even a deeply polarized Congress and Republicans long opposed to tightening gun laws could be spurred to act.

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More politics

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta are way ahead as California voters lean partisan, a Times poll has found.
  • Meet the young, ambitious Black man who wants Devin Nunes’ old House seat. Can water resource manager Lourin Hubbard beat the favored candidate, Republican Connie Conway, to represent a Central Valley congressional district?
  • L.A. has a corruption problem. Can the next city controller fix that? Six candidates are seeking to replace City Controller Ron Galperin at City Hall, which has been buffeted by FBI probes into council members, political aides and others.
  • News analysis: Rick Caruso was a Republican 3 years ago. Will voters care?

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

Claims that five SDSU football players raped a girl were followed by months of silence

“I am very scared and worried that nothing is being done about this,” one San Diego State student-athlete told university officials in a message sent through an anonymous reporting system, which was reviewed by The Times along with other internal campus records in the case.

The school said in statements to The Times that they held off investigating at the request of police, who say their inquiry into the alleged October incident involving a minor is ongoing.

Title IX and legal experts told The Times it can be appropriate for schools to comply with police requests to delay investigations but that it was troubling that San Diego State had held off on taking action for nearly an entire academic year. The university is obligated, they noted, to investigate to ensure the safety and civil rights of students and employees. A campus can temporarily delay an investigation in compliance with a law enforcement request, they said, but it’s at the university’s discretion whether to do so and to determine for how long.

Russia controls 20% of Ukraine, Zelensky says

Russian troops appeared on the verge of fully capturing the key Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, pushing them closer to their goal of taking over two eastern provinces. Meanwhile, seeking to turn up the economic and political heat on Russia, the White House announced another round of sanctions targeting prominent Russian officials, oligarchs and business elites. U.S. officials say the war of attrition could drag on for months and that the West has little choice but to ship increasingly sophisticated military equipment to bolster Ukraine’s defense.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address to lawmakers in Luxembourg that “tens of thousands” of people had died in the first 99 days of the war.

L.A. County moved closer to a mask requirement as coronavirus hospitalizations rose

Officials said the county could face a new universal indoor mask mandate this month if the upward trend continued: “Our weekly case rate and the rate of increase in hospital admissions are of concern,” L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. The county could “move into the CDC high [COVID-19] community level within a few weeks.”

Meanwhile in Northern California, Alameda County issued a new mask mandate in most indoor public settings, effective Friday, as coronavirus cases climbed.

More on the coronavirus

  • The Biden administration said children younger than 5 might be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccination dose as soon as June 21 if federal regulators authorize shots for the age group as expected.

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

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CALIFORNIA

Will watering restrictions increase the threat of wildfire in Southern California neighborhoods? Municipal water districts in L.A. and Ventura counties are asking state water officials to allocate more water under the health and safety exception for drought rules, using the rationale that it should include the mitigation of wildfire risk. But some drought and wildfire experts question the wisdom of such a move, saying the best strategy for reducing wildfire risk is to build fire-hardened homes and clear large areas of defensible space around structures.

“You’ve got to be kidding me”: $8.05 for a gallon of regular at an L.A. station. There are many reasons why California has higher average gas prices, from more stringent clean energy regulations to inflation and Russia’s war against Ukraine.

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NATION-WORLD

The Buffalo shooting suspect pleaded not guilty. The white man charged with carrying out a racist mass shooting that killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket pleaded not guilty to hate-motivated domestic terrorism and other charges as a prosecutor called the evidence against him overwhelming.

Britain is partying for Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee. What happens next for the monarchy? Elizabeth has been among the few prominent members of the royal family to largely maintain a positive image among her subjects in recent years. Heir Prince Charles has signaled his desire for the number of working members of the royal family to be smaller. And public financial support of the family will probably become an issue. But “don’t kill off the queen quite yet,” said Dickie Arbiter, 81, the queen’s former press secretary. She is “stoic and robust,” he said, as is the institution she represents.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

We can’t agree on the meaning of Depp vs. Heard. Here’s how we move forward anyway. Times reporter Meredith Blake and columnist Mary McNamara discuss what the trial may or may not mean for women, for men and for the culture they share: “Why are we so eager to see in this very specific and frankly outlier case a template for all trials involving accusations of abuse?” “I do worry that, collectively, we have learned very little about the way we treat women who dare to be imperfect while holding powerful men accountable.”

Lynda Carter settles the Pride Month debate: Wonder Woman is a queer and trans icon. “If you want to argue that she is somehow not ... you’re not paying attention,” said Carter, who famously portrayed Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the hit 1970s TV series named for the feminist figure.

Heidi Schreck returns to her searing play on the Constitution. It’s never been timelier. Via sometimes painful, always illuminating personal stories and family history, “What the Constitution Means to Me” examines the country’s founding document — and the ways it has neglected, and failed to protect, women and other marginalized groups throughout history. Schreck and the original cast of her Tony- and Pulitzer-nominated play will stage a reading at Cooper Union’s historic Great Hall for one night to benefit the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Review: Mark Rylance has made golf irresistible with his inspiring true story “The Phantom of the Open.” Wherever your opinion of golf lands, on a spectrum ranging from glorious sport to “a good walk spoiled” (Mark Twain), there are smiles to be wrested from fans and disparagers alike as the charming British film about “world’s worst golfer” Maurice Flitcroft (Rylance) runs its sweetly eccentric course.

BUSINESS

Robotaxis are now a real thing in California. State officials green-flagged the launch of a fare-based ride-hailing business featuring cars with no human driver at the wheel. Robot-operated Chevy Bolt EVs will be rolled out over the next few weeks by autonomous vehicle maker Cruise.

Crypto executives are now pouring more money into U.S. politics than many of America’s industrial stalwarts. Their donations surged to more than $26 million during 2021 and the first three months of this year, outpacing spending by internet giants, drugmakers and the defense industry. The issue of regulating virtual tokens is not nearly as divisive as gun control or abortion rights. But the upcoming election will be highly consequential for crypto.

OPINION

Got a Supreme Court precedent you don’t like? Is there a liberal decision that’s always stuck in your craw? Now’s your chance! That’s the message of the draft opinion on abortion that leaked to the press in May, writes columnist Nicholas Goldberg: The court, with its newly empowered conservative majority, is ready and willing to entertain challenges to long-standing precedents. So find yourself a case you hate and get in line.

Op-ed: Why we don’t need a Summit of the Americas ever again. As leaders from the Western Hemisphere gather in L.A. for next week’s ninth Summit of the Americas, President Biden should do something seemingly counterintuitive: Make it the last such summit. Envisioned as a vehicle to advance U.S. interests in the Americas, the summit is a fatally flawed forum that doesn’t serve its purpose and limits our country’s focused attention on its closest neighbors to a once-every-three-years event.

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SPORTS

UCLA’s softball season hangs in the balance after opening the World Series with a loss to Texas. The fifth-seeded Bruins were thumped in the opener of the series, sending the team into the losers bracket with a 7-2 loss in Oklahoma City. It ended an eight-game winning streak for the Bruins, who fell short at the plate, where they put runners in scoring position only twice, and in the circle, where their vaunted pitching staff gave up two two-run homers. UCLA will fight for its season at 4 p.m. Friday against top-seeded Oklahoma. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

“When you have somebody like Mike, it gives people something to be proud of. Their chest is pumped out a little bit. They’re walking a little straighter.” So says a teacher at Millville High, where Mike Trout went to high school. There will be plenty of people from the New Jersey town, which has had its share of economic woes, at this weekend’s Angels-Phillies game in Philadelphia to cheer on “the kid from the ‘Ville.’”

YOUR WEEKEND

Rows of people in costume stand on an outdoor stage.
The full cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” onstage at the Hollywood Bowl in 1934.
(Los Angeles Philharmonic Archives)

Go to the Hollywood Bowl. Tonight is opening night, and Gwen Stefani will kick off the summer lineup. Or plan a future outing and, meantime, immerse yourself in everything Bowl. We have a package of stories as the classic L.A. venue celebrates its (pandemic-delayed) centennial. There’s history (see the photo above; among the group are Olivia de Havilland and a 14-year-old Mickey Rooney), 14 places to pick up a picnic for the concert (sample: smoky sausages, mac and cheese, brisket-studded baked beans and creamy banana pudding from Bludso’s Bar & Que on La Brea), and our former iconic pop music critic Robert Hilburn remembers a legendary appearance by Janis Joplin. He interviewed her before the concert. She told him: “I live for that hour onstage. It’s more excitement than you expect in a lifetime.”

Dine on mapo tofu. Times Food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson looks at 18 places to get these “soft, placid blocks of tofu,” which have “a scorching secret: blazing heat and a tongue-tingling numbness imparted by Sichuan peppercorn.”

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

When shipping containers sink in the drink: Container ships, collectively, transport a quarter of a billion containers around the globe each year, a number of which end up in the water. How many? By one count 1,382 a year, though one expert says it’s actually “far more than you can imagine.” The question — essential for economic and environmental reasons — is, what’s in those containers? “Among many, many other things: flat-screen TVs, fireworks, Ikea furniture, French perfume, gym mats, BMW motorbikes, hockey gloves, printer cartridges, lithium batteries, toilet seats, Christmas decorations, barrels of arsenic, bottled water, cannisters that explode to inflate air bags, an entire container’s worth of rice cakes, thousands of cans of chow mein, half a million cans of beer, cigarette lighters, fire extinguishers, liquid ethanol, packets of figs, sacks of chia seeds, knee pads, duvets, the complete household possessions of people moving overseas, flyswatters printed with the logos of college and professional sports teams, decorative grasses on their way to florists in New Zealand, My Little Pony toys, Garfield telephones, surgical masks, bar stools, pet accessories, and gazebos.” Why this matters, in the New Yorker.

As Britain is celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne this week, corgis have played a starring role. The official public holiday for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is today. “Corgi images adorn commemorative ornaments, pillows, mugs and biscuits. Corgi sculptures have been installed around the streets of central London. And during a finale pageant procession on Sunday, a giant puppet of the queen will be surrounded by a pack of puppet corgis.” Washington Post

First name Tosca, last name Musk. She’s Elon’s little sister, and she’s not into EVs, space exploration or Twitter. Her passion is passion. She’s behind “an upstart subscription streaming service dedicated to movie and series adaptations of mass-market romance novels and erotic fan fiction. ... Passionflix is sort of a sexy Hallmark Channel. The stories are simple, and the acting is sometimes unrefined. Passionflix dialogue is usually taken directly from the source material, which can be majestically cheesy.” New York Times

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A man in a suit and a woman in a fringed skirt and beehive hairdo twist as they dance.
May 22, 1964: Don Butcher and Joan Senses do the Go-Go at a Sunset Strip nightclub. By ‘64, rock fans were likely dancing in Santa Cruz too.
(Los Angeles Times)

Sixty-six years ago today, on June 3, 1956, Santa Cruz had its “Footloose” moment. The city police banned rock and roll dancing. A report in The Times said: “Rock and roll dancing is out today in Santa Cruz — by police order. They say its heavy, pounding beat leads its fans to ‘highly suggestive, stimulating and tantalizing motions.’”

A weekend dance at Civic Auditorium was closed down because it “drove to abandon” the teenagers taking part. “Rock and roll music may still go on, but public dancing to its driving rhythms ‘will not be tolerated in the future anywhere in Santa Cruz,’ said Police Chief Al Huntsman.”

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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