Today’s Headlines: In L.A. mayor’s race, Rick Caruso and Karen Bass head to November runoff

Cameron Porsandeh voting with his Old English Bulldog at Westminster Elementary
Cameron Porsandeh votes with his bulldog in the primary election at Westminster Elementary.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey

Hello, it’s Wednesday, June 8, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


L.A.’s mayoral contest is heading for a November showdown

Billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso and U.S. Rep. Karen Bass will square off in a November runoff in their costly race to become Los Angeles’ next mayor, with the two far ahead of the rest of the primary field.


Caruso held a narrow but widening lead over Bass in partial returns late Tuesday night. Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León was third, far behind the leaders, with progressive activist Gina Viola fourth. With a November showdown apparently looming, both camps already began their positioning at their Tuesday night campaign parties.

Though this was one of the most closely watched contests in California’s primary election, it was hardly the only one. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva found himself in a tight reelection fight, and his bid for reelection will go to a runoff in November after early poll results showed him holding a healthy lead over retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. And in San Francisco, voters recalled Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin, who became a lightning rod for debates over crime and homelessness.

Check out our primary election results pages for Los Angeles County and for races across the state.

More election coverage

Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela are not at the Summit of the Americas — but their dissidents are


Cuba’s treatment of dissidents is one of the reasons the country was not invited to the Summit of the Americas taking place this week in Los Angeles. Nicaragua and Venezuela, which the Biden administration has cast as undemocratic dictatorships, have also been left out of the event. The countries’ leaders are not here, but their many vocal opponents are — among them artists, journalists and activists.

Closing the door to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua triggered a boycott of the summit by other leaders, most significantly Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who sent his foreign minister instead, undermining the overall substance of the event and further calling into question U.S. influence in the region.

Defending the State Department’s decisions on whom to invite, spokesman Ned Price said organizers were working to include all voices.

More politics

  • Vice President Kamala Harris announced nearly $2 billion in private investment directed to three Central American countries as part of the Biden administration’s strategy to reduce migration, more than doubling previously announced commitments.
  • Who’s who: Your guide to key figures in the Jan. 6 hearings on the Capitol insurrection.

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Parts of Southern California used 26% more water in April


Coastal Southern California increased water usage by more than 25% for the month of April, lagging behind most other parts of the state in conservation and appearing to dismiss dire warnings of supply shortages.

Statewide, urban residents used 17.6% more water, marking a small decline from March, but still far less than what officials say is needed to weather a historic drought.

The poor numbers in Southern California put more pressure on residents to follow sweeping water restrictions that went into effect on June 1, and were ordered by the Metropolitan Water District.

Russia claims ‘97% control’ of eastern Ukrainian province

Russia claimed near-victory in its fight for part of an eastern Ukrainian industrial region whose capture is one of Moscow’s main stated war aims, as Ukraine acknowledged that it was waging a tough battle to keep one of its last cities there from falling.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in remarks by videolink to an event sponsored by Britain’s Financial Times newspaper, said the country needs more “powerful weapons” from the West, as well as political support and stringent sanctions, in order to deny Russia additional battlefield gains.


After his son died on a USC film shoot, a father is still looking for answers

Moviemaking was 29-year-old cinematographer Peng Wang’s dream. Wang, who went by the first name Aaron on the Orange County campus of Chapman University’s film school, was cautious and generous, his father, Hualun Wang, told The Times in an interview.

So when he got a call one early April morning saying that his son had died in an accident on a University of Southern California student film shoot out on the Imperial Sand Dunes, he was stunned.

More than a month since Peng Wang’s death, two of California’s biggest film schools, their students and the family of the young and popular filmmaker are still grappling with the tragedy. Friends and students held three memorials for the cinematographer, whose death was a stark reminder of the dangers of the film industry.

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords walks with Sen. Chris Murphy
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was injured in a mass shooting in 2011, walks with Sen. Chris Murphy while departing from a gun violence memorial event in front of the Washington Monument in Washington.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)


‘Culture of corruption’: Former DWP cybersecurity chief gets four years in prison. A federal judge sentenced David Alexander, the former top official in charge of cybersecurity at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, to four years in prison for lying to federal authorities. He is the second city official to be sentenced in the sprawling federal corruption probe.

Six dollars for a gallon of gas? Try nearly $10 in this coastal California town. Gas prices have surged in the last several months and California boasts the highest prices in the nation. But Schlafer’s Auto Body & Repair in Mendocino has a gallon of regular at $9.60, about $3 higher than the county’s average of $6.38. It’s also not the first time the station has drawn attention for high prices.

Man acquitted in a fatal shooting on San Francisco pier is sentenced on gun charges. José Inez García Zárate, who was acquitted of homicide in the 2015 shooting death of Kathryn Steinle, was sentenced Monday to time served for federal firearms charges. The case drew national attention after then-President Trump attempted to use it to ignite fervor over illegal immigration.

They swapped an L.A. pad for a Joshua Tree homestead — and a growing gay community. After living in Yucca Valley, just north of Joshua Tree National Park, for more than a year, former Angelenos Kit Williamson and John Halbach have learned some hard lessons about the high desert.

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World Bank dims outlook on the global economy amid ‘stagflation’ fears. The World Bank has sharply downgraded its outlook for the global economy, pointing to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the prospect of widespread food shortages and concerns about the potential return of “stagflation” — a toxic mix of high inflation and sluggish growth not seen for more than four decades.


$3-million settlement reached over Andrew Brown Jr.’s death in North Carolina. A sheriff’s office announced the settlement Monday in a lawsuit filed by the family of Andrew Brown Jr., an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed in his car by sheriff’s deputies more than a year ago.

Arizona judge rejects GOP request to block voting by mail. Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen ruled that nothing in the Arizona Constitution prohibits the Legislature from allowing citizens to vote by mail. He declined a request by the state Republican Party to block most mail-in ballots for the 2022 election.

Simone Biles, other gymnasts seek more than $1 billion from the FBI over Larry Nassar. Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Simone Biles and dozens of other women who say they were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar are seeking more than $1 billion from the FBI for failing to stop the now-convicted sports doctor when the agency first received allegations against him, lawyers said Wednesday.


David Cronenberg on the evolution to ‘Crimes of the Future.’ Playing now in theaters, the new “Crimes of the Future” is Cronenberg’s first feature film in eight years, since 2014’s “Maps to the Stars.” That same year he also published his first novel, “Consumed.”

‘Is this even comedy?’ The Elysian Theater pushes the limits of live performance. The new L.A. theater allows boundaries between stand-up, theater and performance art to be constantly blurred and expanded.

The ‘November Rain’ music video defined a generation. Inside its ‘bonkers’ production. Thirty years ago this week, the video premiered on MTV — a baroque nine-minute rock opera starring Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose and his then-girlfriend, supermodel Seymour, in a timeless tale of love gone wrong. Fans may have embraced the video, but it was regarded by many cultural tastemakers as excessive, indulgent and bloated.


Sure, ‘Our Flag Means Death’ has pirates. But it’s really a workplace relationship show. The HBO Max series has been ingeniously crafted to give its audience not only what it wants but what some have never let themselves dream of seeing.


Man pleads guilty to swindling Amazon out of $1.3 million in refund scheme. Ting Hong Yeung, 41, of Hacienda Heights was charged with felony wire fraud in March for manipulating the company’s payment system over a span of nine years. A felony wire charge carries a maximum 20-year sentence.

Apple debuts a pay-later service and promises iPhone updates. The company unveiled a flurry of new software features and services at its Worldwide Developers Conference, including an updated iPhone lock screen, multitasking features for the iPad and a pay-later service that vaults it further into finance.


The Republican response to shootings is the very definition of insanity. Too many people killed by guns? Some folks suggest getting more guns into the hands of more people. A stunning percentage of the GOP accepts frequent mass shootings as part of American life, writes columnist LZ Granderson.

It’s not partisan for the media to expose the GOP’s lies. When the Jan. 6 committee reveals its findings, news outlets should not give equal weight to Republican voices rejecting the inquiry.

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Angels fire manager Joe Maddon after their 12th consecutive loss. Maddon, 68, was in the final year of a three-year, $12-million contract that included a $4-million option for 2022. The team named third-base coach Phil Nevin as interim manager.

Sparks fire Derek Fisher as coach and general manager. Fisher’s less-than-four-year tenure ends with a 54-46 overall record and a 1-4 postseason mark. Assistant coach Fred Williams will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Clayton Kershaw is targeting a Sunday return; the Dodgers are counting on Brusdar Graterol to rebound. Out since May 7 because of sacroiliac joint inflammation that was causing pain in his lower back, Kershaw appears to be on the verge of returning. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have been hoping Graterol could become a reliable force at the back of the bullpen. So far, however, he has been anything but.


It’s called the zipper merge, and many traffic-jammed California drivers do it all wrong. It’s a familiar scene: You’re driving on a California freeway at rush hour. As you crawl through traffic, you notice your lane is ending.

And you’re always left with a choice: Do you merge early, or do you wait until the last minute? You worry that waiting to merge may be seen as rude, or cutting in line.

But a growing body of research over the last decade has pointed to the benefits of merging late, with experts finding that it is actually the more efficient and safer thing to do, especially in heavy traffic. It’s called the zipper merge, and California is among the minority of states that have not adopted the method.



A newspaper clipping
Coverage of the Zoot Suit Riots and a congressional investigation into Japanese Americans in the June 7, 1943, edition of the Los Angeles Times.
(Los Angeles Times)

This month marks 79 years since the Zoot Suit Riots. For 10 days, uniformed sailors, soldiers and Marines took to the streets of Los Angeles, beating up and disrobing Mexican Americans wearing zoot suits.

Exactly what triggered the vigilante action was never clear. Some trace it to earlier assaults on military personnel, allegedly carried out by Mexican American gang members who called themselves pachucos. Others said Los Angeles police precipitated the attacks to divert attention from a fellow officer who was about to go on trial. Some observers blame racist newspaper reports for making the Mexican American gang members a target.

The Times’ Steve Saldivar attended this year’s Zoot Suit Riots Cruise in L.A., where cars cruise through Los Angeles as participants remember the attacks and the perseverance within the Latino community. Only three vehicles took part in the first organized cruise in 2018. The following year, more than 100 cars showed up, Saldivar writes.

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