Today’s Headlines: Will California voters’ fears over crime and homelessness carry over to November?

An L.A. County voter puts her ballot in the dropbox
An L.A. County voter puts her ballot in the dropbox the day before election day.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Thursday, June 9, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


‘Voters are scared, unhappy, feeling there is chaos in the streets’

From the recall of San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin to the success of L.A. mayoral candidate Rick Caruso, playing into fears over crime and homelessness played well in California’s primaries. But will those concerns carry over to the fall election?


“What voters are looking for is an acknowledgment of the concerns they face, whether it’s crime, public safety or the cost of living,” said David Binder, a pollster who has worked on mayoral candidate Karen Bass’ campaign and with other Democrats nationwide. “We have to acknowledge voters are scared, unhappy, feeling there is chaos in the streets and society that needs to be addressed.”

Tuesday’s results showed that even in cities where crime had actually declined, voters cast their ballots with safety concerns in mind. Although there’s near unanimity among Democratic strategists that crime has become a major issue, there’s less agreement on how to address it.

More politics

  • Rick Caruso’s showing in the mayoral primary demonstrated that a significant number of Angelenos want immediate changes on homelessness and aren’t turned off by the vast fortune of a billionaire who has never held elected office.
  • Money didn’t talk in California’s primary election. It screamed. But residents were not agitated enough to turn out in even decent-sized numbers, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak.
  • A judge ordered conservative lawyer John Eastman to give 159 more emails to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, including one the judge says is evidence of a likely crime.

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Biden opened the Summit of the Americas amid tensions over the guest list


President Biden formally opened the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles by declaring democracy as a “hallmark of our region” as he sought to quell tensions over his decision to exclude some autocratic leaders, a move that triggered a partial boycott of the conference.

“As we meet again today, in a moment when democracy is under assault around the world, let us unite again and renew our conviction that democracy is not only the defining feature of American histories, but the essential ingredient to Americas’ futures,” Biden said during a 15-minute speech kicking off the summit at Microsoft Theater.

In his remarks, Biden unveiled an economic framework he said would make regional trade more sustainable, strengthen supply chains, create clean energy jobs and tackle the climate crisis.

More on the summit

  • The Latin American diaspora in L.A. is serving U.S. and foreign dignitaries at the summit. But some don’t even know what it’s about. Others don’t think it’s relevant to their lives. Many wish they had more of a say.

School’s out. Will that help California get ahead of COVID-19?

Coronavirus cases across Los Angeles County are rising just as students are counting down the days left in school. What will the summer holiday mean for COVID-19? Health experts say it will be hard to predict accurately since the virus tends to throw curveballs.

The county’s official case count will probably drop dramatically after L.A. Unified finishes its school year on Friday. The district’s required weekly testing for all students and staff accounts for roughly half of test results reported to the county. Without those tests, experts said, the county would rely more heavily on data from wastewater treatment sites and cases reported in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, hospitals and homeless shelters.

More top coronavirus headlines

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

A La Luz del Mundo ‘apostle’ was sentenced to nearly 17 years

Naason Joaquin Garcia, the leader of La Luz del Mundo church, was sentenced to 16 years and eight months in prison for sexually abusing juvenile members of his congregation. Several of Garcia’s victims testified during the lengthy hearing, and the courtroom was filled with muffled sobs as the sentence was handed down.

Before reading the sentence, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen apologized to the victims. Many had wanted the case to go to trial, but Garcia agreed to plead guilty Friday. Coen said: “My hands are tied. Lawyers do what lawyers do.”

“But I just want to tell the Jane Does that the world has heard you,” he said. “And for those family members that have abandoned you, shame! Shame on you!”

Drought, wildfire and commerce prompt a massive forest-thinning plan for Big Bear Lake

For decades, thousands of acres of undeveloped public forest on the northern side of Big Bear Lake have been regarded as the cherished “wild side” of the mountain resort, just a two-hour drive from Los Angeles.

But worsening drought, the U.S. Forest Service warns, has turned the bucolic landscape into a tinder box that poses a direct threat to a San Bernardino Mountains community that hosts 5,500 year-round residents but swells to more than 100,000 between July 4 and Labor Day.

Now, to reduce the fire risk, the agency is seeking approval to remove tens of thousands of trees across 13,000 acres that are deemed to be overgrown, unhealthy and vulnerable to drought and disease.

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A woman and a child lie in a beam of light in a dark room.
The human toll of war. The Times’ Marcus Yam is back in eastern Ukraine. In this photo, Natalia Tishenko comforts her son, 7, in a bomb shelter their family calls home.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


Cancer groups have raised an alarm about losing funds to track California cases. Researchers fear that shrinking funding for a program that tracks cancer cases across California could threaten its future. The California Cancer Registry provides crucial information for scientists.

Extreme drought prompted the closure of a Joshua Tree trail to ensure water for bighorn sheep. The closure of the Fortynine Palms Trail began last week, the National Park Service said. Bighorn sheep, with their iconic curled horns, increasingly must rely on an oasis spring in the trail area.
Female, Black and Latino workers are underpaid by California State University, a study has found. The report compiled by the California State University Employees Union, which represents the workers, analyzed the salaries of nearly 12,000 nonfaculty workers at 23 campuses and in the chancellor’s office, including custodians, lab technicians and healthcare workers.

A death and lawsuit have brought more scrutiny to LAPD shootings in which handguns and less-lethal options are discharged simultaneously. Alan Castellanos’ shooting was at least the eighth in the last two years in which groups of officers fired guns and weapons meant to avoid killing, such as projectile launchers or Tasers, at the same time. The shootings have raised increasing concern among LAPD officials.

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The House passed a gun control bill after the Buffalo and Uvalde attacks. The legislation passed in a mostly party-line vote of 223 to 204. It has almost no chance of becoming law as the Senate pursues negotiations focused on improving mental health programs, bolstering school security and enhancing background checks.

An armed California man was arrested near Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Maryland home. The man, identified as Nicholas John Roske, 26, of Simi Valley, is being charged with attempted murder of a federal judge. Federal officials said he was armed with a handgun, knife and burglary tools when he was detained after making threats against Kavanaugh.

The Supreme Court has shielded border agents from lawsuits over excessive force. In a 6-3 decision, the court’s conservatives said that in nearly all instances federal agents may not be held liable for violating constitutional rights unless Congress has authorized such lawsuits for damages.

Hundreds have died as Somalia faces drought-induced famine. Drought comes and goes in the Horn of Africa, but this is one like no other. Humanitarian assistance has been sapped by global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and now Russia’s war in Ukraine.


Ben Stiller and Adam Scott discuss the claustrophobia of the ‘Severance’ set, Innies and Outties. The seriocomic dystopian Apple TV+ series “Severance” explores an extreme version of work-life balance. Stiller and Scott talk about splitting a character in two, the tough shooting conditions, and trusting each other.

Western media usually misrepresent the Middle East. Not ‘Real Housewives of Dubai.’ The latest installment in Bravo’s juggernaut reality franchise is a surprising change of pace, writes critic Lorraine Ali. “I can’t think of another American reality show set in the region, or a scripted drama that’s as comfortable moving around the gulf.”

The women who provided abortions before Roe have given a grim glimpse of life after it. At a perilous moment for reproductive rights, “The Janes,” a documentary premiering on HBO, revisits the work of an underground network to help people obtain safe and affordable abortions in the 1960s.

‘Ms. Marvel’ is breathing new life into the MCU — just when it needs it the most. Kamala Khan is a Pakistani American, Muslim teenager. She’s an Avengers fangirl. The uncoordinated New Jersey native can barely sneak out her bedroom window without falling. The protagonist of Disney+’s “Ms. Marvel” is different in every way, and that’s why she, and the series, is such a joy to watch.


To mask inflation, companies are reducing package sizes — but not prices. It’s called “shrinkflation.” It proliferates in times of high inflation as companies offer consumers new bottle shapes that hold less, fewer tissues per box and smaller bars of soap to save on their own costs.

A warning sign for the buy-now-pay-later app Affirm. Some of the riskiest loans given to millennials and Gen Z shoppers for clothes and electronics — and neatly repackaged for investors — are dropping in value. Securitization packages, an asset class that rose to prominence during the subprime mortgage crisis, from one provider, Affirm Holdings Inc., are falling in price for investors to buy while becoming more expensive to issue.


Why the Jan. 6 hearings have a harder road ahead than the Watergate hearings ever did. Republican leadership chose from the start not to participate in the Jan. 6 committee, to deny it the legitimacy the Watergate committee enjoyed.

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The Rams and star receiver Cooper Kupp have agreed on a three-year, $75-million extension. Kupp, the NFL’s offensive player of the year in 2021, led the league with 145 receptions, 1,949 yards receiving and 16 touchdown catches, becoming the first player since 2005 to win the so-called triple crown.

Angels managerial candidates start with Phil Nevin but include many intriguing names. Even if they miss the playoffs but post a winning record, interim manager Nevin is likely to remain. The players profess to adore him, he had a successful playing career, and he’s an Orange County guy through and through.

WNBA star Brittney Griner’s fate is tangled up with that of another American held in Russia. The case of Griner, easily the most prominent American locked up by a foreign country, is affected by the case of Paul Whelan, who has been held in Russia since his December 2018 arrest on espionage charges that he and the U.S. government say are false.


Large murals are displayed outdoors.
A striking set of murals are arrayed at Chicano Park.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

With the summer season upon us, thoughts often turn to travel. Anyone considering a trip these days, however, is probably frustrated by soaring airfares, galloping gas prices and general inflation. Still, there’s some consolation: 25 free things to do in California. These include taking photos with Palm Springs’ 26-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe sculpture, walking through the downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers Market and gazing at the murals of San Diego’s Chicano Park.

Because there is no such thing as a truly free lunch (or a free road trip), it will still cost you something to get to and from these places. But once you’re there, your wallet may breathe easy.


A newspaper clipping shows a woman in an automobile.
1909: The Times reported on Alice Ramsey and friends departing for San Francisco.

One hundred and thirteen years ago today, on June 9, 1909, Alice Huyler Ramsey and three other women started a 3,800-mile trip from New York to San Francisco. Ramsey would become the first woman to drive across America. The Times’ report a few days later called the 22-year-old “one of the most daring chauffeuses in America. … There is no more expert woman driver in this country than Mrs. Ramsey. She has handled a car without the aid of any one but herself for the last year and has made long drives entirely unaided.”

As noted in a 2009 article in The Times on Ramsey’s feat — which would land her in the Automotive Hall of Fame — “a century ago, it was thought that driving a car required manly virtue, including sound judgment and thoughtful decision-making — sort of like voting. More than a decade before women got the right to vote, Alice Huyler Ramsey proved to the world that a woman had the necessary virtues.”

It wasn’t easy. Ramsey did all the driving. In their open-air touring car that seated four (top speed 40 mph), an Iowa downpour had them dashing to a livery stable, where they frightened the horses; they frequently became mired as the gravel-less cart path they were traveling turned into a bog. They had a dozen flat tires. Out West, roads were also rough to nonexistent; fording a river led to a broken axle; sometimes they crossed by using train bridges. “Ramsey sent her companions across trestle bridges and motored the Maxwell across the bumpy tracks for up to 3/4 of a mile, all the while listening for an approaching train.”

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