Today’s Headlines: California affordable housing projects are costing over $1 million per apartment to build
By Elvia Limón
Hello, it’s Monday, June 20, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
California affordable housing projects aren’t so affordable to build
More than half a dozen affordable housing projects in California are costing over $1 million per apartment to build, a record-breaking sum that makes it harder to house the growing numbers of low-income Californians who need help paying rent, a Times review of state data found.
The seven subsidized housing developments, all in Northern California, received state funding within the past two years and are under construction or close to breaking ground. When completed, they will provide homes for more than 600 families.
But their exorbitant price tags mean that taxpayers are subsidizing fewer apartments than they otherwise could while waitlists of renters needing affordable housing continue to grow.
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CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for young children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared the way for the nation’s youngest children to gain protection against COVID-19 with two vaccines specially formulated for recipients as young as 6 months. The two vaccines are lower-dose versions of the mRNA vaccines that have already gone into the arms of 22 million older kids across the United States.
The California Department of Public Health said the shots would be available here after the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup conducts its own review. Vaccinations could begin in Los Angeles County as soon as Tuesday, said Barbara Ferrer, county public health director.
More top coronavirus headlines
— U.S. health advisors have recommended COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots. Here’s what parents should know.
— Florida doctors will be able to order COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 from the federal government after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state would not order and distribute the shots in the state.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
Western states urged to ‘act now’ to conserve water
With the Colorado River’s depleted reservoirs continuing to drop to new lows, the federal government has taken the unprecedented step of telling the seven Western states that rely on the river to find ways of drastically cutting the amount of water they take in the next two months.
The Interior Department is seeking emergency cuts to reduce the risks of Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the country’s two largest reservoirs, declining to dangerously low levels next year.
State officials and managers of water agencies have yet to determine how they could accomplish such large reductions in water use. Finding ways of achieving the cutbacks will be the focus of negotiations in the coming weeks between representatives of the seven states and the Biden administration.
Bracing for potentially increased healthcare premiums
Roughly 150,000 lower- and middle-income Californians would be priced out of health coverage by rising premiums if federal subsidies are not extended at the end of this year by Congress, a recent analysis estimated. The federal subsidies passed in early 2021 as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act, which temporarily provided help to Americans to recover from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the act, health insurance premiums were capped at 8.5% of a household’s income. That significantly dropped monthly payments and led to more consumers signing up for Covered California, the insurance marketplace created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act for working-age people who aren’t covered by a health plan on their job. Enrollment in the state’s exchange has hit a record-high 1.8 million, of which Covered California reported that 92% received some form of a subsidy.
Putin looks for signs of an eroding Western unity on Ukraine
Since its early days, the course of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has whipsawed from expectations of a swift Russian rollover of the government in Kyiv to an unexpectedly fierce and effective Ukrainian resistance.
While the West for months has been seeking to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war with sweeping sanctions, allies of Ukraine are themselves experiencing painful economic blowback. All that comes against the ominous backdrop of a developing global food crisis that the Kremlin shows every sign of seeking to weaponize in the coming months.
As was the case during the run-up to the war, Putin’s motives can be read as both bafflingly opaque and blindingly obvious. In Western capitals, the war is generally viewed as a huge miscalculation on the Russian leader’s part. But to many observers, there is a dogged internal consistency to his actions.
— Members of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot said they may subpoena former Vice President Mike Pence and are waiting to hear from Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
— Recent testimony about the election and the attack on the U.S. Capitol is prompting many of President Trump’s most stalwart supporters to simply reassert their views.
— How a team of cyber experts and lawyers came together in the days after the 2020 election to try to find information suggesting fraud, in an attempt to keep Trump in office despite his defeat.
— Sometime in the next two or three weeks, the Supreme Court will release a decision on abortion rights that probably will rank among its most controversial in decades.
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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
“Behold.” For years, The Times has overlooked the vibrancy of Black L.A. In honor of Juneteenth, The Times presents a portrait series that lets the community speak for itself.
A son’s gift on Father’s Day? The art of listening. “For years, I’d been told by my dad, rather matter-of-factly, that his singing group had performed on a TV show that never aired. But watching his amazing performance really got my attention — and raised all kinds of questions,” writes the Times Robert Meeks.
‘The best of us’: Hundreds gather to honor slain El Monte officers. A crowd spilled into the street behind the police station where Joseph Santana and Michael Paredes proudly served. Many wore black T-shirts with the officers’ names across the back and the words “Fallen but not forgotten.”
Kobe Bryant crash photos and Sheriff’s Department use-of-force video collide in the courtroom. A year after L.A. County Deputy Doug Johnson took graphic photos of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene that were then passed around, he was caught up in another scandal. Johnson knelt on the head of a handcuffed inmate for several minutes — another incident sheriff’s officials tried to keep quiet.
Filipino family seeks justice after an anti-Asian attack at a North Hollywood drive-through. After the May attack by a man shouting anti-Asian slurs, the suspect, Nicholas Weber, was released. He is now at large after failing to appear in court. A warrant is out for his arrest.
‘Negro Bar’ no more. California recreation area to be renamed Black Miners Bar for now. Opponents of the current name have sought to change it for years, calling it dated and offensive. An online name-changing petition launched in 2018 by Phaedra Jones, a Black resident of Stockton, has more than 60,000 signatures.
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Inflation is taking a bite out of new infrastructure projects. The price hikes already are diminishing the value of a $1-trillion infrastructure plan President Biden signed into law just seven months ago. That law had included, among other things, a roughly 25% increase in regular highway program funding for states.
More than 200 were killed in Ethiopia in an ethnic attack, witnesses say. It is one of the deadliest such attacks in recent memory as ethnic tensions continue in Africa’s second-most populous country. Witnesses blamed the Oromo Liberation Army for the attacks.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s alliance is projected to lose the parliamentary majority in France. The projections show that Macron’s candidates would win between 200 and 250 seats — much less than the 289 required to have a straight majority at the National Assembly, France’s most powerful house of parliament.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
‘The Chosen One’: What to know about the Netflix show with two actors killed in a Mexico crash. Netflix and British producer RedRum halted production on the comics-based TV series after two actors were killed and six other members of the cast and crew were injured.
Lizzo’s building a positivity empire with pop music, shapewear and now reality TV. Unfiltered and enthusiastic, cocky in an appealingly just-kidding-around-but-not-really way, the woman born Melissa Viviane Jefferson wants to elevate her fans, slowly building an empire built on positivity while never downplaying the sacrifice and dedication that goes into being the best.
‘Pachinko’ actress knows her character’s troubles because her grandmother lived through them. Rising Korean star Minha Kim is ready for her close-up: She leads a stellar cast in the Apple TV+ multigenerational family series. Kim’s grandmother lived through the period in which the actress plays Sunja, during the Japanese occupation of Korea.
Why ‘Official Competition’ reunited Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. In this Argentine-Spanish co-production, Banderas plays Félix Rivero, an international movie star who places himself under the orders of Lola Cuevas (Cruz), an overweening independent director.
Meet the outlandish AMC boss betting on memes and a literal gold mine to save movies. Adam Aron rode the meme stock wave to rescue AMC. With his embrace of NFTs and cryptocurrency, plus a campy Nicole Kidman ad, he’s a polarizing figure.
Look! Up in the sky! It’s an air taxi. They’re coming to Los Angeles. Los Angeles transportation officials are preparing for this new era and expect drone-like electric air taxis to be operational by the time the 2028 Summer Olympics roll around, if not far sooner.
Bitcoin drops below $20,000 as crypto selloff quickens. The last time bitcoin was at that level was in November 2020, when it was on its way up to its all-time high of nearly $69,000, according to CoinDesk. Many in the industry had believed it would not fall below $20,000.
Pay attention to parents’ dissatisfaction with California schools. State schools chief Tony Thurmond was by far the top vote-getter in the primary. That shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign of happy parents.
Being child-free lets me live my most authentic life. By not having children, I gave myself the space to consider what I prefer to do as opposed to the “shoulds” set before me by the church, gender roles and society, writes Rachel Cargle.
Free online games
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As Title IX turns 50, it plays a surprise role in the transgender athlete access debate. The federal law has long been synonymous with inclusion but now must account for a constituency that wasn’t part of the conversation in 1972. The argument goes like this: Every time a transgender woman earns a roster spot or wins a medal, she is denying her cisgender opponents of a federally protected opportunity.
Guide for attending the Major League Baseball All-Star game and related events in L.A. In one month, all of Major League Baseball and its fans will affix their attention to the City of Angels. If you live nearby, you probably already entertained the idea of trying to participate in some of the events or are still weighing your odds of making it to the All-Star game itself. We’ve got you covered.
When will a woman pitch in MLB? It might be sooner than you think. More women are playing baseball at higher levels than ever before, but they still face challenges earning MLB roster spots.
ONLY IN L.A.
June in L.A. means it’s Pride Month. You can see it in the rainbow flags that pop up in the most expected (and unexpected) places. And, of course, you can taste and smell it in the limited-edition, colorful and sometimes spicy cocktails that local restaurants and bars design specially for the occasion.
Although it may be just as fun to wander around the lively streets of West Hollywood or Silver Lake strolling into whichever spot catches your eye first, it can never hurt to have a game plan. There are so many places to hit, and only a few days left in June.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Seventy five years ago, 41-year-old Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was killed while reading a newspaper in the Beverly Hills mansion of his street-wise, auburn-haired mistress. The case was sensational and the crime was never solved.
Siegel, born in Brooklyn in 1906, joined forces in the ‘20s and early ‘30s with Meyer Lansky to form the “Bugs and Meyer gang,” running liquor and protecting gambling games. In 1935, leaving his wife and two children in the affluent New York suburb of Scarsdale, Siegel was sent by the mob to Los Angeles. There he and buddy Mickey Cohen established its West Coast headquarters with ties into off-shore casino ships and loan-sharking.
Being an actor became another of Siegel’s dreams: At one point, he took a screen test and had a batch of 8-by-10 glossies printed up. He also became involved with Virginia Hill, an aspiring, street-smart actress. The passionate, self-destructive duo became not only lovers but savvy partners-in-crime.
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