Today’s Headlines: Homophobia, antisemitism and other scandals rocking California’s military

Three California National Guard members stand guard
California National Guard members stand guard at an access point to the California state Capitol in Sacramento.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

By Elvia Limón and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Thursday, June 23, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California National Guard plagued with scandals

A top general in the California National Guard violated government rules by having subordinates ferry his mother on a shopping trip. A colonel who serves as a Guard finance officer and had been recommended for promotion to general has been charged with exposing himself to three women in a restaurant.


Those are among the latest embarrassing episodes to tarnish the California National Guard, which has been beset in recent years by allegations of cover-ups and retaliation against whistleblowers, a Times investigation based on Guard documents and interviews has found.

Current and former Guard members say there is a widespread perception in the organization that high-ranking officers who engage in misconduct are protected from significant discipline.

A recession may not be that bad, economists say

Whether it’s President Biden insisting a recession is avoidable or his critics arguing that the wolf is at the door, both sides are acting as if the nation faces an unprecedented catastrophe. Partly it’s political theater.

But behind the rhetoric, the reality is that recessions are a normal part of American economic life. The U.S. has had one, on average, every 6½ years since 1945.


And in the present case, most professional economists think any downturn now is likely to be relatively mild, with a fairly quick recovery.

More politics

  • Biden asked Congress to suspend the federal gas tax through September. He also requested that states temporarily suspend their fuel taxes and for oil companies to lower costs.
  • The House hearings investigating the catalysts behind the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will continue today by exploring then-President Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department.
  • A former West Virginia lawmaker who livestreamed himself storming the U.S. Capitol has been sentenced to three months in prison.
  • On election night, Rick Caruso led Karen Bass in the L.A. mayoral primary and Chesa Boudin was losing a recall by 20 points. Then came the mail ballots.

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

Soaring medical debt causes gut-wrenching sacrifices

More than 100 million people in the U.S. ― including 41% of adults ― are beset by a healthcare system that is systematically pushing patients into debt on a mass scale, an investigation by KHN and NPR shows.

The investigation reveals a problem that is far more pervasive than previously reported. That is because much of the debt that patients accrue is hidden as credit card balances, loans from family or payment plans to hospitals and others.


The burden is forcing families to cut spending on food and other essentials. Millions are being driven from their homes or into bankruptcy.

Why is California the last in the nation for school bus access?

California does not require school districts to provide buses, even if a student lives far from campus. The state pays a fraction of transportation costs for schools — the same amount since 1981 — despite soaring inflation, increased demand, a sharp jump in gas prices and a projected record-high state budget surplus.

Exemptions include some students with disabilities or those experiencing homelessness, who are guaranteed free transportation under federal law.

Since state officials froze school transportation funding levels more than 40 years ago, districts across California have cut back on bus routes or ended them; charged parents hundreds of dollars; or urged students to take public transit instead.

A pulse of water revives part of Mexico’s dry delta


For decades, so much water has been diverted to supply farms and cities that the Colorado River has seldom met the sea and much of its delta in Mexico has been reduced to a dry riverbed.

Over the last eight weeks, water has been flowing in parts of the delta once again, restoring a stretch of river in Mexico where previously there had been miles of desert sand.

The water is being released from an irrigation canal to aid the delta’s parched environment as part of an agreement between the Mexican and U.S. governments and with support from environmental groups. Those who are involved say the initiative shows how small amounts of water can be used to benefit struggling ecosystems.

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A tree with twisting what limbs grows from a hillside.
At the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, trees that are thousands of years old face dangers including shrinking habitat as plants migrate due to climate change.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)


Environmentalists and property owners sue to block a $2.5-billion dam project in Santa Clara County. They argue the proposed project is “environmentally destructive, high-cost and high-risk” and would affect wildlife habitat, cultural sites and other historic sites.


California wildfires caused by humans are more dangerous than fires sparked by lightning. New research from UC Irvine shows that fires caused by human activity spread faster, burn hotter and destroy more trees than those caused by lightning strikes.

A mistrial is declared in Suge Knight’s wrongful-death suit of a man run down in Tam’s Burgers lot. The suit was filed in 2015 by Lillian Carter after her husband, Terry Carter, was killed after Knight ran over him during the filming of the N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” in which Knight was portrayed.

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The Uvalde school police chief is on leave after the mass shooting. In a statement, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Supt. Hal Harrell did not give a reason for sidelining Chief Pete Arredondo, but said it remained unclear when district officials would know the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.

A $3.2-million settlement was reached in the police killing of Daunte Wright. The tentative settlement also includes changes in police policies and training involving traffic stops like the one that resulted in Wright’s death.

The U.K. plans to rewrite human rights law. Critics cry foul. If approved by Parliament, the legislation will increase the difficulty of bringing human rights legal claims. It will reduce the ability of foreign nationals convicted of a crime in Britain to challenge deportation on the basis of their human rights.


Why is Israel always holding elections? After barely 12 months in office, the leaders of Israel’s broad-based but severely weakened coalition government threw in the towel this week, saying they would dissolve parliament and hold new elections — the fifth in 3½ years.


‘I have no desire to be on TV again’: Maury Povich, the king of daytime, takes a bow. Although many might label “Maury” as lowbrow and disposable, Povich is undeniably proud of the show: “I was able to get as close and intimate with my guests, my audience and my viewers as anyone who has done this type of show. I appreciate the faith and trust they had in me.”

Playlist: The 40 best songs of 2022 so far. Gen Z pop, Latin beats from around the globe, Nashville’s finest, sinewy hip-hop and R&B: Musically speaking, at least, 2022 has been a blast so far.

Gloria Estefan wonders ‘what J. Lo would have said’ if she had joined the Super Bowl show. Estefan, who turned down an offer to perform at the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, responded to Lopez’s opinion that co-headlining the event with Shakira was “the worst idea in the world.”

Bill Nye the Married Guy! The “Science Guy” star tied the knot last month. The ceremony, officiated by “Star Trek” actor Robert Picardo, took place at the Castle Building’s Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.


Fox News parent must face defamation suit over vote-rigging claims. Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric M. Davis denied Fox Corp.’s motion to dismiss the suit by Dominion Voting Systems.


Mexico union investigates the crash that killed two actors from Netflix series. RedRum, the production company behind the show, said the group was in transit from Santa Rosalía, Baja California, to the local airport, and there were no signs that any safety measures had been breached.


‘To bear arms’ hasn’t always meant what today’s pro-gun crowd thinks. Nowhere does the 2nd Amendment declare or suggest a right to “go armed,” the term used in the founders’ era for carrying a weapon such as a pistol or dagger, either openly or in secret. Going armed was not legal.

My wife’s abortion was a painful choice. Now as a father, I worry my daughter won’t get to choose. Our daughter is now an adult. I hope that she never has to endure a heartbreaking pregnancy. If she does, I despair at the thought of her not having the right to choose, writes retired lawyer and business executive John Caragozian.

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NASCAR hopes Daniel Suárez’s historic win marks a turning point in the diversity drive. Suárez is the only Mexican driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race. NASCAR is determined he won’t be the last, doubling down on its push for diversity.

With few draft options, the Lakers must search for the next Austin Reaves. As the team heads into transaction season without draft picks or cap space, it’ll again fall on them to make something out of nothing, a significant challenge for any front office.


CHRB issues a complaint against trainer Richard Baltas for 47 horse racing violations. Those with knowledge of the investigation but not allowed to comment told the Los Angeles Times that Baltas was not personally seen administering anything to his horses. The offenses allegedly occurred between March 15 and May 8.


A wave crashes against boulders.
Royal Palms State Beach in San Pedro is among Heal the Bay’s honor-roll beaches.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Heal the Bay came out with its annual beaches report card, and there’s some good news for California’s coast. Most beaches across the state are still much cleaner than in decades past. The Times’ Rosanna Xia notes there are pockets of pollution; she has written about the eight dirtiest beaches named in the report, which include Santa Monica Pier and, in Marina del Rey, Mother’s Beach — which is a favorite among families with small children but is plagued by poor water circulation. Read more about the beach bummers.

For the newsletter, here are five of the beaches that made Heal the Bay’s honor roll, earning A+ ratings: in L.A. County, Royal Palms State Beach in San Pedro (pictured above); in Orange County, Poche Beach in Dana Point and Crystal Cove in Laguna Beach; in San Diego County, Mission Beach at Belmont Park; in Santa Barbara County, El Capitán State Beach; and in San Luis Obispo County, San Simeon State Beach at Pico Avenue.


A detail from a newspaper page includes a photo of a young woman with short hair.
Dec. 14, 1960: The Times reported on Wilma Rudolph’s upcoming participation in a Los Angeles track meet.

Eighty-two years ago today, on June 23, 1940, Wilma Rudolph was born. Rudolph was the first American woman to win three track-and-field gold medals at a single Olympics. In the 1960 Games at Rome, she finished first in the 100 meters and 200 meters and ran the anchor leg for the winning 400-meter relay team.


As a child, Rudolph had pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio. She walked at one point with the aid of a leg brace. But by high school, she’d become an exceptional basketball player and, by 1956, an Olympic medalist, winning bronze in a relay at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia. Rudolph died in 1994 after losing a battle with brain cancer. A USA Track & Field executive said at the time: “She’s a legend in track and field, like Jesse Owens.”

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