Today’s Headlines: Campaign to recall Gascón fails

A man with an open collar shirt and suit jacket, silver hair and sunglasses.
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón has defeated a second recall effort.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón and Jason Sanchez

Hello, it’s Tuesday, Aug. 16, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Gascón makes it through another recall effort

A second effort to force Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón into a recall election fizzled out after officials determined the campaign to boot him from office had failed to gain enough valid signatures.


To force Gascón into a recall race, the campaign seeking his ouster needed to gather 566,857 valid signatures by mid-July, a figure reflecting 10% of the people eligible to vote in the election cycle when Gascón won office in November 2020. The L.A. County registrar’s office said that only about 520,000 of the signatures submitted were valid.

More politics

  • A bill that would have granted electronic benefit transfer cards to low-income schoolchildren to cover meals when class was not in session quietly failed in the state Legislature.
  • Rudolph W. Giuliani is a target of a criminal investigation into possible illegal attempts by then-President Trump and others to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgia.
  • The Justice Department said it opposed the release of an FBI affidavit justifying a search warrant used to remove documents from former President Trump’s home.

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Students will still get at least two free meals a day

Students at public schools across California can continue to receive at least two free meals a day at school this academic year, thanks to a state initiative launched during the pandemic.


Under California’s Universal Meals Program, all public school students in grades transitional kindergarten through 12, regardless of their parents’ income, are eligible for free breakfast and lunch. The Los Angeles Unified School District is providing even more help, making three free meals a day available to students.

Queer Mercado in East L.A.

Diana Diaz wanted a space that would help LGBTQ+ Latinas and Latinos find footing in their communities — someplace that would make them more visible and, perhaps, offset the ongoing gentrification in East Los Angeles. Although there are LGBTQ+ bars, restaurants and clubs scattered across Los Angeles, they are few and far between east of downtown.

Held on the third Saturday of each month, the Queer Mercado draws merchants who pitch their tents across the parking lot of the Hilda L. Solis Learning Academy. Since July 2021, the mercado has grown from 42 to more than 130 vendors. Proceeds from vendor fees, as well as donations, go to supporting the event and the adjacent Hilda Solis academy.

In trial over Bryant crash photos, contradictions, denials and ‘memory issues’

When he took the stand in the trial over photos of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Rafael Mejia said he didn’t know if photos he shared with others had shown victims’ bodies.

That uncertainty didn’t jibe with an interview with sheriff’s investigators two years ago, when Mejia described in gruesome detail body parts he’d seen in the photos.

The shifting stories were among several inconsistencies highlighted by lawyers for Vanessa Bryant and Christopher Chester — whose wife, Sarah, and daughter, Payton, were killed in the Jan. 26, 2020, crash — as they examined witnesses on the fourth day of their trial against L.A. County. Both sued the county for negligence and invasion of privacy.

Black mom sues L.A. Unified over a cotton-picking project

A Black parent filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Board of Education, saying that a cotton field was set up at an elementary school in 2017 that was intended to teach students about the experiences of slaves.

Rashunda Pitts said her 14-year-old daughter, who is referred to as “S.W.” in the lawsuit, experienced emotional distress as a result of the project at Laurel Cinematic Arts Creative Tech Magnet that her social justice teacher said was to help students “gain a real-life experience as to what the African American slaves had endured,” according to the lawsuit, which also named the school’s then-principal and social justice teacher as defendants.

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A woman sorts through jewelry
The memory in her hands: Atefa Hesari holds a necklace that, for her, carries special meaning. Read: The things they carried when they fled Afghanistan.”
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)


An Irvine doctor feared his dermatologist wife was poisoning him. So he set up hidden cameras. Jack Chen, 53, had the same cup of hot lemonade most mornings, but it wasn’t until suffering stomach ulcers and a swollen esophagus that he noticed a “chemical taste.”

A big studio complex is planned for downtown L.A.’s Arts District. In addition to the soundstages, East End Studios’ ADLA Campus would include four office buildings with nearly 300,000 square feet of offices and more than 100,000 square feet of production support space.

Temperatures will soar across much of California this week. Inland regions in the southern and northern parts of the state are bracing for extreme heat that could reach 110 degrees in some spots.

ASAP Rocky was charged with felony assault with a firearm in a November shooting in Hollywood. Prosecutors allege that the rapper pointed a semiautomatic handgun at the victim. In a subsequent confrontation between the two parties, he allegedly drew the semiautomatic handgun and fired twice in the direction of the victim, according to prosecutors. The victim sustained a minor injury.

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Oregon’s chief justice has fired all members of the Public Defense Services Commission. The unprecedented action comes as Oregon’s unique public defender system has come under such strain that it is at the breaking point. Criminal defendants in Oregon who have gone without legal representation due to a shortage of public defenders filed a lawsuit in May that alleges the state is violating their constitutional right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.

The Chinese dream of home ownership is crumbling. The economy could go with it. As financing dries up and debts come due, a cash crunch leaves thousands of homes unfinished, in a crisis with implications for the global economy.

On India’s 75th birthday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to make it a developed country in 25 years. Modi said the journey of the last 75 years had seen ups and downs, with India battling against all odds with resilience and perseverance. He asked people to remove any trace of colonial mindset.

The Ukrainian military said it repelled more than a dozen attacks. In its regular Facebook update, the military’s general staff said Russian troops had attempted to push toward Kramatorsk, one of two major cities in the eastern Donetsk province that remain under Ukrainian control, but “they failed completely and chaotically retreated to their previous positions.”


FBI’s “Rust” shooting analysis leaves key questions unresolved. A long-awaited report did not draw any conclusions about where the live ammunition involved in Halyna Hutchins’ death came from, but it found that the pistol, a replica of a vintage Pietta Colt .45, “functioned normally when tested in the laboratory.” The report also noted that, in order for the revolver to fire, the trigger needed to be pulled.

On his birthday, Nipsey Hussle got a true L.A. honor: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tributes to Hussle, who died in 2019, were scattered across Hollywood Boulevard, with custom blue Lakers jerseys sporting the number 60 and “Hussle” as well as larger-than-life paintings available for sale.

HBO and HBO Max were hit with 70 layoffs as Warner Bros. Discovery looked to cut costs. Units affected by the cuts include HBO Max’s original reality TV group, as expected. The streaming service’s unscripted TV group was rendered obsolete when HBO Max and the rest of the WarnerMedia companies were merged with Discovery Inc., which is famous for its reality shows from Food Network, HGTV, TLC and others.

How an improv moment sealed that curious Gerri and Roman chemistry on “Succession.” In Season 3, Gerri was not only named interim CEO of the Roys’ media kingdom Waystar Royco, but she also ventured further down the perilous path of her provocative yet improper flirtation with the youngest Roy heir, bad-boy Roman, played to award-winning perfection by Kieran Culkin.


TV station owner Nexstar has acquired a controlling stake in the CW Network. The Irving, Texas-based company announced the deal, giving it control of a national broadcast service already carried by 37 of its stations including WPIX in New York, KTLA in Los Angeles, KDAF in Dallas and WDCW in Washington.

A Capri Sun recall: Kraft Heinz warned that some juice pouches were contaminated with cleaning solution. The company said it’s recalling about 5,760 cases of Capri Sun Wild Cherry flavored juice blend. The “Best When Used By” date on the packages is June 25, 2023.


As the U.S. sends stockpiles of weapons to Ukraine, another transatlantic mobilization is underway. Freed from two years of COVID restrictions, Americans are once again traveling in large numbers. Market observers have predicted a sixfold increase in American tourism to Europe. If you’re wondering what shipments of weapons and planeloads of tourists have in common, the answer is: Quite a bit. Tourism has long had a way of getting mixed up in international politics.

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Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler will undergo season-ending surgery. Buehler suffered what the team called a flexor tendon strain in his right elbow during a start against the San Francisco Giants in June.

One hundred players and 13 coaches were chosen for the first California High School Football Hall of Fame. Players and coaches were nominated by the public and suggested by media sources for their contributions to high school football in California. A panel voted to endorse the first group of honorees.

Liz Cambage apologized to the Sparks in her first public comments on abruptly leaving the team. Cambage also said she was going to “step away from the league for the time being.” The Sparks signed Cambage to a one-year contract before the 2022 season — with the four-time All-Star agreeing to a deal below the league maximum — despite her history of sudden departures from teams.


Iliza Shlesinger performs at a recent Can't Even Comedy show on the rooftop of Mama Shelter in Hollywood.
Iliza Shlesinger performs for a sold-out crowd at a recent Can’t Even Comedy show on the rooftop of Mama Shelter in Hollywood.
(Danney Paul)

Angelenos love a rooftop especially one with tropical vegetation, sprawling vistas and Technicolor cocktails. Add food and entertainment, and it becomes an irresistible place to sip sangria as sunset clouds blush with streaks of pink and coral. This is the ambiance at Caitlin and Maxwell Benson’s Can’t Even Comedy, a stand-up and live music event at Hollywood’s Mama Shelter hotel every Tuesday and Thursday. The wife and husband team envision a new sort of environment for stand-up that’s a far cry from the dusky, divey and often intimidating atmosphere of comedy clubs.

“We put on an experience,” says Maxwell, whose work producing music, concert films and documentaries lent itself to producing Can’t Even Comedy. “You go to most comedy shows and it’s like, ‘Here’s the show. Now get out.’ At Mama Shelter, it’s free, you sit on couches and you’re relaxed. It’s on a rooftop. There’s good food. I book some of the best DJs to open and close the shows.”


A scene from "Rocky Horror."
Tim Curry with, at left, Patricia Quinn as Magenta and Little Nell as Columbia in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
(Associated Press)

Forty-seven years ago this week, on Aug. 14, 1975, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” opened at the USA Theatre in Westwood. The film became a cult favorite, with fans attending in costume and bringing props.

The movie stars Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N Furter from the planet Transsexual of the galaxy Transylvania. Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon are Brad and Janet, the young couple who seek shelter in the doctor’s creepy castle during a storm. Former Times movie critic Kevin Thomas saw the makings of a cult hit in his 1975 review. Thomas said the movie was “simply too exuberant and too funny to be seriously decadent. Indeed, there’s an underlying quality of tenderness and even innocence in this loving send-up of horror and sci-fi flicks.”

Staff writers Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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