Today’s Headlines: Newsom vetoes a bill to set up safe drug injection sites

A man utilizes the narcotic consumption booths at a safe injection site
A man utilizes the narcotic consumption booths at a safe injection site.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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By Elvia Limón and Jason Sanchez

Hello, it’s Tuesday, Aug. 23, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Newsom vetoes a bill to set up overdose prevention programs

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed supervised injection site pilot programs in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland in an effort to prevent drug overdose deaths and connect people to treatment for addiction.


The number of safe-injection sites that would have been authorized by the bill could have induced a “world of unintended consequences,” Newsom wrote in his veto message.

Newsom reiterated that he was committed to harm-reduction strategies but said pilot programs need to be well planned and include strong local leadership.

In the thick of the campaign money chase

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may not like much about California, but he is more than happy to visit the state to scoop up cash for his reelection bid. The potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate is headlining a fundraiser next month at the $50-million Newport Coast compound owned by “Undercover Billionaire” star Glenn Stearns and his wife, Mindy, a former Los Angeles TV entertainment reporter.

Such extravagant fundraisers, often at the homes of Hollywood royalty or Silicon Valley tech honchos, were largely paused during the early months of the pandemic. But politicians from the two parties — both in-state and outsiders — are holding them again in the lead-up to this fall’s midterm elections, which will determine control of Congress.


More politics

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom leads his GOP challenger by more than 2 to 1 in the 2022 governor’s race, even though a majority of voters express dissatisfaction with where California is headed, a new poll shows.
  • Rep. Mike Garcia, a Republican who faces one of the most competitive House races in the country, likened the Biden administration to the Nazi regime during an interview on a conservative podcast.
  • If signed by Newsom, Senate Bill 53 will allow Californians to take someone to civil court over unwanted lewd photos sent to them electronically.
  • Lawyers for former President Trump asked a federal judge to prevent the FBI from continuing to review documents recovered from his Florida estate.

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

A pay cut to keep working from home?

Working from home during the pandemic became a surprising success. Many workers enjoyed a better quality of life plus savings on commuting and other expenses. Companies boosted productivity and lowered costs.

Now as remote work looks likely to survive in some form for the foreseeable future, a battle is starting to brew over who should pocket those savings, with some employers arguing that working from home is a benefit that should be offset by lower salaries.

Paying remote workers less is a practice that is already catching on abroad. Right now, such arrangements seem rare in the U.S., probably because of the tight labor market. But that could change in the event of a recession as employers eye how remote working can lower labor costs and boost the bottom line.


Anthony Fauci says he’ll step down in December

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert who became a household name — and the subject of partisan attacks — during the COVID-19 pandemic, said he would depart the federal government in December after more than five decades of service.

While the COVID-19 pandemic introduced him to millions of Americans, he’s given straight talk to the nation about numerous outbreaks including HIV/AIDS, SARS, pandemic flu, Ebola and the 2001 anthrax attacks.

More coronavirus news

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

California is struggling to maintain its aging aqueducts


As drought, global warming and chronic overuse push the Colorado River to perilous new lows, water officials are hoping to prevent an earthquake from severing a critical Depression-era aqueduct that now connects millions of Southern Californians to the shrinking river.

Recently, officials from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California celebrated as crews lowered a section of earthquake-resistant pipeline into a portion of the Colorado River aqueduct. The upgrade is just the latest instance of state and federal water managers struggling to maintain a complex and aging water conveyance system that is not only beset by drought but also challenged by sagging canals, leaking pipes and the looming threat of wildfires and earthquakes.

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Fossil digging
Down to the bone: A team from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County excavates a set of stegosaurus fossils for the museum’s collections from a quarry near Bitter Creek, Utah, in July. From left: Beau Campbell, Nicholas Frankfurt and Luis Chiappe. Read:“Bones, sweat and years: What it takes to dig up a dinosaur.”
(Corinne Purtill / Los Angeles Times)


The state has approved a bullet train plan between San Francisco and San Jose. The unanimous vote by the board earlier this month to certify the final environmental report for the section between San Francisco and San Jose clears the way for the 43-mile expansion between the two cities.

Some former San Jose State gymnasts and trainers are standing behind an ex-coach accused of emotional abuse. More than 70 former gymnasts, trainers and parents of gymnasts have signed a petition in support of Wayne Wright. The former women’s gymnastics coach stepped down in 2018 after being accused by 25 current and former gymnasts of actions including verbal abuse, body shaming, manipulative behavior and threats to take away scholarships, according to a university investigative report.


Missing teen Kiely Rodni’s body was “more than likely” found in a California reservoir. Nevada County Sheriff Shannon Moon said her agency was notified that a vehicle matching the description of Kiely’s 2013 Honda CRV was found in Prosser Lake with a deceased person inside, just five miles north of where Kiely was last seen.

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The area near a Ukrainian nuclear plant was hit by shelling again despite international pleas. On the battleground, the city of Nikopol, about six miles downstream from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, came under fire three times overnight from rockets and mortar shells. Houses, a kindergarten, a bus station and stores were hit, authorities said.

Philippine kids are back in school after two years lost to COVID-19. Officials grappled with daunting problems — including classroom shortages, lingering COVID-19 fears, an approaching storm and quake-damaged school buildings in the country’s north — to welcome back nearly 28 million students who enrolled for the school year.

When election staffers abruptly quit, it upended a rural Texas county. A scramble is now underway to train replacements and ground them in layers of new Texas voting laws that are among the strictest in the U.S. The resignations have made the county of roughly 27,000 residents — which overwhelmingly backed Donald Trump in 2020 — an extraordinary example of the fallout resulting from threats to election officials. “That’s the one thing we can’t understand,” said a former staffer. “Their candidate won, heavily. But there’s fraud here?”


It’s been 50 years since Wattstax. The summer of 1972 was a decisive time for Raymond Shields. He’d just graduated from high school and was about to leave Los Angeles behind to study at Northwestern University. It was a summer of house parties and trips to Disneyland, and right at the end, he and a friend bought $1 tickets for the huge musical event called Wattstax.


Leon Vitali, the actor who became Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man, has died at 74. Though Vitali was often described as Kubrick’s assistant, Tony Zierra’s 2017 documentary, “ Filmworker,” shed light on Vitali’s enormous and largely unsung contributions to the work of one of cinema’s greatest figures, from “The Shining” through “Eyes Wide Shut.”

Fetty Wap pleaded guilty to a drug charge. The “Trap Queen” rapper was initially arrested last October on charges alleging he participated in a conspiracy to smuggle large amounts of heroin, fentanyl and other drugs into the New York City area.

Plácido Domingo’s name has come up in a sex sect investigation in Argentina. The Spanish opera singer, who has faced accusations of sexual harassment from numerous women over the last three years, has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the Argentina case.


Film and TV production in the U.K. is soaring as crews complain of burnout. Spending on film and high-end television shoots has reached record levels, with shows filming in Britain including the third season of “Ted Lasso” for Apple TV+, Netflix’s fifth season of “The Crown” and Amazon’s much-anticipated “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” But according to one report, the rapid growth is creating “highly pressurized workplaces,” which could become a detriment to the British film industry.


Global health failures are to blame for polio’s resurgence. The combination of a lack of vaccine access in some resource-poor countries and vaccine refusal in the U.S. and elsewhere has led to polio arriving alongside the spread of two other major diseases — COVID-19 and monkeypox. These coinciding risks remind us of the urgent need to close gaps in vaccine access and uptake.

How the Ukraine war puts the Arctic at risk. Seven countries that ring the North Pole — Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States — recently declared that they would suspend cooperation with Russia at the Arctic Council, which Russia currently chairs, in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The move threatens to unravel a set of governance mechanisms put in place by the Arctic Council and other international forums that have maintained peace and collaboration in the Arctic for generations.


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SPORTS Arena is set to get a face-lift. The 23-year-old sports venue previously known as Staples Center has launched a multimillion-dollar campaign to rejuvenate itself during the offseason, with construction underway at every level. In a place this big, there is enough work to last the next three summers.

St. John Bosco football’s unprecedented team-wide NIL deal. The Bellflower football team is about to go where no high school team has gone — a team-wide name, image and likeness deal that will pay compensation to anyone who wants to participate, according to an announcement by KONGiQ Sports Performance. It is believed to be the first for a high school.

Ex-MLB star Kenny Lofton has been accused of sexual misconduct. Brandyn Toney is suing the baseball star and an investment firm Lofton co-owns, saying he was fired in June and that the company refused to pay his $85,000 salary after he reported an incident where a female employee said she was exposed to images of Lofton’s penis. Toney said in February a female subordinate allegedly reported to the company’s attorney that she saw the images that Lofton sent in private messages to various women on Instagram, according to the lawsuit.


Getting around L.A. (or not) without a car. Before he arrived in L.A. in May for his journalism fellowship with the L.A. Times, our colleague Parth M.N. said a friend of his had told him it would be tough to survive in the city without a car. Parth thought it was an exaggeration: “It might have been my first time in America, but I have traveled extensively in Europe, where it doesn’t matter if you are close to the city center or not; the metro lines and buses have exquisite connectivity.”

Needless to say, they don’t in Los Angeles. Parth talks about his adventures in public transportation over the course of his three months in Los Angeles, which have left him both irritated and amused.



A man in platform shoes and a suit covered with stars and buttons with celebrity names poses on a sidewalk for a photo.
Oct. 24, 1975: Elton John gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
(Los Angeles Times)

Fifty-two years ago this week, on Aug. 25, 1970, Elton John made his U.S. debut at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. The Times’ longtime pop music critic Robert Hilburn wrote in his prescient review: “By the end of the evening, there was no question about John’s talent and potential. Tuesday night at the Troubadour was just the beginning. He is going to be one of rock’s biggest and most important stars.”

Los Angeles Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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