Today’s Headlines: California officials ask residents to conserve energy during heat wave

The sun glows over hazy hills and a beach.
California officials issued a Flex Alert to cope with what’s expected to be the worst heat wave of the year. Above, power lines in Redondo Beach.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón and Jason Sanchez

Hello, it’s Thursday, Sept. 1, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


California has issued a Flex Alert as the worst heat of the year sets in

California officials issued a statewide Flex Alert, asking for voluntary energy conservation as officials brace for what is expected to be the worst heat wave of the year, lasting almost a week.


State officials are asking Californians to voluntarily limit their electricity use from 4 to 9 p.m. in anticipation of increased energy demands as temperatures rise. Forecasters expect the next few days will become California’s longest and most intense heat wave of the year.

Plus: How do you save power during a Flex Alert? Consider unplugging devices, turning up the thermostat a few degrees, and holding off on running large appliances until the power demand is lower later in the evening.

As playground asphalt sizzles to 145 degrees, parents are demanding shade at school

With extreme-heat days spurred by climate change increasing and school starting in mid-August, hot schools are prompting parent demands to “de-asphalt” campuses. They complain that greening projects are woefully behind and urgent action is needed to protect children from the dangers of extreme heat.

More than 600 schools are listed on the L.A. Unified “Greening Index,” which ranks schools in order of most asphalt and least amount of green space. But making improvements through bond funding, grants and help from environmental groups is not as simple as going down the index list in the order of need. Parents say building green projects can be a long, bureaucratic and frustrating process. And individual school communities have had to lobby for improvements. But that could change.


When can we get our Omicron boosters in California?

After Labor Day, state health officials expect to quickly work on the next expansive phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign: distributing and administering newly authorized Omicron-specific booster shots.

Although there are still a few hurdles to clear before officials start doling out the doses, the expectation is that eligible residents will be able to roll up their sleeves come mid-September. The L.A. County Department of Public Health has already pre-ordered its full initial allocation of about 170,000 doses of the Omicron booster.

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

Newsom’s court-ordered treatment plan for homeless Californians passed its final test

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to treat, via court order, and house thousands of people who are experiencing some combination of homelessness, substance use and severe mental illness passed the Legislature after lengthy debate that ended in overwhelming approval of the plan.

Families with loved ones who might qualify for the plan celebrated the proposal, Senate Bill 1338, while civil liberties groups and disability advocates fiercely lobbied against it. Lawmakers have for months raised questions over the funding, infrastructure and workforce available to successfully implement the plan but in the end decided that a bold approach was warranted.

More from Sacramento:

  • California passed a bill to amend the state’s anti-discrimination laws and the Fair Employment and Housing Act to prevent companies from punishing employees who smoke marijuana outside work and may fail drug screenings because they tested positive for the drug.
  • After years of failed attempts to impose health and safety buffer zones around new oil and gas wells in California, state lawmakers sent a bill to the governor that would require setbacks between those production sites and residential neighborhoods and other sensitive areas.
  • Will a bill just passed in Sacramento solve the “mystery surcharge” Californians pay at the gas pump? It requires the state’s five refiners to report to the California Energy Commission how much crude oil they refine into gasoline each month, how much they paid for each barrel and how much they make.

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Two people ride in a swan boat next to a spray of water on a lake.
Think cool thoughts: People take a boat ride at Echo Park on Aug. 30.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)


A wildfire near Castaic exploded to more than 4,600 acres as firefighters suffered heat-related injuries. As the Route fire quickly grew in size, it prompted mandatory evacuations and the closure of all lanes of the 5 Freeway. Amid a Southern California heat wave, seven firefighters suffered minor to moderate heat-related injuries.

At East Los Angeles College, students will be able to get a degree in Central American studies. ELAC is poised to become the first California community college to allow students to earn an associate degree in the subject. The program “opens many doors for students who have a Central American origin and who want to learn more about their culture,” said a student of Guatemalan and Salvadoran descent.

A well-known rock climber was charged with sexual assault in Yosemite. Charles Barrett is accused of forcibly committing sexual assault on two occasions and committing abusive sexual contact on a third in August 2016. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine, prosecutors said.

Video of an LAPD high-speed chase that killed two bystanders raises new questions. It shows officers chased a fleeing motorist at high speed for at least 80 seconds, opting to back off only a few seconds before the suspect went through a red light and collided with another car, killing two people inside. There has been debate for years about when police should chase suspects who refuse to stop and when conditions are dangerous enough that officers should pull away.

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Afghans who survived an errant drone strike are still waiting for visas promised by the U.S. The Pentagon acknowledged its killing of 10 civilians was the result of faulty intelligence that targeted a longtime aid worker as a terrorist. None of the strike’s planners were held accountable, but the Biden administration pledged to evacuate the victims’ extended family and colleagues to the U.S. A year later, more than two dozen remain stuck in Afghanistan.

Deadly bird flu returned to the Midwest earlier than expected. After a lull of several months, the disease was detected in two commercial turkey flocks in western Minnesota and a hobby flock in Indiana, officials said. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 414 flocks in 39 states have been affected since February, costing producers more than 40 million birds, mostly commercial turkeys and chickens.

Trump’s storage of documents is no “cause for alarm” by the Justice Department, his lawyers say. Last week, former President Trump requested a third-party special master review materials taken from his Mar-a-Lago home. On Aug. 8, FBI agents removed more than 100 documents containing classified information — including some marked top secret and meant to be available only in special government facilities — along with 20 boxes of materials.


“House of the Dragon” co-showrunner Miguel Sapochnik has stepped down. Sapochnik signed a first-look deal with HBO to develop new projects, the network said. He will remain as an executive producer of the drama, which premiered close to three weeks ago to record-setting ratings.

Jennifer Hudson is diving into daytime. In recent years, Hudson joined the small group of artists who have won an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy and Tony. Now, she’s venturing into the world of daytime television, with the support of the forces behind Ellen Degeneres’ long-running talk show.

Charlbi Dean, star of the Cannes-winning “Triangle of Sadness” has died at 32. Dean died Monday at a hospital in New York from a sudden, unexpected illness, her representatives said. In “Triangle of Sadness,” Dean and Harris Dickinson play a celebrity fashion-model couple on a cruise for the ultra-rich that descends into chaos. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May and opens in the U.S. and most of Europe in October.

Amazon is betting big on “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” Amazon Studios has spent $700 million on the show, which releases its first two episodes on Amazon Prime Video at 6 tonight. It is the most expensive television show ever. Also: In his review, Times critic Robert Lloyd concludes the show is neither a disaster nor a triumph, merely television of a visibly expensive, fitfully inspired sort.


Westfield Santa Anita changed hands in one of the biggest mall sales in years. The indoor shopping center in Arcadia sold for $537.5 million, the highest price paid for a U.S. mall since 2018. The identity of the buyer was not disclosed, but it was said to be “an established commercial real estate investor who owns other retail assets in Southern California.”

A bill targeting Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ claims passed the Legislature. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has rules on its books that ban the advertisement of cars as “self-driving” when they are not, as Tesla has done for years. But it has never enforced those rules. So the state Legislature is stepping in, going over the DMV’s head in an effort to make its false advertising regulation a state law.


Op-Ed: How a new California law for fast-food workers can set a path for industries nationwide. The recently passed Assembly Bill 257 creates a new “council” for fast-food workers and their employers to come together, along with government officials, to raise wages and improve working conditions in all California restaurants affiliated with large fast-food chains. This is a step toward improving the current system of worksite-by-worksite bargaining, which makes little sense in today’s economy.

Op-Ed: Will California’s second zero-emissions car mandate avoid the failures of the first? Opinion contributor Edward Humes writes: “I’ll join in celebrating the California Air Resources Board’s historic vote to once again phase out sales of new fossil-fuel-powered cars, SUVs and pickups in the state, this time by 2035. But my cheers for this absolutely vital step are leavened with major deja vu — and my real concern that history could easily repeat itself, given that this same board killed the first mandate for all the wrong reasons.”

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UCLA football coaches hit eight figures in total compensation for the first time. The Bruins coaches will make a record $10,172,500 in salary and bonuses this year, according to records reviewed by The Times, a 3.2% increase over the previous year. More than half of the new total is coach Chip Kelly’s $5.6-million salary. The increase comes amid massive turnover on Kelly’s staff, including six new coaches this season.

Sony Michel is back in L.A. as Chargers sign the running back after the Dolphins let him go. Michel, released this week by Miami, was with the Rams last season, rushing for 845 yards and catching 21 passes for another 128 yards. The Chargers released running back Larry Rountree III to make room for Michel on the 53-man roster.


Smiling men sit at a table over a chess board.
Participants compete at DTLA Chess.
(Charisma Madarang)

How about a game of chess? With games being played in varied spots — a basement beneath the sticky floors of a neighborhood bar, an open sidewalk alongside a bustling downtown intersection — chess is one of the best ways to meet the city.

There’s a scene for every type of player, whether you’re looking for a frenetic round of speed chess à la Beth and Benny in “The Queen’s Gambit” or a mellow conversation over rooks and bishops. Here are seven laid-back spots for playing a pickup game, from Culver City to South L.A.


A clip from a newspaper shows a crowd around an armored truck.

Fifty-seven years ago this week, on Aug. 29, 1965, the Beatles were in Los Angeles for a performance at the Hollywood Bowl, and Beatlemania reigned. They held a pre-concert news conference at the Capitol Records Building before boarding an armored truck to make the trip to the Bowl. When the truck arrived at the venue, “a girl dashed out, grabbed onto the side view mirror and was dragged about 50 yards,” The Times reported the following day. Nearly two dozen other young women were “treated for hysteria.”

The concert was a sellout, The Times wrote, with 17,600 inside and more than 10,000 unticketed fans milling around outside the Bowl. Security and police were at record levels, with a helicopter buzzing above that “radioed movements of teen-agers on nearby canyon ridges to police units on the ground.” Authorities halted an attempt by about 100 fans to storm the venue.

Marilyn Caldwell, described as a teenager and Beatlemanic, wrote a first-person piece for the paper on her close encounter with her idols, whom she met at the news conference. In a move that doesn’t say much for the group’s security detail, Caldwell “dodged two guards and confronted Beatle Paul McCartney and announced, ‘I wanna hold your hand.’” McCartney gave her a warm smile and a squeeze of the hand.

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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