Today’s Headlines: Dozens of Villanueva donors received permits to carry guns in public

A man in law enforcement uniform and badge speaks at a lectern
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva at a news conference on May 26, 2021.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

By Amy Hubbard and Jason Sanchez

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


Dozens of Sheriff Villanueva’s donors received permits to carry guns in public

A Times investigation found that among the thousands of people who had received permits under the Los Angeles County sheriff were dozens of donors to his election campaigns and others with special links to Villanueva. These people often gave questionable reasons for needing to be armed, received their permits more quickly than the average wait or were assisted by two deputies who worked directly for the sheriff.


The analysis found that at least 50 people who received permits contributed either to Villanueva’s first campaign for sheriff or his current bid for reelection, and more than half gave the money before being granted a permit. About a dozen donated well after they received a permit. A sheriff’s spokesperson said that campaign donations had “no bearing on the issuance” of a weapon permit.

The 6% mortgage is back

For the first time since 2008, according to a widely watched survey, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed home loan climbed above 6%, marking a dramatic explosion in borrowing costs.

The jump — the latest in a series of mortgage rate increases this year — has the potential to further pump the brakes on a slowing housing market and make it more likely home values will decline.

“A lot of borrowers are saying: ‘Forget it,’” said Jeff Lazerson, president of the brokerage Mortgage Grader.


We really cut back in August, but water is becoming an even scarcer commodity

Los Angeles residents conserved water at an impressive pace in August, with that month’s usage dropping below a record low set during the previous drought. But it’s becoming clear that this alone is not going to be enough. The crisis on the Colorado River, a key source of water for Southern California, is expected to bring painful cuts. And hopes of a wet winter have dimmed with another year of dry La Niña in the forecast.

Now, the pressure is on to not only increase savings but also to double-down on efforts to reduce reliance on imported supplies and to invest in long-term water solutions: “Action that we take now — and continue to take even after this drought ends — will be important for the future,” said one expert.

GOP governors bused migrants to liberal cities. Texas sent them to the vice president’s home

Politicians have been using migrants as props for decades. Republicans visit the Southwest border and declare that immigration is out of control. During the Trump administration, Democrats made their way to detention centers to decry the treatment of children locked in cages.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas took the tactic to a new level Thursday, busing about 100 people — including many who said they were fleeing violence or poverty — to Vice President Kamala Harris’ doorstep. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis sent a separate group of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a playground for wealthy liberals, on Wednesday evening.


More politics

  • The Biden administration announced plans to develop floating platforms in the deep ocean for wind towers that could power millions of homes and vastly expand offshore wind energy in the United States.
  • A federal judge appointed a veteran New York jurist to serve as an independent arbiter and review records seized during an FBI search of former President Trump’s Florida home last month.

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It’s reigning men. Hallelujah?

As Britain mourns Queen Elizabeth II and ushers in the era of King Charles III, a relatively overlooked fact is that, barring accident or revolution, the United Kingdom is set to have a man rather than a woman on the throne deep into the 21st century, perhaps even into the 22nd.

It’s a switch at the top whose effect could go beyond the novel sight of a royal 5 o’clock shadow. Britons now lamenting the loss of a woman many describe as the nation’s grandmother may find themselves adjusting their expectations of how their monarch ought to behave, or modifying their own ideas of gender roles.

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A former USC dean admitted to arranging a bribery payment for Mark Ridley-Thomas. Marilyn Flynn agreed to plead guilty to bribery, admitting she arranged an illicit $100,000 payment for Ridley-Thomas when he was on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in return for a USC contract with the county. It’s a major blow to Ridley-Thomas, now a Los Angeles city councilman who has been suspended while he awaits trial on federal bribery, fraud and conspiracy charges.

Weekend storms could be a mixed blessing for crews battling California’s largest wildfire. Firefighters battling the Mosquito fire were up against treacherous terrain and critically dry fuels Thursday, but a storm system expected to move through the area over the weekend could bring welcome moisture. Higher winds, however, could throw embers ahead of the blaze, officials said.

The latest California city to propose an abortion ban. Temecula City Councilmember Jessica Alexander proposed becoming an antiabortion “sanctuary city.” As she proposed a discussion to create a resolution barring abortions, Alexander said: “Let the world know that Temecula stands for life from womb to tomb.”

A mother who egged on her daughter to punch a basketball opponent has been ordered to pay $9,000. “You better hit her for that,” Latira Shonty Hunt could be heard on video telling her 14-year-old daughter during a game in Garden Grove on Nov. 7, 2021. On Wednesday, a judge granted Hunt misdemeanor diversion for the charges, meaning the case would not be prosecuted if the mother wrote apologies to the victim, her parents and both basketball teams.

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A mass grave was found near a recaptured Ukrainian city. President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian authorities found the burial site near Izyum, a recaptured northeastern city in the Kharkiv region previously occupied by Russian forces. Meanwhile, the U.S. sent fresh military aid to the nation.


EU lawmakers declared Hungary no longer a democracy. In a resolution, the parliament members raised concerns about Hungary’s constitutional and electoral systems, judicial independence, possible corruption, public procurement irregularities, LGBTQ rights, as well as media, academic and religious freedoms. They said that under populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Hungary had left behind many of the democratic values of the bloc.

Mexican authorities arrested a general in the case of 43 missing students. Two other members of the army were also arrested in connection with the 2014 disappearance of students in southern Mexico. Among those arrested was the commander of an army base at the time of the disappearances. He’s accused of ordering the killings of six of the students.


At an arena homecoming, Kendrick Lamar gave the people what they wanted, on his terms. Lamar’s road show follows this year’s “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” a dense but finely detailed double LP about his unsuitability for the heroic voice-of-a-generation role he’s been cast in — and sometimes has seemed eager to fulfill — since he broke out with Dr. Dre’s blessing a decade ago.

She was pilloried for her accusation. Now her story is told. Mike Tyson’s tumultuous life story has been retold and repackaged in myriad books, shows, podcasts and documentaries — often with the input of the former heavyweight champion himself. But in “Mike,” the unauthorized Hulu miniseries that Tyson has repeatedly disavowed, executive producers Karin Gist and Samantha Corbin-Miller wanted to reexamine a key part of Tyson’s story from the perspective of Desiree Washington, the 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant who accused Tyson of raping her in 1991.

Gas from the past. A mock gas station, which took over the Mobil at 6301 Santa Monica Blvd. on Thursday, was selling gas at 91 cents per gallon as part of a publicity stunt put on by NBCUniversal for its reboot of “Quantum Leap.” The show is about a physicist who jumps through time, inhabiting the bodies of different people throughout history and changing the past along the way.

Let us celebrate the odd, heartfelt gem that is “The Silent Twins.” “Black Panther’s” Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance are siblings who grow up communicating only with each other in the drama that reviewer Katie Walsh calls a minor miracle.


Your house on TV: How to turn your home into a filming location and make extra cash. There are a few things you can do to make your home more or less likely to attract a film shoot, writes The Times’ Jon Healey. Among tips: For a $5 fee, the California Film Commission will send you contact information for more than 300 location scouts working in the state. Plus: Our Explaining Hollywood series tells how to get a job as a location manager.


California is first with a law protecting children’s online privacy. The state will be the first to require online companies to put kids’ safety first by barring them from profiling children or using personal information in ways that could harm children physically or mentally, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.


Why lack of diversity in the drug industry hurts women and people of color. Human nature, not malice, may cause the overwhelmingly white male healthcare industry to focus on treatments and cures for white men. People care more about things that affect their lives directly. Yet that doesn’t make the consequences any less heartbreaking. Some of the least-treated diseases overwhelmingly affect women and people of color.

Racing to adopt EVs is not enough. Transitioning to electric vehicles may seem like an easy solution to fight climate change. But it’s only part of the picture. The process of producing and transporting them still creates pollution, and while the average EV will pollute about 50% less compared with a gas-powered car, it’s still highly polluting. EVs are also just as dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists as their gas-powered cousins.

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Inside (lineman) story: Why Aaron Donald’s pursuit of 100 Rams sacks is historical. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald is one sack short of 100 entering the Rams’ next game against the Atlanta Falcons, a feat unheard of for an interior lineman.


The engine driving UCLA soccer’s defense. Madelyn Desiano, a fifth-year senior defender, knows hard work better than most. The San Clemente native has overcome two ACL injuries and three knee surgeries to become one of only two field players to start every game for the Bruins (6-0) this season. Desiano ran nearly nine miles per game in UCLA’s milestone victories at Duke and North Carolina on Sept. 1 and 4, respectively, which vaulted the Bruins to the top ranking.

Roger Federer announced he’s retiring from pro tennis. After a series of knee operations, Federer is closing a career in which he won 20 Grand Slam titles, finished five seasons ranked No. 1 and helped create a golden era of men’s tennis with rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Federer posted what he called a “bittersweet decision” via social media on Thursday, less than a week after 23-time major champion Serena Williams played what was expected to be the last match of her career.


A man jogging is reflected in a pool of calm water. In the background are gray clouds.
A jogger runs along the path at Will Rogers State Beach in March 2020.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Try these invigorating L.A. beach paths. Setting out for a jog by the beach can get those good running juices flowing. You don’t have to worry about cars and stoplights, and being in nature while exercising compounds the good vibes of a workout session. Research has shown that “compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression, and increased energy.” Yep, that sounds about right for a run by the beach in Los Angeles. Here’s where you can hit the sandy trails in L.A.

Check out the Primavera Sound L.A. festival at Los Angeles State Historic Park. The triumphant return of in-person festivals continues this weekend with the first L.A. edition of the hit music festival. Lorde, Nine Inch Nails and Arctic Monkeys, respectively, headline Nights 1, 2 and 3 of this outdoor event featuring scores of musical acts and DJs across four stages. Get more info about this and other events in our culture guide.


In the foreground of a grassy area with paths and trees is an oblong-shaped sculpture with a hole in the center.
Late afternoon shadows fall on Barbara Hepworth’s “Elegy III” at the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden at UCLA in Westwood.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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The 56 prettiest college campuses in America. This one’s a visual. It includes the Gothic buildings of little Berry College in Rome, Ga.; Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., with its Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center for the Performing Arts (shades of Disney Hall); the Cadet Chapel, with its multiple points aimed heavenward, at the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, Colo.; and UCLA, whose Romanesque Revival Powell Library and Royce Hall are modeled on the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, Italy, and whose Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden includes works by Calder, Rodin, Hepworth and others. Condé Nast Traveler

In parts of the Mideast, power generators spew toxic fumes 24/7. As the world looks for renewable energy to tackle climate change, millions of people in parts of the Middle East depend almost completely on diesel-powered private generators to keep the lights on because war or mismanagement have gutted electricity infrastructure. In parking lots, on flatbed trucks, hospital courtyards and rooftops, private generators are ubiquitous, spewing hazardous fumes into homes and businesses around the clock. Experts call it national suicide from an environmental and health perspective. Associated Press


Men in uniforms that include hats and knee-high boots stand in a line holding rifles. Nearby, a soldier leads a horse.
1903: An inspection of a cavalry unit at the Presidio.
(San Francisco Presidio Trust)

Two hundred and forty-six years ago this week, on Sept. 17, 1776, the Presidio was dedicated. It was the northernmost outpost of the Spanish empire in western North America, as per the National Park Service. The San Francisco site was under Mexican rule for 24 years, until the U.S. Army took over in 1846. In 1962, the Presidio was declared a National Historic Landmark, and in 1994, it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A headline in the 1992 Times read, “San Francisco’s historic military post signals the future as it prepares to become the first national park conceived as a moneymaker.” A look at the park’s website confirms its evolution from military post to a place where visitors can “grab a great meal, visit a museum, browse in a store, or rest your head in a historic lodge.” The park in 2014 marked “a milestone,” The Times wrote as “the mouse (Mickey, that is) moved in to open the Walt Disney Family Museum.


There’s still plenty of free outdoors stuff. The newest addition to the park opened this summer. The Presidio Tunnel Tops are a $118-million landscape built over a “1,000-foot-long stretch of surface highway,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which has a guide to the trails, overlooks, picnic spots and more at the 14-acre park.

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