Today’s Headlines: Amid mounting pressure to resign, Martinez exits L.A. City Council
By Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey
Hello, it’s Thursday, Oct. 13, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Nury Martinez has resigned
Nury Martinez resigned her seat on the Los Angeles City Council days after the release of an explosive leaked audio of a racist, crude conversation. The move came amid mounting pressure to resign, including President Biden, community activists and council colleagues.
In the surreptitiously recorded conversation from October 2021, Martinez — while speaking with Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo as well as then-Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera — made racist remarks and insults about various elected officials.
The conversation focused heavily on the councilmembers’ frustration with maps that had been proposed by the city’s 21-member redistricting commission.
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- California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said his office would investigate the Los Angeles redistricting process that took place last fall.
- This week’s leaked audio proves that L.A. needs a new generation of Latinos at its helm — one that can rewrite the zero-sum rules imposed on us by white supremacy, writes Times columnist Jean Guerrero.
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Updated COVID boosters for younger kids were approved
The U.S. authorized updated COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 5. Tweaked boosters rolled out for Americans 12 and older last month, doses modified to target today’s most common and contagious Omicron strain. Although there wasn’t a big rush, federal health officials are urging people seek extra protection ahead of holiday gatherings.
Now the Food and Drug Administration has given a green light for elementary-school-age kids to get the updated booster doses, too — one made by Pfizer for 5- to 11-year-olds, and a version from rival Moderna for those as young as 6.
More coronavirus news
- Eager to admire colorful foliage, eat sushi and shop, tourists from abroad have flocked to Japan with the end of pandemic border restrictions.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
Britain is the place to be if you’re an American with money to burn
The pound, long one of the world’s strongest currencies, a source of pride for Brits and one of distress for tourists and newly arrived immigrants, is today a shell of its former self. Since hitting an all-time low last month of 1 pound to $1.03, it’s made little recovery and hovers around $1.10, one of its lowest values in decades.
For American tourists and many of the 166,000 Americans who call the U.K. home, the switch in currency fortunes has been a pleasant experience.
As the mayoral election nears, L.A.’s water future hangs in the balance
Over the last decade, the city has made significant investments in its future, including major projects to expand its ability to capture, store and recycle water. But now, on the eve of an election, much of the work remains unfinished — with target dates for some major water projects set as far out as 2050.
With the city facing what is sure to be one of the hottest, driest and most challenging climate eras on record, it is essential that its next leader sees the work through to completion, Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
Garcetti said neither Rep. Karen Bass nor businessman Rick Caruso, the candidates seeking to replace him, had reached out to discuss the city’s water goals. In emails to The Times, however, both candidates said they believed Los Angeles must reduce its reliance on imported water.
L.A. County has launched mobile clinics as big as semis
Homeless people in the county had been suffering rising rates of mortality even before COVID-19 arrived. The pandemic thrust the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services directly into street medicine, but the need went beyond the coronavirus.
So the Department of Health Services launched its own system of rolling clinics this fall, expanding the range of medical care that its clinicians can immediately offer to unhoused people. The big blue trucks boast a range of services that can be difficult or impossible to perform on a sidewalk or inside a tent.
The mobile clinics can also connect patients with social workers and financial screeners to enroll them in programs.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
A major landlord’s $400,000 donation is causing a stir. In a fierce Westside L.A. City Council race, primary winner Erin Darling says opponent Traci Park’s substantial fundraising advantage shows she will be beholden to well-heeled business interests.
Want to upgrade your license plate? California drivers can now go digital. A new law has made California one of three states to allow motorists to replace their traditional metal license plates with mounted digital ones. Drivers who opt for a digital plate will pay more, but among other benefits, they can renew their registration without having to step foot inside a DMV.
A fentanyl crackdown in California has netted 4 million pills and 217 arrests. A task force seized 52 pounds of fentanyl powder just in Southern California, which is enough to make 250,000 pills, according to the state attorney general. In Riverside, a sting operation resulted in the seizure of more than 110,000 fentanyl pills.
Victims of sexual abuse by an L.A. Unified wrestling coach will receive $52 million. The settlement, involving 15 victims and their families, comes two years after Terry Gillard was sentenced to 71 years in state prison for dozens of sex crimes involving nine boys and girls, some of whom were preteens when he assaulted them.
Young adults in L.A. are set to get $1,000 a month under a new guaranteed income program. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services introduced the pilot program, which will provide a three-year guaranteed income for about 300 people ages 18 to 24, the agency said. Recipients will be randomly selected. Those eligible must be enrolled in the General Relief Opportunities for Work, or GROW, program.
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Alex Jones was ordered to pay nearly $1 billion. The conspiracy theorist was ordered by a Connecticut jury to pay $965 million to the people who suffered from his false claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.
Ukraine’s biggest nuclear plant was hit by another outage. Russian missile attacks caused a crippled nuclear plant in Ukraine to lose all external power for the second time in five days, increasing the risk of a radiation disaster because electricity is needed to operate critical safety systems, Ukraine’s state nuclear operator said. Meanwhile, Western powers pledged to supply Ukraine with more potent air defense systems after a furious barrage of Russian missile strikes.
The OnlyFans creator who challenged Singapore’s sexual taboos was sentenced to jail and fined. In an interview with The Times earlier this year, 22-year-old Titus Low said he believed he was being singled out among dozens of Singaporean OnlyFans. He was sentenced Tuesday to three weeks in jail and ordered to pay a roughly $2,000 fine.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
After receiving blowback for killing its television workshop, Warner Bros. Discovery announced diversity moves. The company said that it wasn’t giving up on programs to develop writers and directors of color and that its pipeline programs would exist under its larger diversity, equity and inclusion umbrella, though officials did not give many specifics on how the revamped programs would work.
Rules on how prop guns are used on film sets are changing after “Rust.” The deadly accidental shooting on the film’s set has prompted an influential industrywide labor-management committee to weigh revisions to so-called safety bulletins that dictate how guns and ammunition should be handled in the entertainment industry, according to people with knowledge of the talks.
Laurie Strode has fought Michael Myers for the last time. Scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis announced she would be stepping away from her star-making role in the “Halloween” franchise after “Halloween Ends,” which hits theaters Friday. The 1978 film was her breakthrough role and spawned a franchise with 13 movies.
My Chemical Romance has proved that emo and arena rock are alive and well. The New Jersey’s band first of five sold-out shows at the Forum marked a long-awaited return in the midst of an emo revival of sorts. The band seized the arena, lighted it up in red and claimed it for the vampires of Los Angeles.
Rising mortgage rates are causing a drop in home prices. The typical Southern California home price is now nearly 6% below the all-time high reached in May, according to new data. It’s the first time in a decade that home prices in Southern California are definitively falling after 10 years of largely uninterrupted gains.
Amazon workers at Moreno Valley warehouse file for union election — a first in California. It’s the first time workers at an Amazon facility in California have formally sought a union election. The Amazon Labor Union mounted the first successful unionization effort at any of the company’s U.S. warehouses in April, with a vote the same month at a warehouse in Staten Island, N.Y.
Time to go, Councilmembers Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo. If the Los Angeles City Council members caught on a recording making racist and vicious comments about their colleagues and constituents were hoping that the uproar would blow over, they need to face these hard truths: Public indignation is not dissipating; it’s growing. They are not victims. They are public servants who have gravely harmed the city and the people they are supposed to represent.
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San Diego beat the Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. The Padres evened the series 1-1 with a 5-3 victory at Dodger Stadium. In a tension-filled back-and-forth game, San Diego closer Josh Hader picked up a four-out save. The series moves to San Diego for Game 3 on Friday.
The Clippers will continue to refine the lineup and rotations in the final preseason game. Instead of continuity, training camp’s early days have been marked by a learning curve, and though their preseason schedule comes to a close against Denver at Ontario’s Toyota Center, their work to refine the strategies that could have them contending for a championship has just begun.
The Raiders’ Davante Adams was accused of shoving a photographer and charged with assault. Kansas City, Mo., police said Adams pushed Ryan Zebley to the ground while running off the field after the Raiders’ 30-29 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Police called it an “intentional, overt act” that caused whiplash, a headache and a possible minor concussion.
ONLY IN L.A.
Renting out your house for film and TV productions sounds like easy money. Should you do it? Plenty of Angelenos allow their homes to be turned into film sets, making some extra income in the process. There’s even a tax benefit. It’s a natural side gig if you live in Hollywood’s backyard. But on the flip side, there’s always a risk of damage occurring during a shoot, although situations like a capsized lighting crane are, fortunately, rare, writes The Times’ Rachel Schnalzer. Here’s what to know.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Forty-three years ago this week, on Oct. 10, 1979, Fleetwood Mac received its star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The group started as a British blues band in the late ’60s and became a seminal rock group of the 1970s.
Its members changed over the years — except for drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. But the quintessential quintet included Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Buckingham and Nicks joined in 1974. Together, the five created the blockbuster 1977 “Rumours” album — as well as a load of behind-the-scenes drama as the McVies’ marriage broke up and Buckingham and Nicks’ relationship ended. (Last fall, The Times wrote about how that drama continued, with hard feelings between Buckingham and Nicks, and Buckingham saying that in 2018 he was unceremoniously let go from the group.)
In 1998, Fleetwood Mac was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and lauded for “a distinctive ‘California sound’ that endures today as a sonic touchstone for countless bands.”
Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.
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