Today’s Headlines: Southern California voters cast ballots on a wet election day

Voters cast their ballots in the midterm election at Plummer Park
Voters cast their ballots in the midterm election at Plummer Park in West Hollywood.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Nov. 9, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Big storm, big issues on the ballot

Voters across Southern California braved the rain to cast their ballots in a midterm election that would determine the balance of power in Congress, abortion access and who would lead the nation’s second-largest city. Many found the process relatively smooth, with isolated reports of problems.

Among results nationally, Ron DeSantis was reelected as governor of Florida and Sarah Huckabee Sanders won Arkansas’ gubernatorial race. Democrats picked up two governorships as Maura Healy and Wes Moore won races in Massachusetts and Maryland. Republicans appeared to have the upper hand in the five seats necessary to control the House, but their successes so far stopped short of a commanding “red wave.”


Meanwhile, candidates for L.A. mayor Rep. Karen Bass and businessman Rick Caruso were in a dead heat. And the results of four contests for Los Angeles City Council could push City Hall further left . In the race for L.A. County sheriff, Alex Villanueva’s bid for reelection was at risk Tuesday night as early results showed opponent Robert Luna in the lead.

See the latest results for the 2022 L.A. County midterm elections.

More election news:

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Nancy Pelosi said the recent attack on her husband was “fueled by misinformation”


In her first sit-down interview since Paul Pelosi was attacked last month at their San Francisco home, the House speaker said the assault was driven by misinformation and called for national healing.

In the CNN interview, she said she agreed with connections made by President Biden between the accused attacker and the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021: “There’s no question it’s the same thing … inflamed by the same misrepresentations.”

COVID-19 is still a leading cause of death in L.A. County

The coronavirus continues to play an outsize role in the mortality rate in Los Angeles County, new data from the Department of Public Health show.

According to an analysis from the county health department, COVID-19 was the second-leading cause of death in the first six months of 2022, illustrating the significant impact the pandemic has had on mortality rates despite widespread availability of vaccines and the arguably less-severe Omicron strain.

By contrast, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death in the nation’s most populous county in the first six months of 2021, a span that includes the deadliest surge of the 2½-year pandemic. And for the comparable period in 2020, COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death, even though the coronavirus did not begin to spread widely until March.


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

How L.A.’s new anti-discrimination agency works

To directly support Angelenos who face discrimination, the city of Los Angeles’ Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department has launched a unit to investigate complaints about discrimination by employers, landlords and businesses.

City residents whose civil rights are violated already had the ability to file complaints with state and federal civil rights authorities. But the new L.A. Civil Rights division is intended to help Angelenos avoid the significant backlogs they might encounter at higher levels of government.

If someone has faced discrimination in L.A., they can file a complaint with the division and begin the process of seeking redress for their grievances. Here are some of the details.

Celebrity trials are colliding in L.A. County’s biggest courthouse


The ninth floor of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown L.A. has long been where the county’s most notorious — and sometimes famous — are brought to face justice. But these are particularly busy days, which has attracted an only-in-Los Angeles cross-section of personalities to the ninth floor’s main hallway.

In a courtroom at one end of the hall, Harvey Weinstein is facing charges he raped several women. The trial will include testimony from actor Mel Gibson and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California’s governor.

At the other end, Danny Masterson is trying to fend off accusations that he raped three fellow Scientologists in the early 2000s. The case has raised questions about the church’s efforts to bury reports of abuse against its own members.

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A red moon against a black sky behind a green statue
Total eclipse: A blood moon lunar eclipse is seen early Tuesday behind the Statue of Freedom atop the dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)


A winning ticket was sold in Altadena for the record $2.04-billion Powerball jackpot. California Lottery officials confirmed that someone bought the winning ticket at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, becoming California’s first billionaire-by-lottery.


A mistaken flash-flood warning was sent in L.A. hours before polls closed as a storm battered Southern California. The warning, which was meant for about 1,500 people in the Fish fire burn area east of Duarte, went wide when a “glitch” changed the small, targeted area to all of L.A. County. The warning was canceled, and a corrected warning was sent to those in the burn scar area. In other storm news, one person was killed and two people were missing after rushing stormwater washed away a group of people in Ontario as rain pounded the region.

A San Diego meth trafficker who hid out in rural Minnesota was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Reyes Espinoza, who lived with his family in San Ysidro but also split time between Mexico and a rural hideout in northern Minnesota, was coordinating the cross-border movement of 40 to 100 pounds of meth each week during much of 2020 and the first part of 2021, an assistant U.S. attorney told a judge in San Diego federal court.

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Zelensky said peace talks with Russia were possible. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has suggested he’s open to peace talks, softening an earlier refusal to negotiate with Moscow while President Vladimir Putin is in power. But he reiterated that his conditions for dialogue were the return of all of Ukraine’s occupied lands, compensation for war damage and the prosecution of war crimes, which Russia has viewed as nonstarters.

Another mother of a disappeared person was slain in Mexico. It’s the fifth killing of a volunteer search activist in Mexico since the start of 2021. Members of her search group called for justice in the killing of Maria Vázquez Ramírez.

The Sandinistas completed their political sweep of Nicaragua. Electoral officials said the Sandinista National Liberation Front had won control of all of the country’s 153 municipalities in elections that critics called unfair. The government outlawed the country’s main opposition parties and jailed dozens of opposition figures, clearing the field.



Why music supervisors are clashing with Netflix. Despite their increasingly important role in suggesting songs and curating music for shows, music supervisors say they aren’t getting the pay and benefits shared by their unionized peers, pushing some to explore unionizing.

In the shadow of grief, “Wakanda Forever” forges messily but valiantly ahead. From the opening scenes, director Ryan Coogler wants to honor Chadwick Boseman’s memory, and he knows that he doesn’t have to push hard to earn our tears. He also knows that every end really is a beginning. The story he tells is unwieldy and strange, sometimes thrilling yet inescapably somber, writes Times critic Justin Chang.

Joan Didion remains elusive in a Hammer Museum show inspired by her life. “Joan Didion: What She Means,” organized by New Yorker critic Hilton Als in collaboration with Hammer chief curator Connie Butler and curatorial assistant Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, is not the sort of show you may have come to expect on a writer, writes Carolina Miranda. The exhibition interprets her writing life principally through art, though some parts ultimately feel jumbled.

Why Britain is in an uproar over “The Crown” — and why it’s a tempest in a teapot. The Emmy-winning series about Elizabeth II’s reign returns to Netflix just two months after the queen’s death at age 96. The timing, though coincidental, is undeniably awkward: Just as 73-year-old King Charles III is finally settling into his role as monarch, the 10-episode season will take viewers back to the most unseemly and turbulent chapter of his life.


The EU is probing a Microsoft deal to buy Activision Blizzard. Microsoft first announced the agreement — the largest in the history of the tech industry — to buy the California-based game publisher in January, but it still awaits scrutiny by antitrust regulators in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. The European Union fears it would distort fair competition to popular titles like Call of Duty.

Does your employer still not offer a retirement plan? They may be running out of time. Every employer with five or more workers in California is required either to sponsor a retirement plan or to sign their workers up for CalSavers. And hundreds of employers that haven’t complied will soon get one last chance to avoid being penalized by the state’s tax collectors.


Disney+ keeps growing fast. But streaming loses $1.5 billion. Disney+ is still growing fast as the streaming service takes Walt Disney Co. into the future of entertainment. But the effort to stay dominant in the age of Netflix is costing the Burbank giant in a big way.


Elon Musk is breaking his new toy. Will it cost us our democracy? Those of us who care about fair elections, democracy and protecting vulnerable groups from attack have to pay attention to what is happening at Twitter whether we like it or not, writes columnist Anita Chabria.

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The pressure is on Christian Pulisic as he spearheads the United States’ World Cup ambitions. Pulisic hopes to pull off a Landon Donovan and help the U.S. surpass expectations for the World Cup in Qatar after the disappointment of 2018.

Shohei Ohtani said the last trade deadline was an ideal time to move him if the Angels desired. Asked how he would feel if he had to adjust to a new team after spending several years with the Angels, Ohtani said: “If I was traded, I was traded and I just had to do my best there. It’s not as if the team didn’t need me or didn’t like me. If anything, it showed they thought I had value.”


A group of women stand in a circle on an empty beach.
The Groundswell surfing group meets in Santa Monica.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

The therapist will see you now — on a hike or a surfboard. Surf sessions are just one of the many therapy programs that now blend talk therapy with physical activities to help people process. Across the country — and especially in California — you can find everything from dog walking therapy to horticulture therapy to improv therapy.

The Times’ Julia Carmel explores how spaces that fuse therapeutic practices with a physical activity are ever-expanding, reaching new clients who might find sitting face to face in a formal office intimidating or who want to explore how movement can challenge them to process emotions differently.


A newspaper clipping of a large crowd of protesters.
Dec. 5, 1968: The Times wrote about clashes on the San Francisco State campus.
(Los Angeles Times)

Fifty-four years ago this week, on Nov. 6, 1968, the longest student-led strike at a U.S. college began. Crowds of protesters led by the Black Students Union and a coalition known as the Third World Liberation Front rallied on the San Francisco State campus. The strike, with violent crackdowns on demonstrators by police, didn’t end until mid-March.

Students “had a litany of complaints,” according to SF State Magazine, but mainly they were angry about admissions practices that mostly excluded nonwhites and curriculum that students of color found to be irrelevant to their lives. The Times wrote in December 1968 about the “bruising battles” between officers and demonstrators. Amid one protest, school President S.I. Hayakawa told the teeming crowd over loudspeakers: “Don’t be a damned fool. … All of you are waiting for something gruesome to happen. It might happen to you.”

As ugly and lengthy as it was, the conflict led to changes in college curricula, the university magazine noted. On Jan. 2, 1969, a Times article referenced the “combat” at San Francisco State under a headline that read: “Campuses Move Ahead With Black Curriculum.” Post-strike, the college and other universities across the U.S. began developing courses on Black studies, Asian American studies, women’s studies and more. “Within a decade of the strike’s end,” the magazine said, more than 430 U.S. colleges and universities were offering ethnic students programs and courses.


Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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