Today’s Headlines: Ballots for L.A. mayoral candidates Bass and Caruso are still being counted

A smiling man speaking into a reporter's microphone and a woman gesturing
Rick Caruso and Karen Bass.
(Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Thursday, Nov. 10, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Anxious waiting as Bass and Caruso ballots are counted

Rick Caruso and Karen Bass have each asserted their optimism about an eventual victory in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, with both saying they would not let the slowly unfolding tabulation get in the way of their plans for a quick transition into the city’s top job.

The lead in the contest changed hands several times after polls closed Tuesday, with Caruso narrowly ahead by Wednesday morning, the last update from election officials. But analysts said the race remained far too close to call, with as many as half the ballots remaining to be tabulated as of Wednesday afternoon.


More politics

  • The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has opened a criminal investigation into whether Sheriff Alex Villanueva violated state law when he solicited campaign donations from deputies.
  • Meanwhile, Villanueva’s bid for reelection was at risk as early results showed his opponent, Robert Luna, taking a sizable lead.
  • For L.A. voters, one job title was a no-go this year: sitting City Council member. “I think there’s a real feeling among voters of needing to clean house,” said a law professor.
  • Republicans predicted that Democrats’ election emphasis on abortion after the fall of Roe vs. Wade would fail to motivate voters. They were wrong.
  • Analysis: Former President Trump’s dominant role may have cost the Republican Party in the midterm elections, but he’s unlikely to walk away quietly.
  • Georgia is headed, once again, for a bitterly contested Senate runoff election as results show Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock narrowly leading his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker.

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California and other states want to guarantee Medicaid for kids

Before the COVID-19 public health emergency began in 2020, millions of children churned on and off Medicaid each year — an indication that many were losing coverage due to administrative problems, rather than because changes in their family’s income had made them ineligible.

But California and other Western states are seeking to change that with new continuous-enrollment policies for the youngest Medicaid members. California lawmakers have approved a proposal for children who qualify for Medicaid to be enrolled at birth and stay enrolled until age 5. If the plan receives federal approval, it would go into effect in 2025.


Russia announced a retreat from the Ukrainian city of Kherson

Less than six weeks ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared with great fanfare that the strategic southern province of Kherson, along with three other war-scarred Ukrainian regions, was being annexed and was now “forever” part of Russia.

But now Russia has announced its forces are abandoning the region’s capital — the city of Kherson — seized in the earliest hours of the Feb. 24 full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It was the only regional capital the Russians had captured.

If borne out, the announced pullout from Kherson — an important industrial port and a key gateway to Ukraine’s Black Sea coast and the Crimean peninsula that Russia seized in 2014 — would rank alongside the most consequential battlefield failures on the part of Putin’s forces in nearly nine months of warfare.

The WHO reported a 90% drop in world COVID-19 deaths since February

The head of the World Health Organization said the drop in the number of recent deaths from the disease was a “cause for optimism” — even as new coronavirus variants demand continued vigilance against the pandemic.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that last week just over 9,400 deaths linked to the coronavirus were reported to the WHO. In February of this year, he said, weekly COVID-19 deaths had topped 75,000 globally.

Artistic swimming is no joke. And don’t call it ‘synchronized’

The U.S. artistic swimming team — which used to be known as synchronized swimming until officials changed the name several years ago — has been dismissed as the Olympic version of some Esther Williams film from the 1940s or ’50s. The Kabuki-style makeup, forced smiles and gelled hair, the nose clips like your aunt used to wear in the pool. Who could take it seriously?

But no one laughed when American swimmer Anita Alvarez pushed herself too hard at the world championships in June, passing out during the solo competition, her body sinking, arms dangling lifelessly as a coach pulled her out.

The incident went viral, shedding new light on a sport every bit as athletic as gymnastics with the added challenge of, well, being submerged. Alvarez wondered if “people would start recognizing how difficult it is.”

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A man in a gas station uniform is illuminated by bars of light through a window. He smiles slightly.
“Papa Joe”: Joseph Chahayed, who came to the U.S. in 1980 for a better life for his family, owns the gas station that sold the winning Powerball ticket. He’ll receive a hefty bonus. “Seventy-five years old and he refuses to take a day off,” said his son. More here
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)


Colder and drier conditions have hit Southern California. After an election day storm dropped at least an inch of rain in most spots in Southern California, temperatures dipped 10 to 15 degrees below normal, with chilly nights expected for the next few days. A Santa Ana wind event is also developing for Thursday and Friday, bringing gusty and cool winds to the region. Four were still missing after Wednesday’s storm.

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated a lot of dough — $2.8 million — to the Girl Scouts of Orange County. Leaders of the organization were informed that they were among 29 councils of the national organization personally selected by Scott to receive a portion of the total $84.5 million in funding that she donated to the Girl Scouts of the USA. Scott was previously married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Have fun outside, but please don’t lick the hallucinogenic toads, the National Park Service says. The toxin from Sonoran Desert toads is strong enough to make a person sick if they touch it or if they somehow get the toxin into their mouth — perhaps via their tongue.

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Brittney Griner was moved to a penal colony in Russia. The imprisoned WNBA star has been moved to serve her nine-year sentence for drug possession after a Russian court rejected an appeal. Griner’s legal team said she left a detention center Friday for a penal colony — a common type of Russian prison, often located in remote parts of the country, where detainees work for minimal pay.

The U.S. is set to give Lebanon $80.5 million in aid amid the country’s economic crisis. Lebanon, which relies heavily on imported food and has historically imported the majority of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia, has faced increased food insecurity during the Russian war in Ukraine.


Warner Bros. quashed an unauthorized Joker movie. Inside the director’s fight to save it. The studio halted Vera Drew’s film — a parody origin story envisioning the Batman villain as a transgender woman trying to break into comedy — on the eve of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The fight over “The People’s Joker,” and its very public eruption at one of the world’s preeminent film festivals, set up a David-and-Goliath story of superheroic proportions.

Aaron Carter’s sitcom about mental health is to be completed in his memory. Carter’s management team has given writer-director Brian Farmer and his team permission to complete “Group” — an independent sitcom about mental health and group therapy — after the singer was found dead last week. Carter was set to star in the show as a fictionalized version of himself.

Socially conscious military films bring a new viewpoint to war. “Top Gun: Maverick” proved at the summer box office that rah-rah military movies are a force to be reckoned with. A number of even more recent service-related films, however, have more thoughtful agendas in mind, taking on women at war, race and sexual orientation in uniform, the fundamental horrors of armed conflict and inequity-triggered future combat.

Why music supervisors are clashing with Netflix. Despite their increasingly important role in curating music for TV shows and movies, music supervisors say they aren’t getting the pay and benefits shared by their unionized peers in Hollywood.


Facebook parent Meta is laying off 11,000 employees. The cuts represent about 13% of its workforce. Meta is contending with faltering revenue and broader tech industry woes, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a letter to employees Wednesday.

Column: A cryptocurrency billionaire imploded, showing that the whole field is built on quicksand. Sam Bankman-Fried, one of the crypto industry’s most visible billionaires, looked like the real thing. But on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried’s FTX agreed to be taken over by Binance, the world’s largest crypto trading firm, only for Binance to back out of the deal, apparently having discovered an insurmountable financial hole in FTX’s books, writes business columnist Michael Hiltzik.


Is “California sober” a real thing or an excuse to keep getting high? People with substance use disorders, such as Aaron Carter, who died last week, have embraced the idea that they can get high and be sober.

Biden beat the midterm curse; Trump may cost the GOP the Senate. Columnist Mark Z. Barabak offers takeaways from an election that proved to be more of a small eddy than a Republican tidal wave.

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How sports helped drag L.A. out of a pandemic unemployment rut. Although some areas, like office parks and the businesses that support them, may never return to full capacity, the return of tens of thousands of fans to stadiums and arenas across Southern California has bolstered a slow revival of the hospitality industry.

Andrew Friedman said the Dodgers want Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner to return. Kershaw is a free agent for the second straight winter and appears once again likely to pick between a return to the Dodgers — who have until Thursday to decide whether to extend him a qualifying offer — or a homecoming with the Texas Rangers. Turner, meanwhile, has a club option with the Dodgers worth $16 million for next season.


Blue martini glass full of a black and white spiral vortex.
(Illustration by Anne Latini / Los Angeles Times; photograph by Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Eight spots that make you feel like you’re in a different decade. Recession, war, plagues, political turmoil — it’s hard not to feel like we’re reliving the past, or to escape the urge to revisit more pleasant times. Luckily, there are plenty of places in Los Angeles where you can go to slip into another era for a moment, a meal or a few hours of meandering, whether it’s Victorian streets or a Sinatra-sanctioned eatery.

Of course, they’ve been updated for the modern era (that cool, old-school bar wouldn’t have let half the people in this city sit on one of its stools when it opened), but a little nostalgia doesn’t hurt.


The sun shines through branches of a tree next to a hiking trail amid hills.
A woman and young child enjoy hiking in Solstice Canyon Park in the the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Malibu.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Forty-four years ago today, on Nov. 10, 1978, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established. The Times reported in October of that year that “the Santa Monicas will remain much as they are today, the only undeveloped mountain range in the nation that bisects a major metropolitan area, a near-wilderness region within an hour’s drive of millions of persons.”

The Times’ Tom Curwen touched on the park’s history in a 2016 story about the completion of the 67-mile Backbone Trail: “The Santa Monica Mountains have long been a sequestered paradise. Homesteaders found refuge in its canyons. Movie stars sought privacy on its peaks. Speculators laid claim to its most remote tracts, and what had once been public land disappeared over the decades into the deeds of private parties.”

But in the 1960s and ’70s, “the equation started to shift, and the beauty of this transverse range, rising between ocean and valley, inspired the dream of a larger, less guarded wilderness, unmarked by no trespassing signs, security gates and walled compounds.”

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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