Today’s Headlines: Karen Bass will be L.A.’s first woman mayor

A woman stands against a background of wildflowers and hills. In the distance is the L.A. skyline.
Rep. Karen Bass gathers with supporters at Angel’s Point in Elysian Park to celebrate in May.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Thursday, Nov. 17, and we’re opening today’s newsletter with a story from Times staffer Jack Dolan about summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro. The peak, once covered by ice, glaciers and snow, is now mostly bare rock. Jack writes that climate change has turned “the storied snows of Kilimanjaro to dust.”

We asked him for his thoughts on his journey to the summit — the sunrises and sunsets above the clouds, the porters with baskets of cargo on their heads, the “world of dust,” the slow and painful final climb to the summit — and he said that, although the subject of his story was undeniably upsetting, “it was still an unbelievably joyful trip. The guides and porters we shared our week on Kilimanjaro with were smart, funny and quick to laugh at everything — even when the days got hard. I’ll remember their company at least as long as I’ll remember the view from the summit.”

Read Jack’s story here: “As the snows of Kilimanjaro melt, a climb to the roof of Africa.”


Now here’s the news you shouldn’t miss today:


Karen Bass will be the new mayor of Los Angeles

Bass has defeated businessman Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, according to an Associated Press projection Wednesday, making her the first woman and second Black Angeleno elected to lead the city in its 241-year history.

The congresswoman achieved victory despite Caruso spending more than $100 million of his own fortune on his mayoral bid, shattering local spending records and pumping previously unprecedented sums into field outreach and TV advertising.

Caruso outspent Bass more than 11 to 1 but was ultimately unable to prevail as a former Republican in a sapphire-blue California city.

Republicans won control of the House


Republicans secured the majority in the U.S. House, boosting the party’s ability to stymy President Biden’s agenda even though the midterm results stop well short of a mandate from the electorate.

It took more than a week for the Associated Press to determine the GOP had won the 218 seats necessary to control the chamber. The belated milestone underscored Republicans’ underwhelming performance in an election cycle when economic conditions, historical precedent and a sour national mood had been expected to work to their advantage.

The GOP’s gains mean Biden will contend with a divided government as he enters the latter half of his term.

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California unveiled a plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2045

State air quality officials released the bold climate plan, outlining in broad strokes how the state intends to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade and eventually eliminate its carbon footprint.

The so-called scoping plan released by the California Air Resources Board reflects Gov. Gavin Newsom’s accelerated goal of curtailing planet-warming emissions by 48% this decade compared with 1990 levels. State law requires that California’s emissions be reduced at least 40% by 2030 and 85% by 2045, at which point any emissions from human activity would be offset by natural ecosystems and other solutions.

The plan also anticipates that consumer demand for petroleum and natural gas will drop 86% in the next 23 years.

25 L.A. County sheriff’s recruits were hurt, five of them critically

The injuries occurred when a man driving a Honda CR-V plowed into a large group of recruits while they were on a training run in South Whittier, authorities said.

The crash occurred near the sheriff’s STARS Center training academy, near Mills Avenue and Trumball Street in unincorporated Los Angeles County, a deputy said. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference in Orange County, where many of the injured were transported, that the scene resembled “an airplane wreck. There was so many bodies scattered everywhere in different states of injury that it was pretty traumatic for all individuals involved.”

With the U.S. out of Afghanistan, China comes calling

The West is focused on Ukraine, and the U.S. is refusing to deal with a Taliban-led Afghanistan, so China sees an opportunity to extend its influence in its backyard. The nation is using commercial ties to help forge a stable regional order and demonstrate that its brand of economic diplomacy — buttressed by a steadfast policy of noninterference in domestic affairs — can achieve success where Washington’s 20-year misadventure in Afghanistan could not.

The efforts are nothing like the United States’ gargantuan nation-building campaign. Instead, Beijing’s goal is to neutralize the dangers from what has long been a problematic neighbor, while pursuing wider policies such as its Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to develop international infrastructure links, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a $62-billion project to construct transportation networks, energy infrastructure and special economic zones, which Beijing wants to extend to include Afghanistan.

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A man wears a yellow vest and holds a bullhorn as people holding signs march around him
Striking across campuses: About 48,000 unionized academic workers at UC’s 10 campuses walked off the job this week. Alex Chubick, a student researcher, leads demonstrators in a chant at UCLA.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)


Santa Ana winds wreaked havoc across Southern California. The strongest Santa Ana winds of the year continued to lash Los Angeles and Ventura counties Wednesday, bringing threats of wildfire and wind damage, toppling semi-trucks and igniting a blaze in a pallet yard in Fontana.

How did a UC Irvine med school professor spend $400,000 of state funds on cameras? An audit launched in response to a whistleblower report concluded that Frank P.K. Hsu purchased camera equipment for a personal business with university funds, often using “suspicious” or “unauthorized” means. Some question whether the school’s response was sufficient.

The Los Angeles DWP is set to end water and power shutoffs for low-income customers who can’t pay. The utility must halt the practice of water and power shutoffs as a debt collection tool for residents enrolled in its EZ-SAVE program, which offers discounts for income-qualified residents, as well as those enrolled in the Senior Citizen Lifeline Discount Program.

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NASA’s mightiest rocket, Artemis, lifted off on a lunar mission. The new moon rocket blasted off on its debut flight with three test dummies aboard, bringing the U.S. a big step closer to putting astronauts back on the lunar surface for the first time since the end of the Apollo program 50 years ago.

Mexico stepped up immigration controls in the south. The Mexican government has not said whether its enforcement actions near its border with Guatemala are related to the U.S. policy change, which in effect shuts the door to Venezuelans trying to enter the U.S. through Mexico, but the efforts have put migrants in this southern city on edge.

Israel urged soccer fans going to Qatar to keep a low profile. The unprecedented influx of thousands of Israeli fans descending on Doha, Qatar, for the first World Cup in the Middle East has raised fears of an embarrassing diplomatic crisis between the countries with no formal diplomatic relations.


Why Daniel Craig needed his Bond to die. The release of “No Time to Die,” several times delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, marked the end of his five movies as the British super-spy James Bond. But it’s an end that paved the way for a new phase of his career, as he prepares for the release of his second film as the detective Benoit Blanc, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

L.A.’s Autry Museum spent 18 years moving 400,000 Native objects. That’s just the start. Until recently, storage nooks were crammed with boxes of objects from the museum’s collection — the second largest of its kind in the U.S. — which includes ancient ceramics, woven baskets, rare textiles and beaded ceremonial regalia. But no longer: A new facility means a new home for the items, and a new phase of intentional stewardship.

In Guillermo del Toro’s darker, weirder “Pinocchio,” it’s Geppetto learning the lessons. Guillermo del Toro has spent a lifetime ruminating on the classic tale. It’s no surprise that his version, currently playing in select theaters before landing on Netflix on Dec. 9, might be darker, weirder and, in many ways, more wonderful than the Disney movie you remember watching as a child, writes Glenn Whipp.

These top agents are optimistic about the future of movies. It’s an uncertain time in the movie business, with box office, streaming and corporate consolidation all in a state of flux. That’s kept life interesting for Hollywood talent agents like Joel Lubin and Maha Dakhil, the co-heads of Creative Artists Agency’s motion picture group.


Elon Musk is attempting a “hardcore” culture reset at Twitter. Will employees buy in? Musk issued a staff-wide ultimatum: Commit to the new “hardcore culture” of Twitter 2.0 or leave. Although it’s clear Musk intends to force a massive Twitter culture makeover, what’s less clear is how much collateral damage his actions will inflict on the company long term.


What L.A. needs from Mayor Karen Bass. Congratulations to Bass, Los Angeles’ next mayor and the first woman to serve in that role. Condolences as well for a difficult job ahead. Bass will inherit a sharply divided city that’s in upheaval as a result of political scandals and seemingly intractable problems, like housing affordability and homelessness.

A big reason the South goes red? Gerrymandering and voter suppression. Despite widespread grass-roots organizing, with each passing year Republican leaders succeed in enacting more laws and rules that make it increasingly difficult to vote, and these measures disproportionately affect Black and other minority voters.

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Not even the World Cup can soar past Qatar’s love for falconry. More than 1.2 million people are expected to flood the small country for soccer’s World Cup, the global championship of a sport that was little appreciated in the country just a generation ago. Falconry, however, has been the national sport since long before Qatar became a nation. And it’s a cultural touchstone Qataris are eager to share with visitors.

A tell-the-truth film session may just have been the spark the Lakers needed. The Lakers had an open discussion during a film session Saturday, then went out Sunday and ended their losing streak.


Elton John wears a sequined baseball uniform on a blue carpeted stage as he looked out at thousands of fans
Elton John performs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in October 1975.
(Terry O’Neill / Iconic Images)

Elton John will take his final bow at Dodger Stadium. This week, John returns to Dodger Stadium to perform three shows, on Nov. 17, 19 and 20, his last-ever U.S. concerts (so he says), as part of his long-running, wildly lucrative Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.

If these Dodger Stadium shows feel like deja vu, that’s because John already bid L.A. farewell, at the then-Staples Center in January 2019. But perhaps it’s more helpful (and fun) to time travel with music editor Craig Marks back to his legendary 1975 concert at the stadium. John and L.A. have always enjoyed a special relationship, and the show was a pageant, a spectacle, a kitchen-sink showbiz extravaganza: Billie Jean King was there. So was Cary Grant. And John wore a sequined Dodgers uniform designed by Bob Mackie.


A woman in a striped blouse smiles for a photo.
May 19, 1978: The Times reported on Esther Rolle resuming her role on “Good Times” after having left the series.
(Los Angeles Times)

Twenty-four years ago today, on Nov. 17, 1998, Esther Rolle died in Culver City at age 78. The Florida sharecropper’s daughter — the 10th of 18 children — grew up to become a respected Emmy-winning actress.

Among other roles, she played a maid in the TV series “Maude” — but only after Norman Lear promised she could portray a fully developed character. Rolle went on to star as Florida Evans, the mom in “Good Times,” a ’70s TV comedy centered around the problems of a Black family living in a housing project. She left the series temporarily, protesting that star Jimmie Walker’s character set a bad example for Black youths. But she returned to a reformed J.J. for the series’ final year.

She once spoke with The Times about returning to her Florida roots to speak with a classroom of crop pickers’ children. She told them she’d picked beans and onions at nearby farms: “I could see them thinking: ‘If she could do it, I can too.’ It was hope I saw in their eyes. No, more than hope — it was possibility.”

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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