Today’s Headlines: Warrants served as LAPD looks for who leaked racist recording

Police officers and people in masks holding signs face one another inside a city building.
People protested at L.A. City Hall after a racist recording involving council members was leaked. Above, demonstrators are escorted from the council chamber on Nov. 1.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
Share via

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Nov. 30, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


A new development in the investigation of a leaked recording that rocked L.A. City Hall

Los Angeles police detectives have served several search warrants as they attempt to find out who recorded a meeting among three L.A. City Council members and a powerful labor leader that was filled with racist and offensive comments, law enforcement sources told The Times.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was ongoing, did not identify the specific targets of the warrants. But they said the department obtained warrants for several social media accounts.


Among them, the sources said, is the Reddit account that posted the audio leak and related cellphone records.

UC reached a tentative deal with striking postdoctoral scholars and researchers

In a historic breakthrough, the University of California and its postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers reached a tentative agreement on what union leaders described as their highest-ever salary increase — but workers won’t return to campus yet in a gesture of solidarity with some 36,000 graduate student employees who remain on strike.

At a news conference, Neal Sweeney, president of UAW Local 5810, said the tentative deal would put UC postdoctoral scholars at higher median pay levels than even pace-setting Stanford. Union members still need to ratify the agreement and will stay on strike until that happens.

How will Biden and McCarthy navigate their rocky relationship?


President Biden and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) will have to cooperate come January, when McCarthy is expected to secure the speaker’s gavel. Their relationship will determine not only the course of the remainder of Biden’s term but also more practical questions such as whether the United States will default on its national debt.

But the two men have done anything but find compromise over the past two years. The pair have spoken only rarely since Biden took office. They spent the run-up to the midterm elections excoriating each other: Biden cast McCarthy and his party as extremists who threatened the survival of democracy, while the California Republican said Biden had “launched an assault on the soul of America.”

More politics

  • Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn President Biden’s election, handing the Justice Department a major victory in its massive prosecution of those involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
  • After Ticketmaster fumbled its sales of Taylor Swift tickets, members of Congress are asking the Federal Trade Commission whether it plans to enforce a 2016 law designed to fight the bot “attacks” the company blamed.
  • The White House revealed First Lady Jill Biden’s annual holiday decorations, with a “We the People” theme for 2022.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

Fentanyl deaths in L.A. County soared between 2016 and 2021

Deaths tied to illicit fentanyl have skyrocketed in Los Angeles County, with more than 13 times as many people losing their lives in 2021 as in 2016, according to a new report.


The findings from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health underscore the threat of the synthetic opioid, which is much more powerful than heroin and has been found mingled with methamphetamine and other illegal drugs and consumed unknowingly in counterfeit pills.

In L.A. County, the number of deaths linked to fentanyl rose from 109 in 2016 to 1,504 in 2021, a 1,280% increase, the Department of Public Health found. Last year, fentanyl was involved in 55% of overdose deaths across the county. Among 12- to 17-year-olds who died of an overdose, the vast majority — 92% — tested positive for fentanyl.

Check out "The Times" podcast for essential news and more.

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you’re seeking a more balanced news diet, “The Times” podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.


rafa esparza creating art for Art Basel
Cyborg transformation: Artist rafa esparza tests out “Corpo RanfLA: Terra Cruiser,” an artwork made for Art Basel Miami.
(Star Montana / For The Times)


Hospitals had to publish charity care rules months ago. Some didn’t. AB 1020, which went into effect in January, makes more people eligible for discounted care and requires hospitals to prominently post their financial assistance policies on their websites. Yet more than nine months later, a Times review found some hospitals still had not put their policies in readily apparent spots.

Will San Diego’s $160-billion rail expansion survive the GOP election shake-up? The San Diego region’s envisioned multibillion-dollar rail project could be on a collision course with a harsh political reality: Key local elections appear to have been won by Republicans who oppose new levies to fund transit.


Hundreds of DWP workers would get a significant hike in pay under a new labor agreement. The new salary package for Department of Water and Power employees includes four “cost of living” pay increases, plus additional increases for some and bonuses. The Los Angeles City Council moved to support the labor deal, passing it by an 11-0 vote.

Support our journalism

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


The White House is cautiously watching protests over COVID restrictions in China. The Biden administration is treading lightly in response to demonstrations in China by citizens angry over the country’s harsh COVID-19 restrictions, drawing criticism from Republicans and democracy advocates who say the White House should act more forcefully.

NATO renewed a membership vow to Ukraine and pledged arms and aid. The world’s largest security alliance doubled down on its commitment to one day include Ukraine, a pledge that some officials and analysts believe helped prompt Russia’s invasion this year.

The Supreme Court is divided over a clash between Biden and the state of Texas involving immigration enforcement. At issue is whether an existing law requires federal authorities to arrest, detain and deport any “criminal alien” they encounter or, instead, gives them the discretion to focus on those who pose the greatest threat to public safety. The case is a major test of executive power.

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is erupting. Here’s what that means for the island. The world’s largest active volcano is erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years, shooting lava 100 to 200 feet into the air and spewing volcanic smog. State health officials are urging people to cut back on outdoor activities, with possible evacuations if lava gets close to populated areas.



After a backlash, the film academy said it would present all 23 Oscars categories live. Academy Chief Executive Bill Kramer confirmed to Variety that the upcoming show would return to its traditional format after eight less-starry Oscar categories were trimmed from the live telecast in March, sparking widespread anger among the organization’s rank and file.

In a new interview, Will Smith said “bottled” rage led to the Oscars slap. Smith said he knew that his “horrific decision” to slap Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards cast a long shadow on his projects. He appeared on “The Daily Show” on Monday to promote his starring role in Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming film “Emancipation” and addressed the infamous incident.

Stephen Colbert’s cartoon news show can be as scary as the real thing. The weekly half-hour program that follows “The Daily Show” on Wednesday nights features cartoon character anchors and commentators interviewing real journalists, celebrities, politicians and even White House Cabinet members.

Celeste Ng called her new novel, “Our Missing Hearts,” “scarily real.” Ng’s latest work is set in a near future where racism is officially sanctioned, freedom of expression is banned, and parents live in fear that their children could be “re-placed” with other families at the first hint of disobedience.


Netflix’s DVD mail service still has die-hard fans. But is its demise near? Still-dedicated DVD subscribers say opening their mailbox to a red envelope is a small pleasure they enjoy, but it’s not clear for how much longer. Netflix has previously suggested the DVD-by-mail service might close around 2023.

Pressure is mounting on AMC Networks after its CEO exited and major layoffs loom. The company is facing growing financial pressure to adapt more quickly to the streaming revolution. The situation grew more dire with the news that Christina Spade is stepping down after less than three months in charge.


Twitter said it had stopped policing COVID-19 misinformation under Elon Musk. By discarding the COVID rule, the company will no longer apply labels to posts containing falsehoods about the disease or provide supplemental corrective information as it did before. It will apparently no longer remove inaccurate tweets or ban offending accounts either.


California still violates the Constitution on bail. The right to bail under the state and federal Constitutions routinely is stood on its head, so that instead of being used to get people out of jail, bail is misused to keep people in.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at


The U.S. survived a chaotic finish to defeat Iran and advance at the World Cup. Needing a victory to advance to the final 16 of the tournament, the U.S. took care of business, edging Iran 1-0 on a Christian Pulisic goal late in the first half. With the win, the unbeaten U.S. (1-0-2) finished second to England in its group, and will meet the Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Saturday.

A real sign of LeBron James’ decline? Takeaways from the Lakers’ loss to the Pacers. Everything that is wrong with the Lakers unfolded in the final 10 minutes of a one-point loss to the Indiana Pacers, the massive issues the team needs to resolve all coming together against a team many considered would be playing for the No. 1 pick.


People stand and sit on folding chairs in front of a makeshift stage in a backyard.
Little Secret presents an event in the backyard of a house in Hollywood in October.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Secret backyard shows keep L.A.’s underground comedy scene standing strong. Like warehouse raves and backyard punk gigs, the underground comedy show circuit in L.A. will never die, despite many of the best shows being short-lived. They’re usually destined to end abruptly due to excessive-noise complaints, frequent visits from surly cops and angry landlords.

No matter how cobbled together the entire operation might be, some of the very best comedy shows in L.A., for more than two decades, have happened in a comedian’s (or a group of comedians’) backyard, living room, garage, grotto or warehouse.


In a black and white photo, women, many in knee length skirts and heels stand with black cats on leashes.
Nov. 27, 1961: Felines line the sidewalk on North Bronson Avenue in Hollywood.
(Los Angeles Times)

Sixty-one years ago this week, on Nov. 27, 1961, black cats and their owners responded to a casting call for “a sagacious black cat.” The Times (under the headline “Cat-apult to Stardom”) wrote that the Roger Corman film “Tales of Terror” was based on three Edgar Allan Poe stories, including “The Black Cat.”

“The movie’s stars — Joyce Jameson, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre — played with each cat,” the paper reported. “To see if it was sagacious enough.”

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.


We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at