Today’s Headlines: Migrants offer details on Florida contractors who pushed California flights

Migrants wait at El Paso's Sacred Heart Church on Friday.
(Ivan Pierre Aguirre / For The Times)

Hello, it’s Monday, June 12, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today.


Migrants say Florida contractors pushed to get them to board planes to California

Like many asylum seekers released on parole by Customs and Border Protection, María had no money to pay for a plane or bus ticket. She slept in the church shelter, then in the alley outside, for three weeks, until a woman approached and said she would fly María on a private plane to California.

The woman promised lodging and legal help if she got on the plane. What María didn’t know was that the woman was a contractor hired by the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.


“She told us not to be afraid — that she didn’t want to steal our hearts or our organs or anything,” María said.

Migrant flights and the national attention they’ve drawn are yet another chapter in the political fight over the border, with California officials vowing to investigate whether a recent group of travelers flown to Sacramento were misled and the Florida governor doubling down. Migrants told The Times that a small group of people pushed aggressively for them to board flights. Some declined, suspicious of the promises being made.

Trump indicted on 37 charges, including Espionage Act violations, in classified records case

Former President Trump was indicted on 37 charges, including 31 counts of violations of the Espionage Act, as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the mishandling of classified documents from Trump’s time in the White House.

The announcement came Friday, a day after Trump posted on social media that he had been indicted. He is the first U.S. president charged with a federal crime.


The 49-page indictment, released Friday by the Department of Justice, details accusations that Trump stored boxes containing classified documents in various locations at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate, including a bathroom and shower.

According to the indictment, among the top-secret and other classified records were details on foreign nations’ nuclear capabilities, as well as information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both U.S. and foreign countries, U.S. nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. and its allies to military attack and plans for possible retaliation in response to an attack.

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Californians were asked to cut water use 15% during the drought. How close did they get?

The results are in: As California endured its three driest years on record, urban users made a significant effort to conserve water but fell far short of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request to reduce use by 15%.

A Los Angeles Times analysis has found that between July 2021, when Newsom first called on Californians to voluntarily cut back, and March of this year, when he rescinded that request amid a very wet winter, statewide savings were 7%. Progress varied considerably by region and by water district.


But state officials say the numbers belie the long-term conservation efforts Californians have made in recent decades, including significant savings during the 2012-16 drought.

After WeHo-L.A. split, many expected ‘Pride wars.’ Instead, it’s a fight for survival.

This year, in L.A., the meaning of Pride — an unapologetic celebration of queer community, life and values — is as contested as ever. Pride is once again under fire from opponents without and prompting debate from supporters within as to whether its proper form is a party, a protest or both.

After a tense 2020 split between the city of West Hollywood, long the epicenter of queer life in SoCal, and Christopher Street West, the organizers of the L.A. Pride celebration, the city now has two competing Pride festivals just a week apart. (L.A. Pride took place this weekend at L.A. State Historic Park in Chinatown.)

Organizers of the WeHo and L.A. Pride events stress that whatever the history between them, they do not see a conflict. If anything, it’s “the more Pride, the merrier.”




A man places his hand on a scorched tree and looks up, holding an orange hard hat
Tim Borden, 33, stands next to a giant sequoia damaged by wildfire in Sequoia Crest, Calif.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

In burned-out groves of giant sequoias, crews plant seeds of hope. Will they survive? Wildfire scorched parts of the southern Sierra Nevada forest three years ago so intensely that it left thousands of ancient giants dead and smoldering. Naturalists worry that giant sequoias will never grow on this charred hillside again if they don’t intervene to plant new trees.

San Diego considers banning homeless encampments. The proposed ordinance, sure to be controversial, would prohibit people from camping on public property if shelter options are available. The City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday following weeks of protests.

LAFD report suggests adding more firefighters as overtime pay enriches scores. As the Los Angeles Police Department plans to expand its ranks in the coming fiscal year, a new report from the Los Angeles Fire Department suggests that it, too, may need more staffing.

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Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who eluded authorities for 18 years, dies at 81. After a frightening, slow-motion rampage that killed three people and injured 23, Kaczynski was arrested in 1996. He died Saturday in federal prison.


‘They’re 100% not human’: Las Vegas police investigate reports of extraterrestrial sightings. Dispatchers received a 911 call last month from a Las Vegas-area resident reporting extraterrestrial life in his backyard, about an hour after local police witnessed an object falling from the sky. The paranormal investigation by police did not turn up any answers.

Philippines evacuates people near the Mayon volcano amid signs of possible eruption. The military, police and rescue workers over the weekend began forcibly evacuating poor villagers who live and farm in the danger zone of the Mayon volcano, as a violent eruption is possible within weeks or days.


Padma Lakshmi opens up about leaving ‘Top Chef’: It wasn’t ‘sustainable’ anymore. One of the few Indian American women on television throughout her 19-season tenure, Lakshmi became known for her low-key banter, love of bold flavors and fearsome critiques of chefs. She established herself as one of the most influential figures in American food.

Review: True or not, ‘Flamin’ Hot’ is entertaining. The feature directorial debut of multi-hyphenate Eva Longoria brings to the screen the disputed legend of Richard Montañez, a Mexican American maintenance worker turned inspirational leader who claims to have invented the spicy variety of the popular cheese puffs.

Joni Mitchell makes a triumphant return to stage at the Gorge, with help from famous admirers. Seven years after suffering a brain aneurysm that made it difficult for her to move and use her voice, the 79-year-old singer and songwriter headlined the Gorge Amphitheatre on the banks of the Columbia River in Washington state.


Thousands of Southern California workers authorize the largest hotel strike in modern U.S. history. Union hotel workers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to authorize their leaders to call a strike if employers don’t agree to major wage boosts in contract negotiations covering 15,000 workers in Los Angeles and Orange counties. A strike could begin as early as the Fourth of July weekend.


GM and Ford are embracing Tesla’s EV charging technology. Starting next year, owners of electric vehicles made by General Motors and Ford will be able to charge them at many of Tesla’s charging stations, the largest such network in the country. More auto makers could follow suit.


Novak Djokovic wins his 23rd Grand Slam title by beating Casper Ruud in the French Open final. Djokovic, a 36-year-old from Serbia, has become the only man with at least three wins from each major tennis event, with three at the French Open, 10 at the Australian Open, seven at Wimbledon and three at the U.S. Open.

L.A. Country Club is part mystery, part myth that the U.S. Open will reveal. The club will play host to its first major championship this week — the first time the U.S. Open has come to this city in 75 years — and it will be an eye-opener for the golf world.

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L.A. and other cities are recovering, but not their downtowns. Why? As downtowns struggle, residential neighborhoods are thriving. If people are back, where are they? Not at the office or on the train. Instead, they are enjoying walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods where they can live and work, in contrast to areas that rigidly separate work zones from other activities.

New Alzheimer’s drugs are costly and controversial. Are we going about this all wrong? Despite the market and media frenzy around the new drugs, their efficacy is contested. Beneath the facade of these pharmaceutical victories, the potential of prevention remains vastly untapped and underreported.



Portrait of Jaren Lewison
(Samuel Rodriguez / For The Times)

How to have the best Sunday in L.A., according to Jaren Lewison. Lewison is best known as nerdy high-schooler Ben on Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever.” But off-screen, Lewison is a recent graduate of USC who loves to bake, play video games, hit the gym, eat like a king and wander around nostalgic places. Here’s what his dream Sunday would look like.


The first L.A. Pride Parade took place along Hollywood Boulevard on June 29, 1970.
(Associated Press)

53 years ago this month, activists held L.A.’s first-ever Pride parade. The event took place while gay sex was still illegal in California. Activists commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall riots marched through Hollywood with banners and flags, calling for civil rights and social acceptance.

The parade would move to West Hollywood in the 1980s. Read more about Pride history here.

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