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Debate over legacy college admission comes to California

Mudd Hall on the Campus of the University of Southern California.
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)
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Hello, it’s Monday, July 31, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

A fight over legacy and donor admissions preferences is brewing. The battle over legacy and donor admissions to college — the practice of giving special treatment to family of alumni and contributors — is about to heat up in California as critics take aim at what they see as a longstanding barrier for less privileged students to access elite institutions.

State Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) plans to renew efforts to deny state financial aid to any college or university that gives an admissions advantage to such applicants, who research has shown are overwhelmingly white and affluent. Ting’s plan comes as the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down race-based affirmative action in college admissions reignited a national outcry over the use of preferential treatment for legacy applicants.

USC, along with Stanford and Santa Clara universities, are the largest providers of legacy and donor preferences in California, according to annual data.

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Healing a shattered community: Monterey Park shooting survivors return to dance. Six months after the deadly shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park killed 10 people, the tragedy has left many survivors in the depths of depression and anxiety. But it also has brought fellow dancers together, forging new relationships. Some have joined in the fight for stronger gun control measures. Others have realized how much they need dancing in their lives.

Along the way, three survivors found their way back to the dance floor, determined not to let that horrific act of violence define them and destroy a community they had worked so hard to build.

Advocates urge resolve in unending war over LGBTQ+ legal rights. Combined with a massive wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being put forward in conservative state houses in recent years, the Supreme Court’s June 30 ruling in 303 Creative vs. Elenis and the more recent efforts to swiftly expand its scope have caused resentment, anger, frustration and fear in the queer community.

But those in the thick of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights say such feelings — though legitimate — shouldn’t lead people to give up on the fight for queer rights, or on the role the American legal system has to play in bolstering the demands of protesters and organizers.

Because, they said, that same legal system has laid the foundation for queer rights for decades.

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More politics

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$600,000 in stolen wine: Inside one of California’s biggest high-end alcohol heists. In surveillance footage, the masked man dropped down into Lincoln Fine Wines’ climate-controlled cellar, which housed the Venice store’s priciest vintages.

In about 3½ hours, the burglar managed to commit one of the biggest California wine crimes in memory, making off with about 800 bottles — a haul worth around $600,000.

Meanwhile, as the Los Angeles Police Department’s investigation continues, and Lincoln Fine Wines tries to move forward, a question has been reverberating across Southern California’s wine scene at dinner parties and in WhatsApp group chats.

How exactly will the thieves turn all those stolen bottles into profit? And how do you locate loot that can be sipped into intoxicating oblivion?

CALIFORNIA

California bar suspends 1,600 attorneys for violating rules set up after Tom Girardi allegedly stole millions. The Client Trust Account Protection Program, which went into effect last year, imposed new requirements on attorneys who work with client trust accounts.

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Riverside County fire breaks containment, surging near evacuated homes. The Bonny fire, which ignited Thursday afternoon near Aguanga southeast of Temecula, has grown steadily amid changing wind patterns.

L.A. looks to tighten rules for single-family homes in part of Santa Monica Mountains. The city is poised to crack down again on home building in the hills, this time in the name of preserving wildlife habitats.

Fruit fly outbreak prompts agricultural quarantine in Santa Clarita Valley. California agricultural officials have placed a 79-square-mile area in Los Angeles County under quarantine because of the presence of an invasive fruit fly.

Are we in a summer surge? What to do if you get COVID now. It’s starting to look that way. In Los Angeles County, the test positivity rate has ticked up in recent weeks.

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NATION-WORLD

A drought alert for receding Lake Titicaca has Indigenous communities worried for their future. The highest navigable lake in the world has receded to what Bolivian authorities say are critically low levels because of a persistent drought.

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China says U.S. military aid to Taiwan will not deter its will to unify with the island. China accused the United States of turning Taiwan into an “ammunition depot” after the White House announced a $345-million military aid package for Taipei, and the self-ruled island said Sunday that it tracked six Chinese navy ships in waters off its shores.

A bomb in Pakistan kills at least 44 people and wounds nearly 200. The bomb interrupted a rally by supporters of a hard-line cleric and political leader Sunday in the country’s northwestern Bajur district in one of the worst attacks in recent years.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Kevin Hart doesn’t have a brand. He is the brand. Hart is successful as a comedian and an actor, but it’s his portfolio that makes him peerless. He has always laid his ambition bare and it was no different when he allowed a journalist to shadow him during Hartbeat Weekend, a four-day, alcohol-fueled extravaganza highlighting the many facets of Kevin Hart.

‘Talk to Me’ directors Danny and Michael Philippou spill the secrets of their horror hit. The Aussie YouTubers-turned-filmmakers spoke to The Times about their buzzy Gen-Z supernatural horror-thriller, in which an embalmed hand is the gateway to the spirit world for thrill-seeking teens.

What’s fact and what’s fiction in Apple TV’s telling of the Beanie Baby phenomenon. “The Beanie Bubble” stars Zach Galifianakis as real-life toy titan H. Ty Warner, but shifts its perspective away from him to three pivotal women in his life.

BUSINESS

There’s a new instant payment service called FedNow. Here’s how it works. The Federal Reserve has launched FedNow, which allows banks and credit unions to sign up to send real-time payments so they can offer customers a quicker way to send money between banks.

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A ‘rolling recession’ or a ‘richcession’ might spare the U.S. economy from a full-scale downturn. The latest snapshot of the economy coincides with rising sentiment that it may achieve an elusive “soft landing,” as analysts point to two trends that might help stave off an economic contraction.

Santa Barbara News-Press bankruptcy brings uneasy end to an owner’s bitter tenure. In 2000, when one of the state’s richest women bought the venerable newspaper, local residents cheered at the notion of having a local in charge. Within a few years, her relationship with newsroom leaders — and then with many readers — began to crumble.

SPORTS

How U.S. soccer stars had the support to thrive as moms. Many of the 32 teams that started this World Cup 2½ weeks ago have players who are mothers. Few have incorporated their children into the team like the U.S. has done.

Cancer taught Brandon Staley he can overcome Jacksonville fiasco. Staley watched his parents battle cancer and then had his own bout, but the Chargers coach believes the experience can help him be a stronger coach.

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OPINION

Our family of four shared a cramped studio for 25 years. L.A. housing costs nearly kept us there forever. “Families should not have to live in cramped, small living spaces to afford rent — and tolerating these conditions should not be the only option renters have when trying to save up for a down payment.”

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Dying from the heat is not a political statement. Heat is an invisible killer and wildfires don’t distinguish between socialists and free-marketeers. And yet, in some quarters, climate-change denialism continues to flourish.

ONLY IN L.A.

A bear hanging out in a hot tub in Burbank.
(Burbank Police Department)

Bear takes a dip in Burbank backyard as heat wave continues. Think you can’t bear the heat? Well, you’re not the only one. On Friday afternoon, with the mercury peaking at around 92 degrees, one Burbank household discovered a bear trying to escape the heat in their backyard spa. By 6 p.m., authorities said, the animal was “peacefully sleeping” in the tree.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

a woman sitting in a chair and a man standing behind her dramatically turn away from bits of glass suspended in the air
July 29, 1948: Doris Mae Normandine and attorney Werner O. Graf cringe as a Los Angeles Examiner photographer’s flashbulb explodes.
(Bruce Cox/Los Angeles Times)

Getting your photo taken didn’t come without danger back in the day. In July 1948, Doris Mae Normandine, a babysitter, provided testimony during high-profile divorce proceedings. Los Angeles Times photographer Bruce Cox was preparing to take her photo when the flashbulb on a fellow photographer’s camera exploded. The resulting image ran in the July 30, 1948, edition of The Times.

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