Today’s Headlines: Mark Ridley-Thomas sentenced to 42 months in prison

Several people walk out of a building.
Former L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, center, shown in March, was sentenced Monday to 42 months in federal prison on corruption charges.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
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Hello, it’s Tuesday, Aug. 29, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Mark Ridley-Thomas was sentenced to 42 months in prison. A federal judge has sentenced Mark Ridley-Thomas, once a towering figure in Los Angeles politics, to 42 months in prison, marking a devastating coda to his long career as a local power broker and advocate for civil rights and racial equity.

Ridley-Thomas, 68, had asked the judge to spare him any prison time and instead sentence him to probation and other alternatives to incarceration.


Hilary vanquished California’s drought. Much of that water was wasted. Almost all of California is finally drought-free, after Tropical Storm Hilary’s rare summer drenching added to this winter’s record-setting rainfall totals.

But despite all that drought-busting precipitation, California continues to capture only a percentage of that water. Much of the abundance in rain from Hilary ended up running off into the ocean — not captured or stored for future use, when California will inevitably face its next drought.

How the Hollywood strikes could shake up the 2024 Oscars race. The major fall film festivals — Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York — traditionally serve as launchpads for some of the year’s most anticipated movies, as well as the start of the awards season that culminates with the Oscars in March.

This year, because SAG-AFTRA rules prohibit striking actors from doing promotional interviews, the stars mostly won’t be out at the festivals.


Pete Ward poses on a rock at Burney Falls.
In the absence of a traffic fix at Burney Falls, officials are urging people to consider exploring less popular state parks. But none boasts a 129-foot wall of water that generates vibrant rainbows.
(Paul Kuroda / For The Times)

A secluded Northern California waterfall is the latest victim of viral fame and crushing crowds. Burney Falls is the latest geologic wonder to see an explosion in tourists because of social media posts. The waterfall’s sudden Instagram fame has created a traffic nightmare on Highway 89 in Shasta County.



California sues the Chino school district, aiming to end policy notifying parents of student gender changes. Escalating school board culture wars, the lawsuit alleges transgender students’ rights are violated by parent notification policies.

Near record heat to hit SoCal, raising fire danger just a week after a tropical storm. Temperatures are expected to soar across much of Southern California on Tuesday, when forecasters are warning of near-record heat, particularly in the valleys.

‘The pandemic isn’t over.’ Coronavirus cases in L.A. County keep rising. Experts say travel, the back-to-school season and new Omicron subvariants are the likely culprits.

‘Wall Street Whiz Kid’ was charged with running financial scams out of L.A. bars and luxury apartments. David Bloom has been charged with grand theft in Los Angeles, accused of bilking several people out of tens of thousands of dollars.

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Going to Burning Man? Climate and anti-capitalist activists block traffic into the festival. The blockade aimed to spotlight “capitalism’s inability to address climate and ecological breakdown,” according to a statement from Seven Circles, a coalition of activist organizations that organized the protest.

Trump gets March 4 trial date in federal case over efforts to overturn the 2020 election. That means jury selection would begin a day before Super Tuesday on March 5, when California, Texas and a dozen other states hold their presidential primaries.



Everything you need to prepare for Beyoncé’s arrival at SoFi Stadium. We’re here to help you shimmer like a disco ball during Labor Day weekend, whether you have a ticket to SoFi Stadium or you’re ready to light up a Renaissance-themed dance party.

Arleen Sorkin, soap opera star and original voice of Harley Quinn, dies at 67. The performer reportedly died Thursday after experiencing health issues that caused her to step away from acting in recent years.

‘Fear the Walking Dead,’ ‘Killing Eve’ and other AMC shows to run on Max streaming service. Max announced Monday that it will launch a “programming pop-up” from Sept. 1 through Oct. 30 that will offer 200 episodes of AMC programming.

30 books we can’t wait to read this fall. With Hollywood on strike, fall may be the best moment to dive into printed ink. And there is no shortage of hotly awaited books to fill the gap.


Commentary: Los Angeles, 2043: An optimistic scenario for transportation. Times contributor John Rossant explores an “optimistic scenario” of a future city that overcame its gas-guzzling car reliance and embraced e-bikes, public transit and other renewable modes of transportation.

Nordstrom closes a San Francisco store on a grim note amid naked mannequins and empty display cases. The store’s closing has prompted yet another round of hand-wringing about the future of downtown San Francisco.



Chip Kelly names Ethan Garbers UCLA’s starting quarterback, but adds others will play. In an unprecedented move for Chip Kelly, the UCLA coach awarded redshirt junior Ethan Garbers the starting quarterback role.

Column: Five years after his wife was killed by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium, Erwin Goldbloom still mourns. Of the 53,528 people at Dodger Stadium that night, why did the ball find her? How could a game that gave her so much life so directly cause her death? “Life isn’t fair,” Erwin says, choking back tears. “I wish I had been in her seat.”

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How L.A. can build more housing without looking like New York. We don’t need to build condo towers or skyscraper apartment buildings to house everyone. The path to a more livable and equitable future is clear: Allow more housing in a diversity of well-connected neighborhoods, and L.A. can still remain L.A.

There’s no place like America for gun violence. This country is exactly the place for hateful, murderous, suicidal gun violence, because this is the place for millions upon millions of guns, and the bizarre American delusion that the more of them we have, the safer and freer we are.


A new wine bar serves vegan pizzas, small plates and sweets alongside natural wine in Frogtown
The new wine bar from plant-based bakery Just What I Kneaded serves vegan pizzas, small plates and sweets alongside natural wine in Frogtown.
(Rebecca Peloquin / Justine’s Wine Bar)

A vegan wine bar is now pouring in Frogtown. After roughly four years in the making, baker-owner Justine Hernandez of Frogtown’s Just What I Kneaded recently launched Justine’s Wine Bar, which serves plant-based bites alongside organic and sustainably made wines.


On this day 18 years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf Coast and devastated the area, especially New Orleans, which experienced catastrophic flooding after its levees were breached the following day.

Katrina’s last-minute wobble to the north spared New Orleans a direct hit, but the city still suffered as rising groundwater seeped through the ghostly French Quarter and shrieking headwinds shredded part of the roof of the Louisiana Superdome, where 10,000 people had sought shelter.

“It sounded like this place was under attack,” said Tyrone Brinson, 47, a native New Orleans resident who listened, unnerved, inside the Superdome as the wind tore at the football stadium’s arched sheet-metal roof. “It sounded like somebody was coming through the wall. I thought the roof might go, the building, the whole thing.”

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