By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard
Hello, it’s Wednesday, Aug. 3, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Vin Scully, the voice of the Dodgers for more than six decades, has died at age 94
Vin Scully, whose folksy manner and melodic language made him a beloved figure in American culture, died Tuesday at age 94, the team announced. In an interview in 2016, his final season, Scully described his approach to the job simply: “I guess it’s kind of a running commentary with an imaginary friend.”
Columnist Bill Plaschke writes that generations of Angelenos grew up listening to him in their cars and living rooms and at their bedsides and found a faithful companion.
“He was the soundtrack of a city, the muse of millions, the voice of home. Vin Scully is gone, but he will never be silenced. … He will forever resonate on warm summer nights, the music of family, the lyrics of life.
“ ‘Hi, everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be. . . .’ ”
L.A. cracks down on homeless encampments near schools
The Los Angeles City Council voted to prohibit homeless people from setting up tents within 500 feet of schools and day-care centers during a raucous meeting in which protesters shouted down council members and, at one point, brought the meeting to a halt.
The new restrictions, approved on an 11-3 vote, dramatically expand the number of locations where sleeping and camping are off-limits. And they come amid a furious debate over how the city should respond to encampments that have taken hold in many parts of the city.
L.A. schools drop aggressive COVID-19 rules
Los Angeles Unified school leaders officially stepped back from COVID-19 safety protocols that were among the most far-reaching in the country, choosing instead to mirror current county requirements and operate in line with most other school districts.
What that means for students and parents is an end to weekly universal testing for coronavirus infections, no baseline testing before the Aug. 15 start of school, voluntary masking and a continued deferment of the district’s vaccination mandate for students in the nation’s second-largest school system.
More top coronavirus headlines
- Let’s face it: The virus is with us for the foreseeable future, and we can only speculate about other variants that might blindside us down the road or how many times we can chance reinfection without risking lasting damage to our health. Given this inconvenient truth, now is an excellent time to adopt everyday habits that reduce our risk of contagion — and not just from COVID.
Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
McKinney fire has become an unstoppable monster
It was the perfect storm of factors for a deadly wildfire, experts say — extreme heat, dense and dry vegetation, and erratic winds and lightning brought on by persistent thunderstorms.
As the 55,000-acre McKinney fire continued to burn in steep and difficult terrain in Klamath National Forest, emergency crews encountered increasingly grim evidence of the wildfire’s extraordinary and explosive growth. At the same time, thunderstorms continued to inject unpredictability into the firefighting operations. The death toll is now at four after authorities found the bodies of two additional people, officials said.
Pelosi arrives in Taiwan
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) arrived in Taiwan for an unannounced but widely anticipated and controversial visit sure to deepen U.S.-China tensions and fears of military conflict between the two superpowers.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking elected U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. Even before her arrival during an official tour of Asia, the prospect of a stop in Taiwan drew the ire of Beijing, which sees the trip as a challenge to its claim of sovereignty over the self-governed island.
The provocative trip tracks neatly with Pelosi’s long record as a harsh critic of Beijing’s human rights abuses.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
Should L.A. County supervisors have the power to boot a sheriff? Voters will decide. The proposal, which stems from supervisors’ long-running feud with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, would severely undercut the autonomy sheriffs in L.A. County have always been granted and hand an extraordinary level of authority to the already powerful supervisors.
Los Angeles County has moved to declare a local emergency over monkeypox. One day after California declared a state of emergency because of the growing outbreak, the chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors proclaimed a local emergency to expand the county’s response.
Some cities could get safe injection sites to help address drug overdose deaths. A bill allowing drug users to safely inject themselves at supervised facilities in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland passed the state Senate and was awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature. Last year, New York became the first city in the U.S. to open a safe injection site, and similar facilities are operated in Switzerland, Canada and eight other countries.
This Orange County city will consider banning abortions, becoming a “sanctuary for life.” The resolution, which was written and proposed by San Clemente Councilman Steven Knoblock, states that the City Council “considers life to begin at conception” and stands against the establishment of Planned Parenthood health centers or clinics that perform abortions.
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Sandy Hook parents describe a “living hell” created by Alex Jones’ hoax claims. The parents led a day of charged testimony that included the judge scolding the bombastic Jones for not being truthful with some of what he said under oath.
Flooded Kentucky towns are facing extreme heat after intense rains. The death toll was at least 37, and although more than 1,300 people have been rescued, crews were still trying to reach some people who remained cut off by floods or mudslides. Officials worry that heat could present a new threat.
The first shipment of Ukraine’s grain is a test of a wartime deal with Russia. The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, which set sail from the Ukrainian port of Odesa on Monday, is expected to reach Istanbul early Wednesday. Whether it arrives will test whether Moscow will honor the agreement signed last month with Kyiv to help alleviate a global food crisis.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
Nobody wanted to make “Squid Game.” Now it’s making history. The show has 14 Emmy nominations, including for writing, directing, acting and for drama series. Creator-writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk and actor Lee Jung-jae sat down with the Envelope to share what went into making the show a success — and what’s coming for Season 2.
Two new Hollywood newsletters are betting they’ve got the town covered. The Ankler, the self-described “newsletter Hollywood loves to hate and hates to love,” recently picked up $1.5 million in investor funding with a plan to slingshot it into a more ambitious media business. But it has company: The subscription newsletter What I’m Hearing also is seeking to supplant the old guard of blogs and industry publications.
A tiny Catholic university in Escondido is trying to make a big impact in Hollywood. Though theology remains a key part of the curriculum, John Paul the Great Catholic University has emerged as a vibrant trade school for the film and TV industries, one that’s sending alumni to entertainment powerhouses, including Netflix, Paramount and Marvel Studios.
How Ursula and “The Little Mermaid” changed Disney history — in more ways than one. The legacy of Ursula, voiced by Pat Carroll, who died Saturday, is undeniable. The character helped propel the film’s ascent into the pantheon of Disney animated classics. But “The Little Mermaid” and beloved, campy Ursula are also a reflection of Disney’s complicated queer canon.
Opendoor is set to pay $62 million to settle FTC claims that it misled home sellers. The Federal Trade Commission alleged that Opendoor, which uses software to buy homes from consumers and then put the properties back up for sale, tricked customers by promising they could make more money by selling to the company than they would on the open market.
Monkeypox is not the next COVID. But it’s spreading from the same failures. Monkeypox is a well-studied disease, and if governments take the right steps, it can be contained. The global alarm sounded on this virus should be a warning to intervene now while the disease is manageable and take steps to limit future outbreaks, two goals well within reach.
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The Nationals agree to trade superstar Juan Soto to the Padres. The Washington team agreed to trade the 23-year-old along with star first baseman Josh Bell to San Diego. But Soto did not come cheap: The Padres are sending a massive haul of assets in return, including top prospects and young players.
Commentary: Deshaun Watson’s suspension in a new system is shockingly light. A judge cited the Cleveland Browns quarterback’s lack of remorse and the egregiousness of his alleged conduct. The proposed penalty? A six-game suspension. “So Watson gets the equivalent of a high-ankle sprain, will be on the field before midseason, losing less than $400,000 in salary — the kind of money you’d find in the couch cushions of a player with a guaranteed deal of $230 million,” writes Sam Farmer.
Dodgers acquire slugger Joey Gallo from the Yankees. Gallo, 28, is a two-time All-Star who at times has been one of the most prolific left-handed sluggers in the game, with 170 career home runs. He has struggled, however, since joining the Yankees from the Texas Rangers at last year’s deadline.
ONLY IN L.A.
These Beverly Hills condos chase record prices with private pools, butlers and a five-star restaurant. A $100-million boutique condo complex rising in the vaunted Golden Triangle district of Beverly Hills is escalating Southern California’s luxury vertical-living rivalry with the kind of pampering that might lure elite downsizers from their sprawling estates.
Rosewood Residences will be laden with features intended to make the development stand out in the premium market: 4,100-square-foot homes, on average; double islands in the kitchens (“one for practical cooking and one for entertaining”); private elevator access; outdoor living areas; for six of the units, private pools on their terraces; some will have fully equipped outdoor kitchens, wet bars and fire pits.
The market for such high-priced housing is so rarified that it’s hard to analyze statistically, said one economist: “It’s almost like watches and art. They clearly have value to a small number of people who are all bidding against each other, but beyond that it’s hard to explain why they’re worth what they’re worth.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Fifty-four years ago today, the two-day Newport Pop Festival kicked off in Costa Mesa. The Aug. 3-4, 1968, event was attended by more than 100,000 fans. It was Orange County’s version of Woodstock, according to a 2008 look back in the O.C. Register. But it’s not a well-remembered one, the news outlet said. “It’s sad but true — local memories simply haven’t reserved much space for the one-time-only hippie extravaganza.”
An Aug. 3, 1968, story in The Times said the concert set back each listener $4.50 a day. Performers included Tiny Tim, Sonny and Cher, the Byrds, the Animals, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and more. The audience began arriving the day before the start of the concert, thinking there was “sleeping bag space” available at the fairgrounds. “By dark, hundred were driving and strolling the streets looking for fields with tall grass or maybe even a bush.” On Aug. 5, the paper called the event, with its record-breaking attendance, a success: “Police and fairgrounds officials were amazed at the turnout and more surprised that nothing untoward took place, other than the gate-crashing early in the day.”
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