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Why is LAX traffic so bad?

Essential California A $30-billion overhaul promises to improve the ways travelers navigate Los Angeles International Airport, and could alleviate the notorious traffic congestion by the 2028 Olympics.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  June 21, 2024   View in browser By Colleen Shalby Good morning. It's Friday, June 21 . I'm Colleen Shalby, a metro reporter specializing in transportation. Here's what you need to know to start your day. LAX traffic has become a norm. Why is it like this? JJ Redick will be Lakers' next coach . 24 superb things to do around L.A. to kick off the summer of 2024. And here's today's e-newspaper In a city k

Drought official spits fire at Newsom

State water board official Max Gomberg says resistance by Newsom's administration has been "gut wrenching."
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Max Gomberg resigned from California's state water board. (Rikki Ward / Climate One Podcast and Radio show)

By Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it's Friday, July 29, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

On his way out the door, a drought official slammed Newsom for 'gut wrenching' inaction

Max Gomberg has quit the California State Water Resources Control Board after 10 years, saying he encountered resistance to a "long list" of proposals. He says he doesn't believe Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration are willing to pursue the transformational changes necessary in an age of growing aridification, and it's "gut wrenching."

Gomberg accused the governor of siding with defenders of the status quo and faulted some in his own agency for not pushing back: "The way some of you have simply rolled over and accepted this has also been difficult to watch."

Newsom's office rejected Gomberg's criticisms, saying, "This Governor is doing more than any other state to adapt to our changing climate."

More politics

  • Hillary Clinton endorsed Rep. Karen Bass in the Los Angeles mayoral race.
  • The Jan. 6 hearings made a strong case against Trump. But what they have apparently failed to do, at least so far, is change voters' minds, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak.
  • Here's what's in, and out of, the Democrats' 725-page Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 as it stands now.

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

Q&A: Why is it so hard to say if this is a recession?

There's more than one way to define a recession, and even economies judged to meet the criteria at a given moment might later be cleared of the label. Confused? We answer some basic questions to help make things clearer. Such as: Why aren't two negative quarters of GDP enough to call it a recession?

Because if it's truly a recession, all the indicators should be moving in the same direction. Right now, it's only GDP, said one expert. Consumer spending is still going up, albeit moderately, and industrial production is also showing slow growth. Significantly, job growth is still robust. More in this great explainer.

Related reading:

  • Analysis: The government's announcement that the U.S. economy had two straight quarters of no growth set off new fears, but for most Americans, there was underlying good news mingled with the bad.
  • A $50-million condo, in this economy? In L.A.'s red-hot ultra-luxury market, anything goes. There are 10 publicly listed condos for sale for $10 million and up, and many more in development, ushering in a new trend in residential opulence in the city.

L.A. County won't impose a new mask mandate, as coronavirus cases have declined

Aside from scuttling the mandate for a universal indoor public masking, which would have taken effect today, the recent downward trends are fueling some optimism that the months-old COVID wave is finally starting to wane.

"We're on a decline right now," L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. "We're glad to see this. It would be welcome relief if this current surge has peaked."

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

It's the summer of the bridge in Los Angeles

As the sun goes down on the 6th Street Viaduct, the rhythm on the young structure picks up — the dog walkers and juice drinkers give way to partiers and beer drinkers all eager to find out what it is that's drawing everyone to this spot.

Amid antics (drag races, cars doing doughnuts, mid-bridge haircuts) and multiple closures, the bridge has gone from physical structure to phenomenon. The $588-million concrete mass has become the beating heart of Los Angeles over the last two weeks, a must-see and must-experience location for tourists and Angelenos alike.

Read about the 6th Street Viaduct vibe.

Clouds float over city skyscrapers as sunset turns the sky peach. In the foreground the arches of a bridge are lighted up.
The 6th Street Viaduct on Wednesday at sunset. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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CALIFORNIA

Doctors' new tool to treat homeless people is a medical clinic in a van. For several years, clinics have been sending medical teams into L.A.'s streets to treat homeless people whose only other option is the emergency room. Now some are using vans and RVs with medical chairs, equipment and lab space to offer patients a more professional, private setting. The goal is to care for a population notoriously difficult to keep in treatment for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and mental illness.

As moneypox spreads, San Francisco has declared a state of emergency. The declaration came as the number of cases neared 300. It allows officials to mobilize resources and accelerate funding to combat the virus, which is spreading almost exclusively among gay and bisexual men and transgender and nonbinary people. State and local officials are joining LGBTQ activists to call for a better response to the outbreak — especially efforts to get more vaccines.

A grim return for the Oak fire's evacuees: Will their homes still be there? Even as fire crews battled flames near the ominously named Devil's Gulch, authorities began lifting evacuation orders along the blaze's southern and western flanks. For many evacuees, it was their first opportunity to return home since fleeing beneath a monstrous fire cloud days earlier.

A crowded San Pedro park. A dispute. 50 gunshots. Inside a deadly attack at Peck Park. Days after two people were killed and seven injured in a shooting, authorities released new details about the violent incident amid festering concerns from residents over park safety and accountability from city officials. Investigators said the gunfire started with a dispute between two people.

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NATION-WORLD

How should wartime collaborators be punished? Ukraine charts a painful course. Ukraine has exhibited a remarkable degree of national solidarity. Collaboration, when it does occur, is often a source of scalding shame. The subject surged into the open this month, however, when President Volodymyr Zelensky very publicly removed two top security and law enforcement officials. Related: Russian forces have launched massive missile strikes on the Kyiv and the Chernihiv regions, areas that haven't been targeted in weeks.

Sesame Place was hit with a racial discrimination lawsuit after a viral video sparked outrage. Less than two weeks after a video of a character appearing to rebuff two Black children at Sesame Place went viral, at least one family has sued the Philadelphia theme park.

Temperatures could hit the triple digits again in the Pacific Northwest. Heat wave duration records could be broken in the region this week, and authorities are expanding capacity at some cooling centers, as extremely high temperatures are forecast to extend into the weekend.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Netflix's "Uncoupled" is a sweet, grown-up sitcom. But its New York is for the rich. Neal Patrick Harris stars as 40-something Michael, whose partner of 17 years tells him he's moving out. With the series, co-creator Darren Star offers up yet another urban lifestyle fantasy, following his "Sex and the City" and "Younger," writes television critic Robert Lloyd.

Hollywood has a hiring problem. Can a new crop of apps help? An ongoing labor shortage has exposed defects in the time-honored way that Hollywood cultivates its workforce. A free-to-use invite-only app allows hiring managers to search for candidates based on criteria users opt to include in their profile.

The Long Beach Opera raced to become more diverse. Here's how it tripped along the way. A year after making staffing changes, the company stands as a cautionary tale of how diversity efforts can go awry. Three Black employees, including an associate artistic director and the director of the 2022 season's opening production, have resigned, citing "racial tokenism."

The late-night "recession" is here. And it will hit underrepresented voices the hardest. With the unceremonious ends of "Full Frontal" and "Desus & Mero," it's clear that late-night TV, which proliferated rapidly during the Donald Trump years as cable networks and streaming services raced to tap into an appetite for fresh satirical voices, is in a moment of contraction. And, like a real-life economic slowdown, it's likely to hit women and people of color first — even as, somehow, "Real Time With Bill Maher" remains on the air.

The Thai cave rescue proves to be an affecting drama in the tension-filled "Thirteen Lives." An extraordinary story of nerve-wracking heroism gets an appealingly straightforward, propulsive retelling in Ron Howard's new film about the risky 2018 operation that saved a dozen boys and their soccer coach from the deepest recesses of the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand, writes critic Robert Abele.

BUSINESS

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. approved the sale of Golden Globes assets to Todd Boehly. The beleaguered organization voted to accept the interim CEO's proposal that will effectively transform the nonprofit international journalists' group into a for-profit venture.

Facebook is in trouble. Its escape plan? Turn into TikTok. Aging tech products often suffer from what's known as feature creep: excessive complexity in trying to hold onto users and be everything to everyone. Now Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has outlined a straightforward mission to align Facebook and Instagram with TikTok, whether users want it or not.

JetBlue agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion. The deal would create the nation's fifth-largest airline if approved by U.S. regulators. The agreement came a day after Spirit's attempt to merge with Frontier Airlines fell apart.

OPINION

The federal American Data Privacy and Protection Act would protect everybody's data. Because there is no comprehensive online federal privacy law, online entities can collect, use, buy and sell data about our identities and then discriminate against us. Bipartisan legislation working its way through Congress right now can change this, writes attorney David Brody.

Do we get our lives back now, or are we going back down the COVID hole? There's a disconnect between alarmed public health officials and the general public, which believes itself to be over the pandemic, writes columnist Nicholas Goldberg.

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SPORTS

Joey Bosa explains why Derwin James shouldn't be — and has gotta be — on the field. Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa believes teammate Derwin James Jr. is doing the right thing by not practicing until he gets a new contract, but Bosa also thinks the Chargers need to get one done fast because the safety is needed badly.

Will UCLA and USC joining the Big Ten help recruiting? Players and coaches weigh in. In the years to come, UCLA and USC will enjoy some natural advantages in their pursuit of high school prospects from Big Ten territory. The beaches. The weather. The (animal-style) cuisine. Barry Alvarez, the conference's special advisor for football, said: "They'll try to come in and poach players out of our area, our neck of the woods."

Here's why the Dodgers won't get Juan Soto. From the Dodgers Dugout newsletter, Houston Mitchell talks about what such a trade could mean. "The question is, does Soto fill a need for the Dodgers, or is he so good, it doesn't matter if he fills a need or not, you just get him anyway?"

YOUR WEEKEND

Closeup of a person smiling as they surf.
Natasha "Tashi" Smith surfs on a foam surfboard at Topanga State Beach in Malibu on July 1. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Go surfing on a "foamie." Riding a soft-top board used to be like surfing under a giant neon sign declaring there was a beginner in the lineup. Now, a new crop of surfboard companies are selling higher-performance soft-top boards that many, whether weekend warrior or pro surfer, are willing to be seen on.

Take a few moments to sit down, relax and ... rank your friends. We've come up with the L.A. friendship scale, and it has all types (or nearly two dozen, anyway). The friend who invites you to see their stand-up comedy set but forgets to mention there's a two-drink minimum. The friend who loans you their Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' screeners. Not all friendships are created equal, and if you live in L.A. long enough, you'll realize there are very specific L.A. ways to rank the relative power of these relationships. Introducing The Times' list of 21 highly debatable friend types.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

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Could genetics be the key to never getting the coronavirus? Scientists are "scouring people's genomes for any hint" of coronaviral resistance. There are a very few diseases (as few as three) that some people are totally resistant to. But pinning down whether it's true with coronavirus is supremely difficult. And a mutation that would keep the coronavirus out "might very well 'muck around with other aspects of a person's physiology.' That could make the genetic tweak vanishingly rare, debilitating, or even ... 'not compatible with life.' " Luckily, we can build or strengthen immunity, especially using vaccines. The Atlantic

Online platforms are hiring international gig workers to write steamy romance novels for English-speaking readers. And they're devouring them. A web novel industry is emerging, following a moneymaking business model from Asia, wherein writers in lower-income nations are paid to "churn out thousands of words a day" for Western readers. The writers follow a formula. "GoodNovel's lesson on writing werewolf bestsellers, for example, recommends writers create a single dominant male Alpha who rules over enslaved commoners with his queen at his side." The more time readers spend on the apps, the more coins they earn and the more chapters they can unlock. Writers say they don't get to write about their own cultures. And readers are concerned about authors' low pay. Rest of World

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Illustration of a woman leaning over and holding two candlestick telephones, one on either side of a large globe.
Jan. 27, 1915: A detail from an ad in The Times, which said, "Talking by telephone from the Pacific to the Atlantic is now an accomplished fact." It was billed as the "greatest triumph in the art of telephony." (Los Angeles Times)

One hundred and eight years ago today, on July 29, 1914, a test was made of the first transcontinental phone link, from New York City to San Francisco. More than 100,000 poles had been erected to carry wires over 3,400 miles, with vacuum tubes along the way to boost the signal. AT&T's president, Theodore Vail, made the call, according to PBS, "his voice boosted in Pittsburg, Omaha and Salt Lake City."

It wasn't until Jan. 25, 1915, that the event was celebrated, with Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson doing a reprise of their first phone call from 38 years earlier. In its Jan. 26, 1915, edition, The Times' headline read: "Human Voice Annihilates Both Time and Space: New York and San Francisco Now Talking to Each Other by Telephone and in a Little While You and I Can do it, Too, at the Rate of Twenty Dollars and Seventy Cents for Three Minutes."

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today's Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.

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