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Bass, Caruso face off in LA mayoral debate

U.S. Rep Karen Bass and real estate developer Rick Caruso faced off during an hourlong debate.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Los Angeles mayoral candidates Rick Caruso and Karen Bass. (Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limรณn and Jason Sanchez

Hello, it's Monday, Sept. 22, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

Bass and Caruso tangled

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Rick Caruso and Karen Bass faced off in a nearly hourlong debate Wednesday night, their first ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Both Caruso and Bass laid out their plans on homelessness while castigating their opponent for not doing enough or thinking ambitiously enough to address the crisis.

Their respective ties to USC and a recent burglary at Bass' home produced some of the debate's most contentious moments, with Bass saying he allowed sexual abuse to run rampant on campus. In turn, Caruso criticized Bass for taking a nearly $100,000 scholarship from the dean of the university's School of Social Work, who this week pleaded guilty in a federal bribery case.

Luna and Villanueva also squared off

In a heated, often antagonistic debate, the two candidates for L.A. County sheriff traded barbs over their records in law enforcement and their ability to lead the nation's largest Sheriff's Department.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva painted his opponent, retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, as someone who would be a "puppet" for the county Board of Supervisors, which controls the Sheriff's Department's budget. Luna accused the sheriff of spewing falsehoods about his tenure in Long Beach and blamed him for causing the bitter relationships Villanueva has with other county leaders.

More politics

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Inside California's pot legalization failures

Architects of the effort to legalize pot in California made big promises to voters. But six years later, California's legal weed industry is in disarray, with flawed policies, legal loopholes and stiff regulations hampering longtime growers and sellers.

Despite expectations that it would become a model for the rest of the country, the state has instead served as a cautionary tale of lofty intentions and unkept promises. At the root of the failure: an array of ambitious, sometimes conflicting goals.

California is easing COVID-19 mask recommendations

California will ease its mask-wearing recommendations for the first time in seven months. The state is largely rescinding its strong recommendation that everyone mask up in indoor public settings and businesses. That broad guidance had been in place since mid-February. Instead, California will recommend universal mask-wearing only when a county's COVID-19 community level is high.

Among the changes slated to take effect Friday is the end of state-ordered mandatory masking in jails and prisons, homeless shelters, and emergency and cooling centers in counties with a low COVID-19 community level. But masks will still be required in healthcare facilities and long-term and senior care settings under a state health order. And the state is requiring that businesses and venues, including K-12 schools, "must allow any individual to wear a mask if they desire."

More top coronavirus headlines

  • California no longer requires coronavirus testing for unvaccinated workers at schools, healthcare facilities and other congregate settings.
  • U.S. doctors should regularly screen all adults under age 65 for anxiety, an influential health guidelines group proposed. Given reports of a surge in mental health problems linked with pandemic isolation and stress, the guidance is "very timely," said a task force member.
  • A nighttime bus crash that killed 27 people in southwestern China this week has set off a storm of anger online over the harshness of the country's strict COVID-19 policies.

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

Did Tom Girardi give millions from clients?

Tom Girardi was a major party donor for decades, a self-described "limousine liberal" who bragged about the influence his money bought him in the selection of judges. He poured millions into local, state and national races personally. He also lined up additional donations from others — or hoped to.

Girardi kept throwing splashy fundraisers and writing big checks even as his financial situation worsened. In the last decade, he defaulted on high-interest loans and was forced to liquidate his stock portfolio. Yet he and his wife still doled out more than $2 million to the Democratic Party and individual candidates, election filings show.

How did a deeply indebted lawyer obtain money to shower on candidates and campaigns? No ready explanation has surfaced. But a Times review of contributions and law firm financial records raises questions about whether Girardi used clients' funds to make the donations.

AI-generated art is changing the concept of art

For some, AI-generated art is revolutionary. But these programs have also drawn their fair share of critics.

Illustrator James Gurney shared on his blog in April 2022 that although AI technology is revolutionary, it's causing fear among artists who worry the technology will ultimately devalue their livelihoods. Gurney said he believed AI was changing how consumers engaged with and interpreted art altogether.

AI-generated art has also blurred the lines of ownership and heightened instances of bias. AI has artists divided on whether to embrace technological advances or take a step back. But no matter where one stands, it's impossible to avoid the reality that AI systems are here.

Check out "The Times" podcast for essential news and more.

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you're seeking a more balanced news diet, "The Times" podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Amid desert hills are bright swaths of green.
Seeing greens: The Golf Club at Terra Lago is built in the desert. A developer's plans for homes, a resort and a surfing lagoon have sparked ire. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

The average gas price jumped 8.5 cents overnight. Los Angeles County's average gas price rose Wednesday to $5.545 for a gallon of self-service regular, AAA data show, as refinery problems accelerated increases that began nearly three weeks ago. Nationwide, a 99-day run of falling gasoline prices has ended, with pump prices still much higher than a year ago. The L.A. record was $6.462, also in mid-June.

"Third World tactics"? Critics allege that the Sheriff's Department's search of county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl's home was part of a political vendetta by Sheriff Alex Villanueva. The inquiry took a dramatic turn when California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta took control of the investigation from the sheriff, saying the move was in the "public interest." Here is a breakdown of what we know.

A seventh LAUSD student has overdosed. The latest overdose occurred Saturday, when a 15-year-old student from STEM Academy of Hollywood, one of three schools on the Bernstein High School campus, was found unconscious by his mother at home, said LAPD Chief Michel Moore. Police said they were investigating whether the most recent overdose was connected to the drugs that killed another 15-year-old, Melanie Ramos, at Bernstein High on Sept. 13.

A Bay Area company is "horrified" buses it sold have been being used to transport migrants across the U.S. The San Rafael-based company operates eight routes in Marin County and makes some of its buses available for charter, but the company said it was caught off guard when a bus with its logo was seen dropping off migrants from Texas in New York last week.

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NATION-WORLD

Iran's president dismissed criticism after a woman's death. Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, President Ebrahim Raisi tried to deflect international outrage over the death last week of a 22-year-old woman in the custody of Iran's so-called morality police. They reportedly arrested her for failing to completely cover her hair. Her death touched off protests in many Iranian cities, some involving women torching their head scarves. On Wednesday, seven people were reported killed in the demonstrations as security forces moved to crack down on the protesters.

Puerto Ricans are desperate for water after Fiona's rampage. More than half a million people remained without water service three days after the hurricane slammed into the U.S. territory, and many spent hours in lines Wednesday to fill jugs from water trucks while others scooped water from mountain runoff.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

An A+ for "Abbott's" child actors. In addition to recognizing Quinta Brunson's writing and supporting actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Emmy voters honored "Abbott Elementary's" casting director, Wendy O'Brien, who had to populate the classrooms not only with the right teachers but also some of the kids who'd bring the ABC mockumentary show its air of noisy public-school authenticity.

More than a garment. The ruana, a type of poncho common to the northern Andes, is at the center of L.A. painter Carolyn Castaรฑo's latest solo show, "Future Ruana," on view at Walter Maciel Gallery near Culver City. The show includes a pair of ruanas made by Castaรฑo (with the help of collaborator Stina Peek) that she silkscreened with images of her mother and father. Painted in bright hues of green, yellow and pink and layered with hand-painted flowers and appliques of tropical birds, these sumptuous pieces evoke her family's migrations between South America and Los Angeles.

How "Andor" fits into the "Star Wars" canon. "Andor" is about the rise of a rebellion — and a revolutionary. The latest installment in the ever-expanding "Star Wars" universe, out now on Disney+, is a prequel series to "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (2016) focused on Diego Luna's Cassian Andor. Here's everything else you need to know.

For years, Bling Ring burglar Alexis Haines denied everything. Now she's coming clean. In a three-part Netflix documentary, "The Real Bling Ring: Hollywood Heist," Haines and Bling Ring member Nick Prugo tell their sides of the story surrounding the 2008-2009 string of Hollywood burglaries. Haines says her part in the ring stemmed from her addiction, which was a way for her to mask her trauma from abuse.

BUSINESS

The Fed issued another big rate hike. The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark short-term rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, by a substantial three-quarters of a point, the highest level since early 2008. The policymakers also signaled that, by early 2023, they expected to have further raised rates much higher than they had projected in June. Plus: Here's what the Fed's latest hike could mean for mortgage rates.

OPINION

Are Latino voters in L.A. being courted like kingmakers yet? In recent months, Rick Caruso's mayoral campaign has flooded Boyle Heights with canvassers, inundating residents of the historic Latino/Chicano neighborhood with text messages and calls. Times opinion contributor Pilar Marrero is among them: "I am surprised because, as a Latina who always votes — 'a likely voter' since becoming a citizen 22 years ago — I have rarely been contacted directly by local campaigns when I lived in other areas of L.A. This time, Caruso seems to want to be my personal friend."

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SPORTS

The Rams lost their only backup tight end, Brycen Hopkins, to suspension. Hopkins has been suspended for three games for violating the NFL's policy on substance abuse, the league said Wednesday. Hopkins, a third-year pro, cannot return to the active roster until after the Rams' Oct. 9 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

An equine medical director is back on the job. Dr. Jeff Blea returned to work on the California Horse Racing Board after negotiating a settlement with the state's Veterinary Medical Board. Blea had been on paid administrative leave since Jan. 11 after the board suspended his license, accusing him of multiple violations, many of which were bookkeeping errors when he was in private practice. His suspension shocked California's horse racing world, since the infractions he is accused of rarely result in a suspended license.

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

A yellow motel sign looming above an empty pool at dusk.
Sunset at the Skyview Hotel's pool in Los Alamos. (Wesley Lapointe / Los Angeles Times)

From the moment you spot Skyview's lemon-yellow "motel" sign off the 101 Freeway, Los Alamos strikes you with its juxtaposition of old and new. A walk down Bell Street, the town's one main drag, can feel like you're stepping into a scene from "High Noon," where Gary Cooper struts down the middle of the road and Grace Kelly runs breathlessly through the train depot. And yet these seven blocks are filled with modern-day energy — a patchwork of shops, restaurants and wineries that seem to work almost in tandem to bring people experiences they can't find elsewhere. Find out why the tiny ranch town is a favorite hidden gem travel destination for Angelenos.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A black-and-white newspaper clipping of a crowd of people outside a limo.
The Times ran this photo with its article on the assassination attempt on Sept. 23, 1975.

Of the people who have attempted to kill a U.S. president, two of them were women; both tried to kill President Ford — independently — within weeks of each other. And both attempts were in California.

On Sept. 5, 1975, while Ford was visiting the state Capitol in Sacramento, Lynette Alice "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, pointed a loaded gun at him. In 2013, The Times wrote of the release of video testimony in which Ford spoke about that incident. He was shaking hands with people lined up to see him outside the Capitol. Ford said a brightly dressed woman caught his eye. She seemed eager to see him; then he saw the gun: "The weapon was large. Almost automatically, one of the Secret Service agents lunged, grabbed the hands and the weapon, and then I was pushed off."

Then on Sept. 22, 1975 — 47 years ago today — Ford survived a second assassination attempt in San Francisco. Sara Jane Moore, "an accountant and a divorced mother of four, fired at Ford … as the president was leaving a speaking engagement at the St. Francis Hotel," The Times wrote in 2008 on the occasion of Moore's parole. "Her single shot from a .38-caliber revolver missed Ford by several feet after Oliver Sipple, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, grabbed her arm and pulled her down."

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

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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