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Anger and tears at L.A. council meeting

Emotional protests filled the Los Angeles City Council chambers over racist remarks heard in leaked recordings that were made public this week.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Audience members made themselves heard at Tuesday's L.A. City Council meeting. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey

Hello, it's Wednesday, Oct. 12, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

Protests at L.A.'s City Council meeting over leaked racist recordings

Anguish and anger spread through the Los Angeles City Council chambers as members of the audience lashed out about the surreptitious recording in which Councilmember Nury Martinez is heard making racist remarks and denigrating colleagues. The meeting came shortly after Martinez said she was taking a leave of absence. She had already stepped down from her post as council president.

Audience members who gathered in the council chambers yelled that the meeting should not take place until Martinez and fellow Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo resigned. All three are heard on the recording, which was first reported by The Times.

The clamor inside the council chambers was momentarily frozen by tearful remarks from Councilmember Mike Bonin, who said he was contemplating how he would explain the racist remarks made by Martinez to his young son when he got older.

More coverage

Bass and Caruso focused on how to bridge L.A.'s racial divides in their mayoral debate

With scandal rocking the city's political leadership, the two candidates for mayor debated in a sober discussion that largely centered on which of them would be best positioned to bridge racial divides and bring the city together.

Rep. Karen Bass contended that her experience as a lawmaker in Sacramento and Washington and, before that, as an organizer in South Los Angeles, made her uniquely qualified to form coalitions and bring about much-needed changes on racial strife, policing and homelessness. Businessman Rick Caruso said he was better positioned to be a change agent, stating that the existing political leadership has failed.

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

Gas prices keep falling in California

Gasoline prices in the state continued to fall Tuesday after reaching record highs in many regions last week amid refinery outages across California.

In Los Angeles, the average price of gas Tuesday fell by about 4 cents from Monday, to $6.36 a gallon, a significant day-over-day drop that the metro area hasn't seen in about a decade, said a spokesperson for the Southern California branch of the American Automobile Assn. She said the last time L.A. had this large of a one-day price drop was "almost exactly 10 years ago" when then-Gov. Jerry Brown had also recently switched the state to its winter-blend gas early, as Gov. Gavin Newsom did last week following steep price increases due to gas supply issues.

Experts say the state's winter-blend is easier and cheaper for refineries to produce, though still specific to California's more stringent environmental regulations.

How a song about Iran's protests became an anthem for women

As crowds poured through the streets of Iran last month to demonstrate against the government, 25-year-old singer Shervin Hajipour began working on a new song.

Within a day, according to some estimates, it received more than 40 million views. The government responded by arresting Hajipour, and soon the song was removed from his Instagram page.

But it was too late to suppress it. The protest movement, led by women and young people, had unified a discontented nation across socioeconomic lines, geographic regions and ethnicities. "Baraye" was now its anthem.

The U.S. has a tough sell in Latin America

From Mexico and Central America, all the way through the Andes, U.S. officials have struggled to find partners to work with and policies that will stick as they attempt to reassert U.S. influence, once dominant in the region but now in stiff competition with other powers, most notably China.

A major challenge is courting newly leftist governments. But that's only part of the difficulty in finding interlocutors. More concerning, analysts say, are the numerous regional leaders drowning in corruption allegations, fighting for their own political survival against inflation and popular discontent, and unwilling to follow the traditional democratic rule of law.

Plus, there remains a deep sense of distrust of the U.S. among many Latin American politicians and leaders.

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

A woman pretends to scream while wearing a large wig in a room full of Halloween masks.
All spooky, all the time: Danelly Alexis tries on a wig at Hollywood Toys & Costumes, one of the city's top Halloween shops. The best part? It's open year-round. Read more: "At these L.A. shops, it's always spooky szn." (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

The Mongols biker club was denied a new racketeering trial after claims that its leader was an informant. In an oral ruling from the bench, U.S. District Judge David O. Carter denied the club's request, said a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office for the Central District of California. Carter's ruling comes nearly four years after a federal jury convicted the Mongols of racketeering in 2018, finding that the group was a criminal organization whose members had beaten and killed rivals and trafficked in drugs.

Gavin Newsom "wants to be president." Republican Brian Dahle just wants California voters to know his name. A month before election day, that remains a daunting task for Dahle, a state senator and seed farmer from the town of Bieber, population 266 or so, who is trying to unseat Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the nation's most populous state.

Human remains found in the Santa Monica Mountains were identified as a missing Ventura County man. The Los Angeles County coroner's office identified the man as José Antonio Velásquez, 35, from Camarillo. Velásquez was reported missing July 30 after disappearing under suspicious circumstances, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office said.

A California man is suing the maker of Texas Pete hot sauce because it's produced in North Carolina. The suit, filed in federal court in California last month, alleges that T.W. Garner Food Co. defrauds customers with its name and lone star logo on the iconic brand. "There is nothing 'Texas' about Texas Pete," wrote attorneys for Philip White, the plaintiff in the case.

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NATION-WORLD

Prosecutors moved to drop the case against Adnan Syed. The Maryland man's conviction in the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee was chronicled in the first season of the hit podcast "Serial." The decision comes after a Baltimore judge last month overturned Syed's murder conviction and ordered him released from prison.

Israel and Lebanon struck a "historic" deal on sea borders. The agreement, which came after months of U.S.-brokered negotiations, would mark a major breakthrough in relations between the two countries, which formally have been at war since Israel's establishment in 1948. The deal still faces legal and political challenges in Israel.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

John Stamos once said he didn't care if he died. This is the story of how he decided to live. TV critic Robert Lloyd talked with the "Big Shot" star who opened up about rock bottom, saving his show from cancellation at Disney+, losing his virginity and more.

It's not just "Mexican Week." There are bigger problems for the "Great British Baking Show." Stereotypical jokes. Laughable mispronunciations. Culinary atrocities. "Baking Show" aficionado and Times staff writer Meredith Blake and "Baking Show" newcomer and Times food editor Daniel Hernandez offer two perspectives on the controversy — and how the show has changed.

Broadway and TV star Angela Lansbury has died at age 96. The Tony Award-winning actress conquered Broadway in the glamorous roles movie studios never gave her and captured television viewers as the star of the hit series "Murder, She Wrote." Celebrities across stage, television and film honored Lansbury's extensive legacy.

Blink-182 is back with a new world tour. The California pop-punk band announced that original members Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker were reuniting for a world tour, a new album and a new song, "Edging," coming out Friday. This will mark the first time the trio has performed and created new music together since 2015.

BUSINESS

Disneyland is raising its prices — again. A year after the theme park raised prices, single-day tickets to Disneyland and neighboring California Adventure Park will increase again by as much as 9%, with an 11% rise in price for preferred parking. By comparison, overall consumer prices rose 8.3% in August from a year earlier.

OPINION

Racial divides in Los Angeles politics are wrong morally and pragmatically. What L.A. City Council members failed to grasp as they strategized to benefit Latinos at the expense of others is that Latinos are not a monolith. Perhaps the leaked comments will spur a new generation of politicians to put themselves forward to lead Los Angeles in a direction that will benefit us all.

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SPORTS

A former Angels employee was sentenced to prison for supplying drugs to Tyler Skaggs. Former communications director Eric Kay was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison after being convicted of providing counterfeit oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl that led to the overdose death of pitcher Skaggs.

Haunting memories of last year are driving Max Muncy this postseason. The Dodgers veteran missed last year's postseason with an injury. Now, he senses the chance to make up for lost October playing time, hoping his return this postseason will help numb the sting of last season once and for all.

Former UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell was banned from the NWSL following an investigation into allegations of verbal abuse and favoritism. To qualify for reinstatement, Cromwell and assistant coach Sam Greene, who was also banned, must participate in training regarding retaliation, anti-discrimination, anti-harassment and anti-bullying, as well as executive coaching.

ONLY IN L.A.

A view from an upper level at night at the many decks of a lighted-up multi-story parking garage.
A parking structure at the Grove. (Adali Schell / For The Times)

The agony and ecstasy of an L.A. parking garage. There's more to car culture than roads. After all, you have to have a place to store that car you're driving. Enter a decidedly less-appreciated facet of the L.A. landscape: the parking garage. They're liminal spaces full of hairpin turns, weird memories and obstructed views, but they play a large role in many Angelenos' lives. For The Times' Image magazine, Myriam Gurba explores how deep the garages go, and shares her favorite — the Hollywood Home Depot, which "offers the kind of panoramic views that make Midwestern tourists salivate."

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Aman stands near a wall mural inside a building.
2017: A ticket-taker stands alongside one of the murals in Coit Tower. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Eighty-eight years ago today, on Oct. 12, 1934, Coit Tower opened to the public. The 210-foot white concrete tower is perched atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, where it provides 360-degree views of the Bay Area.

The tower was named for "wealthy eccentric and patron of the city's firefighters" Lillie Hitchcock Coit, according to the city Parks & Recreation Department. Coit died in 1929 and left a bequest, asking that the funds be used "for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved."

Our colleague Christopher Reynolds visited the tower in 2019 and wrote about the ground-floor Depression-era murals created by artists in the federal Public Works of Art Project. He wrote: "About 25 artists were paid about $31 a week, and the walls they left us amount to a portrait of the city 75 years ago: ferry commuters, fedoras, newspapers, high anxiety. And of course, the artists couldn't resist peppering the imagery with a little political spice — notice the library denizen reaching for a volume by Karl Marx, and the copy of the Daily Worker high on the news rack display."

Times staff writer Amy Hubbard contributed to this report.

For the record: Our Monday edition of Today's Headlines referred to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. The name of the organization is the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

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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