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The lesson from UC's struggle with diversity

As the Supreme Court weighs affirmative action, the University of California's struggle with diversity since a 1996 ban offers lessons.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images As the U.S. Supreme Court opens oral arguments Monday on affirmative action, UC's long struggle to bring diversity to its 10 campuses offers lessons on race-neutral admission practices. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

By Elvia Limón

Hello, it's Monday, Oct. 31, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

California banned affirmative action; UC is still struggling

As the U.S. Supreme Court opens oral arguments on whether to strike down affirmative action in cases involving Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of California's long struggle to bring diversity to its 10 campuses offers lessons on the promise and limitations of race-neutral admission practices.

The California takeaway: Nothing can fully substitute for affirmative action practices that allow universities to admit a diverse student body, including using income and parent educational levels as proxies for race. But after the passage of Proposition 209 touched off UC's 25-year slog of trial and error — plus a massive investment of more than half a billion dollars on diversity measures — a meaningful difference can be made.

What the Jan. 6 cases mean for D.C. courts

The nearly 900 Capitol insurrection-related arrests moving their way through the court system make up an average of 40% of all appearances on the District of Columbia District Court calendar each week.

There's little flexibility in the schedule to accommodate delays, and those that inevitably happen can reverberate through the system, affecting other criminal and civil cases. While many defendants have taken plea deals, about half are still making their way through the court system. The Justice Department still announces new arrests each week.

Resources have been moved to Washington to help. But judges cannot pick what comes across their desk. And there are a finite number of judges on the D.C. court, where all of the Jan. 6 cases are being heard, and there is limited time in which to schedule those cases.

More politics

  • The Los Angeles law known as 41.18 limits where people can sleep and set up tents. Now it's a major election issue.
  • Over the eight months since Russia invaded Ukraine, public support for U.S. military aid to Kyiv has been remarkably solid and mostly bipartisan. But cracks in the consensus have begun to appear, writes Times Washington columnist Doyle McManus.
  • Arizona's Republican attorney general has issued an opinion saying county officials may hand-count all ballots in at least five races in the Nov. 8 election.

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

South Korea's Halloween tragedy

A Seoul Halloween stampede Saturday night resulted in the deaths of more than 150 partygoers, most of them in their 20s and 30s, and injured more than 130. The dead, 98 of them women and at least four of them teenagers, were trapped and crushed in a crowd surge. At least 20 were foreigners from China, Russia, Iran and elsewhere. Two Americans were among those killed, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul tweeted.

Some witnesses and experts say that the cultural gap between a younger generation influenced by social media and Western traditions and their elders, some of whom outright sneer at such outside influence, may help explain why authorities failed to provide adequate security to help control the massive crowds that have taken to packing Itaewon, home of many of the most popular nightclubs and bars in Seoul, on the Halloween weekend.

Political violence is ramping up, experts warn

Politically motivated violence has ebbed and flowed throughout U.S. history. Currently, America is going through an upsurge in right-wing violence, according to researchers who track attacks and other incidents.

They say today's climate is comparable to that in the mid-1990s, when a similar wave of right-wing violence culminated in the 1995 bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people.

Incidents now range from the unprecedented — the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump who were trying to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election — to the more quotidian malice of telephone and email death threats.

Single in Colorado: Male, would die to find mate, has eight legs, can travel

Each autumn in a sprawling, flat corner of southeastern Colorado, thousands upon thousands of creatures are on the move — some on eight legs, some on two.

Scientists, nature enthusiasts and that rare subspecies of humanity obsessed with spiders all come to witness something remarkable: hordes of fuzzy, fist-sized male tarantulas emerging from their burrows to scour the shortgrass prairie for mates.

Aphonopelma hentzi, commonly known as the Oklahoma or Texas brown tarantula, ranges as far east as Louisiana with especially high densities in this part of Colorado. One of the larger cities in the area, La Junta, is developing a tourism industry around the spiders, with a tarantula festival, a tarantula website and tarantula murals all over town.

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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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

Two people in silhouette walking down a staircase
Ghost hunter Zak Bagans, front, and Jay Wasley walk down after investigating a room at the Comedy Store, which is long-reputed to be haunted. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

The Comedy Store is rumored to be haunted. So we went ghost hunting with the pros. The Sunset Strip club is known for two things: launching the careers of such comedians as Richard Pryor, Jay Leno and Roseanne Barr and scaring the bejesus out of countless performers and patrons during its half-century run. Legend has it that the place was used to extort, torture and kill those who crossed the mob, and the spirits of those unlucky victims still haunt the place today.

Contribute to our Día de Muertos digital altar. Though death is central to the holiday, Día de Muertos is a celebration of life. It's an opportunity to remember loved ones who have died and honor their memory. The traditional way of celebrating is by making an ofrenda — an altar that often features a photo of the person being remembered, candles, foods and items specific to them, cempasúchiles (marigolds), papel picado and calaveras (sugar skulls). We are accepting digital ofrendas until Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. Pacific time.

Bimbos, "bottom girls" and the ugly reality of misogyny in our justice system. No matter what the #MeToo movement did in broader society, when sexual assault victims step into a courtroom, they still are smeared as predators and perpetrators responsible for the violence done to them, writes Times columnist Anita Chabria.

CALIFORNIA

Profound challenges face LAUSD candidates, but big donors still fight over charter schools. Candidates pledge to address a dizzying array of challenges — declining enrollment, teen drug abuse, pandemic setbacks — and have strikingly similar views on many issues. But it's largely their stance on the years-old debate over charter schools that is fueling the dollars pouring into the District 2 and District 6 races ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Elon Musk spreads unfounded conspiracy theory about the Paul Pelosi attack on Twitter. In response to a tweet by Hillary Clinton, Musk tweeted "there is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye" and posted a link to an unfounded story offering a conspiracy theory about the attack. The story was posted in the Santa Monica Observer, a publication known for spreading misinformation.

California set a record for greenhouse gas reductions in 2020, but it means nothing. The amount of planet-warming gases Californians released into the atmosphere in 2020 was 9% less than the previous year. But the quantity of carbon dioxide spewed by record-setting wildfires that same year effectively erased almost two decades of emission reductions.

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NATION-WORLD

Leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defeats incumbent Jair Bolsonaro to become Brazil's president — again. It was a stunning reversal for Da Silva, 77, whose 2018 imprisonment over a corruption scandal sidelined him from the 2018 election that brought Bolsonaro, a defender of conservative social values, to power.

Global food concerns rise as Russia halts a Ukraine grain deal. Russia resumed its blockade of Ukrainian ports. President Biden warned that global hunger could increase because of Russia's suspension of a United Nations-brokered deal to allow safe passage of ships carrying grain from Ukraine, one of the world's breadbaskets.

Thousands commemorate Italy's fascist dictator Mussolini. The crowd of some 2,000 to 4,000 marchers, many sporting fascist symbols and singing hymns from Italy's colonial era, was more numerous than in the recent past, as the fascist nostalgics celebrated the centenary of the March on Rome.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

 Alondra "Ash" Sandoval poses for portraits across the street from the Kia Forum
Alondra "Ash" Sandoval in front of the Kia Forum on Oct. 23, where Harry Styles was set to perform the first of his 15 sold-out concerts. Sandoval, who uses she/they pronouns, is one of Styles' devoted gender-nonconforming fans. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

At Harry Styles concerts, young gender-nonconforming fans celebrate the freedom to be themselves. It's no secret that Styles is a champion of the LGBTQ community, but to a special section of that fan base — his young gender-nonconforming devotees — Styles' ability to exist comfortably, and extremely publicly, in a fluid space along the gender spectrum is particularly resonant.

A horror buff picks the 10 best new scary movies to stream this Halloween. Spooky season is here and there's no shortage of scary new stories to devour, from twisty thrillers and Lovecraftian yarns to bloodthirsty aliens, ax-wielding maniacs and macabre stop-motion delights. Among our picks are "Pearl," "Hellraiser" and "Deadstream."

Jerry Lee Lewis' teenage bride speaks out: "I was the adult and Jerry was the child." Everything "gigantic," Myra Williams said, occurred in her teenage years, cataloging the milestones: married at 13; a mother at 14; losing her firstborn child when she was 17; giving birth to her second child at 19. "But in going through it, I've found my strength. And there's almost nothing that can knock me off my block at this point."

BUSINESS

California's gas-car phaseout brings turmoil to mom-and-pop gas stations. In interviews with The Times, independent gas station owners said the state mandate will expedite the demise of their businesses. And they make up a significant part of the state's fueling infrastructure.

OPINION

Can the artists save the Salton Sea? The Salton Sea's gradual collapse has continued over decades. In recent times, though, it has seen a revival of sorts, around a growing community of artists.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

SPORTS

What the 49ers discovered three days before Christian McCaffrey's three TDs in the rout of the Rams. McCaffrey has been with the 49ers for a little over a week but has learned fast, throwing, running and catching for touchdowns.

LAFC still hungers for more after defeating Austin FC to reach the MLS Cup final. The last time an MLS Cup final was played in Southern California, LAFC was a concept without a name. That was 2014, the year a group of investors, that included Mandalay Entertainment head Peter Guber, paid MLS more than $100 million for the rights to put an expansion team in Los Angeles.

ONLY IN L.A.

The holiday season is officially upon us, and there are many benefits to shopping small. Thanks to vaccines and booster shots, holiday markets are back with a vengeance this year, offering one-of-a-kind gifts in unexpected places. And we've compiled 18 of them.

In Ojai, you can shop for handcrafted goods in the hotel rooms of the Ojai Rancho Inn. At Angel City Brewery in the Arts District, you can sample IPAs while shopping for jewelry and ceramics by local artists. Many public parks and avenues will close down to host outdoor events. Even if you don't purchase something, you'll enjoy a unique experience and connect with others.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

LeBron James
LeBron James (Associated Press)

Nineteen years ago this week, LeBron James made his NBA debut against the Sacramento Kings. An 18-year-old James was part of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the time, which lost that game to the Kings 106-92.

From the Times' reporting of the game: "The atmosphere was so insane, you could have bottled it. The NBA's Web site billed it as "King James vs. the Kings." ESPN televised it, cutting away from its early game when Orlando and New York went into overtime, in violation of network practice since the famous 'Heidi' game of 1968."

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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