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Dodger Stadium gondola plan moves ahead

Essential California A plan to construct an estimated half-billion-dollar, 1.2-mile gondola from Union Station through Chinatown into Chavez Ravine by former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt took its first steps toward reality.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  February 25, 2024   View in browser A Sunset Boulevard billboard registers protest against the proposed Dodger Stadium gondola project. By Andrew J. Campa Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter . It's Sunday, Feb. 25 . I'm Andrew J. Campa, your host. Here's what you need to know to start your weekend: The Dodger Stadium Gondola project cleared its first hurdle. Rebec

L.A.'s freeways might not always be free

L.A. County's blueprint for congestion pricing is nearly here. Plus: The details on Biden and McCarthy's deal to raise the debt limit.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Morning traffic on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

By Laura Blasey

Hello, it's Tuesday, May 30, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:


Los Angeles' freeways might not always be free

Merging onto the Santa Monica Freeway at rush hour or along the infamously choked Sepulveda Pass could soon carry a price for Angelenos — and a promise.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected by the summer to release a long-awaited study that will offer a blueprint for a congestion pricing scheme similar to ones in other cities such as London, Stockholm and Singapore, where commuters pay to drive in city centers.

The transit agency has zeroed in on three locations for a possible test program. Details are still being ironed out. The plan promises cleaner air, smoother rides and more funds to the agency's coffers in the future.

The pilot program is part of a larger push among major cities to rethink how to deal with traffic. California has been quietly setting the stage for road pricing for years.

Here's what's in Biden-McCarthy's deal to raise the debt limit

Over the weekend, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a deal to increase the government's debt limit, enabling the nation to avoid a debt default and economic turmoil.

Biden, McCarthy and their allies are framing the deal as victories for their respective parties. But what did each side actually get?

The compromise cuts IRS funding, prevents the Biden administration from unilaterally suspending student loan payments and raises requirements for SNAP, among other changes.

More politics

  • President Biden lauded the sacrifice of U.S. troops who "dared all and gave all" fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • A new poll finds former President Trump has vaulted back to a substantial lead among California's likely Republican voters over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • On the largest stage to date in the race to replace retiring California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the three top Democratic candidates dashed through their state party's convention this weekend in downtown Los Angeles.

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

In downtown L.A., Bass' plan to clear encampments faces crime, addiction and resistance

Homelessness outreach workers went to the streets of downtown Los Angeles last month and delivered what is now a seasoned sales pitch: Give up your spot on the sidewalk, and try living in a nearby hotel room instead.

But some residents gave an emphatic answer: no.

Since she took office, Mayor Karen Bass' Inside Safe initiative has moved more than 1,200 homeless people off the street in Venice, North Hollywood, Del Rey, Beverly Grove and about a dozen other L.A. neighborhoods.

Yet Bass' initiative recently stalled in one part of downtown Los Angeles: the streets that surround the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, the city's birthplace and home to Olvera Street and other attractions.

Even in blue California, attempts to regulate controversial antiabortion centers continue to fail

Across California, where Democratic lawmakers have crafted some of the nation's strongest abortion rights laws, antiabortion pregnancy centers appear to be untouchable despite repeated attempts to rein them in.

An industry long accused of misleading women in order to steer them away from abortion, clinics offer services disputed by medical experts, "pre-abortion screenings" and even reading material that cites research linking abortion to breast cancer — a claim that has been refuted by the American Cancer Society.

And some are even expanding, boosted by an influx of donations from abortion opponents who object to the enhanced protections enacted in California in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

The centers, primarily faith-based nonprofits, have managed to evade legislative attempts at stricter regulation, which the Supreme Court ruled violated the 1st Amendment.



Orange County looks to redeem its fabled 'Road to Summer,' one seedy motel at a time. In the boom years, Beach Boulevard's drawing power supported dozens of motels that were clean and affordable for families looking to stay a couple of nights. But after decades of decline, a core of cities along the 21-mile route are trying to reinvigorate the area.

'We're at a standstill': California patients can face agonizing waits for hospital transfers. Hospital officials from around the state say that transferring patients to other care centers that can provide specialized services has generally gotten harder as many health facilities struggle with staffing and ambulance availability.

How hundreds of L.A. County's abused children ended up in hotels. Los Angeles County's child welfare agency has placed hundreds of foster youths in rented hotel rooms because it has no foster homes for them. But the hotels lack the same resources as group homes and the children placed in the hotels are usually among those with some of the most significant untreated trauma and the gravest histories of violence.

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This city was ravaged in WWII. Why do few remember the suffering and sacrifice? The Philippines recently marked the 78th anniversary of one of the most savage — but least known — clashes of World War II, the battle to liberate Manila in 1945. In addition to 1,000 American and 16,000 Japanese combatants, at least 100,000 unarmed Filipino civilians were killed — 1 in 10 Manila residents.

Erdogan wins unprecedented Turkey presidential runoff race. Incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a third term as Turkey's president Sunday, weathering the greatest political challenge of his career and defeating Kemal Kilicdaroglu and the opposition coalition that had tried to oust him as voter turnout topped 80%.

New York is sinking even as the seas around it are rising. Parts of New York are expected to eventually be underwater. A study published this month in the journal Earth's Future looked at how the massive weight of the city itself is hurrying things along.



How 'Succession,' a show about business, became a show about marriage. Like so many other great TV dramas of the last two decades — "The Sopranos," "Mad Men," "Breaking Bad" — HBO's "Succession," which concluded Sunday night, was also about a uniquely awful marriage, poisoned by money, class and noxious gender politics.

Milton Larsen, co-founder of Hollywood's Magic Castle, dead at 92. Born into a family of magicians, Larsen helped transform a falling-down Hollywood mansion into an iconic private club that attracted top magicians and their fans from around the world.

Review: Standing her ground in tense docudrama, Reality Winner discovers she's in quicksand. We've all seen a million interactions between law enforcement and interviewees. But none like the exchange brought to life by playwright-turned-filmmaker Tina Satter in her disorientingly tense feature debut "Reality," staring Sydney Sweeney as the former Air Force linguist charged with leaking government documents.

Rapper Lil Durk lost numerous friends and loved ones to violence. To cope, he turned to therapy. Durk's new album, "Almost Healed," features guests J. Cole and Morgan Wallen and unusually frank talk of seeking professional help.


Is there a retail exodus in San Francisco? Some say Union Square is 'beating strong.' Reductions in consumer spending, disruptions in the supply chain, high operation costs and public safety have led the overall retail vacancy rate in San Francisco to rise, but city officials and residents say those numbers don't tell the whole story.

Huge Tesla data leak reportedly reveals thousands of safety complaints. A huge data dump based on a whistleblower's leak of internal Tesla documents shows that problems with Tesla's automated driving technology may be far more common than media reports and regulators have let on.

A Pixar-themed hotel is coming to Disneyland Resort. Here's a sneak peek. Renovations have been underway since last year to convert the 15-story Paradise Pier Hotel into Pixar Place Hotel, featuring designs inspired by the animation studio behind hits such as "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo" and "Coco."


Dodgers announce 'Christian Faith and Family Day' after Pride Night fallout. The event, which was tweeted out by star pitcher Clayton Kershaw on Friday, is set for July 30 at Dodger Stadium. Details remain unclear, but the team's Twitter account said the game between the Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds will be part of a day of worship.

Motherhood has given Julie Ertz a new appreciation for soccer and her career. If the Angel City FC midfielder makes the World Cup roster, she could be one of five soccer moms on the U.S. team.

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Don't call the debt-ceiling deal a success. It shouldn't have been a crisis at all. We've endured needless brinkmanship that's undermined global confidence in the nation's financial reliability and in the dollar as the world's reserve currency, and still could spark default and a recession. The arsonists are taking credit for putting out the fire, writes columnist Jackie Calmes.

I've lived into my 40s without ever owning a smartphone. Hopefully I'll never have to. When people discover I don't have a smartphone, they expect me to give them a sermon on technology's ills or they congratulate me for going off the grid. But the reality is more complicated.


The historic Niles Hotel looms in Alturas, Calif. The third floor of the hotel is believed to have a resident ghost.
The historic Niles Hotel looms in Alturas, Calif. The third floor of the hotel is believed to have a resident ghost. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

In rural California hotels, spookiness is the appeal. In proud but struggling little communities throughout rural Northern California, grand old hotels hark back to when these places were booming Gold Rush towns, timber towns and cow towns. Often lovingly restored, the lodgings invoke a certain nostalgia for more prosperous days and hope for a brighter future. They also promise some interesting fellow guests, if you're so lucky to meet their ghosts. In a small town, one hotel owner said, you take pride in what you've got.


May 30, 1912: About 700 Civil War veterans marched in a Memorial Day parade in Los Angeles.
May 30, 1912: About 700 Civil War veterans marched in a Memorial Day parade in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles has celebrated Memorial Day for more than a century. The holiday has its origins in the Civil War — Union veterans organized an effort to place flowers on the graves of their fallen fellow soldiers in 1868. Originally known as Decoration Day, the annual remembrance first focused on Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans before expanding to all veterans through the 20th century.

The Times was covering the day as early at 1911. Some celebrations included traditional wreath and flower laying, while others involved parades. See more photos of Memorial Days past from The Times' archives here.

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