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Hot Holiday Party Dresses Under $100 From H&M, Anthropologie & More

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Why projected earthquake costs are rising

California is projected to lose an average of $9.6 billion a year from earthquake damage. Plus: Decades of failures leave L.A. County facing up to $3 billion in sex abuse claims.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Crushed vehicles at a soft-story apartment building that collapsed during the Northridge earthquake. (Roland Otero / Los Angeles Times)

By Laura Blasey

Hello, it's Monday, May 1, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:


Projected losses from a major California earthquake soar. What's behind seismic inflation?

The expected annual cost from earthquake damage for California is climbing sharply amid an increase in property values and better understanding of how soft soils could result in greater damage during shaking.

California is projected to lose an average of $9.6 billion a year from earthquake damage, the new estimates show. That's a 157% increase from the last estimate, in 2017, when the price tag was $3.7 billion a year, according to a new report.

The totals underscore just how much the value of older buildings has soared in recent years, yet they remain vulnerable to major damage or collapse in the next big earthquake.

Decades of failures leave L.A. County facing up to $3 billion in sex abuse claims

Three years after a state law providing victims of childhood sexual abuse a new window to file lawsuits went into effect, L.A. County — responsible for facilities meant to protect and rehabilitate the region's youth — has emerged in court filings as one of the biggest alleged institutional offenders.

Two weeks ago, in an otherwise dry budget document, county officials delivered figures that stunned even some of the most seasoned California sex abuse attorneys. County officials predicted that they may be forced to spend between $1.6 billion and $3 billion to resolve roughly 3,000 claims of sexual abuse that allegedly took place in the county's foster homes, children shelters, and probation camps and halls dating to the 1950s.

The county is gearing up to litigate the cases, bringing on 11 law firms to work through the claims. Experts say the volume is unlike anything they've heard of in local government.

Feinstein has vowed to return to Washington, but what happens if she doesn't?

The race to replace retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein is well underway, but as California's senior senator has missed nearly 60 votes over the last two months, some liberal Democrats are calling for her to resign.

Feinstein, who is recovering from shingles, said she plans to serve out her term and has received the support of party leadership. But with a narrowly divided Senate, questions have arisen about the options for Democrats if Feinstein does not return to the U.S. Capitol yet does not resign.

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

Copenhagen mayor to California's 'Danish Capital': Stop acting homophobic

In the self-described Danish Capital of America, friendliness is part of the brand, with Solvang so outwardly idyllic it was the setting for the saccharine Lifetime TV movie "A Very Charming Christmas Town."

But lately — if you're queer — something smells rotten in this wannabe outpost of Denmark.

For the last several months, the townsfolk of rural Solvang, population 6,000, have been waging an ugly battle over just how visible its LGBTQ+ community should be. Even the mayor of Copenhagen has stepped in, admonishing the American town for bragging about its Danish heritage while snubbing its LGBTQ+ community.

There's nothing like an L.A. estate sale

In a city where top-charting musicians, renowned chefs, illustrious fashion designers and Hollywood stars live and eventually die, L.A. estate sales offer an insight into the lives of the rich and famous you wouldn't otherwise get, but on a secondhand shopper's budget.

It's the reason hundreds of people lined up outside the Studio City home of beloved "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek after his death last year for the opportunity to buy — or set their eyes on — his director's chair, awards and memorabilia such as a Spalding basketball signed by Lakers icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Figuring out how to tackle the enchanting world of L.A. estate sales can feel daunting, but the best way to learn is from the experts on how to find the best ones, dodge lengthy lines and secure an item you desperately want.



An interior view of the gondola cabin on display at Dodger Stadium.
An interior view of the gondola cabin on display at Dodger Stadium. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

A $300-million (minimum) gondola to Dodger Stadium? Why is Frank McCourt really pushing this? Five years after McCourt first pitched the idea, the proposal is now shepherded by an environmental organization. But skeptics note the stadium parking lot would be empty three out of every four days during the year. Does McCourt have something else in store?

Audio reveals tense, emotional meeting in D.A.'s office over San Diego State gang rape allegations. The Union-Tribune obtained an audio recording of the meeting, which provided insight into why the San Diego County district attorney's office opted not to file a case. It also offered a glimpse at the approach prosecutors take when working with people who report sexual assaults.


California refers U.S. citizen prisoners to ICE based on racist assumptions, lawsuit says. California prison officials are violating the rights of U.S. citizens and other lawful residents in state custody, according to a lawsuit filed this week by current and former prisoners and their advocates.

Yosemite Valley reopened Sunday ahead of schedule. Originally, parts of the park were expected to be closed through the middle of the week as a snowmelt-fueled deluge had the normally placid Merced River overflowing its banks. But this weekend's flooding has proved to be less than expected.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigates memo alleging captain wouldn't promote 'angry Black' sergeant. According to several pages of the January memo reviewed by The Times, Capt. Pilar Chavez said the Black sergeant in question had "nothing coming to him" at the East L.A. station ever since he'd testified to an oversight committee about the existence of deputy gangs within the department.

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Texas man suspected of fatally shooting five people could be anywhere, sheriff says. Francisco Oropeza, 38, remained at large Sunday more than 18 hours after he allegedly shot five of his neighbors, including an 8-year-old boy, after they asked him to stop firing rounds with an AR-15 in his yard.

U.S. conducts first evacuation of its citizens from Sudan. Hundreds of Americans fleeing the deadly fighting reached the East African nation's port Saturday, escorted by armed drones, in the first U.S.-run evacuation.

Chinese man who reported on COVID to be released after 3 years. Chinese authorities were preparing Sunday to release a man who disappeared three years ago after publicizing videos of overcrowded hospitals and bodies during the COVID-19 outbreak, a relative and another person familiar with his case said.


The overwhelming, glorious quest of starring in a Stephen Sondheim revival. The Times recently gathered five actors for a discussion about the art of making art: what lessons they're discovering in texts they thought they already knew well, how they conquer their score's trickiest rhythms and emotional leaps, and whether these once-experimental works are resonating with today's audiences.

At Willie Nelson 90, country, rock and rap stars pay tribute, but Willie steals the show. On his 90th birthday weekend, newly minted nonagenarian Willie Nelson and a slew of his famous friends and admirers gathered at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate his decades of musical genius.

Review: In 'Guardians 3,' ultra-weird superhero fun doesn't have to be rocket science. After a couple of Marvel duds, it's a pleasure to see a superhero movie that actually puts a priority on aesthetics, that floods the screen with inventive, well-lighted images and reminds us how more of the action in these movies should be: nasty, Grootish and short.


The work-from-home era has changed office politics. Although it's not entirely clear how the shift to more hybrid workplaces will affect the prevalence and effects of office politics for the long term, a new survey has found they persist in the hybrid world.


Too good to pass up? Blame 'The Purdy Effect' for increase in drafted QBs. After the San Francisco 49ers advanced to the NFC championship game last season, the play of rookie sensation Brock Purdy underscored the notion that teams can find hidden gems anywhere, in any round.

'Even more phenomenal 50 years later': A look back at Secretariat's Triple Crown. This Saturday's Kentucky Derby will be the 50th anniversary of the start of Secretariat's Triple Crown run, a feat many thought at the time could no longer be accomplished.

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A centrist, third-party alternative for 2024 is a nice idea — but a nightmare in practice. Leaders of the Washington-based group No Labels say they've been mortally disappointed by Biden and Trump, and they're determined to offer a third-party alternative. That's a harder goal to reach than it seems, writes columnist Doyle McManus.

Does racism make you 'too stupid to be a cop'? A California law says yes. If law enforcement leaders can use the CLEAR Act to set expectations — and maybe even clean house of an old and ugly way of thinking — then it is a law that should be used to its fullest intent, writes columnist Anita Chabria.


Illustration of a palette with swatches of textures and crafting objects as the paint
(Anne Latini / Los Angeles Times; photographs from Getty Images)

From pottery to bookbinding, here are 11 places to get your creativity flowing. L.A. has spaces where you can try just about anything. From candle making to Jaipur block printing and woodworking, there's someone who can teach you any art form you can dream up. So if you're itching to try out a new craft, here are places where you can get started.


A Chinese man in a chef's uniform stands on a float next to large building-shaped cake
April 26, 1928: A float featuring a cake model of the new Los Angeles City Hall represents a group of Chinese residents of Los Angeles at the dedication parade. (Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

In April 1928, Los Angeles welcomed a new city hall building that would become an icon of the city's downtown. According to The Times, construction began in 1926 and incorporated sand from each of California's 58 counties into its concrete. City officials celebrated the building's completion with three days of festivities from April 26-28, 1928. The Times declared the hall "a sheer tower of white symbolizing a new era of progress and accomplishment for the Pacific Southwest" and "the largest in the West and one of the most distinctive in the world."

Among the celebrations was a dedication ceremony, music performances and a parade reported to have included 32,000 people.

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