LOS ANGELES TIMES: Today’s Headlines 5.11.2021: A new California stimulus plan

Today’s Headlines
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California’s governor has unveiled a plan to provide additional $600 stimulus checks and $5 billion toward rental assistance.


A New California Stimulus Plan

Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks to help California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to expand the payments from low-income residents to also include middle-class families, and noting that doing so would ensure benefits for 2 out of 3 state residents.

The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan made possible in part by a budget that has swelled with a significant windfall of tax revenue. The governor puts the surplus at $75.7 billion.

Newsom also proposed $5 billion to double rental assistance to get 100% of back rent paid for those who have fallen behind, along with as much as $2 billion in direct payments to pay down utility bills.

Under the governor’s proposal, which still requires approval from the Legislature during state budget negotiations, households earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income will be able to receive $600 direct payments if they did not receive a payment in the first round this year.

In addition, California is receiving more than $27 billion in federal aid, including $1.3 billion for Los Angeles, under the $1.9-trillion pandemic relief law President Biden signed in March, the Treasury Department announced Monday.

Recall Campaign Is Sputtering

The campaign to recall Newsom has failed to gain momentum in recent months as significantly more California voters say they favor keeping him in office, and only anemic support has surfaced for reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner while other Republican candidates hoping to take the governor’s place have little backing, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll that was co-sponsored by the L.A. Times.

The survey’s results were especially bleak for retired Olympic gold medalist Jenner, as just 6% of Californians who took part in the survey said they would vote to have her replace Newsom — a vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated or independent voters said they would not be inclined to support her candidacy.

Democratic voters polled also overwhelmingly favored having a prominent Democratic replacement candidate on the recall ballot in case Newsom is ousted from office, putting them at odds with efforts by their state party and Newsom’s campaign to prevent that from happening.

Fifty-two percent of California registered voters approve of the job Newsom has been doing as governor, a small increase from January but still far below the findings in September when 64% gave him high marks, according to the poll. That’s one of Newsom’s potential soft spots.

Vaccines and the Variants

Confidence is growing that the COVID-19 vaccines being administered in the U.S. are holding their own against the coronavirus variants now in circulation, thanks to promising recent studies.

“We haven’t seen a variant yet that’s going to escape protection from our vaccines,” said Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla.

That’s promising news as vaccines roll out to broader swaths of the American public. On Monday, federal regulators authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in youths ages 12 to 15 — a move that will let whole families begin resuming their lives’ pre-pandemic rhythms. Getting kids vaccinated is expected to curb transmission, help schools reopen more fully and keep vulnerable family members safe.

Even though most experts agree that herd immunity to the coronavirus is not likely in the U.S., every shot helps get us closer. Herd immunity is estimated to happen when 80% of the population has been vaccinated; in L.A. County, officials say 80% of people 16 and older could be by the end of July.

NBC Drops the Globes

For years, NBC has billed the Golden Globe Awards as “Hollywood’s Party of the Year.” But after building pressure on the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. — the tiny but powerful group that hands out the awards — the network announced that, for now at least, the party is over.

Capping months of intensifying controversy sparked by a Times investigation into the HFPA that shed light on a range of alleged ethical and financial improprieties and revealed that the organization has no Black members, NBC said that it will not air the show in 2022.

Fighting to safeguard the Globes and their very existence, the HFPA announced a series of sweeping reforms last week, including increasing its historically insular membership ranks by 50% over the next 18 months, with a focus on recruiting Black members. But the proposals did little to quell the controversy, with a number of Hollywood’s biggest power players — including Netflix, Amazon Studios, Warner Bros. and HBO — saying in recent days that they would not work with the HFPA until more meaningful changes were enacted.

After two months of publicly backing the HFPA in an effort to preserve the viability of a show it has aired since 1996, NBC ultimately concluded that the situation was untenable.


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On a 1960 trip to the United States, Nepal’s King Mehendra and Queen Ratna visited Los Angeles, stopping at Paramount Studios to watch the filming of “All in a Night’s Work” and “G.I. Blues” on May 10.

Elvis Presley, who had been recently discharged from the army, played the starring role in “G.I. Blues.” After filming a scene, he came to greet the king — the perfect photo opportunity for the accompanying media. The Times reported on the visit in the next day’s paper, noting King Mehendra had told the press he was a fan of Presley.

May 10, 1960: Elvis Presley entertains Queen Ratna and King Mehendra of Nepal on a movie set in Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times)


— A federal judge has extended recent court restrictions on the LAPD’s use of hard-foam projectiles at protests, granting a preliminary injunction on the weapons that had been requested by protest groups suing the city.

— Only 7% of high school students have returned to campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where extensive safety measures have failed to draw back families.

— Already in a dangerous situation, domestic violence survivors saw their lives become even more difficult because of the pandemic. But advocates say many victims are still struggling to have temporary restraining orders enforced as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department declines to accept remote requests to serve them.

— An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was arrested Friday in Inglewood on suspicion of kidnapping, criminal threats and assault with a deadly weapon, after Inglewood police responded to a call about a family disturbance.

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— Hours after hundreds of Palestinians were injured in confrontations with Israeli police near a flashpoint religious site in Jerusalem’s contested Old City, Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets into Israel on Monday evening, some taking rare aim at the holy city.

— The U.S. will protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination in healthcare, the Biden administration announced, reversing a Trump-era policy.

— As a cyberattack that has forced the shutdown of a vital U.S. fuel pipeline stretches into a third day, authorities say it was carried out by a criminal gang known as DarkSide, which cultivates a Robin Hood image.

— In North Texas, a schism has deepened between GOP moderates and hard-liners.

— At Dracula’s castle in picturesque Transylvania, Romanian doctors are offering a jab in the arm rather than a stake through the heart.


Seth Rogen does “not plan” to continue working with James Franco after multiple women accused Franco of sexual misconduct, the actor said in an interview.

— What happened to Van Morrison? His latest double album veers off in a conspiratorially cranky direction with songs such as “The Long Con” and “Big Lie” and has been accused of having anti-Semitic lyrics.

Billie Eilish’s new photo memoir uses pictures and spare captions to document her life for fans. Our reviewer calls it unpretentious to a fault.

Juan Daniel García Treviño‘s first movie was shortlisted for an Oscar. What’s next for Mexico’s overnight star?


— A teen who was bullied on Snapchat took his own life. His mother is suing to hold social media liable.

— A bipartisan group of 44 attorneys general is urging Facebook to drop its plans for a version of Instagram for children under 13, citing concerns about social media’s effects on kids and Facebook’s “checkered record” in protecting them.


— Does the drug that could strip Medina Spirit of a Kentucky Derby victory enhance performance?

— The Angels defeated the Houston Astros 5 to 4 behind Jared Walsh’s four hits.

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— The declining U.S. birth rate adds urgency to the need for smart immigration reform, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— California has a history of racist lynchings. Ignoring that fact is mass delusion, writes columnist Gustavo Arellano.


— A Republican businessman spent years trying to sell manufactured claims of voter fraud. He finally succeeded in 2020. (Washington Post)

California’s population shrank in 2020, but don’t call it an exodus. (CalMatters)


The locals call Slab City near the Salton Sea the “last free place in America.” For decades, retirees and snowbirds drove in with their RVs or built makeshift homes on the dirt or concrete slabs, the remains of a defunct World War II military training camp. It grew into a booming community of creative types, oddballs and squatters. But the pandemic has all but severed Slab City’s already tenuous link to the outside world.

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