|California will pay $116.5 million in gifts and cash to those who get COVID-19 vaccinations.
For the Vaccinated, a Shot at Big Money
In the latest, and most audacious venture yet to boost California’s flagging COVID-19 vaccination rates, state officials have announced what appears to be the largest inoculation incentive in the nation: the chance for 10 residents to win $1.5 million apiece.
The goal of the multimillion-dollar giveaway is simple: Give residents every possible motivation to roll up their sleeves. Officials peg the total size of California’s incentive program, officially dubbed “Vax for the Win,” at $116.5 million.
There are 10 grand prizes — the winners of which will be chosen June 15, the date the state plans to reopen its economy fully. California is also putting up 30 prizes of $50,000 each. Winners will be selected on June 4 and the rest on June 11.
According to state officials, all Californians who have gotten at least one dose will be eligible for those prizes, and those who have previously received their shots are already entered.
More Top Coronavirus Headlines
— Optimism about the extraordinary effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines is growing and causing even the most cautious health experts to stop wearing face coverings in more settings.
— Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline said Thursday that they have launched a large clinical trial of their COVID-19 vaccine and production could begin within weeks.
— As school restrictions lift, high school students are getting a fresh chance at annual celebrations the pandemic put on hold. It’s not the same as before — yet — but you can call it prom-ish. Plus: When Agoura High School announced it would have prom this year, L.A. Times photographer Mel Melcon set up a photo booth to capture this rite of passage.
For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.
Why This Congress Member Sleeps with a Gun
Norma Torres, the lone member of Congress from Central America, is not afraid to speak her mind about immigration, corruption and the land of her birth. Her blunt talk has drawn so much anger from one Central American leader and his followers that she sleeps with a 9-millimeter pistol at her side.
Torres, a Democrat from Pomona, brings a unique perspective on what drives people to flee their home countries. When she was a toddler and civil war was raging in Guatemala, her parents used her as a human shield on perilous roads. They held her up to the windshield in hopes that seeing a tiny child would stop gunmen from firing into the family car.
Torres had already survived shootouts and a kidnapping attempt. She was 5 when her parents decided they had to get her out of the country to live with relatives in the suburban sprawl east of Los Angeles.
The young Norma didn’t realize it was permanent until her family enrolled her in a school where the kids spoke a language she did not understand. She would not return to Guatemala for years. Read the full Times subscriber exclusive.
— Senate Republicans appear poised to block a Jan. 6 commission. These questions might go unanswered.
— The Senate GOP also unveiled its counteroffer to President Biden’s infrastructure plan, with a $928-billion proposal in an attempt to revive the slow-moving negotiations. But as a soft deadline looms, the parties remain far apart on the issue.
— The Justice Department announced it was boosting resources, improving training and streamlining reporting procedures to help combat a troubling rise in hate crimes.
— A judge has ordered multimillionaire recall candidate John Cox’s prior gubernatorial campaign to pay about $100,000 to a political consulting firm that produced television ads for his unsuccessful 2018 race — one of a string of unpaid bills detailed in a lawsuit and campaign filings.
A Targeted Attack?
As the city of San Jose mourns the nine victims of a mass shooting, new details have emerged. New reports reveal that the shooter may have targeted the victims, who ranged in age from 29 to 63. They were found in two buildings at the Valley Transportation Authority on Wednesday.
Officials initially said the gunman was found with two semiautomatic handguns and 32 loaded magazines but later updated that number to three guns. He fired 39 shots, and the 9-millimeter handguns he had appeared to be legal, although the high-capacity magazines, which hold 12 rounds, are illegal in California.
The violent attack has been described as a workplace dispute; the man’s ex-wife said he had talked about killing people at work more than a decade ago. It left the city reeling as the community mourned the victims and demanded answers about what happened.
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FROM THE ARCHIVES
Memorial Day is Monday. In Los Angeles, the day has been marked by parades and public ceremonies in addition to the tradition of decorating graves with flags and flowers.
In 1973, Juanita Lane kneeled at her son’s grave at the Veterans Cemetery in West Los Angeles. Here’s a look back at previous Memorial Day celebrations in pictures.
On Memorial Day in 1973, Juanita Lane kneels at the grave of her son at the Veterans Cemetery in West Los Angeles. (George Fry / Los Angeles Times)
— We made a California summer bucket list. You told us what we left off.
— An outdoor night market blossoms in Lincoln Heights as L.A. recovers from COVID-19’s devastation.
— Las Vegas buffets are open. What’s it like to step into line again?
— A day pass is your ticket to fun at these 10 cool hotel pools in Southern California.
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— The California Legislature is weighing a raft of proposals to help to residents who have suffered economic hardship, including rent relief, state stimulus checks and grants for small businesses.
— Two California corrections officers failed to notice that a man had beheaded his cellmate at Corcoran State Prison, according to new reports from the inspector general’s office. The killing has prompted investigations and a lawsuit and raised questions about prison conditions.
— As the rape case against actor Danny Masterson moves forward, officials at the insular Church of Scientology are unable to shield their practices from the public scrutiny of open court.
— State voters will decide in 2022 whether to allow sports betting. If the initiative were to pass, Californians would be able to legally bet on Lakers, Dodgers and Rams games at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks.
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— The Washington state attorney general charged two Tacoma police officers with murder and one with manslaughter in the death of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who died after repeatedly telling them he couldn’t breathe as he was being restrained.
— Critics of Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko hoped they could escape his threats. But after the government forced a jetliner to land to arrest a dissident, they’re not sure if anywhere is safe.
— Mali’s military has released the transitional president and prime minister from detention, a top officer said.
— For a second year, Hong Kong authorities have banned the June 4 candlelight vigil to commemorate the 1989 bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— Pop trio Destiny’s Child is back, with some wise words about the importance of mental health. Promoting Michelle Williams’ new book, “Checking In,” the singers had their check-in about being open regarding personal struggles.
— Flower arranging. Glass blowing. Crafting. Reality competition TV is going through a creativity boom.
— When Netflix canceled “Tuca & Bertie,” show creator Lisa Hanawalt was “blindsided.” Now, after two years and a fight to save it, the show is returning to screens.
— Times staff remember the legacy of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” author Eric Carle.
— First they fought sexist trolls. Now these women are behind HBO’s skateboarding masterpiece “Betty,” and they’re back for a second season.
— Trendy medical-wear retailer Figs goes public. These aren’t your grandparents’ scrubs.
— The Lakers will extend their Staples Center lease with owner AEG for another two decades through 2041. The agreement includes a commitment to spend “nine figures” on capital improvements and upgrades throughout the 22-year-old arena.
— Speaking of the Lakers … they took a 2-to-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns after holding off a late rally.
— The Clippers said back spasms have left backup center Serge Ibaka questionable to play in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks today.
— Homers by Justin Turner, DJ Peters and Max Muncy carried the Dodgers past the Giants, while Shohei Ohtani didn’t pitch in the Angels’ loss to the A’s after being delayed by a BART ride.
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— Defund the police? The defund movement has rightly forced people to rethink policing. Now, civic leaders need the courage and political will to follow through with new approaches, writes The Times’ editorial board.
— Why is the Biden Justice Department shielding former Atty. Gen. William Barr’s secrets? The Biden administration is making a serious mistake, writes Erwin Chemerinsky.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— Senior managers at the Associated Press have admitted fault in the firing last week of a 22-year-old junior staffer, Emily Wilder, whom right-wing commentators were targeting over her political activism in college. (Washington Post)
— Millennial entrepreneur Brandon Blackwood shares how $7,000 and Instagram helped him build a handbag empire that’s on track to book $30 million in revenue. (Business Insider)
— Neighborhood watch app Citizen had big ambitions to respond to the Pacific Palisades fire. Then the company sent a vigilante mob after the wrong person, raising concerns about its influence. (Vice)
ONLY IN L.A.
Tiffany & Co. has boxes of robin’s-egg blue. French fashion house Hermes uses orange. So how did L.A. end up with signature carnation-pink boxes, the telltale sign that fresh doughnuts are near? Ask Cambodian refugee and doughnut king Ted Ngoy and then-protege Ning Yen.
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