Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
As climate talks put focus on water crisis, the Colorado River poses a stark example
As world leaders meet in Scotland to discuss efforts to address the climate crisis, experts are urging greater focus on adapting to fundamental shifts in the planet’s water supplies — and they’re pointing to the Colorado River as a prime example.
The river, a vital water source for about 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, has continued to shrink and send reservoirs declining toward critically low levels. Water resiliency advocates say the shortage reflects fundamental problems in how Hoover Dam and other infrastructure projects were designed for a climate that no longer exists, and how water supplies continue to be divided under a rigid and antiquated system.
California begins vaccinating children
The first COVID-19 vaccinations were given to children ages 5 to 11 on Wednesday as health officials launched an ambitious rollout to offer shots to 3.5 million kids in California. By midmorning, vaccinations were already going into the arms of 5- to 11-year-olds in Santa Clara County, Northern California’s most populous county.
More top coronavirus headlines
— L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti tests positive for COVID-19
— Palmdale wants to challenge L.A. County’s vaccine mandate
Stay up to date on pandemic developments, coronavirus case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.
Supreme Court signals it’s likely to bolster the right to carry a concealed gun in public
The Supreme Court’s justices, citing the right to bear arms in the 2nd Amendment, sounded ready Wednesday to strike down laws in New York and California that deny most gun owners permits to carry concealed guns in public.
Most of the justices said people who live in “high-crime areas” and fear for their safety should be allowed to carry a gun for self-defense.
— Democrat’s defeat in the Virginia governor’s race sends tremors through Capitol Hill, where the president’s agenda has been trapped in congressional quicksand
— Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey narrowly wins reelection in his reliably blue state
— Democrats reach deal on Medicare prescription drug prices in social spending bill
— Fed to begin slowing economic aid as inflation worries rise
— Democrats work to find agreement on how to lift Trump-era tax deduction cap that hit many Californians hard
Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.
‘Rust’ armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s attorneys suggest shooting was ‘sabotage’
Attorneys for “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed have suggested that someone intentionally smuggled live rounds of ammunition into a box of dummy rounds before cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed. Meanwhile, Hutchins’ husband has reportedly hired attorneys and will probably file a wrongful death suit.
Is it high time for the feds to catch up to California?
California activists propelled the passage of the nation’s first medical marijuana law 25 years ago this week. California’s Proposition 215, titled the Compassionate Use Act, put the state in uncharted territory and set in motion a historic cultural shift throughout the country.
Yet the enduring federal prohibition of the drug continues to undermine scientists eager to put it to use bringing comfort to the chronically ill people in whose name the legalization movement was launched.
Our daily news podcast
If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll probably love our new daily podcast, “The Times,” hosted by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
— Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Liu becomes the first law enforcement officer to stand trial for an on-duty shooting in L.A. County in more than two decades.
— The city of Los Angeles has undertaken a major shift in its approach to homelessness, one that puts a priority on clearing unsightly street encampments even when insufficient permanent housing exists for the people being moved. Is it about politics?
— The Los Angeles City Council took the first step Tuesday toward reworking a controversial map of the city’s political boundaries, with council members drawing up 38 proposals for reworking the plan submitted by a citizens commission.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Times staffer Christopher Reynolds drove through California’s deserts — 570 miles in 48 hours — and snapped 22 Insta-worthy photos, including one of the sun rising behind a metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda. There are 120 of the artist’s creatures scattered around Borrego Springs.
Support our journalism
— The dramatic drop in carbon dioxide emissions from the pandemic lockdown has virtually disappeared, according to new calculations. China’s pollution increase was mostly responsible for worldwide figures bouncing back to 2019 levels.
— A judge ruled that he’d seat one Black juror and 11 white jurors to decide the trial of the men who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery, despite prosecutors’ objections that several Black potential jurors were cut because of their race.
— An independent Pentagon review has concluded that the U.S. drone strike that killed innocent Kabul civilians and children in the final days of the Afghanistan war was not caused by misconduct or negligence, and it doesn’t recommend any disciplinary action.
— The United Nations human rights chief said Ethiopia’s yearlong war in its northern Tigray region had been marked by “extreme brutality,” with a joint investigation faulting all sides for committing abuses but with the “big numbers of violations” linked to Ethiopian forces and those from neighboring Eritrea.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— In the latest step in its ongoing effort to remake itself, the group behind the Golden Globe Awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., announced it had hired its first chief diversity officer.
— Netflix drama “The Harder They Fall” corrects Hollywood’s historical record of Black cowboys.
— The absorbing romantic drama “Cicada” feels as real as it gets as a meet-cute in a bookstore leads to joy, pain and self-discovery, our reviewer writes.
— This season, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Erika Girardi filed for divorce from husband Tom Girardi in the midst of filming, just as the powerful attorney was accused of stealing millions from clients. Times staffers Matt Hamilton and Harriet Ryan, who have provided in-depth coverage of the case, talk about what they’ve learned from the season, what they still want to know, and what it’s like becoming a reality TV storyline.
— Voting software company Smartmatic filed defamation suits against right-wing TV channels Newsmax and One America News for falsely claiming the firm was involved in rigging the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Biden.
— The cruise line industry faces a wave of lawsuits from passengers and their families saying they or their loved ones contracted COVID-19 on a ship, resulting in either death or severe illness. Yet maritime and corporate law makes it difficult to extract significant damages from cruise lines.
— The Federal Reserve will begin dialing back the extraordinary economic aid it has provided since the pandemic erupted last year, a response to high inflation that now looks likely to persist.
— Amid a historic drought posing threats to future harvests, California farmers now say they are struggling to export the crops they do have. The backlog of ships lined up off Southern California means there are fewer making the trek back across the Pacific Ocean, leaving the farmers in one of the nation’s most important agricultural regions with nowhere to send their products.
— Following two of the least productive games of his NFL career, Justin Herbert is now also dealing with a hand injury. The Chargers quarterback hit his hand on a New England defender on his follow-through late in the game Sunday. Herbert was limited in practice Wednesday.
— Op-Ed: A Green Bay Packers fan asks: How could this happen? Aaron Rodgers didn’t get vaccinated and the NFL let him play anyway.
— As Democrats picked through their losses, a political trend suggested worse lay ahead: that their party stands to lose control of the House and perhaps the Senate in the 2022 midterms, writes columnist Jackie Calmes.
ONLY IN L.A.
Even as upscale development closed in from all sides, General Jeff Page championed skid row as one of the city’s last majority-Black neighborhoods, made up of renters, recovery workers and homeless people who deserved their own political voice. Page, a West Coast hip-hop pioneer who earned the nickname “mayor of skid row” while fighting to reclaim skid row from its city designation as a homelessness “containment zone,” died Oct. 13 at 56 after suffering a stroke and heart problems.
“We’ve lost a titan in skid row,” said community leader Pete White, “one of the greatest activists, and one of the community’s loudest megaphones.”
Today’s newsletter was curated by Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey. Comments or ideas? Email us at [email protected].