Today’s Headlines: After failed voting rights push, will Democrats deliver on criminal justice?

Hello, it’s Monday, Jan. 24, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Biden’s push for voting rights failed. Will another promise to Black voters fall short?

With the push for federal voting rights legislation blocked in Congress, President Biden is facing mounting pressure from civil rights groups to enact new criminal justice policies — or risk failing to deliver another key promise to Black voters.

But with legislative efforts languishing in Congress and little public engagement by the White House, Democrats are in danger of disappointing a crucial voting bloc in the run-up to the midterm election.

As the calls for a win on criminal justice ramp up, so does the political challenge for Democrats. Violent crime has surged in cities across the country, making many politicians wary of appearing to scale back law enforcement.

More politics

  • In recent days, at least five Republican members of Congress have praised initiatives made possible by Biden’s infrastructure bill that they opposed. Political analysts say they are not likely to be the last.
  • California’s contentious single-payer healthcare bill, AB 1400, sailed through the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a party-line 11-3 vote without any discussion, columnist George Skelton writes.

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

At California hospitals, many children are coming in with COVID — not for COVID

There had been 30 rooms set up inside San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital for at least a year to accommodate COVID-19 patients, but it recently set up another 15 because of the Omicron surge.

Children younger than 5 have been newly hospitalized with COVID-19 at higher rates than at any point in the pandemic, according to federal data. But amid the latest surge is a common occurrence: Children aren’t coming into hospitals for COVID-19. They land there for something else — and then end up testing positive for the virus.

While Omicron tends to be mild in children, doctors worry about the virus’ possible long-term consequences. With the rising number of children testing positive for the coronavirus, doctors are once again urging those who can get vaccinated to do so.

Nurse Jessica Serven attends to 6-year-old COVID-19 patient Rachel Ward at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

More top coronavirus headlines

  • Starting today, Los Angeles Unified School District students are prohibited from wearing cloth masks. District officials said surgical or higher-grade masks were acceptable, and that such masks would be available to students upon request.
  • A year ago, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital was arguably ground zero for hospitals besieged by a brutal COVID-19 winter surge. Today, it finds itself overcrowded, often frantic but under control.
  • Health officials said the Omicron wave may be past its peak in L.A. County. But the coronavirus is still circulating widely, and many people are becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.
  • California lawmakers are drafting the toughest COVID-19 vaccine legislation in the country. But vaccine opponents say those efforts are only helping propel their movement.

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Does L.A. want a billionaire mayor? Rick Caruso is trying to find out

Billionaire developer Rick Caruso has considered running for Los Angeles mayor before but has never jumped in. Should he decide to enter the 2022 mayoral race before the Feb. 12 filing deadline, his candidacy and the prospect of a self-funded campaign would inject high drama.

Less than five months before the primary, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) has emerged as an apparent front-runner amid a field of candidates that includes City Councilmen Kevin de León and Joe Buscaino and City Atty. Mike Feuer, among several dozen others. Caruso, a white developer of luxury retail, residential and hotel projects who spent most of his life as a Republican, would provide a stark contrast to Bass, a progressive Black congresswoman who made her name doing community work in South Los Angeles.

Are ills of the Arctic hitting California? Hundreds of migratory seabirds wash ashore

Starting in December, hundreds of northern fulmars were found sick or dead along the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts. These birds are a subarctic species that spend most of their life at sea. In the summer months, they congregate on rocky outcroppings in Arctic waters and the northern Bering Sea, where they breed, lay eggs and raise their young as these frigid waters teem with nutritious prey — squid, fish and crustaceans.

Researchers say the marine food web of the Arctic and sub-Arctic has been drastically altered, possibly because of climate change that has melted ice sheets and warmed the ecosystems of this vast region. Whether this environmental shift is contributing to the strandings of young fulmars in California is unclear. What is known is that the last two years have been particularly lethal for these seabirds.

How Mammoth Mountain has revolutionized the development of world-class snowboarders

With its bright blue sky, big mountain and great snow on meticulously maintained parks, California’s Mammoth Mountain is one of the most popular snow resorts in the country and Team USA’s official training venue for snowboarding and free skiing. The conditions attract top athletes such as three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White and two-time slopestyle Olympic champion Jamie Anderson.

But the connection for Mammoth team members runs deeper than those who just stop by for training.

“It’s home,” said 18-year-old Dusty Henricksen, whose 2021 victory in the X Games slopestyle competition was the first for an American man since White in 2009. “Just the atmosphere, the park, everything is just on point. You can’t pick a better place, in my opinion.”

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

L.A. and Ventura counties violated the law by closing gun stores in pandemic shutdowns, a federal appeals court rules. Officials in both counties had separately won lower court decisions saying gun stores were not exempt from broader shutdown orders aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus early in the pandemic. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected both lower court rulings.

Amid a housing crunch, officials want Orange County to stay the way it is. Some say that change is inevitable and that all communities must share the burden to create affordable housing. But residents fear that what they love — the pastoral landscapes, the wide-open boulevards, the privacy — could be lost if too many others join them.

The tsunami that battered Santa Cruz highlights the threat facing California’s coast. Most tsunamis that strike California’s coast come from earthquakes. It’s rare for a volcanic eruption to be the culprit. Experts were initially caught off guard by the tsunami’s size and power across the Pacific Ocean.

CALIFORNIA

Four people were killed and one wounded in a shooting at an Inglewood home early Sunday. During a morning news conference, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said multiple weapons were used, including one assault rifle and one handgun. The victims appeared to have been targeted, he added.

December storms allow for a ‘modest increase’ in state water deliveries. The surprising but welcome surge of record-breaking rain and snow — including more than 17 feet of powder at Donner Pass — provided enough moisture to boost planned allocations from 0% to 15%, the Department of Water Resources said Thursday.

The pandemic pushed more families to home-school. Many are sticking with it. The Times talked with 10 Southern California families that were impelled by COVID-19 to start home-schooling. Most of these parents said they won’t return to brick-and-mortar schools now that they’ve experienced the benefits and flexibility of home-schooling.

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NATION-WORLD

In eastern Ukraine, trench warfare grinds on against a backdrop of invasion fears. In the village of Pisky, rows of crumbling concrete apartment blocks and bullet-ridden houses are testaments to chaotic combat during 2014 and 2015, before a tenuous cease-fire took hold. But the fighting never really stopped.

Honduran Congress splits, threatening new president’s plans. The president is to be inaugurated Thursday and U.S. officials have hoped she could help battle poverty and insecurity in the country. But a sizable bloc of deputies from her own party rebelled against her attempt to build a legislative majority.

A cruise ship changes course after a U.S. judge orders its seizure. The ship that was supposed to dock in Miami has instead sailed to the Bahamas after the judge granted the order as part of a lawsuit over millions of dollars in unpaid fuel.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Seventy-two hours of work for free? ‘Unacceptable,’ say dancers and critics of the Super Bowl halftime show. Field cast participants — aspiring dancers, actors, singers and musicians recruited from local drill teams and theatrical, community and athletic groups — are expected to be grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But the situation is causing a stir in the dance community.

Remble is L.A.’s next big hip-hop star. He never wanted it to happen like this. With one of the most distinctive, technically impressive vocal styles to come out of L.A. in years, Remble is at the forefront of SoCal rap in 2022. But since the killing of his mentor and champion, Drakeo the Ruler, that hope comes signed by fear.

Sex positivity, abortion rights and volcanic eruptions are among seven early gems at a virtual Sundance. This is the second January in a row that the movie-loving, buzz-generating crowds have stayed away from snowy Park City, Utah, and logged on from home instead to sample an abundance of new work.

BUSINESS

CBS News is relaunching a free streaming channel with shows fronted by its top anchors. The changes are being unveiled as news divisions across the media landscape race to ramp up their streaming efforts and as more viewers shift away from traditional TV watching.

Why pay TV operators are dropping Trump-loving cable networks. OAN, Newsmax and Fox News are all being sued for defamation by voting technology companies Smartmatic and Dominion. The lawsuits could create significant liabilities and a heap of bad publicity. The pay TV providers make the case that it’s not politics that drove their decisions, but the upended economics of their business.

Spruce up your income with these landscape and interior design gigs. Online design firms are flourishing and most enlist freelance and part-time designers to work with their customers. Often, designers only need a portfolio and experience to apply for these positions.

SPORTS

The Rams beat Tom Brady and the Buccaneers to set up an NFC Championship showdown with the 49ers. The Rams kept their Super Bowl hopes alive on Sunday with a thrilling 30-27 win.

Bob Goalby’s life added up to so much more than an odd piece of Masters history. The golfing great accepted he would always be known for someone else’s scorecard error sealing his Masters win, but he accomplished far more. Goalby died last week at 92 in his home in Belleville, Ill.

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OPINION

If you think 2020 chaos was bad, imagine if former President Trump was put in charge of elections. In several of the hardest-fought 2020 battlegrounds — Nevada, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona — Trump disciples are running for secretary of state, a typically obscure office that has gained tremendous import as the country’s cornerstone principle of free and fair elections comes under mounting attack.

What we can learn from one of California’s most successful abortion providers. “If I’ve learned anything from years of researching the life of [Inez] Burns, it’s this: If a woman wants an abortion, she’ll do anything to get one,” writes University of Iowa professor Stephen G. Bloom.

ONLY IN L.A.

The Lunar New Year tea menu from the Melange restaurant

Arcadia’s Le Méridien Hotel is serving a themed high tea menu that includes an abundance of sweet and savory items items.

(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

Lunar New Year begins Feb. 1 and offers another chance to start anew. The celebration is all about welcoming good fortune and the potential of the year ahead and letting go of the past.

The holiday is full of food and cheer. Many restaurants, bars and organizations are offering food festivals, high teas, customary dishes and more. These include Arcadia’s Le Méridien hotel and Alhambra’s Lunar New Year street festival.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Shirley Chisholm meets with students

Shirley Chisholm meets with students at the University of Southern California in 1972.

(Los Angeles Times)

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. And four years before that, she was the first African American woman in Congress.

During her 1985 keynote speech before the University of California Women’s Leadership Conference at UC Irvine, Chisholm said she believed she lasted unusually long for a woman in politics because of her “tremendous self-confidence, unshakable faith in God” and because she always does her homework.

“I think people sense I’m sincere and I fight for what I believe in,” she said.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected] — Elvia Limón

Eleanore Beatty

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Free N95 masks: US pharmacies are rolling out free masks as Covid-19 tests begin to arrive in the mail

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The Biden administration seeks to ramp up access to substantial-good quality masks amid the distribute of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Meanwhile, the totally free assessments began shipping out past 7 days, and are component of the administration’s effort to boost obtain to screening about the United States. Masks now […]

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