Today’s Headlines: Summit of the Americas opens in L.A., despite tensions

By Elvia Limón

Hello, it’s Monday, June 6, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Summit of the Americas opens in L.A. as the U.S. grapples with deteriorating relations and influence

As the United States prepares to host the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, the first time the event has been hosted in this country since 1994, many of those involved with the inaugural effort are wondering what happened to the spirit of collaboration, and why division and acrimony have come to overshadow joint effort. And an even more existential question remains: Has this type of summit outlived its usefulness?

The most glaring evidence of regression has come in the form of decisions or threats from several leaders to boycott the event. That problem has thrown the White House’s preparations for the summit into a chaotic scramble, creating bad optics for a president who has prided himself on his familiarity with Latin America.

Kamala Harris’ biggest assignment is in Latin America. But she hasn’t gone there much

Vice President Kamala Harris has spent just three days in Latin America since President Biden assigned her 15 months ago to tackle migration issues in Central America.

The lack of travel is a reminder of what some observers see as ambivalence from Harris toward a high-profile issue that is politically fraught at home and challenging abroad as she embarks on a week of diplomacy at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

Specialists say Harris’ lack of engagement in the region — partly the result of unreliable governments she has to deal with there — has stymied her ability to cajole its leaders on a raft of policy challenges.

Housing, homelessness and police dominate a race for City Council in Hollywood

Los Angeles’ Echo Park Lake was thrust into the national spotlight last year, with police arresting scores of demonstrators as they protested the removal of homeless encampments from the park. Now, the politician who pushed for the clearing of those encampments is on the ballot. And among the five L.A. City Council members seeking reelection, he is by far the most likely to face a second, bruising runoff contest this fall.

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 61, faces a quartet of challengers who span the ideological spectrum — three of them campaigning on his left and a fourth running somewhat to his right. All four have made the race a referendum on O’Farrell’s record, denouncing his handling of homelessness not just in Echo Park, but in Hollywood and other parts of the district.

More politics

  • Days before Los Angeles’ first open mayoral primary in nearly a decade, Rep. Karen Bass and Rick Caruso, the billionaire developer, appear headed toward a November runoff, according to a recent poll.

Russian missiles strike Kyiv

Russia took aim at Western military supplies for Ukraine, launching airstrikes on Kyiv that it claimed destroyed tanks donated from abroad, as Vladimir Putin warned that any Western deliveries of longer-range rocket systems would prompt Moscow to hit “objects that we haven’t yet struck.”

The Russian leader’s cryptic threat of military escalation did not specify what the new targets might be. It came days after the United States announced plans to deliver $700 million of security assistance for Ukraine. Military analysts say Russia hopes to overrun Ukraine’s embattled eastern industrial Donbas region, before the arrival of any U.S. weapons that might turn the tide.

An O.C. lawyer won a personal-injury case. Then came the celebration video, and an apology

Robert L. McKenna III, an Orange County attorney defending a doctor in a personal-injury case, won a unanimous verdict in a case that sought $10 million for the death of a 49-year-old patient. McKenna pointed to failures by other hospital staff, and argued that the patient died from other causes. This, he argued, was a cash grab.

But McKenna summarized the case with decidedly different language when he and colleagues gathered at the office amid balloons in May to celebrate recent victories. A video was posted to his firm’s social media page but quickly removed. Nevertheless, it is now in wide circulation, with furious backlash from the legal community.

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

Cindy, Cecilia and Abigail Escobedo, from left, throw their caps into the air outside their home in Covina on May 22. The two sisters and mother all overlapped at some point in their college careers.

(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Latina mothers, daughters and the pursuit of higher education — together. A UCLA grad whose college career overlapped with her mother’s researched the joint journey of mothers and daughters pursuing higher education.

Inside an FBI agent’s hunt for an Israeli sextortionist. FBI agent Tanaz Korami in California set out to capture a 29-year-old Israeli man who extorted webcam sex from girls as young as 12 years old in nearly all 50 states.

Veterans remember the Battle of Midway, one of the Navy’s greatest victories, 80 years later. Only three were on the guest list: Ervin Wendt, Charles Monroe and Jack Holder, although Holder had to bow out at the last minute. All three men were attached to airplane squadrons during the battle. Each is pushing 100 years old or is past it.

CALIFORNIA

California aims to slash insulin prices and challenge Big Pharma. Can it succeed? Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend $100 million to make insulin affordable to millions with diabetes under a new generic drug label, CalRx. But state health officials have not answered key questions such as how cheaply insulin could be produced and what patients would pay.

San Francisco’s bitter D.A. recall could set back the national justice reform movement. Fears about crime and homelessness have trumped the progressive ideals of San Francisco D.A. Chesa Boudin, who’s locked in a bruising recall election.

Land is sinking as groundwater levels drop. New research shows how California could fix it. Satellite measures have tracked the worsening problem, known as land subsidence. In parts of the San Joaquin Valley, the land has been sinking about 1 foot each year. The shifting ground has damaged canals and wells, and threatens to do more costly damage in the years to come.

The 9th Circuit Court blocks permits for fracking off the California coast. The decision prevents the Interior Department and other federal agencies from issuing permits for “well stimulation” through hydraulic fracturing until a complete environmental impact statement is issued “rather than the inadequate [environmental assessment] on which they had relied.”

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NATION-WORLD

Tennessee shooting leads to three dead and 14 injured, police say. Fourteen people were hit by gunfire and three were hit by vehicles while trying to flee, Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy said. Two people died from gunshot wounds and one person died after being hit by a vehicle, Murphy said.

Three dead, 11 wounded in a downtown Philadelphia shooting. Investigators said they believe one of the three people killed was involved in “a physical altercation” with another man, and those two began shooting at each other, with both struck by gunfire.

More than 50 feared dead in Nigeria church attack, officials say. The attackers targeted the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state just as the worshipers gathered on Pentecost Sunday, legislator Ogunmolasuyi Oluwole said. Among the dead were many children, he said.

And she waved: Festive pageant caps Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Thousands massed outside Buckingham Palace for the climax of a boisterous, colorful pageant cheered as the monarch appeared on the balcony with her son and heir, Prince Charles, his wife, Camilla, and her eldest grandson, Prince William, and his family.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is Cruise’s biggest domestic box office success. It’s only Week 2. The patriotic action film earned $86 million this weekend for a North American cumulative of $291.6 million, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.

Can’t stop listening to ‘Running Up That Hill’? Here are 10 more great Kate Bush songs. Legions of “Stranger Things” viewers have been recently indoctrinated into a secular belief system that has already transformed millions of lives. The text that led them there? Bush’s 1985 song. A national treasure in England, Bush is less known in the States. Her followers couldn’t care less about sales, though.

Shakira and Piqué ‘regret to confirm’ that they are separating after 12 years together. The Colombian pop sensation, 45, and the Spanish soccer phenom, 35, confirmed their split in a joint statement obtained by CNN. They share two sons: 7-year-old Sasha Piqué Mebarak and 9-year-old Milan Piqué Mebarak.

BUSINESS

Elon Musk’s ‘super bad feeling’ about the economy doesn’t mean mass layoffs are ahead. The Tesla chief executive said the electric-car maker would cut staff as he shared a dire view of the economy. Will other companies follow?

Workers want raises. Shippers want robots. The supply chain hinges on reaching a deal. The ILWU, the union representing dockworkers across the West Coast, is at the bargaining table with the PMA, the group representing shipping companies. The current contract expires on July 1.

OPINION

‘We’re looking to fix some stuff’: The class of 2022 would like a word. With graduation upon us, we asked seniors at high schools across Los Angeles to tell us their concerns and hopes as they enter a new phase of their lives, and how they see a world beset by crises even without COVID-19.

The stories I needed as a Chicano boy were silenced. Now I tell them. Chicano representation was nowhere in my Los Angeles upbringing. A football coach’s racist remark set me down the path to becoming a writer, says Daniel A. Olivas.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

SPORTS

Black surfers find moments of reflection and rejuvenation at ‘A Great Day in the Stoke’. The “largest gathering of Black surfers in history” on the shores of Huntington Beach is rooted in a push to support the Black surfing community.

Ime Udoka couldn’t hang with Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers, but worked way to Celtics coach. The Boston Celtics coach got his first taste of the NBA as a Laker before carving out a career as a player and coach.

Youth wheelchair tennis players find their happy place. A look at the wheelchair youth tennis program at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, and what the weekly “life-changing” sessions mean for players, parents and coaches.

ONLY IN L.A.

several people rollerskating on a rink

Rainbow Skate Night at Moonlight Rollerway is a mainstay in the LGBTQ community, especially for those looking for sober options.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Pride parades? Yup! Drag shows? You know it! Make your plans for Pride Month with our curated list of street festivals, live performances, film screenings and more happening around Southern California this month. Before you go, remember to call or check online for reservation requirements and COVID-19 protocols.

Plus, it is the perfect time to shout out some queer spaces around the city. This guide to a queer L.A. isn’t comprehensive — and it’s focused on off-the-beaten path and emerging spaces — but hopefully, it’ll make finding community, activities and chill places to hang a bit easier.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

People, including two brothers wearing "Pray for Bobby" stickers on their backs in Los Angeles in 1968.

People, including two brothers wearing “Pray for Bobby” stickers on their backs in Los Angeles in 1968.

(R.L. Oliver / Los Angeles Times)

Robert F. Kennedy died 54 years ago. The senator had won the California primary, a crucial step before the Democratic National Convention just two months away in Chicago.

Kennedy died a day after being shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Jordanian refugee living in Pasadena, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom refused to parole Sirhan, who has been imprisoned for more than half a century.

William Barry, Kennedy’s bodyguard and a former FBI agent, grabbed the gun. Rosey Grier, the football player, reportedly sat on the gunman until police arrived.

At the time, presidential candidates didn’t typically have police protection. President Lyndon B. Johnson had secretly requested funds for protection for all candidates weeks before the shooting. But there was no extra security the night of the shooting at the Ambassador Hotel.

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]

Eleanore Beatty

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