Today’s Headlines: Undervaccinated LAFD has spent $22.5 million on overtime

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Nov. 10, and this morning, we can confidently report that Gov. Gavin Newsom is, in fact, around.

When the governor uncharacteristically dropped out of public view, anti-vaccine activists said he’d had a bad reaction to his booster — one site said it had given him Bell’s palsy; another, symptoms like Guillain–Barré syndrome. Newsom finally said that, after dealing with a grueling schedule, he was just being a dad (and a pirate for Halloween). Believable. But the governor’s mistake was his silence. As one local professor of government put it: “When there’s a vacuum of information, all kinds of nasty stuff will enter to fill it.”

In the spirit of not being silent, here are today’s headlines:

TOP STORIES

COVID-19 has cost LAFD $22.5 million in overtime, much of it to cover for sick firefighters

The Los Angeles Fire Department has spent more than $22.5 million on overtime related to COVID-19, much of it to backfill the shifts of employees who fell ill or had to quarantine after an exposure to the virus, data reviewed by The Times show.

The numbers underscore the toll the coronavirus is taking on Fire Department staffing amid a battle over the city mandate that employees receive vaccinations. About 70% of LAFD workers have been fully vaccinated.

While firefighters and their union have sued over the mandate and warned of slowed response times if it is implemented in full, far less has been said about the ever-growing costs of an undervaccinated workforce.

Pfizer seeks OK on boosters for all adults

Pfizer asked U.S. regulators to allow boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 18 or older, a step that comes amid concern about increased spread of the coronavirus with holiday travel and gatherings.

More coronavirus headlines

About 78% of the LAPD is at least partially vaccinated. The increase came as supervisors began hand-delivering notices of the vaccine mandate. Officials had feared many officers would refuse to sign those notices, spurring a disciplinary process, but so far that hasn’t happened.

California has yet to shake off the last vestiges of the months-long surge of the Delta variant, and there are indications conditions are heading in the wrong direction in some parts of the state: “Winter is coming,” Newsom said.

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

Goals are far out of reach at United Nations climate talks

The United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, has made “some serious toddler steps” toward cutting emissions but far from the giant leaps needed to limit global warming to internationally accepted goals, two new analyses and top officials said.

This month’s summit has seen such limited progress that an analysis of new pledges found they weren’t enough to improve future warming scenarios. All they did was trim the “emissions gap” — how much carbon pollution can be spewed without hitting dangerous warming levels — a few tenths of a percentage point.

USC gave Karen Bass a $95,000 scholarship while she served in Congress

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) received a full-tuition scholarship for graduate study at USC’s School of Social Work while serving in Congress. The House Committee on Ethics cleared Bass’ request to accept the USC tuition award, ultimately valued at over $95,000.

How she got the scholarship offers a window into the lengths USC has gone to forge bonds with local politicians, a practice that is now facing new scrutiny.

More politics

Biden wants to re-create DACA. On Sept. 28, the Department of Homeland Security issued a 205-page proposal for a rule that would implement a new deferred deportation program that looks a lot like the suspended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and is opening a 60-day period for comments from the public. Here’s what you should know about the proposed rule.

A federal judge rejected former President Trump’s request to block the release of documents to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Also: House investigators have issued subpoenas to 10 more former officials who worked for Trump at the end of his administration.

Whatever happened to Kamala Harris? Columnist Mark Barabak writes that virtually every vice president in modern history has eventually looked smaller than they did when they accepted the position. It’s all about being No. 2.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Leila Josefowicz — whom The Times’ Mark Swed has called “a powerful storyteller” on violin — is a blur of movement as she performs with the L.A. Phil on Saturday at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

The MWD has declared a drought emergency. The Metropolitan Water District, Southern California’s largest urban water district declared the emergency and called for local water suppliers to immediately cut the use of water from the State Water Project.

Yes, park rangers should get guns, a City Council panel says. A key committee backed a proposal to provide guns to Los Angeles park rangers, over the objections of critics who said the city should be reducing its reliance on armed officers.

The L.A. City Council has finalized a draft redistricting map, and it keeps USC and Exposition Park in the district represented by Councilman Curren Price. Meanwhile, a group of residents in L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ district blasted the city’s political leaders, saying amid redistricting they did not have a voting representative. Ridley-Thomas was suspended last month after being indicted on federal bribery and conspiracy charges.

A California man who faces criminal charges for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is seeking asylum in Belarus, the country’s state TV reported.

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NATION-WORLD

As the world gets hotter, can cattle survive? An Arizona rancher is on a quest for drought-proof cattle. He believes they could be key to transforming an industry that helps to feed the nation, yet one that is a driver of greenhouse gases and deforestation.

Urgent need in Myanmar. The United Nations’ humanitarian chief urged Myanmar’s military leaders to provide unimpeded access to more than 3 million people in need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance “because of growing conflict and insecurity, COVID-19 and a failing economy.”

Malala Yousafzai just got married. The 24-year-old Pakistani human rights campaigner, Nobel Prize laureate and survivor of a Taliban shooting announced her marriage on Twitter. She was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for daring to want girls’ access to an education.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Who could face criminal charges? From the moment a gun went off on the New Mexico movie set of “Rust” last month, questions have swirled around the tragic accident. Legal experts and former law enforcement officials say assistant director David Halls and set armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed are in far more danger of facing a manslaughter charge than actor Alec Baldwin.

“Clifford the Big Red Dog” is warm, fuzzy and funny. Suspend your disbelief — this is a film that’s so guileless and well-intentioned that beating up on it would feel like, well, kicking a puppy, writes The Times’ reviewer.

We’re excited about the AFI Fest. The event rebounds from its all-online edition last year with a mix of in-person and virtual screenings. The Times’ inimitable film critic Justin Chang picks 11 must-see movies, including “Ahed’s Knee,” “Drive My Car” and “The Worst Person in the World.”

BUSINESS

Brian Williams bids farewell. The anchor of the MSNBC nightly program “The 11th Hour” says he will not sign a new contract with NBC News and will leave the company after 28 years.

GE says it will split. The company, one of the most storied names in U.S. business, will divide itself into three public companies focused on aviation, healthcare and energy.

It was the worst two-day rout for Tesla in 14 months. The company lost about $199 billion in value during its biggest back-to-back sell-off since September 2020 amid a host of negative news, including that Elon Musk’s brother sold shares a day before his brother launched his infamous Twitter poll asking if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock.

SPORTS

The USC football game against Cal has been rescheduled. The game Saturday, which was to be held at California, was canceled because of COVID-19 cases among the Golden Bears. It was rescheduled for Dec. 4 after the Pac-12 granted Cal’s request to avoid a forfeit.

Aaron Rodgers admitted he “misled people” about his vaccination status when the Green Bay quarterback told reporters he was “immunized” before the start of the NFL season.

Lakers fans are loving Carmelo Anthony. There were so many good moments with Anthony during Monday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center — the seven-for-10 shooting from three-point range, the warm bond between him and the crowd, the boost he gave a team that still hasn’t figured out how to mesh without the injured LeBron James — that it was difficult to imagine Anthony’s career appeared to be over not so long ago.

USC is trying to keep the Elite Eight magic alive in the post-Evan Mobley era. With Mobley now playing in the NBA, USC faces a tall task in reprising the feats of its memorable 2020-21 season. Also: The Trojans beat Cal State Northridge 89-49 on Tuesday night.

The L.A. Kings extended their winning streak to six games with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

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OPINION

Here’s an idea that should be shot down: arming park rangers. A Los Angeles City Council committee approved the plan, but it’s a monumentally bad idea at any time — let alone when the city is supposedly reimagining public safety and looking for ways to reduce the number of gun-toting officers.

UC churns through a quarter of its lecturers a year. “While UC students binge Netflix’s ‘Squid Games’ in their dorms, most may not realize that the lecturers teaching their classes are forced into real-life high-stakes squid games: We are fighting to survive in the UC system.”

ONLY IN L.A.

The unabashed romanticism of “L.A. Story,” which is 30 years old this year, comes directly from the worldview of its writer and star, Steve Martin. No one quite knew what to make of the movie when it was released in 1991, but time has been kind to a film now considered part of Los Angeles film history. Its creator says he remains sentimental.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A boy in suit and tie leans over a young woman in a skirt suit and gloves. They look at a document she's holding.

A 12-year-old Dean Stockwell and Colleen Townsend, 20, in court in Los Angeles on Feb. 4, 1949.

(Los Angeles Times)

Before he appeared in the TV show “Quantum Leap” and earned cult status in the films “Blue Velvet” and “Married to the Mob,” Dean Stockwell was a child actor. Stockwell, who died Tuesday at age 85, made 20 films by the age of 15. Above, he and another film face from the 1940s, actress Colleen Townsend, visit an L.A. court for contract approvals.

Thanks for taking the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected]

— Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey

Eleanore Beatty

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