Today’s Headlines: Court ruling bodes well for California’s ban on assault weapons


Hello, it’s Dec. 1, 2021, and if you’re a fan of our sister newsletter covering real estate, you’re probably familiar with “The One,” although this reporter likes to think of it as “The 58” because it could hold 58 houses the size of the one in which I sit.

Times staffer Laurence Darmiento has kept us up to date on the saga surrounding the 105,000-square-foot giga-mansion in Bel-Air, a story whose end may be in sight. The cozy li’l spot could be auctioned in January (if listing agents don’t turn up a buyer first). The plan had been to finish the home, which has been under construction for years, but now it looks as if whoever buys it will have to take its spa, beauty salon, cigar and candy rooms, four-lane bowling alley, multiplex-size movie theater, rooftop putting green, etc., as is. If attending the auction, be sure to have $250 million handy.

Now, on to today’s headlines.

TOP STORIES

A win for California gun-control advocates

A federal appeals court upheld California’s ban on large-scale ammunition magazines, a ruling likely to lead to the court’s approval of the state’s ban on assault weapons.

What about the right to self-defense? The court said California’s law limiting the size of magazines doesn’t significantly interfere with that: In other words, there’s no evidence that a person has been unable to defend their home because they didn’t have any large-capacity magazines.

During the past 50 years, the court said, large-capacity magazines have been used in about three-quarters of mass shootings that resulted in 10 or more deaths, and in 100% of massacres with 20 or more deaths.

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400 toxic sites in California are at risk of flooding

With sea level rise due to climate change, major roads, utility lines and other critical infrastructure are already dangling ever closer to the sea.

By the end of the century, the ocean could inundate more than 400 hazardous sites in California, exposing nearby neighborhoods — many of them predominantly Black and brown — to dangerous chemicals and polluted water, according to a new series of searchable maps.

FDA panel narrowly backs COVID-19 pill from Merck

A panel of U.S. health advisors backed the benefits of a closely watched COVID-19 pill from Merck, setting the stage for a likely authorization of the first drug that Americans could take at home to treat the virus. The recommendation came after hours of debate about potential safety issues. Experts stressed it should not be used by pregnant women.

More top coronavirus headlines

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said his department would no longer use the county’s coronavirus testing provider over concerns about the company’s alleged ties to the Chinese government.
  • Omicron may have appeared in Europe well before it was detected in South Africa. It’s now in more than a dozen European countries, affecting financial markets and spurring politicians to ponder unpopular restrictive measures.
  • L.A. County — whose existing COVID-19 rules are already among the strictest in the state — has no plans for an Omicron lockdown.
  • The Biden administration is expected to take steps in the coming days to toughen testing requirements for international travelers to the U.S.

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

Some L.A. County voters say homeless people scare them. They also fear becoming like them

Amid deep frustration over widespread, visible homelessness, Los Angeles County voters want the government to act faster and focus on shelter for people living in the streets, even if those efforts are short-term and fall short of permanent housing, a new poll of county voters shows.

Nearly four in 10 voters said that homeless people in their neighborhood made them feel significantly unsafe. And many of those polled said homelessness was an urgent potential threat for themselves or someone they knew.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Five people work with shovels and buckets, dumping sand into a wire cart at the ocean shore.

Pismo clams are a mystery. Student researchers and volunteers shovel sand into a wagon in search of clams at Pismo Beach. Softball-size bivalves at one time rolled ashore by the dozen at high tide. Then they disappeared.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

The L.A. City Council voted to ban “ghost guns.” With the unanimous vote, Los Angeles joined other big California cities in cracking down on the untraceable, generally homemade firearms that police say have proliferated in the city in recent years.

O.C. fishing resumes. A massive oil spill fouled the ocean off Orange County’s coast in October, but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife determined it was safe to eat seafood pulled from those waters, and fishing was allowed to resume.

Bribery? Not this DWP official, attorney says. Prosecutors alleged this week that top officials at the DWP agreed to take bribes in exchange for their vote on a $30-million contract. A lawyer for former DWP board member Bill Funderburk said he “always acted honorably.”

Big Bear slopes are set to reopen this weekend. There’s no snow, but resort officials say snow-making machines are at the ready. This season, skiers and snowboarders do not have to book tickets in advance.

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NATION-WORLD

A student was arrested in a Michigan school shooting. A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his high school on Tuesday, killing three students and wounding eight other people, including at least one teacher, authorities said. The suspect was arrested without incident within minutes of deputies arriving at the school in response to a flood of 911 calls.

The Sacklers are abusing the bankruptcy process, states say. Washington state’s solicitor told a federal judge that states had credible claims that family members took more than $10 billion from OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, steered it toward bankruptcy, and then used a settlement crafted in Bankruptcy Court to gain legal protections for themselves.

The first of four accusers took the stand in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. A woman testified that the British socialite was often in the room when the witness, then 14, had sexual interactions with financier Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell is charged with recruiting and grooming girls for Epstein to sexually abuse.

A federal appeals court ordered the release of some Mueller report passages. The court directed the Justice Department to disclose certain redacted passages from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation report that relate to individuals who were investigated by prosecutors but not ultimately charged.

“Overdose protection centers” opened in New York City. The first authorized safe havens for people to use heroin and other narcotics have been cleared to open in hopes of curbing deadly overdoses, officials said.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Investigators in the “Rust” shooting searched an Albuquerque weapons provider. In a search of weapons provider Seth Kenney’s business, items to be seized included gun cleaning equipment, ammunition containing the Starline Brass logo “for evidence comparison” and any surveillance video, according to an affidavit. Kenney told a detective on Oct. 29 that “he may know where the live rounds came from.”

Adele says hello to Las Vegas. She’ll be taking up residency at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino for three months starting next year. “Weekends With Adele” will see the 33-year-old singer playing Saturdays and Sundays.

Alice Sebold apologized to the man wrongly convicted of her rape. The author, whose 1999 memoir “Lucky” revisited the 1981 rape she suffered when she was a freshman in college, told Anthony Broadwater she was “truly sorry.” Broadwater spent 16 years behind bars before his conviction was overturned.

Jussie Smollett’s trial over an alleged hate crime is underway. The lead investigator in the case testified that two brothers told Chicago police how the ex-“Empire” actor orchestrated a hoax.

BUSINESS

CNN has suspended Chris Cuomo. The network host was suspended “indefinitely” after CNN reviewed his testimony in the investigation of sexual harassment allegations against his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Psychics and astrologers are huge on Instagram, but now scammers are impersonating them. Metaphysical practitioners say that in the past few months they’ve experienced a deluge of scammers who clone their accounts and use their likeness to solicit payments from their followers for faux readings.

Limits on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans were raised for some markets. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced an increase in loan limits that would allow the mortgage giants to back loans worth nearly $1 million in some of the priciest U.S. housing markets, including L.A., San Francisco and New York.

SPORTS

Lakers avenge loss to Kings with LeBron James out due to COVID-19 protocols. The Lakers star entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and missed the Lakers’ game against the Kings in Sacramento. According to NBA rules, vaccinated players, like James, enter the protocols either after a positive test result or after inconclusive test results. The Lakers won 117-92.

The Trojans rolled out the cardinal-and-gold carpet for their new football coach. At a news conference featuring nine marching-band members, three Song Girls and one flaming cauldron, Lincoln Riley showed up in an oversize blue suit and read from a rumpled legal pad, unwittingly reminding everyone: He’s just 38. This is his second head coaching job. His last job was in a town of 123,000. There is going to be an adjustment period, writes Bill Plaschke.

A shopping spree Monday and a lockout Wednesday? What in the name of Rob Manfred is going on here? Bill Shaikin answers questions about a possible MLB lockout that would end baseball’s streak of labor peace at 26 years.

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OPINION

Op-Ed: The abortion case before the Supreme Court may take away the fundamental right to reproductive freedom. Whatever the Supreme Court decides about abortion rights in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is sure to intensify the political fight over abortion.

Column: The hypocrisy of Democrats’ “Build Back Better” bill giving the rich a colossal tax cut. Giving a huge tax cut to the super-rich is a weird thing to do when you’ve been claiming that the solution to our problems is simply getting the rich to “pay their fair share,” writes columnist Jonah Goldberg.

ONLY IN L.A.

ViacomCBS has reached a $1.85-billion deal to sell the CBS Studio Center complex in Studio City — home to such landmark TV shows as “Seinfeld,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Gilligan’s Island” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

The staggering price tag underscores the value — and scarcity — of TV soundstages in Los Angeles as content producers scramble for space to shoot TV shows and movies to stock their streaming services.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Natalie Wood in a formal gown and elbow-length gloves,Tab Hunter in a tux

March 22, 1956: Natalie Wood and Tab Hunter attend the Academy Awards.

(Los Angeles Times)

Forty years ago this week, Natalie Wood died. The actress’ drowning death, off Catalina Island, has endured as a Hollywood mystery. In 2011, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials reopened the investigation, and in 2013 the cause of death was changed from “accidental drowning” to “drowning and other undetermined factors.” The sad anniversary, however, provides an opportunity to appreciate again Wood’s charm and talent. The star of films including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “West Side Story” and “Gypsy” won multiple Golden Globes and was nominated for three Oscars by age 25.

Above, she attends the 1956 Academy Awards with Tab Hunter. That year she was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in “Rebel Without a Cause.”

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.

— Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey





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