December 2, 2022

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Epicurean Science & Tech

Today’s Headlines: UC affordable housing shortage is pushing many students into desperation

10 min read

By Elvia Limón

Hello, it’s Monday, Sept. 26, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today.

TOP STORIES

UC housing shortage pushes students into crisis

As most of the nine University of California undergraduate campuses start the fall quarter, the state’s college housing shortage has thrown thousands of students into crisis. About 9,400 students systemwide were denied university housing this fall because of shortages — and some campuses are back to squeezing three students into a dorm room as a stopgap measure.

Some are living in vehicles. And some students who manage to find housing struggle to pay for it, working multiple jobs and taking out thousands of dollars in loans as a last resort.

UC leaders say that providing affordable student housing is one of the system’s most urgent needs. UC campuses are located on some of the most expensive real estate in the nation, yet the university educates more low-income students than its public and private peers.

San Bernardino mountains residents fear more mudslides

On Sept. 12, the remains of Tropical Storm Kay brought 2.4 inches of rain within an hour to San Bernardino County and produced an immense debris flow that damaged or destroyed 16 homes in the mountains. Car-size boulders came crashing down in the community of Forest Falls, and a 62-year-old resident died as the flood of rocks, sticks and mud overtook her home.

The seed of the disastrous mudslide was planted two years ago, when the El Dorado fire scorched 22,680 acres on Yucaipa Ridge, producing a burn scar that left the mountain bare and prone to rapid erosion.

In the mountains, residents recognize the risks and rewards they trade for living in remote areas. But some in the unincorporated communities of Oak Glen and Forest Falls feel especially vulnerable now. They are frustrated that officials have told them that San Bernardino County is limited in how it can use public dollars to safeguard private land and residents.

The pandemic saved one of California’s smallest public schools

In Kneeland, which isn’t so much a town as a rural fire station and a smattering of homes in the forest, the school has long been the lifeblood of the community. And it has long felt a little fragile.

Two years ago, the school, built in 1880, was on the verge of closing. It had an average daily attendance, transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, of 12 students.

Then, up the mountain came the pandemic kids, who had been withering away in front of Zoom screens. They found refuge in a school that, because it was so tiny, had quickly resumed in-person classes. Since 2020, enrollment has more than doubled to 33 students. The school got more funding. It hired a teacher — there are now three — and built a new classroom.

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

The Los Angeles homeless count raises doubts about its accuracy

When the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority this month published a spreadsheet breaking down its homeless count by every census tract in the county, those with knowledge of Venice were incredulous.

LAHSA said there were no unsheltered people in the northwest quarter of Venice, which is notorious as ground zero for homelessness. It wasn’t just the number — so wildly wrong it couldn’t be a statistical error — that shocked them. How, they wondered, had LAHSA blown the most closely watched census tract in the county, one scoured regularly by residents conducting their own tallies and more recently by a team of professional surveyors working for the Rand Corp.?

LAHSA did not respond to questions about the Venice numbers but released a statement defending the integrity of the count.

L.A.’s hottest fish is hard to catch

The dorado — better known by its Hawaiian name, mahi-mahi — is a luminary of the sport fishing world whose sudden appearance last month off the Los Angeles coast has sparked a feeding frenzy among local anglers.

Dorado are among the most striking fish in the Pacific, and some of the most challenging to land. Mahi-mahi means “very strong,” and the fish are prized as much for their tasty flesh as for their acrobatics on the line.

The Pacific has seen two winters of La Niña, when cold waters reign. That’s been a boon for L.A.’s anchovy, one of the “forage fish” that larger species such as dorado rely on, experts say. As the summer’s heat waves warmed local waters — abetted partly by climate change — yellowtail, barracuda and dorado swam up to catch the bait. Now, barbers, nurses and steelworkers are giving chase.

Check out “The Times” podcast for essential news and more.

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

Does anyone else feel like they’re drowning? Mental health is suffering. Inflation this year pushed up the cost of staples like bread, gas and clothing. These cost hikes were not unique to Los Angeles but were especially painful in a city where more than half of residents pay housing costs that are typically considered unaffordable. If you are struggling, you’re not alone. Most of Los Angeles is right there with you.

Colombia’s trailblazing vice president: Black, female and champion of the ‘nobodies.’ Francia Elena Márquez is a single mother and former live-in maid who escaped rural poverty and threats to become a social activist — winner of the Goldman Prize, awarded for her battle against large-scale illegal gold mining. Today, Márquez, 40, sits improbably as Colombia’s vice president. She is the first person of African heritage to attain such a high post in Colombia.

A law will remove the word ‘squaw’ from California place names. Statewide, officials have three years to remove the slur from towns, meadows, bodies of water, peaks and valleys. But in at least one place with the offending name — the unincorporated town of Squaw Valley near Kings Canyon National Park — some residents are upset.

CALIFORNIA

Hundreds of people gather Sunday at the Sherman Oaks Galleria in memory of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody in Iran.

(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds protest in Sherman Oaks the death of an Iranian woman while in police custody. The crowd waved Iranian flags and homemade signs denouncing the Iranian government. The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police has sparked a global outcry over the state of women’s rights in that nation.

It just got harder in California to steal and sell catalytic converters. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he signed legislation to crack down on rampant vehicle catalytic converter theft by making it illegal for recyclers to buy the valuable car part from anyone other than the legal owner or a licensed dealer.

California reparations task force starts to dig in on specifics. Recent panel discussions at the California Science Center in South Los Angeles drew into clearer focus the heavy task of the nine-member panel: to create a program that could greatly impact the lives and socioeconomic fortunes of hundreds of thousands of people, if not more.

Rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters face neglect at L.A. city shelters, volunteers say. Volunteers do most of the work of feeding and cleaning the cages of the thousands of rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters that come through L.A.’s shelter system, several said. With city staffing shortages, the small mammals are struggling, according to volunteers and advocates.

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NATION-WORLD

Puerto Ricans await aid and fret about post-hurricane recovery. About 45% of Puerto Rico’s 1.47 million power customers remained in the dark, and 20% of 1.3 million water customers had no service, as workers struggled to reach submerged substations and fix downed lines. Puerto Rico’s government has said it expects to have a preliminary estimate of the damage Fiona caused in two weeks.

Texas’ vow to ‘eliminate all rapists’ rings hollow at clinics. When Texas’ new abortion law made no exceptions in cases of rape, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Texas would get to work eliminating rapes. One year later, Lindsey LeBlanc, executive director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center in Bryan, Texas, is busy as ever helping rape victims in a college town outside Houston.

Jewish pilgrims gather in Ukraine despite the perils of war. The pilgrims, many traveling from Israel and further afield, converged on the small city of Uman, the burial site of Nachman of Breslov, a respected Hasidic rabbi who died in 1810. Some visitors, like Nahum Markowitz from Israel, have been making the journey for years and weren’t about to let the war get in the way.

Iran summons U.K. envoy amid antigovernment protests. The move comes amid violent unrest in Iran triggered by the death of a young woman in police custody. The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the ministry also summoned Norway’s ambassador to Iran and strongly protested recent remarks by the president of the Norwegian parliament, Masud Gharahkhani.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Rihanna will headline the 2023 Super Bowl halftime show. The announcement comes about six years after the singer released her last studio album, “Anti.” Since then, the billionaire entertainer and philanthropist has been building her Fenty empire, including beauty and lingerie collections.

‘Don’t Worry Darling’ tops box office as crew denies report of Olivia Wilde-Florence Pugh feud. Directed by Wilde, the film stars Pugh and Harry Styles as a married couple living in an idyllic 1950s community with dark secrets. It performed about as well as anticipated as rumors of conflict behind the scenes continue to generate buzz.

Netflix unveils first look at ‘Bridgerton’ prequel ‘Queen Charlotte.’ The highly anticipated limited series centers on the elegant, gossip-obsessed monarch played by Golda Rosheuvel. Written and executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, “Queen Charlotte” is set to premiere in 2023.

BUSINESS

Americans have always bought too much car. Now they’re doing it with EVs. Americans are demanding EVs with a range of about 300 miles. Considering that 95% of U.S. car trips are 30 miles or less, there’s a glaring disconnect.

OPINION

How the U.S. came to protect the natural world — and exploit it at the same time. One 1872 U.S. law aimed to preserve the natural world, establishing Yellowstone. The other, the General Mining Act, sacrificed public lands.

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SPORTS

Albert Pujols’ 700th home run carried special significance for Latinos. Unlike the first three members of the 700 club, Pujols was born outside the United States, in the Dominican Republic. His ascendance from 13th-round draft pick to one of the most accomplished players in Major League Baseball demonstrates the impact the Dominican Republic — and Latin America as a whole — has made on the league.

Matthew Stafford and the Rams hold on for a big road win over the Cardinals. The Rams picked up an important early-season NFC West road win, defeating the Arizona Cardinals. Matthew Stafford completed 18 of 25 passes for 249 yards, and Ben Skowronek finished with four catches and 66 yards. Cam Akers rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown in 12 carries.

The Dodgers beat the Cardinals 4-1 to match a franchise win record. The Dodgers have matched the franchise’s highest win total, picking up their 106th victory of the year with a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers did all their scoring early, getting two runs in the first before tacking on again in the second and third.

ONLY IN L.A.

A man holds an Italian beef sandwich

Michael Walker, chef and owner of Comfy Pup, holds an Italian beef sandwich, which has seen a rise in popularity due to the FX show “The Bear.”

(Annie Noelker / For The Times)

“The Bear” has been an influential force in Los Angeles. Michael Walker couldn’t move many Italian beef sandwiches — he’d sell maybe 10 all day at his Los Angeles pop-up, Comfy Pup. Then, on June 26, he sold out within two hours. Such is the power of “The Bear,” which had premiered days earlier and quickly found itself at the heart of a discourse on chef life, grief, kitchen PTSD and, of course, Italian beef, the beloved Chicago dish featured prominently on the FX series.

Southern California chefs already endeared to the sopping wet, aromatic sandwich want to believe it’s here to stay.

Plus, the show’s culinary producer shared her real Italian beef recipe and gave us a demonstration in her kitchen.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

President Gerald Ford on a podium with running back Ricky Bell

President Gerald Ford with running back Ricky Bell during a 1976 campaign stop at the University of Southern California. A year earlier, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of mass murderer Charles Manson, attempted to assassinate Ford.

(Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times)

This month marks 47 years since a follower of Charles Manson attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. Ford had crossed the street toward California’s Capitol from his hotel, headed for a meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown, who was serving his first term.

As he shook hands with people lined up to see him, a brightly dressed woman caught his eye: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. She seemed eager to meet him, Ford said. Then he saw a gun.

Authorities said the .45-caliber Colt semiautomatic pistol misfired. Fromme, who was 26 at the time, said she did not intend to kill Ford. She was later convicted of trying to assassinate the president. This would be the first of two attempts on Ford’s life.

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