A Plan to Save a Beloved Park From Flooding Has Angered Its Biggest Fans

In the nearly three decades since Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park, a 3.5-acre green oasis built for leisure, opened in Battery Park City in Lower Manhattan, it has become a cherished backyard for residents and a destination for many others who come for the uninterrupted views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.

Now, an ugly fight has erupted over its fate.

Wagner Park is to be demolished and then rebuilt on higher ground by the Battery Park City Authority, a state-run public-benefit corporation, as part of a $221-million-plus resiliency plan to protect the south end of the neighborhood and Lower Manhattan from flooding, as climate change brings more intense and frequent storms and rising sea levels.

But the plan has drawn angry protests from some of the residents who live in the park’s surrounding high-rise towers. They say that demolishing the park goes too far. They have called for a less drastic approach that would make improvements to the existing park to achieve the same resiliency goal.

“It’s like, ‘In order to save the park, I have to destroy the park,’” said Kelly McGowan, 59, a finance executive who has lived in Battery Park City since 1989. “It makes no sense and we’re just trying to inject some rationality into this.”

A resiliency plan that cut down hundreds of trees in East River Park this year and last year drew fierce criticism from residents. (In Wagner Park, 48 trees will be removed, and 139 trees will be planted in the rebuilt park).

Such neighborhood conflicts are likely to become more common as resiliency plans are carried out by various city, state and federal agencies, which may take different approaches and not necessarily coordinate closely with one another or communicate effectively with residents.

“What the government is missing is a unified approach and a sole entity that is accountable to answer all the questions,” said Amy Chester, the managing director of Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit that works on making infrastructure more resilient.

virtual public meeting on Oct. 27.

protested this summer after realizing there would be a significant reduction in lawn space from the existing park.

increase lawn space, though it is still 10 percent less than the existing park. The changes cost several hundred thousand dollars, they said.

Mr. Jones said they have been transparent in developing their plan, including posting information online. “It wasn’t a big reveal in May what the design was going to be, this has been a process that everyone has had the opportunity to be part of along the way,” he said.

Not all residents are against the demolition and rebuilding of the park. Jeff Galloway, 68, a litigation finance consultant, said that elevating the park was the best option “out of a bunch of bad alternatives” that would be more disruptive to the community. “If you could keep the park as it is, that would be great,” he said. “That does not seem to be physically possible if you accept the climate change projections.”

But Britni Erez, 40, a member of the neighborhood association, said that Wagner Park was too important to families like hers to demolish without carefully considering every possible option. When her husband, who is a doctor, was based at a Brooklyn hospital during a peak in the pandemic, their family would reconnect in their neighborhood parks.

“They should have dug deeper on an alternative,” she said. “We’re not climate deniers, we’re not saying ‘Don’t do anything.’ We want a better resiliency project.”

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In Los Angeles, Politics Are More Complex Than a Racist Recording Indicates

Both predicted that union leaders would back a Latino candidate when Mr. Price, 71, leaves office; he is entering his final four-year term under city term-limit rules. In another leaked recording, Ron Herrera, who has since resigned as head of the Labor Federation, referred to that likelihood. When asked about finding a Latino candidate to succeed Mr. Price, he said, “We have someone.”

A Stanford-educated lawyer and native Angeleno who has also served on the Inglewood City Council, Mr. Price said the quarter-million or so people who live in the Ninth District have kept him in office because he understands their bread-and-butter issues.

Outside his office on Central Avenue last week, a farmer’s market offered ruby strawberries, jars of honey, cartons of eggs, advice on composting. The councilman said that expanding the market was his idea, to bring produce to a food desert and give people a place to gather and find information about food stamp vouchers and community resources.

Across the street, every day, there is an unofficial market where Latino vendors sell ears of corn, bags of duros, clothing and toys around the parking lot of a discount department store. Strolling along the corridor, Mr. Price looked at them and nodded: They are welcome here, too.

He pointed to signposts that feature details in English and Spanish about landmarks from the area’s heyday as a thriving hub for Black Angelenos: The Lincoln Theater at 23rd Street, nicknamed the “West Coast Apollo” in reference to the famous Black entertainment venue in Harlem. The Liberty Savings and Loan Association, a Black-owned business that offered mortgages to local residents when white lenders had shut them out.

“It’s not just for Black people,” Mr. Price said about the historical markers. “It’s also for brown people to understand our history.”

The crowning jewel back in the day was the Dunbar Hotel, where greats like Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne and Mr. Ellington stayed at a time when they could draw crowds at Los Angeles performances but were not allowed to stay in white hotels. The Dunbar serves now as affordable housing for seniors.

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Students, Legal Scholars Push California Universities to Hire Undocumented Students

LOS ANGELES — They have attended school in the United States, spent their childhoods in U.S. neighborhoods and grown up as Americans in every way but one — brought to the country by their undocumented parents as children, they have no legal authority to live in the United States.

The political and legal turmoil over the federal program that since 2012 has shielded many of them from deportation, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has left thousands of the so-called Dreamers — immigrants whose plight has won sympathy at times from Democrats and Republicans alike — in legal limbo. Federal law makes it illegal to hire undocumented immigrants, and, under the law, many of these young immigrants will graduate from college to a life of under-the-table jobs as nannies and construction workers.

Now, a coalition of undocumented student leaders and some of the nation’s top legal scholars is proposing that California, a state that has served as an incubator for progressive policies on immigration, begin employing undocumented students at the 10 University of California campuses.

The proposal, which almost certainly would face significant political and legal challenges, calls for the state to defy current interpretations of a 1986 federal immigration law that prohibits U.S. employers from hiring undocumented immigrants. But a new legal analysis drafted at the University of California, Los Angeles, and reviewed in some of the nation’s top law schools argues that the law does not apply to states.

has become a multi-billion-dollar nightmare.

  • A Piece of Black History Destroyed: Lincoln Heights — a historically Black community in a predominantly white, rural county in Northern California — endured for decades. Then came the Mill fire.
  • Warehouse Moratorium: As warehouse construction balloons nationwide, residents in communities both rural and urban have pushed back. In California’s Inland Empire, the anger has turned to widespread action.
  • “At the University of California, students who cannot access DACA are being systematically denied opportunities afforded to their classmates, including employment opportunities that would enhance the research, education and public service mission of the university,” the letter said.

    California, which has the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the country, has a history of resisting federal immigration controls, issuing drivers licenses to all state residents regardless of immigration status and offering in-state college tuition to undocumented students. It recently became the first state to offer state-funded health care to all low-income people. Several cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have declared themselves as “sanctuary cities” that will not cooperate with federal efforts to deport undocumented people simply because of their immigration status.

    stymied in the courts. Under recent court rulings, those already enrolled in DACA are allowed to retain its protections but no new enrollments are allowed, creating a growing class of young immigrants, many now of college age, who do not have the same rights as the aging Dreamers.

    The class of young immigrants who grew up in the United States but are not eligible for DACA is expanding at the rate of 100,000 people each year. California alone is home to more than 44,000 undocumented college students who cannot apply. Another 27,000 are graduating from high schools in the state each year.

    Ahilan Arulanantham, co-director of the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at U.C.L.A., said he began hearing last year from faculty about a worsening problem with the increase in the number of undocumented students without DACA protections — students who could not be paid to work as research assistants or in other campus jobs.

    Mr. Arulanantham’s team had already concluded that the federal law against hiring undocumented people did not bind states, and they began holding listening sessions with scholars across the country to vet their reasoning.

    Twenty-six experts agreed, concluding in a legal analysis being released with the students’ letter on Wednesday that when Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, it did not curtail the states’ historic power to determine whom they could employ. The legal scholars also noted that the Supreme Court has repeatedly found that Congress has no power to regulate state governments in certain areas, such as employment, absent “clear language” to allow it.

    “This proposal has been hiding in plain sight,” Mr. Arulanantham said. “For nearly 40 years, state entities thought they were bound by the federal prohibition against hiring undocumented students when, in fact, they were not.”

    The U.C.L.A. legal group quickly found support from within the university community.

    “Some of the finest students in my career have been undocumented students. And yet I can’t hire them as researchers or teaching assistants. This is not only detrimental to their education and career, but it negatively impacts the university as a whole,” said Kent Wong, director of the U.C.L.A. Labor Center, a research department focused on organized labor and labor rights.

    Among them is Karely Amaya, 22, a graduate student in public policy who is undocumented and among the organizers of the campaign.

    “We have a window of opportunity here. All of these prominent legal scholars are backing us up,” said Ms. Amaya, who was born in Mexico and has been in the United States since she was 2.

    “I have a job offer on the table. If we win, I can get hired and have my tuition covered,” she said in an interview. “In the meantime, I’m barely surviving. I’m patching together resources.”

    Offering students the ability to work for their universities would not provide protection from deportation or change their legal immigration status. And it is too early to tell how the proposal will be received by the U.C. president, individual university chancellors and the Board of Regents, a governor-appointed body that oversees the system.

    But Mr. Arulanantham said that the hope was that it would be embraced by all the public universities in California and, ultimately, in other states.

    The student organizers said they planned to mobilize undocumented students on all 10 U.C. campuses to attend meetings of the Board of Regents and push the issue with the U.C. president’s staff. They said the campaign would also target local and state elected officials who could exert pressure on the U.C. leadership.

    Given the persistent gridlock in Congress over DACA and other immigration legislation, undocumented student leaders said that seeking solutions at the state level was their only viable strategy.

    “What are the changes we can make while we continue to fight for a permanent solution?” said Jeffry Umaña Muñoz, 20, an undocumented student leader who was brought to the United States from El Salvador at the age of 2.

    After he gained admission to Harvard and Yale, in addition to U.C.L.A., he chose the California school because he felt it would offer more support for undocumented students. But his educational experience would be diminished, he said, without the ability to legally work.

    “Since we know DACA is headed to an end, Congress isn’t acting and Biden won’t take any meaningful action on immigration, this campaign came at the right moment for us,” he said.

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    Do we really care more about Van Gogh’s sunflowers than real ones? | George Monbiot

    What does it take? How far must we go to alert other people to the scale of the crisis we face? Only one answer is clear: further than we have yet gone. We are hurtling towards planetary tipping points: the critical thresholds beyond which Earth systems collapse. The consequences are unimaginable. None of the horrors humanity has suffered, great as they are, even hints at the scale of what we now face.

    Everywhere I see claims that the “extreme” tactics of environmental campaigners will prompt people to “stop listening”. But how could we listen any less to the warnings of scientists and campaigners and eminent committees? How could we pay any less attention to polite objections by “respectable” protesters to the destruction of the habitable planet? Something must shake us out of our stupor.

    The response by the media and government to the two Just Stop Oil activists who threw soup at Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers in the National Gallery in London speaks volumes. Decorating the glass protecting the painting with tomato soup (the painting itself was, as the protesters calculated, undamaged) appears to horrify some people more than the collapse of our planet, which these campaigners are seeking to prevent.

    Activists throw tomato soup on Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at National Gallery – video

    Writing for the Mail on Sunday, the home secretary, Suella Braverman, claimed: “There is widespread agreement that we need to protect our environment, but democracies reach decisions in a civilised manner.” Oh yes? So what are the democratic means of contesting the government’s decision to award more than 100 new licences to drill for oil and gas in the North Sea? Who gave the energy secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a democratic mandate to break the government’s legal commitments under the Climate Change Act by instructing his officials to extract “every cubic inch of gas”?

    Who voted for the investment zones that the prime minister, Liz Truss, has decreed, which will rip down planning laws and trash protected landscapes? Or any of the major policies she has sought to impose on us, after being elected by 81,000 Conservative members – 0.12% of the UK population? By what means is the “widespread agreement” about the need for environmental protection translated into action? What is “civilised” about placing the profits of fossil fuel companies above the survival of life on Earth?

    Suella Braverman blames ‘Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati’ for disruptive protests – video

    In 2018, Theresa May’s government oversaw the erection of a statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, which holds a banner saying “Courage calls to courage everywhere”, because a century is a safe distance from which to celebrate radical action. Since then, the Conservatives have introduced viciously repressive laws to stifle the voice of courage. Between the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act that the former home secretary Priti Patel rushed through parliament, and the public order bill over which Cruella Braverman presides, the government is carefully criminalising every effective means of protest in England and Wales, leaving us with nothing but authorised processions conducted in near silence and letters to our MPs, which are universally ignored by both media and legislators.

    The public order bill is the kind of legislation you might expect to see in Russia, Iran or Egypt. Illegal protest is defined by the bill as acts causing “serious disruption to two or more individuals, or to an organisation”. Given that the Police Act redefined “serious disruption” to include noise, this means, in effect, all meaningful protest.

    For locking or glueing yourself to another protester, or to the railings or any other object, you can be sentenced to 51 weeks in prison – in other words, twice the maximum sentence for common assault. Sitting in the road, or obstructing fracking machinery, pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure, airports or printing presses (Rupert says thanks) can get you a year. For digging a tunnel as part of a protest, you can be sent down for three years.

    Even more sinister are the “serious disruption prevention orders” in the bill. Anyone who has taken part in a protest in England or Wales in the previous five years, whether or not they have been convicted of an offence, can be served with a two-year order forbidding them from attending further protests. Like prisoners on probation, they may be required to report to “a particular person at a particular place at … particular times on particular days”, “to remain at a particular place for particular periods” and to submit to wearing an electronic tag. They may not associate “with particular persons”, enter “particular areas” or use the internet to encourage other people to protest. If you break these terms, you face up to 51 weeks in prison. So much for “civilised” and “democratic”.

    Who are the criminals here? Those seeking to prevent the vandalism of the living planet, or those facilitating it?

    Whenever I visit the National Gallery, I can’t help but wonder how many of the places in its treasured landscape paintings have been destroyed by development or agriculture. Such destruction, which Truss, Braverman and the rest of the government now plan to accelerate, even in our national parks, is commonly justified as “the price of progress”. But if someone were to burn or slash the paintings themselves, it would be an abhorrent act of brutality. How do we explain these double standards? Why is life less valuable than the depiction of life?

    Sometimes the tension is explicit. John Constable’s idylls of rural peace were painted at a time of tremendous conflict and destruction, as communities and landscapes were torn apart by landlords’ enclosures. He bemoaned not the erasure of the “changeless” places he painted, but the reaction to it, lamenting the riots and rick burning that ensured there was “never a night without seeing fires near, or at a distance”. Constable’s response to the destruction, in his later years, was to paint remembered landscapes: those, in other words, that had already been obliterated. Like the current government, he celebrated past glories while attacking measures, such as the Reform Act, to improve life in the present.

    In raising these issues, I don’t seek to deny the value of art or the necessity of protecting it. On the contrary“: I want the same crucial protections extended to planet Earth, without which there is no art, no culture and no life. Yet while cultural philistinism is abhorred, ecological philistinism is defended with a forcefield of oppressive law.

    The soup-throwing and similar outrageous-but-harmless actions generate such fury because they force us not to stop listening, but to start. Why, we can’t help asking ourselves, would young people jeopardise their freedom and their future prospects in this way. The answer, we can’t help hearing, is that they seek to avert a much greater threat to both.

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    After Roe, a Debate About What the Word ‘Abortion’ Means

    Even after five decades of argument about abortion in the United States, the most contentious question newly at the forefront is a very basic one: What is abortion?

    Major medical societies, and medical billing codes, define abortion as any procedure that terminates a pregnancy — whether that pregnancy is wanted or unwanted, whether a woman is seeking the procedure to clean out her uterus after a miscarriage, or because of a dire fetal diagnosis, or to terminate a pregnancy that she had not expected.

    “An abortion is an abortion is an abortion,” said Dr. Louise King, an obstetrician-gynecologist and bioethicist at Harvard Medical School.

    Anti-abortion lawmakers and groups disagree, arguing that it’s an abortion only if the woman or her medical provider elects to end the pregnancy. This generally means that terminating a pregnancy in a dire medical situation is acceptable, while terminating an unwanted pregnancy is not.

    Roe v. Wade established a constitutional right to abortion, this was mostly a semantic dispute. But in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, simply defining the word abortion has taken on new political, legal and medical consequences.

    States are struggling to define what they will and will not allow. Doctors, too, are grappling: those in states that now ban abortion say they have stopped providing the procedures because violations of the law can result in lengthy prison terms, large fines and the loss of a medical license.

    on the defensive in midterm election campaigns. Under fire, they have tried to carve out new definitions of abortion and blame doctors for misunderstanding.

    faced outrage in August when a hospital denied an abortion to a woman carrying a fetus that doctors said would be born without a skull. One of the state’s three bans allowed abortion to end “medically futile” pregnancies. But the fetus’s condition, acrania, was not specifically included on a list of exceptions allowed under the law.

    Jeff Landry, the state’s attorney general, blamed doctors, saying, “it is the hospital that has created ambiguity where there is none.”

    “Assuming such a diagnosis was properly certified, the removal of the unborn child is ‘not an abortion,’” he wrote in a letter to the hospital’s general counsel.

    who sponsored one of the state’s abortion bans, told a local television station that the procedure the woman had been seeking was not an abortion: “This woman is seeking a medical procedure for a pregnancy that is not viable outside of the womb.”

    The woman ended up traveling roughly 1,400 miles to a Planned Parenthood clinic in New York, where she terminated her pregnancy with an abortion.

    Medical societies and doctors who support abortion rights say defining abortion by intent is a distinction without a difference, because any termination proceeds with the intent to end that pregnancy. And the procedures are the same regardless of whether a woman has had a miscarriage or seeks to end an unwanted pregnancy: Surgically, an abortion involves dilation and curettage, or dilation and evacuation; a medical abortion is done with pills.

    the state’s ban on abortions after detection of fetal cardiac activity — generally around six weeks of pregnancy — does not include any exception for rape victims.

    However, Catherine Glenn Foster, the president of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life, testified in Congress that “it would probably impact her life and so therefore it would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion.”

    Anti-abortion groupsargue that states have carefully crafted bans to make sure that anyone who needs an abortion for medical reasons receives one.

    “That’s not the same as elective abortion, abortion that is done for the primary purpose of producing a dead baby,” said Dr. Donna Harrison, the chief executive of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

    Arizona and Wisconsin, make no exception for that. (The terms for abortion and miscarriage are so intertwined that in those laws, written in the 19th century, abortion is defined as “procuring a miscarriage.”)

    The language around pregnancy has long been subject to fierce debate. In the early 2000s, anti-abortion groups successfully pushed for a federal ban on an extremely rare termination procedure that is typically done in the second trimester — known medically as intact dilation and evacuation — by rebranding it “partial birth abortion.”

    But in the new debate over defining abortion, abortion-rights groups say they themselves may have unintentionally created confusion.

    Even when Roe was the law of the land, hospitals often set up committees to decide whether abortion was ethical, or justified as “therapeutic.” So the abortion-rights groups set up free-standing clinics to try to expand access. Dr. Jamila Perritt, an obstetrician-gynecologist and the president of Physicians for Reproductive Health, said that encouraged the belief that abortions done at clinics were not the same as those done in doctors’ offices or hospitals where a woman was ending a pregnancy because of cancer treatment, or because of a fetal abnormality.

    “I had patients tell me, ‘I’m not like the rest of them, they were careless,’” Dr. Perritt said.

    The Hollywood Reporter said she “confessed” it — inspired the actress Jenny Mollen to announce that she, too, had abortions to treat two miscarriages.

    Anti-abortion groups and lawmakers argued that Ms. Teigen was wrong to call the procedure an abortion, and accused her of changing her words for political gain.

    LifeNews.com wrote that doctors did not “purposefully kill her unborn son,” and Ms. Teigen and her family “did not want him to die and mourned his death even though he never lived outside the womb.”

    Anti-abortion groups don’t always agree on the definition of acceptable abortion. Dr. Harrison, for example, said she does not believe that the procedure is the right response to rape, or for a fetus diagnosed with a deadly anomaly. While the pregnancy of the 10-year-old Ohio girl was “a horrible social disaster,” Dr. Harrison said, “that pregnancy was not a threat to her life.” Similarly, she said, fetuses with what she termed a “life-limiting diagnosis” can be carried to term in perinatal hospice care.

    Abortion-rights supporters say the debate should not be about what exceptions to allow in state laws, because those carve-outs can’t account for every possibility; they may even aggravate the stigma around abortion and pregnancy loss.

    “We’re creating this narrative that some people deserve care and some people don’t,” said Dr. Kristyn Brandi, the Darney-Landy fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “In medicine, we don’t have that divide based on reason or the divide based on situation. It’s more, the pregnancy needs to end for whatever reason, and we will provide that care because that’s what the person in front of us needs.”

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    Working a 65-hour week and struggling to make ends meet: welcome to Phoenix

    José Beltrán wakes up at 4.45am, has a cup of coffee and lets his dog out before heading to the hospital for his 6.30am shift. For the next 12 hours, he works as a certified nursing assistant in a Covid unit, helping patients who are on mechanical ventilation. When he gets home, he has a couple of hours before bedtime – time he’ll spend having dinner with his family, then hitting the books as he studies to get into nursing school himself.

    It’s a grueling routine: last week alone, he was scheduled to work 57.5 hours at the hospital. The job can be harrowing and requires absolute focus: when there’s a code blue, a patient needs resuscitation and it’s up to Beltrán to help save a life. “It’s the highest thrill in my field,” he says. “It’s a privilege to be able to do that. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t love it.”

    But in the past year, things have gotten tougher.


    Beltrán lives in Phoenix, Arizona, which in August saw inflation hit 13% over the preceding 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – a record for any US city over the past two decades. Nationally, the figure was 8.3%. Gas prices were up 33.5% in the area versus 26.2% across the US. Economists have pointed to the surging housing costs and rapid post-lockdown job growth as key drivers of inflation in the Phoenix region – among the fastest-growing in the country – where the average household devotes 34% of its budget to housing.

    Beltrán and his wife, a full-time accountant, have felt the soaring prices at the gas station and the grocery store. A gallon of milk cost $1.98 in the city in 2018; at Beltran’s local supermarket, it’s now $3.49.

    Adding to the hardship is the fact that Beltrán’s hospital work depends on the number of patients who need care – on any given day, he could get a 4.30am text informing him that his shift is canceled. “If I don’t make full-time hours, I might be in a bind by the end of the month,” he says. “Those days of working one job and sustaining a household on one income – those days are long gone.”

    As prices have gone up, Beltrán has taken on even more work to make ends meet: on top of his hospital hours, last year he began taking shifts for two other healthcare agencies, sometimes pushing his weekly working hours to 65. And he’s not alone in his field; he says he doesn’t know of a nursing assistant on his floor who doesn’t have to work two jobs.

    Beltrán, 34, is a warm, soft-spoken host in his tidy living room, where a test-prep book for nursing school is a constant presence on the table and his dog, Solo, is a constant presence under it. Still in his scrubs after a long day, he describes growing up in San Diego and moving to Phoenix in 2015, when he was “in search of a place or a state where I could afford to live by myself,” he says. “Now in 2022, we’re slowly leveling to that cost of living where I came from.”

    Many in the Phoenix area can identify with Beltrán’s plight.

    At Matthew’s Crossing, a food pantry in nearby Chandler, adults and their children check in at a window and receive a brightly colored card with a large number, which they display on their cars in the baking Phoenix heat. Inside, cheerful volunteers inspect food donations and assemble packages. Then they emerge to greet the waiting families, with a dolly full of food and other supplies.

    More and more people working with full-time jobs are struggling to put food on the table. According to Jan Terhune, the executive director of Matthew’s Crossing, “well over 50%” of the site’s clients worked full-time as of a year and a half ago,” the last time they conducted a review. Now, “I don’t think it would be a stretch to say it’s upwards of 60%,” she says.

    Ten per cent of those who visit each month are typically new clients. But these days, it’s more than 20%, Terhune says. “The majority of those new clients will share with you that they never thought they’d ever see themselves having to ask others for help.”

    That’s an experience Stephanie Cudjo, 40, hopes her two children will never have as adults.

    Seated outside her office on a lunch break this month, Cudjo has a broad smile and an easy composure. But like Beltrán, Cudjo has found that a single, full-time job isn’t enough to support her daughter and son, who are now 16 and 11. After her day job at a law firm, where she often works more than 90 hours in a two-week pay period, she’ll run errands, cook, and help her kids with their homework. In the late evenings, she goes online to her second job, doing clerical work for a multinational company. “My son says, ‘Mom, you come home and you just go back to work again.’ I go, ‘Well, how are we gonna survive?’”

    Cudjo, whose mother died when she was 11 and whose father was largely absent, spent her early years moving between caretakers and battling for basic needs. “A lot of [my] childhood was on the streets, homeless, losing apartments, living in hotels, not knowing where we were gonna get food,” she says of herself and her brother.

    Cudjo’s young adulthood was marked by a battle with cancer that forced her to move to Phoenix eight years ago. Her illness meant that her children might have been placed in foster care had she not moved closer to family. Arriving with no job, she and her kids bounced from place to place until she found low-income housing and work as a legal support clerk at the firm in downtown Phoenix – a job she loves.

    Her housing situation remains uncertain: “My fear is to be homeless again. Jumping here and there, living out of your car – that’s my fear,” she says.

    Through it all, Cudjo remains upbeat. “I’ve overcome a lot. I’m learning from the struggles I went through,” she says. “As long as I’m working and I can provide for the children and have a roof over our head, that’s all I want. I don’t try to think bigger, better. I’m trying to live for now.”

    Beltrán echoes those sentiments. Having grown up in federally subsidized housing, he now has his own place and a job in healthcare – a goal he’s had since childhood, when he learned to help his grandmother manage her diabetes. He’s worked in the industry for 12 years: “What keeps me here is the fact that you learn something new every day.”

    He adores Phoenix: “If it was up to me, I wouldn’t leave,” he says on a trip to the local supermarket. But he has considered moving once again in search of a lower cost of living. Pointing to staples like bread, eggs and cheese, Beltrán reflects on surging prices. “Essentially, we plan to pay double now” for groceries, he says. “You figure out what your needs are rather than what your wants are.”

    As we enter another aisle, an older man passes on his way to the checkout area. Perhaps seeing Beltrán’s scrubs, he says out of the blue: “Have a blessed night.” Beltrán has never met him.

    “Today was literally a 13-hour day,” Beltrán says afterward. “That kind of comment makes it all worth it.”

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    Fencing Can Be Six-Figure Expensive, but It Wins in College Admissions

    The group recently hired a senior manager for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

    “We want there to be Olympians who come from nontraditional fencing areas,” he said.

    In New York, Peter Westbrook, an Olympic medalist in fencing, started a foundation to help potential fencers from different racial and economic backgrounds. Among the beneficiaries was Ivan Lee, who ultimately became a two-time national champion and is currently the fencing coach at Long Island University.

    “Peter had that vision where he wanted to spread the sport of fencing to children in the inner city,” said Mr. Lee, who grew up in Brooklyn and went to St. John’s University. Mr. Lee, 41, says that, even two decades ago, his parents saw fencing as a pathway to college.

    Eileen Ye, who attended the private Brearley School and trained at Manhattan Fencing Center, is attending Harvard this fall, without being a recruited athlete.

    Even so, she said, “I definitely think fencing added to my application.”

    Ms. Ye was good enough to make the women’s team, one of 15 students on the roster, just as fencing and other elite sports are under a microscope.

    Then again, the tradition of athletic preferences could be hard to extinguish.

    Two years ago, faced with financial strains from the pandemic, Stanford decided to eliminate fencing and 10 other sports — men’s rowing, sailing, squash and synchronized swimming —because of their high costs.

    Following a backlash from alumni, they were reinstated.

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    What Was That Badge Herschel Walker Flashed in His Debate?

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate in Georgia’s pivotal Senate race, drew some head scratches — and a debate moderator’s rebuke — when he brandished an honorary sheriff’s badge on Friday while debating his Democratic opponent, Senator Raphael Warnock.

    In a moment that ricocheted online, Mr. Walker, a football legend endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, was responding to Mr. Warnock’s accusations that he had misrepresented himself as a law enforcement officer and had previously threatened to commit acts of violence.

    But Mr. Walker’s flaunting of the honorary badge, a recognition not unusual for celebrities to receive, brought new scrutiny to his credentials and the loosely defined relationships that can emerge between law enforcement agencies and famous people.

    The moment unfolded after Mr. Warnock made claims about Mr. Walker’s professional history, saying that Mr. Walker “has a problem with the truth.”

    named the Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins a special deputy.

    The Cobb County Courier that Mr. Wilkins did not have the same authority as a regular deputy sheriff to carry a weapon and arrest people. She characterized his role as being a liaison and partner.

    In 2021, the sheriff’s office in Henry County, Ga., which is about 30 miles southeast of Atlanta, gave a member of the N.B.A. Hall of Fame, Shaquille O’Neal, the title of director for community relations.

    Neil Warren, who was the Cobb County sheriff when he named Mr. Walker an honorary deputy sheriff, endorsed his Senate bid in July.

    In a statement at the time, Mr. Warren said that Mr. Walker “partnered with the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office for over 15 years” and “led trainings on leadership, advocated for mental health, encouraged countless officers, and was always there to lend a hand whenever we needed him.”

    But many others express significant skepticism about the kind of honorary recognition granted by law enforcement.

    “Georgia sheriffs were seriously handing out those badges like candy in a candy dish,” J.Tom Morgan, a former district attorney in DeKalb County, Ga., who was elected as a Democrat, said in an interview on Saturday. “That badge gives you no law enforcement authority. He doesn’t have the power to write a traffic ticket.”

    Mr. Morgan, who is now a professor at Western Carolina University, said the badges became so widely abused that the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association curtailed the practice of giving them out.

    exaggerated his work in law enforcement before. In 2019, he told soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State that he was a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, which was false. He has also repeatedly said in campaign stump speeches that he worked as a member of law enforcement, but he did not.

    In Georgia, the role of sheriff is an elected partisan office, and there can be rewards for both the donors and recipients of honorary badges.

    According to the National Sheriffs’ Association, there are no formal guidelines stipulating the use and appearance of honorary badges — and what distinguishes them from real ones.

    “It should be understood that an honorary badge is for the trophy case,” Pat Royal, a spokesman for the National Sheriffs’ Association, said in an email on Saturday. Mr. Royal specified that he was referring to honorary badges in general, not Mr. Walker’s.

    Mr. Walker’s performance during the debate yielded a flurry of memes and widespread derision online.

    tweeted on Friday night, “I sometimes pull out my Star Fleet badge to get past security at Star Trek conferences.”

    Erick Erickson, a conservative commentator, defended Mr. Walker.

    “He was made an honorary deputy sheriff in Cobb County, Georgia, and spent 15 years helping that department and discussing with deputies how to handle mental health situations,” Mr. Erickson said on Friday night on Twitter. “But I know facts don’t matter on Twitter.”

    The image of Mr. Walker waving his badge during the debate called to mind another celebrity with a penchant for badges: Elvis Presley. During a meeting in 1970 with President Richard M. Nixon, the King famously asked for a federal narcotics agency badge. Mr. Presley’s widow, Priscilla Presley, discussed the badge’s allure in her memoir, “Elvis and Me.”

    “The narc badge represented some kind of ultimate power to him,” Ms. Presley wrote.

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