I’m Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today.
Trump vs. Fox News
The presumptive front-runner for the GOP takes on the standard bearer for conservatism, Fox News, by bowing out of Thursday night’s debate. Trump, a big TV draw with his outspoken rhetoric, blamed it on anchor Megyn Kelly. “I think she’s a third-rate reporter,” said Trump. There go the ratings.
Oregon Standoff Turns Violent
One militant was killed and another wounded as federal authorities moved in to arrest the armed protesters who took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2. Ammon Bundy and Ryan Bundy are among the eight individuals currently in custody, facing felony charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers. “Isn’t this a wonderful country we live in?” said Cliven Bundy, Ammon’s father upon hearing the news.
Get a Horse
For years, transportation agencies across Southern California have tried to woo drivers out of their cars and into buses and trains. But their efforts — costing up to $9 billion in Los Angeles County alone — seem to be failing. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority lost 56 million riders between 2013 and 2015, and in Orange County, the numbers are worse: Bus ridership has dropped 30% over seven years. Is this how transportation money should be spent?
Who is Michelle King?
Since being named superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Michelle King has said little about what she hopes to achieve. Her record as an educator and administrator offers a few clues, but as one source says, “It’s hard to tell who’s the real Michelle because she is always so dutiful to her bosses.”
Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga, has been ordered to pay $6.4 million in punitive damages to a former employee, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, who claimed that the instructor sexually harassed her while she worked for him. The suit is one of several being leveled at Choudhury, who built an empire with millions of followers attracted to his brand of yoga practiced in a room heated to 104 degrees.
Jail Break Fall Out
The search continues for the three inmates who escaped from Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana, and the Sheriff’s Department is facing heavy criticism for its management of the facility. Why did 16 hours lapse between bed checks? Why were the men kept in dormitory-style housing rather than individual cells? Is this how a maximum-security jail should be run?
Castles Made of Sand
The ingredients are simple: high waves, high tides and El Niño rains. The results are catastrophic. After weeks of wet weather and pounding surf, a cliff south of San Francisco has begun to crumble, leaving a number of ocean-view apartment buildings teetering on the edge of the Pacific. Their owners have begun making plans to demolish them.
Oscar and the PC Police
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is being wrongfully targeted by the PC police, argues member William Goldstein. The problem with #OscarsSoWhite — and the solution — is not with its members but with the studios and independent producers making the movies. Caving in to recent demands risks devaluing the Oscar as a benchmark of excellence for moviemakers.
-- “Run, Hide or Fight” were the words out of San Diego, prompting a search for an active shooter at a Navy hospital. None was found.
-- Two BASE jumpers leapt off the iconic Bixby Bridge in Big Sur and were presumably drowned in the high surf off the beach below.
-- Who will decide the fate of the California coast? Steve Lopez looks ahead to the Feb. 10 showdown of the Coastal Commission.
-- 25 and younger: the demographic focus on the current count of Los Angeles County’s homeless.
-- Do Democrats want the revolution that Bernie Sanders pledges or the continuity that Hillary Clinton promises? Iowa will offer a clue.
-- After landing the endorsement of pastor Jerry Falwell Jr., Donald Trump is looking more and more like a … politician.
-- Winter in Mumbai means elaborate weddings along the boulevard that overlooks the Arabian Sea.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- J.T. Leroy never existed, but that hasn’t kept indie film director Jeff Feuerzeig from making a documentary about his life.
-- Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” — the story of the Nat Turner slave rebellion — is taking Sundance by storm.
-- John Ridley, acclaimed creator of ABC’s “American Crime,” talks about the show’s controversial second season.
-- Apple’s latest earnings report confirms the tech giant is slowing down.
-- Uber begins a pilot program to monitor its drivers’ driving habits.
-- Bill Plaschke: Clippers must send a clear message and severely punish Blake Griffin for his punch.
-- The odd couple: The Dodgers’ new manager Dave Roberts takes to the road with mercurial outfielder, Yasiel Puig.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Concepcion Picciotto maintained a peace vigil outside the White House for more than three decades. She dedicated her life “to stop the world from being destroyed.” (Washington Post)
-- Journalist Asieh Amini fights to end stoning and juvenile execution in Iran. (The New Yorker)
-- Nearly 300,000 civilian drones have been registered in U.S. (The Guardian)
ONLY IN L.A.
With his paunchy stomach, stooped-over physique and baby-face stare, Joaquín Guzmán — a.k.a. El Chapo — may not qualify as a supermodel. But when Rolling Stone photographed the notorious Mexican drug lord wearing an electric blue paisley shirt, its Los Angeles-based wholesaler — Barabas — saw a sudden spike in demand. Narcoterrorista wannabes? “It’s not that I approve what he does,” said one purchaser of the shirt. “He’s so popular, and I want to have that shirt, that’s all. I love the design, the color.”
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