I'm Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today, including our weekend recommendations and weekly look back into the archives.
Sessions Under Fire, but Trump Has His Back
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has been facing a firestorm for not being upfront about meetings with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., even after saying he's handing off the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election to a career prosecutor. Don't count on it hurting his standing within President Trump's administration, though. Before Sessions' recusal, Trump said he had "total" confidence in the man he first met more than a decade ago, and the West Wing is full of Sessions' loyalists.
In Washington, This Russian Was the Hot Ticket
Sergey Kislyak has seen it all: Moscow's man in Washington started his diplomatic career back in the Cold War, went through the perestroika and glasnost era, and has been Russia's ambassador to the U.S. for more than a decade. But chances are you never heard of him before disclosures of his meetings with Sessions and ousted national security advisor Michael Flynn (and, as it turns out, Jared Kushner too).
-- A Trump business associate led a double life as an FBI informant — and more, he says.
-- Obamacare 101: What's going to happen to 70 million Americans who rely on Medicaid?
-- Trump's border wall may be controversial, but some Southern California firms want to build it.
Live Next to a Freeway? You Won't Breathe Easy
If you live next to the 101 or any other freeway, you won't breathe easy. People there suffer higher rates of asthma, heart attacks and more. Yet the population near L.A. freeways is growing faster than anywhere else in the city, a Los Angeles Times analysis shows, because the city keeps approving permits for new housing there. Worried about how close your home is to the pollution? Try our interactive map, or tell us your story of living near a freeway.
L.A.'s Growing Pains Hit a Pang
Beyond freeway pollution, a larger debate over development in the city is reaching a crucial point — one that goes to the heart of what Los Angeles' future should be. On one side are those looking to build more densely; on the other are those who want to slow the developers down. But the trickier question is: How will Southern Californians adapt as their cities become more crowded, traffic-clogged and expensive?
They Can Text, but They Can't Hide
The California Public Records Act is supposed to shine light on the business of government, but what happens when public employees use personal cellphones and computers? The state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that those texts and emails are a matter of public record if they deal with official business. But where to draw the line? Read on.
As we told you about yesterday, Angels Flight is making a comeback. So what was the scene like when it opened Dec. 31, 1901? A crowd had gathered to witness the mayor take the first ride. "Presently the car stopped at the summit, and though the first official trip had been completed in safety, a low moan of disappointment was wrung from the crowd," The Times reported. "The Mayor was not there. Only a couple of Councilmen, rather buggy about the knees, and a red-headed boy were disgorged." Never fear: The mayor eventually showed up.
-- Reversing the trend of rising crime in L.A. has proved elusive for Mayor Eric Garcetti.
-- Less than a week before election day, millions of dollars have poured into the bitter fight over Measure S, which would restrict real estate development in Los Angeles.
-- In the retrial of former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, a retired official said Baca was deeply involved in efforts to interfere with FBI agents as they investigated abuses.
-- A Northern California hunter who had mimicked the call of a distressed rabbit found himself fending off and fatally wounding a mountain lion instead.
-- The inside story on what to do if you can't enjoy the outdoors on a Palm Desert weekend escape.
-- When snowboarding and skiing get old, there's snow biking.
-- Satisfy your sweet tooth: favorite cookie recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen.
-- Beer. Breakfast of champions?
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Our film critic Kenneth Turan says "Logan" is as ambitious and aspirational as comic book movies get.
-- The eight-episode series "Feud: Bette and Joan" delves into the deliciously combustible rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
-- Too soon? Here are 10 movies we could be talking about at the 2018 Oscars.
-- Book review: Joan Didion gets out of town in "South and West" and finds only fragments.
-- Iraqi commanders say a spot in the desert is key to winning control of the city of Mosul.
-- An asylum seeker with a brain tumor was released after 15 months in federal detention in Texas.
-- France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is under police investigation after publishing uncensored photographs of victims of Islamic State on Twitter.
-- Nothing to see here? A North Korean diplomat says Kim Jong Nam was killed by a heart attack, not a nerve agent, but provided no evidence.
-- The CDC says pregnant women infected with the Zika virus are 20 times more likely to have a baby with a birth defect.
-- Ka-ching: Snap Inc. celebrated its stock market debut and marked the biggest initial public offering ever for a Los Angeles company.
-- David Lazarus: Thanks to Trump and the GOP, a California single-payer healthcare system is now possible.
-- "I'm going to keep kicking until God calls me," says Tom Lasorda. "But that Big Dodger in the Sky don't want me yet, because I'm still doing a lot of work for him down here."
-- Kings hockey broadcaster Bob Miller is indeed relinquishing his microphone at age 78, but he still wants to do two more games.
-- Proving Trump colluded in Russian hacking is the Democrats' Holy Grail. Will the Sessions revelations help them?
-- On foreign policy, should our allies listen to Trump or Rex Tillerson? See the David Horsey cartoon.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Inside the studio of Alex Jones' Infowars: "Please forget the Statue of Liberty. It's a symbol of propaganda." (Der Spiegel)
-- Just the facts, ma'am? A history of the concept of "facts." (History Today)
-- When copy editors become online stars. (Columbia Journalism Review)
ONLY IN L.A.
Hollywood Bowl season is still a few months away, but here's a tip even many Angelenos don't know: You can listen in as Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic rehearse at the Bowl. And this is probably music to your ears: It's free, including the parking.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.