Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
Inside a Secret 2014 List of Problem Sheriff’s Deputies
About 300 L.A. County sheriff’s deputies are on the “Brady list,” a secret record of officers with histories of misconduct. Court and government records show: One deputy pepper-sprayed an elderly man in the face and then wrote a false report to justify arresting him. Another pulled over a stranger and received oral sex from her in his patrol car. Most of them still have their jobs, including several who were convicted of crimes. A court ruled this list confidential; not even prosecutors can see it. An L.A. Times investigation offers the first public look at the officers on this list.
The Siege of Southern California
After days of wildfires in Southern California, the forecast for the largest one, the Thomas fire in Ventura, is that it could burn for a couple of weeks. Already it is believed to have destroyed hundreds of homes, despite the heroic efforts of firefighters who concede they are no match for the fierce, erratic Santa Ana winds that have driven half a dozen major blazes across four counties. Among the new wildfires Thursday, one in northern San Diego County destroyed homes and prompted evacuations as it moved toward Oceanside. Here is the latest.
More About the Fires
-- How the Santa Ana winds have made the wildfires so intense this time.
-- “To a Southern Californian, there are fewer word combinations more frightening than ‘Santa Ana winds’ and ‘high fire risk,’ ” writes columnist Robin Abcarian. “This week, we saw why.”
-- In case you missed it: How to prepare for a last-minute evacuation in case of fire.
-- What do hungry firefighters eat for breakfast? Try 10,000 eggs and 4,500 strips of bacon.
Franken’s Parting Shot
Sen. Al Franken is heeding the call of his Democratic colleagues to resign “in the coming weeks,” but he’s not doing so quietly. “There is some irony that I am leaving while a man who bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who preyed on young girls runs for Senate with the full support of his party,” he said, referring to President Trump and candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. Meanwhile, conservative Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona also resigned amid sexual harassment accusations; the House Ethics Committee is investigating alleged sexual misconduct by GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas; and Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada has been accused of sexual aggression.
-- Congress has averted a government shutdown through Dec. 22 by approving a stopgap funding measure.
-- As protests erupted in the Middle East, Trump administration officials tried to clarify the president’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but raised more questions than they answered.
-- The House Ethics Committee cleared House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of wrongdoing after a complaint that he had disclosed classified information.
-- Rep. John Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement, has joined the ranks of those boycotting the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi because Trump is attending the event.
A Sacred Island Fears ‘UNESCO-cide’
In the Sea of Japan, the 0.3-square-mile island of Okinoshima is shrouded in mystery and strewn with ancient treasures. For centuries, it was forbidden to all but about 200 men who were allowed to wade ashore only one day a year after “purifying” themselves, naked, in the cold sea. In July, UNESCO named it a World Heritage site, much to the dismay of those who fear hordes might descend upon it. Balancing secrecy and survival isn’t easy.
The first issue of the Los Angeles Times, then known as the Los Angeles Daily Times, came out on Dec. 4, 1881, but it wasn’t until this date in 1898 that the newspaper began to move away from illustrations by publishing its first photograph. Coincidentally, it was of a fire — not a wildfire, but one at the Standard Oil plant in East Los Angeles. Get a look at it here.
-- A wildfire erupts in Murrieta.
-- Firefighting strike teams move into Ventura County’s Faria Beach area.
-- Film critic Justin Chang reviews “I, Tonya,” starring Margot Robbie as figure skater Tonya Harding.
-- In the LAPD cadet scandal, documents show that the joyrides in cruisers went on for weeks before anyone caught on.
-- A Los Angeles City Council committee backed a plan to formally declare L.A. a “city of sanctuary.”
-- The council also agreed to spend up to $150,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by street vendors who claimed their carts had been improperly seized and destroyed.
-- A lawsuit alleges that too many California children can’t read and the state doesn’t have an adequate plan to fix the problem.
-- Shopping for the holidays? Don’t forget our gift guide.
-- The book-lover’s gift of a lifetime: rare books.
-- Fourteen recipes for fans of pot pies.
-- Would you give Amazon a key to your house? This writer did and regrets it.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Bryan Singer, producer and director of the “X-Men” films, was accused in a lawsuit of raping a 17-year-old boy on a yacht in the Seattle area 14 years ago.
-- Film critic Kenneth Turan says Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” is the true wonder of awards season.
-- The Museum of Failure is celebrating epic failures.
-- Days after President Trump tweeted that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters,” FBI Director Christopher A. Wray staunchly told Congress “there is no finer institution.”
-- Michael Slager, a white former South Carolina police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, in the back as he fled a traffic stop, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
-- How Naomi Wu, a Chinese tech designer who calls herself a “sexy cyborg,” took on Silicon Valley bro culture and won.
-- Bitcoin, which started this year at about $1,000 and shot up past $16,000 Thursday, has crossed into the mainstream while reviving memories of the dot-com bubble of the turn of the last century.
-- The Republican tax overhaul might retain deductions for state and local taxes, but with a catch: a cap of $10,000, which is about half the size of the average deduction for Californians who claim it.
-- Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long will face his former team, the Rams, this weekend. But what he’s doing off the field for charity is making a big difference.
-- The Ball family saga continues: Younger brothers LaMelo and LiAngelo have hired an agent, officially ending their NCAA eligibility and opening the door to playing basketball overseas.
-- Is the U.S. Olympic team going to South Korea? The White House creates confusion.
-- Some House Republicans are shamefully channeling Trump in bashing the FBI and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
-- Dylan Farrow asks why the #MeToo revolution has spared Woody Allen.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- These charts break down the 322 U.S. senator resignations that preceded Franken’s announcement. (CNN)
-- The farmworker population in the U.S. is aging and facing more health risks. (Kaiser Health News)
-- National Geographic’s best images of the year.
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
As mayor, Roger Hedgecock once ran the city of San Diego before being forced to resign amid scandal in the 1980s. Now the city owes $85,000 to his wife, Cynthia. A jury awarded her the money because of a 2015 fall on a public sidewalk that was found to have caused one of her silicone breast implants to leak.