Newsletter: Today: Breaking the Cycle of Childhood Poverty

Judith Ayala, 10, and classmates prepare for an experiment in the Do It Yourself Girls program at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

After examining the issues surrounding childhood poverty, one thing is clear: Schools alone can’t solve the crisis.


Breaking the Cycle of Childhood Poverty

As columnist Steve Lopez and photographer Francine Orr have documented in a series of articles this week, childhood poverty in Los Angeles is often hidden in the suburbs. In the series’ fourth and final installment, Lopez delves into why students may find it harder to break free of a vicious cycle: “When you visit classrooms, when you go to the motels and garages where children live, when you get to know that the heaviest load isn’t what’s in their backpacks, when you learn that some teachers are working 10-hour days, tutoring students during recess and lunch and volunteering to run after-school clubs for no pay, you begin to realize it’s not the schools that are failing — it’s everything else.”


These Firefighters Are for Hire

On a different part of the economic spectrum, wealthy and even some middle-class homeowners in rural areas of California are getting help from private firefighters. Such services began more than a decade ago as part of some insurance policies for the well-to-do. These days, as the danger from wildfires grows, business is booming. But some public fire departments say private firefighters don’t always coordinate with local crews and can add to their list of worries as they evacuate residents and fight flames.

A Truce or a Full-Blown Trade War Ahead?

At the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires on Friday and Saturday, world leaders will have much to discuss. But the biggest news is likely to come from a post-summit dinner between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. After months of friction and escalating tariffs, the two would seem to have some incentives to declare a cease-fire while aides resume negotiations. The alternative: a full-blown trade war. The biggest X-factor in all this may be Trump. As one observer said: “He’s going to walk into a room with Xi Jinping and do whatever he wants.”


More Politics

-- The Guardian newspaper reported that Paul Manafort met privately with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the same month Manafort joined Trump’s presidential campaign. Manafort and WikiLeaks have denied it. Meanwhile, the New York Times said that a lawyer for Manafort repeatedly briefed Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators.

-- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is trying to secure the support she needs to become speaker again, ahead of a preliminary vote today that will serve as a test of her standing among fellow Democrats.

-- A new report from the Pew Research Center says the number of immigrants in the U.S. illegally dropped to the lowest in more than a decade in 2016.

New Sheriff, Old Problems

Alex Villanueva will be sworn in as Los Angeles County sheriff next week after winning an election by appealing to rank-and-file deputies and progressive voters, two constituencies that are sometimes at odds. Now, law enforcement watchdog groups are concerned about the fate of reforms put in place after a federal investigation found wrongdoing in the department. On the campaign trail, Villanueva was critical of many reforms and said deputies were being unfairly treated.

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Forty-one years ago, daredevil Evel Knievel was spending his nights in a downtown L.A. jail and his days at work after pleading guilty to a felony assault charge for battering a TV executive with a baseball bat. Knievel was picked up each morning by his driver in an elongated yellow and white Stutz Italia convertible. While serving time inside the Hall of Justice, he signed photographs and distributed medallions to his jailers, elevator operators and fellow prisoners.

Dec. 12, 1977: Evel Knievel, center, in dark glasses, leaves the Spring Street side of the Hall of Justice. The car is Knievel's Stutz convertible.
(Art Rogers / Los Angeles Times)


-- During a tour of the San Ysidro port of entry, Homeland Security officials doubled down on their use of tear gas on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

-- In a hotel about 40 miles from Paradise, refugees of the worst fire in state history are hoping to return to what’s left of the town. This week’s rain will prolong their wait.

-- Authorities have provided their most detailed account yet of the attack at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks that left 12 victims dead.

-- After settling a lawsuit, Elon Musk’s tunneling company has dropped its plans to dig beneath Sepulveda Boulevard on L.A.’s Westside.



-- George R.R. Martin is still involved in “Game of Thrones,” but he’s also moved on to the next big TV project born of his imagination, “Nightflyers.”

-- Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the hit animated Nickelodeon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” has died at 57 after battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

-- Actress Amanda Bynes has opened up about her past struggles: “I’m really ashamed and embarrassed with the things I said.”

-- In the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s new show “Outliers and American Vanguard Art,” avant-garde and self-taught artists intersect.


-- In Mississippi, Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated Democrat Mike Espy in a fiercely contested runoff election for the U.S. Senate.

-- Voting rights activists working with Democrat Stacey Abrams have filed a sweeping federal lawsuit against Georgia election officials, alleging they “grossly mismanaged” the recent midterm.

-- The Supreme Court limited the reach of the Endangered Species Act, setting aside a lower court ruling that afforded protection to an area where threatened animals do not live but might one day after significant changes.

-- Russia and Ukraine are continuing to verbally clash over Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian vessels off Crimea.

-- Despite a blockade by Persian Gulf nations, the tiny nation of Qatar has shown it knows how to survive.


-- Employment in California’s Inland Empire is surging, but fewer than half of the jobs pay a living wage, according to a new UC Riverside report.

-- Auto sales in the U.S. are expected to be little changed from 2017, but one segment keeps climbing: pickup trucks. That’s one reason the L.A. Auto Show, which opens its 10-day run Friday, will showcase a variety of them.


-- Clay Helton’s off-season revitalization plan for USC football has begun with a purge of assistant coaches.

-- Major League Baseball has become the third major sports league to form a partnership with MGM for sports gambling.


-- For someone who wants to free companies from federal interference, Trump is unusually willing to tell companies like General Motors how to run their businesses.

-- We can’t let Trump close the San Ysidro port of entry, California’s gateway with Mexico.


-- “I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.” Trump has, well, a lot to say in this interview. (Washington Post)

-- Here’s what happened when a 6-year-old boy, separated from his father by the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, appeared in immigration court by himself. (ProPublica)

-- Edinburgh, Scotland, has a problem with silent discos being just too darned noisy. (CBC)


What does it take to get a bench or a shelter installed at a bus stop in the city of Los Angeles? The official way involves the City Council, Department of Public Works and approval from eight other agencies. Or there’s the route an anonymous, masked artist has taken over the last 11 months: surreptitiously installing more than a dozen wood benches at bus stops around the Eastside. An even bigger mystery is that they keep disappearing.

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