Democrats this week will hold nearly half a dozen investigative hearings and convene even more panels to discuss policy issues such as climate change.
The Democrats’ Agenda Is in House
On Tuesday, President Trump laid out his agenda in the State of the Union address. On Wednesday, House Democrats responded with their counter-agenda: a series of investigations into the Trump administration and votes on legislation that, if nothing else, they hope will let voters know where they stand ahead of the 2020 election. They’re planning to grill acting Atty. Gen. Matt Whitaker on Friday, hold a hearing on presidential tax returns and look into how the administration has spent money, among other things. They’ll also hold House votes on bills aimed at campaign finance reform, equal pay for men and women, and universal background checks for gun buyers — even though those have little hope in the GOP-controlled Senate.
More From Washington
-- The House Intelligence Committee, now under Democratic control, says it intends to expand its work to investigate any alleged foreign influence over Trump, whether it comes from Moscow or anywhere else. It also has delayed a planned interview with Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.
-- A Times analysis shows that as the Trump administration races to revamp Medicaid by allowing work requirements for the first time, it is failing to enforce federal rules directing states to assess the effect of the change on low-income patients who rely on the program.
-- A month after tweeting that he might order FEMA to cut federal disaster funding to California fire victims, Trump declined to renew that threat and indicated that talks with state officials were going well.
The Meltdown in Virginia
Only days ago, Democrats thought they had an obvious fix for a sudden political crisis after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was found to have a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page: He had to resign. Then came a sexual assault allegation against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. And then came the confession from the next Democrat in the line of succession, state Atty. Gen. Mark Herring, that he had once dressed in blackface like Northam. Now, many top Democrats are sidestepping the issue of how to resolve the crisis.
The War Over Weed
In the San Gabriel Valley, a “marijuana war” has broken out. El Monte has approved a sprawling cannabis facility, with supporters such as the mayor saying it will bring jobs and much-needed revenue to the working-class city. More could be on the way. But not everyone in El Monte is enamored of the idea, nor are many residents in the more affluent, neighboring communities of Temple City and Arcadia. The dispute has sparked loud protests, talk of a recall and a lawsuit.
A Survivor’s Most Difficult Tale
Brenda Tracy has no memorized speech, no notes or litany of statistics about sexual violence in America. As she travels the country, she hits her college audiences with something different: a graphic and unflinching description of the night two decades ago when she was gang-raped. Back then, the community seemed to turn against her, siding with players from the popular Oregon State football team. But as this week’s Column One article shows, people in groups large and small now listen to her — and, she hopes, they learn.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On this date in 1978, a Ferrari that had been reported stolen four years earlier was unearthed — literally. As the story goes, some children were digging in the mud outside a house on West 119th Street in Los Angeles when they found something that felt like the roof of a car. A Times story reported at the time: “Apart from a small hole above the right taillight, the car appears in surprisingly good condition. But no one seems to know how it could have been buried without attracting attention in the neighborhood.”
-- Onni Contracting (California) Inc., a real estate company seeking to raze a portion of the former Los Angeles Times headquarters and replace it with two high-rise towers, gave $50,000 to a campaign committee with ties to Councilman Jose Huizar two months before a crucial vote on the property, according to recently filed contribution records.
-- Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered Los Angeles police to scale back on vehicle stops in response to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times showing that an elite unit was pulling over a disproportionate number of African Americans.
-- The four people killed in a Yorba Linda house when a Cessna crashed into it on Super Bowl Sunday have been identified, but several questions about the incident remain.
-- Do charter schools harm traditional public schools? Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to find out.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- After the Walt Disney Co. takes control, the new Fox network will keep “The Simpsons” and says it has no plans to dump its bold attitude.
-- Actor Dulé Hill is taking a break from TV to appear onstage channeling Nat King Cole, who met a racist world with songs of love, joy and grace.
-- Ahead of the Grammys on Sunday, Dolly Parton is being honored in Los Angeles this week, including a new exhibit of her glitz and glamour at the Grammy Museum.
-- Nearly 20 years after KISS’ farewell tour, Gene Simmons insists the band will hang it up for good when its “End of the Road” engagements conclude.
-- 2018 was one of the hottest years on record, and this year could be even hotter.
-- Authorities in Venezuela have set up barriers to block the entry of donated food and medicine from neighboring Colombia. The aid has been pledged by the United States, Canada and European nations.
-- In Brazil, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was convicted for a second time on charges of corruption and money laundering and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dogged by corruption allegations, received mixed results in a primary election for fellow Likud party candidates.
-- In Moscow, the Taliban is again at center stage. Afghanistan’s government is not pleased.
-- The nation’s new consumer financial watchdog proposed to significantly water down tough pending rules on payday and other short-term loans designed to prevent lenders from taking advantage of cash-strapped Americans.
-- Southern California Edison plans to cut down tens of thousands of trees in high-risk areas, inspect thousands of miles of power lines and consider the use of preemptive power shutoffs to prevent wildfires.
-- Newest Laker Reggie Bullock is coming back to L.A., where he once played for the Clippers. He’s become an LGBTQ activist since his transgender sister was stabbed to death.
-- USC’s Clay Helton says his focus for the next football season is to be a total team coach.
-- The Senate should confirm William Barr as U.S. attorney general, even though it requires a leap of faith.
-- California needs an ombudsman to make records available to the public.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- A former instructor at an internment camp for Muslims in the Chinese province of Xinjiang is now facing an uncertain future in Kazakhstan. (Foreign Policy)
-- What’s happening with the location data from your cellphone? It could end up in the hands of bounty hunters. (Motherboard)
-- The power of ideophones, or words that evoke an idea in sound. (Aeon)
ONLY IN L.A.
It’s a very Brady beach house. Barry Williams, who played the oldest son, Greg, in “The Brady Bunch,” is looking to sell his oceanfront home in Malibu Cove Colony. Asking price: $6.375 million. Hey, those sweeping ocean views don’t come cheap. But for free, you can have a look inside this two-story house built in 1974, the same year “The Brady Bunch” ended its run.