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Newsletter: Today: An Outbreak of Measles and, Then, Lies

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The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine at a pediatrics clinic in Greenbrae, Calif.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

Health officials trying to stem outbreaks of measles say they’re not only fighting the disease, they’re also fighting for the truth from some parents.

TOP STORIES

An Outbreak of Measles and, Then, Lies

A study out this week has once again shown there is no link between autism and the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Yet, driven by fear, some parents refuse to inoculate their children. The result? Measles cases are multiplying, and experts in the U.S. are worried a nationwide outbreak could happen. In California, which enacted a tough vaccination law in 2015 after an outbreak at Disneyland, officials say parents sometimes refuse to cooperate with and even lie to public health investigators who are working to prevent other people from getting sick.

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An Issue That Could Divide Democrats

The topic of education and charter schools has divided Democrats for years. Will it lead to a split in the 2020 presidential election cycle? For a candidate like Sen. Cory Booker, who as mayor of Newark backed an experiment in school choice presented as a matter of civil rights, it could create a risk. Of course, it won’t be the only theme that will develop over the long haul to the White House. Despite today’s polarized rhetoric, the narratives that President Trump and his would-be challengers are developing so far are pretty traditional, columnist Doyle McManus writes.

More Politics

-- A federal judge has found that attorneys for Roger Stone withheld or misrepresented plans for his new book criticizing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III in violation of a gag order in his case. She warned that any “costs or consequences” that result are solely his responsibility.

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-- U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan says the number of migrant families crossing the Southwest border is again breaking records, overwhelming border agents and straining facilities.

-- Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is stepping down after nearly two years leading the agency’s response to public health challenges such as the opioid epidemic, rising drug prices and underage vaping.

The Latest Twist in the Fight Over a Deputy

A review panel created by Sheriff Alex Villanueva concluded that a deputy fired in connection with allegations of domestic abuse and stalking acted irrationally and unprofessionally, and brought “discredit to himself and the department,” yet should be rehired, according to a report obtained by The Times. The document offers the first clear sense of how officials made the decision regarding Caren Carl Mandoyan. It has thrown the Sheriff’s Department into weeks of chaos and set up an unprecedented power struggle between Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors.

Sad Days at the Races

Since the day after Christmas, 21 horses have died at the Santa Anita racetrack — almost double the number of fatalities all of last year. Now the track has suspended racing at least through this weekend, forcing the postponement of the Santa Anita Handicap, a lucrative race for older horses, and the San Felipe Handicap, a major prep race for 3-year-olds trying to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. But the question everyone is trying to answer is why.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

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At El Burrito Loco in Burbank, things took a terrible turn when a truck driver lost control, crossed two streets, smashed into cars and backed onto the restaurant counter. The driver, a passenger and three restaurant patrons were injured. The photo below, published on this date in 1997, captured the scene. But the incident would inspire food writer Charles Perry to visit the place three years later to review the food.

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Burbank Police Officer Larry Hill looks over the scene where a truck backed through the front of El Burrito Loco at Victory and Burbank boulevards in Burbank.
(Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

-- Federal authorities will launch their own investigation into two police officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old unarmed black man, in Sacramento last year. The state attorney general said he would not pursue a case. Meanwhile, protests have continued.

-- Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former state Senate leader Kevin de León are launching a bipartisan effort to tackle the state’s biggest source of planet-warming pollution: transportation.

-- Is Sacramento’s war on Big Gulps a nanny state move? Or good public policy? Columnist Steve Lopez explores.

-- Thousands of Santa Barbara County residents were ordered to evacuate in preparation for a strong atmospheric river-fueled storm moving into Southern California. It produced a spectacular lightning storm on Tuesday night.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

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-- “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson in the title role, could rescue the box office after the worst February in years.

-- Columnist Mary McNamara would like to remind you that Steven Spielberg isn’t the only one who thinks Netflix is trying to take over the world.

-- Arata Isozaki, the Japanese architect who designed the Museum of Contemporary Art on Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, has won the 2019 Pritzker Prize for architecture. Just don’t call him “post-Modernist.”

NATION-WORLD

-- An Arizona prosecutor has determined that Uber is not criminally liable in a crash last year in which one of its self-driving SUVs fatally struck a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix.

-- Thousands of foreign-born women left their homes and lives to join Islamic State and marry its fighters. Now many of them want to return home. What did they do in the so-called caliphate?

-- The people of China are unhappy with their government’s performance in many ways. Says who? Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, at the National People’s Congress, made that surprising admission.

-- A key instrument on NASA’s InSight lander is stuck. A Martian rock may be to blame.

BUSINESS

-- Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, who is facing contempt charges in federal court, now says a semi-secret meeting last week was a mistake.

-- How badly are we being ripped off on glasses? Former eyewear industry execs put things into focus with consumer columnist David Lazarus.

SPORTS

-- The Angels have contacted Major League Baseball regarding Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper’s public recruitment of Angels star Mike Trout, a possible violation of tampering rules.

-- LeBron James’ playing time is the next topic of concern for the injury-plagued Lakers.

OPINION

-- On public employee pensions, California’s Supreme Court is taking cautious steps.

-- Two recent opinions by Justice Clarence Thomas should alarm us all, writes Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- That didn’t take long: Satellite imagery suggests North Korea may be taking steps to reactivate a partially decommissioned long-range rocket test site. (NPR)

-- The “free speech” fight: Lawmakers and outside groups have always criticized higher education, but this moment is different. Here’s why. (Chronicle of Higher Education)

-- The benefits of boredom … in convenient video form, so you won’t get bored. (Aeon)

ONLY IN L.A.

Charlie the sea otter turned 22 years old over the weekend, which gave the longtime resident of Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific the title of “oldest Southern sea otter in captivity.” To mark the occasion, visitors sang to the birthday boy — who was rescued in 1998 and brought to the fledgling aquarium after being orphaned — as he munched on a seafood cake and enjoyed gifts. And yes, there is video.

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