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Newsletter: Today: Would this close the university ‘side door’?

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Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) talks with a group of high school students after a Thursday news conference concerning a package of bills dealing with the college admissions scandal.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Lawmakers in California are looking to clamp down on preferential college admissions.

TOP STORIES

Would This Close the University ‘Side Door’?

As the fallout from the college admissions cheating scandal continues to spread, California lawmakers have joined the fray: They’ve proposed six measures aimed at closing the loopholes that allegedly gave wealthy parents a “side door” into elite universities. The bills would bar special admissions without approval of three college administrators, regulate private admission consultants, audit the University of California admissions process and deny state tax write-offs for donations made by parents as part of the cheating scheme.

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Trying to Sink Schiff

Feeling vindicated after Atty. Gen. William Barr cleared his boss, President Trump, of criminal wrongdoing, the president and Republicans on Capitol Hill have launched an aggressive campaign to oust or at least embarrass House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, one of the Democrats’ leading voices on the Russia probe. Schiff has fired back in dramatic fashion. But as this political theater plays out, Trump’s renewed swagger after the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation has coincided with a series of policy missteps.

More Politics

-- The Supreme Court declined to stop the Trump administration from enforcing its ban on so-called bump stock devices, which allow semiautomatic weapons to fire like machine guns.

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-- Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, who has clashed with Trump over disaster aid, has indicated that he’s tired of being pushed around by the White House: “If the bully gets close, I’ll punch the bully in the mouth.”

-- One of Trump’s healthcare initiatives intended as a cheaper alternative to Obamacare suffered a crucial defeat in Washington after a judge ruled that the policy violates the Affordable Care Act.

Flaws in the Charter School Law

A three-part Times investigation published this week found that flaws in California’s charter school law allow some charter school operators to shop around for lax oversight — and cash-poor school districts to profit by approving them with scant scrutiny. Part 1 examines how one couple worked the state’s charter regulations to make millions. Part 2 looks at how some of the smallest school districts have been approving charter schools in exchange for fees. And Part 3 examines why the problems haven’t been fixed and whether Gov. Gavin Newsom can break the gridlock.

What a Long, Strange Trip

When Times reporter Gustavo Arellano’s future wife told him about a decade ago that he should buy a VW bus, he laughed. “A VW bus? I thought it was little better than the Corolla of vintage automobiles: a flimsy thing of little value and annoying ubiquity,” he writes. He eventually bought three. And as he shows in the latest Column One feature, this once-humble workhorse and hippie-mobile is now one of the hottest gets in the vintage auto world.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

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The Dodgers opened up the 2019 season at Chavez Ravine on Thursday, marking their 61st year in Los Angeles. On their first opening day, after ceremonies at City Hall and a parade down Broadway, the boys in blue played their first game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before 78,672 fans on April 18, 1958, and beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-5. Take a look back at the Dodgers’ first game in L.A. after moving from Brooklyn.

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April 18, 1958: Members of the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants face the peristyle end of Memorial Coliseum during the playing of the national anthem before the Dodgers’ first game in Los Angeles.
(Ken Dare / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

-- Investigators reviewing the case of Caren Carl Mandoyan, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy fired for misconduct only to be reinstated recently by Sheriff Alex Villanueva, learned that he was a member of a secret society of deputies known as the Reapers, according to documents reviewed by The Times.

-- A state audit says the Employment Development Department, which is tasked with distributing unemployment, disability and parental leave benefits, routinely puts recipients at risk for identity theft.

-- Gavin Newsom says he’ll travel to El Salvador next month in his first international trip as California’s governor to better understand the forces driving migration to the United States.

YOUR WEEKEND

-- To handle the expected onrush of fans for the May 31 opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the last smoking areas inside Disneyland and California Adventure are being eliminated as of May 1 and strollers wider than 31 inches are being banned.

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-- Restaurant reviews: Tsubaki in Echo Park is a modern izakaya with a serious sake obsession, while Madre in Torrance goes deep on mezcal and wide on Oaxacan classics.

-- On a weekend escape to Vancouver, you can take a peek at Canada’s indigenous cultures.

-- What to do if you have a Wow airline ticket, now that the low-cost Icelandic carrier is out of business.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- “Dumbo,” as re-envisioned by Tim Burton, “never completely takes flight, but it doesn’t descend into a tailspin either,” writes film critic Kenneth Turan.

-- With a starring role on Fox Nation, commentator Tomi Lahren wants to save California from itself.

-- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s $650-million building project has cleared a major hurdle, but rising costs have forced the new museum to shrink in size.

-- Hooked on Shakespeare by age 6: The drama club where kids nerd out on the Bard.

NATION-WORLD

-- A single ticket that matched all six Powerball numbers to win the estimated $768.4-million jackpot — the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history — was sold in a Milwaukee suburb.

-- In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is battling for reelection, has received a questionable Bollywood boost.

-- The Venezuelan government says it has barred opposition leader Juan Guaido from holding public office for 15 years.

-- The case of a Uighur dissident in Turkey who is fighting an effort to extradite him to China highlights the efforts of Beijing to crack down on the ethnic minority group.

BUSINESS

-- Wells Fargo & Co.’s embattled chief executive, Tim Sloan — who has struggled to get the giant San Francisco bank past a seemingly endless series of customer abuse scandals — is retiring.

-- Creative Artists Agency is being sued by a writer who claims that the Hollywood talent agency stole his TV show idea by giving the project to a higher-profile writer client.

SPORTS

-- The Dodgers hit a record eight home runs to power past the Diamondbacks on opening day, while the Angels were shut out in a loss to the Athletics.

-- The California Horse Racing Board has taken the first step to abolish the use of the whip in the state by passing a rule that would restrict jockeys from using a riding crop except in rare cases.

OPINION

-- Totally nuts: Trump again calls for trashing Obamacare without a viable alternative, writes columnist David Lazarus.

-- The Salton Sea is a disaster in the making. California isn’t doing anything to stop it.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Investigators are homing in on Trump’s unusual financial documents, apparently trying to see if his habit of bragging about his wealth crossed a line into fraud. (Washington Post)

-- Inside the a $15.9-million New York apartment the British government bought for a senior civil servant charged with signing fresh trade deals in a post-Brexit world. (The Guardian)

-- “How the algorithm rewards extremism”: An excerpt from the book “Coders” by Clive Thompson. (Literary Hub)

ONLY IN L.A.

Take a Hollywood tour these days and you’ll hear that Bruno Mars lives in a $3.5-million home near the corner of Mulholland and Dona Pegita drives, that a neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills was a famous film location for the 1982 movie “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” and that the Jackson Five and Elvis Presley played the Roxy Theatre. All of which isn’t true. That’s why a nonprofit association is being formed to certify and train professional tour guides in the land of make-believe.

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