President Trump has backed off on his threats to close the border with Mexico, but he’ll be in California today to visit a stretch of fencing.
Trump’s Retreat to the Border
For the better part of a week, President Trump threatened to close the U.S. border with Mexico, warning of a crisis of incoming migrants and drugs. But after Republicans in Congress called those threats an economic disaster in the making, the president has backed away. Instead, “we’re going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don’t stop or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, particularly cars.” But GOP lawmakers have already begun to push back on that idea too, just as they did this week on Trump’s renewed call to repeal Obamacare. What to do? Perhaps a change of scenery will help. The president will make a trip to California today, to raise campaign funds in L.A. and to visit the border town of Calexico. The administration is touting a stretch of border fence he is visiting in Calexico as “a newly completed section of the promised border wall.” In fact, during Trump’s time in office no new sections of wall have been completed on the border.
-- Trump is showing surprising deference to his top political adversary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as he feels pressure to fulfill another signature election promise — approval of a revised trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
-- The House of Representatives has invoked never-before-used powers to demand that the Trump administration withdraw support from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The Senate passed the same resolution in March with bipartisan support. Trump is expected to veto the measure.
-- Despite hopes that a U.S.-China trade deal is at hand, Trump said that some key issues have yet to be resolved and that they are not close enough for him to announce a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
-- House Democrats passed a new, stronger version of the Violence Against Women Act. But the bill’s prospects in the Senate remain unclear as some Republicans say the changes go too far.
‘I Just Wish I Would’ve Been There’
Samiel Asghedom and his brother Ermias — known in the rap world as Nipsey Hussle — were best friends. On Sunday, Samiel got a panicked phone call. Nips, as he called him, had been shot. After Samiel raced to the scene, he hushed the crowd and followed the 911 operator’s instructions until the paramedics arrived. This is his story of those final moments. Plus: Eric Holder, 29, has been charged with murder in the killing. His attorney: Chris Darden, a onetime prosecutor who gained fame in the O.J. Simpson trial.
A Deadly Mystery at the Racetrack
Why are so many horses dying at Santa Anita Park? Over the last three months, 23 have died. The racing surface, the use of whips, the effect of an unusually wet winter and an assortment of medications commonly used on thoroughbreds have all come under scrutiny. Still, no one has a definitive answer, as the racetrack gears up for the $1-million Santa Anita Derby on Saturday.
One Town’s ‘Community Grandfather’
The town of Kingman, Ariz., has adopted a unique character: He’s 68, has long, gray hair, wears a Santa costume and totes an electronic keyboard. His name is James Zyla, but everybody just calls him Santa James. Zyla moved to the area after a past that saw him playing music in his native England, selling real estate in Orange County and acting in Hollywood. Our latest Column One feature looks at how Kingman has embraced him as “its community grandfather.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On this date in 1991, L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley met with the City Council behind closed doors as a furor brewed over the beating of Rodney King by police officers about a month earlier. In the aftermath, Bradley called on Police Chief Daryl Gates to resign. Gates refused, leading to a standoff lasting several months. On April 29, 1992, six days of riots and civil disturbances would erupt.
-- L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the Board of Supervisors are at odds. It’s a fight that could cost the Sheriff’s Department money at budget time.
-- Meanwhile, Caren Carl Mandoyan, the fired L.A. sheriff’s deputy whose reinstatement triggered a battle between the sheriff and the supervisors, has filed a lawsuit alleging officials withheld his pay and are unfairly trying to push him out.
-- A petition circulated at a Huntington Beach high school asking students of color for permission to use the N-word has prompted school officials to discipline two students involved in the incident.
-- Now we’re not cooking with gas? The kitchen stove is becoming the next frontier in fighting climate change.
-- Ah, spring … the perfect time to go snooping in other people’s gardens — with permission, of course. Here are the best garden tours in Southern California.
-- Catching up with Taos, the chill New Mexico town you’ll warm to on a weekend escape.
-- Food journalism legend Ruth Reichl discusses her latest memoir, “Save Me the Plums,” and breaking through the machismo of the restaurant and publishing worlds.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- The city of Chicago plans to sue actor Jussie Smollett, saying he’s refused to reimburse the city $130,000 for the costs of investigating what authorities had said was a staged racist, anti-gay attack, though all charges against Smollett have been dropped. Meanwhile, “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson says Smollett will return to their Fox show.
-- Film critic Justin Chang says “Shazam!” — the latest DC cinematic adventure — gives the overworked superhero genre a fun, irreverent lift.
-- The board chairman of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles says it’s in danger of going bankrupt.
-- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has repealed rules unveiled in 2015 that banned baptisms for children of gay parents and made gay marriage a sin worthy of expulsion.
-- Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s wife is launching a clothing line she says is inspired by her and her husband’s style. The convicted drug kingpin’s sentencing is scheduled for June
-- In Libya, army commander Khalifa Haftar has ordered his forces to march on Tripoli, the Libyan capital where the U.N.-backed government is based, sparking fears of a major showdown with rival militias.
-- This ancient four-legged whale could stand on land and swim in water.
-- An unhappy customer of Marriott’s hotel rewards points program is leading a revolt.
-- AMC Theatres Chief Executive Adam Aron says he’s not worried about Disney’s global clout, or AMC’s plans to build cinemas in Saudi Arabia — despite human rights issues.
-- The UCLA gymnastics team’s 18 perfect scores have brought a “wow” factor and some scrutiny.
-- Three Southern Californians are within striking distance of winning the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur when the tournament moves to America’s most iconic golf course.
-- It’s time to lighten up on pot. The only question is how much longer Congress can keep its head in the sand.
-- Dr. Lucy Jones: The California earthquake drought is an opportunity. Will we take it?
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- How China turned the city of Kashgar into a prison. (New York Times)
-- Damon Young of the Very Smart Brothas website worries about everything. A lot. (The Undefeated)
-- Scenes from a copy editors’ conference, where a former L.A. Times copy chief was cheered for his role in persuading the Associated Press to drop the hyphens from terms such as “Asian American.” (The New Yorker)
ONLY IN L.A.
One person’s trash may be another’s treasure — or musical instrument, as the case may be. Down in the bed of the L.A. River, Cal State Northridge students in art, music, anthropology, interior design and dance have been collecting plastic bags and other detritus, along with rocks and reeds, to create drums, pan flutes and costumes for a performance today that’s straight out of Frogtown.