Newsletter: Today: The Challenges of Rebuilding Notre Dame

Experts inspect the damaged Notre Dame cathedral after the fire in Paris, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. E
Experts inspect the damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after the devastating fire. It will take decades to restore the historic structure.
(Kamil Zihnioglu / Associated Press)

An early look at the scientific, technical and aesthetic difficulties that await during the long recovery process for the Notre Dame Cathedral.


The Challenges of Rebuilding Notre Dame

After a fire tore through the Notre Dame de Paris on Monday, it didn’t take long for French tycoons, companies and regular citizens to offer up about $700 million to help pay for repairs. But there is only so much that money can buy. Architects and engineers expect a decades-long restoration process with unprecedented challenges. Designers will need to navigate complicated structural issues and delicate debates about whether to faithfully re-create the historical structure or have it reflect modern times. They will all be asking the same question: How do you revive an 850-year-old icon?


The Green Here Isn’t From the Grass Roots

In a presidential race where almost every candidate claims to be supported by small donors and immune from the ills of big money in politics, the first round of campaign finance disclosure statements has made clear that some are much closer to the grass roots than others. While Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders can boast that more than 80% of his hefty campaign account comes from donations of less than $200, other major Democratic candidates are nowhere close. And in terms of fundraising from any source, they’re all chasing President Trump, who raised roughly $30 million in the first quarter.

More Politics

-- U.S. Atty. Gen. William Barr has decided that detained asylum seekers who have shown they have a credible fear of returning to their countries will no longer be able to ask a judge to grant them bond.


-- Trump has vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, calling it “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

-- Ending more than 20 years of practice, the Trump administration will allow U.S. citizens to sue over property confiscated from them in Cuba after the 1959 revolution, with potential defendants including the Cuban government and major European and Canadian companies.

-- Congress has passed just 12 new laws since January. Democrats, who control the House, blame Republicans who control the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell grinned at the characterization that House bills were going nowhere in his chamber. “I think that’s pretty accurate, yeah,” he told The Times.

A Record Settlement

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay a record $8-million settlement to a teenager who was sexually abused by the athletic director at San Gabriel Mission High School. Court documents show Juan Ivan Barajas eventually kidnapped the 15-year-old girl and took her to Las Vegas in 2016. Records also show that before 2016, Barajas was the subject of repeated misconduct allegations involving other female students. The payment marks the highest individual settlement by the local church in a sex abuse case.

The Law of the Court?

Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler, who has been with the basketball team for more than 40 years, is winding down a historic career of “oh me, oh my” moments and something called Lawler’s Law — his rule that the first NBA team to 100 points will go on to win the game. How accurate is it? Times data journalist Ryan Menezes checked 27,000 games (he explains how here) and learned that Lawler’s Law has held up well but in recent years has been less than airtight.

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On this date in 1926, the photo below under the headline, “What’s This? Another ‘Break’ at new County Jail,” appeared on Page 2 of the Los Angeles Times. The accompanying story reported: “Water leaking from a choked drain trap caused a veritable flood at the Hall of Justice yesterday, which disrupted one court session, routing judge, jury, witnesses and spectators, and inundated a number of cells on four floors of the County Jail.… Buckets, cuspidors and other containers were gathered up and placed about the floor and on the judge’s bench to prevent as much damage as possible.”

April 16, 1926: Hannah Richman, court reporter Edwin Williams and Superior Judge Carlos Hardy pose for a Los Angeles Times photographer after a water leak brought courtroom business to a halt.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)


-- Officials say the use of deadly force by Los Angeles police and the number of suspects killed in violent encounters dropped in 2018. Even so, the LAPD led the nation in fatal police shootings last year.

-- A Palo Alto couple accused of paying $25,000 to rig their son’s college entrance exam asked a federal judge to dismiss the indictment against them, claiming there was no conspiracy among the parents in the college admissions scandal.

-- A new homeless shelter has opened in Hollywood, but that has triggered a crackdown on street camps that advocates say is criminalizing homeless people.

-- Can’t watch the Dodgers on TV? You’re not alone. Anne Goldfarb has been a Dodgers fan since 1958, but she’s now watching Angels games on television, as columnist Steve Lopez found out.



-- Sally Wainwright and the not-so-secret life of a television revolutionary. In Yorkshire. With a female gaze.

-- The Game, T.I., Snoop Dogg and other rappers have threatened Fox News’ Laura Ingraham with another boycott after she criticized a song featuring Nipsey Hussle the day after the rapper’s funeral procession in South L.A.

-- Leaked footage of Marvel’s highly guarded “Avengers: Endgame” has prompted spoiler-averse fans to retreat from social media and the directors to issue another letter asking that fans stay mum about spoilers.

-- “Star Wars” fatigue? Not at Disney’s Star Wars Celebration, where fans flock to be one with the Force, get sneak peeks at new movies and TV shows, engage in cosplay and even get tattooed.


-- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed into law a major overhaul of state oil and gas rules, turning the focus away from encouraging production and directing regulators to make public safety and the environment their top priority.

-- The Trump administration has approved a $500-million package of services and parts for F-16 fighter jets for Taiwan. If approved by Congress, the package would enable Taiwan to upgrade older jets to fend off any attacks from China.

-- In Venezuela, Red Cross volunteers have distributed the first shipment of badly needed emergency supplies after months of feuding between the government and opponents.

-- Egypt’s parliament has overwhelmingly approved constitutional amendments that tighten President Abdel Fattah Sisi’s grip on power and could keep him in office until at least 2030.


-- Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos already compete on satellite launch contracts for their respective rocket companies, SpaceX and Blue Origin. Soon they will also face off in the potentially lucrative business of providing broadband internet via constellations of tiny satellites.

-- Apple and Qualcomm have agreed to end a two-year legal fight over billions of dollars of technology licensing fees that had threatened to reshape the chipmaker’s most profitable line of business.


-- The secret to the Clippers’ historic comeback versus the Golden State Warriors on Monday has been hiding in plain sight. The teams resume their playoff series Thursday.

-- In the aftermath of the worst L.A. Kings season in more than a decade, the hockey club has hired Todd McLellan to serve as coach.


-- The name United Airlines Memorial Coliseum is crass and depressing, but a deal is a deal.

-- No, CNN, Rep. Ilhan Omar did not minimize 9/11, writes columnist Michael Hiltzik.


-- How the Devils Hole pupfish, a tiny endangered species, put a man in prison. (High Country News)

-- In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook. So how did that turn out? (Wired)

-- Before the music and arts festival, Coachella Valley promoted itself with an Arabian fantasy. (Atlas Obscura)


If you think home prices are too steep in your neighborhood, divert your eyes from the Beverly Hills Post Office area. Actress-turned-location-scout Ronnie Mellen is asking $25 million for her 1,497-square-foot home — or $16,700 per square foot. Why so much? The nearly three-acre property in a guard-gated enclave has 360-degree views from Mt. Baldy to the Pacific Ocean. As they say in real estate, the three most important factors are location, location and location.

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