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Newsletter: Today: To Build or Not to Build in Wildfire Zones?

PARADISE, CALIF. - NOVEMBER 17: Search and rescue teams inspect the grounds of a house burned down
Search teams inspect the grounds of a house burned by the Camp fire in Paradise, Calif., in November.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

A poll of California voters finds they would support state restrictions on building new housing in wildfire-prone areas.

TOP STORIES

To Build or Not to Build in Wildfire Zones?

Should California impose limits on new housing development in high-risk wildfire areas? Three-quarters of voters in the state say yes, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, prepared for The Times. The breakdown among party lines: Nearly 85% of Democrats support doing so compared with 57% of Republicans and 72% of independents. Still, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers have not openly discussed the idea to prevent future destructive infernos. Instead, they’ve focused their discussions on utility companies’ financial responsibility for the blazes, how to pay for damages from wildfires and cutting back vegetation and other ways to manage the state’s forests.

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The Latest From Washington

-- President Trump is threatening to remove millions of people in the country illegally. In a late-night tweet Monday, he said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would begin the removal process next week. An administration official said the effort would focus on people who had been issued final deportation orders by federal judges but remained at large in the country.

-- The Pentagon says it’s sending about 1,000 more troops, reconnaissance aircraft and missile defense units to the Middle East, the latest U.S. military response to growing tensions with Iran.

-- Rep. Katie Porter, a Democrat from Irvine, is calling for an impeachment inquiry of Trump. She became the first freshman House member from California to do so.

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-- Trump began campaigning for reelection days after he won in 2016, but he will kick off his reelection campaign today at a rally in Orlando, Fla. Polls suggest he is right not to take his base for granted.

The Devil You Know …

As Hong Kong residents have been flooding the streets to protest a bill that would allow extradition to China, they’ve been calling for the resignation of Carrie Lam, a career civil servant who is now the territory’s chief executive. Though there’s no guarantee that she would step down, her removal could amount to a Pyrrhic victory. Lam’s replacement could be even more unpopular, as Beijing looks to exert more control on the city.

TOPSHOT-HONG KONG-CHINA-POLITICS-CRIME
A poster bearing an image of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is displayed outside the government headquarters.
(Dale de la Rey / AFP-Getty Images)

At Costco, Gunfire and Unanswered Questions

It was a typical Friday night at Costco. The cavernous store in Corona was packed, and customers waited in line for food samples. An off-duty Los Angeles police officer, his wife and their baby were among those in the tasting queue. So was 32-year-old Kenneth French and his parents, who were shopping for a Father’s Day barbecue. An attorney for the officer told The Times it was in this sample line that a lethal confrontation began. But accounts of what happened have diverged.

A Life of Grand Losses and Triumphs

Newspapers once dubbed Gloria Vanderbilt the “poor little rich girl,” after her multimillionaire father died when she was 2, her socialite mother abandoned her, and she became the subject of a sensational 1934 custody battle won by her aunt. But Vanderbilt transcended her famously disjointed childhood and later upheavals to become an actress, artist, author and fashion and merchandising icon. After she died Monday at 95, son Anderson Cooper offered a tender tribute on CNN.

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CALIFORNIA

-- Peter Sanders, chief spokesman for the L.A. Fire Department, is accused of using a city vehicle to stop and threaten an Uber driver who got into a shouting match with Sanders’ wife, according to a police report.

-- This accountant worked for L.A.’s building department. Then her name came up in an FBI warrant.

-- A Rand Corp. study says young adults who live in neighborhoods with a higher number of medical marijuana dispensaries use pot more frequently than their peers and have more positive views about the drug.

-- Who is willing to defend Harvey Weinstein? A third high-powered lawyer wants off the case.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

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-- Russian model Sasha Luss was poised for her big breakout in the film “Anna,” coming out this week. But it’s not getting a promotional blitz after director Luc Besson was accused of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior — allegations he denies.

-- VidAngel, a start-up that filtered profanity and violence from Hollywood movies for online streaming, must pay $62.4 million in damages to studios that accused it of copyright infringement.

-- Director and producer J.J. Abrams, known for hit movies such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and TV shows including “Alias,” is nearing a massive production deal with WarnerMedia, the parent company of Warner Bros. and HBO.

NATION-WORLD

-- The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it would not decide, for now, whether a Christian couple from Oregon had a constitutional right to defy that state’s civil rights law and refuse to make a wedding cake for the marriage of two women.

-- Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, imprisoned since the military removed him from office in 2013, has died after collapsing in court. Family members had been concerned about his health and harsh conditions behind bars.

-- Ecuador’s defense minister is defending his country’s decision to let the U.S. use the environmentally sensitive Galapagos Islands for anti-drug flights.

-- Amid a global movement against non-recyclable plastic, Asian countries are closing their doors to imported waste from other nations.

BUSINESS

-- Ross Levinsohn, a former Fox digital and Yahoo executive who steered the Los Angeles Times into a tumultuous period, has been named chief executive of Sports Illustrated.

-- Consumer columnist David Lazarus looks at the rules of AAA membership and how they apply to North Hills resident Harlan Hobbs.

SPORTS

-- After the Anthony Davis trade, can Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka be trusted to fill the roster? Columnist Bill Plaschke is more than a bit skeptical.

-- Six-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix has found a much stronger voice after the birth of her daughter.

OPINION

-- The U.S. Supreme Court has given its approval to dual prosecutions. In The Times Editorial Board’s view, that’s a violation of the Constitution’s prohibition against double jeopardy.

-- Memo to Rep. Duncan Hunter from columnist Robin Abcarian: Your wife admitted to conspiring with you to steal campaign funds. You don’t belong in Congress.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- What happened to MH370, the Malaysian Airlines jet that disappeared five years ago? A look at the theories, the conspiracies and the facts. (The Atlantic)

-- Dallas Morning News photojournalist Tom Fox says he thought he “was gone” when he hid in an alcove from a heavily armed masked man, right after taking the gunman’s picture. (Dallas Morning News)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

The tree believed to have inspired Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” has fallen. Times reporter Colleen Shalby wrote a story so it won’t be forgotten. And yes, this article is indeed in rhyme. Hope you have a good reading time.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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