Newsletter: Trump’s latest census gambit

President Trump during a news conference at the White House on Tuesday.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump is trying a new move to restrict the census. If he’s successful, it could mean California has fewer seats in Congress.


Trump’s Latest Census Gambit

President Trump has directed his administration to exclude immigrants who are in the country illegally when calculating how many seats in Congress each state gets after the current census, a decision that critics denounced as unconstitutional and one that is likely to face a swift court challenge.


The president’s directive, which would adopt a practice never before used in U.S. history, faces several major hurdles — legal, logistical and political. For one, the Census Bureau would have five months to come up with a way to accurately estimate the number of residents illegally in each state so that it could subtract them from the overall count.

If successfully carried out, though, it could have far-reaching effects by reducing the political clout of states with significant numbers of immigrants, including California and Texas. It could also shift power toward whiter, more rural areas of states at the expense of more diverse cities.

The move also provided the latest example of Trump’s embrace of divisive issues as he slides further behind Joe Biden in polls of the presidential race. In recent days, Trump has promised to deploy more federal forces to cities led by Democrats, he’s falsely denounced mail ballots as a source of pervasive fraud, and he’s repeatedly described himself as the last line of defense against left-wing radicalism.

It Will ‘Get Worse Before It Gets Better’

Six months into a deadly pandemic and less than four months from election day, Trump conceded Tuesday that the coronavirus would “get worse before it gets better” and urged all Americans to wear face masks “whether you like the mask or not.”

“If you can, use the mask,” he said, reading from notes. “Think about patriotism.” But moments later, Trump responded to a question without notes and delivered his familiar refrain that eventually “the virus will disappear.”

Trump’s remarks came on a day when the U.S. recorded more than 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 for the first time since May 29 and as California surpassed 400,000 overall coronavirus cases. By comparison, the New York Health Department has reported more than 408,000 infections. But that state has reported more than 25,000 deaths, while California’s death toll is approaching 8,000.

Meanwhile, Orange County now has the second-most coronavirus infections in California, as the region and state continue to grapple with sharp spikes in the number of confirmed cases.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Senate Republicans said they would include a new round of coronavirus stimulus payments in the upcoming pandemic relief bill, dramatically increasingly the likelihood that more checks will go out to help Americans combat the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Democrats had previously endorsed the idea. But how much would the checks be?

— Many Latino workers are reluctant to be tested for COVID-19, fearing they could lose jobs or income. A San Francisco program aims to change that.

Inmates in California’s prisons say they’ve felt helpless as coronavirus infections have swept rapidly through their ranks.

— Experts say there’s growing evidence that wearing masks can not only limit the spread of the virus, but is also associated with less severe illness in people who do get it.

— The coronavirus has torn Texas’ tight-knit Rio Grande Valley apart, upending traditions from birth to death.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

No Relief From the Heat

For Southern California’s elderly and homeless populations, stifling heat is more than an inconvenience. Without the cooling centers and shelters that are sanctuaries for vulnerable populations, heat can be a killer.

Last year, 10 people died in Riverside County because of hot weather. That was before COVID-19 — which thrives in places where people gather, like cooling centers.

The dangers posed by the coronavirus have limited the number of cooling centers that could open as temperatures soared. As of July 10, only 15 of the 60 cooling centers in Riverside County were operating, according to the Riverside University Health System. Similarly, the city of San Bernardino has not opened any cooling centers this year out of concerns over the coronavirus.

Promises Made, Promises ...

After Los Angeles police officers stormed through a protest in MacArthur Park in 2007, beating and shooting protesters and journalists with batons and tactical weapons, the department issued an unusual mea culpa as part of a report filled with reforms.

“Many may speculate that this report will be put on a shelf with the others that came before it, and that life in the Department will go on unchanged and unaffected, eventually leading to another similar incident,” LAPD officials wrote to the Police Commission. “The intention is the opposite. The Department acknowledges that identifying lessons learned is but the first step in bringing about change; what is key, is that the resulting changes be institutionalized.”

It hasn’t worked out that way. Numerous instances of officers using similar weapons and force during protests over the police killing of George Floyd have sparked new criticism, as well as questions about why earlier efforts at reform did not seem to take.


In the summer of 1977, the Los Angeles Zoo welcomed a new baby gorilla, the first ever born via c-section.

His mother Ellie had killed her previous offspring, so zoo officials told The Times that a c-section was performed to protect the baby. They named him Caesar and animal handlers cared for him, as seen in this July 22, 1977, photo taken by a Times photographer.

He grew to weigh 525 pounds and was moved to Zoo Atlanta, where he died in 2004 at age 26.

July 22, 1977: Caesar, a gorilla born by caesarean operation at the Los Angeles Zoo, is burped by animal keeper Ann Harrell after polishing off a bottle of formula.
(John Malmin / Los Angeles Times)

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— The FBI is investigating whether the slaying of a well-known men’s rights attorney in the mountains of San Bernardino County earlier this month is connected to the shooting of a federal judge’s son and husband in New Jersey.

Hal Bernson, who led L.A. to establish historic seismic safety laws during his 24 years on the City Council, has died at 89.

— After YouTuber Jake Paul threw a large house party in Calabasas in the midst of the pandemic, the mayor has criticized him and said authorities will begin to fine people $100 for not wearing masks and shut down large gatherings.

— California’s only known gray wolf pack, the Lassen Pack, has eight new pups.

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— The Trump administration has pushed back against allegations that unidentified federal agents have been roaming the streets of Portland, Ore., in unmarked cars and illegally detaining peaceful protesters.

— The Minnesota state legislature passed a package of police-accountability measures, including a ban on neck restraints like the one that was used on George Floyd. The sweeping package is said to be one of the most substantial changes to the state’s criminal justice system in years.

Joe Biden has announced a $775-billion proposal to overhaul the nation’s caregiving system, efforts that he argues can create 3 million jobs while freeing up millions of people — largely women and people of color — to enter the workforce.

— The Justice Department has accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and targeting firms that are developing coronavirus vaccines.

— In Birmingham — Britain’s second-most-populous city — you can go to the office. Not so in Leicester, less than 50 miles away. It’s the first city in Britain to have a coronavirus lockdown reimposed while its neighbors remain open.


— How “Search Party’s” Shalita Grant turned her heartache into TV’s funniest millennial lawyer — and perfected her vocal fry.

— A coalition of Hollywood unions and organizations backed a bill to remedy a flaw in COVID-19 relief policy that barred many Hollywood workers from qualifying for federal pandemic relief.

— The producers of “Grey’s Anatomy” say the show will focus on the coronavirus pandemic for Season 17, informed by the real-life experiences of healthcare workers.

— With this week’s Comic-Con International moving online because of the pandemic, there’s a whole world of cosplayers with a lot of creativity to show off. Here are some of them.


Spotify, known as a music and podcast streaming service, is making a bigger leap into “video podcasts” — footage of hosts recording their audio — as a way to compete with YouTube.

United Airlines said it lost $1.63 billion in the second quarter as revenue plunged 87%, and it will operate at barely over one-third of capacity through September as the COVID-19 pandemic throttles air travel.


— After a 12-year break, women’s professional soccer is coming back to Southern California, with a star-studded ownership group led by actress Natalie Portman.

— Baseball is back, but not in the way you remember it. The new MLB rules are designed to speed up and shorten games.

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— Plenty of liberals are skeptical of Biden. But they should look to the example of Jerry Brown, a more moderate leader whom many California Democrats have come to fondly embrace, write Sara Sadhwani and Manuel Pastor.

L.A. County is floating an irresponsible last-minute ballot measure again. That’s a bad habit, writes The Times’ editorial board.


— Trump is said to have pushed the U.S. ambassador to Britain to help get the British Open moved to his Scottish golf course. (New York Times)

Wing Yin “David” Leong, who emigrated to the U.S. from China, landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and is credited with creating Springfield, Mo.’s famous cashew chicken, has died at 99. (Springfield News-Leader)

— Life’s hard. Sometimes you just want to see some good dogs having a good time. (The Atlantic)


If you closed your eyes and leaned back in your car seat Saturday night at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, you’d have smelled the cool salt air and heard the manic ska-funk-punk of L.A.’s Fishbone and Ozomatli. You’d have almost felt as if live music were back to normal in Southern California. Except this show was a drive-in concert, with cars encircling the main stage.

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