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Newsletter: Trump’s taxes enter the picture

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A detailed report on President Trump’s finances roils an already turbulent presidential campaign in its final weeks.

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Trump’s Taxes Enter the Picture

The first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden was long ago scheduled for Tuesday. Then came the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the push to nominate her replacement before the election. And now, information on Trump’s long-hidden tax returns has entered the campaign picture.

Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, according to a report in the New York Times, and he paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years. The tax records show he’s carrying a total of $421 million in loans and debt that are primarily due within four years. Among his deductions: $70,000 to style his hair while he filmed “The Apprentice.”

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Trump angrily brushed aside the report as “totally fake news” at a rambling Sunday briefing, during which he said the confirmation of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is “going to go quickly, actually.”

Democrats acknowledged they had little hope of blocking Trump’s choice, unveiled Saturday, but made it clear they wanted the president and the Republicans who backed him to pay at the polls. Biden said that if Trump’s allies push through an election-season confirmation, American voters “are not going to stand for this abuse of power.”

With nationwide surveys suggesting that a majority of voters would prefer that the winner of the Nov. 3 election choose the high court nominee, Biden and his supporters are making the case that a Supreme Court bolstered by a third Trump-appointed justice would imperil healthcare for millions of Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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‘Yet Another Slap in the Face’

“What’s happened here in Louisville,” restaurant owner Tawana Bain says, “is yet another slap in the face of Black Kentuckians, Black Americans, everyone who cares about justice.

“It’s unfortunate, but, sadly, it has come to be expected, ” she said, referring to a grand jury’s decision not to indict officers for the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot multiple times during a “no knock” search of her apartment.

Bain, and many other Black residents of Louisville, Ky., “have a certain sad familiarity with feelings of marginalization and otherness — of watching in anguish as a system that vows to uphold justice so often falls short of its promise, harking back to images of a racist past that for some is still very present,” Times reporter Kurtis Lee writes.

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Our Reckoning With Racism

As the U.S. grapples with the role of systemic racism, the L.A. Times has committed to examining its past. A new series from our Opinion section looks at the paper’s treatment of people of color — outside and inside the newsroom — throughout its nearly 139-year history.

The series includes a letter from Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who has owned The Times since 2018, that outlines the paper’s commitment to change; an overview by the editorial board that acknowledges and apologizes for The Times’ failings and describes a path forward; and stories by staff reporters and columnists who write from their personal perspectives — including how Greg Braxton, the most senior African American journalist at The Times, finally got his day of reckoning.

The Story of Dr. Good

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His name is Dr. William Z. Good, but it wasn’t always so. His birth name is Wowka Zev Gdud. He grew up outside Vilna, in Poland, which before World War II was among the world’s largest and most important centers of Jewish culture — until Germany invaded and began rounding up people and killing them.

On the second day of Rosh Hashana, when Gdud was 17, his brother and mother were killed. Gdud and his father managed to escape and spent much of the war hiding in a forest and occasionally participating in partisan missions to sabotage German rail lines.

Decades later, he would tell his story to reporter Kevin Baxter — one of the children whom he delivered as a family doctor in La Puente.

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

— Voters are looking to the election outcome with fear and loathing. They worry about frayed family ties, the whole country unraveling, and threats and violence from both sides.

— The Bear fire nearly wiped this town off the map. Miraculously, one landmark survived.

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— A Stockton spoken word poet became an unlikely reality television star.

— How do you go to the Los Angeles Public Library when COVID-19 has closed its buildings? It’s easy, fun and surprisingly comforting.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On Sept. 27, 1930, a procession of cars, horses and wagons marked the opening of the Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel, five years before the roadway itself was completed to provide a direct link between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside.

In 1980, reporter Bob Pool wrote about the boulevard, which stretches 40 miles between Long Beach and Mission Hills, and the man for whom it was named: Francisco Sepulveda.

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“As it meanders from the mountains toward the sea and from leafy suburbs through the region’s most robust industrial area, it also passes through some of the most diverse sections of the county. In a way, the roadway is a perfect tribute to Sepulveda.”

Sep. 27, 1930: A dedication procession emerges from the new Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel.
Sep. 27, 1930: A dedication procession emerges from the new Sepulveda Boulevard tunnel through the Santa Monica Mountains and proceeds to Beverly Boulevard, where additional celebrations occurred.
(Los Angeles Times)

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CALIFORNIA

— A fast-moving fire in Napa County forced evacuations north of the town of St. Helena as large swaths of Northern California faced dangerous fire weather. As a result of the weather, Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to thousands of customers. Track the progress of California’s wildfires with our map.

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— Los Angeles County saw a continued decline in the number of people with serious cases of COVID-19 this weekend, with fewer than 700 patients hospitalized on Sunday. There were three times as many COVID-19 hospitalizations during the summer surge.

— A woman was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon after driving her car into a crowd during a demonstration in Yorba Linda involving protesters against police brutality and counter-demonstrators, authorities said.

— Police said a 29-year-old suspect was in custody after he allegedly took an officer’s weapon inside the Los Angeles Police Department Harbor Division station in San Pedro, pistol-whipped him and fired shots.

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NATION-WORLD

— The coronavirus outbreak is heating up fast in small cities in the heartland, often in conservative corners of America where anti-mask sentiment runs high.

— Fighting between forces from Armenia and Azerbaijan has erupted again over the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The territory’s defense ministry said 16 soldiers and two civilians have been killed and more than 100 wounded.

— About 100,000 demonstrators marched in the capital of Belarus calling for the authoritarian president’s ouster, as protests marked their 50th consecutive day.

— A rat has for the first time won a British charity’s top civilian award for animal bravery, receiving the honor for searching out unexploded landmines in Cambodia.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Actors and casting directors are navigating a whole new world for auditions: socially distanced studio layouts, elaborate self-tape setups and awkward Zoom meetings.

“The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix offers some COVID-free TV comfort food.

— When Prince got “Black for real”: the radical ambition of “Sign O’ the Times.”

Vin Diesel is the unexpected pop singer 2020 didn’t know it needed.

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BUSINESS

Big companies are swallowing up smaller ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding further pressure to the economy.

TikTok won a significant victory against the Trump administration, when a federal judge ruled in favor of the tech company’s request to delay a ban on the app.

SPORTS

— The Lakers will make their return to the NBA Finals, where they will face the Miami Heat beginning Wednesday. Columnist Helene Elliott says the Lakers made the right choice last year in hiring Frank Vogel as coach, even if he wasn’t their first choice.

— The Dodgers will open MLB’s wild-card playoffs against the Milwaukee Brewers, also on Wednesday.

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Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

OPINION

Democrats can’t stop Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation. They can show how she would take away our rights, writes Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Cancer screenings are down dramatically during the pandemic. By delaying tests, patients are delaying treatment — and putting their health at risk, writes Caryn Lerman, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Hakeem Dawodu, a rising contender in the UFC, wants to shed light on issues of systemic racism in Canada. (The Undefeated)

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— Is there life on Venus? These missions could find it. (Scientific American)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Solar panels by Chanel? The French luxury label recently announced that it is investing $35 million in San Francisco-based Sunrun, the largest rooftop solar installer in the U.S., aimed at bringing solar power to 100 multifamily properties serving low-income residents across the Golden State. But apparently the panels will not carry the Chanel double-C logo.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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