Newsletter: The FBI and the DWP
A look at why the FBI paid a visit to the L.A. Department of Water and Power, the city attorney’s office and two other locations.
The FBI and the DWP
FBI agents fanned across the Los Angeles area on Monday, serving search warrants at multiple government offices, including the Department of Water and Power, as part of an investigation into how the city responded to a disastrous rollout of a new customer billing system in 2013. Investigators searched DWP headquarters, the offices of City Atty. Mike Feuer and two other locations — one in Beverly Hills, the other in an office tower that houses multiple city agencies. The footage of FBI agents striding into the offices of the city’s water and electrical utility could deal a serious political blow to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who promised to reform the DWP when he took office in 2013.
Bipartisan (!) Compromise?
White House officials and congressional leaders have reached a deal to lift the nation’s debt limit and boost federal spending by about $320 billion over caps set to take effect under a 2011 budget law. The agreement would prevent the country from defaulting on its debt, which would be calamitous for financial markets. Though there’s bipartisan support, the plan still must be approved by Congress and be done quickly. Fiscal conservatives have balked at the significant new spending it entails.
-- Immigration officials will be able to more quickly arrest and deport undocumented immigrants anywhere in the United States without going before a judge under a new policy released by the Trump administration. The process is set to take effect today.
-- Democrats and Republicans are plotting ways to transform former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III‘s testimony before Congress on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Justice Department told Mueller that his testimony “must remain within the boundaries of your public report.”
-- Rep. Adam B. Schiff says he will explore legislation to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from diverting funds from crucial research and programs on tracking nuclear material that could be used in a terrorist attack. It comes after an L.A. Times investigation.
-- Former Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota told the New Yorker magazine that he “absolutely” regrets resigning from the Senate after several women accused him of unwanted kissing or touching.
An Anti-Vaccination Haven
In 2016, California implemented one of the strictest immunization laws in the country, requiring that all children be up to date on their vaccinations to attend school unless a doctor says otherwise. But the law’s implementation has also coincided with an increase in parents choosing to home-school their kids — and not vaccinating them. Over the last three years, the number of kindergartners who were home-schooled and did not have their shots has quadrupled, according to a Times analysis of state data.
Giving Aid to the Video Game Police
American video game companies have been quietly agreeing to China’s demands to limit the time young people spend playing games. “League of Legends” and “Fortnite” players in China are having their playtime tracked, facing heavy penalties if they play too long. While limiting gaming sessions might not seem like a human rights violation, some data privacy advocates describe the companies who agree to China’s demands as tacit accomplices in an authoritarian social control scheme.
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-- Satellite images offer a dramatic and instructive view of the immense power of the Ridgecrest earthquake, showing.
-- Data show the University of California has opened its doors to the largest and most diverse class of Californians ever for the fall semester of 2019.
-- After several years of massively destructive wildfires, insurance companies have been canceling homeowners policies and raising rates throughout rural parts of the state.
-- Bigger than Carmageddon: State Route 60 will undergo repairs for 15 weekends over the next four months, with closures from Ontario to Riverside.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- The live-action version of “The Lion King” is a huge hit. Film critic Justin Chang says it might also be Disney’s most dispiriting remake yet.
-- In Atwater Village, the director of “Pass Over,” a play about the harsh realities facing black men in America, was fired. The play never opened. Now, there are questions of race, power and art.
-- One of the people in the ASAP Rocky assault case in Sweden is off the hook, butwho have been let go.
-- Boris Johnson will be Britain’s next prime minister.
-- Tens of thousands of demonstrators descended onto a main highway in Puerto Rico’s capital in the biggest protest in more than a week of public calls for Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s resignation.
-- Iran claimed it had smashed a CIA spy ring on its soil, saying some of the 17 Iranian nationals netted by authorities had already been sentenced to death. U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo dismissed the claims.
-- India successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft to the far side of the moon, a week after aborting the mission because of a technical problem.
-- Equifax has agreed to pay as much as $700 million to resolve federal and state investigations into the 2017 hack that compromised some of the most sensitive information of more than 140 million people.
-- Juul Labs, the nation’s leading manufacturer of e-cigarettes, has hired as its medical director a prominent University of California researcher known for his work on the dangers nicotine poses for the adolescent brain. Is it an echo of Big Tobacco tactics?
-- Wonder where generic drug names come from? These two women in Chicago.
-- The Angels mourned pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ death and celebrated his life at a memorial service in Santa Monica.
-- Sports can’t be the fantasy world we use to avoid reality, writes columnist LZ Granderson.
-- Why is it taking so long to hire L.A.'s homeless to pick up trash?
-- Area 51 holds secrets, all right, but they don’t involve UFOs and aliens.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Remember when Vice President Mike Pence abruptly canceled a trip to New Hampshire? He was one short plane ride away from shaking hands with an alleged interstate drug dealer. (Politico)
-- A former Yale Law School dean argues that elite universities need to embrace their elitism. (Chronicle of Higher Education)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
At the Sonoma County Fair, pig wrangling is out and greased watermelons are in. For half a century, the fair has hosted a “pig scramble” in which children race after squealing piglets, dragging them out of a dirt pit by their hind legs. This year, children will be given greased watermelons to carry through an obstacle course. Fair officials say the decision wasn’t prompted by animal rights activists, who are nonetheless happier than a pig in mud about it.
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