Newsletter: The fight over fur

Emek Echo at a 2018 L.A. City Council meeting that banned the manufacture and sale of fur products.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

State lawmakers in California could ban fur products, and the you-know-what is flying in L.A., of all places.


The Fight Over Fur


Decades before gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, fortune-seekers flocked to California for its furs. Now the state is poised to become the first in the country to ban them — a legislative drama in which Los Angeles is the unlikely star for a number of reasons. Though many in L.A. see fur as an avatar of cruelty, to others it remains a powerful totem of cultural heritage, historical continuity and Hollywood glamour.

A Test of Faithless Electors

Heading into what looks to be a hard-fought presidential election, the Supreme Court is likely to be asked to resolve a lingering but fundamental question about the creaky, little-understood electoral college system adopted in 1787: Can states require their appointed electors to cast ballots for the candidate favored by most of the state’s voters on election day? Or can there be so-called faithless electors who can vote their conscience? Some legal experts say the specter of another Bush vs. Gore election dispute case could prompt the Supreme Court to decide the issue.

More Politics

— After a weekend of roller-coaster meetings with foreign leaders in France, President Trump turned to less weighty matters: denying a bedbug problem at the troubled Trump golf resort in Miami, where he wants to host next year’s G-7 summit, and rejecting a report that he pondered using nuclear weapons against Atlantic hurricanes, a move that scientists say would spread radioactivity around the globe.

— Unless you watched much daytime TV in the early aughts, you might not recall a Harvard professor named Elizabeth Warren giving personal finance advice on “Dr. Phil,” and honing her knack for connecting with audiences.


— Former President Barack Obama has a new initiative to end partisan gerrymandering. The plan: training volunteers in how to counter unfair redistricting practices.

‘No More Jails’?

Almost everyone in a position of power in L.A. County wants to close the antiquated Men’s Central Jail, a dungeon-like structure that opened six decades ago and is ill-suited to meet the growing mental health needs of modern inmates. But finding agreement about how, and what to do beyond that, is proving to be a stumbling block.

Hey, Boss: Fire Up That Headset

As a form of entertainment, virtual reality has not lived up to the hype. But there still is a growing market for the goggle-wearing experience: in the business world. If you want to show insurance claims adjusters how to do home inspections — or train managers how to fire people — VR is just the ticket.

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On this date 10 years ago, the death of Michael Jackson was ruled a homicide, nearly two months after the pop star was found unresponsive and efforts to revive him failed. A Los Angeles County jury would later convict Jackson’s personal physician of involuntary manslaughter. Here’s a look back from the pages of The Times on the singer’s death.


Lee Baca has been implicated in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme run by well-connected gas company owner Lev Aslan Dermen, according to a court filing by Utah federal prosecutors. They say a witness is prepared to testify he once saw the former L.A. County sheriff accept a cash payment from Dermen at a dinner.

— The Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy accused of faking being shot by a sniper had been investigated by his agency earlier for dishonesty, according to law enforcement sources.

— A Calexico-based Border Patrol agent has pleaded guilty and agreed to resign after admitting he hit a migrant in custody in the face, per court documents.

— As it navigates a raft of high-profile scandals, the University of Southern California has selected a new provost and second-in-command: Charles F. Zukoski, an accomplished chemical engineer and the current provost of the University at Buffalo.


— The MPAA has fired executive Steven Fabrizio after his arrest on charges he sexually abused and blackmailed a woman he contacted through an online dating service for “sugar daddies.”

— Ahead of the Cure‘s performance at Pasadena Daydream Festival this weekend, we talked with frontman — and festival curator — Robert Smith about the best part of playing live, how awful the ‘80s were, and his band’s upcoming album, which is “very much on the darker side of the spectrum.”

— Leslie Jones is walking away from “Saturday Night Live,” but Kate McKinnon is sticking around.

— The Video Music Awards showed MTV is a top-down behemoth struggling to make sense of a bottom-up era.

— Meanwhile, Trump was unmoved by Taylor Swift‘s VMA shoutout to her petition in support of a bill that would extend federal discrimination protections to explicitly include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.


— “He is a coward.” “My dreams were stolen.” Women who have accused Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse poured out their anger Tuesday over his suicide in jail, saying in an unusual hearing that he robbed them of their shot at justice.

— A federal judge blocked Missouri’s new ban on abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy from taking effect for now, pending a legal challenge.

— The College Board is ditching plans to assign an adversity score to everybody who takes the SAT, calling it a mistake and saying it will instead use a tool that doesn’t reduce an applicant’s background to a single number.

— There are only two northern white rhinos left in the world, and they’re both female. There’s a chance IVF could save their species.


— It could have been a lot worse. That was how investors reacted to the $572-million verdict against Johnson & Johnson yesterday. But they may soon see some alarming signals in it.

— The latest pushback on hotels’ widely hated resort fees is coming from travel booking websites.

— Are Philip Morris and Altria getting back together? More than a decade after splitting their operations, the Marlboro makers are in talks to reunite. The deal would be the biggest since AT&T’s for Time Warner three years ago.

— A rocket launch Tuesday brings SpaceX closer to Elon Musk’s vision of human travel to Mars.


DeMarcus Cousins is being investigated by the NBA and police in Mobile, Ala., after the mother of his child said he threatened to shoot her in the head last week. She told police the Lakers center made the threat on the phone and gave them a recording of the call.

Justin Turner has been given a one-game suspension for making contact with an umpire in the ninth inning of the Dodgers’ Monday loss to the Padres, but he’s appealing and will play in the meantime.

Rob Gronkowski is getting Patriots fans’ hopes up for a comeback.

— Linebacker brothers Lokeni and Leni Toailoa are making an impact on UCLA’s defense, plus inventing catchphrases that are catching on among teammates.


— Trump is trying to unload America’s public lands to oil companies before the election, The Times Editorial Board writes. The revenue it would raise is a paltry sum considering the irreversible havoc it would wreak.

— A state Assembly bill could, if passed, wipe the slate clean for millions of Californians with criminal records, removing unfair obstacles that prevent them from getting jobs, housing and educational opportunities, Santa Clara Law School professor Colleen V. Chien writes.

— Scott Jennings has some ideas for three gun reforms that Republicans in Congress could embrace to show suburban Americans they’re listening.


— China is recruiting spies on social media, and it’s finding LinkedIn a fertile hunting ground. (New York Times)

— What’s behind tech giants hiring in-house philosophers? (Wired)


Chicken sausage plays a crucial role in L.A.’s African American food culture, from soul food to barbecue to Cajun-Creole cuisine, and it’s a nostalgic comfort food for a generation of black Angelenos. “The relationship that Los Angeles has with chicken sausage is very interesting, because in most other cities what you find is turkey,” says Adrian Miller, author of a book on soul food. With help from him and some sausage-making experts, we explain the history of how the links became so central to local black food culture, what makes chicken superior to turkey, and where you should go to get some.

Walter Hart Jr. and Sr., the father-son duo behind Best Buy Meats in Hyde Park.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Time)

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