Newsletter: Fires and fury


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Fires and Fury

On a day when utilities turned off power to millions to reduce the chance of a spark, a dump truck driver who hastily offloaded burning trash on the side of a Riverside County highway started a fire that burned dozens of residences in a mobile home park. Meanwhile, a fire in Sylmar jumped the 210 Freeway and has marched rapidly west, burning several homes and forcing thousands to flee. Another fast-moving fire triggered mandatory evacuations near Moreno Valley.

Smaller fires burned in Northern and Central California, where Pacific Gas & Electric had implemented mass power outages that drew the fury of customers and Gov. Gavin Newsom alike. PG&E did so because it lags behind other electricity providers, especially San Diego Gas & Electric, in assessing wildfire risk and deploying systems to target shutdowns.


Southern California Edison has also turned off power to thousands and may add other areas with Santa Ana winds and red flag conditions until tonight.

Giuliani and Associates

With public support for the House impeachment inquiry rising, two Soviet-born political donors who assisted Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, in pushing Ukraine to investigate alleged corruption have been hit with federal charges.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are accused of violating campaign finance laws in connection with their efforts to funnel foreign money from Russia into Trump’s campaign. The two were arrested as they tried to flee the country, according to a U.S. law enforcement official. They are also accused of being involved in efforts to oust the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

More About the Impeachment Inquiry

— Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said there was “no pressure or blackmail from the U.S.” during his now-infamous July phone call with Trump, who had asked him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden as well as a theory that Ukraine had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.


— As Trump slams Hunter Biden, the president’s children Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump have been raking in millions during their father’s time in office.

Impeachment watch: Here are the key developments to look for going forward.

Two Versus 11,000

Amid the chaos of the ongoing Turkish incursion into northern Syria, U.S. forces have whisked away two of the most notorious terrorist suspects, the survivors among a group of four nicknamed the “Beatles.”

But the fate of 11,000 other Islamic State detainees, about 2,000 of them foreign fighters, has emerged as a major reason for concern. U.S.-backed Kurdish militia fighters, many of whom feel betrayed by Trump, have been guarding the prisoners but are likely to switch their focus to the battlefront.

Slowly Redefining the California Dream

A home, with a backyard and a garage. For decades that has been part of the mystique of California living. But as the state faces a housing crisis, lawmakers in Sacramento have been quietly chipping away at zoning only for single-family homes, without the huge blowback that a more sweeping proposal has received.

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On this day in 1909, President William Howard Taft visited Los Angeles, arriving by his private rail car, the Mayflower.

He “had a bully time” here and “didn’t have the air that some celebrities contrive to give of a ruler visiting his subjects,” The Times reported at the time. “When people cheered at him from the windows of the office buildings, he waved his hat back at them like an enthusiastic boy; yanked the shiny silk tie off and fairly whooped it round his head. Without losing his dignity, he was delightfully, lovably informal.”

On the day of Taft’s arrival, The Times ran a poem on the front page suggesting how L.A. might greet him.

Oct. 11, 1909: The Times printed a front-page poem to greet President Taft in L.A.
(Los Angeles Times)


Wage inequality has risen more in California’s cities than in any other state’s. Seven of the nation’s 15 most unequal cities are here, including one that may come as a surprise.

— No wonder Californians are so pessimistic about the state’s direction, columnist George Skelton writes. He digs into what else worries us.

Pot at school? In a break with his predecessor, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that paves the way for parents in some districts to bring medical cannabis to their kids at K-12 campuses.

— Newsom also took action to strengthen California’s workplace protection laws related to sexual harassment, signing bills that were vetoed by his predecessor last year.

— A road widening project has been indefinitely halted after a Native American burial site was believed to have been found in a construction zone for the 405 Freeway.


— Restaurant critic Bill Addison calls Spoon by H the best Korean restaurant in L.A. outside Koreatown. Start with the amazing dumpling soup.

— If you’ve got four hours to kill, Claremont is vintage, delicious and delightfully smart.

Eastern Sierra fall colors are at their peak. Here’s where you need to go right now.

— This art museum tour for people who don’t do art museum tours has a colorful name and starts with a group cheer: “Dismantle the patriarchy!


— Who will win the streaming wars? Who knows, but there’s one early favorite. But after sparking a creative revolution, streaming TV risks losing its edge.

— Nickelodeon’s “Blue’s Clues” is back with a familiar format, but this time it’s a little higher tech.

— This week’s IndieCade gaming event at Santa Monica College is predicated on a radical idea about the promise of games.

— The two winners of the Nobel Prize for literature are both European literary stylists known for imaginative prose, and for attracting controversy.


— Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, leader since April 2018, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s long-running border conflict with Eritrea.

— Nearly 600 former Environmental Protection Agency officials have called for an investigation into whether the agency’s leaders abused their authority by threatening punitive action against California.

— The El Paso Walmart shooting suspect has pleaded not guilty in the killing of 22 people.

— For the first time in nearly four decades, Iranian women were able to buy tickets and enter a stadium to watch a live sports event: a World Cup qualifying match between the Iranian and Cambodian men’s teams.

Two missiles struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia on Friday, Iranian officials said.


— One of the remaining obstacles to passing a new North American trade agreement could soon be cleared after Mexico promised top House Democrats that it would improve enforcement of new labor standards.

— Gilbert Milam Jr. wanted to share photos of weed with his 1.2 million Instagram followers, only to see those photos taken down. So, he created an unfiltered photo-sharing app called Social Club. You can probably guess at least part of the nightmare that ensued.


— The baffling bullpen decisions of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts in the team’s postseason-ending loss are raising plenty of questions. So who’s to blame? There’s a long list, as our Dodgers Dugout newsletter explains. (Subscribe to it here.)

— Amid the controversy between China and the NBA, the Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets ended up playing their preseason game in Shanghai, but with limited media coverage.


— It’s time to make it harder for the FBI to snoop on Americans’ conversations with foreigners, writes The Times’ editorial board.

— Columnist Sandy Banks is back at the L.A. Times after leaving in 2015, and oh, how society has changed since then.


— Russian pranksters posing as a Turkish official got Sen. Lindsey Graham to say some interesting things about Turkey, Trump and the Kurds. (Politico)

— Even out in the Arizona desert, it’s hard to get away from noise. The tech industry is a major culprit. (The Atlantic)


The Pleasanton Police Department in Alameda County wanted to give out its tips on how to prepare for a power shutdown this week. So on its Facebook page, it shared a map of California indicating where outages might occur. Instead of highlighting the 24 counties affected by PG&E’s shutdown, though, it marked the entire state in red. Not everyone appreciated the department’s sense of humor, but the post was widely shared.

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