Newsletter: Fire knows no boundaries

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Fire Knows No Boundaries

As Californians have learned time and again, wildfires don’t discriminate. They consume.

Up north, the massive Kincade fire in Sonoma County wine country has destroyed 123 structures, including 57 homes, since starting a week ago. With some of the strongest winds of the season expected to hit much of California this week, residents who fled their homes are bracing for more fear and uncertainty, while millions of others face prolonged power outages.


Down south, firefighters in Los Angeles have struggled to control a fire near the Getty Center that destroyed eight homes and damaged five in Brentwood. Housekeepers and gardeners reported for work, as thousands of people were ordered to evacuate some of the priciest enclaves on Earth. Museum officials reported the artwork was safe.

More About the Fires

-- L.A. and Bay Area residents are breathing the smoke. That has led schools and others to take precautions.

-- The same areas of California keep catching on fire. What about limits on home building?

-- Be prepared: How you can get ready for wildfires.

Impeachment Inquiry Update: A Vote Looms


House Democrats have decided to hold a formal vote on impeachment proceedings against President Trump, a step they had resisted for several weeks, and one that will provide the first public test of sentiment in the House on the divisive issue. The vote could come as early as Thursday.

Enough Democrats have publicly said that they support the inquiry, which has been underway since late September, that the outcome is not significantly in doubt. But each side will be watching to see how many defections the other suffers.

The news comes as Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council, plans to testify today that he twice raised concerns over the Trump administration’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and Joe Biden. On Monday, former national security official Charles Kupperman defied a House subpoena to appear.

More Politics

-- Democratic Rep. Katie Hill’s decision to resign from Congress has given Republicans an unexpected chance to recapture her House district on the northern edge of the Los Angeles suburbs, but Trump’s unpopularity in California will make it a steep challenge for the GOP.

-- Former Gov. Jerry Brown will testify before Congress today about the damage the Trump administration’s plans to roll back auto emission standards could do to California.


-- How much will Trump benefit from the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi during a U.S. raid? Normally, it would help a president, but of course it’s not that easy. Meanwhile, Trump tweeted a photo of a military dog hurt during the operation. The dog’s name is classified.

Shown is the photo tweeted by President Trump of the military dog that was injured while tracking down Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi in Syria.

When an Extension Isn’t an ‘Extension’

The Trump administration has extended temporary protected status for thousands of Salvadorans in the United States, granting them reprieve from removal to El Salvador. But as with many things in Washington these days, it’s complicated.

El Salvador’s president touted the move on Twitter as a victory for his newly elected administration. Trump administration officials painted a different picture, attempting to limit the scope of the extension. Acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said the status was not being extended at all.

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It’s a South Bay tradition that goes back to 1952: Every year, a 3.3-million-gallon orange storage tank at a refinery in Wilmington gets a Halloween makeover as Smilin’ Jack with a 73-foot-long smile and 18-foot-tall eyes. And as this story from 1995 noted, “If it were filled with pumpkin meat, there would be enough to make 26,800,000 pumpkin pies.”


-- The L.A. County district attorney’s office says it will review questions surrounding an apartment rented by the son of City Councilman Herb Wesson at a building linked to a Koreatown real estate developer.

-- Buddy, can you spare $100 million? Los Angeles City Hall, facing a potential triple-digit deficit largely tied to recent labor agreements with the city’s police, fire and other unions, could soon implement a sweeping savings plan.


-- Former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon will challenge Jackie Lacey to become L.A. County’s top prosecutor next year. The contest could test the political mood for criminal justice reform.

-- Does Little Saigon in Orange County have the best Vietnamese food in the country?


-- As new wildfires burn, two documentaries come to television to mark the anniversary of the Nov. 8, 2018, Camp fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history.

-- Hollywood producer Robert Evans has died at 89. Even as his contemporaries and fans saluted him, Evans’ checkered past did not go unnoticed in death.

-- TV critic Lorraine Ali looks at the rare occasion of a U.S. president being booed at the World Series and how Trump’s strategy has come back to bite him.


-- For the L.A. Phil’s 100th anniversary, Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Gustavo Dudamel got together for some epic concerts.


-- North Carolina judges have blocked the state’s congressional map from being used in the 2020 elections, ruling that voters had a strong likelihood of winning a lawsuit that argued Republicans unlawfully manipulated district lines for partisan gain.

-- Kurdish and Turkish forces are jockeying for position in Syria ahead of a deadline for the Kurds to withdraw from the border.

-- Britain got Brexit breathing space but no clarity when the European Union granted a three-month delay to the U.K.’s departure from the bloc.

-- The locals knew him as Abu Mohammed Salama, a friendly but quiet animal feed wholesaler. So they were surprised to learn about his secret life harboring Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the founder of Islamic State.



-- Automatic renewals of subscriptions and memberships — the gym, Amazon Prime, streaming services — have become crucial to many industries, but they may not be the most consumer-friendly, writes columnist David Lazarus.

-- The historic Dutch Chocolate Shop, a quirky L.A. art treasure long obscured from public view, may soon be seen again. The building that houses the long-shuttered restaurant is for sale, which could set the table for a revival by a new owner.


-- Experts are concerned about a race horse drug treatment for which there are no rules, one used on some horses before they start racing, that might lead to more breakdowns and serious injuries.

-- UCLA football coach Chip Kelly has an explanation for his team’s abysmal start given its recent surge.



-- Climate change has set California on fire. Are you paying attention?

-- “Fifty years ago, I helped invent the internet. How did it go so wrong?


-- Since 2014, at least 45,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers have been killed in Afghanistan. The fatality rate is comparable to America’s at the height of the Vietnam War. (The New Yorker)

-- Atty. Gen. William S. Barr defended the independence and integrity of a probe being led by U.S. Atty. John Durham into the handling of the Russia investigation, while taking a swipe at James Comey’s past leadership of the FBI. (Fox News)


-- The curious case of an 1875 map that imagined the U.S as a giant hog. (Atlas Obscura)


“Urban Death: Tour of Terror” by Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group is not for the faint of heart. It has violence, nudity and graphic depictions of rape, suicide, addiction and other more abstract horrors. But the show has built a cult-like following over the last 14 years. One repeat customer says she enjoys leaving with the feeling of “always trying to figure out what the hell I just saw.”

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