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Newsletter: California’s dangerous winds

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California’s Dangerous Winds

After enduring weeks of destructive fires, widespread blackouts and extreme weather conditions, California is facing another test today: powerful winds that forecasters are describing as historic and potentially disastrous.

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In Southern California, Santa Ana winds of 50 to 70 mph, with isolated gusts of 80 mph, could ground helicopters that have been essential in fighting the Getty fire, which was started by a tree branch that fell on power lines (see the video). An “extreme red flag” warning has prompted urgent preparations for more potential fires and evacuations.

In Northern California, the winds could hit 65 mph, hindering efforts to contain the 76,000-acre Kincade fire, which has destroyed 189 structures, including 86 homes, and forced nearly 200,000 people to flee. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said it could shut off power to well over 1 million people in its latest bid to reduce wildfire risk.

A Brief Wildfire Preparation Guide

-- Get your household ready for a wildfire in your area.

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-- Kids and smoke exposure: First off, don’t buy masks.

-- How to prepare pets and large animals.

-- Ways you can keep the lights on when the power goes out.

Fresh Ammunition

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Army officer and the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, has told a House panel that he was so alarmed by White House efforts to press Ukraine to investigate President Trump’s political foes that he repeatedly complained to a superior. The testimony, which took place behind closed doors, gives fresh ammunition to Democrats, who introduced a resolution that could be approved Thursday to formalize procedures for their impeachment inquiry and quiet GOP complaints about the process.

In a Giving Mood

Californians don’t have a U.S. Senate race on the ballot in 2020. No matter. They have donated more than $13.2 million this year to senators or their challengers across the country, according to federal fundraising disclosures tracking donations of $200 or more. And it’s not all going to Democrats. Some candidates, such as Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), have raised more money here than in their home states.

A Blot on D.C.’s Landscape

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Spare us the political jokes for a moment. Mysterious black splotches are creeping over the gleaming Jefferson Memorial, a hallowed shrine at Arlington National Cemetery and other historic monuments and buildings in Washington. What’s causing the unsightly mix of bacteria, fungi and algae known as “biofilm”? As our latest Column One shows, theories abound.

The Battle of 187

The year was 1994. The issue: Proposition 187, an initiative that sought to punish undocumented immigrants by denying them certain services, including access to public healthcare and education, in California. The measure sparked massive protests. Yet it won easily at the ballot box. But the true battle of Prop. 187 was just beginning, and eventually it would transform the state. A new three-part podcast hosted by reporter Gustavo Arellano, “This Is California: The Battle of 187,” explores the history.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this date in 1949, the Rev. Billy Graham preached to thousands of faithful in an enormous tent at Washington Boulevard and Hill Street in Los Angeles — part of a more than eight-week tent revival that drew 350,000 and catapulted the young Southern Baptist preacher to religious stardom.

He quoted the Bible, discussed his tours of Europe after World War II and invoked the Cold War: “All across Europe, people know that time is running out,” he said. “Now that Russia has the atomic bomb, the world is in an armament race driving us to destruction.” This photo appeared in the Nov. 14, 1949, edition of The Times.

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Oct. 30, 1949: Rev. Billy Graham delivers a sermon to a crowd attending a tent revival at Washington Boulevard and Hill Street.
Oct. 30, 1949: Rev. Billy Graham delivers a sermon to a crowd attending a tent revival at Washington Boulevard and Hill Street.
(Bill Murphy / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

Long Beach authorities say three people were killed and nine were hurt Tuesday night during a mass shooting at a home.

— Southern California Edison says its electrical equipment will probably be found to be “associated” with 2018’s deadly Woolsey fire, which burned more than 1,000 homes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

— Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey told a political club that errors committed by sheriff’s department deputies and a coroner’s office investigator may have played a significant role in the decision not to criminally charge Ed Buck in the death of a man who overdosed in his West Hollywood apartment in 2017.

— Several groups are demanding the University of California drop the SAT and ACT as admission requirements, saying the tests violate state civil rights laws by discriminating against disabled, low-income and underrepresented minority students.

George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide who was a key figure in the FBI’s Russia probe and spent 14 days in prison, is running for the U.S. House seat left vacant by resigning Rep. Katie Hill.

— On Day 1 of the new system for taxi and ride-hail pickups at LAX, there was plenty of confusion — but also plenty of quiet on the once-chaotic sidewalks next to the terminal.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— With the long-awaited HBO Max, WarnerMedia is betting consumers will pay more for streaming — to the tune of $14.99 a month, making the service the most expensive gladiator in the streaming wars. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

— Martin Scorsese’s latest gangster movie “The Irishman” is a revelation that recalls another director’s late-career classic, critic Kenneth Turan writes.

“Parasite” deserves to win all the Oscars, but it might not win any, columnist Glenn Whipp writes.

— It’s the season for Santa Anas, and cultural crankiness, columnist Mary McNamara writes.

Kevin Spacey won’t face criminal charges in a sexual assault case involving a massage therapist who died unexpectedly last month.

NATION-WORLD

— The House overwhelmingly approved a resolution reaffirming its recognition of the Armenian genocide.

— For transgender migrants fleeing death threats, asylum in the U.S. is a crapshoot.

Peru is confronting its dark past of forced sterilizations.

— The prime minister of Lebanon is resigning under pressure from paralyzing protests over corruption and taxes.

— In her quest for fair treatment by the British media, Meghan Markle has 72 female members of Parliament on her side.

BUSINESS

Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have launched a $90-million fight against a new labor law, in an effort to exclude workers from being deemed employees.

Tesla had a surprise third-quarter profit that came despite a nearly 40% revenue drop in its largest market.

— Senators grilled the CEO of Boeing about two 737 Max crashes and whether it hid information about a critical flight system from regulators.

SPORTS

— The NCAA is working on a plan to let athletes benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness. But will it meet California’s new standards?

— In the World Series, the Washington Nationals have forced a Game 7 against the Houston Astros after a huge disputed call.

Kobe Bryant says Dwight Howard will “make a hell of an impact” with the Lakers.

— In a disappointing season for the Chargers, Joey Bosa’s been a highlight.

OPINION

— Republican lawmakers asked for a floor vote on impeachment. Now they’re getting one and are still upset. History may not look upon them well.

— House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become the anti-Trump: disciplined and implacable.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— How Scientology took over a Florida city. (Tampa Bay Times)

— Apps that purport to interpret the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing are provoking fears of “the Wild West of genetics.” (Nature)

ONLY IN L.A.

Attention, bargain shoppers. A house in Holmby Hills has just gotten a huge price cut. Now, it was created by architect-to-the-stars Paul Williams. And it did belong to Max Azria, the late fashion mogul, and before him, Sidney Sheldon, an Oscar-winning producer-writer whose novels have sold over 300 million copies. But the 30,000-square-foot, 60-room mansion known as Maison du Soleil has resurfaced for sale at $78 million, down $10 million from its previous asking price. You can get a look for free here.

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