Newsletter: How homelessness law now stands

A homeless man packs up his tent in downtown Los Angeles in July. The Supreme Court let stand a ruling that says homeless people have a right to sleep on the sidewalk if a city doesn’t have enough shelters to house them.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


How Homelessness Law Now Stands

Los Angeles and dozens of other cities across the West, all struggling to deal with a growing number of people living on the streets, had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court would hear a challenge to a case known as City of Boise vs. Martin, which has curbed the ability of police to stop people from sleeping on public property if no other shelter is available.


Instead, the high court decided to not hear the case and let last year’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling stand. Why? The Supreme Court did not explain its decision to turn down the appeal — the justices usually don’t do so — but they may have thought the dispute was moot.

Advocates for the homeless cheered the court’s move, which in effect means that, for now, the only solutions to homelessness in nine western states are more housing and more services. But there is discussion of a possible California ballot measure that would create a legal “right to shelter” or “right to housing.”

Another Roadblock for Asylum Seekers

The United States is preparing to send asylum seekers to Honduras, even if they are not from there, and effectively end their chances of seeking asylum in the U.S., according to documents obtained by The Times. Earlier this year, the Trump administration reached a similar agreement with Guatemala. But what’s significant about the Honduras agreement is that it is the first to explicitly state that if Honduras or another country rejects the individuals’ asylum claims, they won’t get another chance to apply in the U.S.

More Politics

— The House Judiciary Committee has released a 650-page report detailing its rationale for the impeachment case against President Trump and accusing him of betraying the nation for his own political gain. The House will vote Wednesday on impeachment articles.


— A senior U.S. diplomat says Washington won’t accept a year-end deadline set by North Korea to make concessions in stalled nuclear talks and urged Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table immediately. Worries about a major North Korean provocation are growing.

— A federal judge has scheduled a sentencing hearing for next month for Michael Flynn after rejecting arguments from the former Trump administration national security advisor that prosecutors had withheld evidence favorable to his case.

— The fate of L.A.’s Democratic presidential debate on Thursday hinges on a union contract bargaining session today.

Our Sour Ocean

When carbon dioxide mixes with seawater, it undergoes chemical reactions that increase the water’s acidity. Scientists call it the world’s other major, but less talked-about, CO2 problem. Now, a new study has found that waters off the California coast are acidifying twice as fast as the global average. It threatens not only major fisheries but also sounds an alarm that the ocean can absorb only so much more of the world’s carbon emissions.

The Saga of ‘Sparkle Boy’

Should the complexities of gender identity be taught to kids in the third grade? For the leaders of the acclaimed Oak Park school district in Ventura County, the answer was an obvious yes. For some parents of the 8-year-old students, the answer was a clear no. Our latest Column One feature shows how the district’s decision played outside and inside the classroom, including the reading of a book titled “Sparkle Boy.”

A Studio’s Inclusive Approach

Ozzie Areu presides over one of the nation’s largest Latino-owned and operated film studios: a sprawling 60-acre site in Atlanta that was previously owned by his former boss and mentor, Tyler Perry. He plans to turn it into an inclusive media campus that champions Latino, women and other underrepresented groups in entertainment. But he is quick to emphasize that he does not want to restrict himself to Latino or female audiences.

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On this day in 1976, the 810-foot oil tanker Sansinena exploded in Los Angeles Harbor — breaking in two, rocking the coastline, shattering windows, killing six crewmen and injuring more than 50 other people. Two other crewmen and a dock security guard were never found and presumed dead.

Staff photographer Robert Lachman remembers feeling the blast while eating dinner in The Times’ 10th-floor cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. After rushing to the scene, he took the photo below using a slow exposure with a tripod-mounted Nikon F. See more photos of the blast’s aftermath here.

Dec. 17, 1976: Sheets of flames light the sky as firefighters pour water on the inferno caused by the explosion of the Sansinena. This image was one of three published on The Times' front page the following day.
(Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times)


— L.A.’s online system for pot licenses opened one minute early, letting 12 applicants start up to six seconds before the official launch, city data show — and while officials say they were pushed back in line, the revelation is still likely to deepen suspicion surrounding the program.

— County officials shut down a housing program for young adults transitioning out of foster care last month after learning one La Verne apartment was linked to a murder investigation, according to authorities and court documents.

Earl C. Paysinger, a pillar of the Los Angeles Police Department and a respected leader in South L.A. who was credited with driving down crime by focusing on community partnerships, has died at 64.

— Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband want prosecutors in the college admissions scandal to turn over FBI reports they insist would show the $500,000 they paid a consultant’s charity was a legitimate donation, not bribes to get their daughters into USC as fake rowers.

— Expect strong Santa Ana winds through tonight that could topple trees and power lines and bring colder temperatures to Los Angeles and Ventura counties.


— The Oscars’ screenplay categories could be a crucial test for best picture aspirants. Columnist Glenn Whipp has some predictions for what will be nominated.

Greta Gerwig had the perfect ending for “Little Women.” Here’s why she kept it a secret.

Harvey Weinstein thinks he’s been “forgotten.” Twenty-three of his sexual assault accusers would beg to differ.

— From Keb’ Mo’ to Los Lobos, here are 18 new standout holiday music albums.

— What it took to turn Renée Zellweger into Judy Garland.


— Authorities say at least nine people have died in weather-related crashes in several Midwestern states amid a snowstorm that forced schools to close and snarled traffic.

— New research suggests the toll school shootings take on survivors’ mental health, finding that antidepressant use sharply rises in nearby areas in the years just after a shooting.

— Meanwhile, a provocative study that linked police killings of unarmed black people with health problems in black babies has been retracted due to problems with the data used in the analysis.

— Officials from the Army and Navy academies are investigating whether hand signals flashed by students standing in a TV broadcast before their annual football game Saturday were white supremacist messages.

— In India, opposition is building to a new law that critics say violates the secular constitution of the world’s largest democracy by, for the first time, conditioning citizenship on religion.

— Side by side in Belgium on Monday, the Allies and Germany marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, which stopped Adolf Hitler’s last-ditch offensive to turn the tide of World War II.


Boeing will temporarily stop making the grounded 737 Max in January, deepening its crisis and threatening a vast web of suppliers.

— The former production assistant who won a $58-million civil verdict against hologram executive and billionaire Alki David now plans to file a criminal complaint for sexual battery.

Amazon is flexing its power over how shoppers get their stuff by barring third-party merchants from using FedEx ground this holiday season because it’s too slow.

— Federal regulators have approved the first fully disposable duodenoscope in a bid to stop patients from being infected by lethal superbugs. The reusable version of the commonly used medical device is notoriously hard to clean.


LeBron James’ answer to all those load management questions: “If I’m healthy, I play.

Ilya Kovalchuk’s stint with the L.A. Kings is officially over. It’s an ending that feels both premature and long overdue.


— California’s referendum on eliminating money bail is welcome but still nearly a year off, but in the meantime, forward-looking attorneys and activists are helping to ensure a more just criminal justice system now, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— Trump’s shakedowns are threatening two key U.S. alliances in Asia, three experts on the region write.


— The price of America’s inability to track child deaths from abuse and neglect? Sometimes, more lives. (ProPublica)

— Who is Chanel Rion, the One America News host who traveled to Ukraine with Rudolph Giuliani? (The Daily Beast)

Banksy’s photographer reveals their scams and scrapes. (The Guardian)


Perhaps you found yourself flipping through our 101 Best Restaurants in search of just the places for Mexican food? Whether you’re after fideo or fusion, taco trucks or tasting menus, we’ve broken out all of L.A.’s greatest Mexican food from our larger cuisine-agnostic list. The top pick among them, Taco Maria in Costa Mesa, comes in at No. 3 on the full list. Here’s what our critics had to say about it and 16 other spots.

Taco de Esturion from Taco Maria
Taco Maria’s Taco de Esturion: smoked sturgeon, peanut, chile morita and cucumber.
(Taco Maria’s Taco de Esturion: smoked sturgeon, peanut, chile morita and cucumber.)

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