Newsletter: Today: Two enemies’ quiet deal on homelessness

 A homeless encampment underneath the 110 Freeway.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Enemies in public, the Trump administration and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are working toward a possible agreement for federal help with the city’s homelessness crisis.


Two Enemies’ Quiet Deal on Homelessness

Even as President Trump publicly rails against California leaders, senior officials in his administration are quietly making significant progress toward a potential deal to give Los Angeles federal funds and land to help shelter its growing homeless population.

The movement follows a series of phone calls involving Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. On Thursday, Garcetti sent Carson and Trump a letter formally asking for help. Officials would not say how much money is on the table or how close they are to an agreement.


A deal offers potential risk for both men, but also potential reward. Trump has suggested he sees a chance to play hero in the face of what he calls failing Democratic leadership. And Garcetti, who endorsed Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination for president the same day he sent Trump his letter, has tried to cast himself as a bridge builder who will do anything to help the city.

More Politics

— With a House war powers vote to limit Trump’s actions against Iran, Congress tried to reaffirm its constitutional authority to declare war, part of a long power struggle between the branches of government. But the resolution probably won’t carry the full force of law.

— As Democratic support flags for her strategy to gain leverage in negotiating the terms of a trial, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she will release articles of impeachment to the Senate “soon.”

— Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s pitch to Democratic primary voters is that under his mayoralty, the town’s “trajectory has been transformed.” But among residents of color, nearly half its population, reviews of his legacy are conspicuously mixed.

— Billionaire Tom Steyer has qualified for next week’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa alongside Biden, Buttigieg and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders.

Grieving, and Grappling With a Thorny Question

The Ukrainian jet that crashed near Tehran this week, killing all 176 people on board, was probably shot down accidentally by Iranian missiles, U.S. and Canadian officials say. Iran had denied the allegations. Most of the victims were en route to Canada, including at least 60 Canadians — among them at least two newlywed couples, both of whom had met as graduate students there. Many of the non-Canadian victims were established academics.

Canada is in mourning but has also emerged as a key third player in the struggle between Iran and the U.S. While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sidestepped questions of whether the U.S. bore some indirect responsibility for the tragedy because of its killing of a top Iranian general, he acknowledges his country cannot avoid them indefinitely.

A ‘Do or Die’ Vote Across the Globe

Californians with Taiwanese citizenship are flocking to the island to cast their votes in an election that will determine Taiwan’s relationship to China for the next four years, with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests looming as a backdrop.

On an island of 23 million people, expats are unlikely to sway the election. But Taiwanese say they are inspired by the dedication of those who traveled halfway around the world to vote.

“This is as important to us as the American presidential election, if not more,” said Ken Wu, secretary-general of the Taiwan Center Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. “Taiwan is such a small country. If we as Taiwanese don’t care about our future, who will?

A New Player in the Generic Drug Business?

California could become the first state to sell its own brand of generic prescription drugs to drive down healthcare costs under a plan Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to unveil in his proposed budget today.

He has released few details on the mostly conceptual plan, but USC health economist Geoffrey Joyce says it would probably lower prices — somewhat — by increasing competition in the market. “In terms of savings to a typical family, it would be very modest,” he said. We delved deeper into how it would work and how it would affect you.

Newsom’s budget also calls for more spending for wildfire prevention, plus new consumer protections that columnist David Lazarus writes sound like a state version of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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On this day in 1949, Los Angeles got a snow day — four of them, actually. From Jan. 9-12, snow fell across the area, unleashing mayhem.

As Times columnist Cecilia Rasmussen wrote on its 50th anniversary: “The Rose Bowl was transformed into ‘a dishpan full of milk,’ by one account. An Alhambra hardware store put up a sign that said, ‘Snow Plows for Rent — Hurry!’ A snowman appeared in Eagle Rock, wearing a sombrero, and the city of Reno, Nev., sent L.A. a snow shovel.”

It wasn’t all harmless fun. Orange crops were destroyed, ice crushed a blimp in Montebello and cold temperatures froze car engines, stranding signer Bing Crosby, for one, near Castroville. Here are more photos from the storm.

Jan. 10, 1949: Patricia and James Perkins of Riverside, like most members of a new generation, are seeing snow for the first time. This photo was published in the Jan. 11, 1949, Los Angeles Times.
(Los Angeles Times)


— Mary Nichols helped make California a clean air leader. But now the Supreme Court, tilted rightward by Trump’s appointees, could cripple California’s ability to set its own pollution standards.

— Fewer candidates signing up to run for office in L.A. are making it onto the ballot. City officials say more than a third failed to get the voter signatures they needed to qualify.

— Two companies owned by billionaire Stan Kroenke have sued an insurance firm over the cleanup of arsenic-contaminated soil at the Inglewood site where he’s developing the SoFi stadium for the Rams and Chargers.

— California’s new gig-worker law doesn’t apply to thousands of independent truck drivers in the state because it’s preempted by federal law, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ruled.


— It’s not too late to get those New Year’s wellness resolutions in motion. Here are some options.

— A Santa Barbara weekend with the kids, with no driving, no whining and no sunburn.

— Closer to L.A., Chris Erskine has rounded up prime wintry hangouts for slurping chowder, indulging sunsets and proving why the beach is better this time of year.

— Carolina A. Miranda suggests 11 art openings in the coming week, from dozens of dance films to explorations of silence as a political act.


Selena Gomez has 165 million Instagram followers. Now she has her first great pop album, too, our critic writes.

Megyn Kelly is speaking up on what she thinks “Bombshell” got right about Fox News and the parts she found “shameful.”

Chris Rock was “shocked” to land the lead role in FX’s quirky dramedy “Fargo.”

— The NAACP Image Awards nominations are out, and Netflix leads with 42.

— The Grammys will pay tribute to Prince with an all-star concert featuring Alicia Keys, John Legend, St. Vincent and many more.


— Video footage of the area around Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell on a day he survived an apparent suicide attempt “no longer exists,” federal prosecutors told a judge Thursday.

— Trump wants to fast-track some pipelines and highways by exempting them from environmental review, to the alarm of advocacy groups.

— British lawmakers approved a Brexit bill that authorizes the country to leave the European Union at the end of this month.

— A civil war in El Salvador tore a group of young people apart, sending some to California and others across the continent. Decades later, their high school reunion brought them back together.

— For decades, the conservative capital city of North Dakota was a haven for refugees. Then Trump was elected.


— Just how tight is the job market? Taco Bell is offering $100,000 salaries to hire managers.

— Santa Monica-based Ring, which sells internet-enabled video doorbells and surveillance cameras, casts itself as a boon to home security. But its products are vulnerable to hacker attacks, and its policies let police skirt constitutional protections, columnist Michael Hiltzik writes.

Airbnb and other short-term rental sites hide fees from customers. Federal lawmakers and consumer groups are pressuring them to include cleaning and service charges in the advertised rates.


— The latest victims of efficiency in business are baseball’s scouts and minor league teams, Bill Shaikin writes.

LAFC’s investment in South American talent is paying off. Credit a Uruguayan scout and a Colombian legend.

— The behind-the-scenes backbone of the NFL’s hottest franchise are Baltimore County firefighters.


— Australia’s inaction on climate change is entwined with its brush-fire crisis and serves as a warning to the U.S. to rethink its climate policies, writes Evan Karlik, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy and an affiliate at Georgetown University’s Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies.

— Call Trumpism what it is, a cult, writes Virginia Heffernan.

— Healthcare is growing more expensive. It’s a complicated problem, but unleashing nurse practitioners could help improve Californians’ access to care, The Times’ editorial board writes.


— Fred Rogers was the one who appeared on screen. Behind the scenes, Margaret McFarland helped shape “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as his mentor and a leading child psychologist. (New York Times)

Opioid overdoses are rising among women, but treatment programs aren’t designed to meet their unique needs. (The Lily)


For years, Mega 96.3-FM was L.A. radio’s only full-time home for reggaeton. But last July, a rival emerged when the former Spanish pop station KXOS-FM (93.9) switched to a similar bilingual Latin urban format and called itself Cali 93.9. Now, they’re locked in a ratings war — one between a seasoned station from a legacy terrestrial radio family and an upstart rival that within a year started poaching its talent. And after years of multiplying signals that reggaeton and Latin pop were basically merging, L.A. is asserting itself as a city that can do both.

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