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Newsletter: Today: Can D.C. get anything else done?

With Washington riven by rancor, can Congress and the White House still work together in this election year?

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Can D.C. Get Anything Else Done?

Clintonian contrition it wasn’t. In a speech the day after his impeachment acquittal that lasted for more than an hour, President Trump veered from triumphalism to self-pity, vindictiveness and vulgarity, attacking Democrats and basking in Republican allies’ ovations. There was no overarching message for Americans, just a stream-of-consciousness monologue that resembled a pep rally one minute, a therapy session the next.

That speech — plus a public appearance by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose own barbs got personal — suggests any semblance of a working relationship between Washington’s two most powerful leaders may have disintegrated beyond repair. That leaves grave doubts whether Congress and the White House can accomplish anything else in this election year, even though there are some incentives to do so.

Although Trump has survived impeachment, key evidence surrounding his Ukraine dealings still could threaten his reelection run. Chief among the potential land mines: the October trial of two indicted Rudy Giuliani associates, and the claims of former Trump national security advisor John Bolton.

‘Enough Is Enough’

With the results of the botched Iowa caucuses still unclear and new questions emerging about their integrity, the head of the Democratic National Committee called for a review of the vote count, and the candidates looked ahead to the ever more important first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire. If any of them wants Iowa to recalculate its caucus results, they have until noon today.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has declared victory in Iowa, days after former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with whom he’s locked in an apparent dead heat there, did the same. (We’ve analyzed and mapped how the two split Iowa’s voters by age, income and location.) Buttigieg’s strong showing has won him a new look in New Hampshire, but for all the talk of electability and momentum, he still has not solved one towering problem: his meager support among black and Latino voters.

On Homelessness and Housing, No Easy Answers

Whose job is it to evict homeless people from encampments, if anybody’s? Answering that can prove contentious, as Sonoma County learned. Political leaders are calling for actions that could make cops more responsible for managing tens of thousands of people. But many cops say they can’t be both social workers and enforcers, and top brass say they aren’t equipped to be the front line of the crisis.

Meanwhile, an affordable-housing push in Sacramento has fallen victim to what Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti calls an L.A.-versus-San Francisco “cultural divide.” Nearly unanimous opposition from state senators from L.A. County dealt the fatal blow to a bill that would have brought higher-density housing near mass transit. But the intense L.A. resistance belied what the bill probably would have spurred: a lot more development in the Bay Area than in the Southland, according to independent analyses.

The Toxic Legacy of Old Oil Wells

California’s oil industry is fading. What’s left are thousands of idle oil and gas wells. Unremediated drilling sites can contaminate water supplies and leak fumes into the air. An investigation by the Los Angeles Times and the Center for Public Integrity found that state regulations don’t go far enough to hold companies accountable and protect the environment. California’s seven largest drillers have put up about $230 per well when it costs $40,000 to $152,000 to cap and dismantle one. As production continues to decline, can the industry handle future cleanups?

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

Where would you hide a Ferrari? On this day in 1978, police found one buried in a yard on West 119th Street in L.A. The Times reported that it had been reported stolen by an Alhambra man named Rosendo Cruz in December 1974, just two months after he bought it, and that he had been reimbursed by his insurance company.

More than three years later, children playing in the yard discovered the car’s roof. According to The Times’ 1978 story, it wasn’t clear how it came to be buried without neighbors noticing. “It’s not like planting cabbages,” Sgt. Joe Sabas said. Jalopnik got a few more details about the burial in 2012.

Feb. 7, 1978: A buried Ferrari, reported stolen in 1974, is dug up from a backyard on West 119th Street, still in good condition.
Feb. 7, 1978: A buried Ferrari, reported stolen in 1974, is dug up from a backyard on West 119th Street, still in good condition.
(Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the chief architect of California’s sweeping new employment classification law, known as AB 5, says she will push for changes to relax its restrictions on freelance journalists and photographers.

— The California State Lottery gave away $212,500 in Scratchers on “Ellen.” Now some whistleblowers at the agency want to investigate what they consider misuse of funds, according to documents obtained by The Times. It’s the latest in a string of scandals at the lottery.

— California banned the pesticide chlorpyrifos from your food. Now its main manufacturer will stop making it.

— A majestic tree that experts believe could be a century old will be cut down this month, a victim of the destructive Woolsey fire.

— Twenty-one neglected and malnourished dogs that ate tree branches to survive have been rescued from an Ontario home. The dogs, mostly Labrador retriever and spaniel breeds, will get medical treatment before being put up for adoption.

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YOUR WEEKEND

— Looking to make friends? Here are 20 ideas, including plant swaps and drumming classes.

— Here are 30 great places to drink wine in Los Angeles.

— If you’re looking for a weekend road trip from L.A., Santa Paula is a historic gem that’s closer than you think.

— An art bonanza will unfurl across the city starting Monday with Frieze Los Angeles and four other key fairs. Here’s our primer on the biggest public events, plus a day-by-day curated guide to some of the most promising happenings.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Who will win at the Oscars on Sunday? Awards columnist Glenn Whipp gives his predictions in all 24 categories.

— The short film “Hair Love” is one of those up for an Oscar. Writer and co-director Matthew A. Cherry and producer Karen Rupert Toliver talked to The Times about normalizing black hair and “girl dads.”

— From “Parasite” to “Jojo Rabbit,” arts writer Carolina A. Miranda explores how the Oscars’ best-picture nominees used architecture to tell stories of inequity.

Filming is booming, but some crews are leaving L.A. Blame a shortage of studio space.

— The Netflix series “Gentefied” tackles gentrification in L.A.'s Boyle Heights. Some say it’s part of the problem.

NATION-WORLD

— As Beijing moved to downplay the danger posed by a novel coronavirus, Dr. Li Wenliang insisted that an epidemic was coming, breaking a culture of secrecy. It turned him into a folk hero. Now, he has died of the virus.

— For hundreds of Americans evacuated from the coronavirus outbreak’s epicenter in Wuhan, home is now a quarantine zone on three California bases. The outbreak isn’t yet a pandemic, and whether it becomes one depends on what happens in the U.S. and Europe.

— Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is campaigning for one of the 10 rotating two-year chairs in the United Nations Security Council. That means a barnstorming tour of Africa, whose countries’ 54 votes give it outsize election influence.

— Over the last two weeks, Harvey Weinstein’s accusers have given graphic testimony in a Manhattan courtroom of sexual assaults. Here are the six women’s stories. Meanwhile Weinstein has hired a “false memory” expert who has testified in hundreds of trials, including those of O.J. Simpson, Ted Bundy and the officers accused in the Rodney King beating.

— Along the dangerous desert border between Afghanistan and Iran, men have long fought over God, guns and opium. Now they’re fighting a water war.

BUSINESS

— Elon Musk’s SpaceX is considering spinning off its Starlink satellite internet business and taking it public. Before he takes SpaceX public, Musk wants to launch humans to Mars.

Uber drivers and passengers of Asian descent are seeing more of their trips canceled. Blame a racist coronavirus panic.

— Tens of thousands of wind turbine blades are coming down from steel towers around the world, and because they can’t be recycled, they’re piling up in landfills.

SPORTS

— Mark your calendar: Kobe Bryant and the eight others killed last month in a helicopter crash will be celebrated at a public memorial Feb. 24 at Staples Center in L.A.

— Ahead of the NBA trade deadline, the Clippers landed Marcus Morris from the Knicks and Isaiah Thomas from the Wizards, while the Lakers are standing pat with their current roster, opting to focus instead on the buyout market.

Major League Soccer and its players association have reached a new five-year collective bargaining agreement.

OPINION

— The Trump administration wants to let unregulated high-interest lenders evade the state interest caps that protect borrowers against predatory loans. It’s an outrage that should be nipped in the bud, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— The panic over the coronavirus recalls other racist chapters in California’s history, writes historian Tamara Venit-Shelton.

— A birth tourism crackdown is turning U.S. government agents into the pregnancy patrol, writes Christopher Richardson, a former consular officer.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— TikTok, Instagram and Fortnite have made dance popular. But when moves go viral, their creators get shut out. (Vox)

Banksy is known around the world for his statement-making paintings, graffiti and stunts. Is his legacy in art, or in disrupting the art market? (New York Times)

ONLY IN L.A.

When the Frieze art fair’s curated portion opens in Paramount’s backlot next week, its works will evoke the studio’s histories. But it will subvert them too. That’s the aim of co-curators Rita Gonzalez, head of contemporary art at LACMA, and Pilar Tompkins Rivas, who directs the Vincent Price Art Museum. Their show will feature 16 artist interventions that contend with issues of representation in all its guises — pieces that explore Hollywood stereotypes and how the industry fashions perception and others that dwell on artifice. For his own installation, L.A.-based artist Vincent Ramos has been holing up in the studio’s archive, studying how Hollywood has portrayed Mexicans.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


Newsletter
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times

Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
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