Newsletter: Piling on Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, flanked by Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, speaks during Tuesday’s debate in Charleston, S.C.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Rival Democratic candidates, on stage in South Carolina, gave Sen. Bernie Sanders the front-runner treatment.


Piling on Bernie Sanders

At last night’s Democratic presidential debate in Charleston, S.C., the candidates not named Bernie Sanders seemed to have a common goal: Slow the momentum that the democratic socialist senator from Vermont has built in the race to challenge President Trump.

Sanders’ rivals argued that he is misleading voters about the cost of his ambitious agenda and warned that his nomination could cost Democrats not just the White House but also down-ballot races across the country. They challenged his complimentary words about the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and sympathies with other communists. They branded him a tool of the National Rifle Assn. The attacks were relentless and reflected a growing sense of panic among moderate Democrats.


Appearing unrattled, the 78-year-old senator made the case he has built for decades: that the economy and political system are rigged in favor of elites to deprive most Americans of adequate wages, healthcare and educational opportunities.

But is it too little too late? A new statewide poll in California says Sanders has widespread support among communities of color, outstripping his nearest Democratic competitors, former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Biden has been counting on black voters to lift him back into the race when South Carolinians go to the polls on Saturday.

More Politics

— More than 200 Cherokees and other Native Americans have signed a letter urging Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to fully retract her past claims to being Native and help dispel false beliefs held by many white people that they have American Indian ancestry.

— Most California Democrats have made a presidential pick. Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t, and he’s avoided alienating entire factions of his deeply divided party. But should he endorse somebody before the March 3 primary, he could have a serious effect on its outcome.

— Will Super Tuesday see a super turnout of young, Latino and Asian American voters? Columnist Patt Morrison spoke with the director of USC’s California Civic Engagement Project, who thinks it could be as big as it was in the 2016 primary.

— In the eastern Coachella Valley, a new generation of Latinos is winning seats on school boards and water districts, and joining city commissions. They’ve made their hometown a must-visit stop in the 2020 presidential primary.


Preparation, Not Panic

As the new coronavirus spreads in a number of countries and healthcare workers in China die of infection and fatigue trying to save patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning that the United States should expect the coronavirus to become a more serious health issue and that it is time to prepare — even though it’s unclear how severe the threat may be.

The CDC’s message prompted San Francisco’s mayor to declare a local emergency, even though there have been no confirmed cases of the illness in the city. Public health experts warn that contending with the fallout from the epidemic’s indirect symptoms — fear, paranoia and misinformation chief among them — may prove just as vital as treating the sickness itself.

A Radical Treatment for Pregnant Addicts

Dr. Craig Towers has spent a decade helping wean hundreds of patients off highly addictive opioids before giving birth — a surprisingly controversial approach to treating addiction. His methods have sparked backlash from the medical establishment over whether detoxing is too risky and whether pregnant patients should even be given the option of getting clean.

“This is your choice,” the Downey-born obstetrician said, as he outlined the risks to one 22-year-old patient. “I will treat you either way. I’m not judging you. It’s your pregnancy, your life.”


Meet the New Bob, Same as the Old Bob?

It’s long been a question of when and not whether Bob Iger would step down as chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Co., after leading one of the entertainment industry’s great corporate success stories. Still, Tuesday’s announcement that he would be handing the reins to Bob Chapek, a longtime lieutenant most recently leading the parks and the consumer products businesses, came as a surprise to many.

After all, Iger had extended his retirement four times during the last decade, and his contract runs through 2021. With Iger staying on as executive chairman and a successful strategy in place, Disney insiders say you shouldn’t expect any big changes any time soon.


By February 1947, miles of polluted Santa Monica Bay beaches had been closed by a state quarantine for years, and Los Angeles was upgrading the Hyperion Plant to treat city sewage and lift the beach ban. It was also building a new outfall sewer line, made up of sections of 12-foot pipe like those seen in this photo published in the Feb. 26, 1947, Times. The caption explained: “New outfall line and an intensive chlorination program may reopen quarantined beaches. Up to 21 tons of chlorine will be used daily to treat the sewage output.”


UCLA has raised $5.49 billion in one of the nation’s most successful public university fundraising campaigns. It comes amid a decline in state support, and it’s part of a trend.


— In the race to replace Mark Ridley-Thomas as an L.A. County supervisor, many of the candidates have been in office as the homelessness crisis has worsened. That’s prompted questions over whether more could have been done.

— An heiress to the Hot Pockets fortune has been sentenced in the college admissions scandal to five months in prison for paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix her daughters’ ACT exams and sneak one into USC as a bogus beach volleyball player.

— A million-dollar attack campaign against L.A. school board member Scott Schmerelson has drawn accusations that it’s anti-Semitic. Behind it is an intense effort by charter school supporters who hope the pivotal race could tip the board majority in their favor.

— The California Lottery shortchanged schools by millions of dollars over the last four years, a scathing state audit has found.

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— In a stunning rebuke to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Ahmanson Foundation — virtually synonymous with the museum for decades, and its largest donor of European Old Master works — has stopped giving it art, critic Christopher Knight writes. It’s displeased with director Michael Govan’s new plan for LACMA, which will see the cream of its esteemed collections no longer be on permanent display.


— All 25 years of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will soon be a podcast.

Hulu just got a new leader in former Google executive Kelly Campbell, part of Disney’s management shakeup at the popular streaming service.

David Roback, the co-founder of the influential L.A. alternative rock band Mazzy Star, has died at 61.


— Wrapping up his two-day trip to India, Trump declined to condemn the country’s new citizenship law, which discriminates against Muslims and has fueled a new wave of communal violence.

— Lawyers for Julian Assange argued at his extradition hearing in London that, instead of recklessly releasing thousands of unredacted classified diplomatic cables, the WikiLeaks founder tried to block them from becoming freely available to prevent secret sources’ lives from being put at risk.

— The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has ended a 10-year legal battle and shielded a U.S. border agent from being sued for shooting and killing a 15-year-old who was playing with his friends on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.


— Trump plans to have Richard Grenell, his pick for acting director of national intelligence, keep his old job as ambassador to Germany too. German leaders fear the lack of a full-time envoy shows the U.S. has downgraded the relationship, and one wants a replacement “who isn’t a biased propaganda machine.”


— Southern California home prices shot up in January from a year earlier, as buyers fought over a meager supply of homes for sale.

— The head of the NTSB slammed Tesla and highway safety regulators for not doing enough to prevent “foreseeable abuse” of Tesla’s Autopilot feature, and criticized Apple for making it easy to use a phone while driving.

Curry House, the popular Japanese American chain, abruptly shut all of its restaurants, including nine locations in Southern California.

— Elon Musk’s SpaceX can now officially start building its Mars spaceship at the Port of L.A., after the City Council approved a permit letting it use a site on Terminal Island.


— A day after the memorial for Kobe Bryant, LeBron James had a season-high 40 points in the Lakers’ 118-109 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. When asked whether he had attended the memorial, he didn’t directly answer the question.

— Might this year’s Tokyo Olympics be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak? Officials have only three months to decide.

LAFC has already sold out its entire inventory of 2020 season tickets. Better try the waiting list.



— Congress should step in and protect student-athletes from the NCAA so they can profit from their own likenesses like every other college student, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— California’s a climate leader? There’s a lot more we have to do, as these six proposals show, Jacques Leslie writes in an op-ed.


— She wanted an unassisted birth, and a tiny subculture online convinced her it would be OK. “I think I brainwashed myself with the internet,” she says. (NBC News)

— Short-form video app Vine changed social media, then shut down. A new crop of apps aims to recapture the magic, but has the Internet already moved on? (New York Times)

— Forget your mother’s maiden name. Influencers say their faces are being stolen by fast fashion companies online, and there’s little they can do. (Wired)


Watch out, Disney. Tyra Banks is opening her own theme park in Santa Monica. ModelLand will be “the first of its kind experiential attraction that will emulate a fantasy version of the modeling world” in 21,000 square feet near the pier. Banks says the park is 10 years in the making and is scheduled to open May 1. Basic adult tickets cost $59, but special packages offer photoshoots, styling, “artisanal truffles” and more for as much as $1,495.


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