Newsletter: Today: The establishment strikes back

With Super Tuesday upon us, Joe Biden is hoping key endorsements from former rivals will give him a boost against Bernie Sanders.


The Establishment Strikes Back

Pete Buttigieg. Amy Klobuchar. Beto O’Rourke — remember him? Fresh off Joe Biden’s decisive primary win in South Carolina, two of his fellow moderates quit the race to endorse him, joining other prominent Democrats on the eve of the campaign’s biggest day of balloting. Their presence at his Dallas rally underscored moderates’ panicked effort to coalesce behind somebody other than Bernie Sanders. But unfortunately for Californians who voted early for one of those who’ve just dropped out, there’s no chance of a do-over.

Another establishment-versus-progressive battle is playing out in Los Angeles County, where voters will decide one of the most pivotal races for district attorney in years, one that could bring major changes to the criminal justice system. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey is trying to fend off progressive challengers George Gascón and Rachel Rossi in a primary that only grew more tense yesterday when Lacey’s husband pulled a gun on Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home. Columnist Steve Lopez doesn’t think “I will shoot you” is a great campaign slogan.


More Politics

— If you’re baffled by those other L.A. County races on your ballot, here’s a rundown.

— Need a ride to the polls? L.A. Metro is offering free rides on all of its trains and buses today.

— If you need a primer for California’s primary election, here’s everything you need to know.


Sen. Susan Collins’ reputation as an independent-minded moderate devoted to Maine — an image that’s made her New England’s last surviving GOP senator — is being tested in this most difficult reelection of her career. Have politics gotten too tribal to include her?

— Candidates crave support from a diverse base. But ethnic communities don’t have a “unified voice,” and that makes courting voters a challenge.

Who Faces the Greatest Danger?

As the new coronavirus continues its spread and many Americans become more anxious, health officials agree on one point: COVID-19 is not indiscriminate. Senior public health officials continue to stress that the virus does not represent a serious threat to most people. But while a healthy adult might contract the rapidly spreading illness with little more than a cough or runny nose, the elderly and those with certain medical conditions are at greater risk for a serious infection or even death.


Four fatal cases now linked to a nursing home in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland, Wash., highlight that the virus is particularly vicious to those past middle age, especially if they have a chronic ailment such as high blood pressure or obesity.

Faced with the growing numbers of cases without a known cause, dozens of businesses and organizations have canceled events or restricted travel for employees. Twitter is urging employees to work remotely, and Uber said the virus posed a threat to its business. Still, U.S. stocks rebounded somewhat yesterday on hopes that central banks will take action to shield the global economy.

More About the Coronavirus

— More than half the cases in South Korea so far have been linked to a doomsday Christian sect that some call a cult, one that also has a growing presence in L.A. and Orange County. But Seoul’s efforts to track the infections have run up against the secrecy that is central to the group.


— Some Orange County firefighters were put in isolation as a precaution after contact with a patient who had traveled internationally and shown symptoms, and Santa Clara, San Mateo, Placer and Sonoma counties all reported new cases of coronavirus. (Here’s where cases have been reported in California.)

— Disinfectant fogging. Potent chemicals. Extra rounds of cleaning. These are some of the extra steps airlines and cruise lines are taking to protect passengers and mitigate the damage to a multitrillion-dollar travel industry.

— Canceling a trip? Airlines may be waiving some fees, but don’t count on a refund, writes columnist David Lazarus.

— Have questions about coronavirus? Tell us what you want to know.


The Sheriff and the Deleted Pictures

Days after the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others, a written complaint came in: At a Norwalk restaurant, an L.A. County sheriff’s deputy was showing grisly photos from the scene. Then, for weeks, department leaders tried to keep a lid on the incident instead of investigating — efforts that began in earnest with an order from Sheriff Alex Villanueva to quietly delete the photos.

Now, there are growing demands for an independent inquiry into the matter. It’s the latest in a series of scandals to afflict the nation’s largest sheriff’s department in recent years. Some in the department, as well as legal experts, say the order could amount to destruction of evidence.

An Authority in Name Only


No wonder so many people consider the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority a one-stop shop for solving the county’s homelessness crisis. Its name suggests some, well, authority. In reality, its powers are limited, its mission even more so, its governance fractured. And its inability to live up to lofty expectations — coupled with the skyrocketing homeless population — has led to a growing consensus that it needs an overhaul. The big question: What should it become, and how should it get there?


For a generation, Super Tuesday has been the day of any presidential election cycle when the greatest number of states hold their primaries and caucuses. It’s the day the race explodes into a nationwide contest, marking “a fundamental shift, away from the close-quarters campaigning in states like Iowa and New Hampshire and the drive for momentum,” as The Times described it in 2016. “From here out, the race is about cold, hard mathematics and piling up convention delegates.”

In 2004, Super Tuesday effectively decided the Democratic nomination: John F. Kerry swept nine of 10 states, with a huge margin of victory in California, and rival John Edwards ended his campaign. But it can hold surprises, too, and a great showing might totally realign the race. In 2008, when Super Tuesday was held in February, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama did similarly well, though Obama would win later races. And in 2012’s Republican primaries, Mitt Romney found himself with a smaller win than expected.

Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, is considered a split decision: Clinton -- here greeting supporters in New York -- wins nine states plus American Samoa. Obama wins 13 states. (John Edwards ended his presidential bid a week earlier.) After the dust settles, Clinton reveals that she loaned her campaign $5 million.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)


— A Mexican Mafia member from Whittier has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a fellow mafioso, ending a trial that gave a rare glimpse into arguably Southern California’s most powerful crime syndicate and how it uses street gang members as foot soldiers.

UC San Diego is a leader in climate research. But the campus is hearing a blunt new message from a faculty task force: Slash your own greenhouse gases emissions.

— Police say an 18-year-old has been arrested for threatening online to “start a massacre” at Montebello High School. He’d been expelled for similar threats.


— After years of fighting over building an arena for the Clippers in Inglewood, Steve Ballmer could buy his way out of the main obstacle.

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James Lipton, the animated host of “Inside the Actors Studio,” has died at 93. Exalted and lampooned, he welcomed actors, filmmakers and writers on his long-running Bravo series. Here are some of his best interviews.

Chris Matthews is leaving as host of MSNBC’s political show “Hardball” after repeatedly coming under fire for inappropriate and controversial comments.


— When her season of “The Bachelorette” premieres in May, Clare Crawley will be 39 years old — the oldest star the reality show has ever had. Times staff writer Amy Kaufman explains why that’s such a progressive casting move.

— CBS has reached a verdict on the future of “Judge Judy”: It will end to make way for a new show titled “Judy Justice,” also starring Judge Judy Sheindlin.

— The Recording Academy has formally terminated President and CEO Deborah Dugan barely seven months after she took the job, the aftermath of a dramatic meltdown between Dugan and the Grammy Awards organization.


— The Supreme Court will hear a third Obamacare appeal, this time from California Democrats trying to save it from a suit backed by Trump and Texas Republicans.


— The Trump administration has ordered several Chinese media organizations to dismiss 60 U.S.-based Chinese journalists in retaliation against Beijing’s actions against American journalists, including the expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters last month.

— Weeks before his criminal trial starts, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed election victory after exit polls suggested a first-place finish for his Likud party. But the aftermath is far from certain and could plunge the country into a constitutional crisis.

— Newly opened Vatican archives could give clues on why Pope Pius XII kept silent during the killing of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.


Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle litigation over its practice of intentionally slowing old phones to preserve their batteries. The proposed settlement means people who bought new iPhones, not realizing they could have just gotten new batteries, could each get $25.


Jack Welch, who built GE into one of the world’s biggest companies and influenced generations of business leaders with his mantra of corporate efficiency, has died at the age of 84.


— A Texas grand jury has been hearing evidence that could form the basis for criminal charges related to the overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, two people familiar with the matter told The Times.

— Olympic champion gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman are balking at a proposed $215-million settlement that would go to victims in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal — and preclude lawsuits against the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee. “This is a massive cover up,” Raisman tweeted.

— “He does everything the right way.” Here’s how Mookie Betts instantly became a clubhouse leader for the Dodgers.



— Here is the complete list of L.A. Times endorsements in Tuesday’s primary election, from its “yes” on the school-bond measure to its choice of George Gascón to unseat Jackie Lacey as L.A. County district attorney.

— Deputy editorial page editor Jon Healey writes that in a bid to boost turnout, “California invited millions of people to vote too early. Maybe it’s super convenient to be able to mail in a ballot three weeks ahead of election day. But when you’re in the early stages of a primary, it’s also a risky proposition.”


— Maybe you can’t call a top executive at the hospital that bears your name or flee via private jet to wait out the coronavirus in your Hamptons mansion. But at least your marriage will survive. The rich may not be that lucky. (Bloomberg)

— How South Korea is composting its way to sustainability. (The New Yorker)


— The pink princess philodendron is the perfect Instagram plant — and the perfect launchpad for a scam. (Wired)


There’s no better way to get to know someone than over a basket of wings with your sleeves rolled up, hands greasy and sauce in the corners of your mouth. Are you a flats or drumette person? Do you prefer ranch or blue cheese? But where are the best fried chicken wings in Los Angeles? The Times’ Jenn Harris took friends Valerie Bertinelli — actress and host of “Valerie’s Home Cooking” on the Food Network — and writer Jo Stougaard on a mini wing crawl for her latest episode of the video series “The Bucket List.”

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