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California Today: California Today: L.A. Taco, a Website, Brings the Flavor of a Fractured City

California Today

California Today: L.A. Taco, a Website, Brings the Flavor of a Fractured City

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Screen shot of L.A. Taco’s website.

Good morning.

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Try to walk half a mile in Los Angeles without seeing a taco. It may be impossible in most of the roughly 469 square miles of this sprawling city. Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the city and the vast majority trace their roots to Mexico.

In the humble taco, some see a symbol of the city, so it seemed obvious to call a website dedicated to the city’s news and culture L.A. Taco.

“The taco is the unit that binds, it’s the most natural unit that represents who we are as a city and as a culture,” said Daniel Hernandez, the editor of L.A. Taco, which now posts daily stories on the city’s food, history and subcultures. “It’s the unifier at a time when we’re so fractured as a country and we’re in a city that is so structurally fractured.”

For years, the website was largely a repository of photos and anecdotes about the city’s tacos and street art, hosting an annual taco festival. But earlier this year, Mr. Hernandez, whose previous employers include The Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and Vice, took over. He turned the site’s focus to news at a time when many local news media outlets are struggling.

“We wanted to do something that talks to and about street-level L.A.,” he said. “We’re a black and brown town, and we want to build on that and talk about that.”

“Our premise is that in L.A. everyone is at least 5 percent Mexican,” added Mr. Hernandez, who grew up in San Diego and has spent much of his life straddling Mexico and the United States. “It’s neither good or bad, it just is.”

The site is particularly popular with Latinos and Asians in their 20s and 30s, who are the children or grandchildren of immigrants and who grew up comfortable with multiple cultures.

“That demographic — multiethnic — that is already the mainstream of California,” Mr. Hernandez said. “That train has already left the station. Instead of falling into the very easy traps of Balkanization, the vibe we’re reaching for shows beyond the very narrow view of us as freshly arrived victimized immigrants.”

California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

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Representative Maxine Waters was reportedly described in derogatory terms by Michael Selyem, a prosecutor with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.CreditLexey Swall for The New York Times

A prosecutor in Southern California, Deputy District Attorney Michael Selyem, was placed on leave after officials said he posted “discriminatory comments” on social media about Representative Maxine Waters and referred to her using a vulgar term. [The New York Times]

• An environmental group filed a lawsuit with the California Supreme Court to block Proposition 9, the proposal to split California into three states. [Los Angeles Times]

• Judge Dolly M. Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles rejected the Trump administration’s proposal to allow long-term detention of migrant families, a significant legal setback to the president’s immigration agenda. [The New York Times]

• Another district judge, John A. Mendez, dismissed the federal government’s lawsuit against California’s “sanctuary state” law, which is intended to protect immigrants who are in the country illegally. [The Sacramento Bee]

• President Trump announced Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Read a transcript of his remarks and Judge Kavanaugh’s address to the nation. [The New York Times]

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Dozens of people entering the United States from Reynosa, Mexico, lined up on the American side of the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge last month.CreditCallaghan O’Hare for The New York Times

• Officials at Customs and Border Protection went on the offensive to deny accusations that its officers had separated families and turned away migrants seeking asylum at official ports of entry to the U.S. [The New York Times]

The number of hate crimes in California jumped by more than 17 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to an annual report. That follows double-digit increases in 2015 and 2016, after six years of decline. [SFGate]

• The 36,500-acre Klamathon Fire near the California-Oregon border was 40 percent contained by Monday. Initial damage estimates exceeded $ 13 million. [Record Searchlight]

• Fires are also burning in Lake and Yolo Counties. Here’s a live map. [The Press Democrat]

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Lime, which offers rides on motorized scooters, said it was accepting a “sizable” investment from Uber and would team up with the ride-hailing company.CreditDavid Paul Morris/Bloomberg

• Uber made a “sizable” investment in Lime, an electric scooter start-up valued at more than $ 1 billion. It’s the latest effort by Uber to expand beyond ride-hailing. [The New York Times]

• Showtime announced that Sacha Baron Cohen, the undercover satirist, has been working more than a year on “perhaps the most dangerous show in the history of television.” [The New York Times]

• Counting mountain lions: California Department of Fish and Wildlife is conducting a population count of the state’s feline predator for the first time in decades. [San Luis Obispo Tribune]

• Steve Sarkisian, the former U.S.C. football coach, lost a $ 30 million lawsuit that claimed he was improperly fired by the university instead of being allowed to seek treatment for alcoholism. Mr. Sarkisian was fired in 2015 after slurring his words and swearing at a pep rally. [A.P.]

And Finally …

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Ron Post placed the winning bid on his son’s pig during the youth livestock auction at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif.CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

County fairs have long been ripe with political debate. But this year offers a new subject: President Trump’s global face-off over tariffs.

Times reporters sampled the opinions at fairs across the country, including the Alameda County Fair, where hog prices have never been higher. Unlike hog farmers elsewhere in the country who are already fearing the effects of new Chinese tariffs, fairgoers in Alameda County this weekend were more concerned about the trade war’s impact on Northern California’s wine industry and the nearby ports.

“I’m personally not a fan of all the tariffs that will penalize buyers,” said Laura Post, a school psychologist in Palo Alto. “I’m not super excited about the political situation right now,” she said. “But I live in the Bay Area, and who is?”

Read the full report here.

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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