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LOCAL CALIFORNIA
Newsletter

Essential California: A housing crisis

Good morning. It is Monday, June 22. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:


TOP STORIES

Shooting sparks concerns

Once again, a videotape has prompted questions over police officers’ actions in the shooting of an unarmed man. A man flagged down officers Friday in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. According to police, he extended an arm that was wrapped in a towel. Believing that he was armed, officers shot him and then handcuffed him.  The man, whose name has not been released, is in critical condition. Los Angeles Times

Housing shortage

One woman lives in a makeshift room in a house that is home to 10 people. Another woman calls an 8-by-10-foot shed a home. And an elderly couple who would otherwise be homeless is forced to move into their daughter’s studio apartment. Columnist Steve Lopez writes that the most troubling part of these stories is they’re not uncommon in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times

Fundraising campaign

At USC, 450 people are focused on raising $6 billion for the university by the end of 2018. USC President C. L. Max Nikias and a small entourage are traveling around the world to seek donations. Critics say it is an example of how private universities are taking on a more corporate feel that “emphasizes fundraising in unseemly ways.” Los Angeles Times

 

DROUGHT

Water cops: While many California cities have used PSAs to promote conservation, the city of Fresno has taken a harder line and handed out hundreds of citations. Fresno gets 90% of its water from the ground, and water tables have been sinking. The aggressive approach appears to be working. Fresno cut its water use 33% last month. Los Angeles Times 

Conservation efforts: Santa Barbara might have a thing or two to teach other wealthy cities struggling to save water. The city's hippie roots and brushes with past droughts have helped this community save more water than some of its upscale counterparts. “Water officials and residents say Santa Barbara's environmental history makes locals hyper-aware of the importance of protecting natural resources.” Los Angeles Times

Round of golf: Should President Obama have hit the links during the drought? That’s the question following the president’s weekend visit to Palm Springs. The lush, green golf courses can be a problematic visual as California struggles with the fourth year of the drought. “This administration’s commitment to helping those affected by the drought is second to none,” said a White House spokesman. Time

Building up reserves: Rainfall in May was significant enough to stave off a shortage in Lake Mead, which supplies most of the water used in San Diego County and parts of California, Nevada and Arizona. San Diego Union-Tribune

Sign up for the Water and Power newsletter, the  Los Angeles Times' guide to the drought. We'll bring you the latest news, introduce you to the important players, provide analysis and separate drought fact from myth. Sign up here.

 

L.A. AT LARGE

Online records: More than 13 million records with the Department of Building and Safety, some dating back to 1905, are now available online. The new website is expected to save Angelenos from making a trip downtown to view the records in person. Los Angeles Times 

Traffic jams: For years, State Route 91 was the traffic nightmare king of Orange County. But a new survey finds the 405 freeway is the bottleneck king. "Caltrans recently called the northbound stretch between Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley the state’s second-worst jam.” Orange County Register

Surfing history: This weekend, 66 surfers made the Guinness Book of World Records by riding a 1,300-pound board. Riders managed to stay on the board for about 15 seconds. Los Angeles Times

 

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Political cash machine: Because California is considered a lock for Democrats, candidates see little reason to interact with the state outside of attending major fundraisers. “Nothing, at this early moment, appears to stand in the way of Hillary Clinton winning a resounding primary victory in June, followed by the seventh-straight general election win for a Democrat in the state,” writes columnist Cathleen Decker. Los Angeles Times

Civilian oversight: What is the best way to police the police? That’s the question facing Orange County supervisors. Chairman Todd Spitzer say he wants someone to take a more proactive approach to rooting out problems and scandals, and that work should extend beyond the Sheriff’s Department to include probation, public defenders and the District Attorney’s Office. Orange County Register

 

COURTS AND CRIME

Improved relations: Before there was Ferguson, there was the Antelope Valley. Sheriff’s deputies were accused of raiding Section 8 housing and unfairly stopping minorities. A settlement with the federal government and the election of a new, more progressive sheriff have improved race relations in this part of L.A. County but more work is needed. Los Angeles Times 

Crime spike: Violent crime is up 25% in Sacramento, but law enforcement officials say that figure makes the situation look worse than it is. Overall, violent crime in the city has fallen in six of the last seven years. Officials believe Proposition 47, which turn some drug and theft felonies into misdemeanors, and prison realignment may be to blame for the uptick. Sacramento Bee

 

EDUCATION

Stuck in teacher jail: Why was a nationally recognized LAUSD teacher placed on leave after reading his class a passage from "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain? District officials won’t say. An attorney for teacher Rafe Esquith says the district needs to publicly apologize and allow his client to return to teaching or else he’s prepared to file a lawsuit. Los Angeles Times

 

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Taste test: What better place is there for California’s preeminent water sommelier than a water-tasting contest? “Americans understand that water is the healthiest beverage on the planet. Now my job is to make people understand that not all waters are the same,” said Martin Riese, who works at LACMA's Ray's & Stark Bar and on the side developed a line of water that features a bottle that sells for $100,000. Buzzfeed

Revisiting history: In the summer of 1964, the Confederate flag flew over San Francisco’s City Hall. A Chronicle article from that year shows that the arguments in favor of the flag are the same ones being made today. SF Gate

Gentrification in song: San Francisco’s Mission area is trying to come to grips with gentrification. One singer turned those frustrations into a song in “Hasn't Been the Same Around Here.” SFist (video)

 

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

The National Weather Service warns that there is elevated fire danger in Southern California. Los Angeles will be sunny with a high of 80 degrees. Riverside will be sunny and 95 degrees. San Diego will be foggy in the morning before reaching 73 degrees. In San Francisco, it will be cloudy and 65.

 

AND FINALLY

There’s a history of strange creatures washing up on the shores of California. LA Weekly (photo gallery)

 

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.


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