Essential California: The problem with everyone loving Los Angeles

Los Angeles “remains a destination for people from around the world, many of them young, skilled and creative.

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Monday, June 19, and here's what's happening across California:



The problem with everyone loving Los Angeles

Los Angeles "remains a destination for people from around the world, many of them young, skilled and creative. They move here for culture, commerce, climate — or all three," writes Times columnist Steve Lopez. These qualities are also a problem as they exacerbate an already urgent affordable housing crisis. Los Angeles Times

Plus: "Recent figures released by the county show that Latino homelessness shot up 63% in the last year, a staggering number in a county that saw its overall homeless population soar 23%, despite increasing efforts to get people off the street." Los Angeles Times

Up by the Bay: San Francisco's biennial one-night homeless count shows that since 2015 the western half of the city and significant residential strips of the rest of San Francisco have seen sharp increases in people living on the street — even as the citywide population of homeless people fell 0.5%, to 7,499. San Francisco Chronicle

Help amid uncertainty

The University of California is the nation's first and only university system to provide free legal aid to students without legal status and their families. Officials from UC's Immigrant Legal Services Center say demand for their services is soaring as President Trump's policies sow uncertainty. Los Angeles Times

Considering a change

Criminal justice leaders are seeking to end lifetime registry for low-risk sex offenders in California. This change would benefit people like Frank Lindsay, who landed on California's sex offender registry after he pleaded no contest to improperly touching a girl under 14. He hasn't committed a crime in the four decades since then, but he still must register, costing him a business and sustainable livelihood. Los Angeles Times


A fun read: The case of the leaning pine tree: A natural history mystery unfolds on the Central Coast. Los Angeles Times

Sue Finley, 80, has worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge for more than 50 years. She's seen history in her time and has worked on some of the laboratory's most prestigious projects. Los Angeles Times

Fire erupts: Firefighters continued to gain ground Sunday on two separate brush fires burning near Castaic Lake and in the Wrightwood area of San Bernardino County. Los Angeles Times


Inside the White House, a battle over how tough Trump's immigration crackdown should be. Los Angeles Times



Making class more challenging: The Lynwood Unified School District eliminated prerequisite courses and grade requirements that were keeping students out of high-level courses. The result: More students are taking and passing Advanced Placement tests. It was one of two L.A. County school systems named to the College Board's honor roll for significantly increasing the number of students taking and passing AP exams. (The other was comparatively prosperous Arcadia Unified.) Los Angeles Times

Bang for the buck? California's new system for funding public education has pumped tens of billions of extra dollars into struggling schools, but there's little evidence yet that the investment is helping the most disadvantaged students. Cal Matters

Budget process: Times columnist John Myers breaks down why it's so easy to slip all kinds of things into California's budget, and it's been that way for decades. Los Angele Times

Another fight: California has opened a new front in the battle with the Trump administration: wages for low- and medium-income workers. The Orange County Register


Cadet scandal: In a widening investigation of the Los Angeles Police Department's cadet program, Chief Charlie Beck on Sunday announced he has suspended training for cadets at the 77th Street Division and Pacific Division, where three cadets arrested on suspicion of stealing police cruisers were based. Los Angeles Times

Tale of tape: The latest series of twists in the Planned Parenthood illegal videotaping case. Who could be facing jail time? BuzzFeed

A grand heist! Authorities say that the growing popularity of avocados could have driven three workers from an Oxnard-based produce company to pilfer $300,000 worth of the fruit. Los Angeles Times


Detention centers: "California took another major step this week to protect immigrants, preventing detention centers from adding more beds and pledging to spend $1 million to make sure people have proper access to food, medical care and lawyers." Los Angeles Times

Montebello shooting: Montebello police fatally shot a woman Saturday after she drove her car toward an officer and her boyfriend, with whom she had been fighting earlier in the day, authorities said. Los Angeles Times


Californians are recycling less: Part of the reason is that recycling centers that pay for bottles and cans have been closing. The Mercury News

The weather and earthquakes: "California's Mediterranean climate, with its wet winters and dry summers, brings enviable weather to the Golden State but also earthquakes, according to UC Berkeley research." San Francisco Chronicle


A story about the Lakers: Jeanie Buss "is the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, as her late father wished. Four months ago, she fired her brother and also the team's 17-year general manager on the same day, and installed trusted friend Earvin 'Magic' Johnson as president of basketball operations. Then she prevailed in an ugly court battle with her two older brothers that confirmed she will run the Lakers for the rest of her life." Los Angeles Times

A star passes: Stephen Furst, who played naive fraternity pledge Flounder in the hit movie "Animal House," has died of complications from diabetes, his family said Saturday. Furst was 63. Associated Press

Check 'em out: "Drew Arriola-Sands started Trap Girl ready to defend her band; it turned out she didn't need to. Now, they're at the center of L.A.'s exploding queer hardcore scene." KPCC

Over at LACMA: U.S. Latino and Latin American artists are taking on the idea of home — and find it has emotional and political meaning. KCRW


San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles areas: sunny Monday and Tuesday. More weather is here.


This week's birthdays for those who made their mark in California:

Rep. Pete Aguilar (June 19, 1979), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (June 21, 1947), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (June 22, 1933), Rep. Adam Schiff (June 22, 1960).

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.