Essential California: Homeless cleanups in L.A. cost millions. What has been gained?

Essential California: Homeless cleanups in L.A. cost millions. What has been gained?
Los Angeles biohazard workers clean and dispose of chemicals, human feces and sharp objects during a cleaning in May. (Christian K. Lee / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Friday, June 30, and here's what's happening across California:



All that effort, for what?

A $14-million citywide effort to clean up homeless encampments has made only a marginal difference in the number of encampments across the city's sidewalks, alleys and riverbanks, a Times review shows. Inspectors for the city's CleanStat program recorded 365 blocks with encampments at the end of last year, a 12% decline from the beginning of 2016. But other records suggest that after being cleaned, hundreds of encampments simply re-formed elsewhere, usually nearby. Meanwhile, the city reported an 18% increase this year in those living on the streets. Los Angeles Times

The affordable housing crisis

California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state's housing crisis. It hasn't worked, and the laws on the books are partly to blame. The law requires cities and counties to produce prodigious reports to plan for housing, but it doesn't hold them accountable for any resulting home building. Los Angeles Times

A cyberattack comes to L.A.

The largest terminal at the Port of Los Angeles remained closed Thursday as Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk continued to grapple with effects of a cyberattack that rippled across numerous countries Tuesday. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Learn how a tiny L.A. cybersecurity firm pulled the plug on a global ransomware attack. Los Angeles Times


Sobering stats: One in five of the Los Angeles Community College District's 230,000 students is homeless, and nearly two-thirds can't afford to eat properly, according to a new survey commissioned by the system's board of trustees. Los Angeles Times

Wildfire update: Combined with other blazes that ignited earlier in the week, at least half a dozen wildfires have filled the air with a pungent odor long associated with fire season, when hot temperatures and strong winds turn sparks into brush fires. Los Angeles Times

Bowl battle: The Hollywood Bowl has a new — well, actually quite old — competitor in the shadow of the 101 Freeway. New York Times

That doesn't sound right: An internal investigation has found that Los Angeles Trade-Technical College officials falsified the grades of several students to give them credit for intermediate algebra, which is required for an associate degree. Los Angeles Times

Look, up in the sky: Why did two California Air National Guard F-15 fighter jets buzz downtown Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon? Los Angeles Times



In the swamp: There would be tougher penalties for people repeatedly caught illegally crossing the border and millions of dollars less in federal funds for so-called sanctuary jurisdictions such as Los Angeles under two House immigration bills approved Thursday. Los Angeles Times

At LAX: Immigrant-rights attorneys stationed themselves at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday afternoon in response to the Supreme Court's decision to partially reinstate the Trump administration's travel ban. Los Angeles Times

The impact: Under the Trump administration's new visa criteria, grandparents and cousins aren't considered "close" family and wouldn't be allowed to enter the country if they are citizens of the six predominantly Muslim nations. Los Angeles Times

Plus: L.A.'s Iranian community is on edge over travel rules that would affect their families still living in the country. Los Angeles Times


A close look: Oakland's homeless encampments have grown and grown and now are simply too big to ignore. KQED

Law is blocked: A federal judge Thursday granted a request by attorneys for the National Rifle Assn. to block a law that requires Californians to dispose of large-capacity ammunition magazines by Saturday or face fines and possible jail time. Los Angeles Times

In Kentucky: "Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Thursday two conventions scheduled to come to the state's largest city in coming years have canceled after learning California has banned state-funded travel to Kentucky." Lexington Herald-Leader


Shootout: A homicide suspect who exchanged shots with Los Angeles police during a running gun battle in El Segundo on Thursday filmed at least part of the encounter on a cellphone while he ran from officers, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Los Angeles Times


Child endangerment arrest: A mother and her boyfriend were arrested in Rancho Cordova after a 3-year-old girl's body was found under a blanket in the backseat of the car. Los Angeles Times

Orange County unmasked: "This history of compliance, or non-compliance, is probably unmatched in my 40 years of experience," Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals said about the sheriff's department's response to turn over jailhouse informant documents. Orange County Register


The shark man: Cal State Long Beach's Shark Lab chief Chris Lowe talks about those great whites off the coast — and shark selfies. Los Angeles Times

They're heeere! The great sea pickle invasion. CNN


A pirate's life: That scene on Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride that shows women on the auction block? It's going away. Los Angeles Times

Away from home: Bassem Youssef is "Egypt's Jon Stewart." The only problem is that he is living in exile in Los Angeles and trying to make his satire work in America. Los Angeles Times

The Iranian American Martha Stewart? Meet the Iranian American star cook who is about to maybe go mainstream. The California Sunday Magazine

Bringing production back: NBC's "Timeless," which the network canceled last month only to resurrect a few days later amid an outcry from fans, will move production to California from Vancouver, marking the 12th TV series to relocate under the state's expanded tax incentive program that went into effect in 2015. Los Angeles Times

By the ocean: For one writer, the beaches of Northern California hold this magnetic appeal. Vogue


San Diego and Los Angeles area: partly cloudy Friday and Saturday. San Francisco area: cloudy Friday, partly cloudy Saturday. Sacramento: sunny Friday and Saturday. More weather is here.


Today's California memory comes from Paula Hauer:

"In 1951 my parents decided to move our family from Pomona to a cabin at Mt. Baldy to live for a year. They grew up in rural Wisconsin and Missouri and wanted the four of us to experience a clean, simple life, which included a change of diet as well. We shared one bedroom with two sets of bunk beds. The cabin was small but cozy, and we all felt a great sense of adventure when the year began. All four of us (aged 6-11) went to a one-room schoolhouse at Baldy. Being the youngest, I was in heaven to attend my first grade with all my siblings — such support! And days were long with full freedom to explore the canyons and washes in our spare time, hiking barefoot, climbing boulders, playing in streams, experiencing our first snow days. At the end of the year we returned to Pomona and back to our 'city' lives."

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.