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Essential California: Meet the film academy's new president

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Aug. 10, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

And the president is ...

With the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at a crossroads after two years of controversy and turbulence unlike anything in its nearly 90-year history, many within the group’s leadership ranks were looking for a steady hand. They believe they have found that in John Bailey, a 74-year-old cinematographer whose credits include such films as “Ordinary People,” “The Big Chill” and “Groundhog Day.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: More on what Bailey might mean for the academy going forward. Los Angeles Times

Cold case with a big L.A. name

Authorities have arrested and charged a man accused of killing the brother of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas 36 years ago in South L.A. The killing was one of many that drew fresh attention recently after an LAPD unit doubled the number of detectives working on cold cases. Investigators reexamined blood that had been found at the crime scene and got a match. Los Angeles Times

A changing definition

Members of the California State Sheriffs Assn. say they have been in discussions with Gov. Jerry Brown in hopes of amending a state Senate bill that seeks to keep local and state law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal immigration laws. Los Angeles Times

Duck and cover

As tensions with North Korea reach new heights, is California ready for a nuclear strike? As the director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci is an old hand at disasters and emergency prep; he’s seen just about everything his native state can throw at its residents. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

LAX adjacent: Manchester Square has long been something of an embarrassing ghost town in L.A. Houses and apartments have gradually been razed or boarded up. Empty lots surround the scattered buildings that remain. Homeless people pitch tents along its streets, under the roar of airplanes. But things are about to change. Los Angeles Times

Hot ticket: “Hamilton” is finally here, and here it will stay from Aug. 11 until Dec. 30. Great, you say, but can I still get tickets? Yes indeed. And here are six ways to do it (spoiler: it probably won’t be cheap). Los Angeles Times

Light the torch? A report issued Wednesday by key Los Angeles staff recommends the City Council approve a 2028 Olympic bid despite incomplete information and the “greater uncertainty” of committing to the massive sports event more than a decade in advance. Los Angeles Times

Don’t park there! Los Angeles officials will begin cracking down next week on a wave of renegade parking across the city, more than five years after first turning a blind eye to the practice. Los Angeles Times

Fun story: Learn here how a small newspaper became a big weapon in several political battles in Los Cerritos. LA Weekly

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

FBI raid: FBI agents searched the office of Rep. Duncan Hunter's campaign treasurer in February, seizing computer equipment and documents for their investigation into whether the Alpine, Calif., Republican misused campaign funds. The search warrant for Election CFO — the agency Hunter hired to ensure his campaign complied with campaign finance rules — reveals new information about the federal investigation into the San Diego County congressman’s campaign spending. Los Angeles Times

C’mon, guys: “It took at least 24 hours to report a near-disastrous collision at SFO, a delay that allowed a key piece of evidence — the cockpit voice recording from the jet that nearly landed on top of planes queuing to take off on a busy taxiway — to be erased.” Mercury News

About that meeting: “A commissioner of California’s political watchdog agency met secretly with a lawyer working for Senate Democrats while advocating for changes to campaign finance law that would help retain the Democrats’ supermajority in the state Senate.” Sacramento Bee

CRIME AND COURTS

Settlement reached: Los Angeles County supervisors approved a $1.5-million payout Tuesday to the family of a 21-year-old man who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy while in his vehicle in Cerritos in 2015. Los Angeles Times

What?!? An Orange County man who says he found two geckos in a can of Heineken beer he bought from a supermarket in Fountain Valley is suing the brewing company, claiming he got “violently ill” after drinking the beverage. Los Angeles Times

Fire fallout: A convicted child predator, whose proposed home was destroyed in a suspicious fire, has been released and is living in motels in Fresno County. Los Angeles Times

THE ENVIRONMENT

Not so green are we? “Do regulators in California have your back when utilities or industries run amok, or when there’s a threat to public health in your neighborhood?” Times columnist Steve Lopez wonders. Los Angeles Times

Cute! Northern California researchers have taken new photographs of two mountain lion kittens they are tracking. Associated Press

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Taking a stand: Actress Leah Remini is doubling down on her anti-Scientology crusade. In this interview she explains why. The Hollywood Reporter

A grandma goes viral: Last month, Betty True flashed a Dodger Stadium crowd and became a viral sensation. Now the Rally Granny is making national headlines. Los Angeles Times

She blazed her own trail: Betty Warner Sheinbaum, who died Sunday at 97 after a brief illness, was part of the Warner family — as in Warner Bros. Pictures — but her independence from what could have been a predictable Hollywood-royalty story was, according to two of her children, what set her apart. Los Angeles Times

Get ready: Tesla Inc. has met with California and Nevada agencies about testing an autonomous semi truck ahead of Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s unveiling of the next addition to the electric-car maker’s lineup. Bloomberg

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

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

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Fred Fruehan:

“San Bernardino was a small town in the 1960s, and after my father left, my mom needed a car. For one dollar, I might have been able to get it for her simply by stepping into the ring with Victor — a bear. ‘I get the car if I win, right?’ I asked the trainer in front of the dealership. He nodded. ‘Yeah, son. If you win.’ My friends were cheering me on, and I could hardly wait to get this over with and present my mom with a new car. I might have, except for one little problem. That bear was trained, and he knew wrestling holds. I went for a double leg tackle, and Victor wouldn’t even budge. I kept trying until I was exhausted, and the trainer asked, ‘Have you had enough?’ ‘Yeah,’ I said. He turned to my friends. ‘Any of you want to go in there?’ ‘Hell no,’ they said in unison. I wrestled bears real and imagined in those early days in San Bernardino, and those matches prepared me for the life and memories I have today.”

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.

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