• Newsletter
  • Newsletters

Essential California: Senate bills aim to make homes more affordable, but ...

Essential California: Senate bills aim to make homes more affordable, but ...
Current federal and state funding for low-income development remains low, leaving the overall $10-billion gap in spending needs. (Times Graphics)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Aug. 12. Here's what you don't want to miss this weekend:



Not enough help

A package of bills supported by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders now being considered to alleviate the state's affordability crisis will not make much of a dent in California's housing needs, according to analyses from state officials and housing groups. Even if high-profile housing bills pass, the state would need to find at least an additional $10 billion every year for new construction just to help Californians most burdened by high rents. Los Angeles Times

Council approves Olympic bid

Rushing to meet a deadline imposed by Olympics officials, the Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to endorse a bid for the 2028 Summer Games, even though council members acknowledged they were acting without complete information. The council's unanimous decision will put tax dollars at risk by making the city responsible for any shortfall if the $5.3-billion sports event goes over budget. Los Angeles Times

More traffic problems

Despite promises of a "far less cluttered and confused Yosemite" made in a 2013 management plan — an effort to address the congestion without limiting the number of tourists — more vehicles than ever, up to 8,200 on a summer day, are clogging the valley known for its granite cliffs and waterfalls. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Some amazing traffic data show how far you can get in Southern California by car at 4 p.m. vs 7 p.m. vs 10 p.m. Washington Post


Out in the O.C.: "Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada says his working conditions are 'intolerable' and appears to be taking steps in case he is pushed out." Orange County Register

Great photos! For the monks of Big Sur, the bonds of brotherhood grow after the Highway 1 closure. Los Angeles Times

Three dead: A high-speed Border Patrol pursuit Thursday afternoon ended when an SUV linked to a murder suspect went off Interstate 15 and into a Rancho Bernardo ravine, killing three of the four people inside. San Diego Union-Tribune

Becerra sues EPA: California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Friday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that it failed to comply with a request for documents that might indicate whether agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has a conflict of interest. Los Angeles Times


Country singer Glen Campbell at his home in Malibu on July 27, 2011.
Country singer Glen Campbell at his home in Malibu on July 27, 2011. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Earlier this week, country music legend Glen Campbell died after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Times photographer Genaro Molina remembers photographing the musician in 2011 shortly after he went public with his diagnosis.


"Another country legend is gone. Glen Campbell passed away today.

In 2011 I was assigned to photograph the country legend when he announced that he had Alzheimer's disease. I remember as I drove to Malibu not being sure how far the disease had progressed and wondering how the photo shoot would go.

Upon arriving, I observed a photographer working for USA Today taking photographs of Campbell in the garden. I had heard that Campbell's P.R. representative was only giving the photographer a few minutes for the shoot. I expected the same.

Campbell's seasoned press agent and I had a long discussion about Campbell's career, and I shared my knowledge of the singer with him and my concern about the singer's medical condition. At the end of our conversation he said, 'You can have as much time as you need.'

When I met Campbell, he stretched out his hand and said, 'What a pleasure it is to meet you.' And off we went into conversation about his music. He did a few outfit changes for me that afternoon and I was able to also get a few images of Campbell and his wife. I made some really sweet frames that captured their love for each other. It was as if I just dropped in as they were hanging out.

When making one of my last images of Campbell in his small studio, I asked him what his favorite song was, out of his whole career. 'It's still "Wichita Lineman," ' he said. He then picked up his guitar and started singing the song for an audience of one.

After packing up my lights, Campbell volunteered to help me carry my equipment back to the car. We shook hands for one last time and his farewell consisted of four words: 'God bless you, Genaro.'

'God bless your voice, Glen Campbell,' I replied.

He smiled and we held on to that moment for a few seconds. Then he turned and we went our separate ways.

Long may your music live on the line."

See Molina's portraits here.

This week's most popular stories in Essential California:

1. Some of L.A.'s richest people oversee USC. They will decide what to do after the dean drug scandal. Out of 57 voting trustees, only three have commented. Los Angeles Times

2. The weird roadside architecture of Los Angeles. Curbed LA

3. The road to Big Sur, isolated by landslides, is now a footpath. San Francisco Chronicle


4. Culver City hopes its $300-million Ivy Station complex will lure people who don't want to live in urban downtown. Los Angeles Times

5. "Leah Remini Doubles Down on Anti-Scientology Crusade: I Want a Federal Investigation." The Hollywood Reporter

ICYMI, here are this week's Great Reads

Who is investigating USC? Debra Wong Yang has been tasked with looking into the growing scandal surrounding former USC medical school dean Carmen Puliafito. She's been asked to figure out what the school's leadership knew about Puliafito's behavior and when they knew it. She also has extensive ties to the university. Yang has not run afoul of any established legal ethics rules in accepting the assignment, experts say. But some said her conclusions might face questions because of her relationship with USC. Los Angeles Times

Palantir and the police: Palantir, founded by Peter Thiel and initially funded by the CIA's investment arm, does business mostly with military clients, intelligence outfits like the CIA or Homeland Security, and large financial institutions. But in police departments, Palantir's tools are now being used to flag traffic scofflaws, parole violators and other everyday infractions. It turns out that some of California's largest law enforcement agencies are using its software with mixed results. Wired

Powerful questions: An in-depth look at some curious choices made to generate electricity in Imperial County. Desert Sun

Pushing back against Silicon Valley: Over the last two years, a crop of start-ups has begun offering social media platforms and financial services catering to right-wing Internet users. They've become important for America's far right, as its learned that the 1st Amendment doesn't protect them from Silicon Valley tech companies. Los Angeles Times

Zuck for Prez? Vanity Fair's Nick Bilton wrestles here with whether Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will run for president. "I don't think he's going to be on the ballot for 2020, but I do think he has left the option open to run for office one day. Maybe it won't be the highest office in the land, too, but rather mayor of Palo Alto, or governor of California. Or maybe Zuckerberg just wants to join the local community board near his house," he writes. Vanity Fair

Fun for everyone! Rapper Nipsey Hussle has helped the beloved Mid-City roller rink World on Wheels get rolling again. "It's bigger than skating, it's about creating a culture," said Tommy Karas, the nightlife impresario overseeing the renovation. "I take it seriously — you're in a position to influence thousands of kids." Los Angeles Times

Looking Ahead

Sunday: CicLAvia bike event takes place in L.A., and the Los Angeles Chargers play their first game at Stubhub Center.

Wednesday: Rose Bowl unveils restoration of its original 1922 locker room.

Saturday: Leimert Park Village Book Fair at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw mall.

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.