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Essential California: Weinstein faces legal consequences

Essential California: Weinstein faces legal consequences
Harvey Weinstein has been accused by more than 80 women of misconduct. (Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Friday, May 25, and here's what's happening across California:



Harvey Weinstein turned himself in Friday to face sexual assault allegations in New York, as prosecutors prepared to file criminal charges against the disgraced former movie mogul. Sources said the case involved — but might not be limited to — a once-aspiring actress who has alleged that Weinstein assaulted her during a meeting at his Miramax office in 2004. Weinstein has been accused by more than 80 women of misconduct that includes sexual harassment and rape. The producer has denied any wrongdoing. Los Angeles Times

The sheriff in town

Nearly four years after taking office, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell faces reelection on June 5 and a reckoning over his progress in trying to improve an agency where a toxic culture allowed deputies to brutalize inmates and discriminate against black residents. Several watchdogs, including those who've been critical of department policies in the past, say McDonnell has been a stabilizing presence and succeeded in improving jail conditions. Still there are more challenges ahead. Los Angeles Times

About the board

Amid growing calls for USC President C.L. Max Nikias to resign after a misconduct scandal involving the campus' longtime gynecologist, the university's large and powerful Board of Trustees is coming under growing pressure to take a greater role in responding to the crisis. Despite the high stakes, the trustees to whom Nikias reports have been measured in their response, expressing sympathy for the women who say they were mistreated but publicly backing the president. The trustees came under criticism at a heated forum Wednesday that ended with the faculty senate voting to call on Nikias to resign. Los Angeles Times

The Santa Margarita Ranch in San Luis Obispo County is home to the Pacific Coast Railroad, which features passenger cars that were once part of Disneyland’s railroad attraction when the theme park opened in 1955.
The Santa Margarita Ranch in San Luis Obispo County is home to the Pacific Coast Railroad, which features passenger cars that were once part of Disneyland’s railroad attraction when the theme park opened in 1955. (Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times)


No quarter: Powerful groups usually hold their fire for a while when a new leader takes charge of the city's schools, but the unions representing teachers and administrators are staging job actions and protests right away. They've made it clear that there will be no honeymoon for Los Angeles schools Supt. Austin Beutner, and are bashing him for his wealth and lack of experience running either a school or a school district. Los Angeles Times

What is he thinking?!? Elon Musk wants to rate journalists' credibility. But how's his credibility? Los Angeles Times

Plus: Musk shows billionaires need "news literacy" classes as much as high schoolers do. BuzzFeed

Click: "How city leaders and real estate barons used sunshine, oranges, and lies to sell Los Angeles to the Midwest and East Coast." Curbed LA


Welcome to the gun show: It's really hard to legally buy a gun in Mexico. There's just one gun store, yet firearms purchased in the United States are flooding the country. Los Angeles Times

By the border: For Judge Robert Brack, the immigration crackdown has become personal. "I have presided over a process that destroys families." Los Angeles Times



What's in the water? As a new poll found a majority of California voters want to repeal increases to the state's gas tax and vehicle fees, Gov. Jerry Brown has begun campaigning to preserve them, arguing the sacrifice is needed to fix long-neglected roads and bridges and improve mass transit. Los Angeles Times

One voter, two registration forms: There are problems with the state's "motor voter" program that launched last month. Los Angeles Times

Big in D.C.: Moderate Republicans are giving their colleagues until June 7 to find a legislative fix for the legal status of people brought to the country illegally as children, or they will try to use a special process to force a vote over GOP leaders' objections. Los Angeles Times

Avenatti alert: "The bombastic and California-based legal adviser to Stormy Daniels is taking cues from the era of O.J. Simpson and Monica Lewinsky." The Atlantic


Arrest made: A woman has been arrested in connection with the deaths of an elderly couple and their son whose bodies were found stacked on top of one another in a house in Leimert Park. Los Angeles TImes

No charges: "San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón declined to file criminal charges Thursday against police officers in two controversial killings, including the 2015 shooting of Mario Woods in the Bayview neighborhood, which prompted widespread protests and sweeping reform efforts in the city force." San Francisco Chronicle

Shots fired: A Pomona police SWAT team exchanged gunfire with occupants of a house Thursday morning while serving a search warrant on a suspected gang member during a multiagency sweep in Azusa, authorities said. Los Angeles Times



Fightin' words: "The legal battle over California's nation-leading auto emissions standards, which U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has threatened to dismantle, may continue throughout President Donald Trump's tenure in office, Gov. Jerry Brown said." Bloomberg

All that sun! "California is throttling back record levels of solar — and that's bad news for climate goals." MIT Technology Review


So cool: Walt Disney's first love — a vintage locomotive that was part of the original Disneyland — lives on at this historic California ranch. Los Angeles Times

Freeman under fire: Eight women have accused Morgan Freeman of inappropriate behavior and harassment. CNN

Plus: Freeman's SAG lifetime achievement award is under review after the allegations of sexual misconduct. Los Angeles Times

On the road: They ditched pricey home ownership for a small house on wheels — and they love it. Los Angeles Times

Great story: These dancers find a most unusual stage: A South L.A. hospital. Los Angeles Times

Fore! Inside California's golf paradise for wealthy titans. Wall Street Journal


Los Angeles area: partly cloudy, 64, Friday; partly cloudy, 66, Saturday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 68 Friday; partly cloudy, 66, Saturday. San Francisco area: cloudy, 62, Friday; partly cloudy, 62, Saturday. Sacramento: showers, 65, Friday; partly cloudy, 76, Saturday. More weather is here.


Today's California memory comes from Barbara Burgener:

"My story involves a 1960s vacation trip from Washington state to California. We started our trip at Lake Tahoe with cabins across the street from a sandy beach. In the evening our parents and their friends went into Reno to watch Louis Prima and Keely Smith perform and to gamble. Then we headed for Disneyland. I laugh at our pictures of us all enjoying the park, but why my sister and I were wearing white gloves and church dresses gives me a laugh. The last part was visiting family in Oxnard and enjoying a trip to the beach. I always think fondly of the sun, the beach and warm people when I travel to California. "

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.