Newsletter: Essential California: A death blamed on El Niño

Good morning. It is Monday, Jan. 11. In Orange County, a chaplain is helping hospice patients enjoy one last trip outside. Here’s what is happening in the Golden State:


Does treatment work?

What happens when a violent sexual predator is released back into the community after years of intense therapy? Palmdale residents are finding out thanks to the case of 64-year-old Christopher Evans Hubbart, better known as the “pillowcase rapist.” “In Hubbart’s home off a dirt road in Lake Los Angeles, state-funded security guards keep constant watch over him, partly to protect the public from Hubbart and partly to protect him from protesters who regularly gather outside.” Los Angeles Times


Punk and philosophy

For the incoming Assembly speaker, philosophy and punk rock have a lot in common. “If you’re asking what is justice or what is truth or what is beauty, that seems pretty important to me,” said Anthony Rendon, who went from a 0.83 grade point average in high school to receiving a doctorate in aesthetic and political theory. Los Angeles Times

LAUSD Leadership

The Los Angeles school board goes behind closed doors Monday afternoon amid new hopes it will finally select a new superintendent. The search has been filled with twists, turns and false starts. But now, the chatter seems to focus most on L.A. Deputy Supt. Michelle King and St. Louis Supt. Kelvin Adams. Los Angeles Times 



Water wars: It appeared that long-standing feuds over the Klamath River were about to come to an end, but the deal fell apart when it failed to get congressional approval by the end of 2015. “The complicated pact, backed by the states of California and Oregon, called for the removal of four hydroelectric dams, settled water rights disputes and spelled out water allocations for irrigators and wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin.” Los Angeles Times

Storm death: A 60-year-old woman living on skid row is believed to be the first El Niño-related death this season. The woman, who was found underneath a tarp, died of hypothermia. Los Angeles Times

Tough conditions: Oceanic conditions for sea lion pups, which include a lack of food, could worsen with the El Niño storms. “If the environment is really bad and adult females can’t find food, then a young pup that doesn’t really have experience feeding itself is going to have trouble, too,” said Sharon Melin, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wildlife biologist. Orange County Register


Rail lines: Critics have mocked the Metro Green Line as going “from nowhere to nowhere.” But now there is a push to extend the light-rail system from its current eastern terminus in suburban Norwalk to a Metrolink station in Santa Fe Springs. Los Angeles Times

Love in the air: Newlyweds at the Motion Picture & Television Fund retirement campus in Woodland Hills are believed to be the first two residents to meet and marry there in the complex’s 75-year history. “Love is timeless and love can happen at any moment in anyone’s life,” said Anthony Lawrence, who just remarried at the age of 87. Los Angeles Times



Homeless funding: The city of Los Angeles could be headed into uncharted territory -- budget officials expect it will cost $2 billion to address the city’s growing homeless population, and to pay for that, local politicians may have to back a tax or bond measure. “Usually the selling point for a bond or a tax is that you’re going to get something from it, not that you’re doing the right thing for someone who is not you,” said Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. Los Angeles Times

Money matters: Gov. Jerry Brown uses revenue forecasts to defend his conservative, sometimes overly conservative, budgetary projections. That puts him at odds with state lawmakers who use figures from legislative analysts, who tend to be more accurate with their predictions. “He figures that if he’s conservative going in, that gives him resources to work with the following year,” said Fred Silva, a budget analyst with the bipartisan think tank California Forward. Los Angeles Times

Families needed: Orange County officials are scrambling to find foster parents now that a new state law limits the amount of time that children can spend in emergency shelters. And they really need parents who can take in children with serious behavioral or mental problems. “You’re not talking about the typical foster parent who has a great heart but doesn’t have the professional skills to be able to do that,” said Gene Howard, director of children’s services for Orange County in the 1980s and ’90s. Orange County Register

Health benefits: The City of Industry is paying “astronomical” amounts toward the health, vision and dental care of its 33 employees, according to Transparent California. The city pays about double the state average for healthcare benefits. The news follows reports that city officials are significantly subsidizing housing for public employees. San Gabriel Valley Tribune


New sheriff: San Francisco now has its first female sheriff: Vicki Hennessy. She was sworn in Friday by the city’s first female mayor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Hennessy beat incumbent Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi in a November election. “For me, as the first woman mayor, to swear in the first woman sheriff in the history of this city is ... a very big thing,” Feinstein said. San Francisco Chronicle

Abusing women: A man who impersonated a doctor and then performed illegal plastic surgery procedures and sexually abused women was sentenced to 20 years in prison, prosecutors said. Carlos Guzmangarza was convicted of 33 felonies. Authorities say the San Francisco man abused women who were immigrants from Central America. SF Gate



New in town: There’s a new male wolf in Modoc County. The animal, known as OR25, is from Oregon and is believed to have left the Imnaha Pack in March. Sacramento Bee

For sale: The Playboy Mansion could soon be on the market. There are rumors that Playboy Enterprises wants to sell the property for $200 million with the caveat that Hugh Hefner is allowed to live there for the rest of his life. Variety

Golden State: How well do you know California? Test your knowledge. Buzzfeed


San Francisco will be cloudy with occasional bouts of rain and a high of 56 degrees. Los Angeles will be partly sunny with highs reaching 65 degrees. San Diego will be partly sunny and 65. It will be partly sunny and 64 in Riverside.


Upcoming birthdays for notable Californians:

Actress Betty White (Jan. 17, 1922).

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.

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