Essential California: Porter Ranch's fight to relocate

Good morning. It is Friday, Jan. 22. To all the Angelenos with outstanding fines at the library: It's time to come out of the shadows. Starting Feb. 1, the L.A. Public Library will offer a two-week amnesty period for overdue books. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:



Housing woes

The Southern California Gas Co. has backed off a proposal to stop moving Porter Ranch residents sickened by a natural gas leak into homes. The utility had planned to move customers into less expensive hotels and motels, but the plan was scrapped after Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer threatened to take legal action. "What a pickle — for SoCal Gas, landlords, relocation agencies and residents desperate to leave town until the broken well is fixed," said one real estate agent. Los Angeles Times

Small-time donors

A federal grand jury is looking into contributions given to L.A. City Councilwoman Nury Martinez for her 2015 reelection campaign. Federal investigators are interested in donors who gave $5 and $10. Candidates had to receive small contributions from at least 200 people in the district in order to qualify for public "matching funds." A consultant for Martinez's reelection campaign said he believes Martinez is not the target of the federal investigation. She benefited from $65,360 in public funds during last year's race. Los Angeles Times


Slow progress: El Niño's storms are making a dent in California's drought. "The recent rains have put us on a good trajectory to perhaps have a shot out of the drought if it were to continue at the current rate," said Doug Carlson, a spokesman with the California Department of Water Resources. Los Angeles Times


A rare fail: Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger was brought in last year to help bring the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to Carson. Last week, those efforts fell apart when it was announced that the St. Louis Rams would move to a new stadium in Inglewood. So what happened? "It had much more to do with the threshold issue of whether the NFL should come back to L.A., which teams, and which project," said Marc Ganis with a sports business consulting firm. Los Angeles Times

LGBT history: When Circus Disco opened in 1974, it welcomed gay men and particularly gay Latino men who were not embraced at other clubs. The space was known for its fanciful clown entrance, flashing lights and fun-house mirrors. Now, some of those elements will be incorporated into the hundreds of apartments that will be built on the former club's site. Preservationists say it's a way to educate Angelenos on the city's gay history. Los Angeles Times

With the gorillas: A zoo employee appeared to suffer a leg injury Thursday when he fell into the gorilla exhibit. The 61-year-old man had been landscaping the area when he slipped and fell 15 to 20 feet into the exhibit's moat. The apes were in their sleeping quarters at the time of the fall. Los Angeles Times

L.A.'s leadership: Why are Angelenos so suspicious of homegrown leaders, asks writer Joe Mathews. Take the selection of new LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King, who attended the city's public schools and has spent years working for the district. "She's hardly following giants; the district has had eight superintendents in 20 years, many of them outsiders, including a Navy admiral who had little idea what he was doing." Zócalo Public Square

Up for auction: A Frank Lloyd Wright home in Brentwood will be auctioned off next month. The 1,200-foot home is valued between $2.5 million and $3 million. New York Times


Spend what you have: In his State of the State address, Gov. Jerry Brown didn't propose any new projects or major initiatives. Instead, he said California needs to focus on paying for the commitments it's already made. "If we are to minimize the zigzag of spend-cut-spend that this tax system inevitably produces we must build a very large reserve," Brown said. Los Angeles Times


Speech analysis: Gov. Brown's speech shows just how many political lives one man can have, writes columnist Cathleen Decker. "Brown's long-offered description of governing — that you row a little to the left and a little to the right — assumes a generally direct path to the desired destination. But his personas have veered far more sharply than that," she writes. Los Angeles Times

Ew, yuck: The city of La Jolla may soon install a barrier to keep sea lions and their waste away from the shore. The smell along the coast is generally considered to be unbearable due to the excrement of sea lions and birds. CityLab

Keep your clothes on: Nudists in Huntington Beach are upset that city officials will no longer allow them to rent out a city pool for their events. The group has rented out the swimming pool for the last eight years, but Huntington Beach's new city attorney opined that nudity is prohibited at the city's recreational facilities. "It would be unfortunate to let all our members and followers know that we, as respectful and law-abiding naturists, are now being singled out and are no longer welcome in the city," said Rolf Holbach, president of the Southern California Naturist Assn. Los Angeles Times


Criminal charges: Officials with a California ski resort want criminal charges filed against a snowboarder who allegedly trespassed into a closed area of the resort and triggered an avalanche. Christian Michael Mares captured the aftermath of the avalanche on a GoPro camera he was wearing. Los Angeles Times


Car crash: A collision in Oakland on Wednesday night left one man dead and his car sheared in half. The 21-year-old driver was traveling at a high rate of speed, according to police, when he lost control and struck a tree. Jameil Brown died at the scene, while his passenger walked away without a scratch. SFist


Prolific writer: Denny Freidenrich of Laguna Beach is something of a throwback. For 40 years, he's been writing letters to the editors of America's leading newspapers. "He's offered his opinion to the world on topics like steroids in baseball, political debates, Nelson Mandela's legacy, off-shore drilling, Steve Jobs' death, terrorism and gun control." Orange County Register

One of the guys: In San Jose, a pack of Siberian huskies has adopted a cat into group. Rosie, the cat, has taken after her canine companions, enjoying long hikes through the snow. ABC News

Menswear: Are L.A. men becoming more fashionable? "The next movement is this street look, and it's 100% L.A.," said one stylist. Wall Street Journal


San Francisco will have rain and a high of 59 degrees. Los Angeles will be mostly cloudy and 70. San Diego will have sun and a high of 67. In Riverside, it will be mostly cloudy and 72 degrees.


Today's California Memory comes from Karen Ward:

"My biggest memory is from 1962, when my family lived in the San Fernando Valley before the 405 Freeway was open to traffic. My friend and I lived a block away from the freeway, and our moms used to tell us to go play on the freeway. We used to jump on our bicycles, ride up the off-ramp, since it was on our side of the street, and it was safe to ride around. Every time I come to the Nordhoff Street exit when I'm on the 405, my mind's eye sees my friend and I riding our bikes. Simple, fun times."

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 Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.