Newsletter: Essential California: Metro wants to invest billions in L.A.'s transit

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 12. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:


Use of force: Two members of the civilian panel that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department want to revamp the LAPD’s use of deadly force. A new report suggests that officers should do everything they can to de-escalate a situation before using force. But the president of the police union says that change would only provide fuel to attorneys trying to “screw over the city, screw over the officer” with lawsuits related to officer-involved shootings. Los Angeles Times

Quitting time: The coroner for Los Angeles County is leaving after just two years on the job. Mark Fajardo said he was quitting in large part because of understaffing at the most high-profile coroner’s office in America. “Ultimately, I wasn’t supplied the resources I need to perform my job duties,” Fajardo said. Los Angeles Times


Regulating rides: Two state bills that would ease the rules for ride-hailing companies have stalled in a committee chaired by a state senator whose brothers are in the taxi business in San Diego. Sen. Ben Hueso’s brothers are suing the state to force regulators to make ride-hailing drivers register for commercial license plates. The lawmaker said he was unaware of the lawsuit. “If you’re going to write a story saying I’m doing this for my brother, it’s going to be wrong,” Hueso said. Los Angeles Times

Public transit plans: Metro is trying to build support for a $120-billion investment in public transportation over the next half-century. In November, voters probably will be asked to extend a half-cent sales tax and raise the county’s sales tax in order to pay for new light rail lines, faster bus service and a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass. “The construction plan could be transformative for traffic-choked Los Angeles County, which began building a modern rail system a generation ago, decades after other major cities.” Los Angeles Times

Food and culture: In the new documentary “City of Gold,” food critic Jonathan Gold explores the food and culture of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods. “He is a Walt Whitman of taco trucks, hot-dog stands and pho parlors, of unassuming storefront and strip-mall joints that bring the flavors of the world to Southern California.” New York Times

Wages owed: A Garden Grove recycler was ordered to pay more than $200,000 in back wages. The U.S. Labor Department accused Garcia Recycling Center & Metals of cheating employees by paying them a flat wage and denying them compensation for overtime. “This is an industry that doesn’t seem to be following the law,” said Rodolfo Cortez, director of the department’s wage and hour district office. Orange County Register



1. This picture captures a girl snapping a photo of herself in front of street art … and a homeless person fast asleep. It may tell you a lot about the state of affairs in Los Angeles. LA Weekly

2. Los Angeles and New York may be more than 3,000 miles apart, according to these pictures. BuzzFeed

3. Downtown L.A.’s skyline is about to dramatically change. Here’s the view from 1,100 feet in the air. Los Angeles Times


4. Silicon Valley is starting to freak out over the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency. “He is a dishonest demagogue who plays to our worst fears. Trump would take America on a dangerous journey,” said Hewlett-Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman (and a former gubernatorial candidate). San Francisco Chronicle

5. New figures suggest half of California’s adults either have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. Los Angeles Times


Fear factor: The fear that came with the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan never left Nancy Reagan. From that point on, she took on an even greater role in the White House and in regard to the safety of the president. “I think the assassination attempt reminded them that their time was short — in office, in life — and the clock was ticking,” said Ken Khachigian, a former chief White House speechwriter. Los Angeles Times


Protecting the coast: Columnist Steve Lopez is livid over the behavior of members of the California Coastal Commission. “The commissioners who fired the world’s leading authority on the Coastal Act claimed he wasn’t a good leader. But as they struggled in Santa Monica to figure out how to find a replacement, it became more evident that the leadership problem was with the commission,” he writes. Los Angeles Times

What’s in a name: No one is happy about all the name changes at Yosemite National Park, writes columnist Robin Abcarian. It’s all part of a trademark fight between the U.S. government and its former concessionaire at the park. “I think Delaware North should bequeath the trademarks to the Park Service, for a minimal amount. Doing otherwise is simply gouging the government for intellectual property that is meaningful only in its natural context,” she writes. Los Angeles Times


Sunday: The 13th annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K race for the American Cancer Society will be held in Redondo Beach.


Wednesday: What would have been the 104th birthday of former First Lady Pat Nixon will be celebrated at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.

Friday: The USC Alumni Assn. will host the eighth annual USC Women’s Conference: “The Collective Wisdom of Role Models and Risk Takers.”

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.