Newsletter: Essential California: Here’s what California’s Republicans and Democrats agree on

Good morning. It is Wednesday, March 30. Watch out — dinosaurs are coming to the Los Angeles Zoo. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


‘Disenfranchising’ Californians?

A new audit says local students have been harmed by the University of California’s decision to enroll so many out-of-state students. There should be tougher standards for admitting non-Californians and officials should do more to reach out to minority students, according to the audit request by Assemblyman Mike Gipson. “My reaction is utter disgust. I’m going to use a harsh word, and the word is discrimination. We are disenfranchising California students,” Gipson said. UC officials dispute the report and say California students aren’t being pushed aside. Los Angeles Times


Life on the street

Homelessness and the city’s tent encampments will be back on the Los Angeles City Council’s agenda today. A revised city law would tie the cleanup of encampments to storage, which homeless men and women would have to use to store their belongings. “Homeless people can keep only what can they fit in a 60-gallon container, unless the city provides storage within a two-mile radius. In that case, homeless people must confine their belongings to what they can carry in a backpack.” Los Angeles Times

Trade deals

Both Republicans and Democrats in California are concerned about the economy and believe trade deals have sent jobs overseas, according to results of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Those are fears that Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump have seized on, writes columnist Cathleen Decker. “The same populist sentiments that have fueled Trump’s and Sanders’ campaigns nationally have turned trade into an issue that can certainly move votes in California,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. Los Angeles Times



Let it snow: Frank Gehrke will head out today to measure the state’s snowpack. Last year, he and the governor stood on a patch of grass for the measurement, but this year there’s snow and a focus on conservation. “It’s really important to recognize that people in California have done something extraordinary,” said state Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus. Los Angeles Times

Ski season extended: Folks could be skiing at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe until May thanks to spring storms. “The skiing and riding is so great, we’ve decided to extend the season into May, pushing the ski season to over six months and making this the longest season in Mt. Rose’s history,” said the resort’s marketing director. Sacramento Bee


Dirty air: As many as 10,000 children in Los Angeles County are in daycare centers that are within 500 feet of “highly trafficked freeways,” according to KPCC. For the most part, new elementary and secondary schools are prohibited from being built in such areas thanks to a 2003 law, but the bill didn’t cover the vast majority of early child care centers. Children’s lungs and brains could be damaged by the pollution. 89.3 KPCC

Passing of actress: The life of actress Patty Duke was remarkable for its highs and lows. At the age of 16, Duke appeared in “The Miracle Worker” and won the Academy Award for supporting actress. But her personal life was marked by bipolar disorder and multiple marriages. She died Tuesday at age 69. Los Angeles Times

Fight on: Former USC President Steven B. Sample died Tuesday at age 75. He oversaw a dramatic transformation of the university as it tightened admission standards and beefed up its endowment. “So many of USC’s successes, so much of our university’s current stature can be traced back to Dr. Sample’s dynamic leadership, keen foresight, and extraordinary prudence,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. Los Angeles Times

Dark past: The “Murder House” in Los Feliz is going up for sale. The home on Glendower Place was the scene of a gruesome murder-suicide in 1959, and no one has lived there since the early 1960s. In fact, the home appears frozen in time with food, furniture and wrapped Christmas presents in the living room. Curbed LA


Thanks for the gentrification: A construction crew in Highland Park was fed up with neighbors’ complaints about the noise, so it put up a sign: “Instead of COMPLAINING you should be thanking Nikki and Jeremy the owners of this house for bring (sic) up your property value. Have a NICE day.” That should be one heck of a housewarming party. Eastsider LA


Air executive: The top candidate to lead Southern California’s air quality agency is Wayne Nastri, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator under George W. Bush who now works as an environmental consultant, according to sources familiar with the matter. The South Coast Air Quality Management District governing board could appoint Nastri acting executive officer as soon as Friday, according to the sources, who were not authorized to discuss personnel matters. Los Angeles Times

Not my problem: Board members with the South Coast AQMD don’t really have to worry about the air they breathe. An analysis found just two of the 13 live in areas with heavy ozone readings. “They have the luxury to live in clean air when they are making decisions that affect of the lives of those who live in dirty air. Talk about elitism,” said state Senate leader Kevin de León, who wants to reform the makeup of the board. Riverside Press-Enterprise

Fixing the sidewalks: The L.A. City Council endorsed a “fix and release” program Tuesday that may finally clean up the city’s broken sidewalks. Under the program, the city will fix sidewalks around residential, commercial and industrial buildings and then, after a grace period, turn over responsibility to property owners. Los Angeles Times


iPhone hack: The fact that the FBI was able to hack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists may not mean much for other criminal investigations. Because federal authorities don’t want their methods to be made public, it’s unlikely they would use the technique in cases that will result in criminal charges, according to one official. Los Angeles Times

Comedian charged: A well-known Vietnamese comedian was charged with sexually assaulting a boy while on tour in Huntington Beach, prosecutors said. Minh Quang Hong remains in custody on $1-million bail. Los Angeles Times


On good behavior: Back in 2009, Richmond authorities discovered that 17 people were believed to be responsible for 70% of the city’s firearm activity. In response they created Operation Peacemaker Fellowship, which provides criminals with social services and $1,000 a month if they stay out of trouble. Critics have called the program “cash for criminals.” “If you believe that simply paying someone a stipend will reduce gun crimes in cities where gun crimes are long and loud, you’re wrong,” said DeVone Boggan, who helped create the program. KQED


Turbulence ahead: Is Virgin America Inc. leaving the friendly skies? The San Francisco-based company received takeover bids from JetBlue Airways Corp. and Alaska Air Group Inc. after it was put up for sale by billionaire owner Richard Branson, according to sources. A deal could be announced as early as next week. Bloomberg

In bankruptcy: Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is delicious. It’s also broke. The famed restaurant’s parent company filed for bankruptcy. One of its biggest debts, $3.2 million, is owed to a former employee who successfully sued for wrongful termination and discrimination. Los Angeles Times


Absurd housing: In San Francisco, one man is living in a box for $400 a month. Peter Berkowitz says his living arrangement is not a sign of poverty and in fact is his preferred way to live, even if he has trouble standing up to put on pants and can’t exactly have an overnight guest. Washington Post


Pump up the jam: Back when the Golden State Warriors were on a strong losing streak, it was Sadiki Fuller’s job to pump up the crowd. He was “Thunder,” the team’s now-forgotten mascot. “You know how hard it is to get 18,000 people to scream when they feel like the team is just going to lose again?” New York Times

Schoolyard fight: “You’re saying that I can’t have a hairstyle because of your culture? Why?” Thus begins a fight between an African American woman and a white student at San Francisco State University — and it’s all captured on video. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles will have some clouds and a high of 66 degrees. San Diego will have showers as temperatures reach 63 degrees. In Riverside, there will be clouds and a high of 64 degrees. San Francisco will have low clouds and a high of 61. Sacramento will be partly sunny with a high of 69 degrees.


Today’s California Memory comes from Carol Phillips:

“I learned to drive in Malibu watching the fog roll in against the mountain slopes. My father sitting next to me in his 1960 Fiat Spider, top down, I mastered the sparsely traveled Malibu canyon roads. I showed him that if I drove fast enough, but not too fast, the mist would fly over our heads. He told me of traveling with his mother up Topanga Canyon in a horse-drawn buckwagon to spend the summers at Trippet Ranch during the 1920s. I still feel strands of hair escaping my bandana to dance in the breeze as I downshift into curves and upshift out toward sunlit ridges.”

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.

Get our Essential California newsletter