Newsletter: Essential California: Donald Trump’s supporters in California

Good morning. It is Monday, April 4. A Chihuahua is in custody after getting loose on the Bay Bridge. Is he yours? His only piece of identification was a collar with a silver skull. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


Water ways

The ambitions of California’s largest water project in decades — a $15-billion plan to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta — are being scaled back. “If the tunnels are built, state modeling indicates future delta exports to the valley’s thirsty fields and Southern California’s faucets would average 4.9 million acre-feet a year — only a small improvement over recent averages.” Los Angeles Times


Violence at home

In North Hills, interviews and information from law enforcement suggest “a long-brewing mix of drugs, mental illness, homophobia and extreme family dysfunction” left a man in jail and his wife and son dead. Prosecutors initially said Shehada Issa killed his 29-year-old son because of his sexual orientation, but the truth may be more complicated. “He was a good guy. The son was a bad guy. I’m so sorry for the old man,” said one neighbor. Los Angeles Times

The Donald’s supporters

Oildale near Bakersfield is about as close as California may come to Trump country. “We’ve been seeing a trend of where Republicans are in pockets or areas where it’s more manufacturing, blue collar or economically disenfranchised, those sectors are going for Trump, because he’s targeting those demographics,” said Jeanine Kraybill, assistant professor of political science at Cal State Bakersfield. Los Angeles Times



Weather patterns: The driest and warmest years in California are associated with a high-pressure region, a new study finds. “Since California depends on a relatively small number of heavy precipitation events to make up the bulk of its annual total, missing out on even one or two of these can have significant implications for water availability,” said Stanford researcher Daniel Swain. Science 2.0


Less housing: A Times analysis found 1,000 rent-controlled apartments were taken off the market last year to make way for McMansions, condos and new rentals. Evictions from such units have doubled during the same time. Housing advocates say the city’s supply of affordable housing is slowly being eaten away. “Our housing situation is beyond crisis. It’s a catastrophe and it’s getting worse,” said Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival. Los Angeles Times

Money matters: The interim head of the Los Angeles County Fair Assn. says his first act of business will be to review employees’ salaries and bonuses. J. Michael Ortiz, however, is defending the $1-million compensation package received by his predecessor, who resigned after a Times investigation into the group’s finances. Los Angeles Times

Back online: Exxon Mobil will be allowed to restore its refinery in Torrance, one year after an explosion there. Members of the South Coast Air Quality Management District came to that decision after listening to 12 hours of public and expert testimony. Exxon will pay $5 million in penalties for air pollution violations related to the explosion. Los Angeles Times

Columnist passes: A longtime fixture of the Long Beach Press-Telegram has died at age 80. Tom Hennessy wrote for the newspaper for 27 years. “Tom had a love affair with Press-Telegram readers that lasted for more than 30 years. His Irish wit and charm came through in everything he wrote,” said Rich Archbold, public editor of the Press-Telegram. Long Beach Press-Telegram



Political messaging: The makeup of California may be such that messages from presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump just don’t work, writes columnist Cathleen Decker. “The distinction between who lower-income voters backed in other states and how they’re behaving in California derives from their makeup and political loyalties here.” Los Angeles Times

Checkpoint controversy: Students at UC Berkeley set up a mock checkpoint to protest Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. “The campus checkpoints cause tension among some students — while some sympathize with Palestinians and condemn Israeli actions, others defend the checkpoints as essential to preserving the Jewish state and protecting Israelis from terrorism.” San Francisco Chronicle

Political leanings: This year could see the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors pick up a liberal “supermajority” for the first time in modern history. Though the board is officially nonpartisan, its two Republicans will be termed out of office after decades of service. “This is a new game already with the 3-2 liberal majority on the board as it is, but a 4-1 split — it’s unheard of,” said Jaime Regalado, professor emeritus of political science at Cal State L.A. Los Angeles Times


Lawsuit planned: The cab driver who was kidnapped by three escaped convicts in Orange County plans to sue the county for discrimination. Long Ma, who worked with law enforcement and persuaded one of the fugitives to surrender, believes he was denied a monetary reward because he is a “humble” Vietnamese American. A $150,000 reward was split between four other people who provided information in the case. Los Angeles Times

Close to home: As president of the Oakland City Council, Lynette Gibson McElhaney is used to getting alerts about a shooting. But when such an alert came on Dec. 20, it hit home — the victim was a 17-year-old who had been like a grandson to McElhaney. “I feel completely incapable of describing what this feels like,” she says. San Francisco Chronicle

Party house: The tenant of a San Antonio Heights home that was the scene of a massive weekend party says he will move out when his lease expires in June. Sheriff’s deputies with San Bernardino County showed up to the property where 1,000 people were partying. Neighbors complained of noise, trash and double-parked cars. San Gabriel Valley Tribune



Care facilities: A growing number of California’s nursing homes are housing young, able-bodied people with mental illness or a history of drug addiction. “The homes that we have known as havens for the frail elderly, as you can see, are no longer safe havens,” said Tippy Irwin, executive director of San Mateo County’s ombudsman services. Sacramento Bee

Airline merger: Alaska Airlines appears to be on the verge of buying Virgin America. The $2.5-billion purchase would allow Alaska Airlines to beef up its West Coast presence, particularly in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Bloomberg


Cocktail time: Meet the Mezcal queen of Los Angeles. The New Yorker

Love is all around: At the Braille Institute in East Hollywood, Tania and Jose Amaya came together to learn tactile sign language — and then fell in love. “As students come here, they start to understand that there’s more to life than just the eyes, and that the eyes are to look through but the vision is through the heart,” said Anita Wright, executive director of the institute’s Los Angeles center. Los Angeles Times

Canine perks: Developers in Los Angeles are hoping to reach new tenants through their dogs. Apartment and condo buildings now feature dog parks, grooming stations and free treats. Los Angeles Times

Movie premiere: “The Night Stalker,” a movie about murderer Richard Ramirez, is set to premiere in Orange County in June. The film will be shown 20 miles from the scene of Ramirez’s final crime. Orange County Register


Riverside will have sunshine and a high of 84 degrees. Los Angeles will start the day with low clouds; highs are expected to reach 77 degrees. San Diego will have low clouds and a high of 71. Sacramento will have sun and a high of 76 degrees. San Francisco will be breezy and 65.


This week’s birthdays for notable Californians:

L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz (April 3, 1955), Gov. Jerry Brown (April 7, 1938), director Francis Ford Coppola (April 7, 1939) and labor leader Dolores Huerta (April 10, 1930).

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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