Essential California: Opening the records on police misconduct

Good morning. It is Tuesday, April 12. Fans driving to Dodger Stadium will now travel on Vin Scully Avenue to get there. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:



Family leave

A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will boost paid family-leave benefits. Under the law, which takes effect in 2018, low-income Californians will recoup more of their pay — up to 70% — while on leave. "It is unrealistic to expect a worker who is already living paycheck to paycheck on 100% of their salary to use a program for six weeks at nearly half of their wages," said Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D-Echo Park). Los Angeles Times

Police records

A state Senate committee is expected to take up SB 1286 today, which could make it easier to release information about police officer misconduct. "We can begin to rebuild the critically needed trust between law enforcement and community members. I don't think it's at all debatable that that trust has come into question," said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the author of the bill. Los Angeles Times

Lights out

Critics say a warning about summertime blackouts is actually a threat. Concerns about Southern California Gas Co.'s ability to move gas to electric power plants in the wake of the Aliso Canyon leak are overblown, they say. "The people who control blackouts are threatening blackouts if they can't keep Aliso open. This is a threat. This is not a report," said Michael Aguirre, a former San Diego city attorney and a longtime adversary of state energy regulators. Los Angeles Times


Science experiment: When an invasive beetle started killing hundreds of trees at UC Irvine, scientists turned the campus into a research project. "At UC Irvine, with so much devastation concentrated in one place, the conditions are practically tailor-made for a controlled study to test different chemical and biological treatments using the same kind of trees growing under the same environmental conditions." Los Angeles Times


Spending plan: Los Angeles County officials released a $28.5-billion budget Monday that includes $99 million for helping the homeless and $19 million for wage increases approved for in-home healthcare workers. However, it's unclear how the county will pay for more affordable housing and efforts to clear a backlog in the coroner's office. Los Angeles Times

Room to grow: Koreatown is about to get even more jam-packed thanks to hundreds of new apartments under development. Residents there are worried about traffic, pollution and losing the community's identity. "I genuinely believe that Koreatown is a welcoming place where everyone, even hipster dog walkers can find a home, we just don't want to skew our neighborhood to cater only to that population," said the head of the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance. 89.3 KPCC


The decider: California could ultimately decide the Republican nominee for president. With that in mind, staffs for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich are opening field offices and hiring strategists. "The last time California mattered like this was 1964," said GOP activist Steve Frank. Politico

Walled off: Jacumba Hot Springs and Jacume are two small towns separated by an international border. Before the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks, the towns essentially acted as one community with Americans and Mexicans frequently crossing. Now, a fence and a two-hour drive separate them. "Automatically we lost everything," said Andres Mercado of the Jacume town council. Desert Sun



Green rush: Investors and financially strapped cities are gearing up for what could be California's next boom: legalized marijuana. In the desert, "the price of land here tripled almost overnight as entrepreneurs bought up every inch of property where pot-growing was permitted — most of it bare desert dotted with only Joshua trees and tumbleweeds." New York Times


Suspect arrested: A 39-year-old man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of a sexual assault in which he posed as an Uber driver. Dartanyum Smith is accused of choking and raping a woman in the backseat of an SUV in the early-morning hours of April 3. Police said they came across the crime in progress and attempted to rescue the victim from the locked vehicle. Los Angeles Times

Fighting over space: The Los Angeles Unified School District was ordered to pay a charter school $7.1 million for failing to provide them with rent-free classroom space. An arbitrator found that for three years beginning in 2007 Ivy Academia Entrepreneurial Charter was not given enough space for its 1,100 students. Los Angeles Times

Rules for access: Attorney Scott Johnson of Disabled Access Prevents Injury Inc. is targeting businesses in the East Bay and South Bay for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. But now, Johnson is getting a taste of his own medicine with a lawsuit filed by four of his former employees. "The women described an ADA lawsuit mill where Johnson would send them out with a map, measuring tape and intake form to find new businesses to sue." San Jose Mercury News

Back in the day: A grim look at the lawlessness and violence of early Los Angeles. LA Review of Books



L.A. culture: Mexico City has given Los Angeles a bronze sculpture that looks like angel's wings. The work of art, named "Alas de la Ciudad," is the perfect backdrop for selfies. Curbed LA

Pool time: This map shows pool ownership is tied to race and wealth in Southern California. South L.A., downtown and the Eastside were the least likely to have a pool in the backyard. CityLab

Cross-country journey: A 15-story space shuttle fuel tank is on its way to Los Angeles. The tank is journeying from New Orleans through the Panama Canal to Marina del Rey and ultimately to the California Science Center. Los Angeles Times

Sign art: Take a peek inside the Museum of Neon Art. LAist


San Diego will have some clouds and a high of 68. Los Angeles will be partly sunny and 70. Riverside may see some clouds as temperatures reach 75 degrees. Sacramento will be cloudy with a high of 70. In San Francisco, there will be sunshine and a high of 61.


Today's California Memory comes from Daniel Weinberg:

"I remember driving to California from Chicago with my father and older brother and stopping at Zeke's Gas Station in Needles with a pig running through the streets. It was so wonderful at the end of the desert, and the fresh air was really hot."

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.