Newsletter: Essential California: Flexing political muscle at the Coastal Commission

Good morning. It is Thursday, April 14. This West Covina woman won’t be named “Mom of the Year” any time soon. She’s accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the PTA, Little League and Girl Scouts. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


Making a living

In South L.A., people are selling their personal possessions and more on city sidewalks just to make enough money to pay bills or supplement their low-wage jobs. It’s a kind of street vending that often goes overlooked. “These people are hustling to maintain the norm or to get to some level of norm,” said Vincent Moore, a pastor at Messiah Full Gospel Bible Fellowship. Los Angeles Times


Building plans

Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to hire 28 planning deputies and spend tens of millions of dollars to update the city’s three dozen community plans by 2026. The plans essentially dictate what development is allowed in various parts of the city. The move is an effort to avoid a fight over development at the ballot box. Los Angeles Times

Political influence

Gov. Jerry Brown has insisted that he and his staff did not play a role in ousting Coastal Commission executive director Charles Lester, but five years ago, there was tremendous fallout when commissioners hired Lester without the input of key political figures. “They made it clear they were very angry about the selection process and the fact that they were not conferred with before we hired Charles Lester,” said Mary K. Shallenberger, who was chairwoman of the commission in 2011. Los Angeles Times



Storm watch: Is La Niña on the way? It could bring a dry winter here in California. Discovery


Health and safety: The Los Angeles City Council approved new environmental measures Wednesday for the communities of Boyle Heights, Wilmington and Pacoima, where low-income Angelenos are often exposed to industrial and traffic pollution. “These communities have notoriously been the dumping ground for the city’s intense industrial land uses,” said Councilwoman Nury Martinez of the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles Times

Fight on: Former Trojan receiver Lynn Swann is the new athletic director for USC. He’ll be the third consecutive USC football player to hold the job. “As athletic director, my goals for student-athletes will be to graduate, to win and to experience,” Swann said. His first task will be to restore order to the university’s athletic programs. Los Angeles Times

Made in downtown L.A.: Is American Apparel leaving Los Angeles? The clothing maker is laying off hundreds of employees after emerging from bankruptcy in February. And its executives are looking at outsourcing manufacturing. Los Angeles Times

David vs. Goliath: In West Covina, folks are up in arms that a Dunkin’ Donuts is about to open next to their beloved Rainbow Donuts. Columnist Steve Lopez visited for a “sinfully good” buttermilk bar and the skinny of customers’ concerns. “The West Covina doughnut rebellion has only just begun,” he writes. Los Angeles Times



Speaking engagement: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is confirmed to speak at California’s state Republican Party Convention later this month. Fellow candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich are also scheduled to make appearances. Los Angeles Times

Over the borderline: People in Tecate, whether it’s on the American side or Mexican side of the border, don’t have any need for a border wall. “I think people that need to cross the border or want to cross the border they’ll find a way to cross the border,” said Roberto Arjona, the chief executive of a luxury hotel and spa in Tecate. Desert Sun

Reputation repair: Remember when campus police at UC Davis pepper-sprayed students? Officials there hope that you don’t. They spent at least $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative references to the incident. Sacramento Bee


Cop arrested: A former Montebello police officer was arrested Wednesday and is being charged with assaulting a tagger in 2014. Video shows Mark Ryan smashing the victim’s head into pavement, according to authorities. The incident was investigated by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Los Angeles Times

Bidding war: Singer Katy Perry is one step closer to owning a former convent in Los Feliz. A judge blocked an effort by nuns with Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to sell the property to a competing buyer. The Los Angeles Archdiocese has argued that only the church — not the nuns — have the authority to sell the property. Los Angeles Times


Enjoy your stay: Hollywood is in the midst of a hotel boom, as this updated map shows. Curbed LA


You’re talking real money: Are you a Bay Area resident with $6 million? Congratulations, you’re wealthy. A new survey from Charles Schwab finds a person needs a net worth of at least $1 million to live comfortably in San Francisco. SFGate

Box inside a box: San Francisco city officials don’t want residents to live in boxes, or pods, inside apartment units. The unconventional setup gained attention last month after a 25-year-old man announced he was renting a box in a friend’s apartment for $400 a month. According to the city’s housing inspector, “pods are illegal and a violation of housing, building, and fire safety codes.” SFGate


Bryant’s goodbye: After 20 seasons with the L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant played in his final NBA game. Here’s how the night unfolded. Los Angeles Times

Disaster scene: It’s been nearly 110 years since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck San Francisco. As these photos show, the quake leveled 500 city blocks and may have killed as many as 3,000 people. The Atlantic

Cancer treatments: Napster co-founder Sean Parker is investing $250 million in the development of cancer immunotherapies. The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy will bring together researchers from 40 labs to work on finding new cancer treatments. “Our mission is actually to get treatments to patients. We’re operating as a clearinghouse to make sure all these get breakthroughs get to patients,” Parker said. Los Angeles Times

Cheesy goodness: The Irvine-based Taco Bell is on a mission to perfectly melt cheese. “The near-term performance of Yum depends on Taco Bell, and the performance of Taco Bell rests on The Cheese Pull.” Bloomberg

Reunited and it feels so good: A Temecula dog is back home with his family four years after he ran away. Krum, a 10-year-old pug, was reunited thanks to a Good Samaritan and a microchip. Orange County Register


San Diego will have clouds and a high of 70 degrees. In Los Angeles, there will be clouds as temperatures reach 73. Riverside will be cloudy and 75. San Francisco will have an early morning shower and a high of 60 degrees. In Sacramento, it will be rainy and 66.


Today’s California Memory comes from Rob Earl:

“Back in 1974, during the gas shortage, my new wife and I were driving our rental car (no gas problems for us) along the coast near La Jolla. As the sun slowly sank on the horizon, we stopped, parked near the beach and walked to the water. A perfect evening with not another soul around. I couldn’t help thinking how the beach was so much more accessible compared to the East Coast where we lived. I was reminded of this the other day when I read about the Bay Boys. Perhaps beach access wasn’t so different after all.”

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.

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