Essential California: Getting harassed on public transit

Good morning. It is Thursday, Aug. 6. One woman in the Hollywood Hills is hosting a pool party … for dachshunds. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:


Jail reform

The L.A. County jail system and the way its deputies treat inmates will now be under the watchful eye of the federal government. The Sheriff's Department agreed to federal oversight after years of abuse scandals and criticism over the way it handles mentally ill inmates. "This historic settlement represents a renewed commitment by the county and Sheriff [Jim] McDonnell to provide constitutionally adequate care for prisoners with serious mental illness," said Deputy Assistant Atty. Gen. Mark J. Kappelhoff. Los Angeles Times

Airport rides

The battle between taxi companies and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft is coming to a head. The Los Angeles City Council voted to review a decision that would allow the transportation newcomers to pick up riders at LAX. The airport represents the taxi industry’s last stronghold in L.A. The fight is costing big money, as each side spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence City Hall. Los Angeles Times


Hidden treasures: As the water in Lake Isabella recedes, it's revealing artifacts from California's past, like the gangly Cottonwood trees. Elsewhere, curious tourists are discovering ghost towns and crashed planes. Los Angeles Times

Conservation efforts: At one Oceanside hospital, officials are trying to save water by re-evaluating everything, from how tools are sterilized to the restrictions placed on faucets. "Water efficiency in a lot of facilities has really been ignored. When you go in and do [water usage] audits, you often find that there is a lot of low-hanging fruit," according to a water coordinator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Los Angles Times

Fire footage: This time-lapse video shows the Rocky Fire jumping Highway 20 in Lake County. Sacramento Bee


Conservative politics: The 1965 Watts riots ushered in a new era of conservatism, one that propelled California's Richard Nixon to the White House and placed Ronald Reagan in the governor's mansion, writes columnist Cathleen Decker. In fact, many Californians found comfort in the Republicans' message for decades to come. Ultimately, demographics in the state changed so dramatically that the home of Nixon and Reagan is now solidly blue. Los Angeles Times

Language barrier: Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in America, so 24-year-old Carlos Vasquez was shocked when a stranger at IHOP lectured his mother that she should speak English after hearing the woman speak Spanish. The woman also told Vasquez's mother to go back to Spain, even though the family is from El Salvador. The whole thing was caught on tape. Los Angeles Times

Closing its doors: The House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard has closed, and some say good riddance. "The House of Blues sucked. It was a squandered opportunity, doomed from the outset by its bloated sense of self-importance and overstuffed Hollywood entitlement." LA Weekly


Deal reached: A year of tense negotiations has come to an end between Mayor Eric Garcetti and more than half of the city's civilian workforce. A tentative deal reached between the two sides would defer employees' raises but keep in place a healthcare plan that doesn't require premium payments for most members. The deal also would reduce retirement benefits for future employees. Los Angeles Times

Denying allegation: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee says a gang member's assertion that he took bribes is like reading a comic book. Referring to Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and his attorneys, the mayor said, "They’re kind of like orangutans trying to deflect attention." Chow is accused of running a racketeering enterprise. SF Gate

Harassment: Have you been harassed on an L.A. Metro bus or train? You're not alone. A new survey finds 18% of bus riders and 21% of rail users have experienced sexual harassment. And 7% of all respondents said they had been inappropriately touched or groped. Curbed LA

Stuck in gridlock: This animated map shows how 3.3 million Bay Area residents commute to work. "One of the most notable features is the blue blob of dots (see the map at the top of this post) that commutes from San Francisco down to the Mountain View area (the Googleplex, perhaps?)" Wired


Abuse allegations: Four Southern California police officers were arrested on suspicion of physically abusing more than a dozen children at a boot camp in San Luis Obispo. The alleged victims range in age from 12 to 17. The officers from Huntington Park and South Gate each were  released on a $20,000 bond. Los Angeles Times

"Irreconcilable differences": Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling filed for divorce from his wife one year after their contentious fight over the NBA team and just a few weeks before their 60th wedding anniversary. It was last summer when Shelly Sterling removed her husband from a family trust after two doctors declared him to be mentally incapacitated. He, in turn, called her a "pig" during a court hearing. Court papers cite "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the divorce. Los Angeles Times

Caught on tape: Three Santa Ana police officers say they didn't know they were on surveillance footage when they led a raid on a marijuana dispensary and then proceeded to play darts, sample edibles and make disparaging comments about the shop's owner, who is an amputee. And because of that, the cops want the video quashed as the police department leads an internal review into their actions. Orange County Register

Gone wild: What would prompt a 37-year-old man at the Santa Ana Zoo to take off his shirt, swing from trees and yell: "I am Tarzan?" Probably drugs, police say. Los Angeles Times


Freshman 15: Among the nation's 20 colleges with the best food, three are in California. A survey finds Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College and the University of San Diego have some of the tastiest options for students. Los Angeles Times

Messy situation: What is with San Francisco and public urination? A lamp post fell over onto a car in Nob Hill, and utility officials say it's because urine, of both the human and canine varieties, had corroded the metal at the base. The incident follows the city's decision to cover public walls with urine-resistance paint. SFist

Tech diversity: One Bay Area engineer took to Twitter and a hashtag, #ILookLikeAnEngineer, to promote diversity in tech. It also accompanied an essay on what it's like to be a woman in a male-dominated field. BuzzFeed


Compton's cardiac jolt: It was bad news for the city when, after The Times reported in March that a quarter of its firefighters aren't certified as emergency medical technicians, L.A. County stripped its fire trucks of lifesaving automated external defibrillators. But Compton's brief punishment might have a positive outcome for the state, says The Times' editorial board: There's an effort underway to make sure that all California firefighters -- who now respond mostly to medical emergencies instead of fires -- receive EMT training. Los Angeles Times


Riverside is expected to have a quick rain shower today. Highs will reach 96 degrees. Los Angeles will be partly sunny and 87 degrees. San Diego will be partly sunny with a shower. Temperatures are expected to reach a high of 79. San Francisco will have low clouds and then sun and 73 degrees.


Today's California Memory comes from Margot Smith:

I was a kid on Easter vacation winding from Los Angeles to Kerman over the Grapevine (the highway through the Tehachapis north to Fresno) and we arrived at the San Joaquin Valley covered with golden poppies and purple lupin as far as the eye could see -- it was glorious.

If you have a great memory or fun story about the Golden State, please share it with us. Send us an email here to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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