Newsletter: How sacred are California public pensions?

The California Supreme Court will review a case that gave state and local government new authority to reduce public employee pensions.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Nov. 23. As you prepare for Turkey Day, meet the woman who was the queen of the Thanksgiving table in L.A. 90 years ago. Now, here’s what’s going on in the Golden State:


Gentrification fears

The building boom that has transformed downtown Los Angeles is moving into South L.A. The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan Tuesday to build a $1.2-billion residential, hotel and retail skyscraper project in the historic South Central core. Community activists fear the development would lead to increased housing costs and displacement of low-income residents. Los Angeles Times


The immigration game-changer?

Looking for who in the Trump administration will have a major influence on immigration policy? It might end up being Sen. Jeff Sessions, who if confirmed as attorney general could make major changes to the nation’s immigration system by boosting prosecutions of low-level violations, hiring tough immigration judges and cutting law enforcement funds to cities that don’t cooperate. Los Angeles Times

Public pension showdown

How sacred are California’s public pensions? We will soon find out. The California Supreme Court decided Tuesday to review a ruling that would give state and local governments new authority to cut public employee pensions. The court, meeting in closed session, unanimously accepted labor unions’ appeal of a decision that said government pensions were not “immutable” and could be trimmed. Los Angeles Times


Be afraid, very afraid: Yes, the Wednesday evening commute just before Thanksgiving is a total nightmare. Here are some other times to avoid the roads this holiday. Curbed LA

Sweet memories: A statue of Bubbles the whale long graced the entrance to Marineland, making it a beloved element of the Palos Verdes coast. Now, decades after the amusement park closed, Bubbles is returning to the peninsula. Daily Breeze

Why the hate? The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is asking the Sheriff’s Department to act more quickly in investigating hate crimes amid reports of election-related incidents. KPCC

Taking a stand: Some immigrant rights groups are demanding action, not just words, from Los Angeles leaders on the issue of Trump and his proposed immigration crackdown. BuzzFeed


Striking back: Nancy Pelosi, facing a challenge to continue leading the Democrats in the House, makes her case for why she is the right person to lead the opposition to Donald Trump’s agenda. Politico

Remember Prop. 187? Much of the modern anti-illegal immigration movement got its start in California. Longtime members see Trump’s victory as validation. Orange County Register

Been there: It’s a familiar debate in California that now the rest of the country will have. Are immigrants here illegally a drag on or a boon to the economy? A new study puts the economic contribution of undocumented workers at 3% of private-sector GDP in the U.S. Wall Street Journal

Thanks but no thanks: Michelle Rhee, the California education guru, says she won’t be a candidate to be Trump’s secretary of Education. Sacramento Bee


Shocking: Authorities say a pregnant woman was stabbed to death in Venice Beach on Monday night after an altercation with three people. Police are now to trying find the assailant in the crime. Los Angeles Times

Pitt cleared: The FBI says it has concluded its inquiry into Brad Pitt and his alleged behavior toward his teenage son aboard a private plane bound for Los Angeles and said no charges will be filed. Los Angeles Times

Legal jostling: With his criminal trial just weeks away, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is locked in a legal battle with prosecutors over whether a key witness can testify about Baca’s mental health. Los Angeles Times


Promises, promises: Will Trump make good on his promise to provide California with more water? Sacramento Bee


It’s an honor: President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday to Vin Scully, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Frank Gehry and several other luminaries from Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the worlds of sports and rock. Los Angeles Times

Rise of the machines: What’s that thing rolling down the street in Redwood City? Soon, it will be robot delivery vehicles. Mercury News

You look mahvelous: An appreciation for one of California’s most celebrated — if hard to find — architectural masterpieces, the Salk Institute. At 50, many marvel that it has aged very nicely. Los Angeles Times

Neighborhood complaint: For all the wealth and revitalization there, some parts of San Francisco retain their seedy side. SFGate

Gridiron battle: Inside Oakland’s bid to keep the Raiders and thwart Las Vegas. Mercury News


We have just completed a historic presidential election, with major implications for the nation and our state. But for all of us — citizens and journalists alike — the next chapter of our history is now unfolding. Throughout the campaign, the Los Angeles Times remained committed to fair and accurate coverage, while keeping our sights on the issues most important to our readers. It is heartening that so many people, a record 9 million visits, turned to us on election day. We added 2,000 new digital subscribers that week. And thousands more signed up for a trial subscription on Now that the election is history, we are redoubling our efforts to report on the Trump administration and California’s unique role in our nation. We are committed to covering the administration with rigor, accuracy and fairness. We have been able to do this critical work with the support from our readers. Please consider subscribing now by clicking here.

– Davan Maharaj, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the Los Angeles Times


The warm-up in Southern California will continue, with forecasters saying temperatures could hit a toasty 80 degrees on Thanksgiving Day. Today, it will be mostly sunny and reach a high of 71 in L.A. In San Francisco, it will be partly cloudy with a high of 58. San Diego will be mostly sunny with a high of 68.


Today’s California memory comes from Ruth M. Spindler:

“My late husband, two young sons and I emigrated from England to the U.S.; the destination, Salt Lake City, Utah. The date we traveled was Nov. 22, 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. We later became tired of the harsh winters in Utah and wanted to move to California. We drove from Salt Lake to Los Angeles to a new apartment in North Hollywood on the very weekend that Robert Kennedy was murdered at the Ambassador Hotel on June 6, 1968. What a coincidence!”

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 Shelby Grad.