Newsletter: The pitfalls of prison reform in Hesperia

Sharon Green is the founder and CEO of the Victor Valley Family Resource Center, which runs two transitional homes for nonviolent felons, who upon release from jail would have nowhere else to go.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It is Wednesday, Sept. 14. This is one BART train you’ll want to get on: It has a swing. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


A desert town and its people

The high-desert town of Hesperia is cracking down on homes that provide shelter, food and opportunities to criminals released under the state’s justice reform measures. Now, a federal court must decide if the city’s actions violate the constitutional rights of people on probation. The case is an example of the challenges California is facing as the state tries to reduce its prison population. Los Angeles Times


Gas Co.’s criminal case

Southern California Gas resolved its criminal case stemming from the massive Aliso Canyon gas leak by agreeing to a $4-million settlement. The utility pleaded no contest to failing to immediately notify the California Office of Emergency Services and Los Angeles County Fire Department of the leak last October. The leak caused thousands of people to temporarily relocate and led to lawsuits from residents, regulatory agencies and state, local and county governments. Los Angeles Times

Californians and their guns

Nearly two-thirds of California voters support a gun control initiative on the November ballot, close to the same percentage of people who say they don’t have a firearm in their home, a new poll finds. Los Angeles Times



A base of support: Steve Lopez visits the Trump campaign office in Long Beach’s Little Cambodia district and finds a surprisingly diverse array of supporters. Los Angeles Times

The end is near: If the Dodgers win the World Series in Vin Scully’s final year, the voice announcing the championship will not belong to Scully. The legendary broadcaster said Tuesday he would not call any Dodgers playoff games on radio, meaning his career will end Oct. 2 in San Francisco. Los Angeles Times

Look both ways: It’s hard to miss these very colorful, very artistic crosswalks in Santa Monica. But will it make pedestrians safer? Curbed LA


Safe haven: Boxing coach Paul Hernandez has been fighting to keep the East Los Angeles Community Youth Center open, even though the property has been sold to Green Dot charter schools. “My job is to train kids, and as a born-again Christian, to stand on the word of God,” he says. Los Angeles Times

Not so sweet home: There are few housing options for Angelenos living with a disability. Many have to navigate hallways that are too narrow for their wheelchairs or contend with kitchen counters that are too high. “The housing needs of disabled residents are in the spotlight following the recent $200 million-plus settlement of a high-profile lawsuit against Los Angeles over its lack of affordable housing for the disabled.” Daily News

Building plans: A look at the office building that could one day replace — or join — the LAPD’s old headquarters, Parker Center. Urbanize LA



Lots of support: A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll finds 58% of California voters favor the legalization of recreational marijuana. The results show a major shift in the public’s attitude since voters rejected a similar proposal in 2010. Los Angeles Times

Old accusations: A retired Marine colonel running against Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) was accused of stalking, harassing and threatening his wife more than 10 years ago while the two were going through a divorce, according to court records. The allegations surfaced one day after state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris endorsed Douglas Applegate. Politico

Tax breaks vetoed: Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed bills to lift the sales tax on diapers and tampons. The governor said the tax breaks would have cost the state millions of dollars and therefore are the same as new spending. Los Angeles Times

New hideaway: Brown is building a so-called “off the grid” weekend retreat on his ranch in Colusa County. And it’s very “Jerry” — a one-bedroom powered by solar. Sacramento Bee


No parking: San Francisco is a leader in a new urban trend: Dropping parking garages from plans for new developments. Other cities are beginning to follow suit, including Los Angeles. Wall Street Journal


False report: Two Los Angeles police officers have been charged with covering up a drunk driving collision and later filing a false police report. Back in 2014, according to prosecutors, Officers Rene Ponce and Irene Gomez responded to a call of a drunk driver who smashed into two cars. But rather than conducting an investigation, the officers allegedly took the driver home and later wrote that the motorist had fled the scene. Los Angeles Times

A warning: Did Berkeley go too far when city officials passed a law requiring retailers to warn customers about carrying cellphones too close to their body? That’s the question before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. San Francisco Chronicle


A truck and a pursuit: A man accused of stealing a big rig filled with low-grade hazardous material led authorities on a three-hour pursuit. The driver was in touch with CHP officers over the phone and apparently told them “he didn’t want to go back to jail.” At the end of the pursuit, the guy got out of the cab of the truck with his arms raised. Los Angeles Times

Found safe: Two Fullerton firefighters who went missing in Yosemite National Park during a six-day backpacking trip have been found safe. Los Angeles Times

Don’t smoke and drive: Stanford University researchers are perfecting the “potalyzer.” Mercury News



On the list: It has long been considered the campus of last resort for UC-bound students, but UC Merced ranked 152nd among 298 national universities reviewed by U.S. News & World Report. UC Merced opened to undergraduates in 2005. Los Angeles Times


Through the lens: The book is called “Zzyzx.” It “operates like a road map, or a set of road maps, leading viewers to the end of the line. The photographer’s subject is Southern California, although he is not interested in the usual myths.” The New Yorker



Brrrr: There’s snow up in the Sonora Pass. Union Democrat


Music legend: It has been 20 years since the iconic rapper Tupac Shakur died after being shot near the Las Vegas strip. Here’s a look back at his life and legacy. Los Angeles Times

Away from it all: Check out this peaceful retreat in Mendocino County. New York Times


As seen on TV: The Brady Bunch probably couldn’t afford that ranch home today. Nor could the Tanners have realistically lived in that San Francisco Victorian. CityLab

Music venue: Disneyland wants to demolish the old House of Blues in downtown Disney. Orange County Register

Wrong way: San Francisco’s famous winding street, Lombard, is getting too popular. And city officials are considering radical action, including closing it to cars. SFGate

Trans love: Meet the two producers on “Transparent” tasked with making sure the TV show stays true to itself. New York Times


Up in the sky: Giant paper airplanes are invading L.A.’s Grand Park. LAist


Sacramento will be 86 and mostly sunny. San Francisco will have low clouds with a high of 67 degrees. There will be clouds and a high of 79 in Los Angeles. San Diego is expected to have a high of 73 degrees. Riverside will be 86 degrees and sunny.



Today’s California Memory comes from Lillian Caliman:

“My memories go back almost 60 years. My stepfather, who grew up in Monroe, La., would take us crawdad (crayfish) fishing. We would gather kite string and calf liver and head for his favorite ‘pond’ underneath an overpass in south LA. We kids would tie a small piece of liver to the end of the string and toss it into the pond. When the crawdad pinched the liver, we yanked the string and tossed the crawdad onto the bank. Dad would grab it behind the pinchers and place the catch in the bag. Later we boiled the crawdad and ate them. Mmm... Mmm... good.”

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.