Newsletter: Essential California: Did ‘Grim Sleeper’ ever stop killing?

Tina Saunders
Tina Saunders is the sister of Sharon Dismuke, one of five additional potential victims of serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., also known as “the Grim Sleeper.”
(Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles TImes)

Good morning. It is Monday, May 9. Motion-activated cameras are capturing the wildlife of San Francisco. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


Did the killings continue?

He was called the “Grim Sleeper” because of the 14-year gap in between his killings, but police believe Lonnie Franklin Jr. never stopped attacking women. Franklin was convicted last week of murdering nine women and a teenage girl. During the penalty phase of his trial, prosecutors plan to introduce that Franklin killed at least five other women between 1988 and 2002. “I don’t think he stopped killing,” said LAPD Det. Daryn Dupree. Los Angeles Times


Controversial speaker

Students at Scripps College in Claremont thought they had nailed it when they secured Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of State, as their commencement speaker. But then came criticism of Albright’s record. Twenty-eight professors say they will not share the stage with Albright at the May 14 ceremony. Los Angeles Times

Just the facts, ma’am

How did the California Coastal Commission get scientists to change their opinion on Newport Banning Ranch, which would be the largest coastal project in years if approved? Staff initially determined the site deserved protection thanks to its “incredibly unique array of sensitive coastal species and habitats.” But when commissioners saw that recommendation, “they echoed developers’ arguments that the site was a brownfield and pressured the staff to revise its assessment.” Los Angeles Times



Risky environment: California has found a way to cope with drought, wildfires, rising sea levels and other “high-risk ecological realities.” “Perhaps because Californians exist in a perpetual state of precarity, they have been more willing than many to respond proactively to new environmental threats and challenges visible on the horizon.” Boom

Dry brush: It could be a busy fire season thanks to El Niño, which brought enough rain to grow tall grasses that can ignite dry forests. “We’ll basically have more lighter, flashy fuels along roadsides once they dry out,” said Amy Head, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Los Angeles Times


Special delivery: When police pulled over a speeding vehicle near downtown Los Angeles early Saturday morning, they found two frantic passengers — one of whom was about to give birth. The police escorted the couple to the hospital and it was there, inside the car, that Messiah Tindley was born. Los Angeles Times

L.A. original: In a city that is constantly changing, Yuca’s in Los Feliz is something of a constant. The 8-by-10-foot space has been serving tacos and burritos since 1976. “I just did what I thought people would like. And they really liked it,” said “Mama” Socorro Herrera. Los Angeles Times

Hot spot: Take a look inside Highland Park Bowl, which just got a $2-million renovation. “You could tell there was great potential there,” said Bobby Green, head of the design team. Curbed LA

Crime map: These L.A. homes were once the scene of the crime. Los Angeles Times



Political influence: How have Uber and Lyft come to dominate politics in Sacramento? Muscles, goodwill and a power struggle. “Even delays are de-facto victories for Uber and Lyft. They’re continuing to grow their share of the market while cabs are struggling under the strict rules legislators and regulators put on the taxi industry long ago.” Los Angeles Times

Making changes: It was a year ago that a scathing audit came out detailing how the City of Industry had paid its former mayor’s companies more than $326 million over 20 years. And while work is underway to turn around the city, some say the City of Industry isn’t any better off. “The city isn’t looking at itself at all,” said Doug Johnson, a fellow with Claremont McKenna’s Rose Institute of State and Local Government. San Gabriel Valley Tribune


Police shootings: San Diego Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis reversed course and released video of three officer-involved shootings. “The position represents a major departure from historical practices, but we recognize the times have changed,” Dumanis said. All of the officers in the videos were found to be within policy when they shot men that were armed or believed to be armed. San Diego Union-Tribune

Remembering Mom: Mother’s Day can be a particularly difficult time for children who have lost their mothers to violence. Here, some of those mothers are remembered. Los Angeles Times

Calls for resignation: Hundreds of protesters calling for the removal of Police Chief Greg Suhr are expected to rally outside San Francisco City Hall today. Five demonstrators who had been on a hunger strike for the same cause ended that protest Saturday. “The whole San Francisco community took the step to demand the hunger strikers suspend their hunger strike so they can return to the front lines and help shape this movement and the pursuit of justice for the black and brown citizens of San Francisco,” said a spokeswoman for the “Frisco Five.” SFGate

Bailing out: A federal judge in Oakland will hear arguments this week that the money bail system violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. Critics of the system argue defendants’ pretrial freedom rests on how much money they have. “It’s a dirty little secret in the system that bails result in guilty pleas just because people want to get out, and that’s wrong,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. KQED


Trade dispute: An Orange County entrepreneur is in a legal fight with a Middle East bank over an idea he had a decade ago — the ability to send payments via a mobile device. Farooq Bajwa is represented by the law firm of Boies Schiller & Flexner — chaired by David Boies, among the country’s most well-known attorneys. “Nothing is more bitter than a failed marriage — that is often the context of a trade secrets case. It’s a relationship entered into with hope and optimism that goes sour,” said Robin Feldman, a professor with Hastings College of the Law. Los Angeles Times


Expensive taste: One writer visited GOOP’s pop-up shop in San Francisco. “The effect was almost like perusing Gwyneth’s home in Brentwood, California, except with price tags. Rooting around for the tag was like a tiny adventure: Would an item be overpriced? … Would it be bananas?” BuzzFeed

Fewer perks: Dropbox is getting rid of some of its employee perks — a shuttle to San Francisco, gym washing services, unlimited dinner guests. The move is expected to save the tech firm $38 million a year. SFGate

Setting the scene: Southern California acts as the backdrop for “Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser,” an unconventional opera. Los Angeles Times

Back together: Twenty-four years after they ended their relationship, two old flames reconnected in this California love story. New York Times


San Francisco will have low clouds and a high of 63 degrees. Sacramento will be sunny and 78. Los Angeles will have clouds as temperatures reach a high of 70. There will be sunshine and a high of 75 in Riverside. San Diego will have clouds as temperatures reach 69 degrees.


This week’s birthdays for notable Californians: Director George Lucas (May 14, 1944), Rep. Jackie Speier (May 14, 1950), City Atty. Mike Feuer (May 14, 1958), Rep. Mimi Walters (May 14, 1962), Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (May 14, 1984) and Sonoma State President Ruben Arminana (May 15, 1946).

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.