Newsletter: Essential California: LAPD ordered to show compassion for homeless

LAPD, skid row, homelessness
Los Angeles police officers talk to a homeless man on San Pedro Street along downtown L.A.'s skid row.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It is Wednesday, June 22. There appears to be a deal in the works to sell the Ultimate Fighting Championship for $4.2 billion. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


Going green

The Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County will be phased out of operation by 2025, according to Pacific Gas & Electric. It’s the last nuclear power plant in operation in California. Calls to close the plant, which sits near several earthquake fault lines, ramped up in 2011 after an earthquake led to the meltdown of two reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Los Angeles Times


Love and kindness

The LAPD is rethinking the way officers interact with homeless men and women. Officers should now be led by “compassion and empathy,” according to the plan approved by the Police Commission. “It’s important on a number of levels as we begin to move forward in what I hope will be a big transition in the way our streets appear and the way that some of the most vulnerable of the people in Los Angeles live,” said Police Chief Charlie Beck. Los Angeles Times

Expensive cameras

The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote today on a $57.6-million plan to outfit LAPD officers with body cameras. The vote represents the end of a six-month delay caused by the program’s cost and the LAPD’s decision not to release camera footage to the public without a court order. “The LAPD’s program, while perhaps the biggest ... is not even close to being the best,” said Catherine Wagner, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Los Angeles Times



Water deficit: A new study finds it will take years of wet weather before California recovers from its four-year drought. Researchers studied the Sierra Nevada and found the water deficit there is so serious the region may not recover until 2019. “The main take-home is thinking about drought over longer time scales. The first wet year doesn’t necessarily solve the longer-term problem,” said Steve Margulis of UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and principal investigator of the study. Los Angeles Times

Fire dangers: Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in Azusa and Duarte as the Reservoir and Fish fires grew in the Angeles National Forest. Fire crews were awaiting additional staff Tuesday after so many people were sent to San Diego and Santa Barbara to fight fires in those communities. Los Angeles Times


Ethics fine: Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan was fined by the Ethics Commission on Tuesday for failing to include required language on emails supporting candidates for the school board. He’ll have to pay $11,250 for the violation. Riordan was fined for the same kind of issue about a decade ago. Los Angeles Times

Dog rescue: A Sherman Oaks man is on a mission to shut down canine slaughterhouses in China and Cambodia. On previous trips, Marc Ching has rescued the dogs and brought them back to the United States for rehabilitation. This time, he made a deal with the owner of a Cambodian slaughterhouse: The man would close down his business if Ching helped him open a vegetarian noodle restaurant. LA Weekly

Hollywood and art: Artifacts from Rancho Guadalupe Dunes — sets from Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments” — are the basis for a new exhibit at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. “It’s also one of several projects in the biennial digging into the early history of Hollywood, seeking some insight into today’s image-obsessed culture.” New York Times



Local emergency: A fire at a Maywood industrial park prompted Los Angeles County officials to declare a local emergency Tuesday. The declaration allows the county to seek assistance from the state. “This emergency will require ongoing assessment and monitoring of the impacted area to ensure the safety of all residents and responders on the scene,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis. Los Angeles Times

Public financing: A grand jury in Santa Clara County is recommending an independent audit to determine whether public funds went to the construction of Levi’s Stadium. A ballot measure approved in 2010 prohibited any tax dollars from going toward the construction project. “The grand jury made it clear that we have to make major changes to fulfill our promise to the voters and protect our tax dollars. I vow that we are going to fix this,” said Mayor Lisa Gillmor. Mercury News

Short on cash: In this op-ed, a professor points out that the Donald Trump campaign doesn’t even have enough money for a three-bedroom home in Santa Monica. Los Angeles Times


New diagnosis: Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a federal filing. Prosecutors believe Baca should serve six months in jail despite that diagnosis. In February, the 74-year-old struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors in which he admitted to lying to officials during an interview about efforts to obstruct an FBI investigation into the jail system. Los Angeles Times

Legality of search: There a new twist in the bizarre 2015 kidnapping of Denise Huskins in Vallejo. An attorney for suspect Matthew Muller wants all of the evidence against his client to be thrown out because he says it came from a warrantless search of a cellphone. “It was quite literally the key that opened the door to the entire investigation and subsequent federal indictment,” according to the attorney. Sacramento Bee

Disturbing documents: The King of Pop is back in the news. New case documents and images suggest Michael Jackson kept a stash of pornography at his Neverland Ranch, which Santa Barbara prosecutors have described as a place where Jackson groomed young boys for molestation. Los Angeles Times



Tennis great: What would Compton native Serena Williams be doing right now if she had never picked up a tennis racket? “I think I would be in California. Maybe I would be married? Maybe I would have kids? I would like to believe I would,” she says. Wall Street Journal

Back to Ohio: People are getting the heck out of California. Skyrocketing home prices and the generally expensive cost of living are fueling mass outward migration. “People are getting soaked every time they turn around,” said one moving consultant. Mercury News

Women’s work: A new book explores the role women played in early space exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 89.3 KPCC


San Francisco will be sunny and 70. It will be sunny and 96 in Sacramento. Los Angeles will start the day with low clouds before temperatures reach a high of 84. It will be sunny and 98 in Riverside. San Diego will have some fog as temperatures reach 78 degrees.


Today’s California Memory comes from Shoshi Wilch:

“When I was around 12, I lived in the hood, Pico-Robertson, and my dad had a deli on Vernon and Central. I’d take the Pico bus to Rimpau, streetcar to Vermont and the streetcar on Vermont, which turned onto Vernon, to work a few hours waiting on customers and selling sandwiches and my father’s homemade salads and pickled pig’s feet!”

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.