Newsletter: Political spending of AIDS nonprofit takes heat from critics

San Jose officials are mopping up their worst flooding in recent history. President Trump raises strong feelings. Did you know the red carpet at the Academy Awards isn’t truly red? A Hollywood-based nonprofit is under fire for political spending.

Good morning. It’s Friday, Feb. 24, and here’s what’s happening across California:


A new kind of politicking

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a philanthropic empire that’s on the ground in 38 countries. But in recent months the organization has become known for the kind of activism usually associated with homeowner groups, spurring criticism that it has strayed too far from its mission. Los Angeles Times

Slowing real estate

Los Angeles’ suburbs have long been where Chinese nationals pay millions to buy homes. But because of a slowing economy, the Chinese government has attempted to reduce asset flight, which has led homes in places like the San Gabriel Valley to sit vacant for months. Los Angeles Times


Anaheim drama

How an off-duty cop telling teens to stay out of his yard escalated to gunfire, protests and outrage. Los Angeles Times


The magic carpet: The Oscars are this weekend, and the stars of this year’s biggest films won’t be the only ones shining. It took nearly 900 man-hours and 18 workers to install the 50,000-square-foot Academy Red carpet, and on Sunday night, the centerpiece of the evening’s festivities will be on full display. Los Angeles Times

Brown says “No on Measure S”: Gov. Jerry Brown has come out against the L.A. ballot measure that would restrict real estate development. He said in a statement, which was distributed by the measure’s opponents, “I join with all those who say Measure S goes too far.” Los Angeles Times

Also: Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne tries to make sense of this political battle, writing, “In my view what the chief Measure S backers seek is not so much to untangle the planning knot in Los Angeles as to maintain the scale and character of the postwar (as opposed to the 21st century) city.” Los Angeles Times

Last picture show: Westwood’s Regent Theatre is the latest L.A. movie house to close down. And it leaves behind a lot of history. LA Observed

Not Snap-happy: Snap has its share of detractors among the old Venice Beach set. BuzzFeed


Another court battle brewing: One California county is taking the Trump administration to court in an attempt to block the president’s executive order threatening the loss of federal funds to local governments that do not assist immigration authorities. Los Angeles Times

Climate protection: California lawmakers Thursday introduced legislation that would enshrine pre-Trump levels of environmental protections in California regardless of any reversal at the federal level. Politico

Kids these days: The state’s students are getting smarter, or at the very least they’re taking more Advanced Placement exams and doing better on them. East Bay Times

Watch: State Sen. Janet Nguyen, a Republican from Orange County, was removed from the Senate floor on Thursday as she attempted to criticize the late California Sen. Tom Hayden. The Mercury News


DACA drama: A beneficiary of the Obama administration’s immigration relief program who lives in North Hollywood was detained by authorities because they suspected him of attempting to smuggle someone else into the country illegally. Los Angeles Times

Changes on the trains: In a major shakeup of how the Metro and buses are policed, law enforcement officers from agencies other than the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will now patrol on trains, buses, platforms, stations and depots starting July 1. San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Buzz kill: The Trump administration said Thursday that there will be “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws under a Justice Department led by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. San Francisco Chronicle;


What went wrong in San Jose? Officials are trying to figure out how they so badly miscalculated how much water was flowing through the Coyote Creek, causing widespread flooding in the city. Los Angeles Times

Drought be gone: After being battered by weeks of record-setting rain, the vast majority of California is out of drought. Less than 20% of the state faces any drought conditions, and no place in California faces “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report. Los Angeles Times

Just a test: Shasta Dam made some history of its own this week. But it was less dire than the news made out of the Oroville Dam. Los Angeles Times


Oscar protests planned: Jodie Foster, Gavin Newsom and James Franco will be some of the bold-faced names appearing at a rally for immigrants rights, which is being organized by talent agency UTA in lieu of a party. Los Angeles Daily News

Remember when: This weekend will mark the 75th anniversary of when the Battle of Los Angeles began. Of course, there wasn’t an actual Japanese air raid, but spurred on by reports of one, military units sounded warning sirens, ordered a mass blackout and lighted up the sky with antiaircraft fire. Los Angeles Times

Ball is life: If you’re interested in seeing the next LeBron James play, there’s a good chance he’ll be on the courts tonight at the Southern Section Open Division high school basketball semifinals. There are two games between teams that feature players who are sure to be in the NBA sooner rather than later. Los Angeles Times

Put a reminder ring on it: Sorry, Beyoncé fans. The pregnant mega-star will not be performing at Coachella this year. Instead she’ll be headlining the festival in 2018. Los Angeles Times


Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles area: partly cloudy Friday and Saturday. San Francisco area: partly cloudy Friday, overcast Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Susan Ellenbogen:

“When I was a little kid growing up in L.A. in the late ’40s and ’50s, the Helms bakery truck used to cruise slowly through the neighborhood tootling its distinctive horn. I would run outside clutching a dime, and the Helms man (always a man, wearing a Helms uniform and cap) would open drawer after drawer of donuts and other baked goods. You could just about die and go to heaven inhaling that sweet, bready smell — even as you were just running out of the house with that sweaty dime in your hand.”

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 Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.