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The fall of L.A.'s 'Teflon sheriff'

Trump has proposed dramatic cuts in his budget blueprint. Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was found guilty of obstructing justice. A federal judge in Hawaii has blocked Trump's revised travel ban. Rex Tillerson is on his first trip to Asia as secretary of State.

Good morning. It's Thursday March 16, and here's what's happening across California:




Lee Baca, the once powerful and popular sheriff of Los Angeles County, was found guilty Wednesday of obstructing a federal investigation into abuses in county jails and lying to cover up the interference. It caps an explosive corruption scandal that brought down many of the department's top leaders. Los Angeles Times

Plus: The dramatic fall of the "Teflon sheriff." Los Angeles Times

Air war

President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to shelve aggressive vehicle fuel economy targets that have been a foundation for battles against climate change and harmful pollution in California and across the country. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Why the environmental fight against Trump policies has to go through California. The Atlantic

And: Trump's budget would bring back a whole series of financial strains for the state. Los Angeles Times

Russian connection

A 47-count federal indictment has been filed against two Russian operatives for the Kremlin's famed Federal Security Service, a notorious Russian hacker and a Canadian hacker in what authorities have described as one of the biggest data breaches in U.S. corporate history. Its target: California-based Yahoo! Los Angeles Times

N.Y. over L.A.

In a huge coup in the arts world, the New York Philharmonic has hired away L.A. Phil President and CEO Deborah Borda. Borda, who ushered the L.A. Phil into Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003 and brought conductor Gustavo Dudamel to L.A. in 2009, is considered one of L.A.'s leading lights in the arts, and many are mourning her move east. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Yes, this was an earthquake in the arts world. Los Angeles Times


A bit better: Maybe voter turnout in L.A. for last week's election wasn't as bad as we thought. LA Weekly


Hike route: A new bus service to the Griffith Observatory is on the way. Curbed Los Angeles

Forerunner: The remarkable life of an L.A. artist who seemed to see where America (and Donald Trump) were heading. The New Yorker

Liberal lion: John Van de Kamp, who served as California attorney general and L.A. County district attorney, has died at age 81. Los Angeles Times


Hometown hero: How L.A. Congressman Adam Schiff has become an unlikely hero in the anti-Trump world. The New Yorker

Plus: And so has Congressman Ted Lieu. Los Angeles Times

Redwood tribute: California's next specialized license plate could pay tribute to the state's redwood trees, if enough people like the idea. SF Gate

Cuts here: Here's one little-known public agency based in Los Angeles County that had its employee pensions cut by CalPERS. Sacramento Bee

Big agenda: University of California regents will tackle a host of hot-button issues at their two-day meeting in San Francisco this week, including proposed enrollment limits on students from other states and countries, the rising cost of attendance and the campus housing squeeze. Los Angeles Times

Rubber stamp: Should mega-projects like malls and pro sports stadiums get fast-track approval from planners? Los Angeles Times


Beating charges: An assault charge has been filed against a Los Angeles County probation supervisor who was present when several officers were caught on tape pummeling a 17-year-old inside a juvenile detention facility last year. Los Angeles Times

Cruelest burglary: The father of basketball phenoms Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball was the victim of a burglary — while he was attending a game. Orange County Register

Under review: The chief of the Vallejo Police Department has ordered an investigation into an officer's actions following public outrage over a cellphone video showing the officer punching and hitting a man with baton. Los Angeles Times



Postcard perfect: A lot of snow, sun and water has Lake Tahoe looking in peak form after a record winter. SF Gate

Lost his way: A wayward sea lion got the attention of a lot of people in Vacaville, but he (or she) appears to now be headed home. Sacramento Bee

Nervous time: The anxiety of living in an area that could be evacuated at any moment by a levee break. Fresno Bee


Going too far? A podcast devoted to the mysterious life of L.A. fitness guru Richard Simmons has some questioning whether it's any of our business. New York Times

Crossroads: South Coast Plaza, the granddaddy of upscale shopping malls, is turning 50. And while it's doing better than many of its battered brothers, the mall is still at a crossroads. Orange County Register

No clicks: Amazon might open one of is (real-life) bookstores in Old Town Pasadena. San Gabriel Valley Tribune


Los Angeles area: A slight cool-down with highs in the upper 70s, and partly cloudy skies. Bay Area: Partly cloudy with highs in the 60s. Sacramento: Partly cloudy with highs in the 70s. San Diego: Sunny with highs in the 70s. More weather is here.


Today's California memory comes from Nick Polcino:

"When we first moved to Los Angeles, we settled into an apartment in Redondo Beach. My first job was in the San Fernando Valley — quite a drive, but the 405 had just opened and the traffic was minimal. So minimal that it felt lonely on the freeway. Every day I was able to see the sites such as Jane Mansfield's pink house, Mattel and lots more. I was bored enough to read all the billboards. This is not a trip I would ever want to do today."

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.