Newsletter: Essential California: Three dead in Fresno shooting

Remember the U.S. Navy ships sent to scare North Korea? Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez fatally hung himself in jail Wednesday morning. Southern California Edison, get ready for some competition. University libraries are being redesigned for the digital

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, April 19, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Shooting in Fresno

Three people are dead after a 39-year-old man allegedly went on a violent rampage in downtown Fresno. The suspect, Kori Ali Muhammad, was wanted in the separate shooting death of a security guard outside a motel last week. Muhammad’s father, Vincent Taylor, told The Times on Tuesday that his son believed he was part of an ongoing war between whites and blacks, and that “a battle was about to take place.” “I’m happy he was arrested,” Vincent Taylor said. “I would hope that whatever Kori tells [police], they take him seriously and they start following up.” Los Angeles Times


Plus: Police say Muhammad yelled “Allahu Akbar” when cops took him into custody, and his social media feeds are full of references to racial conflict and black nationalism. Los Angeles Times

New rules for L.A. cops

The Los Angeles Police Commission has changed the rules to require officers to try, whenever possible, to defuse tense encounters before firing their guns — a policy shift that marks a significant milestone in the board’s attempts to curb shootings by police. This vote was the culmination of a yearlong effort to change its ways. Los Angeles Times

New competition in town


The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has approved a plan to create a utility company that will compete with Southern California Edison. Initially, as many as 500,000 residential and 200,000 commercial utility customers in unincorporated cities throughout the county will be eligible to join the operation. Los Angeles Times


Airbnb battle: Airbnb is warning city officials that Los Angeles could face a budgetary blow if it restricts how many days Angelenos can rent out rooms or whole homes on its platform. Los Angeles Times

Get applying: There are as many as 45,000 open cyber security jobs in California, and the nation’s higher educational institutions are scrambling to add courses that help students get these positions. San Diego Union-Tribune

Simmons in the hospital: Fitness guru Richard Simmons, who has been absent from the public eye for several years now, has been hospitalized as he battles severe indigestion. ABC News

What will happen to Billy? A battle is brewing over where to keep the L.A. Zoo elephant Billy. Councilman Paul Koretz wants to move the Angeleno, who has been here since 1989, to a sanctuary where he can roam more freely. Associated Press

Facing her fear of driving: She just won Pulitzer — but maybe the biggest triumph was driving on the freeway from LAX. New York Times



Dreamer deported: After spending an evening with his girlfriend in Calexico, Calif., on Feb. 17, Juan Manuel Montes, a DACA recipient, was sent to Mexico. Montes had left his wallet in a friend’s car, and within three hours he had been shipped over the border. Los Angeles Times

Bonds are up: The price of immigration bail bonds has tripled over the last 20 years, and sometimes those who can’t pay up and bond out choose to self-deport rather than spend time in federal custody. The Desert Sun


California created Trump: President Trump won in 2016 railing on liberal paradises like California, but a close look at the president’s advisers, and their pasts, shows that this state is really what gave America Trumpism. Politico

Classic DMV: The California Department of Motor Vehicles isn’t making sure that people issued placards for disabled parking should actually have them, a state audit has found. Los Angeles Times

Reds in a sea of blue: The state assembly is solidly Democratic, but two GOP members are thriving right now by introducing bills left and right. “I don’t think that, in the Legislature, people walk around with the idea that they’re going to label people as partisans,” Assemblyman Jay Obernolte said. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Stars weigh in: Celebrity bounty hunters Duane “Dog” and Beth Chapman on Tuesday were among dozens of bounty hunters and bail agents to voice opposition to a state bill that would drastically transform the way judges award criminal defendants bail in California. Los Angeles Times



More Berkeley fallout: The Berkeley Police Department has requested the public’s help in identifying participants in a violent clash that erupted in the city’s downtown Saturday between anti-fascist groups and so-called alt-right groups, including white nationalists. Los Angeles Times

Teacher arrested: Police in Benicia, Calif., arrested a teacher Monday after she turned herself in for allegedly having sex with a student. ABC 7

That’s not where I parked my car: A man was arrested early Monday morning after he parked his car in the middle of an Orange County high school and fell asleep. The driver, who was detained on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, thought he had parked his car in Santa Ana. Orange County Register


Pesticide problems: Families in the Central Valley are worried about pesticide poisoning after the Trump administration reversed an Obama-era ban on chlorpyrifos, one pesticide widely used in the region. The Guardian

A weed succeeds: An invasive weed called Black Mustard, which is beautiful, is blooming like crazy in Silver Lake. The Eastsider


Movie problems in L.A.: “We’d love to — we all live here, we all work here. We made a handful of the early movies here. We hope to make some in the not-too-distant future here again,” said Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. But the state’s film incentives are “a big part” of why Marvel isn’t shooting here, he added. Los Angeles Times

An ode to the Phil: Read how one writer, when he comes to Los Angeles, heads straight to Walt Disney Concert Hall, because the Los Angeles Philharmonic is simply the best. New York Times

A museum gone wrong: The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is two years behind schedule on its Academy Museum and has already blown its $250-million budget. The cost could go up to as much as $400 million. Variety

Finally! There’s been a four-year delay, but the process of naming San Francisco International Airport after gay icon Harvey Milk will begin this week. The Bay Area Reporter


San Diego and Los Angeles area: partly cloudy Wednesday, sunny Thursday. Sacramento and San Francisco area: partly cloudy Wednesday and Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California Memory comes from Parker Green:

“When I first moved to California, I had been living in Alaska for the last two years. Stepping out of the airport in Long Beach into the bright, sun-soaked streets, having just left the cold, clammy, wet streets of Anchorage, I took a moment to take it all in. The sun was piercing through the leaves of a palm tree, and I was already getting uncomfortably hot in the pants and sweatshirt I was wearing, even though it was still early in the morning. I had spent the last decade of my life waiting for this moment. I had made it to L.A. I was in my new home.”

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.