Newsletter: Essential California: The jump in L.A. County homelessness is ‘staggering’


China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. There’s still a line, and Kathy Griffin found it. What happened to a fishing boat called the Tammy? An L.A. skyscraper is turning into the world’s longest stringed instrument. Credits: Getty / Irf

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, June 1, and here’s what’s happening across California:


A grim report on the homeless problem

A report released Wednesday on the state of homelessness in Los Angeles County is full of nothing but bad news. The homeless population has soared 23% over last year, despite increasing success in the placement of people in housing. A count in January found nearly 58,000 homeless people, which suggested that the pathway into homelessness continues to outpace intensifying efforts that got more than 14,000 people permanently off the streets last year. “There’s no sugarcoating the bad news,Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday. “We can’t let rents double every year. I was particularly disappointed to see veteran numbers go up.” Los Angeles Times


Plus: Here’s a look at what’s behind the dramatic rise in L.A. County’s homeless population. Los Angeles Times

Officers are fired

The five Inglewood police officers who fatally shot a young couple, firing 20 bullets into them as they appeared to be unconscious in a parked car, are no longer police officers in the city, Mayor James T. Butts said. The shooting of Marquintan Sandlin and Kisha Michael occurred in February 2016, but the city offered scant information about the incident, which has stoked protest and calls for greater transparency in the Inglewood Police Department. Los Angeles Times

A mysterious boat wreck


Two men with extensive experience in researching and identifying submerged shipwrecks think the long-lost fishing boat Tammy might rest on the ocean floor near the Port of Long Beach. The story of how the Tammy disappeared and how these men potentially came to find it is amazing in itself. Steve Lawson, a technical writer and avid wreck diver, and Gary Fabian, a computer consultant and maritime historian who discovered a sunken vessel in 1995, have spent more than a decade trying to identify the boat and figure out how exactly it got there. Los Angeles Times

A looming climate disaster

In an interview Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown warned that a decision by President Trump to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris global climate change agreement could be “tragic” and vowed to keep California’s ambitious efforts in place and on track. Los Angeles Times



Waze to change its ways: The navigation app Waze will launch a carpooling app across California that lets drivers offer rides to people traveling on a similar route. Los Angeles Times

Dreary days: In praise of “June gloom,” the cloudy condition that so many Southern Californians feel is purgatory before summer rolls in. LA Weekly

Pressure is on the sheriff’s department: After an oversight group pushed the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department last week to be more transparent about how often deputies use force and how often they’re punished, the union representing rank-and-file deputies says it wants the department to go even further. Los Angeles Times

Comfort zone: The L.A. photographer who has found his muse: old sofas. LAist



“You’re just there, trapped”: Some of President Trump’s immigration advisors have publicly called for immigration enforcement strategies so tough that they encourage those in the country illegally to “self-deport.” Here’s the story of women who did it — long before Trump came in the picture. Los Angeles Times

Honoring some vintners: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington is recognizing five immigrant families who have worked their way up in the U.S. wine industry. Washington Post



The diagnosis: Times columnist Steve Lopez wonders why a California senator wants to make it harder to catch bad doctors? What he discovers is illuminating and infuriating. Los Angeles Times

A revised single-payer estimate: With a state Senate vote possibly imminent on a single-payer health system for California, supporters Wednesday released a study estimating it would cut spending on healthcare in the state by 18% and cost tens of billions of dollars less than the state’s estimate for the plan. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa is questioning whether this single-payer healthcare system is affordable for the state. Los Angeles Times

Town hall chaos: Things got out of hand at Rep. Lou Correa’s town hall meeting on immigration in Santa Ana. An altercation ensued and three people were arrested. Los Angeles Times


Planned Parenthood clinics shuttering: Planned Parenthood will close three clinics in Northern California at the end of June to consolidate dwindling financial resources. Sacramento Bee


James’ home defaced: A racial epithet was spray-painted on the front gate of NBA star LeBron James’ home in Brentwood, Los Angeles police said Wednesday. Los Angeles Times

TBN drama: A trial filled with sex, allegations of a coverup and money involving a famed Orange County religious broadcaster. Orange County Register


Violence and public health: One way to help victims of trauma find their way. New York Times

Shooting in Hesperia: One person is dead, and another is injured after an officer-involved shooting outside a Wal-Mart in Hesperia, authorities said Wednesday. Los Angeles Times


Look at that: The massive fiber optic cable buried underneath a road at Stanford University is normally used for earthquake detection. It turns out that the three-mile cable inadvertently gathers other kinds of data, including the sound of objects moving above ground.” CityLab



More skiing this summer: Mammoth is extending skiing and snowboarding season into August, for only the second time. Los Angeles Times

A yearbook surprise: A Stockton student got KFC to buy advertising in her yearbook, which resulted in Col. Sanders’ headshot showing up next to students’ yearbook photos. Adweek

West moving back to L.A.? The L.A. Clippers are courting NBA legend Jerry West in a bid to hire him away from the Golden State Warriors. Two league executives say West is “very intrigued.” Los Angeles Times


Major investigation alert! Did you know that a lot of the sushi you’re eating at some of the city’s nicest Japanese restaurants is mislabeled? The Hollywood Reporter


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



Today’s California memory comes from Morton Holbrook III:

“When I was a little boy in Kentucky, in the 1940s, my grandfather took me three times on train trips to California to visit his brother, who lived outside Los Angeles, on a farm near Corona. This was the thrill of my childhood. We would travel first to Chicago, then, at night, take the Super Chief, America’s finest train, from Chicago to Los Angeles. I still remember the fine dining car; the part of the track that curved so much that you could see clearly the front of the train from the back of it; the short stopover in Albuquerque (where the train was washed, and we could get off briefly); and the final hour or so of the journey, on the second morning, through beautiful Pasadena, where we could see lots of flowers.

“In L.A. on one trip, I recall seeing old streetcars stacked on top of each other, since the streetcar system was coming to an end. The farm near Corona overlooked a canyon where we could see deer on occasion; it later became part of an orange grove. Today, I believe, it has been swallowed up by subdivisions. I also recall taking a ferry to Catalina Island, where we took a glass-bottom boat to see the fish off the Catalina coast — boats that still exist 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.