• Newsletter
  • Newsletters

Essential California: Strapped to a chair for 46 hours: A mentally ill inmate's last days

A president perpetually in campaign mode is nothing new. A man who admitted to murdering his 5-year-old son was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. U.S. and Canadian diplomats suffered hearing loss in Cuba. Andrew Holland died in custody at San Luis Obispo County jail in January. 

Credits: Getty / KTLA / Brian van der Brug

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Thursday, Aug. 24, and here's what's happening across California:



A mentally ill inmate's last days

For 46 hours, Andrew Holland's legs and arms were shackled to a chair in the San Luis Obispo County Jail cell. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was left in his own filth, eating and drinking almost nothing. He was naked, except for a helmet and mask covering his face and a blanket that slipped off his lap, exposing him to jail staff who passed by his glass-fronted cell. When he was finally unbound, guards dumped him to the floor of a nearby cell. Within 40 minutes, he had stopped breathing. His death raises questions about the treatment of mentally ill inmates in California's county jails. Los Angeles Times

Hoping to prevent weekend unrest

San Francisco police will be out in force Saturday for a rally that is expected to draw white supremacists and counter-protesters who have clashed violently in the past. San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said he hoped a large police presence can prevent the kind of violence seen in Virginia and elsewhere. Los Angeles Times

The next ambitious building project

On a spectacular site near the Getty Center covering 447 acres, billionaire philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen is planning the new headquarters for the 7-year-old institute that bears his name, a low-slung campus of buildings. It will be designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron (with L.A.'s Gensler) and set within a landscape by Michel Desvigne and Inessa Hansch. Los Angeles Times


Killer sentenced: A South Pasadena man who admitted to murdering his 5-year-old son after a trip to Disneyland this year was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years to life in prison. Los Angeles Times

Arena update: Backers of the Clippers' proposed arena in Inglewood are seeking last-minute legislation that would give the arena a significant break under the state's primary environmental law governing development. Los Angeles Times

Garcetti raking in the cash: "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti — a longtime critic of big money in local politics — has set a surprising city record requesting large contributions, using a little-known and largely unregulated process called 'behested payments.' " KPCC

Changes at LAX: "A $14 billion expansion is underway at Los Angeles International Airport, making it the fastest-growing airport in the U.S. More flights mean cheaper fares but also possible delays." The Wall Street Journal


Hablamos Español: "Drawing on a critical mass of native speakers, the United States now has by some counts more than 50 million hispanohablantes, a greater number of Spanish speakers than Spain." New York Times

Allegations: A recently filed lawsuit claims that a Pasadena principal threatened to set immigration officers on a mother and a caretaker. Los Angeles Times



Interesting study: California communities with large white populations aren't planning for their fair share of low- and moderate-income housing growth, according to a new study of Bay Area cities. Los Angeles Times

Looking for signatures: A group representing prisoners, their families and supporters has proposed a ballot measure to let felons in state prison vote in California elections. Los Angeles Times

Legislation alert: California lawmakers are considering a "sanctuary state" bill to prevent local and state police from enforcing federal immigration law. Oregon passed a similar measure more than 30 years ago. NPR

The trolling continues: "California Democrats are stoking a debate over Donald Trump's mental health and fitness for office, opening a new front in the resistance to the president but raising fears that the line of criticism could backfire." Politico


Shooting in Mid-Wilshire: A man was hospitalized in serious condition Wednesday morning after he was shot during a home invasion in the Mid-Wilshire area. Los Angeles Times

See you in court: Randall Arney, the former artistic director of the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles who was dismissed in February after 17 years at the theater, filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing the Geffen of age and disability discrimination. Los Angeles Times

Battleground Berkeley: "Some law enforcement agencies won't even say whether they're identifying hate groups as gangs or terrorists, even though many fit law enforcement definitions of gangs and terrorist networks." East Bay Express



Big up to us: "California is the most energy-efficient economy in the world, and least carbon intensive." Wired

Taxes on the water: "Californians would for the first time pay a tax on drinking water — 95 cents per month — under legislation to fix hundreds of public water systems with unsafe tap water, a problem most pervasive in rural areas with agricultural runoff." The Mercury News


Where we go from here: Here's the daunting challenge that Ross Levinsohn faces as he takes over the reins of the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times

Missed it by that much, Part 1: Californians hoping to pocket Wednesday's $758.7-million Powerball jackpot prize are out of luck. "We didn't get a jackpot in California," said Cathy Johnston, spokeswoman for the California Lottery. But three tickets with five of the six winning numbers were sold in the state. Los Angeles Times

Missed it by that much, Part 2: For nine blissful innings, Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill held the Pittsburgh Pirates without a hit. But the boys in blue still lost, 1-0. Los Angeles Times

An era ends: Warren Olney's local current affairs show on KCRW, "To the Point," is becoming a weekly podcast. "Pulling the plug on the one-hour program means Olney won't have his own daily radio show in the nation's second-largest media market for the first time in 25 years." LA Weekly

Read it and weep: Alice Waters is out with a new memoir about her life at the center of counterculture and as a chef. The New York Times

Scandal: Two leadership figures at Cinefamily, a prominent fixture in the Los Angeles repertory cinema scene, resigned Tuesday evening amid a scandal alleging misconduct in and around the nonprofit theater on Fairfax Avenue. Los Angeles Times


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


Today's California memory comes from Kei Moriyama:

"I was born in 1952 at the Los Angeles Japanese Hospital in Boyle Heights just east of Little Tokyo. In the early 1900s, access to adequate healthcare was a major issue for the Japanese in Los Angeles due to discrimination. In 1929, despite the legal challenges they faced, a group of Japanese doctors established a 42-bed hospital in Boyle Heights to serve the community. They appropriately named the facility the Japanese Hospital. With the signing of President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 in 1942, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, including medical professionals, were forced into incarceration camps scattered throughout the remote regions of California, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming. When the Japanese finally returned to their homes after the war, hospitals continued to deny them essential medical and maternity services. For my mother, having her baby at the Japanese Hospital was her only option. Last year, the former Japanese Hospital was designated as a Historical-Cultural Monument. This hospital is where my life began and it will forever hold a special place in my heart."

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.