Newsletter: Essential California: Hollywood sex assault claims send LAPD into uncharted territory

LAPD officials say that never before has the department received so many sexual assault allegations involving high-profile figures such as Harvey Weinstein, pictured, at one time.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Nov. 23 — Thanksgiving Day — and here’s what’s happening across California:


Misconduct claims are straining the LAPD

The flood of sexual assault allegations coming out of the Hollywood entertainment industry has the Los Angeles Police Department negotiating uncharted territory. Never before has the department received so many sexual assault allegations involving high-profile figures at one time, including many complex cases that are years old with multiple alleged victims, officials say. The department has re-engineered its detective staff to deal with the influx. The LAPD has established five teams of two detectives to exclusively investigate allegations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times


Finally coming home

The remains of the ancestors of the Gabrielino-Tongva Tribe were mistreated and forgotten. Now, they’ve been reclaimed. The story of how this tribe was able to do so mirrors a broader trend, as local tribes use their growing political influence and the legal authority of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to take back remains and artifacts held by museums and universities for proper care and burial. Los Angeles Times

Giving thanks

Times columnist Bill Plaschke is feeling thankful today for a number of reasons, especially for a good Samaritan whose name he never found out. “The Thanksgiving spirit, while decorated in loved ones, is rooted in strangers. Don’t we all have contact with someone who enriches our lives without us knowing their names? They help us, they inspire us, they momentarily connect with us, and they ask for nothing in return, our human blessings. Over the years, we come to know some of them well. We hug them and call them by their first names, they become our friends. Many others, because of time and circumstance, we never know.” Los Angeles Times


After 39 years, a pardon

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday pardoned a 70-year-old man who spent nearly four decades behind bars for two murders that officials now believe he did not commit. Craig Coley was convicted in 1980 of strangling his ex-girlfriend and smothering her 4-year-old son, according to Brown’s pardon. For 39 years, Coley maintained his innocence. Los Angeles Times


More revelations: Keri Claussen Khalighi, the former model who recently accused Russell Simmons and Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct, appeared on “Megyn Kelly Today” on Wednesday to share what transpired after her experience with the music mogul and director. Los Angeles Times

$$$$: Since leaving the Los Angeles mayor’s office in 2013, Antonio Villaraigosa has made more than $4 million by advising companies such as Herbalife, Banc of California and natural resources company Cadiz, teaching at the University of Southern California and earning speaking fees. Los Angeles Times

Hmmm: Here’s why your Thanksgiving dinner is cheaper this year. Los Angeles Times

Steve Lopez on Atwatergate: In L.A.’s misguided war on blight, an unpainted fence could cost you $660. Los Angeles Times



A Trump choice: Given 18 months to leave the U.S., Haitians granted special status are shocked and disappointed, but some are also relieved. Los Angeles Times


Bad train cars: More than half of the delays on the Los Angeles County passenger rail network last year were connected to problems with Metropolitan Transportation Authority train cars, a new audit has found. Los Angeles Times

Major milestone: The percentage of Californians without health insurance reached a record low 6.8 percent during the first six months of 2017, according to new estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” San Francisco Chronicle

Not so fast: The state’s bullet train authority has acknowledged that it will fail to meet its self-imposed deadline to complete by 2018 the project’s environmental reviews, which determine the exact route that the electrified rail line would take between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times


Lawsuit: Residents in a senior living center in Santa Rosa have filed suit against the facility’s owners, claiming that staffers abandoned them in the face of last month’s devastating wildfire. Los Angeles Times

The investigation continues: The attorney for USC sophomore De’Anthony Melton said he gave the school bank statements and cellphone data this week as part of the investigation into the college basketball bribery and corruption case. Los Angeles Times


What happened here? Huntington Beach police detectives are still investigating the circumstances leading to the deaths of two brothers whose bodies were found with gunshot wounds in their apartment on Taft Lane over the weekend. Los Angeles Times

ICE in Oakland: Federal immigration officials say they’ve been investigating “human trafficking” in Oakland. But in the past decade, they have not imprisoned anyone from the city for that crime. East Bay Express


Some pushback: California moved Wednesday to block the Trump administration’s proposal to more than double entrance fees at popular national parks.” Sacramento Bee


Life on the road: The beautiful Airstream myth and painful RV reality of life on the road. Los Angeles Times

Life on the slopes: The snow is falling, but lift ticket prices are rising at many California ski resorts. Los Angeles Times

Sold! DreamWorks Animation’s luxurious Tuscan-style campus in Glendale has sold for $290 million to a partnership led by South Korean investors. Los Angeles Times

More Uber woes: New revelations that Uber suffered a major security breach in 2016 — and initially withheld details from drivers, riders and regulators alike — is touching off another round of government probes and customer lawsuits targeting the ride-hailing giant. Recode

Bringing back the old ways: American Indians are striving to restore some of their nearly lost tribal food traditions. San Francisco Chronicle


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy and 89. San Diego: Mostly sunny and 84. San Francisco area: Cloudy and 64. Sacramento: Cloudy and 67. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Cecilia Galvin:

“In 1954, my twin sister and I made our First Communion at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Los Angeles. After work, mother made our dresses; however, we had to settle on wearing our brown school shoes. Arriving at church, I only saw pretty white shoes. It was a long, dreadful moment ascending those stairs in my ugly brown shoes. This was a fixed memory for me until I visited the church years later and found there were fewer steps than I had remembered. I was now able to consider that, perhaps, my experience was not as dreadful as I had thought.”

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.