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Newsletter: Essential California: Sexual harassment allegations lead to one state legislator’s immediate resignation

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), shown in 2014, submitted his resignation Monday morning, one week after The Times reported that six women had accused the legislator of unwanted physical advances or unwelcome communications.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Nov. 28, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

Bocanegra resigns

Sexual harassment allegations have continued to roil the California political landscape, as one Democratic legislator announced his immediate resignation and another was stripped of key posts by his colleagues. Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) submitted his resignation Monday morning, one week after The Times reported that six women had accused the legislator of unwanted physical advances or unwelcome communications. His decision — a reversal of his initial intention to leave in September 2018 — makes him the first lawmaker to step down in the six weeks since allegations of sexual misconduct engulfed the state Capitol. The Assembly will have its first hearing Tuesday to review how the chamber handles reports and investigations into harassment and discrimination claims. Los Angeles Times

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Plus: The Senate Rules Committee voted Monday to strip state Sen. Tony Mendoza of his leadership positions, including chairmanship of the banking committee, pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations by three women against the Democratic lawmaker from Artesia. Los Angeles Times

A soon-to-be royal mother-in-law

On Sunday, Doria Ragland was living her life in Los Angeles as a social worker. The following day, Ragland’s View Park-Windsor Hills home was swarmed by reporters, and a security guard in a Chevrolet truck sat outside, handing reporters a note with Britain’s royal family’s Kensington Palace letterhead at the top. The request? Privacy. On Monday, Ragland became mother to “Princess Meghan,” the nickname Americans will undoubtedly give to Meghan Markle, now the fiancee of Britain’s Prince Harry. After dating for the last year and a half, the couple got engaged this month in London. Los Angeles Times

More on Mexico’s housing

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Homex was a Wall Street-backed developer that reaped billions. Then it went bankrupt and left slums across Mexico. The human cost of these choices is still being felt more than a decade after the company went public with a $100-million valuation. By 2014, the company was bankrupt. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

Preventing homelessness: A new effort by Los Angeles County aimed at breaking the cycle of incarceration among the mentally ill and substance abusers is providing a small percentage of homeless being released from jail a path other than back on the streets. Officials hope the program will help reduce the recidivism that has long plagued this portion of the homeless population. Los Angeles Times

Our changing cities: Bike lanes, mixed-use residential and commercial construction near transit and other development projects might get easier to build in California after regulators on Monday released a proposed overhaul of the state’s environmental law. Los Angeles Times

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On the roads: Los Angeles drivers are killing pedestrians, writes Matthew Fleischer in this op-ed. They need to be stopped. Los Angeles Times

Who’s challenging Maxine? Here’s why conservative headliners are teaming up to challenge Maxine Waters in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Hepatitis update: Though they continue to see fewer cases and no new deaths have been reported since Oct. 31, San Diego County supervisors on Monday chose to continue the local health emergency status for the region’s ongoing hepatitis A outbreak. Los Angeles Times

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Down and out: Over the years, there have been huge delays and cutbacks in Social Security disability insurance. Read about the dramatic effect that is having on workers in Southern California. Orange County Register

Hmm: California’s new science education standards have meant that districts with more resources can invest in higher-quality science materials, and districts with less money are forced to shift the cost to teachers and students. The result is that lower-income students might not receive the full benefit of the standards even though they were created in part to promote science among under-represented students. EDsource

CRIME AND COURTS

He refused to explain the skull: A man was arrested after authorities found a human skull and methamphetamines in a car that had been pulled over in a traffic stop in Northern California. Los Angeles Times

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Housing complex: L.A. prosecutors say a housing complex on the northern edge of Baldwin Village is a hotbed for gang crime, and City Atty. Mike Feuer thinks the owner should be ordered to live on the property until the problems are resolved. Los Angeles Times

Court ruling: California’s highest court decided unanimously Monday that farmers may have a labor contract imposed on them if negotiations with a union fail to produce an agreement. Los Angeles Times

Pot convictions: How Proposition 64 made it easier for Californians to clear a pot conviction from their records. The Marshall Project

THE ENVIRONMENT

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Which commute has the worst air pollution? Breathing in air pollution can irritate the lungs and aggravate asthma and cardiovascular disease. A recent study from the California Air Resources Board shows that how you get to work makes a big difference. KQED

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Where the statues come from: This is where the Grammys are born — a remote mountain workshop in Colorado. Los Angeles Times

Following up: Terry Crews, who recently accused Adam Venit of grabbing his genitals at an industry party in 2016, was not pleased Monday to learn that the agent had returned to work at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment after a 30-day unpaid suspension over the alleged incident. Los Angeles Times

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Clippers hold their breath: The team beat the Lakers, but power forward Blake Griffin’s knee was “twisted into an uncomfortable and untenable position” in a collision Monday night. Los Angeles Times

Happy birthday! “A quarter century after its creation, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has become one of the world’s largest outdoor laboratories, with teams of scientists spread across thousands of square miles of ocean studying everything from humpback whales to bone-eating worms that live on carcasses at the bottom of the sea.” San Francisco Chronicle

About edibles: State regulators have placed a strict limit on the amount of THC allowed in edible marijuana products, forcing some big changes to California cannabis dispensary menus and at businesses making such edibles. Leafly

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

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Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 74, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 76, Wednesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 70, Tuesday. Cloudy, 68, Wednesday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 60, Tuesday. Sunny, 61, Wednesday. Sacramento: Partly cloudy, 59, Tuesday. Sunny, 62, Wednesday. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California Memory comes from Ingrid Moon:

“In the late ’80s, my best friend and I could watch the El Toro air show from Red Hill. One night we moved the gate at the end of La Colina Drive and drove slowly along a dirt road from the North Tustin area to a secluded golf community called Coto de Caza. We passed mile after mile of orange orchards lined with eucalyptus windbreaks. It was so dark we could see the Milky Way. After we left for college, the dirt road was paved into a six-lane street with a median. Street lights blinked at intersections that hadn’t yet been connected to anything. Some orchards remained, but slowly they were being razed. It was fascinating to see the transformation. The road is now Irvine Boulevard, and those orange trees gave way to the sprawling communities of Irvine and Lake Forest. Highway 261 now rolls through what had been my predawn hikes through Peter’s Canyon. The recent fires reminded me of the area’s natural beauty and the ‘wildness’ of our teen years.”

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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.


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