Newsletter: Essential California: As a teen, he savagely beat a classmate. Now he’s in politics

Rupert Tarsey was elected secretary of Florida’s Broward County Republican Party in May, replacing Dolly Rump after she resigned. The two were together at the party’s March membership meeting.
(Sun Sentinel)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Nov. 29, and here’s what’s happening across California:


As a teen, he savagely beat a classmate. Now he’s in politics

The Republicans of Broward County, Fla., knew little about Rupert Tarsey when he ran for an open slot on the local party’s executive committee. But the young man had some decent political cred. Within months of joining the local party, the 28-year-old was elected secretary in May, defeating two challengers who’d been around longer. But it wasn’t long before the story of Tarsey’s past in Los Angeles unfolded. Los Angeles Times

Get ready for a cold winter

California utilities and energy authorities are warning that Southern California Gas Co. might not be able to provide enough natural gas for all its customers if a cold snap hits this winter. That’s because three critical pipelines that bring natural gas into Southern California Gas’ troubled Aliso Canyon storage site are out of service. Collectively, the three lines represent 42% of the natural gas transmission capacity into the Los Angeles region. Los Angeles Times

A whistleblower’s story

Humbertus Perez, a 54-year-old academic, was Mexico’s leading homeowner activist — a fiery orator who railed against the Mexican housing developers and foreign investors who reaped enormous profits at the expense of working-class people. He exposed housing corruption and ended up in prison. Los Angeles Times


And the nominees are: The Grammy Awards have embraced rap and hip-hop in the top categories this year, as today’s nominations include several major nods for Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino. Jay-Z leads this year’s pack with eight nominations, while Lamar picked up seven, and pop singer-songwriter Bruno Mars earned six. Gambino, the alter ego of Emmy-winning actor-director Donald Glover, netted five nominations, along with singer Khalid and producer-songwriter No I.D. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Here’s how the 2018 Grammys evolved toward relevance. Los Angeles Times

And: The Grammys have spread the love among classical nominees and set the stage for a sympathy vote. Los Angeles Times

Sweet deal: A developer seeking to build 1,130 hotel rooms across from the Los Angeles Convention Center could receive $103.3 million in public financial assistance over the next 25 years, under a proposal heading to the City Council. Los Angeles Times


Smile for the camera: In the weeks before construction was to begin on eight prototypes for President Trump’s border wall, Customs and Border Protection officials ordered a video surveillance system to help authorities guard the project. Los Angeles Times

Plea for help: “California leaders are calling on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release an estimated 200 Cambodian and Vietnamese immigrants that advocates say were recently detained in the Bay Area and beyond in never-before-seen roundups.” The Mercury News


Hearings in Sacramento: Capitol lobbyists, staffers and lawyers on Tuesday urged lawmakers to overhaul how the state Assembly tracks and handles sexual harassment claims, saying current procedures are confusing, vaguely enforced and result in greater consequences for victims rather than their abusers. Los Angeles Times

Another missile test: North Korea on Wednesday test-launched a ballistic missile for the first time since September, its latest provocation that could further strain tensions with the international community. Los Angeles Times

Rail station sponsorship? The South Park Business Improvement District and L.A. Live are hoping to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to rename the Pico Station. LA Downtown News

Curious stuff: “A forensic pathologist who conducts autopsies for San Joaquin County resigned Monday, claiming she was denied the independence to do her job.KQED


Where’s my ride? Santa Ana police knew something wasn’t right when they approached a man who was asking for money to put gas in a Ferrari 458 Spider at a Mobil station. Turns out the $300,000 car had been stolen two weeks earlier. Los Angeles Times

“Evil twin” case: From the beginning, the case of identical twins Jeen “Gina” Han and Sunny Han was destined for tabloid headlines, a story of greed, hatred and family strife. Irvine police even referred to them as “the evil twin and good twin.” Now Jeen Han has been granted parole and could be released after 19 years behind bars for plotting to kill her sister. Los Angeles Times

Difficult to hide: San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for an inmate who was reported missing from his work crew. He has a skeleton-like tattoo on his face. Los Angeles Times


See you in court, again: How a bankruptcy filing shielded a big coal company from California’s climate-change lawsuits. Los Angeles Times


Weird story: It turns out new Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski has a hidden past: He used to moonlight as a Japanese comic book writer. No, not as a writer of Japanese comics. Los Angeles Times

Watch: “Americans have long looked at the California shore and seen the end of the continent. Instead, this episode of Lost LA interprets that sandy edge as the beginning of a Pacific world — one that has long influenced Los Angeles through geology and climate, but also through the transoceanic flows of people, goods, technology and cultural ideas.” KCET

Car show, anyone? The Los Angeles Auto Show has started for industry insiders and will be open to the public Friday. Attendees will be greeted by overwhelming displays of the latest in awesome in-car technology this year, but the words “seamless operation” don’t describe any of the systems. Los Angeles Times

Brekkie, please! Here’s an explanation for why there are so many Australian eateries opening in Los Angeles. LA Weekly

Who will it be? Now that UCLA has a football coach, who will be the Bruins’ quarterback next year? Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: partly cloudy, 73, Wednesday; sunny, 74, Thursday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 66, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 68, Thursday. San Francisco area: sunny, 61, Wednesday and Thursday. Sacramento: sunny, 62, Wednesday and Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Tom Creed:

“In the mid-’60s, I lived in Costa Mesa. On weekends, we would ride our bikes down Superior Avenue to Newport Beach to a gas station on PCH. For $5 you could rent a Honda 90 for the whole day. All you needed was your DMV learner’s permit — 15½ was the age to get your permit and 16 to get your license. We would ride all over Newport, Balboa Peninsula, the Wedge. Then for 15 cents, take the ferry across to Balboa Island and get a frozen banana. Try doing that 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.