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Essential California: Flooding, mudflows from heavy rains leave 13 dead in Southern California

Essential California: Flooding, mudflows from heavy rains leave 13 dead in Southern California
Aerial view of mud and debris flow down Randall Road in Montecito. (Ventura County Sheriff)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 10, and here’s what’s happening across California:



The predawn torrent of mud and debris carried away cars, swamped living rooms, and yanked homes from their foundations. Boulders crashed into homes, homes plunged into trees, and the muddy current swept at least one child a half-mile from home. The Tuesday mudslides in Santa Barbara County killed at least 13 people and injured dozens more.“It looked like a World War I battlefield,” said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown. The Southland was drenched Tuesday, in some places violently, but nowhere did the rainstorm inflict more pain than in Montecito, just weeks after the community dealt with the devastating Thomas fire. Los Angeles Times

Here’s what you got to know:

— The key details on Southern California storm evacuations and road closures. Los Angeles Times

— In just a matter of minutes, pounding rain overwhelmed the south-facing slopes above Montecito and flooded a creek that leads to the ocean, sending mud and massive boulders rolling into residential neighborhoods. Los Angeles Times

— “It was like a bomb went off”: First the heavy rain, then the mud, now a disaster in Carpinteria. Los Angeles Times

— How to drive in the rain: A guide for Southern Californians. Los Angeles Times

DACA developments

At a meeting with congressional leaders about the so-called Dreamers, President Trump told lawmakers Tuesday he’d “take the heat” for a comprehensive immigration bill to address the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally — a measure that would test the support of his anti-immigration loyalists and go beyond just a deal for the roughly 700,000 Dreamers. Los Angeles Times

Not so fast: A federal judge in San Francisco on Tuesday night temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end the program that shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants who came to the country illegally as children. Los Angeles Times

Pushing back against the GOP tax bill

Scattered community efforts to help residents lessen the blow of the Republican tax overhaul’s limit on a popular deduction are turning into full-fledged rebellion in California and elsewhere across the country. Democratic politicians are pursuing creative — and some say legally suspect — maneuvers to help people circumvent a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes that took effect Jan. 1. Los Angeles Times


Child molester being released: A convicted child molester was ordered released Tuesday when a judge said the man’s constitutional rights were violated. The man spent 17 years locked up in a state hospital awaiting a trial to determine whether he is a sexually violent predator. He is now scheduled to be released Feb. 7. Los Angeles Times

Steve Lopez says: We know L.A.’s new recycling program is a fiasco, but how did it get so screwed up? Los Angeles Times


Get your flu shot: California health officials said Tuesday that the state’s flu season could turn out to be one of the nastiest it has seen in a long time. Los Angeles Times


Some monetary help: Two California lawmakers are asking that an additional $10 million go into a state legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation, after the Trump administration on Monday called for an end to temporary protections for more than 250,000 Salvadorans in the U.S. Los Angeles Times


Feinstein acts: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday released the full transcript of the panel’s interview with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of the firm that researched President Trump during the 2016 campaign. Los Angeles Times

A new coalition: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Assemblyman Chad Mays have teamed up to form a coalition of moderate Republicans. The Desert Sun

Antifa explained: “Perhaps nowhere in America has the metamorphosis of these black-clad protesters been more visible than in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Reveal


Sad story: “Suicide is distressingly common among current and former California prison employees. The guards’ union counts 96 confirmed or suspected suicides among current and retired members between 1999 and 2015.” Associated Press


Shooting in South LA: Los Angeles police fatally shot an armed driver Monday evening in South L.A., authorities said. Los Angeles Times

Drones are coming: The Los Angeles Police Department took another step toward using drones in some tactical situations after its civilian bosses Tuesday approved a $31,500 donation to purchase the devices. Los Angeles Times

Labor case: In one of Southern California’s largest wage-theft cases, the state labor commissioner has assessed a chain of assisted living homes $7 million in back wages and penalties for paying 149 workers as little as $2.40 an hour. Orange County Register


Click! This USC physicist wants you to talk about science. His new graphic novel can get you started. Los Angeles Times


Bill Plaschke speaks: After LaVar Ball’s latest criticism, the Lakers must decide whether it’s worth it to remain in the Ball business. Los Angeles Times

Good movies making money! Despite the odds, indie dramas like “Darkest Hour,” “The Shape of Water” and “Lady Bird,” which all won awards at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, are drawing impressive audiences at the multiplex. Los Angeles Times

Cool: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Autry Museum of the American West are kicking off 2018 with a collaboration: The two institutions have entered a long-term partnership in which they will pool curatorial resources, create joint programming and share their art collections for exhibitions. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: partly cloudy, 65, Wednesday; sunny, 73, Thursday. San Diego: showers, 62, Wednesday; sunny, 68, Thursday. San Francisco area: cloudy, 55, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 55, Thursday. Sacramento: partly cloudy, 54, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 56, Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California Memory comes from Kristin Massey:

“In 1979 at 19 years old I had never set foot in California. I got the news that I had been accepted to UC Santa Cruz, and my father flew with me from Chicago to San Jose. We took a cab for what seemed like an hour through hilly terrain until we got to the campus, the beauty of which took my breath away. Or perhaps my shortness of breath was due to the fact that my dad was turning around and flying back that night, leaving me to start an adventure with virtual strangers who, in the shadow of redwood trees hovering above the Pacific Ocean, would become lifelong friends.”