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Newsletter: Essential California: A house of horrors in Perris

Members of the media camp out in front of the Perris home of David and Louise Turpin, Tuesday morning January 16, 2018. The couple were arrested on suspicion of torture and child endangerment after their 12 children were found shackled and malnourished.
Members of the media camp out in front of the Perris home of David and Louise Turpin, Tuesday morning January 16, 2018. The couple were arrested on suspicion of torture and child endangerment after their 12 children were found shackled and malnourished.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 17, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

On the scene

When Riverside County sheriff’s deputies entered the Perris house where a married couple was said to be holding their 13 children captive, they found a horrific scene. There was a strong, foul smell. The house was filthy. Three young people were chained to pieces of furniture. Children were badly emaciated. And yet, Riverside County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Fellows said Tuesday, the children’s mother was surprised to see authorities. Los Angeles Times

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Hidden in plain sight: “It was kind of strange,” one neighbor said of the times he’d see Turpin family members. But “there was never anything to say, ‘Oh, my God. I should call somebody.’ ” Los Angeles Times

Plus: Home-schooling proved to be another way to shield the Turpin children from anyone’s oversight. Los Angeles Times

Sheriff’s deputy charged

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with operating a large-scale drug trafficking operation in which he boasted that he hired other law enforcement officers to provide security to dealers and could assault people for his clients, according to court records. Deputy Kenneth Collins and three other men were arrested by FBI agents Tuesday morning in a sting operation when they arrived to what they thought was a drug deal, according to records unsealed following the arrest. Los Angeles Times

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L.A. STORIES

On Aziz Ansari: “A single complaint by a nameless accuser has tarnished the reputation of a man who should probably do a better job communicating with his sex partner. I’m frankly not sure that a public shaming is the best way to drive that lesson home. Or that this is really any of our business,” writes columnist Robin Abcarian. Los Angeles Times

Up in Santa Barbara: Rain expected later this week could hamper the cleanup process for crews trying to remove tons of debris and mud from Montecito and surrounding areas, after mud flows killed 20 people and destroyed more than 100 homes last week. Los Angeles Times

Plus: “Geologists and officials in Santa Barbara say it is still too early to know precisely how and why last week’s mudslides became so lethal. But they are already studying satellite imagery to help determine the path of the deadly debris, in the hopes that understanding what happened will prevent similar calamities in the future.” The New York Times

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Weed: Maywood celebrated the opening of its first recreational pot shop Tuesday with lines that snaked through dispensary Cookies Los Angeles’ parking lot. Los Angeles Times

IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER

To the Supreme Court: The Justice Department said Tuesday that it will ask the Supreme Court to overturn a federal judge’s ruling that prevents President Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which currently offers protections from deportation for about 700,000 people who came to the U.S. as children. Los Angeles Times

In D.C.: At the start of what’s expected to be a contentious week in Congress, dozens of Californians who were brought to the country illegally as children gathered on Capitol Hill to pressure lawmakers to agree on a solution to their immigration status. Los Angeles Times

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On the horizon: “U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state.” San Francisco Chronicle

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

A big bill: The estimated cost of building 119 miles of bullet train track in the Central Valley has jumped to $10.6 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion from the current budget and up from about $6 billion originally. Los Angeles Times

Risqué: Antonio Sabato Jr. is best known as a soap opera star and Calvin Klein underwear model. But parts of his acting career are raising eyebrows among some conservatives as the Republican and early supporter of President Trump runs for Congress in California. Los Angeles Times

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Scared away from the polls? “Fear is rising among Democrats over the prospect that President Donald Trump’s hard line on immigration might ultimately cost California a seat in Congress during the upcoming round of reapportionment.Politico

CRIME AND COURTS

Maybe a hate crime: The parents of slain college student Blaze Bernstein said it’s possible their son was the victim of a hate crime. Los Angeles Times

Las Vegas follow-up: Though they didn’t say who, lawyers representing the Las Vegas police said in court that indictments are possible in connection with a shooting last year that left 58 people dead. Los Angeles Times

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Big change: Californians can now get their old weed convictions reduced or expunged. Vice News

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Some roadblocks: An attempt by Qatar-owned film company Miramax to buy Weinstein Co. has thrown a wrench into plans to sell the struggling studio to a group of investors led by former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet, according to people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment. Los Angeles Times

Wow: Thomas Tull, founder and former chief executive of Legendary Entertainment, and wife Alba Tull are listing their 33-plus-acre compound in Thousand Oaks for sale at $85 million. Los Angeles Times

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New gig: William Silver, dean of Sonoma State University’s School of Business and Economics, “is leaving his academic post of 10 years to become CEO of CannaCraft, a fast-growing cannabis cultivation and manufacturing company in Santa Rosa, Calif.” GreenState

Not so fast: Contrary to what you might have heard, Tom Bergin’s Irish pub is not closing, according to its owner. The pub is just reducing its hours and closing its kitchen. Los Angeles Times

Sad: Mae Ploy, a neighborhood Thai restaurant that once won praise from influential restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, is preparing to close its doors at the end of the month after more than a quarter century of serving up noodles, curries, spicy soups and other favorites.” The Eastsider

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

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Los Angeles area: partly cloudy, 78, Wednesday; partly cloudy 74, Thursday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 71, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 70, Thursday. San Francisco area: foggy, 58, Wednesday; showers, 55, Thursday. Sacramento: partly cloudy, 60, Wednesday; showers, 56, Thursday. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Sherron Teal:

“My parents moved from Tennessee when I was 2 years old to California. I was raised outside San Francisco. I had the most amazing teenage years anyone could ever have. My brother, my friends and I would take the bus to Oakland and borrow a boat at Lake Merritt with Johnny Mathis playing on the shore (my brother had a phonograph run by batteries). We would row out to the middle of the lake laughing hysterically, then we would dance in the beautiful gazebo. At Christmastime we would take a bus to San Francisco and go Christmas shopping and look in all the decorated windows. Then we would grab a bite to eat at that funny restaurant called the Hungry Hippo and come home singing Christmas carols. During the summer we would head over the mountain to Santa Cruz and play touch football on the beach in front of a bonfire. We moved away from California to North Carolina for 12 years because my Dad was becoming elderly and I wanted to spend more time with him. This summer we will be moving back to warm, beautiful California, the state that I so love. I don’t know how to explain it, but when you get off the plane in California and you feel the sun on your face, instantly you feel better.”

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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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