Newsletter: Essential California: Who will be L.A.'s next police chief?

The three finalists for Los Angeles police chief are from left, Robert Arcos, Michel Moore, and Bill Scott, sources said.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, May 9, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The three finalists for Los Angeles police chief are Robert Arcos, Michel Moore and Bill Scott, a diverse group with decades in the department. Arcos, a third-generation Mexican American, is in charge of Central Bureau, which includes downtown and parts of northeast Los Angeles. Moore oversees the LAPD’s patrol operations. Scott, who is African American, left the LAPD more than a year ago to become San Francisco’s police chief. Notably absent in the final cut were female candidates. Many LAPD and City Hall insiders had expected a woman to be in the top three and potentially go on to become the department’s first female police chief. Los Angeles Times

A passion for public safety


George Deukmejian, a perennially popular two-term Republican governor of California who built his career on fighting crime, hardening the state’s criminal-justice stance and shoring up its leaky finances, died Tuesday. The son of Armenian immigrants, Deukmejian had years of public office on his resumé before winning election as governor and emerging as the most prominent Armenian American politician in the United States. Los Angeles Times

Will he be back?

John Lasseter was once perhaps the most powerful man in Hollywood. But the Pixar Animation Studios executive, who took a six-month leave of absence in November, will soon know the answer when his corporate bosses decide whether he will return after he admitted to inappropriate workplace hugging and other “missteps.” For Disney leaders, the Lasseter situation represents an exceptionally thorny dilemma. Los Angeles Times

Resistance to ‘the resistance’


Opposition to California’s “sanctuary state” law has been growing recently, but is it a pointless political ploy? Columnist Steve Lopez quizzed elected officials in conservative Costa Mesa about what they are saying when they fight the sanctuary movement. Los Angeles Times

Plus: The movement spreads to L.A. County. Los Angeles Times

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San Miguel Street is like many other roads in Woodland Hills — except that it’s withdrawn from service, with no one in charge of maintaining it.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times )


Scary moment: Two people were arrested at Los Angeles Police headquarters Tuesday morning after a substance was thrown at Chief Charlie Beck during a meeting of the city Police Commission, officials said. Los Angeles Times

Out of policy? The Police Commission and Chief Beck are at odds over whether officers followed policy in the shooting death of a man in Sunland last year who was shot from a helicopter. That was a first for the LAPD. The commission found that several of the officers involved did not follow approved tactics. Los Angeles Times

Fix the streets! Hundreds of streets were officially withdrawn from public use in Los Angeles during the Great Depression, when the city said it didn’t have enough money to fix dangerous streets. Decades later, some have still not been reinstated. Los Angeles Times


Growing metropolis: New additions to the downtown L.A. skyline are coming. Curbed Los Angeles

Corruption probe: Federal agents executed search warrants at Adelanto City Hall and the home of Mayor Rich Kerr. Los Angeles Times


Murder mystery: Detectives believe the Golden State Killer acted alone. But that has not stopped some theories that he had an accomplice. Sacramento Bee


On video: There’s growing concern over a video showing a police officer pulling a gun on a man who he wrongly believed was stealing some Mentos at a store. Orange County Register

Oof: The cost of the Porter Ranch gas leak in approaching $1 billion. KPCC


That escalated quickly: Six of the top candidates running for California governor took the stage in San Jose on Tuesday night for the most pivotal debate of the campaign, and with the June 5 primary fast approaching, things got heated. Los Angeles Times


Plus: Analysis from The Times’ Sacramento reporting team. Los Angeles Times

Recall target: A week after voting with fellow Democrats to raise California’s gas tax, state Sen. Josh Newman was vacationing with his wife on a Caribbean island when he saw a news alert on his phone that said Republicans were targeting a lawmaker for recall over the action. It’s been a crazy ride ever since. Los Angeles Times

Growing fast: Understanding the apartment boom going on in the Sacramento area. Sacramento Bee

Up for a sixth term: Despite scandal, the longtime sheriff of Silicon Valley appears headed for yet another term. Is she made of Teflon? Mercury News


Worlds collide: The Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton hotel was a strange mix of glitz and wonkiness. Politico

Hmm: How did an Orange County Superfund site get on a cleanup list? Thank a conservative talk-radio host. Politico

Expect delays: Travelers eager for Highway 1 to reopen in Big Sur will have to wait a little longer. It has been a year since a massive landslide rained debris down on California’s coastal route, making a drive along the entire 655-mile roadway impossible. The road was expected to reopen this month, but the date was pushed back to mid-September as crews work to realign the highway. Los Angeles Times



Gone flat: At its peak, Green Flash was synonymous with San Diego craft beer. Its distinctive brews won fans and contests, and one of those beers — West Coast IPA — defined the region’s most popular style. Founder Mike Hinkley’s ambitions for his brand were boundless, and he believed it would grow from a micro-brewery to a national power. But its decline is a cautionary tale for the once red-hot California microbrew world. San Diego Union-Tribune

Awkward: The Bay Area housing market is so overheated that some divorced couples are living together out of economic necessity. SF Gate

Cheering in the shadows: The amazing story of a homeless Golden State Warriors fan. San Francisco Chronicle

Sad tale: The despair of addiction overwhelming Eureka. New York Times


Wheels are turning: Amid so many problems and so much hype, is Tesla going to revolutionize the auto industry or be a flash in the pan? Wall Street Journal


Los Angeles area: partly cloudy, 77, Wednesday; sunny, 77, Thursday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 69, Wednesday; sunny, 69, Thursday. San Francisco area: cloudy, 62, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 66, Thursday. Sacramento: mostly sunny, 81, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 84, Thursday. More weather is here.



Today’s California memory comes from Carol Law:

“In May 1961, we moved into a 3-year old Leucadia ranch home we’ve never left, with spectacular back-country views and solid oak floors. Leucadia is what locals call a big slice of North Encinitas. Price: $23,500. Guided by a very clever engineer-woodworker husband, we did 90% of the repairs and maintenance through our own sweat and thriftiness. We raised four children in this now urbanized home. The kids have wonderful memories of Leucadia and the rambling ranch house, still charming but somewhat decrepit with octogenarians as caregivers. God willing, we’ll never leave the Golden State.”

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.