Newsletter: Essential California: Many people work hard to avoid the homeless. These volunteers embrace them

Rose Rios, 70, of Cover the Homeless Ministry, center, gives pie to Donald Shields, 59, who is legally blind and living in an alley in South Los Angeles.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times )

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, June 7, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The homelessness crisis gripping Southern California is impossible to miss and evokes many different emotions. Voters in Los Angeles approved more than $1 billion to help provide more housing. At the same time, a proposal to build temporary homeless shelters across the city has sparked protests from residents who say it will ruin their neighborhoods. The furor over shelters exemplifies a larger reality in this city: Some people try to avoid homeless people when they cross paths with them on the street. Then there are others who embrace them. The desperate sights of people living in forgotten alleys and dark freeway underpasses have sparked many to act. Outraged and enlivened, they have made helping homeless people their mission. Here are the stories of six volunteers. Los Angeles Times

Primary day recap


Womp womp womp: Much was made of California’s top-two primary system and how it might result in Democrats being shut out up and down the ballot. In the end, either because of those efforts or in spite of them, the playing field looked very much like a traditional primary. In unofficial returns, only two statewide races will see a same-party showdown in November. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Tuesday night’s defeat of Antonio Villaraigosa in the governor’s race marks a huge fall from grace for a politician who started off with so much promise as the embodiment of rising Latino political power. Los Angeles Times

Watch: Why we won’t know voter turnout in Los Angeles until Friday, or maybe even later. Los Angeles Times

In the 44th District: Stacey Dash’s political career ended before it began. But there’s more drama in this California congressional race. Los Angeles Times

Rarely seen: California voters made history Tuesday, recalling a judge for the first time since 1932. Los Angeles Times

Blue wave update: “Democrats are celebrating the party’s performance in California’s competitive congressional districts as a boon to their chances of a House takeover.” Politico


By the Bay: “Former state Sen. Mark Leno pulled into first place in the race for San Francisco mayor early Wednesday, as ranked-choice redistribution of losing candidates’ votes enabled him to overcome Supervisor London Breed’s early advantage.” San Francisco Chronicle

Crystal ball time: Where California would head if Gavin Newsom were governor. Sacramento Bee

No vitriol here: After his first-place finish, Newsom had kind words for John Cox and Villaraigosa. Los Angeles Times

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What happened? State and county leaders demanded answers from the Los Angeles County’s elections chief after more than 118,000 people were left off voter rosters on election day, a major blunder that fueled anger and confusion at the polls. Los Angeles Times


The grind: Is your morning or evening commute worse? There’s actually an answer to that. Crosstown Traffic

Go west: After 20 years in New York, the Upright Citizens Brigade’s annual weekend improv event Del Close Marathon will move to Los Angeles next year. Vulture


Mass prosecutions: U.S. border authorities, in a significant escalation of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, are planning to introduce a fast-track prosecution program to criminally charge more people who cross the border into California illegally, according to attorneys in San Diego. Los Angeles Times

World Cup fever: Read why columnist Gustavo Arellano thinks Americans should root for Mexico this World Cup. ESPN



Runoff ahead: Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell is headed toward a runoff against retired sheriff’s Lt. Alex Villanueva in his bid to secure a second term as top cop of the nation’s largest sheriff’s department. Los Angeles Times

Gas tax fallout: An Orange County state senator’s removal from office on Tuesday, two years into his term, could be a harbinger for the fall campaign, when critics of California’s new gas tax push their repeal effort to the statewide ballot. Los Angeles Times

O.C. food fight: “Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas and county Supervisor Todd Spitzer appear headed for a runoff in November with neither candidate able to lock down more than half of the votes on Tuesday for the top prosecutor’s office.” Orange County Register


Taking stock: California voters appeared to reject liberal challengers in three closely watched district attorney races, delivering a sharp defeat to a national network that is attempting to reshape the criminal justice system by electing liberal prosecutors. Los Angeles Times

Another Stormy suit: Porn actress Stormy Daniels sued her former lawyer Keith Davidson on Wednesday, accusing him of colluding with President Trump’s personal attorney to undercut her interests in disputes over her alleged affair with Trump. Los Angeles Times


Costly delays: A federal jury decided this week to award $45 million to a company hired by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to modernize a Playa del Rey power plant. Los Angeles Times


Op-ed time: Who gets to enjoy California’s natural treasures? The right answer should be “everyone.” Los Angeles Times

Worrisome: “Caltrans has so far demolished Arroyo Paredon, Toro Canyon Creek and Romero Canyon Creek bridges as part of the work to restore traffic to State Route 192.” This area was hit especially hard by mudslides earlier this year. Santa Barbara Independent

Scary: “As California’s largest lake dries up, it threatens nearby communities with clouds of toxic dust.” Verge

Interesting: The case for “sanctuary cities” for endangered species. City Lab



RIP: Actor Jerry Maren, the green-clad tough guy of the Lollipop Guild who famously handed Dorothy (Judy Garland) a giant lollipop in the 1939 film classic “The Wizard of Oz,” has died at 98. Los Angeles Times

Reinvention: Guitar Center looked ready for its swan song, but now the retailer is gearing up for an encore. Los Angeles Times

DC departure: DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson is officially leaving her position as head of the storied Warner Bros.-owned comic book publisher, following a two-month leave of absence. Los Angeles Times

Cool profile: How introspective hip-hop artist Roy Kinsey turned trauma into triumph. Los Angeles Times

One away: The Golden State Warriors came from behind to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the NBA Finals. Los Angeles Times


Of course: A New York Times reporter came to Santa Monica and rode some scooters. You can guess what happened next. New York Times


Los Angeles area: partly cloudy, 74, Thursday; sunny, 79, Friday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 69, Thursday; sunny, 74, Friday. San Francisco area: cloudy, 61, Thursday; cloudy, 65, Friday. Sacramento: partly cloudy, 81, Thursday; sunny, 87, Friday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Joe Mello:

”I remember the exact place and time California became my home. Brought to California as a 5-year-old by the westward migration of extended family, I grew up with relatives who always fondly talked about ‘back East’ as home. I became a true Californian the summer just after graduating from high school in Orange County. That summer I immersed myself in the Orange County coast with friends, grunion runs and bonfires (both in the legal beach rings and illegally along ‘the cliffs’). On a perfect summer night, a motorhead friend from high school picked me up in his father’s old convertible Alfa Romeo Spider. My buddy had just finished rebuilding the engine, so we cruised down to PCH and headed north just past dusk. With the car’s top down, the smell and sight of every fire ring burning along the beach and the Eagles’ ‘Take It to the Limit’ blasting ‘So put me on a highway and show me a sign’ from the radio, I knew I was not only home, but home was paradise. To this day, when I drive that stretch of PCH, hear the Eagles or smell coastal fire rings, it still brings me back to that personal California homecoming.”


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.