• Newsletter
  • Newsletters

Essential California: Shootings at Malibu Creek State Park stump detectives

Essential California: Shootings at Malibu Creek State Park stump detectives
A sign directs drivers to Malibu Creek State Park near Calabasas. (John Antczak / Associated Press)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Aug. 21, and here’s what’s happening across California:



It was just before sunrise at Malibu Creek State Park when the shot rang out in the pre-dawn silence. A bullet whizzed into the tent of Tristan Beaudette, who was camping with his two young daughters. Beaudette, a research scientist from Irvine, was killed, his body discovered by others. The killing June 22 has baffled investigators ever since. At first, it seemed like an isolated incident. But then officials acknowledged they knew of at least seven other shooting reports in the same rustic area in the last two years. Los Angeles Times

ICE and politicking

President Trump brandished two of his favorite political weapons at the White House on Monday: a phalanx of uniformed law enforcement officers by his side, and an angry denunciation of Democrats as a party of lawlessness and open borders. The president aligned himself with rank-and-file Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers he invited to the White House and repeatedly lionized as "brave heroes," while battering Democrats as "extremists" who want to "abolish America's borders." Los Angeles Times

It keeps burning

After more than three weeks, firefighters continued to struggle against the largest fire in modern California history as the Mendocino Complex blaze prompted more evacuations and posed new dangers to those on the front lines. While battling the fire, five members of Los Angeles Fire Department Strike Team 1880C were injured Sunday. Los Angeles Times

The Herald Examiner building on Broadway at 11th street in downtown L.A. was commissioned by publisher William Randolph Hearst in the early 1900s.
The Herald Examiner building on Broadway at 11th street in downtown L.A. was commissioned by publisher William Randolph Hearst in the early 1900s. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)


A #MeToo twist: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday that detectives are reaching out to a young actor and his attorney after the New York Times reported actress and director Asia Argento recently paid him in connection with an alleged sexual encounter in a Marina del Rey hotel room when he was 17.” Los Angeles Times

Extra, extra: Arizona State University will expand into Southern California by opening a satellite school in the long-vacant offices of the Herald Examiner newspaper in downtown Los Angeles. The newspaper published its last edition in 1989 and its Broadway headquarters has been mostly vacant since then. Los Angeles Times

Countdown: NASA is almost ready to let SpaceX fuel rockets while astronauts are strapped in. Los Angeles Times

Ouch: Scooter injuries are becoming common at hospitals. BuzzFeed

Plus: Sidewalks are a last shred of safe public space. No wonder we’re fighting over them. CityLab


Water wars: “There’s a time bomb for U.S.-Mexico relations ticking underground.” Quartz



New allegation: State Sen. Joel Anderson is facing a legislative investigation after a female lobbyist accused him of threatening to “bitch slap” her and harassing her at a Capitol-area bar last week, sources say. Los Angeles Times

Disappearing act: Californians with individual Blue Shield health plans have complained of sudden, erroneous cancellations. Los Angeles Times

Tsk tsk: A developer whose wife sat on the Ethics Commission faces a $15,000 fine over political donations. Los Angeles Times

2020 watch, Part 1: “Rep. Eric Swalwell said Monday morning he is planning to consider a 2020 run for president after the midterms.” CNN

2020 watch, Part 2: Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke with the Washington Post about his policy views on a variety of issues. Washington Post


In Sacramento: A landmark bill to end money bail in California passed the state Assembly on Monday, clearing a major legislative hurdle despite mounting opposition to last-minute changes that gave judges greater power to decide who should remain incarcerated ahead of trial. But some onetime supporters of the bill are unhappy. Los Angeles Times

Missing man: The FBI on Monday offered a reward of up to $25,000 for information that could help find a Santa Ana man who authorities say was abducted from a San Gabriel shopping center last month. Los Angeles Times

There’s video: Several car sideshows shut down intersections in Compton and Willowbrook on Sunday night, where crowds of onlookers cheered as vehicles did doughnuts and squealed their tires until the California Highway Patrol. Los Angeles Times



More water wars: “The Trump administration is accelerating efforts to pump more of Northern California’s water to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, setting up a bruising conflict with state officials and environmentalists.” Sacramento Bee

“We bring fire with us”: A look at the human causes of wildfires. New York Times


Sad: Spring restaurant owner Yassmin Sarmadi and her husband, chef and partner Tony Esnault, have announced they will close the restaurant in downtown Los Angeles by the end of the month. Los Angeles Times

Elon Musk and Donald Trump: What happens when a charismatic leader goes bad? Los Angeles Times

Exciting: With the reopening of California 1, Big Sur is back — and just in time. Los Angeles Times

Nice: “Half of the top 10 U.S. colleges are in the same state — and four are public schools.” Money

Eeek: “America’s invisible pot addicts.” The Atlantic

Yum: The pleasures of tea cakes in South L.A. LAist


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 85, Tuesday. Sunny, 84, Wednesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 79, Tuesday. Sunny, 79, Wednesday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 66, Tuesday and Wednesday. San Jose: Partly cloudy, 78, Tuesday. Sunny, 79, Wednesday. Sacramento: Partly cloudy, 85, Tuesday. Sunny, 88, Wednesday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Lee Hollen Butler:

”In 1929 I lived at the corner of San Vicente and Bundy Drive. There was nothing but open space between us and Beverly Hills. Trapdoor spiders, field mice and snakes were our collector items. There was a little trolley that ran from Sawtelle to Santa Monica along San Vicente, and my brother and I, and the neighborhood kids, would take it to the beach … either the pier or the Athletic or Deauville Club. We called it the Toonerville Trolley. Someone would put a coin on the track, which would knock it off its track, and then we would all hop off and lift it back on. I wonder if there is anyone alive who remembers those days? My little house is still there, tucked behind a large office building and across from a gas station.”