Newsletter: Essential California: L.A. sheriff plans new limits on ICE

L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has promised keep the county jails from becoming “a pipeline for deportation.”
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Feb. 15, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Alex Villanueva’s upset victory in last fall’s L.A. County sheriff’s race hinged on the overwhelming support he received from immigrant rights advocates and Latino voters. By pledging to strictly limit his department’s cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and keep the county jails from becoming “a pipeline for deportation,” Villanueva aimed to draw a sharp contrast with former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who initially refused to back California’s so-called sanctuary state law. Now Villanueva aims to make good on those pledges. Los Angeles Times

A scramble at the state’s schools


Colleges and universities across California are scrambling to revise the way they handle sexual misconduct cases after a state appellate court ruled that “fundamental fairness” requires that accused students have a right to a hearing and to cross-examine their accusers. The decision last month came in a USC case but applies to all California public and private colleges, and prompted many to immediately halt Title IX investigations while they reshape their procedures. California State University, the University of California and USC, Claremont McKenna and Occidental colleges confirmed that they have made or soon will be making changes. Los Angeles Times

For years, Michael Sanchez operated on the periphery of Hollywood. The small-time talent manager’s clients included a clutch of Trump associates, a cable news personality and a judge on the reality TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” with whom he would later wage a bitter legal fight. But within the space of two weeks, Sanchez has emerged as a pivotal figure in a widening scandal involving the world’s richest man — Jeff Bezos — and the National Enquirer. In a bombshell blog post last week, Bezos claimed that the Enquirer had obtained graphic photos as well as text messages he had sent to his paramour, Lauren Sanchez — Michael’s sister— and threatened to publish them if he didn’t end his investigation into the tabloid’s expose. Los Angeles Times

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Wild weekend: A powerful winter storm packed with subtropical moisture continued its destructive path through California on Thursday, triggering a mudslide that destroyed at least one home in Marin County, flooding streets and highways, and prompting evacuation orders in recent burn areas across the state. Los Angeles Times

Crazy commute: LAPD officers shot and killed an armed man Thursday morning at a Metro subway platform in downtown Los Angeles, authorities said. Los Angeles Times

Baseball is back — soon: Yasiel Puig is free from the Dodgers’ platoon and ready to thrive in Cincinnati. Los Angeles Times

Good news: Robberies in Los Angeles are down for the first time in five years. Crosstown LA



Big case: “The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday challenging the Trump administration’s new policies to make Central American migrants seeking asylum wait in Mexico while their cases in the U.S. are being processed.” BuzzFeed

Big sweep: 26 people were detained in an immigration raid at a San Diego market. ICE says the employer was the target. San Diego Union-Tribune



Deal is done: The House said Thursday that President Trump will sign a must-pass government spending bill even though it lacks border wall funding and then will declare a national emergency to pull money for wall construction from other parts of the federal budget. Los Angeles Times

Aunty Maxine: Rep. Maxine Waters has a powerful new position. House freshmen such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could make it challenging. Los Angeles Times

A miscommunication? In the early moments of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first State of the State address, he promised to talk “as frankly and directly as I can” on “tough calls,” including the future of the state’s high-speed rail. Then some watchers felt he did the exact opposite. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Newsom’s High-Speed Gift to Republicans. Politico Magazine


Interesting story: “California Is Juggling More Teacher Misconduct Cases Than Ever” Voice of San Diego


Wild day: A local YouTube personality was shot while taking video outside a Los Angeles synagogue and Jewish high school Thursday afternoon, according to authorities, sources and social media. Los Angeles Times

Sweet: A Los Angeles police commander assigned to home duty after his unmarked car was found crashed and abandoned enrolled days later in a controversial retirement program that allows him to collect essentially twice his usual pay. Los Angeles Times


Show us the records: A free speech organization is suing California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra over his office’s failure to release internal police records. Los Angeles Times

Check out this S.F. Car Break-In Tracker. San Francisco Chronicle


Beachfront property? Hey L.A., want to feel like you’re in Cabo without leaving home? Just wait till 2080. Los Angeles Times



Love in the air: In the last decade, more than 7,000 people who got marriage licenses in Los Angeles County chose Valentine’s Day as their wedding day. Some also choose a government office to tie the knot on the traditional romantic holiday. Los Angeles Times

Why? An agency hid Tesla crash data for nearly two years. Is that any way to build trust in driverless cars? Los Angeles Times

Sneaker culture! The NBA changed its rules on sneakers. Now players are bringing high fashion to the court. Los Angeles Times


Oscar nominee Yalitza Aparicio breaks down her three most emotional scenes from “Roma.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: How would you improve the Oscars? Los Angeles Times

Cool story: How the Sunset Route Railroad Helped Diversify California. Atlas Obscura



Los Angeles area: Rainy, 58, Friday. Partly cloudy, 60, Saturday. San Diego: Cloudy, 61, Friday. Partly cloudy, 59, Saturday. San Francisco area: Showers, 52, Friday. Rainy, 52, Saturday. San Jose: Showers, 52, Friday and Saturday. Sacramento: Showers, 50, Friday. Showers, 55, Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Steven Hansen:

“The Hat at the corner of Garfield Avenue and Valley Boulevard in Alhambra has seemingly been there forever. In the early 1950s my mother worked for Dr. Hofgarden at his clinic a few blocks away. When time was short she would stop at the Hat and pick us up pastrami dips for dinner. When I got to drive I made a regular trip to the Hat for my “fix.” Eventually the Army called and I left California on a life journey that took me around the world a couple of times and dropped me off near the end in Arkansas. Every time I returned for a family visit a Hat pastrami dip was always on the agenda (as was a stop at long-gone Angie’s Burritos farther out on Valley in San Gabriel). Over the years I have eaten pastrami at sandwich shops and delis across the country searching unsuccessfully for something similar without success. Recalling the Hat and typing this out has awakened that old craving and there is only one way to put it to rest. Is a man crazy for making a 4,000-mile round trip for a sandwich? It all depends on the sandwich, I guess.”


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.