Newsletter: Essential California: A landmark 2016 gun control law remains scarcely used

After the state Senate approved a gun removal bill in 2014, Richard Martinez, right, and Robert Weiss, who each lost a child in the Isla Vista mass shooting, celebrate with Sens. Nancy Skinner, left, and Hannah-Beth Jackson.
After the state Senate approved a gun removal bill in 2014, Richard Martinez, right, and Robert Weiss, who each lost a child in the Isla Vista mass shooting, celebrate with Sens. Nancy Skinner, left, and Hannah-Beth Jackson.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Sept. 19, and here’s what’s happening across California:


In 2016, California became the first state in the nation to allow family members, roommates and police officers to ask a judge to block individuals believed to be dangerous from having firearms for up to a year. The legislation followed a 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, near UC Santa Barbara. Relatives of the gunman, Elliot Rodger, had previously alerted authorities to his potential danger. But so far, the gun violence restraining orders have been rarely used. Los Angeles Times

Story of hope


“You can easily get discouraged about the monumental human catastrophe and the sprawl of tent cities. But rather than dwell on that now, I decided to take a look at how [Meg] Shimatsu made it home, and to see if there’s something we can learn from her experience.” — Columnist Steve Lopez on one woman’s journey out of homelessness. Los Angeles Times

He’s back

As director of Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art from 2010 to 2013, Jeffrey Deitch was responsible for some ambitious, populist and pop cultural exhibitions, including 2011’s “Art in the Streets,” a historical survey of graffiti and street art that drew record crowds at the time, and a James Franco-organized show about the 1955 James Dean film “Rebel Without a Cause.” But his penchant for cross-disciplinary flash and sizzle was also a source of controversy at MOCA. Deitch resigned in 2013. Now he has resurfaced in the L.A. art world. Los Angeles Times

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Jeffrey Deitch, the former MOCA director, has returned to Los Angeles from New York.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)


Fudging the numbers? Is L.A.'s homeless population closer to 100,000? One nonprofit is offering an alternative view of the data. Los Angeles Times

Plus: In a scathing review of the state’s proliferating business improvement districts, a student project released Tuesday by the UC Berkeley law school accuses the nonprofit groups of systematically abusing homeless people. Los Angeles Times

Important story: In sadness and anger, female pastors open up about sexual harassment in black churches. Los Angeles Times

History lesson: The story of segregation in Los Angeles was preserved only by its black-owned papers. Quartz


Down south: It was a Barbie-themed dream party, with carnival rides, hundreds of pink balloons and an elaborate set featuring gold chandeliers and a rose-colored throne. The guests of honor were the 7-year-old twin daughters of the world’s most notorious drug lord. Images of a decadent birthday bash thrown for the children of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman took Mexico by storm this week, with some criticizing the extravaganza as unseemly given how the family made its fortune. Los Angeles Times


Struggling to keep up: When students enter school in California, they learn at a pace on par with — if not better than — those in other states. The problem is that they arrive far behind their national peers, and they never catch up. Los Angeles Times

Not unexpected: Far-right news sites began to smear a California professor after misidentifying her as the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. NBC News

By the Bay: San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón faces a formidable challenge for his seat from Suzy Loftus. San Francisco Chronicle

Protecting taco stands: California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to make it easier for sidewalk vendors to operate legally in the state. Associated Press

Scandal: A San Diego diocese kept writing letters of recommendation for a priest accused of abuse. KQED


Sad: One Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy was killed and a second was wounded Monday when a gunman opened fire during a routine disturbance call at an auto shop in Rancho Cordova, authorities said. Los Angeles Times

Avoiding scrutiny: “Current and former officers from the Long Beach Police Department in Southern California have told Al Jazeera that their police-issued phones had Tiger Text installed on them. The Tiger Text app is designed to erase text messages after a set time period.“ Al Jazeera

A chapter closes: “SeaWorld and its former CEO, Jim Atchison, will pay more than $5 million to settle federal fraud charges that they misled investors about the impact the 2013 anti-captivity documentary ‘Blackfish’ had on the theme park company.” San Diego Union-Tribune


Da guv’s legacy: “Jerry Brown made climate change his issue. Now, he’s not sure how much politicians can do.” New York Times

Plus: California is leading the subnational efforts to curb climate change. The Economist

Wow: A mysterious great white shark lair has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean. SF Gate


Steamy: Adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, writes about their alleged sexual encounter in her forthcoming book, the Guardian reports. Los Angeles Times

Another shoe drops: The wife of recently departed CBS chief Les Moonves, Julie Chen, announced her departure from the CBS daytime show “The Talk” on Tuesday’s edition of the program. Los Angeles Times

Deals, deals, deals: Lucid Motors, the Bay Area electric car start-up, has been struggling to raise money for more than a year. Now it appears to have found some: more than a billion dollars from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Los Angeles Times

Ruh-ro: A criminal investigation into Tesla and Chief Executive Elon Musk could hurt the company’s fundraising and recruitment. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 80, Wednesday. Sunny, 83, Thursday. San Diego: Sunny, 76, Wednesday. Partly cloudy, 76, Thursday. San Francisco area: Sunny, 70, Wednesday. Sunny, 71, Thursday. San Jose: Sunny, 80, Wednesday. Sunny, 87, Thursday. Sacramento: Sunny, 88, Wednesday. Sunny, 92, Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Carol Dale:

“I moved to Los Angeles from Denver in 1973. I lived in Whittier for two months, then moved into an apartment for singles in Marina del Rey. Working in Beverly Hills as a legal secretary, I decided to skip work one day. Instead, I walked two blocks to the beach. Coming from Denver in my 20s, I couldn’t believe that I was living in such a beautiful city, meeting single people and having a beach two blocks away! Sitting on my blanket, I looked to either side of me and saw that there was not one other human being on the beach for as far as I could see! Of course this was a one-time-only experience, never to happen again. What a wonderful start to my 45 years in Los Angeles.”

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.