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Essential California: The heat is on in SoCal

June 20, 2016

Good morning. It is Monday, June 20. The glass slide at the US Bank building is almost ready. This video shows what a test of the thrill ride looks like. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


Scholarship fund

A little-known educational scholarship fund became a lucrative source of income for former USC athletic director Pat Haden and two family members. A Times investigation found that between 1999 and 2014, the George Henry Mayr Foundation paid $2.4 million to Haden, his daughter and sister-in-law for their part-time roles, even as the scholarship spending reached a 30-year low. During Haden’s tenure on the board, the donations directed to USC far outpaced those given to other schools. Los Angeles Times 

Mental health

As law enforcement officials encounter more mentally ill people on the streets, the needs for proper training and special teams to deal with them grows. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is one of many agencies nationwide looking to better prepare officers, but in many cases a lack of money hampers the efforts. “When you receive as many calls as we do about people affected by mental illness, you have to train people to deal with them, or you have outcomes unfair to the mentally ill,” said Louis Dekmar, second vice president for the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police. Los Angeles Times

Rent check

The country’s fifth-largest landlord, which owns 4,500 units in Orange County, continues to face allegations that it deducts hundreds of dollars from tenants’ security deposits for unnecessary cleanings and repairs. The complaints come despite a 2001 deal in which Arnel Management Co., backed by billionaire George Argyros, agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle such allegations. The settlement cleared the way for Argyros to become ambassador to Spain. Los Angeles Times


Hot in here: Extreme heat has Southern California on high alert. A red flag warning was posted for large parts of the region, fueled by high temperatures and potential for gusty winds. Smoke from the Sherpa fire near Santa Barbara contributed to hazy conditions as far south as Los Angeles and Orange counties. Today is the first day of summer, and it’s expected to be the hottest day of the heat wave. Los Angeles Times


Prison population: The number of mentally ill inmates has grown in county jails and state prisons, although overall inmate populations have shrunk. In the state prison system, the mentally ill inmate population was 32,525 in April 2013, making up 24.5% of the overall population. As of February, a report said the mental health population had grown by 4,275. Los Angeles Times

On the river: The design team working with architect Frank Gehry to redevelop the Los Angeles River has been rolling out its plan in upbeat and informal “listening” sessions that don’t include renderings of what the waterway may one day look like. “The quiet rollout suggests that River LA is less interested in giving a clear picture of what Gehry’s plan eventually may include than in tamping down charges that it has been born of secrecy.” Los Angeles Times

Environmental dangers: “I thought we were all going to die there.” That’s how one woman felt last week when the Panda International Trading Co., located directly behind her home, exploded and forced 300 people to evacuate. “Maywood, a working-class city of about 28,000 people, almost all of whom are Latino, is bordered on all sides by industry, including rail yards, plastics manufacturers, gas companies and, perhaps most well-known, Exide Technologies.” Los Angeles Times

Hollywood development: An Art Deco high-rise is coming to Hollywood. The 21-story hotel will replace Jack in the Box, which so far had been able to escape the neighborhood’s development boom. The developer spent $13.8 million to purchase the fast-food lot. Curbed LA

Actor dies: Anton Yelchin died early Sunday after his car rolled in his Studio City driveway and pinned him next to a mailbox, authorities said. Yelchin, 27, was best known for his role in the new “Star Trek” films. Los Angeles Times


Train money: Did bullet train officials ignore a warning about the need for taxpayer money to keep the system operating once it’s built? A proposal from a Spanish firm contained the line, “More than likely, the California high-speed rail will require large government subsidies for years to come.” That warning was expunged from the version posted on the state’s website. Los Angeles Times

Sentencing guidelines: A campaign is underway to repeal California’s death penalty. A measure on the Nov. 8 ballot would ask voters whether to repeal death as a sentence for first-degree murder. The campaign is led by former “MASH” actor Mike Farrell. Los Angeles Times

Nice to be asked: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti seems like someone who wants to be considered as a vice presidential candidate but doesn’t actually want the job. Here are five reasons he won’t be on the November ballot. LA Weekly


Judging the judge: What would be the implications of recalling the judge in the Brock Turner case? “It’s an argument that exposes a tension between advocates who want sexual assault cases treated more seriously, and those who believe draconian sentences have overpacked the country’s prisons, disproportionately with blacks and Latinos.” The Marshall Project

Canceled check: David Zeller became a paraplegic in 2012 after he sought treatment at San Francisco General Hospital. He sued the city and University of California system and was awarded a $1.5-million settlement. But because Zeller committed suicide this year, city officials are refusing to pay their portion of the settlement. San Francisco Chronicle

Shark attack: Less than a month ago, Maria Korcsmaros was bitten by a shark. Today she is still recovering. “We know you are human. But you are a pretty amazing human, and you are healing, and it’s going to be a tough road,” said one of her close friends. Orange County Register


Cavalier attitude: The Golden State Warriors end up losing in the NBA Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, after the Oakland-based team led 3 games to 1. Cleveland’s LeBron James is the MVP of the finals. Los Angeles Times

Wine country: When did 14 drinks a week become a way of life in California? New York Times

Road trippin’: Columnist Steve Lopez is taking a trip down California’s coast to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the California Coastal Act. “I’m going to meet with people who collected signatures for Proposition 20 all those many years ago, and with people who volunteer as coastal stewards and tour guides,” he writes. Los Angeles Times

Message of peace: Thousands of people went to Westminster to hear the Dalai Lama’s message of peace and kindness. “Violence is not created by weapons, but it comes from in here, the heart. External disarmament can come only through internal disarmament,” he said. Orange County Register

What’s in a name: Why is it Ralphs and not Ralph’s? Meet George A. Ralphs. LAist


Sacramento will be hot and sunny with a high of 97. It will be sunny and 72 in San Francisco. It will be 103 degrees in Los Angeles and 110 in Riverside. San Diego will be sunny with a high of 88.


This week’s birthdays for notable Californians:

Musician Carlos Santana (June 20, 1947), Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey (June 20, 1951), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (June 21, 1947), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (June 22, 1933) and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (June 22, 1960).

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 Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.

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