In California: Homelessness, a Trump fundraiser and a prison proposal shut down

Gov. Gavin Newsom uses his State of the State to zero in on homelessness right around the same time President Trump arrives at the desert and a big-ticket fundraiser. Also, Kobe fans: He isn't buried where you think. And why did the man drive his SUV into the harbor and leave it there? 

It's Arlene Martínez with your hump day news.

But first, pour one out for the Stanford grad who invented Cut, Copy and Paste. You might not know the name Larry Tesler but if you're like me, you couldn't live without his creation. He died Monday.

In California has your daily news, features and interviews from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms and beyond. Click here to get this straight to your inbox.

The state's actual first Asian American sheriff. Probably

When Paul Miyamoto won election last fall as San Francisco sheriff and again at his January swearing-in, there was lots of buzz about him being the first Asian American sheriff in state history.

But a subsequent USA TODAY profile of Miyamoto, which posted on Feb. 16, has led to a historical revelation. The first Asian American sheriff appears to be Sheriff Timothy Saxon of Trinity County, a mostly rural slice of wooded paradise with 13,000 residents. 

Saxon's life story begins with his birth in Japan and immediate adoption by an Anglo-heritage Air Force official and his wife, who a few years later moved back to the United States. "Bottom line is, I'm American," says Saxon. "I was raised American, and my parents never treated me as anything but American."

Miyamoto said Tuesday he was "delighted that I’m not the first Asian American sheriff in California. It tells me we’re making progress diversifying leadership positions in law enforcement."

DACA, a deadly library fire and a beach camping ban

DACA recipients could pay significantly more to maintain their legal status under a proposal the Trump administration is floating to raise the every-other-year renewal fee from $495 to $765 — a 55% increase. 

The mood was somber Wednesday in Porterville, where two firefighters are believed to have died fighting a blaze at the library. Two teen boys were arrested and booked on suspicion of arson and manslaughter. 

This city wants to ban sleeping and camping on the beach but it has no shelter. See how Port Hueneme plans to go around a ruling that says you can't punish people for sleeping on public property unless there are low-barrier options for them to go (story is for subscribers only).

Homelessness 'a disgrace,' Newsom says

California Gov. Gavin Newsom dedicated his entire State of the State speech to one problem vexing the state: homelessness. 

"Let's call it what it is, a disgrace, that the richest state in the richest nation, succeeding across so many sectors, is failing to properly house, heal and humanely treat so many of its own people," Newsom said. 

Among a variety of proposals highlighted in the governor's speech on Wednesday, Newsom said he would deploy trailers for the homeless to half a dozen counties, reduce street homelessness through emergency actions, and help homeless people who are mentally ill get the help they need. 

"The public has lost patience, you have all lost patience, and so have I," he said.

The governor spoke a day after President Trump, during a visit to Los Angeles, threatened that if the state didn't do something about homelessness, the federal government would come in and "clean it up." 

It's a promise his administration has made many times before

The $100,000-per-couple Trump ticket

Trump returned to California on Wednesday (he spent Tuesday night in Vegas) for a fundraiser at the Rancho Mirage estate of Oracle chairman Larry Ellison. Tickets cost $100,000 per couple to attend; $250,000 for those who wanted his ear on policy.

 At Palm Springs International Airport, Trump got off Air Force One and headed straight for a contingent of adoring fans, some chanting, “Four more years!” 

Sharman Dow of La Quinta excitedly relayed the experience of shaking Trump's hand. "From the moment he came down that escalator in New York," she said, referring to his 2015 campaign announcement, "I turned to my husband and said, 'This guy gets America.' "

But it wasn’t all fansville in the desert. Hundreds of opponents rallied in Rancho Mirage with signs and chants of their own: “Hey-hey, ho-ho, Donald Trump has got to go.”

From Coachella Valley, Trump headed for Bakersfield, where he finalized a controversial decision that benefits water users in the western San Joaquin Valley and weakens endangered species protection. 

The move to divert water to farmers is in keeping with Trump's priorities, but Newsom's silence has some wondering why he isn't doing more on the water issue.

What else we're talking about 

Kobe Bryant fans, I can't tell you where he's been laid to rest, but it isn't this cemetery in Corona Del Mar. Or is it?

A man drove his SUV into a Monterey County harbor over the weekend, then headed home, leaving his ride in the ocean. But why? What's the significance? I don't know!

A nearly 2-acre plot in an exclusive La Quinta golf club could be the future site of another Kardashian home.

Netflix: What's coming and going in March.

Private prison conversion shut down in McFarland; mayor resigns 

Facing outcry from the local farmworker community, McFarland city planners on Tuesday denied a multibillion-dollar private prison company's bid to convert two Central Valley prison facilities into federal immigration detention centers.

Hours later, McFarland Mayor Manuel Cantu Jr. announced his resignation, explaining that his vision for the city's growth was at odds with the community's desire to rebuff the GEO Group. He said he plans to step down Friday. 

Cantu told The Desert Sun city leaders have been seeking to expand the city by 2,200 acres, but that growth won't be possible if GEO isn't contributing to city coffers. The city relies on the $2 million annually GEO pays in property taxes and utility fees to provide vital municipal services, he said.

Community members, who had listened to the meeting with the help of speakers outside the council chambers, cheered and banged wooden spoons on pots and pans in celebration. “Sí se pudo,” they chanted in Spanish. “Yes we could!”

The commission's 2-2 vote equates to a failed motion. The vote stands unless the issue is appealed to the City Council within 15 days.

Readers, I'd love to hear your feedback. What's working for you in this newsletter? What's missing? Reach me at or @avmartinez on Twitter.

In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Gizmodo, San Francisco Chronicle, CalMatter.


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