Good morning and welcome to Essential California Newsletter. Is Thursday March 9.
As pandemic-era tenant protections wane, the number of eviction cases is returning to pre-COVID levels in Los Angeles County.
For many renters facing eviction, it has been a challenge to navigate protections at various levels of government.
Times reporter Paloma Esquivel covers housing and recently spent a lot of time in eviction court, seeking to “put a face on some of these political decisions.”
“One thing I realized in reporting the story, and also in trying to better understand this rhythm, is that this is hard for even lawyers and experts to understand,” he told me this week.
Paloma spent “day after day” in court, where hearings are fast-paced. She writes in a story published Wednesday:
Once filed, eviction cases move quickly compared to the typically slow pace of civil courts; sometimes they are decided in a 10-minute trial before a judge. Tenants rarely have lawyers, while landlords almost always do.
In one courtroom alone, about two dozen eviction cases were processed in a single day.
“You really get the feeling (that) the stakes are high,” Paloma told me. “For a lot of people, it’s their homes…it’s just this really pivotal moment in their lives.”
That’s where Paloma first saw Leticia Graham, who was struggling to stay in her Westlake studio, where she’s a couple of months behind on her rent.
Graham appeared for his scheduled case remotely. But she was supposed to be there in person. The judge told her to arrive at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse before noon to plead her case.
The 36-year-old, who does not have a car, ran to a local bus stop with a backpack full of receipts and bank records. He made it in time, but quickly learned that pandemic-era protections aren’t as protective as many renters assume.
“Day after day, tenants show up in court with a false impression of how the system works,” reports Paloma. “Some, Like Graham, he believes that pandemic-era tenant protections will prevent them from being left without access to their homes.”
But that’s not true, because eviction protections don’t actually stop landlords from taking the tenants they want to evict to court. Dove explains:
The moratorium simply gives tenants a defense to use when a case is brought. To take advantage, they must understand how to navigate the court system and properly present evidence on their own behalf. Graham, like most tenants in court without attorneys, knew nothing of this.
Graham was looking to stay in the apartment until July, while she paid her rent, which she said would give her enough time to recover and save enough to find a new place to live. Being evicted before then would leave her homeless, she said.
Paloma stayed in court and connected with Graham that same day, who was open to talking and being followed by a reporter and photographer.
“(Graham) understood that telling his story could be helpful to other people trying to navigate the system,” he added.
Before the pandemic, Graham had obtained his real estate license and was winding up the business. Then came COVID and the shutdowns, closing open houses, and her hopes for a career in the industry. She told Paloma that the isolation early in the pandemic led to a spiraling depression.
Graham was able to come to a resolution with her landlord and told Paloma that she feels safe and focuses on the fact that she survived what the pandemic threw at her.
“We’ve already been through the fire,” he told Paloma. “Let’s go to something better.”
You can read Paloma’s report and learn more about what happened in Graham’s case here.
And now, This is what is happening in California:
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POLITIC AND GOVERNMENT
There is a new push to guarantee Californians the right to housing. Assemblyman Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) wants voters to decide on an amendment to the state Constitution, saying California is not addressing the housing crisis. sacramento bee
Does the California superintendent have enough power? Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) says the pandemic showed the limited authority of the role, which he called “nothing more than an education cheerleader.” McCarty’s new bill seeks to change the voter-elected position to one appointed by the governor. Los Angeles Times
San Bernardino County officials report 12 people have died in mountain communities after severe snowstorms that stranded residents for days. Some fear additional bodies will be discovered as more snow is cleared. Los Angeles Times
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
Los Angeles residents who drive less are breathing in more car pollution than car-centric commuters, according to a new study. The USC researchers analyzed the data by census tract, each with around 4,000 residents, and found that wealthier, whiter areas are effectively exporting air pollution to the black and Latino neighborhoods they pass through on their daily commutes. . Los Angeles Times
Tribal nations and commercial fishing groups say federal mismanagement has further endangered the already threatened coho salmon that depend on the Klamath River for spawning.. The groups plan to sue the Office of Reclamation, alleging that the agency violated federal law by failing to send enough water south across the river from Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon. KQED
State budget cuts proposed by Governor Gavin Newsom would cut funding for coastal resiliency projects by nearly half. That worries lawmakers and leaders in coastal cities seeking to protect communities from rising sea levels. CalMatters
Japanese food is a Bay Area staple and there’s an eclectic scene to explore beyond your standard sushi fare. Check out the San Francisco Chronicle’s guide to the best places to eat in izakaya, ramen and much more. San Francisco Chronicle
You may have noticed an unusual number of castles in the kingdom of Burbank. Times audience participation editor Rachel Schnalzer did a moat-worthy dig to learn about the history of medieval-minded infrastructure. Los Angeles Times
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from today california landmark comes from sand marshal from San Diego: the magnificent views of the Sierra Nevada along Duck Lake Pass Trail.
We love hiking in the California mountains. Duck Lake Pass Trail and the view from the top is the epitome of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. (With) a 10-mile round trip and about 2,000 foot elevation gain, it’s challenging, but well worth the hike. The elevation at the pass is approximately 10,000 feet, a perfect place to stop and view the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range. This is a special image as it reminds us of the many walks we took in the Bishop and Mammoth areas with Niles, our Shar Pei.
What are California’s essential landmarks? Fill out this form to send us your photos of a special place in California — natural or man-made. Tell us why it’s interesting and what makes it a symbol of life in the Golden State. Be sure to only include photos taken directly by you. Your presentation may appear in a future issue of the newsletter.
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