Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner among Dodgers criticizing slow free-agent market

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dodgers pitchers and catchers reported for spring training earlier this week. Position players will join them for the first official full-squad workout Tuesday.

Even country singer Garth Brooks has even been on the field with the Pittsburgh Pirates in Florida. But Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel and dozens more major-league free agents do not have jobs.

“It’s not great, not great for the game by any means,” said Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw – whose three-year, $93 million contract extension signed in November has been topped by just one free-agent contract this offseason (Patrick Corbin’s six-year, $140 million deal with the Washington Nationals).

“You’ve got two guys that are 26 years old, superstars in the game (Harper and Machado). Obviously, I don’t know what’s going on on either side. I don’t know what type of offers they’ve been given. But you’d like to see them signed – as well as the 100 or so other guys that deserve a spot. … That’s a pretty good team out there still. There’s a lot of good players. I don’t know where it’s at with everybody as far as the offers they’re getting, it just doesn’t seem right that they’re not in spring training or close to it at this point.”

The estimate of 100 is probably inflated. But there are a few dozen legitimate major-leaguers still unsigned – and it’s hard to argue that the group doesn’t include difference-makers who could change a team’s fortune.

“It’s tough. Things change, I guess,” Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said. “You don’t want to see the season start and those guys not have a team. That’s not good for baseball. It doesn’t matter what anybody says. Any time that Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel, those type of guys, don’t have a team that’s not good for baseball.”

The Dodgers’ players union representative last year, Justin Turner points out it was a slow free-agent market before the 2018 season as well.

“I feel like the last two years free agency has moved at an incredibly slow pace and it’s obviously not a good thing for anyone,” Turner said. “Especially when you have two guys of that caliber of player and they don’t have a job yet, there’s definitely something wrong.

“Everyone has a thought and an opinion (about what is causing the slowdown) but it doesn’t really matter until we figure out what we’re going to do.”

Many players – including stars like Justin Verlander and Buster Posey – have been vocal on social media about their disenchantment with the situation. Some have pointed out the need for changes in the system. Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright went so far this week as to suggest a players’ strike is “100 percent” likely if things don’t change.

“I think it’s just frustrating,” Turner said. “Obviously, there’s a lot of anger, displeasure because guys know this year it’s Manny and Bryce but next year it could be that player. There’s a lot of that going on.

“Also … we show up every year because we want to win a championship. I mean, there’s nothing else out there. The awards are great, but at the end of the day it’s about trying to win a championship. When you have that caliber of player that are still available, I feel like a lot of guys think those guys would help their team and are trying to figure out why aren’t we taking advantage of these guys still being out there?”

Management’s unspoken response is that players like Harper and Machado put themselves in this position with talk of 10-, 12-year contracts and $400 million windfalls. Other free agents made the same mistake to a lesser extent.

“The way baseball works is the people before you sign deals and they set the market. And if you come along and you’re better than those guys, on paper, then in theory you should get the years and the money they got,” Turner said. “So for owners to start pointing fingers and saying players are greedy, whether they think those (past) deals were bad or not, they’re the ones who gave those deals so they dropped the ball. Now they’re punishing us for giving out these long deals, which is not how the game works historically. You give out these deals and someone is always going to come along and be better than that guy and someone is going to come along and be better than that guy.

“With the way the money in this game is going and growing and growing every year, revenue is going up ever year – I think it’s fairly easy for players to be confused that the free-agent market isn’t growing along with the revenue.”

Turner also pointed out how long most players have to wait to become free agents – the payoff “at the end of the arbitration-slash-team control rainbow,” as veteran Rich Hill put it in making a similar point. Players are paid little during a three- or four-year minor-league career, then have to put in six years at the major-league level before becoming eligible for free agency. By that point, they’re being pinched by a growing industry perception of a 30-something player being “a declining player,” Turner said.

“If front offices are changing and evolving in the way they do business, then maybe the system needs to change and evolve too,” he said.

SEAGER STATUS

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said he is “excited” by the progress he has made in his rehab from hip and elbow surgeries.

“It’s just so much better being out here as part of a group,” Seager said. “Instead of grinding away by yourself.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Seager is “essentially a full-go with everything outside the throwing.” Seager has begun taking batting practice, running the bases, fielding ground balls at full range and long-tossing to 135 feet. The main item left on his checklist is to start making throws from across the diamond at different angles.

“There were some balls he was challenged on going into the hole that I saw and sort of cringed at times,” Roberts said after watching Seager go through an infield workout. “But he said he felt good. It felt normal. He felt quick. It was very encouraging.”

ALSO

Right-hander Ross Stripling was not in camp Saturday as a precaution due to an upper respiratory illness.

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LeBron James talks chasing Jordan, kneeling with Kaepernick and last ride with Wade on All-Star Media Day

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Whenever LeBron James speaks, his words make waves. And he’s never short on things to talk about.

This All-Star weekend, his 15th consecutive, was no exception, as the 34-year-old pontificated on a number of topics, including passing Michael Jordan on an important milestone, playing his last game with Dwyane Wade and where he stands on Colin Kaepernick. Here’s a sampling of the best of his responses from Saturday morning at Bojangles Coliseum:

Soon passing Jordan on the all-time scoring list

“I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to talk into the future. … I kind of live in the moment. Once that moment gets here, I’ll be able to reflect on it. How long I reflect on it, probably pretty quick. You know how I am with that as well. One thing I can tell you is anytime I’m mentioned with one of the greats, if not the greatest that ever played this game, it’s crazy to me. It really is. It’s crazy to me when I’m talked about with some of the greats. You talk about MJ, who I looked up to and always believed was the greatest, it’s just pretty cool, and I have no idea how I’ve been able to do it.”

Getting a call from Kyrie Irving

“What did it mean? I think I’ve always loved Kyrie from before I met him until when I became his teammate to even now. I’ve always thought he was special. I think he has a, I mean, there’s a reason why there’s really only 24 of us here this weekend. And he’s here for a reason. So, the phone call — more than for me, I think just to see his growth. It takes a real man and a real person, and a real person to understand who they are to be able to call, or to do anything and be able to see their wrongdoings or believe they have some wrongdoings and then be able to come to grips with that and then be able to either apologize or say that, ‘At that point and time I thought I was ready for something, but I really wasn’t.’

“And I’m not here to, I really don’t want to talk about it too much because it’s not for everybody. It’s not for the media to be able to start writing things and then how you guys like to do. … I love Kyrie. I love everything about Kyrie. I’ve loved his family and I’ve definitely loved his shoes and his game, and my kids love his shoes and his game, too. So, it’s all good.”

Kaepernick’s settlement with the NFL

“I stand with Kaep. I kneel with Kaep. I feel what he was talking about, nobody wanted to listen to. Nobody wanted to really understand where he was coming from. I think that anybody that would sacrifice their livelihood for the betterment of all of us, I can respect that, and he’s done that. You’ve got a guy that basically lost his job because he wanted to stand for something that was more than just him. I’m happy to see the news come out yesterday that he won his suit. I hope it’s a hell of a lot of money that can set not only him up, but set his kids, his grandkids up for the rest of their lives. And I hope that the word of what he did will live on through American history, but also world history because it’s important for all of us not only African Americans, but everybody that wants to stand up for something more important than them.”

The draw of being an NBA owner someday

“It’s not that it’s intoxicating to me, and I don’t think about it on a day-to-day basis. I was asked a question and I answered it how I felt at that point in time. I believe if I wanted to, I could own a team or be part of a basketball team. I know I got so much knowledge of the game that I don’t want to, once I stop playing, I just want to get away from the game. Obviously I’m going to be along with my sons, because they’re going to play the game. They’re playing the game now and I’m going to be along with them. But if I can give back to this league in any way shape or form and continue to make this league as great as it is today, then I would love to.

“It would have to be the right fit. It’d have to be the right city. It’d have to be the right situation. It’s not like it’s a dream of mine. It’s more of an aspiration. See if it happens. If it don’t, I won’t be disappointed in anything I’ve done off the floor. We’ll see what happens. I got a lot more game to play. I got a lot. A ton more years to play this game and suit up and be in a Lakers uniform. Once we get to that point, we’ll cross that path. Hopefully I can sit up here and answer questions as a player for a long time.”

One year since Laura Ingraham told him to ‘Shut up and dribble’

“I think everything in life you have to appreciate, no matter if it’s good or bad. So, like you said, it’s been one year since the callout of ‘shut up and dribble,’ and at that very moment, I knew at that moment that I was bigger than just basketball and I had to say something. Because it wasn’t just about me. It was about all of us. It’d be [like] telling you guys to shut up and just write. And you guys not having a platform. Or, just shut up and be a doctor. Or just shut up and be a lawyer. Just shut up and be a teacher. Shut up and do whatever your occupation is. And I just think that’s unfair to all of us because we are so much more than what our occupations say or what our name tag says.

“So, for me to be able to have this platform as I did one year ago and for me to be able to have that feeling throughout my body when I heard that, I think it has not only resonated with me, but it’s resonated with a lot of people to be able to feel like they can be more. So, like I said, I thanked her for that moment and we all should thank her. Like I said, you have to appreciate anything that comes along, no matter if it’s good or bad because it helps you learn, it helps you become better at who you are, it helps you get more understanding of who you are or more understanding about what the situation is at that point and time. So I’m always thankful for not only the good, but the bad that’s come across my life since I’ve been on this journey.”

Being compared to Duke’s Zion Williamson

“I think the comparison thing will never stop, and I think it’s great for the game. People are always going to make comparisons. What player remind you of him. This guy is similar to that guy. I’ve never tooted my nose up, or had anything to say with the comparisons to me and Zion and Zion to me. I think it’s great. I think it’s great for the game. His athleticism, we all see. His ability to jump well beyond the 10-foot rim is incredible. I think what’s also incredible is at his size, his speed, his agility, his quickness. And to add onto that, I think he’s just a great kid. Every time the media asks him questions, he’s always been right on and very humble about it. And he’s humble about the fact that he gets to play the game that he loves every single day. And I love everything about him from the outside looking in.

“I’ve never met the kid, but I love everything about him, and he keeps the main thing the main thing, and that’s the game of basketball and being part of something that’s special. Which I think that Duke program right now is special, not only with him, but with RJ [Barrett], with Tre [Jones], with Cam Reddish. So I think they’re great. And they get to be around the greatest coach of all time in Coach K. So I think it’s an unbelievable thing that for Zion and the rest of those guys.”

Last All-Star Game with Dwyane Wade

“As much time as I can to get with him, I’m here. I’ve seen him already in the locker room. I’ve seen my nephew, Zaire [Wade’s son]. Every little bit of moment, every bit of time that I get with him this weekend is going to be always cherished and it’s great. I mean, we’ve been together almost 17 years now since we met at the combine in Chicago in 2003. And from that moment, we just knew that we were going to be together for a long time, and it hasn’t stopped. From me being a competitor, from me being his teammate, to being a competitor again. From us sharing father advice to sharing marriage advice to sharing son advice, it’s really bigger than just basketball when it comes to me and D-Wade. Because we can actually look at each other and know what each other is thinking and know how each other are feeling at certain points and times of our lives.

“So, to be here and for me to able to choose him to be a part of Team LeBron, for him to be here this weekend, it’s a bittersweet moment, obviously. The bitter part that this is his last weekend being at All-Star weekend and knowing that his journey is coming to an end as far as a basketball player. But the sweet moment is that we got so much more life to live together and we will continue that.”

Playing for the Lakers

“It feels great playing in L.A., man. When you look up at the banners and you look up at all the championships and all the greats that’s gone through L.A.: Jerry West to George Mikan to Elgin Baylor to Magic, Kareem, James Worthy and Kobe, Shaq. You know, whoever you know. Just to be a part of that franchise and be a part of that history means a lot to me. So hopefully I can do my part where someday I can hang up there with the rest of them.”

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California’s laws will crush Gov. Newsom’s affordable housing hopes

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has made getting housing costs under control his administration’s top priority, calling for a new “Marshall Plan,” and promising to spend $1.3 billion on new affordable housing. Whatever the merits of his proposal, however, the new money the governor wants to spend is not going to go all that far given how much it costs currently to build low-income housing in the state.

Back in September 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the costs of building federally-funded affordable housing. California unsurprisingly topped the list, with the median affordable housing development in the state coming in at $326,000 per unit. (That’s compared to Texas, where a median low-income unit cost a more manageable $126,000.)

High as that figure is, plenty of projects in the state managed to cost even more. That would include Culver City’s Tilden Terrace, a $24 million, 33-unit apartment building that, at $739,000 per-unit, is not just the most expensive affordable housing project in California, but in the entire country.

There’s no one single reason Tilden Terrace cost so much. Rather, a lot of different factors are to blame. For starters, there was the inclusion of 10,000 square feet of retail space on the bottom floor of Tilden Terrace, which is now filled by a children’s yoga studio and a pricey Japanese restaurant. The fancy shops helped secure city approval for the building, but also raised prices substantially. By comparison, a nearly identical affordable housing development four miles away in Santa Monica cost a ‘mere’ $600,000 per unit, the difference being the Santa Monica project came with a paltry 600 square feet of retail space.

Not helping matters are California’s prevailing wage laws which require developers to pay construction workers on public projects prevailing, union-level wages. Though the estimates vary, this policy is said to increase project costs from anywhere from 9 to 30 percent. Even by a conservative guess, that would have added millions to Tilden Terrace’s final price tag.

Perhaps the biggest driver of Tilden Terrace’s budget-busting per-unit costs was the land. According to that GAO report, a typical federally-funded, low-income housing project is going to spend about five percent of its budget on land. In high-cost California, average land costs eat up about 12 percent of a project’s budget. For Tilden Terrace, the land alone cost $5 million, or about 20 percent of the final price tag.

These outrageous land costs are themselves a product of Culver City’s status as a fast-growing, tightly-zoned city that has not allowed for enough housing to be built to meet growing demand. Indeed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, only three percent of Culver City’s housing units have been built this century, and much of the city is zoned to allow for only single-family housing. This forces affordable housing developers to compete with deep-pocketed, market-rate developers over the scarce developable plots that are left, driving up prices.

The irony is that these same factors that drive up the costs of projects like Tilden Terrace also drive demand for the projects in the first place. Prevailing wage laws, local governments’ preference for retail over residential construction, and strict zoning codes raise the costs of housing for everybody, rich and poor alike. In the hot real estate markets that exist in much of the state, that means that low- and even moderate-income people are priced out market-rate homes, leaving them no option but to rely on government-subsidized housing.

Politicians who are serious about bringing down the costs of housing for everyone should consider going after the root causes of California’s housing shortage. That will mean reforming the state’s zoning codes and prevailing wage laws, as well as streamlining the approval process for new development. Until that’s done, spending more money to build more affordable housing projects like Tilden Terrace will only be a bandage on the wound.

Christian Britschgi is an associate editor at Reason magazine and Reason.com.

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Women on Money & Mindset: Who’s in your personal brain trust?

The term “brain trust” is a term that was used by James Kieran, a New York Times reporter, to describe the group of leaders assembled by Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his presidential administration. President Roosevelt brought these “brains” together to advise him, decode problems and design new solutions for America.

When you think about it, having your own personal brain trust is a wise thing, no matter what our title or position. Life is complex, and those with whom we surround ourselves can make a difference in the way we look at life, contribute and enjoy the ride.

Who’s in your brain trust?  And can the people in it support and challenge you in the following five ways?

Perspective

Living in the 21st century requires complex decision-making, being able to see and understand a problem or challenge from all angles.

Albert Einstein told us that we can’t solve problems with the same mindset that created them. However, it’s often difficult to step outside oneself to see other angles. Having a brain trust made up of people who come from various industries and backgrounds means you can tap into a vast pool of experience for greater perspective and creative solutions.

President Roosevelt’s brain trust helped him enact 19 laws to meet America’s challenges in just his first 100 days in office. He freely admitted this was due to having an intellectual powerhouse to bring ideas and perspective that he could not bring to the table alone.

Powerful support

It can get lonely as you carry out big responsibilities. Carrying this alone can cause isolation and stress. Unburdening and processing with family members or coworkers often creates greater stress on these relationships and can’t always provide the kind of support you need to meet life and work demands effectively.

It’s important for you to create a safe and powerful support system that is trustworthy, confidential and helpful in processing the complexity of your challenges.

Challenge

If you want to continue to grow so you lead both your life and work solidly into the future, you need input. What are you not seeing that you need to examine? How is not leading at a higher level affecting your life and work?

With great responsibilities, you can operate from “stress mode” as you address the immediate and urgent. This can develop tunnel vision and you will lean on familiar approaches that cannot meet more complex problems. This dynamic will prevent you from solving these problems, and meeting the important goals that will truly make a difference for you and the others around you.

A brain trust will challenge you where you might be playing small with limited thinking or approaches. It will provide that safe space for you to confront where you are holding yourself back and decide how you want to move forward.

Accountability

Change is hard. Growth is hard. Without an accountability mechanism, the biggest goals and commitments are seldom met successfully. As you process and make the necessary decisions to move forward, a brain trust will keep you accountable to yourself and your personal and professional commitments.

And because a brain trust’s only agenda is your agenda, you can count on your brain trust as an unbiased and supportive group that has your best interests in mind. This will help you to stay on track and to focus where you need in order to meet goals.

Community

How edifying and uplifting is your community? If you are like most, you have little time to enjoy the nurturing benefits of connection and community. In fact, your responsibilities and pace can limit your ability to form a meaningful community and to enjoy the gifts and benefits of bonds and belonging.

Your community can feel fragmented and might be made up solely of some of these:

  • frantic seasonal socializing to reconnect with old friends during holidays
  • etworking and brainstorming with peers
  • industry- or business-specific meetings with colleagues
  • connections with families of your kids and grandkids during sports season
  • a weekly (if even that!) church experience

An intentionally focused community that encourages intellectual improvement, supports personal and professional growth, and genuinely cares about you is invaluable and rejuvenating. What’s more, being able to connect with this kind of community in a time of crisis or celebration is priceless.

How effective is your own brain trust? Here’s to taking charge to make yours exceptional, so that you can enjoy a more meaningful and rewarding journey in your life and work.

Patti Cotton works with executives, business owners and their companies to elevate and support leadership at all levels. Contact her by email at Patti@PattiCotton.com.

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What if my car just looks better with only one license plate?

Q. Hello Mr. Honk: I read Mr. Ball’s question and your reply last week regarding the state requirement for a front-mounted license plate, in addition to the one in the back. We recently purchased a new car and there is nowhere to mount a front plate other than to drill holes and/or cover the cooling fans. If we are pulled over for the lack of a front plate, is this a moving violation against the driver’s license or a fix-it ticket? When driving all over the Southland, I do notice the many cars without front plates. Just curious before I bore a three-quarter-inch hole into my wife’s new car.

Rod Plotzke, Irvine

A. Honk is all for keeping the Mrs. happy, Rod, but you would risk the chance of getting pulled over.

However …

“No, it’s not a moving violation,” said Tino Olivera, an officer and spokesman for the California Highway Patrol out of the Santa Ana office. “It’s a fix-it ticket.”

The officer can, if he or she chooses, though, kick it up a notch and make it a full-blown citation.

Olivera offered two scenarios when that is likely, at least from the CHP: if the officer sees that you have had a fix-it ticket or two before for the same violation, or if you get pulled over on a toll road and it seems that your car or truck isn’t donning the required plates in an effort to avoid paying the toll.

“We can make it non-correctable,” Olivera said. “(Then) it’s a fine, a few hundred dollars.”

Still, it would not be a moving violation.

Q. Now that rainy season is upon us, what is it going to take to get drivers to turn on their lights when their automatic wipers are in use? They are supposed to even in daylight under the law. I see some gray or silver vehicles without lights on that are darn near invisible to see in the rain. Maybe a reminder from Honk?

Dick Oakley, Rancho Santa Margarita

A. Done.

The law went into play a dozen years ago.

Honkin’ fact: Gas is expensive. This past Monday, a gallon of regular cost on average $3.16, according to the California Energy Commission’s weekly survey. Here are the corresponding figures for years past:

2014: $3.632009: $2.222004: $1.821999: $1.10

More Honkin’ facts: The temporary license plates that dealerships must now put on new vehicles, instead of the business’ advertisements they used to slide into the frames, include an expiration date, the make and model, and the vehicle identification number in addition to a unique license-plate number. Soon, after vehicles purchased new late last year hit deadlines when they must have permanent plates, virtually every motorcycle, truck and car on the road will have to sport actual plates.

To ask Honk questions, reach him at honk@ocregister.com. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk

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After heavy rains batter Orange County, crews work to clean and clear the mess left behind

Cleanup crews got to work Friday, a day after heavy rains battered Southern California, flooding some areas and leaving behind a mess of mud, rocks, tree branches and other debris that led to road closures and other problems.

In Orange County, crews with Orange County Public Works were out in Laguna Canyon and Trabuco Canyon, clearing up debris and developing a game plan to restore some of the affected areas, spokesman Shannon Widor said.

The areas were “calm and peaceful” Friday morning, he said, “but looking at it, you can see an aftermath of just mud, rocks and tree branches. This is something our crews deal with regularly and they’re good at what they do.”

The biggest blow was along Laguna Canyon Road, where a 200-foot stretch of concrete center lining toppled over into the flood channel due to erosion, Widor said.

Public works officials set up a temporary fence to keep the public out for safety reasons, but removed the fencing Friday to remove debris and assess the damage and repairs needed, Widor said.

“They’ll come up with an engineering game plan over the next couple days,” Widor said. “We hope to start work (Friday), but we need to clear out the blockage and make the site safe for the public.”

Laguna Canyon Road was temporarily closed down during the storm but was reopened Friday, Sgt. Jim Cota of the Laguna Beach Police Department said.

  • Visitors look around a drainage outlet on Friday, February 15, 2019 after about four feet of sand was eroded at Main Beach in Laguna Beach, CA. Rains the previous few days caused the erosion. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • The stairs to Main Beach in Laguna Beach, CA fall a couple feet short of the sand on Friday, February 15, 2019 after rains and a nearby drainage outlet caused the sand to wash away. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • A lifeguard tries to keep onlookers back from the fence overlooking a drainage outlet on Friday, February 15, 2019 after about four feet of sand was eroded at Main Beach in Laguna Beach, CA. Rains the previous few days caused the erosion. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Nolan Dunne and Ashli Reichner and their friends build a fort out of debris washed onto shore at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. The group frequently comes to the beach but had extra material to work with following recent storms. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Bella Anderson of Rancho Cucamonga rides her bike through a flooded campsite at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. Several of the lowest lying campsites were flooded during recent storms. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A landslide in north San Clemente closed traffic along Pacific Coast Highway between Avenida Pico and Camino Capistrano. (Photo by Laylan Connelly/SCNG)

  • A landslide in north San Clemente closed traffic along Pacific Coast Highway between Avenida Pico and Camino Capistrano. (Photo by Laylan Connelly/SCNG)

  • A landslide in north San Clemente closed traffic along Pacific Coast Highway between Avenida Pico and Camino Capistrano. (Photo by Laylan Connelly/SCNG)

  • Lucy and Janey Carson jump down a berm at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. Loads of debris washed onto shore after recent storms south of where San Juan Creek empties into the ocean. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Workers were clearing the cannel to secure the retaining wall of a drainage channel along Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Workers pull a section of fence from a drainage channel along Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019 after one wall of the channel collapsed a day earlier during heavy rains. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Beachgoers wander through the debris at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. Loads of debris washed onto shore from recent storms south of where San Juan Creek empties into the ocean. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Beachgoers wander through the debris at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. Loads of debris washed onto shore from recent storms south of where San Juan Creek empties into the ocean. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cean Berges and her kids, Shane and Luke, pick up trash that washed on shore with other debris at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Cean Berges takes a photo of her daughter Shane as she takes a break from picking up trash that washed on shore with other debris at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, CA on Friday, February 15, 2019. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • A landslide in north San Clemente closed traffic along Pacific Coast Highway between Avenida Pico and Camino Capistrano. (Photo by Laylan Connelly/SCNG)

  • A landslide in north San Clemente closed traffic along Pacific Coast Highway between Avenida Pico and Camino Capistrano. (Photo by Laylan Connelly/SCNG)

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The powerful storm also left remnants on local beaches.

Jim Serpa, a longtime retired park ranger for Doheny State Beach, went down to check out the storm’s impact and came across an odd sight: 19 dead octopus washed up on shore.

“They weren’t tiny little things, they were big,” he said, noting some were 18-inches long.

He also counted about 10 sea hares washed up dead on shore.

Serpa, a ranger at Doheny for decades, said it’s not the worst he’s ever seen after the storm, but “it’s up there.”

“There’s full-on trees and palm trees laying on the beach,” he said, noting other odd items like suitcases among the debris. Another sad sight were little Styrofoam pellets that coated the stretch of sand.

In north San Clemente, a section of Pacific Coast Highway remained closed after a landslide from a tall bluff dumped dirt toward the street, causing the cement sidewalk to break into pieces and push toward the highway.

The sight was enough to stop bicyclist Chip Hoover, among others walking and cycling on the other side of the street, to snap photos of the destruction.

“It’s kind of problematic,” the Dana Point resident said.

The storms, with sediment rushing down rivers toward the coast, might bring a relief to sand-depleted beaches, with already some sand piling up and forming new sections of beach at river mouths like the San Juan Creek in Dana Point.

But with the sand flow also comes the unwelcome sight of trash that have come down waterways and landed on the sand.

Several beach clean-ups will take place Saturday morning, including a gathering at Rosie’s Beach in Long Beach and 1st street in Seal Beach, where debris from dozens of inland cities ends up on the beach via the San Gabriel River.

A cleanup will also happen at Main Beach in Laguna, as well as the San Juan Creek in Dana Point at Doheny State Beach. The Surfrider Foundation will hold a beach cleanup at the San Clemente Pier at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“I’m a little sad today,” said Justin Rudd, founder of the non-profit that meets at Rosie’s Beach at Belmont Shores in a video posted Friday on social media from the beach. “There’s a lot of trash.”

He estimated 90 percent of the trash came down storm drains that flush into the San Gabriel River.

“It washes up on our shores and we are tasked with cleaning it up. We need your help,” he pleaded. “We’re going to make Long Beach clean and safe for the animals and people who live here.

Further inland, Trabuco Canyon Road remained closed between Plano Trabuco Road and Trabuco Creek Road, though Widor said crews hoped to have that stretch reopened by Friday afternoon after checking the road’s structural integrity.

Erosion and ruts will leave Trabuco Creek Road, which leads up to Holy Jim Canyon, closed for several days while crews perform light grading, Widor said.

#TrabucoCanyon Rd at Trabuco Creek still closed at this time as crews clear roadway & blockage of water flow at bridge. Aiming to re-open later today once deemed safe. @KFIAM640 @KNX1070 @ocregister @CBSLA @KTLA @OCFA_PIO @OCSheriff @ABC7 @KPCC @NBCLA @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/MhCa52Oo2t

— OC Public Works (@OCpublicworks) February 15, 2019

While Thursday’s storms sent down more debris and mud flows through Trabuco Canyon, Widor said most of the debris from the Holy Jim burn scar came down with the last round of heavy rain after which crews cleared 200 tons of debris on the bridge.

Thes storm brought down small boulders, which made booming sounds as they crashed into the side walls of the bridge, Widor said.  Crews also saw a number of logs and parkland trees, he said.

“It’s just a testament of Mother Nature’s power and another reason we don’t want people in creeks during rainstorms,” he said.

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Gunman kills 5 people, wounds 5 police at Illinois business

By CARRIE ANTLFINGER and AMANDA SEITZ

AURORA, Ill. — A gunman opened fire at a manufacturing plant in suburban Chicago on Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was fatally shot, police said.

Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman told a news conference that the gunman was 45-year-old Gary Martin and said he was believed to be an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in the city about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago. She told reporters that officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of the shooting and were fired upon as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse.

Police said they did not know the gunman’s motive.

“May God bless the brave law enforcement officers who continue to run toward danger,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at the news conference.

Hospitals reported treating at least seven patients from the shooting, though their conditions weren’t released. Two of the officers were airlifted to trauma centers in Chicago, Ziman said. She said a sixth officer suffered a knee injury. Officials did not say the total number of people injured other than the police officers.

Dozens of first responder vehicles converged on the building housing the company in Aurora after police received multiple calls about an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. CST.

Several ATF teams also responded to the shooting and were at the scene, according to the agency’s Chicago spokeswoman, and the FBI said it also responded.

John Probst, an employee at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, told ABC7 that he ran out of the back door as the shooting unfolded Friday afternoon. Probst says he recognized the gunman and that he works for the company.

“What I saw was the guy running down the aisle with a pistol with a laser on it,” Probst said.

Probst said he wasn’t hurt but that another colleague was “bleeding pretty bad.”

The company makes valves for industrial purposes.

The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and monitoring the situation as he prepared to depart for a weekend trip to his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump tweeted his thanks to law enforcement officers in Aurora and offered his condolences to the victims and their families. “America is with you,” he said.

Presence Mercy Medical Center was treating two patients and a third had been transferred by helicopter to another hospital, spokesman Matt Wakely said. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital each had one patient from the shooting, spokeswoman Kate Eller said. Rush Copley Medical Center received three patients from the shooting and all are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, spokeswoman Courtney Satlak said.

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Pass AB392 to save lives, prevent unnecessary uses of deadly police force

My son, Caesar Ray Cruz, was 35 years old when he was killed by Anaheim police officers on Dec. 11, 2009. I miss Caesar every single day. Even with the passage of time, the void that his death left in my life is still there. No family should have to live through this pain. That’s why I, along countless other families who have lost someone to police violence, am calling on California lawmakers to pass AB392, The California Act to Save Lives, a bill that will make sure police officers avoid using deadly force whenever there are alternatives.

Caesar was a loving father of five boys. He doted on them and was deeply involved in their lives, spending much of his free time volunteering at their football practice and games. Everything he did, he did for his boys and his family. His love knew no bounds and his greatest accomplishment in life was being a wonderful father.

My son did not have to die in a hail of police bullets.

Knowing this deepens my pain, but it has also strengthened my resolve to do everything in my power to advocate for reforms that will help prevent more unnecessary tragedies.

A common misconception about police shootings and other use-of-force incidents is that people think, “Well, that person must have done something wrong, so they deserved to die.” No one deserves or needs to die the way my son did.

Tragically, California law lets police officers use deadly force and kill someone even when the officers have other options. That means that while many police shootings, like the one that took Caesar’s life, are legally justified, they may not actually have been necessary.

Let that sink in. Police can shoot and take someone’s life even when they don’t have to.

California has a deadly problem with policing. Shamefully and consistently, the Golden State ranks No. 1, with the largest number of police shootings nationwide. A 2015 report by the Guardian found that police in Kern County killed more people per capita than in any other county in the U.S.

These tragedies also disproportionately affect communities of color in California. California Department of Justice Data, for example, indicates that police in the state kill young black and Latino men at higher rates than they kill white men.

Human life is a precious thing that must be preserved and protected, especially by people who are supposed to serve and protect the public. That shouldn’t be up for debate, and we can’t put off addressing this problem any longer — especially when we know that there are solutions that work to save lives and keep both the public and police officers safe.

Reforming California law is common sense. Research shows that de-escalation is one way to cool down police interactions with community members and prevent these interactions from reaching the point when anyone’s life is in danger. Additionally, officers at agencies with stricter use-of-force policies have been shown to kill fewer people and are less likely to be killed or seriously injured themselves. Seattle, for example, saw a reduction in the number of use of force incidents after adopting a use of force standard similar to the one in AB392.

California lawmakers must pass Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s bill and update the state’s use-of-force standard to ensure that police officers only use deadly force when it is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to an officer or someone else.

Caesar should be alive today. Unfortunately, nothing anyone does will bring him back. But by passing AB392, California lawmakers can save lives and spare other families from experiencing my pain.

Theresa Smith founded the Law Enforcement Accountability Network to support victims of police brutality and their families.

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Snoop Dogg will headline the new Salute the Troops festival in Riverside

Snoop Dogg will headline a music and comedy extravaganza to honor active military and veterans March 22-23 at March Field Air Museum.

The venue is adjacent to March Air Reserve Base, where Bob Hope performed his very first USO show in 1941. The base is outside of Riverside city limits.

The festival, called “Salute the Troops,” is the inaugural event by Semper Fi Productions, which describes itself as a certified, disabled veterans-owned small business. Co-founders are John Wertz, who served two tours in Iraq, and Nate Parienti, who said in a phone interview that they are motivated by the high rate of suicides among Iraq War veterans.

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Performers include six of the eight members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Cold War Kids, Dashboard Confessional, Capital Cities, Cheat Codes, The New Power Generation, William Ryan Key and Cyn. Comedian and actor Rob Riggle will also perform with more artists to be announced.

Some of the performers will spend time with military members during the festival, according to Parienti.

Adam Carolla will emcee, said Greg Kuster, director of operations for the museum.

  • Comedian Adam Carolla, shown recording his podcast in 2016 at the Irvine Improv, will host the new Salute the Troops festival coming to the March Field Air Museum in Riverside March 22 and 23. (File photo by Bill Alkofer)

  • Dashboard Confessional, shown here performing at Taste of Chaos in Devore in 2015, is one of the artists performing at the new Salute the Troops festival coming to the March Field Air Museum in Riverside March 22 and 23. (File photo by Vanessa Franko)

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  • Sebu Simonian of Capital Cities performs during day two of the Arroyo Seco Weekend music festival on Saturday, June 24, 2018. The band is playing the new Salute the Troops festival coming to the March Field Air Museum in Riverside March 22 and 23. (File photo by Drew A. Kelley)

  • Cold War Kids, shown here performing during the 28th annual Almost Acoustic Christmas at the Forum in Inglewood in 2017, is one of the bands playing the new Salute the Troops festival coming to the March Field Air Museum in Riverside March 22 and 23.(File photo by Drew A. Kelley)

  • Snoop Dogg, shown here performing at Staples Center in 2015, is one of the headliners of the new Salute the Troops festival coming to the March Field Air Museum in Riverside March 22 and 23. (File photo by Kelly A. Swift)

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The concert will take place on the southern end of the 38-acre facility, which houses a collection of military planes. The museum will be closed during the event.

Two-day passes for the festival start at $149. Discount tickets will be available for veterans and active duty service members, according to a news release.

Salute the Troops

When: March 22-23

Where: March Field Air Museum, 22550 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside

Tickets: $149 for two-day general admission pass; $259 for two-day VIP passes. There are discounts available for veterans and retirees.

Information: salutethetroops.com

 

 

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Kacey Musgraves celebrates her Grammy victories during a sold-out show in Los Angeles ahead of playing Coachella in April

For millions of music fans who watched the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, it might have been the first time they were exposed to country music singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves.

She won all four trophies she was nominated for including album of the year and best country album for her fourth studio album, “Golden Hour,” as well as best country solo performance for the single “Butterflies” and best country song for “Space Cowboy.” She also will be the only country artist on the bill at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in April, where she’ll join the short list of artists — including Dwight Yoakam, Social Distortion’s Mike Ness and Sturgill Simpson — that have crossed over to perform at both of Goldenvoice’s Coachella and Stagecoach desert fests.

The angelic version of Musgraves, in her long, white flowing gown and singing “Rainbow,” was Musgraves on her absolute best behavior. The 30-year-old from Golden, Texas, is like the love child of country legends Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson. She curses enough to make Dolly blush and smokes enough weed to make Willie proud. It’s that edginess and her biting, sarcastic lyrical content that has garnered Musgraves one of the most eclectic audiences in all of country music.

  • Country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves performs to a sold-out audience at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on ValentineÕs Day, February 14, 2019. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves performs at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on ValentineÕs Day, February 14, 2019. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves performs to a sold-out audience at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday, February 14, 2019. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kacey Musgraves performs at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 14, 2019. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kacey Musgraves performs to a sold-out audience at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on ValentineÕs Day, February 14, 2019. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves performs to a sold-out audience at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday, February 14, 2019. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Kacey Musgraves performs to a sold-out audience at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 14, 2019. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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She’s become an LGBTQ icon, a rarity within the genre and something she made mention to on Thursday night, Feb. 14, during her first of two sold-out shows at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

“I know that country music hasn’t always been the most inclusive,” she said before starting into her single “Follow Your Arrow.” “I’m glad to see that’s changed.”

As on point and fantastic as Musgraves was on stage Thursday night, sporting a sparkly red dress, perfect for Valentine’s Day, her audience was equally attentive, energetic and absolutely adoring. These folks bought their tickets well before Musgraves scored all of her Grammy Awards and sang alongside Parton and pop singer-songwriter Katy Perry on national television. They showed up ready to sing, dance and show off their outfits. Fabulous guys and gals turned out in rhinestone studded nudie suits, a variety of cowboy hats, boots, bedazzled tiaras, there was a ton of fringe flying around and, yes, even some chaps.

Musgraves has always surrounded herself with a stellar backing band that truly allows her to shine live. She came out, letting her vocals take center stage with “Slow Burn” and transitioned into “Wonder Woman,” at one point throwing the mic to the crowd and they sang loudly enough to echo through the speakers in the venue.

“I feel like I’m in a really fancy cave,” Musgraves said of the restored Spanish Gothic-style 1920s landmark. “It’s kind of ‘Goonies’-esque.”

She soared through her love ballad, “Butterflies,” which she prefaced with “I don’t know if you heard, but this past week has been pretty awesome,” she said to loud cheers. “I want to celebrate with you guys.”  She strummed along to “Lonely Weekend” and “Happy & Sad,” the latter which has a more grooving, pop beat, but includes the pedal steel so it doesn’t reach so far away from Musgraves’ roots. Her entire album, “Golden Hour,” is like that. It’s a thoughtful venture into various other genres without fully abandoning the genre she clearly loves so much.

Musgraves’ husband, singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly, joined her for “To June This Morning,” a poem Johnny Cash wrote for his wife June Carter Cash that Musgraves and Kelly put music to. It was a sweet moment, especially since it was Valentine’s Day. Fans rocked through the boot stompin’ “Family is Family” and Musgraves asked the crowd to pull out their cell phones and quickly text someone that they loved them before “Love is a Wild Thing.”

She took a seat for the ballad “Space Cowboy” and was joined by Sophie Allison, leader of her opening Nashville-based indie pop rock band Soccer Mommy, for a cover of Nsync’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” She closed out the evening by playing “Rainbow,” which was as delicate and pretty as it was on the Grammys, and wrapped with the country meets disco “High Horse.”

Despite all of her recent exposure and the more squeaky clean version of Musgraves that the world is just coming to recognize, it’s nice to see that she maintains her dark sense of self-deprecating humor, which she let loose on Valentine’s Day via a series of F-bombs and quick, inappropriate jokes that help make her the relatable superstar that we all just want to shoot whisky with.

Kacey Musgraves’ Oh, What a World Tour

When: Thursday, Feb. 14

Where: The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles

Also: 9 p.m. Friday, Feb 15 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 South Broadway, Los Angeles. Tickets are sold out, but are available in the secondary market starting at $261.25..

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