Berkeley restaurants

Anaheimgate: in a corruption scandal

Hello and welcome to Essential California newsletter. It is Monday May 23. I am Justin Ray.

“It all sounds like a B-grade Martin Scorsese gangster movie,” written by Gustavo Arellano.

The city of Anaheim is best known for the Disneyland Resort, the Angels of Major League Baseball and the Ducks of the National Hockey League. But a recent corruption scandal has cast a cloud over the city of 350,000 and offered the public a rare insight into how some powerful people conduct business behind closed doors.

There are plenty of salacious details about the case being investigated by the FBI. But I will go through the basics.

The allegations

The former head of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce has been indicted in connection with the snowballing political corruption scandal, federal authorities announced last week.

The FBI accused Todd Ament of conspiring with an anonymous political consultant send money from the room to Ament’s personal bank accounts laundering them through the consultant’s PR firm. Ament’s attorney did not return an earlier call from The Times for comment.

The FBI is also investigating Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu for alleged bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering.

According to a court filing, Sidhu allegedly shared confidential information with representatives of the Angels baseball team about the city’s sale of Angel Stadium in exchange for a large donation for his re-election campaign. The state attorney general asked a court to put the $320 million sale pending.

The mayor’s attorney, Paul Meyers, did not comment on the case. Sidhu, a Republican elected mayor in 2018, is eligible for re-election in November.

An affidavit released by the FBI claims that Ament and the unnamed political consultant led a group of Anaheim officials, consultants and business leaders. They met at “retreats” in hotel suites to exert influence on the Anaheim government, according to the FBI. Ament and the political consultant described the group as a “family” or a “cabal”.

Further allegations and charges are expected in the coming weeks.

Further reading:

California Democratic Party leader resigns amid Angel Stadium investigation. “Controversy over my role is now an obstacle,” state party secretary Melahat Rafiei wrote in a letter. Rafiei, who has been accused of attempting to bribe officials as part of a federal corruption probe, is also quitting her post as a member of the Democratic National Committee. She did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday, but acknowledged in the letter that she was a confidential witness in the FBI’s investigation into the proposed $320 million sale of the Angel Stadium land. Los Angeles Times

And now, Here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


A child star at 7, in prison at 22. Then she disappeared. What happened to Lora Lee Michel? A child actress in the 1940s, 7-year-old Lora Lee was billed as a “sensation” with “the greatest appeal since Shirley Temple”. She appeared in more than a dozen films, sharing the screen with Humphrey Bogart, Glenn Ford and Olivia de Havilland. But Lora Lee was a shooting star – a star that would quickly crash. Los Angeles Times

Child star Lora Lee Michel’s off-screen life was more dramatic than any of her films.

(Illustration by Jim Cooke/Los Angeles Times; Wright Family Photos, Columbia Pictures, Times Archive)

Comment: How Ellen DeGeneres gained, then lost, a generation of viewers. The comedian may have become America’s most famous LGBTQ person. But her reign as TV’s beloved talk show host would come to a dramatic end. Although reports of a toxic work culture on the show’s set would be its downfall, Associate Entertainment and Arts Editor Matt Brennan explains how incidents like Kevin Hart’s appearance in January 2019 have showed that DeGeneres was “out of touch” before the scandal hit the headlines. . Los Angeles Times

Ellen DeGeneres wearing a gray suit on a blue background

“When Ellen DeGeneres launched her daytime talk show, it was like a flag planted on lunar terrain,” writes Matt Brennan, associate editor for entertainment and the arts.

(NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Our daily news podcast

If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll love our daily “The Times” podcast, hosted every weekday by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom. Go beyond the headlines. Download and listen on our app, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow Spotify.


The Social Security Administration publishes a list of the best baby names in each state. In California, the top 5 female names in 2021 were Olivia, Emma, ​​Camila, Mia and Sophia. For boys, the most popular names were Noah, Liam, Mateo, Sebastian and Julian. Social Security Administration

Many undocumented immigrants are ineligible for federal and state programs and initiatives that helped support displaced American workers during the dismal first year of COVID. This lack of support is significant. According to a UC Merced study, “undocumented workers hold about one in 16 jobs in California and contribute $3.7 billion a year in state and local taxes, as well as $7 billion a year in federal taxes.” , writes Mark Kreidler. Capital and principal


Nine people were shot, including one fatally, outside a party in San Bernardino County on Friday night, police said. There was no word on a suspect Saturday morning and no arrests had been made. Preliminary information indicated that the victims were not intentionally targeted and that the shooting may have stemmed from a conflict in a crowded room at the party, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino Police Department said. Los Angeles Times

The documentary “Anchored Out” captures the conflict between the Bay Area’s wealthy and a motley crew who live on boats. Richardson Bay is an estuary located north of the Golden Gate Bridge. As The Times reported last November, a group of people live there illegally, without rent, on boats. Local owners want them gone. A new documentary explains how the wealthy try to evict the motley community living on the high seas. New Yorker

How do we protect our children from racism? Author Ibram X. Kendi has this advice. Columnist Anita Chabria spoke to the author of “How to Raise an Anti-Racist” about the Buffalo Massacre. “There are so many white children who are indoctrinated into racist ideas, then hurt other people, kill other people, when they reach adulthood – just like you have many children of color who think that there is something wrong with them, or are the victims of those who believe in racist ideas,” Kendi said. Los Angeles Times


A man who was convicted of starting a Big Sur wildfire that burned 125,000 acres, seriously injured a firefighter and killed 12 endangered California condors has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison. Ivan Gomez, 31, was convicted last month of setting fires to Dolan in 2020, growing marijuana in the Los Padres National Forest and 12 counts of animal cruelty related to condor deaths. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles-based restaurants are expanding into Saudi Arabia. “The list of restaurants opening establishments and making pop-ups in the Middle East includes fine-dining establishments such as Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and Chi Spacca, an Italian-inspired collaboration between restaurateurs Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton, Michelin-starred Petit Trois in the Michelin guide and their sister restaurant, Jon & Vinny’s”, reports Lexis-Olivier Ray. L.A. Tacos

A nonprofit called Reparation Generation, with roots in Berkeley and Detroit, made ‘repair transfers’ of $25,000 to help Detroit residents buy homes. No conditions were attached, as the money is intended to repair the damage done to black people in the United States by centuries of slavery, violence and economic discrimination. Berkeleyside

Free online games

Get our free daily crosswords, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at


Los Angeles: Covered 74 San Diego: Covered 65 San Francisco: Sunny 69 San Jose: Sunny 84 Fresno: Covered 95 Sacrament: Covered 96. I can’t stop watching this video.


Today california memory is of Jeannette Baesel:

My sister and I grew up in Mid-City in the 1970s. My fondest memory is driving to the Santa Monica Pier on Sundays in my dad’s Mustang convertible. Impatient, I looked for the McClure tunnel, the entrance to paradise. We were ordering a bag of fresh hot chips from the little snack vendor. We played carnival games and always ended our outing at the ceramic shop. They had a million unpainted ceramic pieces on wooden shelves. My sister and I spent forever looking for the right piece to take home. It was a magical moment.

If you have a memory or a story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send your feedback to [email protected]