The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST PM (Sep. 19)—Dodgers do it, Yosemite moonscape, ridesharing regulation, slaphappy in Hi-Phi, preying pastor arrested

A grey-headed flying fox.  The typical bat silhouette isn't as common in big brown bats (at left).
A grey-headed flying fox. The typical bat silhouette isn't as common in big brown bats (at left).
Ian Waldie/Getty Images

1. Dodgers win NL West title—How do I buy postseason tickets? (KPCC)

The Los Angeles Dodgers did it: On Thursday they clinched their first National League West title since 2009 and became the first team to clinch a postseason berth by defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6.

Which raises the question of tickets. Starting Friday at 10 a.m. the Dodgers will be selling a limited number of seats for the National League Division Series and National League Championship Series games.

2. Rim Fire: 'Unprecedented' destruction leaves barren moonscape (KPCC)

A fire that raged in and around Yosemite National Park has left a barren moonscape in the Sierra Nevada mountains that experts say is the largest in centuries. The blaze consumed about 400 square miles, and within that footprint a solid 60 square miles are burned so intensely that everything is dead.

"In other words, it's nuked," said Jay Miller, senior wildland fire ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service. "If you asked most of the fire ecologists working in the Sierra Nevada, they would call this unprecedented."

3. California becomes first state to regulate ride-sharing (KPCC)

The California Public Utilities Commission has voted to regulate upstart ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, that connect customers with drivers through smartphone apps. Despite a chorus of opposition from taxi cab drivers, Thursday's vote was unanimous.

"For me this decision is not about Silicon Valley capital or about smart phones or new apps," said CPUC Commissioner Mark J. Ferron. “It's about a new path-breaking approach to transportation."

4. Autry alum rides herd on Smithsonian's Museum of American History (KPCC)

L.A. continues to provide D.C. with top talent for its arts institutions — Arvind Manocha left the LA Phil for Wolftrap, Richard Koshalek left Art Center for the Hirshhorn, and now a veteran of the Autry National Center, John Gray, oversees the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Gray says the museum, like the Autry, tells an "inclusive story — complicated, dramatic, contested." The biggest difference is scale. The Autry curates 750,000 objects; the Smithsonian cares for more than 3 million.

5. Getting slap happy at SLAPCON (KPCC)

At the former Nestlé’s Chocolate Factory in L.A.'s Historic Filipino District last week, a communal gathering of performers was getting physical at SLAPCON 2013.

Like a convention of Stooges, a theatrical underground of clowns, comedians, actors, acrobats, jugglers, stuntmen and other physical performers spent twelve hours a day, for two days, knocking each other around, all in the name of funny.

6. Anaheim residents have advice for hiring a new police chief (KPCC)

About two dozen residents turned out for a meeting in Anaheim Wednesday evening to weigh in on the hiring the next chief of police. About a dozen people told a hiring consultant that the new police chief should be hired based on qualifications, not ethnicity.

Other speakers said the new chief should speak Spanish or have an understanding of the city's predominately Latino population. About a year ago two officer-involved shootings increased tensions between the Anaheim PD and members of the city's Latino community.

7. The challenge of fixing the Hawthorne methane leak (KPCC)

Thirty-seven Hawthorne families will likely spend a second weekend away from their homes as crews continue work on a retired water well that had spewed methane gas.

While crews were conducting a routine capping process last week they experienced an unexpected outflow of water being being pushed up by methane — a gas which is highly flammable and can be explosive in some mixtures with air. Read our Q &A.

8. Taxpayers tackle cost of NFL's not-for-profit practices (KPCC)

With the best television deals and highest profit margins in professional sports, the NFL's total annual revenues are approaching $10 billion. Yet the NFL itself, under a little known provision in a 50-year-old law, operates as a not-for-profit business. It's exempt from anti-trust laws, and it has a history of convincing local and state governments to pay for much or all of the cost of constructing stadiums.

Sports writer/commentator Gregg Easterbrook loves the game, but finds the way the NFL operates to be distasteful. He's written about it in a new book.

9. Pastor accused of raping congregants, preying on undocumented immigrants (KPCC)

An assistant pastor and counselor at Las Buenas Nuevas Church in Norwalk allegedly assaulted at least 20 women in the congregation over an eight-year period, preying mostly on undocumented immigrants, Sheriff's officials reported Thursday.

LASD's Special Victims Bureau said Jorge Juan Castro threatened to report his victims to immigration authorities if they told anyone what he'd done. He also allegedly told the women they'd be publicly humiliated if they came forward.