Essential California: 'It feels like we go from one tragedy to another'

Sean Spicer apologizedfor cringe-worthy comments on Adolf Hitler. Tensions grew as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrivedin Moscow on Tuesday. A 78-year-old is feared dead on the mountainhe climbed 700+ times.It could be the wettest season on recordin the northern Sierra.

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Wednesday, April 12, and here's what's happening across California:



San Bernardino grieving, again

The tragedy on Monday was horrible by itself. But the murder-suicide at North Park Elementary School, which killed a teacher and an 8-year-old student, comes as the city deals with the aftermath of the Dec. 2, 2015, terror attack, the community's record number of homicides, and its poverty and routine violence. "It feels like we go from one tragedy to another," one resident said. "Not only that, but the gang violence, the killings of people, the robberies, the increased rate in crime." Los Angeles Times

Plus: More details are emerging about the dysfunctional relationship victim Karen Smith had with her estranged husband. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at a news conference Tuesday that special education instructor Smith was concerned about her husband Cedric Anderson's behavior just before the shooting. Los Angeles Times

Drought to deluge

California's climate has long been dominated by cycles of intense dry conditions followed by heavy rain, but experts and state water officials say the state is seeing more of these intense weather swings as temperatures warm. That has profound implications for the droughts and floods the state may face in the generations to come. Los Angeles Times

A food desert in the Central Valley

There aren't many grocery stores in North Fork, Calif. It's actually a rural food desert where 85% of the elementary school students live below the poverty line. That's why the Gnarly Carrot organic market has taken it upon itself to nourish the whole town. Los Angeles Times


Harder than the president makes it out to be: For newcomers to this country, assimilation has never been easy. That's why, when Donald Trump says that he wants immigrants to "share our values," the reality is much more complex. Los Angeles Times

On second thought: Immigration and Customs Enforcement is suspending a recently adopted practice of reporting cities that don't cooperate with federal detention efforts after the first few reports were plagued by errors. Los Angeles Times

Tough talk: Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions isn't mincing words in describing the need to fortify the border and deport criminals here illegally. Speaking about criminal gangs run by undocumented people, he said: "We mean international criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into war zones, that rape and kill innocent civilians. It is here, on this sliver of land, on this border, where we first take our stand." Los Angeles Times


King of the mountain feared dead: Search-and-rescue teams on Tuesday said they believe they have found the body of Seuk Doo Kim, a 78-year-old Korean hiker from Culver City, on the rocky terrain of Mt. Baldy, a 10,064-foot peak near Pomona that Kim had climbed well over 700 times. Los Angeles Times

Feeling bugged? The flowers aren't the only things flourishing from all that rain. A long, wet winter followed by warm temperatures has created the perfect conditions for insects currently swarming Southern California. Those things that look like giant mosquitoes and tiny black gnats invading your house are an unfortunate side effect of the end of the drought. Los Angeles Times


Measuring the unmeasurable: Some California school districts, including Los Angeles and Santa Ana, are looking for new ways to measure young students' social and emotional learning skills. KPCC

Another plane story: Meet the Irvine investment manager who says he was threatened with being handcuffed when he refused to vacate his first-class seat on a United flight to Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times


Moving the primary up: Lawmakers are trying to move California's presidential primary right behind those of Iowa and New Hampshire. "A state as populous and diverse as California should not be an afterthought," Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in support of the measure. Los Angeles Times

No pensions for you: A state appeals court on Tuesday vindicated San Diego's five-year-old aggressive pension cutbacks, potentially saving the city millions it could have been forced to spend creating retroactive pensions for thousands of workers hired since 2012. San Diego Union-Tribune


A simmering rift: Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn says it's "not the county sheriff's job to be involved in immigration issues." That puts her in stark contrast with the message that county sheriffs are sending on immigration. LA Observed


Lee in the crosshairs: Mayor Ed Lee was a target in the federal corruption investigation into the Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow racketeering case that led to a prison sentence for former state Sen. Leland Yee and criminal charges against some of Lee’s campaign staff, an FBI agent testified in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday. San Francisco Chronicle


Parking problems: At Tesla's Palo Alto headquarters, there's a big big problem, and it has to do with parking. Wall Street Journal

California photos: These photos of sex and longing in Larry Sultan's California suburbs are worth checking out. The New Yorker

Cheap coffee, but not bad: The new fast-food chain Locol, which was opened by mega-chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, has been getting a lot of attention lately. The latest report is about its cup of coffee that goes for just $1. New York Times

Herzog weighs in: Director Werner Herzog believes that in Los Angeles, there's "an enormous intensity of culture and creative energy and things that ultimately decide the big things, the big internal movements of the planet. Things get done here." He has two movies out right now. Los Angeles Times

New restaurant coming soon: The king of Cronuts, chef Dominique Ansel, will open his restaurant at the L.A. Grove shopping center. It will be Ansel's first full-service restaurant. Los Angeles Times

In Michael Tolkin's novels, Hollywood has always been a driving character, and his latest work, "NK3," is no different. Los Angeles Review of Books


San Diego and Los Angeles area: sunny Wednesday, partly cloudy Thursday. San Francisco area: partly cloudy Wednesday, rainy Thursday. Sacramento: rainy Wednesday and Thursday. More weather is here.


Today's California Memory comes from Robert Harrington Jr.:

"I got my first taste of Cali in 1990 as a 23-year-old boy from Indiana, just graduating Purdue. I flew out to visit my old roommate in San Diego. I was shell-shocked by the lifestyle, beaches, mountains and cities. I knew I had been missing something more my speed. It took seven years, but I finally drove out from Chicago for the last time and veered left off of Highway 80 by Lake Tahoe so my Weimaraner could fetch his ball in the frigid-pristine lake water. I've been in Auburn, Sacramento, Orange County and Zephyr Cove ever since! I also met and married a beautiful gal from Elk, Calif."

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.