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Essential California: Charters are now in control, but can they fix L.A. schools?

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, May 18, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

A reshaped school board

On election day, when Nick Melvoin and Kelly Gonez won seats on the seven-member Los Angeles Unified School District board, they formed its first-ever pro-charter majority. They did so with the backing of groups funded by wealthy charter school supporters, who spent more than $9 million on the campaigns. Now that these pro-charter advocates have the power, the question is: Can they get anything done? Los Angeles Times

Plus:

-- The conflict between charters and traditional public schools was the crux of this election, but it also reaches the campus level at places like Daniel Webster Middle School, where charter and traditional schools share space. Los Angeles Times

-- Four lessons about power, money and choice from the election. Los Angeles Times

-- A closer look at the expensive campaign. EdSource

He sued the Department of Interior, now wants to join it

Lawyer David Bernhardt is President Donald Trump’s pick for the No. 2 spot at the Interior Department. Much of Bernhardt’s experience has been doing lobbying and legal work to elude or undermine Interior Department policies and protections. His law firm has sued Interior four times on behalf of Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest irrigation district. Bernhardt personally argued one appeals case challenging endangered species protections for imperiled California salmon. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Here are a few of the potential conflicts Bernhardt may face. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

MS-13 sweep: Twenty-one people accused of being part of the notoriously violent MS-13 gang were arrested Wednesday as federal and local investigators forced their way into homes and businesses across Los Angeles County in a pre-dawn sweep that came as a result of a more than two-year racketeering investigation. Los Angeles Times

More women on the City Council: Los Angeles’ latest election has doubled the number of elected female leaders at City Hall. The total is now two. Los Angeles Times

History to be made: “Play-by-play announcer Beth Mowins is set to become the first-ever female broadcaster to call an NFL game televised nationally. She'll call the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game in ESPN's opening ‘Monday Night Football’ doubleheader on Sept. 11.” KPCC

IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER

Immigrant arrests tallied: Federal immigration agents have arrested more than 40,000 people since President Trump signed executive orders expanding the scope of deportation priorities in January — a 38% increase over the same period last year. Los Angeles Times

In focus: These photos show an ICE immigration raid in San Clemente. Reuters

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Expand on that, please: Just over a year ago, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told colleagues that “There’s two people I think [Vladimir] Putin pays: [Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and [President] Trump.Washington Post

Trump and the schools: Here’s how Trump could affect California schools. KQED

Lexus Lanes: For such a progressive state, California is moving forward with a very regressive tax, according to writer and TV host Peter Funt. New York Times

Changing course: “Under pressure from California’s large Vietnamese community, Assemblyman Rob Bonta has pulled a bill to repeal a Red Scare-era law allowing California governments to fire public employees for being communists.” Sacramento Bee

Floating a run: Wealthy environmental activist Tom Steyer has put a poll out in the field to gauge whether a run for governor is feasible. The Hill

CRIME AND COURTS

Give me the loot: Police say $1.5 million in jewelry was stolen from a Beverly Grove home belonging to rapper A$AP Rocky. Los Angeles Times

What a heist: Fresno County authorities say they have uncovered a nearly $1-million beehive theft operation that targeted Central Valley almond orchards. Los Angeles Times

Crumbling courts: California’s court leaders expressed alarm Wednesday over a new study that showed more than 100 courthouses in the state — including many in Los Angeles County — could collapse and cause “substantial” loss of life in a major earthquake. Los Angeles Times

THE ENVIRONMENT

They did what? The U.S. Forest Service has filed criminal charges against a Cal State Chico fraternity for cutting down 32 trees in a Northern California national forest during an initiation of new pledges. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

A reboot to remember: The first trailer for “Star Trek: Discovery” has arrived and it looks like Vulcans, Klingons and space discovery will be back to TV. Los Angeles Times

Animal kingdom: How the “animal style” burger at In-and-Out got its name. “One of the Animals was like, ‘What do you call that?’ The chef said, ‘It’s called Animal Style.’ From that point on, Animal Style grew like hot fire.” Wall Street Journal

New shoe store alert: “In a sign of increasing confidence in the Downtown Los Angeles retail scene, the Jordan Brand will establish a flagship store on the Broadway corridor.Urbanize LA

Gulp: Here’s what $1,700 rents you right now in Los Angeles. Curbed LA

Latino lens: A monthlong series of events at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse focuses on Latino representation and exploitation in Hollywood and beyond. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

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

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Allen Glazner:

“I grew up in Upland, which was smoggy paradise for a little kid. In high school, around 1970, I made the long hike up to Cucamonga Peak and looked down from 8,862 feet above sea level. The view wasn’t what I expected. Where were the towns? All I saw were orange and lemon groves. After a while I could pick out landmarks, but the sea of dark green trees was spectacular. I finally saw how our little subdivision had been carved out of agricultural land. I wonder what it looks like now.”

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.

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