Essential California: LAPD cadets are accused of stealing police cars

California can breathe a little easier -- for now. Since Trump's election, members of Congress report receiving more death threatsthan ever before. Baseball doesn't stop for tragedy. 'Com thang'is a popular practice in neighborhoods like Little Saigon.

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Friday, June 16, and here's what's happening across California:



Stolen cruisers

Police Chief Charlie Beck says three teenagers who were enrolled in the Los Angeles Police Department’s cadet program stole three police cruisers along with stun guns, radios and a bulletproof vest during a string of thefts that ended in a pair of car chases late Wednesday night. Los Angeles Times

A slice of Little Saigon

In Little Saigon, Hue Phan is scraping out a living, one home-cooked meal at a time. For Phan, providing the meal service known as com thang — a popular practice in neighborhoods like Little Saigon that goes back generations in Vietnam — has been indispensable to earning an income. Los Angeles Times

How to buy a Ferrari, or not

Read here about David Lee's quest for the latest and greatest Ferrari. The San Gabriel Valley man has a $50-million car collection he's spent years assembling, and the Italian supercar he really, really wants would cost him $2.2 million. But there's one problem. Los Angeles Times


Dunna-dunna-dunna: The Bat-signal was seen in Los Angeles on Thursday night in honor of "Batman" actor Adam West, who died June 9 at age 88. Los Angeles Times

Holiday change: A key panel of the Los Angeles City Council endorsed a plan to take Columbus Day off the city calendar and put in its place a new Indigenous Peoples Day, despite opposition from Italian American civic leaders and some city lawmakers. Los Angeles Times

Opioid help: As opioid abuse continues to take a deadly toll nationwide, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is equipping deputies with the nasal spray Narcan to treat overdose victims. The department is the latest law enforcement agency to embrace the medical device, which has been credited with helping save lives amid a national opioid crisis. Los Angeles Times

Oh great: Air quality officials warned of "very unhealthy" smog levels in the coming days as a heat wave envelops Southern California. Los Angeles Times


More money, more arrests: "Federal immigration arrests — already up sharply since President Trump took office — could rise dramatically next year if Congress approves the administration's multibillion-dollar budget proposal." Washington Post


Who's that now? The fight to succeed Democrat Jerry Brown is likely to be the most wide-open and unpredictable California governor's race since at least 1998, but more than a year out from the vote, constituents have no idea who is running. Los Angeles Times

Brown speaks: Gov. Brown sat down for an interview with Capital Public Radio during his trip last week in China and discussed it while also downplaying "Berniecrats" and defending the firing of oil and gas regulators. Capital Public Radio

A pat on the back: Lawmakers convened Thursday afternoon to sign off on a package of bills that make up California's state budget, and in the process extended a streak once thought impossible in Sacramento: eight years of on-time budgets. Los Angeles Times

Keeping it quiet: Even after the Oroville crisis, state legislatures still want to keep dam safety plans private. Sacramento Bee


Lurid tale: John Creech is charged with murdering Gavin Smith, a 20th Century Fox executive whose body was found along a hiking trail outside Palmdale. As his trial opened, prosecutors told a story of sex, deceit and brutality. Los Angeles Times

In mourning: Victims of the shooting at the San Francisco UPS facility have been identified, as their families and co-workers mourn. Los Angeles Times

Plus: "The gunman in a mass shooting at a San Francisco UPS facility wielded a TEC-9 assault pistol, which has been illegal to own without registration or to sell since at least 2000." The Trace

Looky there: Authorities say $1.5 million worth of cocaine was found stashed in an SUV after it eluded a checkpoint inspection and was stopped in Temecula. Los Angeles Times


A different take: Here's why California's climate change fight is also about public health. Time Magazine

An interesting witness: “California farmer John Duarte, facing a hefty fine over water-law violations for plowing a field, wants to call in a big gun in his high-profile court case in Sacramento: Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.” Sacramento Bee

Plus: California's unique authority to set air quality standards tougher than the federal government isn't being targeted right now, according to Pruitt. Los Angeles Times


Sad news: Gary Friedman, a longtime photojournalist who over the decades covered presidential elections, Olympic games and the devastation of the 9/11 terror attacks for the Los Angeles Times, has died at age 62. Los Angeles Times


See you in court: Attorney Gloria Allred will take on Bill Cosby in a California civil case that starts later this month. Vulture


Bummer: Heavy rains last winter poured billions of gallons of polluted runoff into storm drains and, eventually, the ocean, significantly increasing health risks at many Southern California beaches. Los Angeles Times

Have fun: California's mountain resorts will mark July 4 with snow on the slopes, boats on the lakes and fire in the sky. Los Angeles Times

Changing the rules: Here's how Kim Kardashian pushed the boundaries of celebrity pregnancy. BuzzFeed


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


Today's California memory comes Kerry Blasdel:

"In 1981, when I was 24 years old, I packed my Toyota pickup full of stuff and moved to Los Angeles from Colorado. I had $600 in my pocket and high dreams. I knew no one there except for my brother, who recently got a job in L.A. I stayed on his couch for a month, then got a small apartment, which was all I could afford. Every single day, I was virtually joyous that I was in California! I walked the streets of L.A. and Hollywood, marveling at all of the creativity, the exotic plant life, the mountains, the crazy artists, and the sheer size and speed of it all. I eventually met and worked with many, many interesting and creative people in architecture, art, and entertainment. I found a mentor in a very successful Beverly Hills real estate agent, who taught me the way of the world on an international level. My Los Angeles experiences taught me much about the world, which I have always referred to as 'California Standards.' I moved out of California for years, but recently purchased a winter home in Palm Springs. I am eternally grateful for my California life, and I always tell people, 'Thank God the world has California!' "

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.