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Essential California: The Pug Queen of L.A. and a rescue dog from Iran

States are pushing back against the Trump administration’s voter fraud commission. This weekend's heat wave in Southern California could be one for the record books. Silicon Valley's latest innovation: Pizza-making robots. Kids in pro-Trump rural areas have a lot to lose if GOP rolls back Medicaid

Credits: Josh Edelson / KTLA / Noam N. Levy

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Thursday, July 6, and here's what's happening across California:



The Pug Queen of L.A. and a rescue dog from Iran

Katy Kargosha recently traveled to Iran to rescue a severely disabled pug named Chance. The dog had been abandoned beside a Tehran highway, and the New Orleans resident escorted him to Los Angeles. This rescue mission was a success, and Chance has a new home with one of Hugh Hefner's former live-in girlfriends, Izabella St. James, a.k.a. the Pug Queen. Los Angeles Times

Catching up with one of California's richest

Patrick Soon-Shiong lately has been battling turbulence surrounding his business interests, which is nothing new for the South Africa native. He's faced skeptics and short-sellers — traders who bet on stock prices to drop — with his past companies, yet ended up making huge sums for himself and shareholders who stuck with him when the companies were sold. This time around, two cancer-fighting start-up firms that he took public in the last two years have rolled up major losses and each of their stocks has tumbled more than 70% from their highs. Los Angeles Times

Plus: NantWorks, the Culver City company controlled by Soon-Shiong, has taken over the operator of half a dozen California hospitals, including St. Vincent Medical Center near Los Angeles' MacArthur Park and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. Los Angeles Times

Not so hot on the Games

A recent poll by the International Olympic Committee suggests that Los Angeles residents support hosting the 2024 Summer Games at a lower percentage than has been touted by the local bid committee. Los Angeles Times


The heat returns: A heat wave settling over Southern California this week could break records from the coast to the mountains, while the potential for thunderstorms may increase the risk of dry lightning sparking a fast-growing wildfire. Los Angeles Times

How about a run? Here's a twist on mental health: going running with your therapist in Redondo Beach while discussing life's problems. Los Angeles Times

History lesson! Learn here how the Sepulveda Canyon became the 405 Freeway. "As recently as 1934 that mighty river — the 405 freeway — was only a modest stream, a winding, unpaved road that snaked through the Santa Monica Mountains." KCET

Also on the 405: The children of the couple who survived a fiery plane crash on the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa released a statement thanking all of those who helped their parents through the harrowing incident. ABC 7


The court rules: Minors who enter the U.S. without permission must be given a court hearing to determine whether they can be released, a federal appeals court panel decided unanimously Wednesday. Los Angeles Times


About immigrant veterans: "The Pentagon is considering pulling out of a deal it made with thousands of noncitizen recruits with specialized skills: Join the military and we'll put you on the fast track to citizenship." NPR

Plus: Andy de Leon served in Vietnam and is one of an estimated several thousand veterans expelled from the United States since 1996, when deportation of immigrants with certain convictions became mandatory, with no judicial discretion. The Desert Sun

Giving thanks: A refugee's story: from Camp Pendleton to the American Dream. USA Today


Catching up on the questions: Last week a story about California's failed 50-year-old housing law generated lots of questions from readers. Here are some answers to some of the questions you asked. Los Angeles Times

Democratic party reboot? Two Silicon Valley titans, Mark Pincus and Reid Hoffman, are launching a new group to rethink the Democratic Party. Recode

Down on the farm: Central Valley farmers want Kamala Harris to be more like Dianne Feinstein and less like Barbara Boxer. Los Angeles Times

New gubernatorial candidate: Former Assemblyman David Hadley, a Republican, announced plans Wednesday to run for governor of California, joining a growing field of candidates vying for the seat in 2018. Los Angeles Times



Taped disaster: Dramatic new footage shows a new angle of the deadly Asiana Airlines crash in 2013 at San Francisco International Airport. SF Gate

Snitch case: Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens testified Wednesday that her deputies may have flouted rules regarding jailhouse informants, but that such conduct was committed only "by a few." Los Angeles Times

Confidants on the stand: Friends of Robert Durst must testify in his murder trial. New York Times

Keeping up with the Kardashians: Reality star Rob Kardashian may have run afoul of California's revenge porn law Wednesday after he posted sexually explicit images he said were of the mother of his child, Blac Chyna, on Instagram and Twitter. Los Angeles Times

All those fireworks: As firefighters throughout Southern California snuffed out small blazes on the Fourth of July, several people, including children, were hurt in fireworks-related incidents. Los Angeles Times

Tragic story: "An Antioch man who worked tirelessly to send his three children to college was shot and killed in a robbery that turned deadly Monday." East Bay Times


Join the pack: A rare family of wolves has been found in Northern California. "It's pretty fabulous news for California and for wolves," one expert said. Sacramento Bee

Bee attack: A man working at a date orchard in Riverside County died this week after being stung by a swarm of bees, his family and fire officials said. Los Angeles Times


New show alert! "Snowfall" is a new show about the early days of L.A.'s crack cocaine epidemic. Times TV critic Lorraine Ali writes that the show "paints a picture very different from that of today's opioid crisis. Back then, urban communities were the target, the drug of choice couldn't be had at a clinic, and there was little sympathy from the media or lawmakers for those who became hopelessly addicted." Los Angeles Times

A pioneer: Herma Hill Kay, who pushed for the rights of women and minorities as the first female dean of the University of California at Berkeley's law school, died on June 10 at her home in San Francisco. New York Times

Try this at Costco: "Costco, often secretive about its merchandising strategy, is selling a Shake Shack-style cheeseburger made with an organic beef patty at a few of its fast-food courts in Southern California." Orange County Register

Great grub: Filipino cuisine is continuing to grow in Los Angeles. Here's a guide to what's out there. LAist


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


Today's California memory comes from Jack Ferrucci:

"I was a witness to the World War II incident that has been dubbed, facetiously, 'The Battle of Los Angeles.' The 'battle' took place in the early hours of Feb. 25, 1942, a time when people living on the West Coast were suffering a severe case of jitters following Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. A 9-year-old at the time, I was awakened by the firing of anti-aircraft guns that had been installed in my Santa Monica neighborhood. I looked out my bedroom window to see numerous searchlight beams trained on a slow-moving object in the night sky. I watched the spectacle for a minute or two and then went back to sleep. (The 'massive artillery barrage' hit nothing. The mysterious object in the sky vanished off the coast, never to be seen again. Later conjecture was that it was a meteorological balloon, known to have been released over Los Angeles that day.)"

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.