Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, July 8. Here's what you don't want to miss this weekend:
A sign of the times
Once, so many immigrants crossing illegally into the United States through the California border were killed by cars and trucks along Interstate 5 that John Hood was handed a mission. And so in the early 1990s, the Caltrans worker created a road sign to deal with the growing deaths. Now only one of these signs remains, and it won't be replaced — the result of California's diminished role as a crossing point for immigrants striving to make it to America. Los Angeles Times
Trump meets Mexican President
In his first meeting as president with his Mexican counterpart, President Donald Trump on Friday said he "absolutely" intends for Mexico to pay for the controversial wall he wants to build along the United States' southern border. Los Angeles Times
Holy cow it's hot
The records are set up, ready to fall like dominoes if forecasters' predictions prove accurate for Southern California's heat wave this weekend. The oldest record to fall could be in downtown Los Angeles, where on Saturday it is expected to reach 96 degrees. The current record for the day is 95 degrees — set in 1886. Los Angeles Times
An expanded remit: "In a February memo, Matthew Albence, a career official who heads the Enforcement and Removal Operations division of ICE, informed his 5,700 deportation officers that, 'effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties.'" ProPublica
Plus: Activists say that more than 30 people began a hunger strike at the Adelanto Detention Facility on Tuesday, seeking better medical care and release pending their immigration court dates. KQED
Gone fishing: An above-average snowfall this winter was good news for the state's $2.7-billion sport-fishing industry. But conditions have yet to recover at many lakes and reservoirs in Southern California, and deep snow, ice and snow melt have put some high-elevation lakes and creeks in the Sierra Nevada out of commission. Los Angeles Times
Hate crime on the rise: "Hate crime reports in Los Angeles represented nearly a quarter of all reported hate crimes in the state last year, according to the state Department of Justice's latest tally. About one-third of the 11 percent increase in California hate crimes from 2015 to 2016 came in the city." Sacramento Bee
Our next crisis: Water is getting more expensive, putting a strain on low-income families, but addressing the problem will be complicated, writes Michael Hiltzik. Los Angeles Times
Few roles, low pay: How the exit of the Asian co-stars of "Hawaii Five-0" during a salary dispute with CBS offers a window into what activists say is Hollywood's "bamboo ceiling." Los Angeles Times
THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times' Editorial Board published a series of pieces about President Trump. This team of writers, under the direction of Times Editorial Page Editor Nicholas Goldberg, works separately from the newsroom. Nearly everyday since Trump took office, they had been writing caustically about the president, but they felt like their daily criticism of his statements, nominations and policy choices wasn't enough. So Goldberg and his team decided they needed to go big.
The six-part series that resulted took the Internet and the world by storm. The Editorial Board "concluded that the new president of the United States poses a threat to democracy, a threat to the institutions this country has spent hundreds of years building and a threat to America's moral standing in the world." The stories received nearly 7 million page views online, and the paper received hundreds of letters, phone calls and online comments from a fired up body politic of some people who loved and some people who hated the editorials.
Now, the series has been compiled and published in a book, which came out this week. Goldberg sat down with KTLA's Frank Buckley and detailed how the editorials came together and why they were so important to do. "This series went well beyond California. It was read all over the county. It was read all over the world," Goldberg said.
You listen to that interview here
And buy the book here.
This week's most popular stories in Essential California:
1. She was his rock. Now a failed NFL player is accused of killing his mother. Los Angeles Times
2. "A travel ban for a pug? I don't think so!" How an abused puppy made the trip from Iran to America. Los Angeles Times
3. From homeless to six-figure salary in S.F. San Francisco Chronicle
4. Gwyneth Paltrow's neighbors in Montecito hate her too. New York Post
5. Trump fuels Texas and California feud. Politico
ICYMI, here are this week's Great Reads
What a slugger! Cody Bellinger will wear that smile on Monday, when his father pitches to him in the Home Run Derby in Miami. And again on Tuesday when he represents the Dodgers and the National League in the All-Star Game. In an organization famed for its young talent — the team who brought Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzuela to the majors at 19, and Clayton Kershawat 20, Bellinger is the youngest all-star in Dodgers history. Los Angeles Times
Off to Disney everyday: It's not weird to be a fan of Disney parks. Just shy of 18 million people visited Disneyland alone last year, according to a report from Los Angeles consulting firm Aecom, and the tourist franchise it spawned has shaped and reflected American pop culture for more than 60 years. And yet, Times reporter Todd Martens recognized that his habit of visiting Disneyland multiple times each month could be viewed as odd. So he set out to discover why he loves the parks so much. Los Angeles Times
The Lone Star State: Texas' roiling politics are the subject of a fascinating New Yorker feature. Perhaps the most interesting part of the piece is how a somewhat stereotypical view of California, as this liberal extremist bastion, has become a foil for politicians in the state. Texas Gov. Greg "Abbott's overarching issue is fending off the malevolent influence of California, which is widely seen as Texas's political antithesis: it is more regulated and highly taxed, whereas Texas is relatively unfettered, with one of the lowest tax burdens in the country." New Yorker
#TBT: In 1993, his rookie season, more than 1,700 boys were named after Shaquille O'Neal. Now they've grown up. Sports Illustrated
An eye in the sky: Faced with a crisis of not having enough satellite coverage of North Korea's nuclear program, the Pentagon has contracted a Silicon Valley firm to help alleviate the problem. These civilian satellites were developed to count cars in Target parking lots and monitor the growth of crops, and soon they will be keeping an eye on the hermit state's launch sites. The New York Times
Tuesday: The Los Angeles Times Ideas Exchange with Bill Nye the Science Guy
Thursday: 69th Emmy Awards nominations announced
Friday: Ceremony marking improvements at the Ford Theatres in the Hollywood Hills.
Saturday: Union Station's Summer Train Fest