Newsletter

Essential California: Confederate monuments in California come down

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Aug. 17, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

They’re coming down

Memorials honoring Confederate icons and history are falling like dominoes across California and the country in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Early Wednesday morning, four workers used a backhoe to remove a 6-foot monument that has stood in the Confederate section of Hollywood Forever Cemetery for more than 90 years. In downtown San Diego, a plaque honoring Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, was quietly removed from the park at Horton Plaza. Los Angeles Times

ICYMI: It was this Los Angeles Times op-ed that re-dredged up the cemetery’s Confederacy connection. After it was a published, a change.com petition drive quickly accumulated thousands of signatures. The graves of the Confederate soldiers will not be disinterred. Los Angeles Times

The new pot boss

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday backed Mayor Eric Garcetti’s picks to oversee City Hall’s new Department of Cannabis Regulation. The vote comes as officials prepare for legalization of recreational marijuana in California. Cat Packer, the former California coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, will run the new city division. A five-member Cannabis Commission will provide input on cannabis rules. Los Angeles Times

Darvish’s debut

A dozen years ago in Japan, Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda visited the Osaka home of a budding pitching prospect who was considering a jump across the Pacific Ocean to major league baseball. Lasorda’s pitch proved unsuccessful, but Yu Darvish has finally made it to Los Angeles after debuting for the team last night. The ace was acquired minutes before the trade deadline late last month. Los Angeles Times

A big save for California

At least one expanse of protected land in California is now officially safe from the Trump administration’s plan to eliminate or shrink some U.S. national monuments. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that the administration has no interest in carving up the Sand to Snow National Monument east of Los Angeles. The 154,000-acre monument, which includes some 30 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, was created just last year by President Obama. It is the first California monument Zinke has promised to leave alone. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

New Trojan development: USC Village, the largest development in the school’s history, officially opens Thursday as the university strives to house more students on campus — and broaden its connection to its South Los Angeles neighborhood. The $700-million project spans 15 acres, has beds for 2,500 undergraduates and features a spacious courtyard with a statue that is a female counterpart to Tommy Trojan, the famous sword-wielding casting of a Greek warrior in the school’s central plaza. Los Angeles Times

Flashback: Remember the name? Thanks to a $15-million anonymous private donation, USC has named a residential college after Al Cowlings, who infamously drove then-fugitive O.J. Simpson in a white Ford Bronco that led police on a nationally televised low-speed chase throughout Los Angeles in June 1994. Los Angeles Times

No new homes here: A key committee of the Los Angeles City Council has rejected a plan for putting 15 homes near a freeway interchange, in part over the potential health risks from car and truck pollution. Los Angeles Times

Security test: Commuters hurrying through Union Station toward their Metro trains Wednesday morning encountered a new obstacle near the entrance to the subway: an airport-style body scanner, designed to detect hidden weapons and explosives. Los Angeles Times

IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER

Up close: The last days for a family divided by deportation. San Francisco Chronicle

America First! rally: A rally is scheduled for Sunday at Laguna’s Main Beach to commemorate victims of crimes that organizers say have been committed by immigrants illegally living in the United States. A counter-protest is planned. Los Angeles Times

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Q&A: Rep. Ted Lieu explains what he thinks it will take for Democrats to win the House in 2018. Los Angeles Times

A farm fight: A California farmer will pay $1.1 million for plowing federally protected wetlands and streams, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday, closing a years-long legal battle that made him a rallying figure for critics of environmental regulation. Associated Press

CRIME AND COURTS

The livestream: The attorney of a woman accused of driving drunk as she livestreamed a crash that killed her younger sister says her client watched the video for the first time Sunday from jail. “She couldn’t believe that’s the way she reacted after the fact,” said Obdulia Sanchez’s attorney, Ramnik Samrao. Los Angeles Times

Wild chase with a tragic end: A suspected car thief who led police on a wild chase died Wednesday after falling off a shipping crane at the Port of Los Angeles, ending an hours-long standoff with police, authorities said. Los Angeles Times

Intriguing question: Is being benched at a teen baseball game the same as being bullied? This lawsuit might answer the question. San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Be on the lookout: Los Angeles police are searching for a man who tried to sexually assault a woman outside her Van Nuys apartment while people walked by and cars slowed down without intervening. Los Angeles Times

Seems odd, right? A convicted rapist in Fresno was recently found to be working as a security guard at a rape counseling center. People

THE ENVIRONMENT

Orca dies: Kasatka, a 42-year-old killer whale that SeaWorld calls the matriarch of its orca family, died Tuesday night, marking the second orca death in a month at the marine parks. San Diego Union-Tribune

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Man in the news: Fans of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” enjoyed a performance Wednesday from the show's creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Los Angeles Times

Speaking of...: Miranda will be talking with high school students in the San Fernando Valley on Thursday, a day after the hit Broadway musical opened at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre. The appearance alongside Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Los Angeles) is being billed as a “town hall” on civic engagement, and Miranda is expected to take questions from the students. Los Angeles Times

Apple and chill? Get ready, Netflix and Amazon, Apple is coming for you. The tech company, which has more than $261 billion in cash on its balance sheet, is slated to spend $1 billion on original programming. Wall Street Journal

Plus: Could this be the Netflix for seeing movies at a theater? Los Angeles Times

Some important history: The 1947 Partition Archive is a nonprofit based in Berkeley highlighting the stories and honoring the memories of those who lived through the partition of India 70 years ago that left millions displaced and would contribute to the creation of three countries. NPR

From Russia with love: It’s a long way from Crimea, but Sebastopol, the state and much of the West have a longstanding connection to Russia dating back to when explorers from the country roamed the frontier and settled Alaska. The New York Times

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

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

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Laura Dorais:

“I was just a gleam in my dad’s eye when my two older siblings and their parents moved in 1946 to Woodacre, Calif. I was born a year later at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, but my heart was that of a wild forest child. Eventually, there were five wild children, three wild dogs, and always, at least, three cats and their wild kits, born in the woods. Red fox, deer, raccoons, skunk, mountain lion, red squirrels, little junco birds, quail, blue jays, too many types of birds, all protected by a canopy of dark redwood, pine and fir woods. You could get lost forever. We were gone into our dark green fantastic world from morning till dusk. There were neighbors, but their houses could not be seen. We had a redwood tree in the middle of the road. We had 20-foot-high, hollowed-out old-growth tree stumps we used as forts. Joe, the milkman, dumped his ice at the end of our county-maintained road for us to play on in the summertime. We ran over gravel and twigs and moss in our bare feet. We caught poison oak, we ate tons of wild blackberries, and we sucked the juice from miner's lettuce. We screamed at the bugs when we turned over a dead log, especially the thousand-legs and the scorpions. On school days we were dropped off by the school bus in the flats of our town and we walked a mile-and-a-half hairpin road up into the ever darkening woods, kicking rocks. Big, fun game. High times in big wood country.”

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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