• Newsletter
  • Newsletters

Essential California: The lessons of Lassen Peak

Essential California: The lessons of Lassen Peak
Mt. Lassen erupts in the early part of the last century. (National Park Service)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Tuesday, May 22, and here's what's happening across California:



On this day 103 years ago, California's Lassen Peak exploded, creating a gigantic cloud that could be seen as far away as Eureka and Sacramento and sending volcanic ash as far away as 280 miles. It was the first volcanic eruption in the contiguous 48 states since the founding of the United States and a reminder of this lesser-known seismic threat facing parts of California. Los Angeles Times

Protect this house

Churchgoers, preachers and law enforcement officers from across Southern California gathered for a church security seminar hosted by the California Rifle & Pistol Assn., which delivered a warning: Faith alone will not protect you from violence in the house of God. Los Angeles Times

Six women sue USC

Six women filed civil lawsuits Monday alleging that a longtime gynecologist at the University of Southern California sexually victimized them under the pretext of medical care and that USC failed to address complaints from clinic staff about the doctor's behavior. In earlier interviews with The Times, the physician has defended his medical exams as thorough and appropriate. Los Angeles Times

And: Is it time for change at the top of USC? Los Angeles Times

Rye, the West Covina Police Department's newest K9, is pictured with the methamphetamine that authorities say was found during a traffic stop over the weekend.
Rye, the West Covina Police Department's newest K9, is pictured with the methamphetamine that authorities say was found during a traffic stop over the weekend. (West Covina Police Department)


Another round: Mayor Eric Garcetti will interview the three finalists for LAPD chief at least one more time before making a decision. Los Angeles Times

Must be nice: Nearly 160,000 homes in Orange County are owned mortgage-free. Orange County Register

Free advice: A guide to living in L.A. and to that big question: Should you really move here? Curbed Los Angeles

Doña Julia: She's spent 17 years collecting recyclables in Mid-City so she can send money back to Guatemala. And her hard work has won her the admiration of so many. L.A. Taco


Good dog: The newest K9 cop at the West Covina Police Department made a first bust over the weekend, sniffing out 60 pounds of methamphetamine stuffed under the seats of a Nissan Rogue. Los Angeles Times


Gee, thanks, but … : Oakland's mayor has a bill in Congress named after her, but it would criminalize her own conduct as an outspoken critic of immigration crackdowns. East Bay Times

A drawn-out fight: Prosecutors are fighting a new effort to reconsider the case of convicted killer Kevin Cooper. Daily Breeze


Big Brother's good side: When a state regulatory body decrees that all new homes must have rooftop solar starting in 2020, columnist George Skelton is skeptical. But he sees value in this government edict, even as housing prices spiral. Los Angeles Times

Pension fund drama: A shake-up at CalPERS raises new management questions. Los Angeles Times

Antifa threats: A battle over free speech and abortion at Cal State Fullerton. Wall Street Journal


Tesla's promise: The latest "performance" version of the Model 3 will cost $78,000. What happened to the long-promised $35,000 mass-market electric Tesla sedan? Los Angeles Times

Plus: Consumer Reports is not impressed. Mercury News

Take a hike: A Hollywood celebrity profile done during a hike through Altadena. The New Yorker

A legend: Kim Novak returns to San Francisco to talk about "Vertigo," #MeToo and working with Alfred Hitchcock on his classic film. San Francisco Chronicle

Dun dun duuuun: The dark side of Silicon Valley philanthropy is finally getting some attention. The Atlantic

Tastes like … : Did a UC San Diego graduate really create an edible fork? It depends on how hungry you are. San Diego Union-Tribune


Box-office rebound? What's ahead for summer movies? A slew of blockbusters. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 68, Tuesday and Wednesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 66, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 67, Wednesday. San Francisco area: Mostly cloudy, 60, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 61, Wednesday. Sacramento: Sunny, 79, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 75, Wednesday. More weather is here.


Today's California memory comes from Margaret Akin:

"When I was 6, my family moved to California from Minnesota, but first my dad prepared us. 'Well,' he said, 'You'll see the ocean.' As a Minnesotan, I had no concept of an ocean, but I knew lakes. I pictured myself standing in the sand by our nearby lake and with my 6-year-old powers, I moved the perimeter pines out a few yards to make the lake bigger. I thought I was ready. My fabulous parents took us to Huntington Beach for our first view of the Pacific Ocean. Nothing but water and sand. Forever. Infinite. I'm not 6 anymore and I still remember the sight."

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.