Newsletter: A hustle to adapt

For ad executive Jimmy Smith, the loss of business from the coronavirus was an impetus to accelerate a career change.
For advertising executive Jimmy Smith, the loss of business from the coronavirus was an impetus to accelerate a career change he’d already been contemplating.
(Jeff Martin)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, July 10. I’m Esmeralda Bermudez, filling in for Julia Wick, and I’m writing from Los Angeles.

Bartenders, seamstresses, magicians and restaurant owners. They’ve all had to fundamentally rethink how to make a living after COVID-19.

With the economy at a crawl, we profiled 10 Californians who have found new ways to hustle: They’ve reinvented their careers, found new ways to use their skills, pivoted online or simply learned to scrape by with considerably less income.

Kristin Gallup, 34, of Oakland, used to bring in about $250,000 selling handmade items such as leather belts with pockets at festivals such as Renaissance fairs. For the past few weeks, she’s been pulling 16-hour days turning printed fabrics into face masks.


Kristin Gallup has been making masks out of her house because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Kristin Gallup)

Tyler Moore, 34, of Cypress, went from installing control and audio systems for corporate companies to streaming weekly raves online.

“I am far busier now virtually than I was in real life,” Moore said.

And Dean Apple, 61, of La Quinta, used to host magic shows at events and private parties. These days, he’s poured himself into virtually teaching children how to perform magic tricks with household items.

“You learn to adapt the magic to whatever the current situation is,” he said.

Once the pandemic subsides, Apple isn’t sure if he’ll go back to in-person events.

Of course, it might be a while before any of us join public gatherings. Mayor Eric Garcetti also warned this week that Los Angeles residents could again be ordered to stay home to stem the spread of the coronavirus should infections and hospitalizations continue to climb.

[Read the story “These 10 Californians lost work to coronavirus. Here’s how they’re hustling to get by” in the Los Angeles Times]


And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Weeks before the start of school, parents and teachers are divided about when kids should return to schools — caught in a collective uncertainty and fear that also is reflected among public officials and school employees. Los Angeles Times

Meanwhile: Leaders of the Los Angeles teachers union on Friday will call for campuses to remain closed and for distance learning to continue when the school year begins on Aug. 18, The Times has learned. Los Angeles Times


Coronavirus cases are skyrocketing nationally and hospitalizations are climbing at an alarming rate. But the response from hospitals is markedly different. Many hospitals are choosing not to cancel nonemergency surgeries. Los Angeles Times

California mobile home parks have lax oversight and few inspections, a state audit warns. The state’s housing agency did not conduct full inspections at more than half of the state’s mobile home parks between 2010 and 2019. Los Angeles Times


As protests against police brutality go global, these East L.A. moms fight in memory of their sons. “We have no phrase, not even a name,” said Rosa Moreno. “But we’re warriors for our sons. We support one another like family.”Los Angeles Times

“Glee” actress Naya Rivera is presumed to have drowned, as the search becomes a recovery effort at Lake Piru. Los Angeles Times


Their streetwear collabs sell out in minutes. How they’re telling “the real story of L.A.” Los Angeles Times

In South L.A., a swap meet faces an uncertain future and stirs up conversations about immigrant-owned small businesses and space. L.A. Taco

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More than 1 in 5 Los Angeles workers is unemployed. Yet despite the economic slowdown, home prices and rents have largely remained at their prior sky-high levels. Los Angeles Times


There are growing doubts that indoor dining and bar service will reopen anytime soon, as health officials zero in on how to slow the spread of COVID-19. Los Angeles Times

Thinking a step ahead: In San Francisco, the city and nonprofits team up to move 200 homeless people from hotels to apartments. San Francisco Chronicle


The Supreme Court dealt President Trump a defeat, upholding a demand for his tax returns. The court rejected his claims of presidential immunity and upheld subpoenas from New York prosecutors seeking his tax returns and financial records. Los Angeles Times

“Your life isn’t going to be fun”: Activists are bringing protests to L.A. officials’ homes. Some have staged a “die-in” at Mayor Garcetti’s residence; others have shown up as early as 7 a.m. outside the homes of City Council members. Los Angeles Times


The California Senate joined the Assembly in deciding not to return from its summer recess next week, citing the continued spread of the coronavirus, which has now infected several staffers and members in the Legislature. Los Angeles Times

Striking a populist tone, Joe Biden touts a $700-billion plan to boost to reinvigorate the nation’s manufacturing sector. Los Angeles Times

She once called herself California’s “top cop.” Where is Sen. Kamala Harris on police reform now? Sacramento Bee


The death of Robert Fuller, who was found hanging from tree, has been ruled a suicide by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. The department said a thorough investigation found no signs of foul play and showed the 24-year-old had previously expressed suicidal behavior. An attorney representing Fuller’s family said he would respond to the sheriff’s and coroner’s findings on Friday. Los Angeles Times


A thief took $9,000 while paying $1 at an Anaheim fireworks stand. Proceeds from sales were going to a local youth figure-skating organization. Orange County Register

Video released shows that a Vallejo police officer who killed a San Francisco man last month was in the back seat of an unmarked pickup truck when he fired a high-powered rifle through the windshield. San Francisco Chronicle

Five people were arrested in connection with the shooting death of rapper Pop Smoke. The Brooklyn rapper was gunned down in a rented Hollywood Hills home in February. Los Angeles Times


As COVID-19 testing soars, Americans are forced to wait longer for results. People tested at urgent care centers, community health centers, pharmacies and government-run drive-through or walk-up sites are often waiting a week or more. Los Angeles Times


Worries mount in Yucca Valley that Joshua trees will be designated an endangered species. Local leaders say this would be an economic catastrophe for the high desert town. Los Angeles Times

A handful of studies have suggested that people with some blood types are more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, while those with other blood types are less likely to require that level of care. Los Angeles Times


Film and TV production ground to a halt as stay-at-home measures took effect. A new report reveals that coronavirus wiped out 98% of location shoots in L.A. in second quarter. Los Angeles Times

After a four-month closure of Downtown Disney, there were long lines for the reopening. Press-Enterprise


Smoked rib tips? South L.A.'s RibTown BBQ stands apart for Southern-style pit barbecue. Lonnie Edwards, 60, is something of a rising star on the L.A. barbecue scene, even if he doesn’t buy into the idea of a scene in the first place. Los Angeles Times

Allegations of sexual, emotional and professional abuse have pulled the curtain back on a game industry that has struggled to mature beyond its boyish and boorish stereotypes. Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles: low clouds, 88. San Diego: clouds, 78. San Francisco: sunny, 69. San Jose: sunny, 86. Fresno: high clouds, 103. Sacramento: some sun, 97. More weather is here.



Today’s California memory comes from Ken Hense, who offers this follow-up to Barbara Spector’s memory, published Wednesday:

I went one evening to the Cocoanut Grove/Now Grove about the same time (early 1970s). The main act was jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. The opening act was a young singer, Natalie Cole. In the 1960s I was in a TV live audience to see Sammy Davis Jr. on ‘The Oscar Levant Show.’ In 1961, in the basement of the old Ambassador Hotel, I played Bobby Fischer a game of chess (simultaneous exhibition against 55 opponents). So many memories in good old L.A.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (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, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.