Newsletter: A paper reckons with its past — and future

Owner and executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, stops by headquarters in June 2018.
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner and executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times, stops by the new headquarters in June 2018 to see workers install the sign.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Sept. 28, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead.

Monday is Yom Kippur. G’mar chatima tova to all who celebrate.

The first televised 2020 presidential candidate debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden will be held Tuesday in Ohio. The debate will be moderated by “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace.

The MLB postseason begins Tuesday.

Former FBI director James Comey will testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee

Unless it is extended sometime before then, the no-sail order for cruise ships will expire Wednesday. The order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspended passenger operations on cruise ships with a capacity of at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Also Wednesday: The U.S. fiscal year ends.


Thursday will mark the first day of October. (Time remains a relentless thief, but that is hardly news.)

The latest U.S. employment report will be released Friday.

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

As institutions across the nation grapple with racism and their own roles in upholding it, the Los Angeles Times is also reckoning with its past — and future. In a special section, our editorial board examines the paper’s failures on race in past coverage and offers thoughts on a path forward, and several writers reflect on their own experiences. Los Angeles Times

A fast-moving fire in Napa County on Sunday forced evacuations north of the town of St. Helena, as large swaths of Northern California faced dangerous fire weather. Los Angeles Times

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


How do you go to the Los Angeles Public Library when COVID-19 has closed its buildings? Columnist Nita Lelyveld spent a week digging into the rich offerings that still exist in the library system. Los Angeles Times

A masked woman puts books in a bin on a sidewalk.
Bronwen Serna drops off books Thursday outside the Los Feliz branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. At this “library to go,” residents can request books and reserve a time to pick them up outside the branch.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

L.A. County has yet to see a post-Labor Day spike in coronavirus numbers. Nearly two weeks after the Labor Day holiday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it had not seen a surge in coronavirus cases associated with the end-of-summer weekend. Los Angeles Times

Robert Evans’ memorabilia stays in the picture: The estate of the legendary film producer is up for auction, and they don’t appear to have left anything out. The extensive catalog includes Evans’ leather-bound datebooks “outlining his busy schedule as a major Hollywood producer” (sold as a set, starting bid $100); “nasty telegrams” with Francis Ford Coppola regarding “The Godfather” (starting bid $100); Evans’ 1974 Golden Globe for “Chinatown” (starting bid $700); monogrammed bar towels (starting bid $25); and a 1980s-looking multi-line telephone from his home (starting bid $25, description specifies that “Evans on the phone is a classic image”). Julien’s Auctions

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The New York Times has obtained tax-return data for President Trump stretching over more than two decades. The president paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and nothing at all in 10 of the prior 15 years. New York Times

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden declared Sunday that voters “are not going to stand for this abuse of power” if Trump’s Senate Republican allies push through the election-season confirmation of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Los Angeles Times

[See also: “Who is Amy Coney Barrett” in the Los Angeles Times]

Sonoma County election officials say they are setting the record straight after a popular conservative pundit suggested that they had dumped mail-in ballots ahead of the 2020 election. Sacramento Bee

Do California hotel workers deserve extra job security? They think so. If Gov. Gavin Newsom signs AB 3216, anyone who lost their jobs at hotels, airports or private clubs during this pandemic and any future “state of emergency” can get their position back based on seniority — assuming their place of employment survives. Los Angeles Times


A woman who drove her car into a crowd at a Yorba Linda police brutality protest was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Los Angeles Times


Tips from a local geologist on visiting the Mendocino Coast: a guided tour of rock spheres, sinkholes and wild animals. Santa Rosa Press Democrat


“We want it to feel like home.” A new Black-owned coffee shop opens in San Jose, with a pair of sisters at the helm. Mercury News

With a diamond-studded tiara and a “happy birthday” balloon in hand, “Visalia’s matriarch” celebrated her 108th birthday. Marjorie Brandon was born in Los Angeles in 1912 — the same year the city got its first gas station — and later moved to San Francisco, then the Central Valley, where she earned her teaching degree from Fresno State. Visalia Times-Delta

A poem to start your week: “Yom Kippur Sonnet, with a Line from Lamentations” by Jacqueline Osherow. Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation

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Los Angeles: sunny, 87. San Diego: partly sunny, 80. San Francisco: partly sunny, 82. San Jose: partly sunny, 93. Fresno: sunny, 98. Sacramento: sunny, 98. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:

Dodgers player Kenley Jansen (Sept. 30, 1987), Rep. Devin Nunes (Oct. 1, 1973), musician Gillian Welch (Oct. 2, 1967), my mom Lucy Fisher (Oct. 2, 1949), former Dodger Maury Wills (Oct. 2, 1932) and Rep. Karen Bass (Oct. 3, 1953).

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.