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Essential California Week in Review: Biden’s win

People celebrate in downtown Los Angeles, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Trump.
People celebrate in downtown Los Angeles after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Trump to become the 46th president of the United States.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Nov. 14.

Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week:

The results are in. After several days of waiting and wondering, Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election last Saturday, pulling off a historic win in Arizona and ultimately cementing another in Georgia on Friday. The news last weekend was met with dancing and, for some Trump voters, despair. Here’s how the president-elect’s first week went:

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Stay or go? L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is rumored to be in the running for a position with Biden’s administration. But if he takes a job, he’ll be leaving L.A. in a time of crisis.

A blue state, to a point. Trump did win some voters in California. He expanded his support in Beverly Hills, two tiny spots of red on the election map. And in a major win for the GOP, U.S. Rep. Harley Rouda conceded to his Republican opponent, Michelle Steel, in Orange County.

A super supermajority. Democrats are awaiting election results in races that, if won, could mean historic gains in the state Senate and further pad their supermajority in the California Legislature.

The virus’ spread quickens. California hit 1 million cases of the coronavirus this week, the second state to do so. Eleven counties also moved back to more restrictive tiers in the state’s reopening system amid a worrying surge in infections. Officials are also urging residents not to travel for the holidays, and L.A. County schools face the threat of a hard shutdown.

Removing the sheriff. A divided L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday escalated its running power struggle with Sheriff Alex Villanueva, voting to explore ways he could be removed from office, including with a change to the state Constitution.

An outside look. Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said Tuesday that they will conduct an independent inquest into sheriff’s deputies’ killing of 18-year-old Andres Guardado, which sparked large-scale protests this year.

A “Jeopardy!” loss. With his quick wit, easy smile and my-favorite-professor demeanor, longtime host Alex Trebek drove the game show back up the ratings charts. He died at his home in Los Angeles at age 80 after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

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1. One of these people could be Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ successor and California’s next senator. Los Angeles Times

2. How Biden prevailed and Trump fell short in an unforgettable election, according to conversations with 75 insiders. Politico

3. This $58-million Hollywood Hills home comes with its own lazy river. Wall Street Journal

4. Sign up for the Latinx Files, our new newsletter. Los Angeles Times

5. Why a seaside Malibu home keeps showing up on your TV. New York Times

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

It started with one sick woman in San Jose. Now, the coronavirus has spread to 1 million Californians. Los Angeles Times

“They sing as though they’re letting you in on a secret that might not save your life forever but will definitely save it in that moment.” How Gillian Welch and David Rawlings held on to their optimism. New York Times

In Burbank schools, a book-banning debate over how to teach antiracism. A complex debate unfolds in a small Los Angeles school district. Los Angeles Times

Robin Kemp lost her news job in Clayton County, Ga. — but she kept reporting the news. It paid off on election week. Washington Post

Poem of the week: “A Word on Statistics” by Wisława Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Joanna Trzeciak. Poetry Foundation

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. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Laura Blasey for all her help on the Saturday edition.)


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