Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Capitol fallout

National Guard members sleep on the floor of the U.S. Capitol
National Guard members sleep in the halls of the Capitol on Wednesday as the House of Representatives convenes to impeach President Trump.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Jan. 16.

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

Impeached again. Donald Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, as a bipartisan House majority Wednesday voted to charge him with inciting insurrection by his supporters.

California at risk. Law enforcement officials are putting “additional security measures” in place at California’s Capitol in Sacramento amid warnings from the FBI and others that the U.S. Capitol siege could be echoed across the country.

A worrying sign. A day before U.S. Capitol attack, a pro-Trump crowd stormed a meeting of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors and threatened officials, in an attack aided by a newly elected supervisor who had unlocked the doors.

Coronavirus spread accelerates. One in 3 Los Angeles County residents have been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to scientists’ new estimates. In the post-holiday surge, officials relayed painful stories of dying victims’ last moments with their families as some people apologized to their parents for infecting them.

It’s not just L.A. Conditions in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties have worsened considerably due to the post-holiday surge. Multiple gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have also contracted the virus in the first known instances of natural transmission to great apes.

Who can get a vaccine? Newsom announced Wednesday that people 65 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, but the sudden addition of roughly 6 million people to an already strained distribution network could still leave many waiting weeks for inoculations. Already, there’s mass confusion.

Schools’ post-vaccine future. With a vaccine in distribution, University of California and USC said Monday that they are planning to bring students back to their campuses in the fall for mostly in-person classes. Los Angeles school district officials also say students will have to be immunized before they can return to campus.

A new gig-worker labor battle. A handful of app-based drivers in California and one of the nation’s largest labor unions are taking to the courts to fight Proposition 22. It’s the first legal challenge to the voter-approved law, which lets companies like Uber keep treating their gig workers as independent contractors.

Disney cuts back. The Disneyland and Disney California Adventure theme parks, closed for nearly a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, are ending their annual pass program as we know it.

The Gascón backlash. A judge allowed the San Diego County district attorney’s office to move to reclaim jurisdiction Monday over several charges filed in Los Angeles, marking one of the strongest rebukes yet of newly elected L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s policies.

Pioneer of the L.A. look. Famed architect Paul R. Williams wasn’t just an “architect to the stars.” His designs shaped the city.

Air quality changes. Wildfire smoke now accounts for up to half of all fine-particle pollution in the Western U.S., according to a new study that blames climate change for worsening air quality and health risks in both urban and rural communities in recent years.

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1. These Southern California officials rallied in Washington. Now they face calls to resign. Los Angeles Times


2. How much worse will coronavirus crisis get in L.A. County? Here is what next few weeks could look like. Los Angeles Times

3. Vogue is under social-media fire for “disrespectful” Kamala Harris cover. Los Angeles Times

4. How do I get my coronavirus vaccine if I’m 65 and older? Here is what we know. Los Angeles Times

5. A Dana Point surfer charged a massive 40-foot Mavericks wave — wearing water skis. Orange County Register

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Among the insurrectionists: A chronicle of an attack foretold. The New Yorker

Why is the U.S. government paying $3,000 a month for toilet access in the elite Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C.? Instructed not to use any of the half-dozen bathrooms inside Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s house, the Secret Service detail assigned to President Trump’s daughter and son-in-law spent months searching for a reliable restroom to use on the job. Washington Post


A wild ride, a crash and a cover-up: A skateboarder alleges abuse by L.A. County Sheriff’s Department deputies involved in the shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado. Los Angeles Times

Not everything is terrible: A callout on social media for a game of catch in Dallas drew a varied group of strangers who found escape from society’s turbulence in the most banal ritual. New York Times

Poem of the week: “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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.)