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Essential California: Orange County’s suburban extremists

A man yelling at a line of police
Orange County entrepreneur Russ Taylor faces off with police in front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
(Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, March 22, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead:

Wednesday is Equal Pay Day, as designated by advocacy groups. The date symbolizes the extra three months into the new year an average woman has to work to earn the same amount of money her male counterpart made the year prior. The numbers are even starker when separated out by race, with Black and Latina women’s equal pay days falling in August and October, respectively.

Also Wednesday: The 32nd Producers Guild Awards will be held virtually. The Producers Guild Awards are considered a reliable bellwether for Oscar nominations and wins. As my colleague Josh Rottenberg reports, since its inception, the PGA has predicted 21 of the past 31 winners of the best picture Oscar.

President Biden will hold his first formal press conference on Thursday. The president has faced criticism for not holding a formal news conference sooner into his tenure, as other presidents have.

Passover begins at sundown on Saturday. Chag sameach to all who celebrate.

Also Saturday: The NAACP Image Awards will be held, after being postponed from February.

Sunday is Palm Sunday, marking the start of Holy Week.

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

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Inside the resurgence of right-wing extremism in Orange County: Orange County has long been a megaphone for the extremes of conservatism, recognized by one Harvard historian as the “cutting edge” of the New Right.

Three affluent O.C. suburbanites were among those who stormed the U.S. Capitol during the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6. As my colleagues report, these unlikely revolutionaries help illustrate the resurgence of right-wing extremism in the county at a time when major demographic shifts have turned the region from a deep-red bastion into a more racially and politically diverse community. Los Angeles Times

[See also: “From the KKK to skinheads, a century of fighting hate in Orange County” in the Los Angeles Times]

Rallies against anti-Asian racism and attacks were held across California and the nation over the weekend. Demonstrations were held in Alhambra, San Francisco and other areas in response to last week’s deadly shooting rampage in Atlanta. Los Angeles Times

Students in California are now allowed to sit 3 feet apart in classrooms — instead of 4 or 6 feet — in guidelines state officials issued over the weekend, a major change in policy that will exert pressure on local officials to consider a faster and more complete reopening of campuses. Los Angeles Times

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L.A. STORIES

The scent of popcorn, the silver screen: L.A.’s movie theater fans finally get their fix. Los Angeles Times

Masked people sit in a movie theater
Moviegoers spread out with COVID-19 safety precautions in effect watch Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” during the El Capitan Theatre’s reopening on Friday in Hollywood.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

What do you do when the pandemic confines you to your home, bored and scared? Gary Handman, a retired UC Berkeley librarian, started sketching cartoons on his iPad. Los Angeles Times

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IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER

Asylum seekers at the San Diego border wonder and wait amid inconsistent policies. For asylum seekers trying to figure out how to request protection in the United States, the situation is one of growing confusion as they sift through rumors and inconsistencies. San Diego Union-Tribune

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

The entire senior staff at the San Francisco school district denounced a school board member’s racist tweets against Asian Americans, saying SFUSD board Vice President Alison Collins hasn’t adequately taken responsibility for the tweets she posted. The city’s top elected officials, including Mayor London Breed, state legislators and nearly all supervisors, have called for Collins’ resignation. San Francisco Chronicle

COPS, CRIME AND COURTS

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating five shootings by police officers in four days that killed two suspects and left two others with wounds they were expected to survive. Los Angeles Daily News

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

A Northern California doctor has merged his love of Broadway musicals and his mission to promote COVID-19 vaccine safety into a creative reimagining of “My Shot” from “Hamilton.” Los Angeles Times

A year without powwows: An Indigenous community loses its heartbeat amid the pandemic. San Diego Union-Tribune

A poem to start your week: “For the Graduation [Bolinas, 1973]” by Robert Creeley. Poets.org

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles: sunny, 70. San Diego: sunny, 64. San Francisco: windy, 61. San Jose: partly sunny, 63. Fresno: partly sunny, 68. Sacramento: partly sunny, 66.

AND FINALLY

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

Sen. Alex Padilla (March 22, 1973), actress Constance Wu (March 22, 1982), actress and cookbook author Ayesha Curry (March 23, 1989), Clippers owner Steve Ballmer (March 24, 1956), L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian (March 24, 1960), L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo (March 25, 1954), Gloria Steinem (March 25, 1934) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (March 26, 1940)

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.


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