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Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: More vaccines are coming

A physician assistant puts a bandage on a man's arm.
Physician assistant Alyssa Hernandez administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Juan Arroyo at the Broadleaf Specialty Meat plant in Vernon on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, March 27.

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

More vaccines are coming. California is dramatically expanding the eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines, offering the shots to virtually all residents 16 and older beginning next month, the state announced Thursday.

More pandemic progress. A receding coronavirus wave has Los Angeles and Orange counties on the precipice of a move to the orange tier in the state’s reopening plan. Still, concerns remain, especially after most samples analyzed in Los Angeles County were found to be variants believed to spread more readily.

New schools guidance. State officials say students in California are now allowed to sit three feet apart in classrooms, a major change in policy. But they still need to overcome fear; parents of fewer than 1 in 3 Los Angeles students are ready to send their children back.

Another shooting. A week after eight people were killed in a string of shootings in Georgia, a man opened fire on a crowded Colorado grocery store, killing 10. President Biden called on Congress to act on gun control as Americans reckon with a return to regular mass shootings.

Fighting anti-Asian racism. California’s Asian communities are rallying around the Atlanta shootings, seeking sustained action after tragedy. Hundreds gathered across the state Saturday, and activists in Los Angeles are building what they hope will be a movement.

Chaos in Echo Park. Scores of Los Angeles police officers clashed with protesters in Echo Park this week as police moved to clear a homeless encampment that had taken over a large swath of the park. Numerous protesters were arrested late Thursday, and a Times reporter was one of several journalists briefly detained by the LAPD while covering the protests.

USC settles. The school has agreed to pay more than $1.1 billion to former patients of campus gynecologist George Tyndall in the largest sex abuse payout in higher education history.

California’s new AG. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday appointed Democratic Assemblyman Rob Bonta to the role of California attorney general, filling the vacancy left by Xavier Becerra. Bonta is a leading advocate for criminal justice reform.

Bail reform. Four months after voters rejected a similar reform measure, the California Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to require defendants to remain behind bars simply because they cannot afford bail.

Extremism resurges. Orange County, long conservative, has seen a year of right-wing protests spiral into increasingly violent language against ever larger foes, real and imagined. And experts warn that some of the false theories surrounding QAnon are shifting in Trump’s absence to target new groups, including Chinese and Jewish people.

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1. Fifteen lovely outdoor dining rooms in Los Angeles, from woodsy patios in Calabasas to downtown views of the skyline. Eater LA

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2. Here are a bunch of things you can do to try to get a COVID-19 vaccine in California. Los Angeles Times

3. Suburban radicals: Inside the resurgence of right-wing extremism in Orange County. Los Angeles Times

4. Is it inevitable that a prominent Democrat will challenge Newsom in the recall? No one has come forward — yet. Los Angeles Times

5. “For the Graduation [Bolinas, 1973]” by Robert Creeley. Poets.org

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

COVID-19 testing made Curative huge. Can the startup’s tests be trusted? Los Angeles Times

“The strange and terrible saga of Alison Collins and her ill-fated tweets.” Amid the oft-sensationalized chaos of San Francisco politics, veteran political reporter Joe Eskenazi takes a nuanced look at the complexities behind the city’s latest school board scandal. Mission Local

Volunteers have traded online advertising for old-school organizing. Inside the epic outreach to vaccinate California’s most vulnerable. Los Angeles Times

Poem of the week: “The Hinge” by Cynthia Cruz. 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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