Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Counting down to reopening

A cutout of Fauci and a balloon sculpture
A cutout of Dr. Anthony Fauci and balloons welcome vaccine seekers at CSU Bakersfield.
(Laura Nelson / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, April 10.

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

Rush to reopen. California is aiming to fully reopen its economy June 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. Though the road has been bumpy, it’s not as risky a move as it might seem.

Vaccines for all. The state will open vaccines to all residents over 16 next week. Some counties and facilities reached that milestone early, with Bakersfield attracting thousands of young people after word spread of a surplus. Distribution has been lagging in red counties.

Schools are on track too. Newsom said all K-12 California schools should be open in the fall for full-time, five-days-a-week, in-person instruction. The announcement comes as some parents push for more, sooner, and as new details emerge about distance learning’s impact on English language learners.

What’s in a name? Putting on hold a monthslong controversy, the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend plans to rename a third of its public schools.

Fire safety plan. After the worst fire season in California history, Newsom and legislative leaders unveiled a $536-million proposal Thursday to boost efforts at firefighting and a variety of prevention measures.

CBS shakeup. The company has ousted two powerful TV station executives over allegations of racist and abusive behavior, following a Los Angeles Times investigation.

Meet the #KHive. Like many politicians, Vice President Kamala Harris has attracted an extensive, loose-knit and fiercely loyal fanbase. Their biggest unifying cause is their belief that they need to push back against Harris’ critics.

Space force. One of the U.S. Space Force’s three main prongs, the division that will develop and buy space technologies and services, will be based in El Segundo. The division is set to become official this summer.

Children at the border. As growing numbers of migrant minors arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border alone, children and families are getting stuck in a Border Patrol backlog. The Long Beach Convention Center is poised to become a second temporary facility in California to hold the children.

Bruce’s Beach. The descendants of a Black family that once owned a thriving oceanfront resort in Manhattan Beach could get the property back under state legislation announced Friday.

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1. Los Angeles County relaxed more coronavirus restrictions, moving into the second-most-lenient tier of the state’s reopening blueprint. Here’s what that means. Los Angeles Times

2. Column: A week later, here’s what happened to some of the homeless people booted from Echo Park. Los Angeles Times

3. A grandmother is challenging a real estate giant in an early test of a new California law. KQED

4. “Everyone just knows he’s an absolute monster”: Scott Rudin’s ex-staffers speak out on abusive behavior. The Hollywood Reporter

5. A man broke into a Morro Bay restaurant’s crab tank and drove off with live crabs. San Luis Obispo Tribune

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

How Elizabeth Loftus changed the meaning of memory. Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, is the most influential female psychologist of the twentieth century, according to a list compiled by the Review of General Psychology. New Yorker

“Feeding your record collection in a pandemic always comes at a cost.” A lovely dispatch from L.A. writer Carman Tse about finding joy in the hunt for physical media — even when it feels like an unnecessary extravagance during underemployed hard times. Defector

In the pandemic, Asian Americans relish the cozy family ritual of hot pot. “Hot pot is about family and togetherness,” said Howard Lee, 39, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and celebrated Lunar New Year this year with three relatives sharing a hot pot. “Before COVID-19, we would have cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents over to eat. But at least we’re together.” Los Angeles Times

Poem of the week: “Hay for the Horses” by Gary Snyder. The Writer’s Almanac

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.)