Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Los Angeles County considers proof of vaccination

The crumbled remains of buildings under a gray-and-orange sky
Greenville, in Plumas County, was founded during California’s pioneer days. The Dixie fire has destroyed nearly all of the town.
(Anita Chabria / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Aug. 7.

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

Greenville is gone. The town, nestled in dense forests southeast of Lake Almanor, was decimated Wednesday when the massive Dixie fire swept through. Crews are still assessing the damage, but it’s believed that three-quarters of the town’s buildings were consumed.

‘Let it burn’ ends. With wildfires spreading, once-obscure policy battles between firefighting agencies are coming under public scrutiny. Some federal land was allowed to burn until the U.S. Forest Service changed its policy amid criticism from California officials, who said the approach was reckless.

Drying up. California water regulators took unprecedented action this week, passing an emergency regulation that will bar thousands of Californians from diverting stream and river water as the drought worsens. Meanwhile, the lowest-ever recorded water level at Lake Oroville prompted a major hydroelectric power plant to shut down.


Vax mandates? Los Angeles is considering a proposal to require proof of COVID-19 inoculation as a condition of entry at myriad indoor public spaces. Los Angeles County employees were ordered to provide proof beginning this week.

Vax numbers up. California has seen a substantial increase in the number of people getting vaccinated against COVID-19 over the past two weeks, a turnabout that comes as a growing list of municipalities, businesses and venues are moving to require the shots. The state ordered healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated by the end of September.

Eviction moratorium extended. The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a new federal moratorium on evictions through Oct. 3 to replace the broader one that expired over the weekend. California’s state eviction moratorium lasts until Sept. 30.

Troubling video. Body-camera footage released of a March 14 shooting, in which L.A. County sheriff’s deputies killed a suicidal man, has drawn criticism from policing experts as well as Sheriff Alex Villanueva.

Clearing Venice Beach homeless camps. About 200 campers were removed from the famed half-mile stretch along Ocean Front Walk. All were offered someplace else to live, and most took up the offer.

California governor supports clearing homeless camps. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is in a recall battle, applauded the removal of homeless camps from Echo Park Lake and Venice Beach. He said the state will need more federal help to create additional housing and expand services for homeless people.

Catalytic converter thefts in California. Here’s everything you should know about the crimes, including an explanation of what converters actually do, thieves’ favorite car model and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

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1. This California town is fed up with crime, fires, drugs, trash — everything. ‘It’s crazy up here.’ Fresno Bee


2. After getting his DNA results, a Riverside man messaged a stranger: I think you might be my father. Los Angeles Times

3. Palm Springs sees hottest July ever, marking back-to-back months of record temperatures. Desert Sun

4. A former anti-vaxxer in Humboldt County is urging vaccinations after a severe case of COVID-19. Eureka Times-Standard

5. Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” lawsuit is game-changing but may be legally weak. Hollywood Reporter

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

A new thing rich people are into: absolutely enormous crystals. As crystals of all types and sizes have skyrocketed in popularity, wealthy buyers seeking one-of-a-kind showstoppers are gravitating toward ever-larger statement pieces. No longer the stuff of pendants and pockets for the New Age set, crystals are being sculpted into love seats and coffee tables, set atop pedestals and illuminated with dramatic uplighting, and sliced lengthwise before being mounted to look like life-size angel wings. Los Angeles Times


Something is killing gray whales. Is it a sign of oceans in peril? For 2½ years, a die-off affecting gray whales — known for being hardy and resilient, “the jeeps of the ocean” — has alarmed legions of whale watchers and perplexed scientists up and down the western coast of North America. In a sweeping investigation, Times staff writer Susanne Rust and photographer Carolyn Cole delve deep into the issue as scientists scramble to find answers. Plus: Here’s how they reported through the pandemic. Los Angeles Times

California’s climate nomads: The 2018 Camp fire left them homeless and struggling to survive. The fire (which some recall as the Paradise fire) displaced about 50,000 people, and many are still living in limbo, off the grid and out of compliance, as the nearby Dixie fire stirs up smoke and the past all over again. Los Angeles Times

Today’s week-in-review newsletter was curated by Laura Blasey and Seth Liss. Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to