Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Eligible students must be vaccinated, Newsom says


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Oct. 2.

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

Student vaccinations. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a mandate Friday requiring all eligible public and private schoolchildren in California to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a policy the state expects to affect millions of students. It’s the first such action in the nation.

The return of Bruce’s Beach. In a history-making move that will be celebrated by reparations advocates and social justice leaders for years to come, Newsom authorized the return of seaside property to the descendants of a Black couple who were run out of Manhattan Beach almost a century ago.

Police reform: Gov. Newsom also on Thursday approved sweeping reforms to law enforcement. Eight measures signed into law included raising the minimum age for police officers from 18 to 21, and allowing their badges to be permanently taken away for excessive force, dishonesty and racial bias.


A secret payout with a catch. The Times learned that the family of a young woman who had a drug-fueled relationship with then-USC Dean Carmen Puliafito received $1.5 million as part of a legal agreement to head off a lawsuit against him and the university. A provision of the settlement was not common, however, legal experts said: The family has to turn over to USC all of their videos and photos that showed Puliafito using illegal drugs to allow the university to destroy them. The Times could not determine whether USC retained copies of the images and other material.

Britney bulletin: A Los Angeles judge on Wednesday ordered the suspension of Jamie Spears, father of Britney Spears, as conservator of the international pop star’s estate. The decision was a big moment in her battle to shed her father’s 13-year role managing her affairs. The case has gripped fans and highlighted the problems with conservatorships.

Outbreak at the station. Los Angeles County health officials have identified hundreds of coronavirus outbreaks at police and fire agencies, with more than half in the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Fire Department — where some members are actively fighting public health measures to control such spread.

Remote learning deluge. Parents seeking remote learning for their children have overwhelmed public school programs in Los Angeles, causing teacher shortages, administrative snafus and enrollment delays that in some cases have kept students out of school for weeks.

$1.8-billion settlement. Southern California Gas Co. and its parent company announced agreements Monday to pay up to $1.8 billion after years of lawsuits surrounding an October 2015 gas leak at Aliso Canyon that lasted four months and caused the largest known release of methane in U.S. history.

Dismissed convictions. The nation’s largest prosecutor’s office is moving to dismiss roughly 60,000 marijuana convictions, the latest step to undo what some reform advocates consider the damage caused by narcotics enforcement, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón announced Monday.


A refusal to play ball. The NBA is grappling with the issue of unvaccinated players. When you consider how much they make, their vaccination rejection is potentially a multimillion-dollar decision. The Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins was reportedly among the 10% of the league’s players who had not been vaccinated. At the NBA’s media day Monday, Wiggins told reporters: “It’s none of your business is what it comes down to.”

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

It’s hard to grasp the enormity of “The One,” but an aerial photograph of the largest modern home in the United States provides perspective. The white marble structure once marketed for $500 million dwarfs the homes that climb the hills of Bel-Air — which are themselves mansions. The giga-mansion is now slipping through the fingers of its developer as he battles a hard-nosed money lender who’s in for more than $100 million on the project

The truth about the Dodgers’ bat boys. They’re actually bat men. Branden Vandal, 25 with a bachelor’s in business management, says: “It’s a great gig to be this close to big league baseball every day.” The bat boys and clubhouse attendants sometimes work until daybreak, and there have been incidents that have gone viral they might prefer to forget, but overall they love the vocation they’ve chosen. Says one: “We are all a family.”

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