Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Big win for the Dodgers

Two men in baseball uniforms go in for a high-five.
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Max Scherzer, right, celebrates with Will Smith after the final out in Game 5 of the 2021 National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on Thursday in San Francisco.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Oct. 16.

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

Big win for the Dodgers. On a harried, howling Thursday night at Oracle Park, with orange towels flapping in their faces and desperate jeers grabbing at their ankles, the Dodgers crushed memories and settled scores to win the greatest grudge match in franchise history. The team defeated the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, 2-1.

Alisal fire. Stoked by sundowner winds, the Alisal fire in Santa Barbara County swelled to about 17,000 acres since Monday, threatening the former vacation home of President Reagan and becoming Southern California’s first major wildfire of the season. Heavy smoke prompted an air quality advisory for Los Angeles and several other counties.

Biden steps in on the ports. The Port of Los Angeles will begin operating around the clock as the White House pushes to clear supply chain bottlenecks, senior Biden administration officials said. The effect may be limited, though.

The bottlenecks may be linked to the oil spill. Investigators are trying to determine what role the congested shipping lanes played in the massive oil spill that has fouled the Orange County coast, including possible issues with ships anchoring in long lines.

Hollywood workers could strike. Ratcheting up pressure on the major studios, the union representing crews announced Wednesday that its members will go on strike Monday if they can’t reach agreement on a new contract.

Netflix employees protest too. Transgender Netflix employees and co-workers will stage a walkout next week protesting the streaming giant’s decision to release Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, which includes several transphobic remarks.

Vaccine deadline pushed back. The Los Angeles school district — confronted with widespread campus disruption and the firing of potentially thousands of people — has extended the looming deadline for all workers to be fully immunized for COVID-19 to November.

Bribery charges. Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas was indicted Wednesday on federal charges that he took bribes from a USC dean. He’s the third L.A. City Council member to face federal corruption charges over the last two years.


Plane hits houses. A twin-engine plane that crashed in a San Diego suburb, killing at least two people and leaving a swath of destruction, nose-dived into the ground after repeated warnings that it was flying dangerously low, according to a recording.

To space and back. After decades of exploring the final frontier on screen, “Star Trek” actor William Shatner became the oldest person to reach space in a 10-minute flight Wednesday through Blue Origin, the private space company founded by Jeff Bezos.

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Where does Giantslandia start and Dodgersville end? As boundaries go, the dividing line between blue California and its orange-and-black counterpart is less distinct than the Mason-Dixon line or the 38th parallel. It’s harder to find than a brisk exit from the Dodger Stadium parking lot, more elusive than a National Baseball Hall of Fame berth for Barry Bonds.

Boiling in Southland warehouses. Demand for warehouses has skyrocketed. As land near major ports and cities becomes scarcer and pricier, developers are heading deeper into the Inland Empire and the Central Valley, where temperatures are rising faster than in coastal communities. Workers are suffering inside.

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