Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: L.A. workers who shun shot can opt for regimented tests


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Oct. 30.

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

More time for the shot. Los Angeles city workers who are still unvaccinated against COVID-19 will have more time to get the shots under a plan approved Tuesday by the City Council. But if they don’t? Twice-a-week testing, on their own time and dime.

Another OK for kid-size vaccine. After a thumbs-up earlier this week from an advisory panel, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday cleared child-size doses for emergency use. Up to 28 million more U.S. children could be eligible for vaccinations as early as next week. One more regulatory hurdle remains: On Tuesday, advisors to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will recommend which youngsters should get vaccinated. A final decision by the agency’s director is expected shortly afterward.

In-N-Out of compliance. In-N-Out Burger, the iconic California eatery, is increasingly at war with health officials over COVID-19 rules. In-N-Out has closed all five of its dining rooms in Contra Costa County as the restaurant chain refuses to comply with local health mandates requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination status.

Deluge after drought. Northern California was battered by record rain this week, causing flooding and debris flows after a year of dry conditions and destructive wildfires. But although the massive amount of moisture helped, experts said it will take much more than one storm to make a dent in the drought.

Villanueva to testify. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to testify under oath in a lawsuit brought by Vanessa Bryant alleging that deputies shared gruesome photos of the crash scene where her husband, daughter and seven others died.


School safety officer charged. A murder charge was filed Wednesday against a former Long Beach school safety officer who shot an unarmed 18-year-old in the head near a high school last month, prosecutors said.

Rent is too damn high. A new report found Black and Latino households have been buried by the cost of renting a home. Latino renters spend 42% of their income on rent in Orlando, Fla., the report says. Black households spend even more than that in Sacramento and San Francisco. And Black renters in San Diego are facing very steep costs, spending 52.6% of their income on rent.

A bit pricier to visit Mickey. Disneyland and neighboring California Adventure Park raised most daily ticket prices Monday, and they’re adopting an even higher price to visit on the most popular days of the year, such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Daily ticket prices are jumping 3% to 8%, with standard daily parking rates going up by 20%. Some Disney fans aren’t pleased that, while hiking prices, the park is still in the process of relaunching attractions shuttered during the pandemic.

Scammed out of billions. California has given away at least $20 billion in the form of fraudulent unemployment benefits, state officials said. That figure accounts for more than 11% of all benefits paid since the start of the pandemic.

The latest on the “Rust” shooting. The fatal shooting continues to reverberate through the film industry and beyond. On Friday, the crew member in charge of on-set gun safety and usage said through her attorneys that the movie set had become unsafe before the fatal shooting and she had been denied time to train actors, maintain weapons and prepare for gunfire scenes. Here are answers to key questions on the shooting.

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Malibu vs. car guys. It’s a beachfront brouhaha over auto enthusiast gatherings, pitting owners of expensive automobiles against landlords of expensive property in a collision of upper-class ego and entitlement. The fight involves some of the biggest names in the California car scene, including Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld.

Contribute to our digital Día de Muertos altar. The traditional way of celebrating is by making an ofrenda — an offering that often features a photo of the person being remembered, candles, foods and items specific to them, cempasúchiles (marigolds), papel picado and calaveras (sugar skulls). Inspired by those found at Grand Park and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery around this time of the year, we’ve created our own communal digital altar.

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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