Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Gas prices are expected to remain high

Traffic streams along the San Bernardino Freeway in downtown Los Angeles.
Traffic streams along the San Bernardino Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. Road trips during the Memorial Day weekend jumped 6% over 2022, according to AAA.
(Luis Sinco)
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Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, June 3.

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

Pump prices are expected to remain high thanks to travel demand. But there’s good news: Gas prices are not likely to spike to last year’s record-high levels, when a gallon of unleaded peaked at more than $6.

Celebs dodged millions in L.A.’s ‘mansion tax.’ Meet the industry guarding their wealth. Where there is wealth, there are workers protecting it. Like moths to a flame, these accountants, consultants and attorneys have made careers out of helping the rich keep their riches.

A deputy accused of being in the ‘Executioners’ gang reveals tattoo in court and names names. The rare and candid disclosure came in a case centered on the secretive world of deputy gangs, reports of which have plagued the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for half a century and led to an array of investigations, studies and legal settlements.


Clayton Kershaw disagreed with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence award and sought return of Dodgers’ Christian day. “This has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community or pride or anything like that,” Kershaw said. “This is simply a group that was making fun of a religion, that I don’t agree with.”

Actor Danny Masterson was convicted of two counts of rape at his second Los Angeles trial. Masterson faces 30 years to life in prison at sentencing. He is due back in court in early August.

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Are you a renter in California? Here’s what to know about tenant protections lawmakers are considering. Good news: California lawmakers passed bills that could limit security deposits and curb evictions. Bad news: A proposal for rent control expansion flopped.

It was a holiday reunion for a family split between L.A. and Hawaii. Now 3 are dead and 2 are missing. Two sisters and one of their husbands are dead, while the other’s partner and the boat’s captain remain missing off southeast Alaska four days after their boat was found partially submerged off an island.

Manson follower Leslie Van Houten could be freed after court overrules Gov. Newsom. The decision is the first time a court has overruled a governor’s denial of parole to a Manson follower.


A transgender teacher’s Pride flag was burned at Saticoy Elementary, where protests have escalated. Angst at the school has ratcheted up since parents created an Instagram account on May 16 protesting the school’s Pride month assembly, during which administrators planned to talk about families with gay parents.

Splash Mountain closing day: Why Disneyland’s long goodbye is long overdue. On Tuesday, Disneyland fans gathered in Critter Country to mark the closure of the 1989 ride, popular for its five-story drop but made infamous by the controversial movie that inspired it.

Where and how the Zoot Suit Riots swept across L.A. Eighty years ago this month, Los Angeles was engulfed in the lawlessness and violence that became known as the Zoot Suit Riots.

In downtown L.A., Mayor Bass’ plan to clear encampments faces crime, addiction and resistance. Homeless outreach workers asked people to give up their spot on the sidewalk, and try living in a nearby hotel room instead. David Ruther, who has a tent on Broadway near the 101 Freeway, said no way.

Violence and ‘crisis’: How hundreds of L.A. County’s abused children ended up in hotels. The children placed in the hotels are usually among those with some of the most significant untreated trauma and the gravest histories of violence.

5 minors were arrested in a Memorial Day melee between 30 young people and 3 Marines. Authorities did not say what caused the fight, but one of the Marines told KCBS-TV Channel 2 that it started after he asked the other group to stop lighting fireworks at the beach because firework debris had hit him in the face.


Even in blue California, attempts to regulate controversial antiabortion centers continue to fail. Across California, where Democratic lawmakers have crafted some of the nation’s strongest abortion rights laws, antiabortion pregnancy centers appear to be untouchable despite repeated attempts to rein them in.

Is there a retail exodus in San Francisco? Some say Union Square is ‘beating strong.’ While the CEO of Union Square Alliance acknowledged that some stores have left Union Square during and after the pandemic, she emphasized that luxury retailers in particular have expanded, opened or moved to the area.

The freeway was born in L.A. But it might not always be free to drive on. The L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to release a long-awaited study that will offer a blueprint for a congestion pricing scheme where commuters pay to drive in city centers.

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

‘Queer ecology’ gifted him new perspective. Take his hikes to find it too. Queer ecology — a term that refers to gender ambiguity and sexual diversity being very much a part of the natural world — helped Jason “Journeyman” Wise come to terms with his sexuality. Now, he wants to help others with his Queer Ecology hikes.

The day Martin Luther King and James Baldwin came to Beverly Hills. On March 16, 1968, King and Baldwin must have been keenly aware of how their impromptu ensemble destabilized their reputations. They had roles, and they were in L.A. ruining them.


She helped save one of the world’s rarest creatures from extinction — and herself along the way. The Palos Verdes blue butterfly was once thought to be extinct. But Moorpark College biology professor Jana Johnson rebuilt her shattered life by resurrecting the species.

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