Essential California Week in Review: How hot will it get in Southern California this weekend?

Beachgoers take in the cooling mist of the ocean as the sun sets on Huntington Beach
Southern California weather is expected to get hotter in the coming days as the region experiences the first significant heatwave of the summer.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, July 15.

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

How hot will it get in Southern California this weekend? What you need to know.
A heat wave has descended on Southern California. Although the region has seen worse, this one could bring dangerous, record-setting temperatures to inland and desert areas.

Former Manson follower Leslie Van Houten is freed. One of her victim’s relatives says it’s ‘gut-wrenching.’ She had been serving a life sentence for her role in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in Los Angeles in 1969.

Rolling Hills Estates declares emergency and wants answers after devastating landslide. The action allows the city to ask for financial support from the state Office of Emergency Services and FEMA in the wake of a landslide that sent multiple hillside houses on a slow-motion downward slide, collapsing roofs and cracking walls along the way.

The week in photos

A woman sits in a flower farm
Rachel Nafis’ San Diego neighbors allowed her to turn their yards into a flower farm.
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

‘All the neighbors know who she is’: How one woman built a flower farm across eight yards. During the pandemic, Rachel Nafis worked as an ER nurse. Burned out, she turned to flower farming and learned that being a florist is about more than just flowers.


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San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing survived earthquakes, fires and Prohibition. Now it could close for good. The historic brewing company will shut down and is no longer making beer, signaling the end of a 127-year run for the California institution.

A renegade sea otter is terrorizing California surfers: ‘It’s a little scary.’ Since mid-June, an otter has been attacking and terrorizing surfers off the Santa Cruz coastline — in at least one case, stealing a board. In recent days, the attacks have grown increasingly aggressive.

Rent in this California city exceeded San Francisco’s for the first time. Here’s how much it costs per month. San Diego’s typical monthly rental rate in June was $3,175, exceeding San Francisco’s rent of $3,168. Still, San Diego and San Francisco rents were not the highest.

Created in California: How Dr. Bronner’s became the soap for every subculture. Emanuel Bronner — he wasn’t actually a doctor — started mixing gallons of peppermint castile soap and selling it out of his Pershing Square tenement apartment in 1948. This is the wild and very California story behind the man, the cultish product and the progressive company.

A housing effort to keep a new generation of L.A. youth out of homelessness. The Dunamis House is one of a number of new housing projects that targets “transition-aged youth” who are 18 to 24 years old. It offers programs for career development, mental health and academics to ensure students are positioned for success.


Cedars-Sinai faces federal civil rights investigation over treatment of Black mothers. The investigation comes after allegations of racism and discrimination emerged in the years after the death of Kira Dixon Johnson.

Disneyland workers could get a pay hike to nearly $20 an hour after living-wage win. A California appellate court ruled that Disneyland has illegally evaded a living-wage law passed by Anaheim voters in 2018 that could boost pay for Disneyland Resort workers to nearly $20 an hour.

All aboard, again! Passenger trains are set to return to Orange County’s troubled coastal tracks. For the second time this year, passenger trains will resume full service through San Clemente following a devastating landslide that imperiled its coastal tracks.

Drivers on the 405 Freeway in O.C. could pay $10 tolls and get extra lanes. Would it help with traffic? Critics aren’t so sure. They cite the need to combat climate change and air pollution, the legacy of displacing and polluting communities of color and research that shows that expanding freeways doesn’t alleviate traffic congestion.

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

A man strikes a pose in a cap and gown
Jessi Fernandez, 29, who just graduated from UC Berkeley with honors, exemplifies a shift in which more formerly incarcerated men and women are getting college educations.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The ‘Un-Becoming’: A former Eastside gang member finds his resurrection tale at UC Berkeley. This sort of comeback story, once a rarity in California, appears on track to become more common, as the state’s political leaders have turned slowly away from a criminal justice system anchored in punishment to one that claims the goal of rehabilitation.

Column: She fantasized about torturing her daughter’s killer. Instead, she helped him. Jill Harrison wants prison to be a place of learning and hope for the man who killed her daughter and everyone behind bars. Because then maybe she can feel confident that someone else’s daughter won’t wind up dumped in the desert by a felon who came out of prison just as messed up as he went in.

Estranged from the Catholic Church, some Latinos turn to veneration of unofficial saints. While Roman Catholicism remains the largest faith among Latino adults, those who feel estranged from Catholic Church traditions are turning to unofficial saints, seeking healing from racism, sexual violence and poverty.

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