Newsletter: Planned power shutoffs could bring wrenching trade-offs

A PG&E crew works to restore power in Felton, Calif.
A PG&E crew works to restore power as a storm sweeps through Felton, Calif.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Aug. 19, and here’s a look at the week ahead:

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Tuesday will mark a major milestone in San Diego’s mayoral race: That’s the day the local Democratic Party will decide whether to make an early endorsement in the race, according to a Voice of San Diego report. (The race currently only includes Democratic contenders, so the local party’s endorsement will probably be invaluable.) Incumbent Mayor Kevin Faulconer is ineligible to run in the 2020 race due to term limits.


Wednesday and Thursday will bring a glut of 2020 presidential contenders to the Golden State, with Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang and Cory Booker all holding campaign events. Warren plans to hold a town hall at the Shrine Auditorium near USC. Yang and Booker will be at events in San Francisco and L.A., respectively, on Wednesday. Booker is scheduled to head to the Bay Area on Thursday. (Warren is also rumored to be headlining a DNC event on Thursday in San Francisco.) And Bernie Sanders will hold a campaign rally in downtown Sacramento on Thursday.

Thursday also marks the 30th anniversary of Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton’s death in Oakland.

On Friday, D23 Expo, the largest Disney expo in the world, will open in Anaheim.

The NCAA college football season begins on Saturday. Sports writer J. Brady McCollough looks at the biggest story lines in college football heading into the 2019 season.

Sunday will probably see a short-term exodus of the tech elite from the Bay Area, as the annual Burning Man festival kicks off in Black Rock City, Nev.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:


Power shutoffs could prevent wildfires, but at what cost to the elderly and disabled? Outages could become more commonplace and prolonged as California utility companies expand shutting off power lines to prevent them from sparking wildfires. Local leaders and public health workers fear that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Californians could find themselves in increasingly dire situations. They also acknowledge there are wrenching trade-offs. Los Angeles Times



Think saying “like” began with Valley Girls? Guess again. The Lily

Netflix’s “bloodbath” reputation for canceling shows may be overblown. Bloomberg

Lifetime’s movie about the college admissions bribery scandal has cast three of its lead roles. (The Lifetime project is just one of several based on the scandal currently in the works around town.) The Hollywood Reporter

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Trump is stripping immigrant children of protections, critics say. Supporters say he’s closing loopholes. Los Angeles Times


A federal government proposal to open a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in the Inland Empire draws fire. Desert Sun


The city of Sacramento has filed an unusual lawsuit to ban seven people from a prominent business corridor, on the grounds they are a “public nuisance.” The seven residents have been accused of a series of property and drug crimes. Sacramento Bee

The recent Bay Area heat wave “highlighted the underfunded status of Oakland’s public school system,” which does not supply every building with its own air-conditioning system. Nearly 200 electric fans were dispatched to the deprived schools. SFist


A San Bernardino City Unified School District official was arrested on suspicion of possession and distribution of child pornography. Riverside Press-Enterprise



In the Santa Barbara Channel, an underwater sound system tries to keep whales and ships apart. Los Angeles Times

California is cracking down on poaching in marine protected areas, but small-time anglers slip under the radar. San Diego Union-Tribune


Rent control panic is gripping landlords throughout Southern California, prompting some to hike rents preemptively in case some type of tenant protection kicks in. Orange County Register


The latest casualty of Trump’s trade war with China? California wine. Los Angeles Times

Long Beach’s Iowa Picnic once drew 125,000. This year, 160 attended but the legacy lives on. Los Angeles Times

Rapper Tone Oliver makes up to $200 a day on BART. Should he be barred from busking? San Francisco Chronicle

One lucky Humboldt County Fair attendee was the recipient of by far the largest horse racing payout in the county’s history. Eureka Times-Standard

The Rolling Stones are playing the Pasadena Rose Bowl this week. But did you know they made their U.S. debut in San Bernardino? San Bernardino Sun

San Francisco is home to the world’s oldest continually operating webcam. After 25 years, it’s being switched off. SFGATE



Los Angeles: sunny, 79. San Diego: partly sunny, 75. San Francisco: partly sunny, 67. San Jose: partly sunny, 79. Sacramento: partly sunny, 87. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: Google co-founder Sergey Brin (Aug. 21, 1973), former Gov. Pete Wilson (Aug. 23, 1933), 12-time Olympic swimming medalist Natalie Coughlin (August 23, 1982), filmmaker Ava DuVernay (August 24, 1972), long-deceased lion of 19th-century California literature Bret Harte (August 25, 1836), Kiss singer Gene Simmons (Aug. 25, 1949), Rep. Katie Hill (Aug. 25, 1987) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (Aug. 25, 1972).

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.