Newsletter: Sacramento’s big finish, an Apple launch and more in the week ahead

The Senate at the State Capitol in Sacramento. The current legislative session will come to a close on Friday.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Sept. 9, and here’s a look at the week ahead:

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Monday marks California Admission Day, the 169th anniversary of California’s admission into the Union as the 31st state.

On Tuesday, “The Testaments,” Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” will officially be released worldwide after a “retailer error” from Amazon led to a number of U.S. customers receiving their books early. The “error” pitted angry indie bookstores against the giant of online retailing.


Also Tuesday: Apple will hold a launch event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. New versions of the iPhone are expected to be revealed.

Thursday will see yet another Democratic primary debate. This one will be hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision, and Sen. Kamala Harris will be the only California candidate of the 10 on stage. (Billionaire California activist Tom Steyer has qualified for the October debate, but will not be on stage this week.)

Friday will mark the end of a mad dash in the state Capitol, as Sept. 13 is the last day for the state Legislature to pass bills before the legislative session ends. (Gov. Gavin Newsom then has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto those bills.)

Also Friday: Felicity Huffman will be sentenced for her role in the Great College Admissions Scandal of 2019. Letters that Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, wrote to the judge who will sentence her offer the most detailed explanation to date of how the couple say they got involved in the scandal and how they are grappling with Huffman’s extraordinary fall from grace.

Saturday: LA Opera will open its 2019-20 season amid a sexual harassment investigation into its leader, opera star Plácido Domingo.

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


The California boat fire probe widened as the FBI and Coast Guard served search warrants Sunday on the dive boat Conception’s owner. Agents also searched two other boats belonging to the company, including one similar to the Conception, a 75-foot vessel that burned and sank early last Monday morning as it was anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. Los Angeles Times

A plan under consideration at L.A. City Hall would ban homeless people from sleeping on streets and sidewalks in at least 26% of the city, a Times analysis has found. Those restrictions would come on top of existing rules that put other areas of L.A. off limits at night. For example, homeless people are already supposed to clear out of many parks, which cover an additional 15% of the city. Los Angeles Times

See also: Homeless people couldn’t sleep on many L.A. sidewalks if these rules pass. Is your neighborhood included? Use this interactive map to find out. Los Angeles Times

Grocery strike could be averted: Two major Southern California supermarket operators reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract that could avert a strike at more than 500 grocery stores by the chains’ 47,000 workers. Los Angeles Times


An L.A. politician wants homeless housing on an Echo Park lot. His colleague calls it “Trumpian.” Los Angeles Times

L.A. attorney Gloria Allred is a vocal crusader against sexual harassment and assault, but her firm privately helped negotiate a settlement that muffled one of Harvey Weinstein’s victims in 2004, taking a 40% cut. New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey release their new book “She Said” about the Weinstein saga Tuesday, and a preview of it offers previously unreported information about Allred and her daughter Lisa Bloom, a prominent victims’ rights attorney who worked behind the scenes with Weinstein to quash the journalists’ investigation and thwart his accusers. New York Times

How Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” became Netflix’s biggest Oscar hope yet. Los Angeles Times

A guide to rent control in Los Angeles: How the local laws work — and what they mean for tenants. Curbed LA

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“Just saying hola isn’t enough.” How do Latino voters feel when candidates speak Spanish? Los Angeles Times

San Francisco is willing to pay $2.5 billion to buy Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines and other related infrastructure serving the city. San Francisco Chronicle

Richmond’s police chief was ousted after a vote of no confidence from the city’s police union. East Bay Times


Recent court cases seeking to prevent the San Diego County Fire Authority from assuming control of the county’s last volunteer fire department in Julian have gone the county’s way, meaning the county will probably soon take control of the Julian volunteer fire department. San Diego Union-Tribune


Cal Fire crews are working to fight fires across Northern California, with at least three major wildfires burning in Tehama, Butte and Lake counties as of yesterday. Sacramento Bee

In the undersea world of Sonoma and Mendocino counties, divers have found many sites on the seafloor where hordes of kelp-eating purple sea urchins have invaded, conquered and left behind a barren wasteland — leaving abalone without much of a home and little to eat. San Francisco Chronicle


Judy Chicago says, “I was being erased” from Southern California art history. Los Angeles Times

Artist Judy Chicago with her sculptural installation “Sunset Squares” at Jeffrey Deitch gallery.
Artist Judy Chicago with her sculptural installation “Sunset Squares” at Jeffrey Deitch gallery.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

California’s wealthiest ZIP Codes all have one thing in common: They come with a waterfront view. Sacramento Bee

The ‘60s were a swinging time for Bakersfield architecture. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ablin residence is perhaps the most well-known of the city’s midcentury legacy, but other hidden gems are scattered about the city. Bakersfield Californian

Some of California’s most famous wines began with a science experiment. Fortune

The Dallidet Adobe in San Luis Obispo suspended tours early this year after a visitor stole an 1890s book from the historic home. San Luis Obispo Tribune

This grape harvest in Fontana occurs under the gaze of curious commuters. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin


Los Angeles: sunny, 82. San Diego: partly sunny, 76. San Francisco: windy, 71. San Jose: windy, 77. Sacramento: sunny, 85. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar (Sept. 10, 1968), ballet star Misty Copeland (Sept. 10, 1982), former Rep. Henry Waxman (Sept. 12, 1939), L.A. City Councilman Bob Blumenfield (Sept. 13, 1967) and singer Fiona Apple (Sept. 13, 1977).

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.