Newsletter: Indigenous Peoples Day and a Democratic debate in the week ahead

Kenneth Thomas Shirley, a Navajo Nation champion dancer and the CEO of Indigenous Enterprise, performs at Los Angeles City Hall in advance of the city's Indigenous People's Day celebration.
Kenneth Thomas Shirley, a Navajo Nation champion dancer and the CEO of Indigenous Enterprise, performs at Los Angeles City Hall in advance of the city’s Indigenous Peoples Day celebration.
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Oct. 14, and here’s quick look at the week ahead:

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Monday is Indigenous Peoples Day in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities that have chosen to rethink how we celebrate American history — and who we honor on the second Monday of October.

The fourth Democratic presidential debate will be held on Tuesday in Ohio. Sen. Kamala Harris and businessman Tom Steyer will be two of the 12 candidates on stage with ties to California.


On Thursday, millions across California (and the globe) will participate in The Great ShakeOut — the world’s largest earthquake drill. (Reminder: Now, while the ground isn’t shaking, is as good a time as any to make sure your emergency kit is packed and ready to go. Here are some pro tips for putting one together.)

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


The fires that hit Southern California have been linked to three deaths as officials on Sunday continued to gain ground. In the Saddleridge fire that swept across the San Fernando Valley foothills, a man in his late 50s died after suffering a heart attack while talking with firefighters early Friday. In the Sandalwood fire that burned dozens of mobile homes in Calimesa, two people died. Los Angeles Times

More on the Saddleridge fire:

  • Tens of thousands of Los Angeles residents who evacuated from the path of the Saddleridge fire returned home late Saturday and early Sunday, days after the wind-driven blaze tore through the hills at the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles Times
  • An electrical tower is being investigated as a possible ignition point of the fire. The cause has not yet been determined, officials said. Los Angeles Times
  • For Porter Ranch, the Saddleridge fire was the latest disaster on a growing list. The community has been battered by brush fires, earthquakes and four years ago the largest natural gas leak in United States history. Los Angeles Times
  • A dirty blanket of smoke from the fire settled over much of the city and raised air pollution levels in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times

Power had been restored to all homes and businesses affected by the PG&E blackouts in Northern California by Saturday evening, according to the company. The last customers to be reconnected were scattered through the Sierra foothills and northern Sacramento Valley. Sacramento Bee



The Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Metropolitan Division will drastically cut back on pulling over random vehicles, a cornerstone of the city’s crime-fighting strategy that has come under fire for its disproportionate impact on black and Latino drivers. This major shift was prompted by a Times investigation. Los Angeles Times

Why are these L.A. people sleeping in stacked pods? It’s not just the cost of housing.Los Angeles Times

Michael Baez, a resident at the Eddy Co-Living space, sits on a bed in a pod at the space in Hollywood.
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

The exodus of talent from Hollywood studios to streamers is stunning, so our team mapped it. This interactive graphic shows the dramatic migration of executive and creative talent from the major studios to streaming platforms over the last five years. Los Angeles Times

Here are some of the best late night and 24-hour dining experiences around Los Angeles, from Thai staples in the Valley to Korean comforts in Koreatown. Eater LA

Dubai in Weho at the Viper Room? Residents say they hate the look of the Morphosis-designed mixed-use high-rise slated for the development of the Viper Room on Sunset Strip. Curbed LA

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A U.S. Marine veteran who fought in Iraq faces imminent deportation. The Long Beach resident, who saw combat in Iraq, served time for felonies. His supporters are asking Newsom for a pardon. Orange County Register


Sunday marked the deadline for Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature. Here’s a look at some of what passed over the weekend:

  • California will become the first state in the nation to mandate later start times at most public schools under legislation signed into law by Newsom Sunday. Los Angeles Times
  • In his latest rebuke of the Trump administration, Newsom signed a bill Friday that bans private prisons and immigrant detention facilities from operating in California. The move was hailed as a major victory by advocates for criminal justice reform and immigrant rights.Los Angeles Times
  • The Jerry “There must be some limit to the coercive power of government” Brown days are officially over: Smoking and vaping in most areas of California state parks and beaches will soon be prohibited after Newsom OK’d a proposal that had been vetoed by Govs. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger seven times in a decade of efforts. Los Angeles Times
  • California will become the first state in the nation to require public universities to provide access to abortion pills on campus under a bill signed by Newsom on Friday. Los Angeles Times
  • The Oakland A’s will have an easier time financing and building a proposed new ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal after Newsom signed two bills Friday to help the team. San Francisco Chronicle
  • Newsom toughened California’s already strict gun control laws, signing a raft of bills that broadly expand the state’s “red flag” law and limit the purchase of semiautomatic rifles by individuals to one per month. Los Angeles Times
  • A law intended to counter Trump administration plans to increase oil and gas production on protected public land was also signed by Newsom. Los Angeles Times

And some of what didn’t:

  • Newsom vetoed legislation that would have allowed San Francisco to test a fee and reservation system for the world-famous crooked block of Lombard between Leavenworth and Hyde streets in San Francisco, citing “social equity issues.” San Francisco Chronicle
  • He also vetoed a bill that would have barred California cities from striking tax-sharing deals with retailers like Amazon and Apple, finding that rural communities rely on the agreements to spur employment. Modesto Bee

Californians may be playing an outsize role in the impeachment inquiry, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the state is in favor. An anti-impeachment rally will be held in Bakersfield this week. Supporters are asked to bring homemade signs, American flags, and 3-by-5-foot “Trump 2020 Flags,” according to the release. Bakersfield Californian


Money, murder and the “fish game”: Behind Oakland’s crackdown on gambling dens. San Francisco Chronicle

An unlicensed contractor pleaded guilty to defrauding a Camp fire survivor, and faces three years in prison. Sacramento Bee


A quirky Carlsbad bookstore and arts hub is facing an unexpected eviction. San Diego Union-Tribune

Bakersfield’s only operating pet cemetery has opened at Greenlawn Southwest. Bakersfield Californian

Sustainable weed: Carbon footprint and grid concerns are pushing the Southern California weed industry to be more green. Desert Sun


Los Angeles: sunny, 74. San Diego: partly sunny, 70. San Francisco: partly sunny, 65. San Jose: sunny, 76. Sacramento: sunny, 81. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea (Oct. 16, 1962), state Controller Betty Yee (Oct. 19, 1957), L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis (Oct. 20, 1957), rapper Snoop Dogg (Oct. 20, 1971) and Sen. Kamala Harris (Oct. 20, 1964).

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.