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Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Saugus High School shooting

Police officers escort students away from Saugus High School after a gunman opened fire on the Santa Clarita campus early Thursday.
Police officers escort students away from Saugus High School after a gunman opened fire on the Santa Clarita campus early Thursday.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Nov. 16.

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

Top stories

Santa Clarita shooting. Thursday’s deadly shooting at Saugus High School unfolded over 16 seconds in which a student pulled out a gun in the quad area and opened fire, killing two classmates, wounding three others and fatally shooting himself, authorities said. As students were led off the grounds, one asked aloud a question surely on the minds of many others: “What kind of a world is this?”

“Go back to California.” A wave of newcomers from California to Boise, Idaho, is fueling a backlash among locals. One mayoral candidate even ran on the platform: Stop the California invasion.

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Two L.A. MVPs. Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers won the NL MVP award on Thursday, while Mike Trout of the Angels won the AL award. The individual honors are wonderful, writes columnist Bill Plaschke, but they also highlight the teams’ failures to capitalize on them.

More UC students. The University of California plans to enroll 1,400 more California undergraduates next year with no tuition increase under a 2020-21 budget approved Thursday by the board of regents.

EV transformation. In an unlikely marriage of classic car culture and green technology, sophisticated hot-rodders — mostly men, mostly Californians — are cannibalizing crashed electric cars and using their batteries to create electrified sports cars and muscle cars.

High-speed divide. Even after a decade of abrupt U-turns for California’s high-speed rail project, state leaders are now split like never before. The argument boils down to where the project money can do the most good.

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More USC deaths. Faced with the deaths of nine students since Aug. 24, USC administrators are engaged in a delicate balancing act as they notify students, offer mental health resources and try both to quell rumors and avoid triggering students in the midst of mental health crisis. Police investigators are looking into drug overdoses as a potential cause.

L.A.’s biggest problem. Homelessness is now an all-consuming issue in Los Angeles County, with 95% of voters calling it a serious or very serious problem, according to a new poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times. The near-unanimous opinion marks a sharp change from earlier surveys.

Sidelining the WGA. As Hollywood’s biggest labor dispute in a decade continues with no end in sight, some talent agencies have found a workaround: building shows around popular books, podcasts and English-language adaptations of foreign-language shows.

24 tiny faults. New research shows that the Ridgecrest earthquakes that began in July ruptured at least two dozen small faults. It’s the latest evidence of how small faults can join together to produce a large earthquake, and how those quakes can cover a wider area than expected.

Sports betting’s future. 18 Native American tribes have proposed an initiative to legalize sports betting in California. The filing of papers, led by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, comes just four months after state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) introduced a bill that would also put a sports betting measure on the 2020 ballot.

This week’s most popular stories in Essential California

1. A community in mourning. The Daily Trojan

2. How liberal or conservative is your community? Search every California city here. Sacramento Bee

3. Sir Rod Stewart has finally revealed the fruits of his other great passion — model railways. BBC News

4. Mysterious “high velocity” projectiles pepper cars in California. What’s going on? SLO Tribune

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5. Decoding Devin Nunes’ opening statement at the impeachment hearing. Fresno Bee

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Can a woman who is an artist ever just be an artist? The lives of two painters tell very different stories about what it takes to thrive in a medium historically dominated by men. New York Times

Meet the scientist who’s been counting California butterflies for 47 years and has no plans to stop: “Art Shapiro stands on the edge of a Chevron gas station in the north-central Sierra, sipping a large Pepsi and scanning the landscape for butterflies.” Los Angeles Times

From the archives: "Why did the harrowing personal essay take over the internet?” In a 2015 piece, Laura Bennett explores the rise of she calls the “First-Person Industrial Complex.” Slate

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. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Diya Chacko for all her help on the Saturday edition.)


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