Newsletter: Few new Californians

California saw the lowest recorded growth rates since 1900 this year.
California saw the lowest recorded growth rates since 1900 this year.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Dec. 23, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead:

Monday marks the second night of Hanukkah. The holiday will continue through Sunday night.

Tuesday is Christmas Eve.

Wednesday is Christmas Day. Archbishop Jose Gomez will lead a Christmas morning Mass inside Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles, as has become Gomez’s tradition.

Kwanzaa begins on Thursday.


Happy holidays to all who are celebrating! This newsletter will be off on Wednesday and Thursday, but back in your inboxes on Friday morning.

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


The state’s population growth has slowed to a trickle, reaching the most sluggish rates seen since 1900 as residents leave and immigration decelerates. The trend is rooted in fewer births, coupled with increased deaths among an aging population. The Golden State has also seen changes in international migration, along with more residents leaving the state. Los Angeles Times

California emergency officials are continuing to overlook the state’s most vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, as they make preparations for inevitable wildfires, floods and other disasters, according to a state audit released this month.

Residents who don’t speak English have been unable to find information in their language. Individuals who use wheelchairs or rely on electricity to power lifesaving equipment have found themselves unable to move and cut off from the outside world, trapped in part, the audit suggests, by state and county leaders’ inability to think ahead for emergencies. Los Angeles Times



A joyous New Orleans-style Second Line parade to honor the roughly 1,000 homeless people who have died in Los Angeles County this year turned to anger on Friday, as skid row mourners stopped at City Hall to denounce elected officials for not halting the growing death toll. Los Angeles Times

A march in downtown L.A. in tribute to homeless people who have died
Pancake, a community organizer, leads a march in downtown L.A. in tribute to homeless people who died this year.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

“Our worst nightmare.” Vandalism at a Persian synagogue stuns a congregation. Los Angeles Times

A guide to finding the tastiest sufganiyot in the San Fernando Valley. Jelly-filled sufganiyot (the Hebrew word for doughnuts) are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah. Los Angeles Daily News

An introduction to LA Fresh Poultry, a halal-style store known as la pollería where the many immigrant communities of Los Angeles converge. New York Times

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After countless promises and attempts to restrict immigration, 2019 may be remembered as the year in which President Trump got closest to fulfilling his central campaign pledge. Los Angeles Times


Sen. Bernie Sanders has rolled out more than 300 California endorsements, which include 40 elected officials. The Democratic presidential contenders are vying for California backing ahead of Super Tuesday. The Hill

How Sacramento shifted billions of dollars in future wildfire costs to consumers: California will automatically consider utility-caused wildfire costs reasonable unless a third party can prove “serious doubts,” experts say. San Diego Union-Tribune


New phone transcripts offer a detailed look at how college admissions scandal mastermind Rick Singer worked. The transcripts offer something new in the much picked-over case — an unvarnished view of how Singer sold his wealthy clients on committing what prosecutors call fraud, bribery and money laundering. Los Angeles Times


The Newport-Mesa Unified School District has appealed state fines over a rat infestation and other problems. Los Angeles Times


Rain drenched the Bay Area, and more is expected to return before Christmas. San Francisco Chronicle

Planning to drive up the Grapevine or into the mountains from L.A. this holiday week? Tuesday should be your best bet for traveling, weather-wise. (Another storm system is headed in for Wednesday and Thursday.) Los Angeles Times


A 111-year-old man celebrated his birthday in Laguna Woods. He’s believed to be the oldest man in the United States. Orange County Register


Here are 15 Northern California wine, beer and coffee events to enjoy in the new year. Mercury News

The state’s longest-serving highway patrolman has retired after 36 years. CHP senior Officer Doug Villars finished his decades-long career in San Luis Obispo, joined on the road by his son, also a CHP officer, for a final patrol. San Luis Obispo Tribune

Three of the top 10 metro areas in the country vulnerable to “porch piracy” are in California, according to one analysis. As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, so too has “porch piracy” — or the pilfering of delivered packages. Los Angeles Times

An internet outage at Sacramento International Airport caused major delays and cancellations on Sunday morning. Sacramento Bee

Several major Orange County freeway closures are planned for the holiday week. Here’s what to know. Orange County Register



Los Angeles: rain, 59. San Diego: rain, 62. San Francisco: partly sunny, 53. San Jose: partly sunny, 55. Sacramento: sunny, 55. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:

Former Dodger Steve Garvey (Dec. 22, 1948), filmmaker Lee Daniels (Dec. 24, 1959), former Gov. Gray Davis (Dec. 26, 1942), L.A. Archbishop Jose Gomez (Dec. 26, 1951) and USC Annenberg School Dean Willow Bay (Dec. 28, 1963)

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.