Newsletter: Kobe’s public memorial and more in the week ahead

Gilbert Partida writes a note on a memorial board for Kobe Bryant in January in Los Angeles.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
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Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Feb. 24, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead.

Expect the conversation to be dominated by Kobe Bryant’s memorial on Monday, as 20,000 mourners will fill downtown Los Angeles’ Staples Center — “the house that Kobe built” — to celebrate the lives of the 41-year-old Lakers star and his 13-year-old daughter, who were killed alongside seven others in the helicopter crash in Calabasas. Officials are asking those who don’t have tickets to stay away from the area. Here’s how to watch from home.

[See also: “How Los Angeles is remembering Kobe Bryant” in the Los Angeles Times]

Tuesday will play host to yet another Democratic presidential candidate debate, this time in Charleston, S.C.

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, and the first day of Lent.

CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, will begin on Thursday in Maryland. Californians likely to make headlines there include Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) and part-time Palm Springs resident Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany and recently appointed acting director of national intelligence.


Saturday is Leap Day. It’s also the South Carolina Democratic primary.

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

California’s presidential primary hinges on big voting changes in Los Angeles: When Los Angeles County set out to build a new voting system from scratch more than a decade ago, election officials knew the challenges in serving an electorate larger than found in any of 39 states.

But what they didn’t know was that their efforts were on a collision course with a series of statewide election changes and the most consequential presidential primary in modern California history. Should Angelenos not understand what to do or where to go, the impact could be felt both statewide and — in terms of the Democratic presidential race — across the country. Los Angeles Times

A look at Proposition 13, the only statewide proposition on the March 3 ballot. The main focus of Proposition 13 is simple: It proposes the sale of $15 billion in general obligation bonds to finance construction projects for K-12 schools, community colleges and state universities. Los Angeles Times


Early voting has begun in L.A. County, with some hiccups reported. Los Angeles Times


A novelist and Long Beach high school teacher who sparked a row in U.S. publishing has been placed on administrative leave and was escorted from her school Friday. Myriam Gurba, who led the backlash against bestselling novel “American Dirt,” said earlier this week that her school administration had begun ostracizing her for speaking out in support of the students who alleged abuse at the hands of another teacher. Los Angeles Times

Myriam Gurba
Myriam Gurba, speaking during a panel hosted by #DignidadLiteraria in February, has brought questions about Latinx visibility in the U.S. publishing industry to the forefront through her vocal critique of “American Dirt.”
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

Fifty Kobe Bryant murals, mapped throughout Southern California. Orange County Register

A man drove his Jeep off the roof of a Santa Monica parking garage and landed across the street. He is recovering from his injuries in a hospital. Los Angeles Times

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Greyhound will no longer allow Border Patrol agents on its buses without a warrant. The company is the largest operator of intercity buses in America. New York Times



Winning California’s Democratic presidential primary isn’t as simple as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know about the the arcane rules for electoral victory in the Golden State. Los Angeles Times

Inside Bloomberg’s paid social media army: These “deputy field organizers,” as the campaign calls them, are focusing their efforts on California and its 415 delegates up for grabs. Los Angeles Times

Latino voters seem fond of “Tío Bernie.” Big-name Latino politicians, not so much. Los Angeles Times

The hotly contested Los Angeles district attorney’s race has attracted millions in political donations that represent the political canyon between Jackie Lacey and George Gascón. Los Angeles Times

Residents of suburban Sacramento and the Sierra foothills will be faced with “a glut of school measures” on the March 3 ballot. Here’s a brief look at those measures. Sacramento Bee


Trump has flipped the 9th Circuit — and some new judges are causing a “shock wave.” The sprawling 9th Circuit, which covers California and eight other states, has long had a reputation for liberal views. Los Angeles Times


[ICYMI: Here’s my column on the 9th Circuit from a few months back.]

Nearly half of BART “quality of life” citations go to black riders. As BART police look to crack down on “quality of life” problems to win back riders who have become wary of the transit system, new data from the agency show black passengers are ticketed for those offenses at a far higher rate than riders of other races. Mercury News


Send coronavirus patients to Costa Mesa? Officials and residents decried a plan to use a local facility as a quarantine site. Los Angeles Times


After years of close calls, daredevil “Mad Mike” Hughes was killed during the launch of a homemade rocket outside Barstow. It’s not clear what went wrong. Dramatic video footage of the botched stunt posted on social media appears to indicate that there was a problem with his parachute. Los Angeles Times

Loud “Matrix 4” filming in San Francisco’s Financial District, including low-flying helicopters and late-night pyrotechnics, has disrupted the sleep schedules of some residents. SF Gate

Hydro Flask started out at farmers markets. Here’s how it became the must-have water bottle in an era of status water bottles. Los Angeles Times


California Typewriter in Berkeley will close after 70 years servicing manual and electric typewriters, printers and business machines. Berkeleyside

A septuagenarian Palo Alto couple were found alive a week after going missing during a Valentine’s Day hike. They survived off of a puddle of water they found nearby and were helped by relatively mild weather for most of the week. Mercury News

Ron Salisbury is San Diego’s first-ever poet laureate. He will spend the next two years expanding the reach of verse in the community. San Diego Union-Tribune


Los Angeles: sunny, 72. San Diego: sunny, 67. San Francisco: sunny, 63. San Jose: partly sunny, 68. Sacramento: sunny, 73. More weather is here.


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

Actor Edward James Olmos (Feb. 24, 1947), Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey (Feb. 27, 1957) and architect Frank Gehry (Feb. 28, 1929).

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.