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Newsletter: A grim search in Oakland comes to a close

Oakland warehouse fire
Hillary Morse, 22, of Oakland mourns the loss of two of her close friends in the warehouse fire in Oakland.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It’s Thursday, Dec. 8, and here’s what’s going on around California:

TOP STORIES

A grim assignment

The remains of high school sweethearts cradling each other. The teenage boy who turned out to be the son of a local sheriff’s deputy. The hours of quiet, painstaking digging for victims. The heartbreaking recovery of 36 bodies in an Oakland warehouse tested the resolve of the searchers. “It’s excruciating to walk through and to possibly relive those last moments when persons knew there was a fire and there was no way out,” one official said. Los Angeles Times

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More Oakland news

-- Oakland officials revealed that no building code enforcement inspector has been inside the warehouse in at least 30 years, raising new questions about oversight of the property.

-- Mourning and support in the Fruitvale neighborhood.

-- Who is the man behind the Ghost Ship?

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-- L.A. begins a crackdown on illegal warehouse dwellings.

-- Stories of those who perished in the flames.

Pioneer’s farewell

Barbara Boxer looked back with pride and a bit of pain as she exits the U.S. Senate after a pioneering run. Boxer moved to the Senate a generation ago as female candidates rode a burst of popularity, she noted in her official farewell address Wednesday. She departs just after the defeat of the first female presidential nominee. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

Holiday scam? L.A. prosecutors are accusing four big retailers — JCPenney, Sears, Kohl’s and Macy’s — of deceptive advertising that allegedly misled shoppers into believing that thousands of products were on sale at a hefty discount. Los Angeles Times

Spaceship parking: Hollywood Boulevard is closed for a while due to the premiere of the new “Star Wars” movie. So no cars, but there is a giant X-wing spacecraft parked on the famed boulevard. LAist

Stylish digs: The Clippers’ new locker rooms are pretty fancy. Take a look. Curbed Los Angeles

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International flair: What colleges in the West have the most international students? According to a Wall Street Journal survey: ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California College of the Arts and Otis College of Art and Design are among them. Wall Street Journal

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Trump safe zone: Another early battle in California vs Trump. California could create “safe zones” prohibiting immigration enforcement on public schools, hospital and courthouse grounds under a new bill. Los Angeles Times

California’s new political class: Liberal, diverse, anti-Trump. New York Times

Back-room hero: A tribute to Miguel Santana, whom fans see as the unsung hero of L.A. city and county government. “He knew the players in the county hall of administration and city hall from working in both places, He constantly brought them together in phone calls and meetings, making sure everybody got credit for their hard work. He took charge in a way that offended no one, and made the participants feel good about their efforts.” LA Observed

Auto correct: Some pins distributed at the state Capitol this week as legislators returned spelled our state “Californta.” It’s a typo the author of this newsletter has made before. Sacramento Bee

CRIME AND COURTS

Baca on trial: Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was the “heartbeat” of a criminal conspiracy to block a federal investigation into abuse and corruption in the Sheriff’s Department-run jails, federal prosecutor told jurors Wednesday in the opening of Baca’s obstruction of justice trial. Los Angeles Times

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End of case: A USC campus safety officer pleaded no contest Wednesday to vehicular manslaughter in connection with the 2015 death of a student, whose car was struck by the officer’s speeding cruiser. Los Angeles Times

Tire woes: Someone is putting “ninja stars” on the streets of Lake Tahoe, causing flat tires and big safety worries. SFGate

Pin problems: A teacher wore a Black Lives Matter button to school. Now he’s banned from campus. The story of how that happened. Fresno Bee

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Water war: How Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein became unlikely adversaries in the effort for federal drought legislation. Wall Street Journal

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Cool tower: L.A. is about to get its next watercooler office tower. It’s on the Westside and features an exoskeleton of steel bands. “The floor is entirely open. There are no columns,” said architect Eric Owen Moss. Los Angeles Times

Trump depression: A big public relations firm has canceled its lavish Christmas parties in Hollywood and New York, a reaction to the election of Trump as president. Instead, money for the party will go to other nonprofit groups. The Wrap

Tesla it’s not: The hottest car on the roads of L.A. today? Maybe it’s the big banana car (and yes, it looks just like the name). San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Pot hole: Is roadside marijuana testing coming to California? Don’t be surprised. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy with highs in the 60s. San Francisco: Rainy with highs in the 50s. Sacramento: Showers with highs in the 50s.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Christopher Adams:

“I moved with my parents to Manhattan Beach just at the beginning of the Second World War. The Hyperion sewage treatment plant just to the north had broken down and was not repaired because of wartime material restrictions. As a first grader, I remember trying to read the quarantine signs on the beach, but what I remember even more clearly is that the upper surf line on the sand was littered with condoms that washed up like grunion in a high tide. While my childhood was otherwise quite innocent, I can’t remember ever not knowing what a condom was.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (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 and ideas to Shelby Grad.


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