Newsletter: The Oscars get a surprise ending

Barry Jenkins | Oscars 2017
“Moonlight” writer-director Barry Jenkins is stunned after winning for best picture.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It’s Monday, Feb. 27, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Quite the plot twist

It was supposed to be an Academy Awards about politics, President Trump and diversity. And it was, until the end, when there was a mix-up over who won best picture. (“Moonlight,” it turned out.) Los Angeles Times


Here’s how the epic mistake could have happened. Los Angeles Times 

And here’s how it looked backstageLos Angeles Times

While the error got all the attention, the ceremonies also marked an important political moment, as Cathleen Decker writes. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A small but hearty bunch of pro-Trump supporters took to Hollywood Boulevard. It was part protest march, part people-watching, part performance art. Los Angeles Times


Obamacare alternative

With President Trump now vowing to put forward a replacement for the Affordable Care Act in March, some California politicians and healthcare advocates are once again promoting the idea of a state-run “single-payer” system that operates like Medicare. But that would come with a huge price tag -- and a lot of uncertainty. Los Angeles Times

Drought symbol

If there is one place one can go to say California’s drought is finally over, it’s Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara County. Just a few weeks ago, it was the only place in California still in extreme drought. Now, after epic rains, the place is transformed. Los Angeles Times


A day with immigrants: So how many undocumented workers does California actually have? They make up 10% of the labor force in California, USC researchers say, but about 45% of agriculture employment and 21% of construction workers. Los Angeles Times

Consider compassion: Archbishop Jose Gomez and Steve Lopez talk about when deportation makes sense and when it doesn’t. If someone in the U.S. illegally commits “a really bad crime,” Gomez said, he’s not opposed to deportation. But deportation for a relatively minor offense would be too severe. “Honestly, for me, the penalty is not proportionate to what happened,” he said. Los Angeles Times

The kids: Can children really be “bad hombres”? Sonia Nazario, author of “Enrique’s Journey,” argues they can’t. New York Times


Help wanted: Is Trump planning to loosen hiring standards for Border Patrol agents? Foreign Policy

Open season? Some immigration agents who felt constrained under Obama now feel the gloves are off under Trump. New York Times

Tense times: Santa Ana is one of California’s most hard-core “sanctuary cities,” and that’s already caused a break with ICE. Los Angeles Times

Words matter: Debating the very definition of deportation. San Diego Union-Tribune

New middle class: Deported from California and other parts of the U.S., they find a middle-class life back home in El Salvador. Los Angeles Times


Street sweep: Mayor Eric Garcetti vowed to use data to improve city services and make City Hall work better. By one measure -- cleaning up L.A.’s notoriously filthy streets -- his effort appears to have worked. Los Angeles Times

Body found: The body of a 14-year-old boy who disappeared from San Fernando during a powerful storm earlier this month has been found on an island in the Los Angeles River near Griffith Park. Los Angeles Times



They like Trump: California Republicans had mixed feelings about Donald Trump during the primaries. But now, they are all in and liking what they see. Los Angeles Times

Rallying point: The silencing of Janet Nguyen, a Republican state senator and Vietnamese refugee, became a rallying force at the California GOP convention this weekend. Los Angeles Times

Who wore that haircut better? Silver Lake hipsters or alt-right leaders? LA Weekly

Tax plan: Trump could hold major sway in the future of affordable housing in California. Los Angeles Times


White House plea: San Bernardino is asking for President Trump’s help in dealing with its epidemic of homicides, among other issues. “As San Bernardino emerges from bankruptcy we are striving to revitalize our community but continue to face many challenges including violent crime,” a letter from the city to the White House says. San Bernardino Sun

Tragedy: A well-known magician was found dead Friday at the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood. Daryl Easton had been in the business for decades, won numerous awards and had been performing at the club in recent days. Los Angeles Times

Panicked moment: Marking the grim anniversary of a very dark time in Los Angeles history. Los Angeles Times


Request denied: A Redding newspaper asked City Hall for maps showing what flooding along the Sacramento River might look like and officials denied the request, citing a terrorist threat. Record Searchlight

Will it hold? Can the damaged Oroville Dam spillway survive through the end of the rainy season? Sacramento Bee

Compare and contrast: Contrasting the emergency response to the Oroville Dam crisis and the San Jose flooding, the Silicon Valley city is not faring so well. Mercury News


On the “People’s Court” bench: Joseph Wapner was a fairly anonymous retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge when the call came. Almost overnight, he became an unlikely American TV icon, a white-haired jurist who was dubbed the “Solomon of Small Claims.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: Actor Bill Paxton died unexpectedly after surgery. Los Angeles Times

In the bubble: So how can you tell you live in the San Francisco bubble? A $15 cup of coffee, taking Lyft for three blocks and not seeing a Windows PC since 2011. That’s a start. SF Gate

Pssst: Are those Disneyland FastPass tickets so valuable they’ve created a scalpers’ market? Orange County Register

Serious cinema: People love to say Hollywood has abandoned movies for grown-ups as it chases comic-book blockbusters and young people. But here’s evidence to prove that untrue. Los Angeles Times

Fashion police: Meryl Streep versus Karl Lagerfeld. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles: Cloudy and cool Monday. San Diego: Chance of rain. Bay Area: Partly cloudy. Sacramento: Partly cloudy. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for notable Californians: architect Frank Gehry (Feb. 28, 1929), Rep. Ami Bera (March 2, 1965) and Rep. Paul Cook (March 3, 1943).

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 Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad