Newsletter: Essential California: Why some activists say not even criminals should be deported

Emmanuel Macron wins the French election, beating far-right candidate Marie Le Pen. Trump’s lawyers return to court to revive his foreign travel ban. A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by San Diego police. Plus, what does it cost to protect our j

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, May 8, and here’s what’s happening across California:


A hard-line position on deportation

There’s a class of immigration activists who believe that even criminals shouldn’t be deported. They take this permissive view because, they say, the deported end up wreaking havoc in countries like Mexico and Guatemala, which have weaker judicial systems, and that causes more people there to flee. “I’ve been in El Salvador and in Honduras when the planes land with deportees,” Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said. “It’s becoming the penal colony of the United States where criminal dumping is acceptable.” Los Angeles Times


Preparing for the worst

In Los Angeles, teenagers around the city are balancing schoolwork with the new adult responsibilities of protecting their loved ones and friends from deportation. A 2013 USC analysis found that about 16% of children in Los Angeles County were U.S. citizens with at least one parent without legal status. Los Angeles Times

Plus: “Just let me stay here, so I can take care of my kids.” Orange County Register

From modest life to many choices


For 17 years, Noe Martinon and his family have lived in a studio apartment in South L.A. To reach it, you pass through a common courtyard with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Inside Apartment 3, two sets of bunk beds stand in a space that is both bedroom and living room for parents, son and daughter. Despite this modest upbringing, Noe is a star student sought by America’s top colleges, Times columnist Steve Lopez writes. Los Angeles Times

The fired-up left

Technology consultant Jason Schadewald is emblematic of a surge of activism rippling through California’s political landscape. Not content to rely on the state to be a liberal bastion of resistance against President Trump and Republican-controlled Washington, D.C., Schadewald and his ilk are turning to Sacramento to pressure the ruling Democrats from the left. Los Angeles Times


Painful anniversary: Simi Valley is dealing with its own legacy from the Rodney King beating, trial and riots 25 years later. “They were aware of Simi Valley and it was the only thing they knew about it. It was just awful to get labeled,” Simi Valley historian Pat Havens tells The Times’ Robin Abcarian. Los Angeles Times

Backlash to bar stunt: To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, a Dana Point bar set up an inflatable wall for patrons to climb over — and handed out “green cards” that guaranteed one free drink to those who clambered to the top. This has sparked outrage in the community. Los Angeles Times

A fight in the Valley: Against a backdrop of voter discontent, two L.A. City Hall insiders are seeking to win the 7th District council seat in the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles Times

Urban wildlife: There’s been little research into how coyotes and humans in cities interact, and as a result cities struggle to formulate policies about how to deal with the animal. KQED



An embattled agency: The state Board of Equalization is reeling from allegations of financial blunders, nepotism and improper use of civil servants for political benefit. This tax collection body has been temporarily stripped of its power as it awaits the possibility of the biggest overhaul in its 138-year history. Los Angeles Times

That rocket tax: California is implementing a plan to tax rocket launches from its coast. “Their tax payments will be determined by how often they fly the 62 miles (100 km) from a California launchpad to the very edge of space while transporting goods or tourists.” Quartz

Government accountability: In Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s district, a string of five cities along the 710 Freeway has sent more than a dozen city officials to jail or prison in the last 11 years. Now he hopes to help change the area’s image. Sacramento Bee


Teen killed by police: San Diego police are investigating after two officers fatally shot a 15-year-old boy Saturday morning as he stood in front of Torrey Pines High School. Police say he was holding a BB gun. Los Angeles Times

Lots of life sentences: California leads the nation in the number of people in prison with life sentences. There’s a new bill in the state Senate that aims to change that. PBS Newshour

Fatal blow: A sucker punch on the streets of Las Vegas led to the death of a California father of five. ABC 6



A threat to wildlife? The state’s plan to build a tunnel under the West’s largest estuary has two main goals: restore imperiled native fish and improve water deliveries to farms and cities. But an early analysis suggests this project may actually do more to endanger the fish. Sacramento Bee

Fishermen’s problems: California lawmakers have introduced new legislation seeking to unlock $117 million in federal disaster aid for commercial fishermen and other business owners scarred by a series of poor crab and salmon seasons. The Press Democrat


Head out on the highway: This weekend, the Lady Bikers of California — an all-female club that was started in the Central Valley — met for the third year in a row to ride together, giving new meaning to the phrase “biker babe.” Your Central Valley

Solid debut: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” had the second-biggest opening of the year this weekend. Only “Beauty and the Beast” had a better opening weekend. Los Angeles Times

Plus: “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” doesn’t exactly have that Hollywood pedigree. But it debuted in the U.S. as the third top box-office draw, making nearly $13 million, despite playing in barely 400 theaters. Los Angeles Times

A clear message: Gustavo Dudamel dedicated a concert to a student in Venezuela who died at an anti-government protest last week. Los Angeles Times

Throwing it back: Take a look at California’s best midcentury motels. Curbed LA

Unforgotten uproar: U2’s free concert in San Francisco in 1987 still gets people worked up. San Francisco Chronicle


Los Angeles area: partly cloudy Monday and Tuesday. San Diego: sunny Monday, partly cloudy Tuesday. San Francisco area: sunny Monday, partly cloudy Tuesday. Sacramento: sunny Monday and Tuesday. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (May 8, 1982), director George Lucas (May 14, 1944), and Rep. Jackie Speier (May 14, 1950).

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.