Newsletter: Essential California: Comey learned of firing from TV while talking to FBI agents in L.A.

Trump says his firing of FBI Director James Comey ‘restores public trust.’ L.A.'s school district has new policies to protect families from immigration raids. No more grooming and sifting: Santa Monica Beach is going natural. “Vireo: The Spiritual B

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, May 10, and here’s what’s happening across California:


He went to L.A. and got fired

James Comey was in Los Angeles on Tuesday for a scheduled appearance at an FBI recruiting event. Then he was fired as director of the agency. Comey learned about his firing from a TV news report while speaking with FBI agents in Los Angeles, according to an FBI source. “He was caught flat-footed,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Los Angeles Times


Plus: The Justice Department is citing Comey’s mishandling of Clinton’s emails last year as grounds for his ouster. Los Angeles Times

Blocking out the advocates

The groups that, for the last two years, pushed for a crackdown on police misconduct were left out of talks between L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the LAPD union. “Police accountability, police transparency, police reform, is probably the top government issue of concern in communities of color,” said Pete White, executive director of the Community Action Network, a skid row advocacy group that also focuses on policing issues. “We should be the first, not the last, to be considered in creating reform measures.” Los Angeles Times

A fight in the 1st City Council district


Los Angeles City Council candidate Joe Bray-Ali is under fire over comments he made in an online forum that encouraged racism and fat-shaming. This and revelations about extramarital affairs along with unpaid taxes have provided a lift to unpopular incumbent Gil Cedillo. Los Angeles Times

And a fight to be on the L.A. Unified School Board

In the home stretch before the May 16 vote, two very different audiences focused on very different concerns at campaign forums for pivotal Los Angeles school board contests. Los Angeles Times


Growing empire: L.A. radio station Power 106 has been sold to a Downey-based broadcaster. Previously, Meruelo bought Spanish-language television station KWHY-TV Channel 22 from NBCUniversal in 2011 and picked up radio station KDAY-FM (93.5) in 2014. Los Angeles Times

Movable music feast: The Music Center is hitting the road. The downtown Los Angeles performing arts campus that includes the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Walt Disney Concert Hall has announced a new initiative, “The Music Center on Location.” Los Angeles Times

Letter from a fancy school: Here’s how Harvard-Westlake High School “was the breeding ground for two of the youngest and most vehement stars of the Trump movement.” The Intercept

The birds are alive: A rare shorebird has moved back into some of the prime real estate it abandoned seven decades ago — the playground beaches of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles Times


Restoring the beach: Santa Monica is taking steps to restore a section of its popular beach with the hope of creating a buffer against sea level rise and bringing back coastal plants and wildlife that have been almost eliminated from the region. Los Angeles Times


Some pushback: The Kern County Board of Supervisors has voted to oppose California’s sanctuary state bill.

What to do about the gangs? The MS-13 gang is actually a problem, but some say it doesn’t seem as if President Trump’s administration has any answers to it. The New Yorker

More jail space, please: “Orange County supervisors unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to rent an additional 120 detention beds at the Theo Lacy Facility to immigration officials that will provide up to $5 million more in revenue to the county.” KPCC


A new front: A legal battle over regulations for construction vehicles could become the first test of whether President Trump wants to rein in California’s unique ability to limit air pollution. Los Angeles Times

Here she goes: Newly elected Sen. Kamala Harris appears to cautiously be making behind-the-scenes moves to position herself for a presidential run in 2020. McClatchy


Blocked by a judge: Crucial details about the location and depth of certain California water wells can be kept secret, and out of the hands of an environmental group. Sacramento Bee


Shot from the air: A fatal police shooting in Sunland on Monday marked the first time that specially trained LAPD officers fired on a suspect from a helicopter. Los Angeles Times

Body identified: The Sutter County Sheriff’s Office identified the body found in the Feather River over the weekend as missing Yuba College student Aly Yeoman. KCRA

Man convicted: A 26-year-old man was found guilty Tuesday of abducting and killing Sierra LaMar, a Northern California teenager who disappeared five years ago and whose remains have never been found. Los Angeles Times


A strawberry fight: A bitter legal battle in California is blocking everyone from eating sweeter strawberries. Associated Press

More wine sold: Retail sales of California wine in the U.S. reached $34 billion in 2016 — up 4.6%. ABC 30


Profits up for Disney: Walt Disney Co. reported an 11% jump in profit in the second fiscal quarter, boosted by the hit movie “Beauty and the Beast” and gains in its theme park business. But ESPN was a big source of concern. Los Angeles Times

Potbelly is coming: Midwest sandwich chain Potbelly is expanding into Southern California. Eater LA

Off the hook: The Grammy Museum will salute 40 years of L.A. punk rock with a new exhibit focusing on the long-running band X. Los Angeles Times

Good-looking brews: When a florist opens a coffee shop, pretty drinks ensue. LA Weekly


Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles area: partly cloudy Wednesday and Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Ed Soria:

“Our troop ship was returning from Korea after the armistice was signed in July 1953. We got back on Sept. 15, 1953 — and our ship anchored within the city lights of San Francisco. We gathered on the deck and turned on our radios and listened to jazz emanating from the city. We were within a short distance from where we had departed for the Far East. The Golden Gate was there like a beacon with all its lights bright, as if it were saying, ‘You are home!’ The following morning we sailed under the bridge, and there to welcome us home was a full-dressed Army band on a flat barge playing ‘California, Here I Come.’ My family was there to welcome me home too. To this day, I recall that day with thanksgiving that America is not just words — it is the home of the brave.”

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.