Newsletter: Essential California: Can the high desert become the Silicon Valley of pot?

Trump takes his first trip abroad as president, starting his itinerary in Saudi Arabia. Can marijuana transform the struggling desert city of Adelanto into the Silicon Valley of pot? By next year, Californians could be warned before an earthquake hi

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, May 22, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Boom or bust?

People with money — and little experience growing cannabis — see the high desert town of Adelanto as a place to cash in on large-scale marijuana cultivation. Can it become the “Silicon Valley of medical marijuana”? Los Angeles Times


Another contested vote

Supporters of the losing candidate in the California Democratic Party’s race for chairperson were out en masse early Sunday at the state convention in Sacramento, many calling for an investigation of the party’s voting process. Longtime Democratic leader Eric Bauman eked out a victory Saturday to be the party’s next chairman, beating rival Kimberly Ellis, representing a more upstate wing, by just about 60 votes, according to the state party. Los Angeles Times

Plus: California Democrats shifted to a new generation at their party convention this weekend, a move fraught with possibility and danger. Los Angeles Times

And: The governor’s race is coming into focus. Los Angeles Times


Vintage versus retro

The end of the line for a famed Palm Springs steakhouse in its current incarnation represents something much more: the closing of the Rat Pack world of the desert and the rise of something else. Perhaps it’s the difference between “retro” and “vintage.” Los Angeles Times


Warning coming: Scientists are making rapid progress toward a limited public rollout of an earthquake early warning system in California by 2018, assisted by recent infusions of government funds. Los Angeles Times

Costly election: A closer look at the most expensive school board race in American history, and how L.A. became a piggy bank for a lot of wealthy donors. Los Angeles Times

A 25-year-old mystery solved: For a quarter-century after his charred body was found inside a Pep Boys torched in the 1992 Los Angeles riots, he was known only as John Doe No. 80. That mystery was recently solved. But how much closure does it actually bring? Los Angeles Times

In the clear? New restrictions on how Los Angeles city workers can assist with immigration enforcement do not violate federal rules, City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a report for city lawmakers. The question is especially crucial as President Trump seeks to strip funds from “sanctuary” cities. Los Angeles Times

In demand: The Marciano Art Foundation, L.A.’s newest contemporary art museum, won’t open to the public until May 25. But the reservations for timed admission tickets have been busy. Los Angeles Times


Lasorda ailing: Tommy Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers to their most recent World Series championship in 1988, has been hospitalized for an undisclosed ailment. Los Angeles Times


Your donation wanted: President Trump loves to slam California and describe journalists as the enemy. So why is he seeking donations from Times columnist Steve Lopez? Lopez examines the California that Trump would like to create as president. Los Angeles Times

Bye-bye, Botts’ Dots: Those circular bumps on California freeways that let you know when you are drifting into another lane are going the way of leaded gas and tail fins. Orange County Register

Departure from CalPERS: A major critic of the way California’s massive pension board operates is stepping aside. Wall Street Journal


American dream: A visa fraud case in the San Gabriel Valley has Chinese investors suing to get their money back. Los Angeles Times

Inside the mystery: Two buddies went on a camping trip in Northern California. Only one survived. The Mercury News


Rehab central: Southern California is considered the “Rehab Riviera.” Critics say some rehab centers are exploiting Obamacare — and their patients. Orange County Register


On the books but … : Why is a key California water law essentially never followed? Sacramento Bee

Swim free: A humpback whale had an adventurous weekend in Ventura Harbor. Los Angeles Times


Seen it all before: In tough times, network television is playing it safe. NBC is bringing back “Will & Grace,” one of its top comedies from 1998 to 2006. ABC is returning “Roseanne,” a hit from 1988 to 1997. Both shows will feature their original casts. Los Angeles Times

Dude! Teaching surf etiquette amid the waves of Southern California’s beaches. Daily Breeze

Whale tales: SeaWorld is hoping a new cast of whales can revive its sagging fortunes. San Diego Union-Tribune

Charged up: Fueled by Chevy and Tesla, sales of electric vehicles in California rose 91% in the first quarter of 2017 from the same period last year. That’s still only 13,804 pure electrics, though. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: sunny and hot, with highs in the mid-80s. Sacramento: sunny and even hotter, with highs just under 100. San Diego: sunny with highs in the mid-70s. San Francisco area: mostly sunny with highs in the low 70s. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: former L.A. City Councilman Felipe Fuentes (May 25, 1971) and singer Lenny Kravitz (May 26, 1964).

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.