Newsletter: Essential California: Measuring California’s snowpack goes high-tech

LA Pride went from party to protest this year. Sikhs are often targeted in hate crimes after being confused for Muslims. The next big boost to California’s tourism industry: pot. And a big day in sports for Rafael Nadal, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, June 12, and here’s what’s happening across California:


How we measure the snowpack

The way we measure California’s snowpack has been wonderfully simple and exactly the same for decades. A team would trek the rugged Sierra Nevada with three basic tools: a snow core tube, a scale and a notebook. But there is a growing belief that this low-tech process alone is becoming too unreliable to accurately deliver crucial data on the size of Sierra snowpack and its ability to sustain a growing and increasingly thirsty population. Los Angeles Times


Pride marches on

The Los Angeles pride parade has long been a bellwether of the LGBTQ community’s heartaches and victories. On Sunday, the parade was replaced with what can best be described as a symbol of the Trump era — a protest march, complete with a hashtag in its name: the #ResistMarch. It’s a major shift from an often wild event that had been receiving criticism from inside the gay community about being out of touch with the times. Los Angeles Times

Twiddling your thumbs

Meet Carolina Cabrera. She witnessed one of the strangest and most disturbing criminal trials in the history of Los Angeles, yet as an alternate juror, she had no say in the fate of the Grim Sleeper serial killer. Cabrera’s frustration mirrors that of many who serve as alternate jurors — a crew of understudies who must be as attentive as any other juror during the trial but face crashing boredom once deliberations begin. Los Angeles Times


Hate begets hate

Being a Sikh in America hasn’t been easy. After 9/11, scores of Sikhs were mistaken for Muslims and discriminated against. Sikh community leaders say they’ve seen another uptick since the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration’s proposed immigration and travel bans. Those proposals, they argue, are fueling an intensified xenophobia. Los Angeles Times


The silver lining: Times columnist Robin Abcarian tells the story of a recent car crash she was involved in and how instead of it being a tragedy, it brought an unlikely group of Angelenos together. Los Angeles Times


So much change: Customers are battling a Brentwood Whole Foods to save a newsstand, and a way of life that’s existed for decades, writes Times columnist Steve Lopez. Los Angeles Times

Saving their eyes: Faster access to a simple test is helping thousands of diabetics in L.A. County who face an increased risk of going blind. Los Angeles Times

And the winner is: Newly minted Tony winner Ben Platt portrays a high-schooler who’s so nervous, unsure and desperately lonely that he seems to fold into himself. None of this remotely resembles Platt in his own high school years at Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City. Los Angeles Times



Healthcare for all: “California’s Democratic legislators want to extend health benefits to undocumented young adults, the continuation of an effort that ushered children without legal status into the state’s publicly funded health care system last year.” CALmatters

Ad campaign: New TV ads are slamming California’s “sanctuary cities,” using criminal cases to make a point. Los Angeles Times

Deportation relief? A push to help those here illegally with criminal records gets a new start. Press-Enterprise



Smoke’s up: California is on the verge of creating a legal market for marijuana worth more than $5 billion that will help make the state a destination for pot-loving tourists, according to a new state-sponsored economic study. Los Angeles Times

Slow progress: Eighteen months after Los Angeles passed the nation’s most sweeping seismic retrofit law, more than 15% of the city’s earthquake-vulnerable wood apartment buildings have begun the process of retrofits. Los Angeles Times

The politics of the gas tax: Here’s how that gas tax increase could give California Republicans a lifeline in 2018. The Times’ John Myers explains. Los Angeles Times

Confronting a tragedy: A Fresno-area school was hit by a string of suicides earlier this year. Now school officials are trying to figure out how to prevent suicide clusters like this. A new state law that requires schools to have programs for grades 7 through 12 in suicide prevention, intervention and “postvention” by the start of the 2017-18 school year is aiding their work. EdSource



What looks to be a hate crime: Police arrested a man Saturday whom they allege fired eight bullets into a religious statue outside St. Felicitas Catholic Church. They are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. East Bay Times

Bias revealed: Researchers looking at body camera videos taken by Oakland police have come up with proof of something that many Americans have believed for a long time: Police officers treat black citizens with less respect than white citizens. Los Angeles Times

How to crack this mystery? Officials named the last unknown victim of the ’92 riots. Now they want to solve the mystery of his death. Los Angeles Times


OT suit: Amazon faces some potential problems with a workplace lawsuit in California. New York Times


Germany partners up: “Germany is teaming up with California to cooperate on tackling climate change following the U.S. government’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement.” Reuters



Down at Azteca: The United States tied Mexico in a pivotal qualifier for next year’s World Cup. Sports aside, the politics of the moment heightened the tension of an already intense rivalry. Los Angeles Times

Charity begins here: Silicon Valley titan and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman on how tech should approach philanthropy. The Atlantic

What a place! Disneyland has opened new facilities to house the horses that work at the amusement park and resort. The 5.25-acre property in Norco was at one time a chicken egg ranch, and a Christmas tree farm. Orange County Register

What is a home? LACMA’s latest exhibition involves the question of what is a home. The 12 galleries abound with big ideas about a big concept. LA Weekly


Someone has the golden ticket: Matthew Alberre owns Marietta Liquor & Deli in southern California’s Riverside County with his father, Alberre Alberre. The deli sold the winning ticket for Saturday’s $447.8-million grand prize drawing, the 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history.” NBC News

Chow down: “This weekend, the LA Food Fest takes place at the Coliseum in downtown. Among the many A-list eateries strutting their culinary stuff will be the pan-Asian eatery known as Starry Kitchen.” KPCC

Clippers-bound? The prospect of Lakers legend and NBA logo model Jerry West going to the Clippers should terrify his old team, Times columnist Bill Plaschke says. Los Angeles Times



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


This week’s birthdays for those who made their mark in California: Football legend Joe Montana (June 11, 1956), Rep.

Lucille Roybal-Allard (June 12, 1941), musician Ice Cube (June 15, 1969).

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.