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Essential California: Don't bet against Magic Johnson turning the Lakers around

A car crash sparked an 850-acre fire in Santa Clarita yesterday. A SpaceX launch carrying 10 communication satellites was successful. Arroyo Seco, the newest addition to the summer festival scene was unremarkable, music critic Mikael Wood writes. The New Wilshire Grand hailed as a 'gorgeous nest' for Los Angeles.

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Monday, June 26, and here's what's happening across California:



On Ball and Magic

The Lakers selected UCLA star Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the draft. This comes after a swift change in leadership that left Magic Johnson in charge of basketball operations. In all, it's led to some optimism around a team that's been flailing of late. Times columnist Bill Plaschke says that it would be wrong to bet against Magic Johnson turning around the Lakers. Los Angeles Times

More LAPD fallout

The president of the civilian panel that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department said he will direct the LAPD's watchdog to review its cadet program, the latest inquiry stemming from a series of disturbing allegations involving the long-championed youth program. The goal, said Matt Johnson, the head of the Police Commission, is to "ensure that this incident is an exception and not a systematic failure." Los Angeles Times

Plus: At cadet graduation on Saturday, Police Chief Charlie Beck delivered an emotional speech to the thousands assembled at USC's Galen Center. "These young people come into our lives, come into our facilities, come into our organization as part of our family," Beck said to his officers. "And you will protect them like they are your own." Los Angeles Times

The end of Ramadan

Muslims across Southern California marked the end of Ramadan with prayers, celebrations and food. Eid, or the "feast of the breaking of the fast," began this weekend and is celebrated for up to three days. The festival is a chance to relax after a month of abstaining from eating, drinking and other pleasures from dawn until sunset in order to improve moral character. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Here's the end of Ramadan in pictures. KPCC


That big building's grand opening: This was the first weekend the Wilshire Grand Center was open. And for its owner, Yang Ho Cho, chairman of Korean Air, the best view from the tallest skyscraper in the West is looking east toward Koreatown, where the just-completed $1.35-billion tower is viewed as a symbol of how much Korean immigrants and their descendants have shaped this city. Los Angeles Times

Plus: This building is covered in miles of LED lights that turn the structure into a defining feature of the city's skyline. Los Angeles Times

Psyched about a name change: In Crenshaw, residents are cheering a move to rename one of its main thoroughfares after former President Obama. Los Angeles Times

On skid row: Here's how homeless women survive the dangers of skid row. "A lot of us invent ways to take care of ourselves," said one older woman living there. Los Angeles Daily News

Won't stop, can't stop: Median home prices keep going up in Southern California, and experts don't expect that to stop anytime soon. Orange County Register



On the campaign trail and now: The parents of victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants have been some of President Trump's "most potent surrogates, the people whose private anguish has formed the emotional cornerstone of his crusade against illegal immigration and clouded the futures of America's 11 million unauthorized immigrants." New York Times

A day at the game: Mexican soccer fans are reluctant to give up a favorite chant — an anti-gay slur. At a recent World Cup qualifying match versus the United States at Mexico City's massive Estadio Azteca, game organizers aired messages pleading with fans to not say it. Beforehand, some of the team's top players had condemned the slur in public service announcements. Los Angeles Times


A solitary effort: Brad Sherman, an L.A.-area congressman, is standing alone on impeaching Trump. "I think that the president's approach to governance is a threat to the republic," Sherman said in an interview. Los Angeles Times

Big changes afoot: Orange County is the best example of how a big change in voting rules in California is off to a rocky start for 2018. Los Angeles Times

Big changes afoot, Part 2: For decades, Los Angeles County's five long-serving male supervisors were known as the "five little kings," and even though women now occupy four of the five seats, their power might be reduced because of legislation that passed and has been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. CalMatters

California Politics Podcast: There's a powerful new ally of those who support a sanctuary state. Los Angeles Times



Caught on tape: Meet the man who recorded a road rage incident that went viral. Los Angeles Times

See you in court: A verdict in a drug case could be overturned if a judge concludes that police must disclose past accusations against them before testifying in trials. Los Angeles Times

Turn of events: A state appeals court on Friday reversed five of 11 counts against a former Bell official after concluding that the jury received improper instructions in the municipal corruption case. Los Angeles Times

They buried the wrong body: The Orange County Sheriff's Department is investigating why the coroner's office misidentified a body found behind a Fountain Valley Verizon store, authorities said. Los Angeles Times


At the box office: "Transformers: The Last Knight," the fifth installment in the blockbuster franchise from Michael Bay, grossed a franchise low of $69 million, but sales overseas picked up the slack. Los Angeles Times

The rivalry continues: A travel ban to Texas is sowing confusion in the college sports world, where the two states, Texas and California, are closely bonded. The Texas Tribune

On the roads: A lot of people will be traveling a long way this week in advance of July 4. So how about learning more about the signs you'll see on the highway. The Mercury News

Nice? More and more, millennials in Southern California are living at home with their parents. Orange County Register

Give it a read: Here's a humorous take on what a California drought might read like, if author John Steinbeck was still kicking. The New Yorker


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


This week’s birthdays for those who made their mark in California: former Rep. Mike Honda (June 27, 1941), Tesla co-founder Elon Musk (June 28, 1981).

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.