Newsletter: Essential California: Some environmentalists aren’t fans of Gov. Brown’s key climate-change program

Did Donald Trump Jr. break the law by meeting with Russians to gain dirt on Clinton? Rep. Jimmy Gomez was sworn in as L.A.’s newest Congressman. The U.S. had planned to allow 110,000 refugees to enter this year. Who would attack a Buddha statue with


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


How big a win is California’s cap-and-trade deal?

While rolling out their plan to extend California’s cap-and-trade program, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have portrayed their proposal an unconditional win on two fronts: reaching the state’s ambitious climate goals and tackling local air pollution. But the triumphant rhetoric belies a deep ambivalence about the proposal, largely from progressive lawmakers and environmental advocates. This political divide could have big implications for California Democrats. Los Angeles Times


Orange County’s biggest political feud gets even nastier

The longtime feud between Orange County D.A. Tony Rackauckas and his biggest critic, Supervisor Todd Spitzer, could come down to an epic election fight in 2018 for district attorney. But their campaigns are likely to be complicated by one fact: Spitzer has been the subject of an investigation by Rackauckas’ office and state authorities, according to four sources familiar with the probe. An inside look at the layers of politics and questions. Los Angeles Times

Raising the flag about troubled deputies

A list compiled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department naming deputies who’ve lied, stolen, falsified reports and committed other types of “moral” misconduct cannot be handed over to prosecutors, a Los Angeles appeals court ruled on Tuesday. Los Angeles Times

Quake warning system may get a reprieve

Defying President Trump, a House of Representatives panel is expected to propose restoring funding for an earthquake early warning system. Trump’s budget would have killed the system, but it’s gotten pushback from Republicans and Democrats in California. Los Angeles Times



Puzzling vandalism: A Westside neighborhood is stunned by sledgehammer attacks on Buddha statue. Los Angeles Times

New guy: Los Angeles’ newest congressman, Jimmy Gomez, talks a lot about things being temporary. He was sworn in Tuesday, seven months after most of his colleagues came to Washington, and that means a lot of decisions have already been made for this Congress. Los Angeles Times

Two worlds: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles has been around a long time, as a political and musical force. Now, members are talking about the struggle to reconcile faith with identity. Los Angeles Times

Fire help: Just in time for fire season, Los Angeles County has received two custom-modified military helicopters for use in fighting fires. The price? $29 million. Daily News

Pay bump: The story of how the Los Angeles school board suddenly got huge raises. Los Angeles Times


Writing life: Walter Mosley on the evolution of the L.A. detective novel, and the evolution of the city. The Paris Review


Movie money: Here’s the movie that is getting the state’s largest-ever tax break under a California program aimed at curbing so-called runaway production. Los Angeles Times

San Jose boom: Google has set its sights for future growth in downtown San Jose, and that has the potential to transform the famously suburban city’s urban core. Mercury News

GOP dreams: Are the Republicans running for governor a tad deluded or do they see something in the California political landscape that the pundits are missing? Sacramento Bee

Big name: Salesforce is shaping up to be a big name in San Francisco. The tech firm has the city’s new tallest building, and it just got naming rights to a key transit station. Curbed


DMV fix: The Department of Motor Vehicles is not exactly considered consumer-friendly. But now, the agency is making it possible to renew your license — at the local supermarket. NBC Los Angeles


Chase toll: Police chases in Los Angeles County are “causing unnecessary bystander injuries and deaths” and most pursuits are launched in response to relatively minor crimes, according to a new report by the county’s civil grand jury. Los Angeles Times

Crime fighter: A downtown community activist decided to take on crime … and paid the price. L.A. Weekly

Stat debate: BART’s explanation for withholding crime statistics on its rail system is only heightening criticism. San Francisco Chronicle

Video verdict: A police officer who was seen in a video refusing to help a sickly man will get his job back. Desert Sun



Trump trials: As President Trump flouts international calls to act on climate change, his administration is finding the pressure on environmental issues at home tougher to ignore. Los Angeles Times

Plus: It’s looking more likely the Trump administration will allow California to keep its auto emissions standards. San Francisco Chronicle

Bottle deaths: A new study says that ancient Californians might have been poisoned by their own version of the plastic water bottle. Wired


Mural anger: A debate in the Arts District about art, money and a controversial muralist. L.A. Weekly


Dark cinema: The Manson murders might get the Tarantino treatment. The Hollywood Reporter

Disney stamp: Another marker of the old Disneyland — hand stamps that allow you to get in and out of the park — has disappeared. Now visitors need to get photos. Orange County Register

Smoke stars: Tobacco is finding its a way back into more movies, a new study has found. Should they get an R rating? Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s newest burger: Costco is testing a burger at some of its Southern California aimed at taking on Shake Shack. And it costs only $5. Mercury News


Los Angeles area: sunny with highs in the mid-80s. San Diego: partly cloudy with highs in the high 70s. San Francisco area: partly cloudy with highs in the mid-60s. Sacramento: sunny with highs in the mid-90s. More weather is here.



Today’s California memory comes from Caitlin Hicks:

“Our enormous family lived in smoggy Pasadena in the ’60s. In summer we’d all pack a picnic in the VW bus and take a trip via the Pasadena Freeway to Santa Monica Beach. I’d sit with my sister over the motor in the back of the bus looking out the window, counting white dashes on the road and waving to cars behind us. At the beach, past the parking lot, the cloudless sky stretched turquoise blue. There was always a wind, against that squinty bright sun. We had to hop quickly over hot sand and we ran, squealing into the foam at our feet. The air was fresh; our voices faded into the vast wet sand and tumbling waves. In those days, there was a lot of sunburn.”

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.