Newsletter: Essential California: Getting ready for the wild weed ride of 2018

A trio of bills aim to alleviate California’s housing affordability crisis. The recreational marijuana business is coming to California soon. ‘Hamilton’ opens at the Pantages Theatre on Aug. 16. L.A. leaders spent weeks scrutinizing contracts and bu

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Aug. 11, and here’s what’s happening across California:


A weed gold rush

California is on the verge of creating a legal market for marijuana, but the permitting process in cities across the state to get the dispensaries up and running has been bumpy, to say the least. Still, several small, financially strapped cities in southeast Los Angeles County and elsewhere are at the forefront of efforts to seize business opportunities — despite pushback from some residents. Los Angeles Times


What’s the hurry?

Los Angeles is on track to host the Olympics four years later than it originally planned, yet it is hustling to approve a new deal within days. City officials say the International Olympic Committee imposed a deadline of Aug. 18 to approve agreements that spell out their financial responsibilities for hosting the 2028 Games. The City Council is scheduled to make its decision Friday, a week before that deadline. Some say that’s too fast. Los Angeles Times

A tough day in Venice

Snapchat picked up fewer users and less revenue in the second quarter than analysts had expected, sending shares of owner Snap Inc. plummeting Thursday afternoon. The Los Angeles tech company has suffered through a treacherous run on Wall Street since a blockbuster initial public offering five months ago. Hype about Snap’s potential to take on Facebook and Google as a major player in online advertising sales fueled one of the largest IPOs in tech history, and the largest ever for Southern California. Los Angeles Times


Plus: Instagram Stories, a clear copy of Snapchat, now has more users than Snapchat itself. Associated Press


High-profile case: An immigration appeals court has thrown out the final deportation order for Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, who was detained in late February minutes after he dropped his daughter off at school in Lincoln Heights. He is still in deportation proceedings, but it could take years for a judge to enter a new decision. Los Angeles Times

The final word: In closing arguments Thursday, attorneys for a former tugboat captain who pleaded guilty to murdering eight people at a Seal Beach salon in 2011 slammed prosecutors for what they called “incredible” deception — saying there is not enough evidence to move forward with a penalty phase to decide whether Scott Dekraai goes to death row. Los Angeles Times

The rent is too high: Los Angeles and New York City top the list of U.S. cities with the most poor people laboring under heavy rent burdens, living in substandard housing, or both, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs study released Wednesday. Los Angeles Times

Eeesh: In order to afford a median-priced home in Orange County, a household needs to make $158,000. Orange County Register


Preparing to leave: A Yuba City father of two has 90 days to prepare for his deportation to India. Los Angeles Times



A street fight: The fight over the future of the Democratic Party in California continues and is getting nastier by the day. New York Times

Rohrabacher weighs in: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher took Google to task for firing a male employee, James Damore, who circulated a memo within the company arguing women are biologically incapable of doing a man’s job in Silicon Valley. Los Angeles Times

Payback: “County supervisors Tuesday unanimously voted to pay Voice of OC $121,396 in legal fees after losing a Superior Court lawsuit over their refusal to release public records about Supervisor Todd Spitzer’s handcuffing a preacher at a Wahoo’s restaurant.” Voice of OC

Keeping the kids happy: A state senator has introduced a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to prohibit public middle and high schools from starting first period any earlier than 8:30 a.m. Los Angeles Times


Knight back in the news: Transcripts of recorded conversations suggest former rap impresario Marion “Suge” Knight and his defense attorney discussed bribing witnesses to fabricate testimony in Knight’s upcoming murder trial. Los Angeles Times

Gunman is dead: A gunman who fired several rounds at a woman during a domestic quarrel and then traded gunfire with Los Angeles police was found dead Thursday in a sprawling home in the Pacific Palisades. Los Angeles Times


Takedown at Taco Bell: Authorities are reviewing video footage that shows a Northern California police officer punching a man in the face during a struggle outside a fast-food restaurant this week. Los Angeles Times


A new climate treaty? For years, California has been part of the Western Climate Initiative Inc. — a nonprofit company it formed with Canadian provinces to coordinate emissions programs. Will other states join this initiative now that President Trump has announced an exit from the Paris climate accord? The Atlantic

Fault line on the field: UC Berkeley put a crooked line on its new football field, to show that it sits on the Hayward Fault. Boing Boing


Exciting! Here’s what it took to get the landmark musical “Hamilton” to Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times

Watch: The Times’ Gary Klein, Mike DiGiovanna and Lindsey Thiry recap the Rams’ and Chargers’ second combined practice of training camp, including a discussion about three fights that broke out between players during the 2½-hour workout. Los Angeles Times

What a bus ride: Can a better night’s sleep in a “hipster” bus from Los Angeles and San Francisco replace flying? Washington Post

San Francisco discovery: A team of electricians was working underground near a San Francisco home on Iris Avenue on Tuesday when it found a 155-year-old tombstone. San Francisco Chronicle

The fight at Martins Beach: The campaign to maintain public access to a beach near Half Moon Bay has notched a victory, with a state appeals court upholding an order that required a wealthy landowner to stop blocking the only road to the sand. But the fight isn’t over. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: sunny and 85 degrees. San Diego: partly cloudy and 79. San Francisco area: partly cloudy and 67. Sacramento: sunny and 96. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from James O’Connell III:

“I was born in 1946 at St. Luke’s Hospital in Pasadena. My parents (Dad from Missouri and Mom from Illinois, and married in Santa Ana, in 1939) lived in Monrovia until 1948. When the veterans’ housing built in Duarte was completed, Dad bought his first VA-financed house. Southern California offered so much to us five kids growing up here. There were trips to the Central Valley over the Grapevine to see fields of cotton, citrus groves, vegetable farms and dairies. My memory of holding a freshly picked cotton boll with its seeds, dark and large; seeing fields of poppies, deserts blooming after rain; watching for horned toads, lizards, scorpions, and a rattlesnake. Other trips were to the San Gabriel Mountains to see the forests, snow, and wildlife; driving through the vineyards of Cucamonga along Route 66; visiting the local missions in San Gabriel and San Juan Capistrano; day trips to the desert and beaches; and nights at the Big Sky drive-in for movies. Later we moved to Pasadena, where I graduated from Pasadena High School in 1964. My years there saw the completion of the campus, the assassination of JFK, the civil rights movement, the Peace Corps, NASA, and the Vietnam War. I have lived in nearly a dozen towns in Los Angeles and Orange counties; I am a California native and lifelong resident, glad for all California has given to my family and me.”

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.