Newsletter: Essential California: California National Guard members get a reprieve

A California National Guardsman waves to friends and family gathered at Ft. Irwin for a final family day gathering on Oct. 25, 2016, before members of the 1st Battalion, 185th Regiment, deploy for a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Aug. 26. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:


Standing down: The Defense Department will let California National Guard members keep more than $190 million in disputed enlistment bonuses and other payments — far more than previously acknowledged — after the military spent six years trying to recover the money from veterans who had served at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In all, repayments were waived for 17,092 California Guard soldiers who were given what were later deemed questionable bonuses, according to a Defense Department report obtained by The Times. Los Angeles Times

Rallies canceled: They were billed as epic showdowns between the left and right. But on Friday, organizers of right-wing rallies planned in San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend abruptly canceled the events, expressing concerns about the safety of participants. Los Angeles Times


DACA update: Hard-liners in the Trump administration appear to be trying to pressure President Trump to stop an Obama-era program that has granted work permits to thousand of people who entered the country illegally as children. Los Angeles Times

Change in a direction: Uber pumped the brakes on its expansion into Oakland, confirming Thursday evening that it is exploring the sale of a building it bought in the city’s Uptown neighborhood to serve as one of its main offices only two years ago. Los Angeles Times

“A cannonball run”: A jail inmate triggered the temporary lockdown of a court building in downtown Los Angeles on Friday when he bolted from a group of prisoners being led off a bus into the courthouse, authorities said. Los Angeles Times

An eleventh-hour bid: After Los Angeles County’s approval last month of the long-contentious Newhall Ranch development, opponents have asked a court to halt the project until additional environmental issues are remedied. Los Angeles Times


All’s well that ends well: She found a tiny frog in her salad, and now it’s her pet. Los Angeles Times

Putting the fun back in funicular: Angels Flight is set to resume operations next week. Los Angeles Times

Tragic irony: California’s housing crisis has many causes — but state lawmakers executed moves that made a bad situation worse. Pacific Standard

Dramatic turn: Following an acrimonious campaign in which rival factions engaged in name calling and social media attacks — with one side even threatening to lodge a federal complaint — SAG-AFTRA members Thursday elected incumbent President Gabrielle Carteris to a new two-year term. Los Angeles Times


Shaky reading: In California quake country, understanding the danger just below our feet. Wall Street Journal

Watch: This time-lapse video shows the epic campaign to fix the Oroville Dam before rains return. Mercury News


The partial solar eclipse is visible through fog on Dec. 13, 1974. In the foreground is St. Vibiana's Cathedral at Main and 2nd streets in downtown L.A. This photo was published on Page 1 of the Dec. 14, 1974 Los Angeles Times.
(Bruce Cox / Los Angeles Times)

Monday’s eclipse was not the first time Angelenos stopped what they were doing for this rare celestial occurrence. In 1974, a partial solar eclipse could be seen from the city, but in many areas it was obscured by fog. Here’s the Times’ story from Dec. 13, 1974:

When the sun got up Friday the 13th, a piece was missing from the bright disc shining through the fog.

The partial eclipse, caused when the moon moved between the sun and the earth, was visible at 6:54 a.m. and at its maximum point blocked out 18.5% of the sun. By 7:37 a.m. it was over.

Fog, heavy in some areas, obscured the sight for many but not for hundreds of thousands of others living farther inland.


This week’s most popular stories in Essential California:

1. Californians: Here’s why your housing costs are so high. Cal Matters

2. Apple’s “spaceship” campus: Some neighbors say construction has been disruptive. And they fear the campus’ full opening could force them out for good. The Mercury News

3. Naked, filthy and strapped to a chair for 46 hours: a mentally ill inmate’s last days. Los Angeles Times


4. Disneyland meets Hogwarts at the $700-million USC Village. Los Angeles Times

5. USC’s dean drug scandal could take a costly toll on the school’s legal battle with the UC system. Los Angeles Times

ICYMI, here are this week’s Great Reads

Cold case: Forty-eight years after a 22-year-old art student was strangled to death, her body found in the trunk of her car parked along Fairfax Avenue, the Los Angeles Police Department finally cracked the case. And doing so, it also solved some other horrific mysteries. Los Angeles Times


Boulevard of dreams: Attempting to quantify the volume of music stories that have transpired across the 22 miles of Sunset Boulevard is a fool’s game. But a few well-arranged snapshots from the thoroughfare’s recording studios, venues, record labels and shops across the decades can capture a host of tastes, genres and attitudes. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A map of what’s come and gone musically on Sunset Boulevard. Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s movie palaces: “A century ago, downtown Los Angeles was the center of the city’s entertainment, with movie and vaudeville theaters seemingly on every block. Today, as the neighborhood’s renaissance enters its teenage years, the remaining cinemas are coming back to life, with live music bringing crowds and energy back to neglected venues.” The New York Times

Screen gems: The Times’ film critics have spotlighted some of the buried cinematic treasures of the last 20 years in film. Check it out and see if you agree. Los Angeles Times


Looking Ahead

Sunday: The MTV Video Music Awards will be held in Inglewood.

Wednesday: Los Angeles Fleet Week begins in San Pedro.

Tuesday: The 47th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium will be marked with a forum in Boyle Heights.


Friday: The Taste, the Los Angeles Times’ annual food and drink festival, begins at Paramount Studios.

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.