Newsletter: Essential California: UCLA shuts pharmacy after state finds it sent out drugs with expired, potentially dangerous ingredients

Transplant patient was one of the deaths in UCLA outbreak
UCLA shuts a pharmacy after the state finds it sent out drugs with expired and potentially dangerous ingredients.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Sept. 16. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:


What’s happening here?

A UCLA pharmacy was closed after the state found it sent out drugs with expired, potentially dangerous ingredients. Whether any patients were harmed is unknown, and UCLA, which owned and operated the compounding pharmacy, refused to comment for months. It’s unclear if the university attempted to warn patients who might be at risk or to recall the adulterated medications that were sent to them. Los Angeles Times


Last day of the session!

California lawmakers sped to the close of the legislative session on Friday, addressing one of their signature issues with a sweeping package of bills aiming to address the state’s crippling housing costs. The bills are expected to raise billions in funding to help finance the construction of thousands of new homes for the state’s low-income residents. They also attempt to ease local regulations on home building, a necessary move, lawmakers said, to help middle-class Californians who are now overwhelmed by costs. Los Angeles Times

Valley talk

Reports that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is mulling a $1-billion investment in Uber’s archrival, Lyft, suggests that Uber’s ongoing dominance isn’t a sure thing, and that recent scandals that led to change in the company’s leadership may have dealt a greater blow to the company’s brand than originally expected. Los Angeles Times



Happening around town: This week, Prince Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, the son of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and a large entourage jostled their way through a rushed tour of the Museum of Tolerance. It was led by the museum’s founder, Rabbi Marvin Hier, who also founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after the famed hunter of Nazis. Bahrain is not known for its religious tolerance, but that the prince would come to the Museum of Tolerance — an unabashedly pro-Israel institution — highlights the shifting times of Middle Eastern politics, when common enemies and concerns can create strange bedfellows. Los Angeles Times

RIP Cassini: They clapped, though they didn’t smile. But what did you expect? Cassini, their beloved spacecraft, was dead. Confirmation that the explorer had indeed vaporized as planned in the cloud tops of Saturn was received at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory just before 5 a.m. Friday. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Check out this oral history of how NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn came to be. Los Angeles Times

Chefs cry fowl: A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a California law that bans the sale of foie gras made by the force-feeding of ducks and geese. Chefs across the state are not happy with the decision. Los Angeles Times

Scandal: A teacher at the elite Brentwood School was charged Friday with repeatedly having unlawful sex with a 17-year-old male student this summer, prosecutors said. Los Angeles Times

Heartbreaking story: A woman who died after her car went off the road and overturned in the California Aqueduct in Hesperia managed to call her mother and tell her she loved her before she died, her family said at a news conference Friday. Los Angeles Times

This week’s most popular stories in Essential California:


1. Hmong pot growers in Siskiyou County are seeking identity, profit — or both. Los Angeles Times

2. Here are some of the things Apple’s iPhone helped destroy. New York Times

3. The house columnist Steve Lopez bought for $130,000 in 1983 is now worth a fortune, and that’s a big problem for California. Los Angeles Times

4. “I used the iPhone X, and I can already tell it’ll be worth its $1,000 price.” Business Insider

5. Downtown Long Beach development: Mapping all the major projects on the way. Curbed Los Angeles


DACA reaction: In more than a dozen conversations with Trump voters in Mesa, Ariz., not one found fault with Trump’s abandonment of his vow to deport the young immigrants referred to as “Dreamers.” In the bargain, he said, Democrats agreed to much tougher border enforcement, though not construction of a physical wall. “I’m a believer in America first,” Joe Dahlstrom, 45, a Mesa golf course owner, said as misters sprayed him and his 4-year-old daughter, Gracyn, outside the Panera Bread where they stopped Thursday night for a family dinner. Los Angeles Times

Football preview: In addition to all the other compelling story lines — the reprisal of the classic 2006 Rose Bowl, the matchup of two of college football’s most storied programs and USC’s quest for the playoffs — Saturday’s game against Texas also will provide some clarity on USC’s identity. Is USC back to being the ferocious running team of the past? Los Angeles Times


Data dive! New data released by the California Department of Justice shows significant differences in the rates of police shootings across the state. A KPCC analysis of the data, which cover only 2016, shows San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties have the highest rates among the most populous counties. Police gunfire struck people in eight incidents per million residents. KPCC

Flashback Friday: “For 15 years, Al Gore’s Keynote presentation has brought greater awareness to climate change. But can it change minds?” Pacific Standard Magazine

The Valley gets political: “What happens when tech leaders, like Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, believe our system is broken? They treat it like a startup.” California Sunday Magazine

Looking Ahead

Sunday: The 69th Emmy Awards will be held in Los Angeles.

Friday: Annual stair climb at the U.S. Bank Tower.

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.