Newsletter: Essential California: ICE steps up enforcement at businesses in California, targeting employers and workers


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Feb. 17. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:


On notice: A recent visit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to a Carson trucking company’s office represents a renewed wave of efforts to crack down on illegal immigration in the Trump era. Federal authorities are stepping up audits of businesses, hoping to catch employers who hired those here illegally. The agency’s acting director wants to increase work-site enforcement 400%, part of a much larger effort to identify and deport those here without proper papers. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A crowd of immigrant-rights advocates blocked a Homeland Security van late Thursday from accessing the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times


The Weinstein investigation

In the months since a long list of famous women across the globe began accusing producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, one Los Angeles case is emerging as the most likely to result in criminal charges. It involves an Italian model-actress who alleges Weinstein raped her in a Beverly Hills hotel room five years ago. According to law enforcement sources, detectives believe the case is promising because the woman told her story to three people, including her priest, relatively soon after the alleged attack. Weinstein’s attorneys have said that their client never engaged in nonconsensual sex acts. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Weinstein Co.’s president and chief operating officer David Glasser has been fired “for cause,” the New York entertainment company’s board of directors said Friday night, in the latest twist for the beleaguered studio. Los Angeles Times

Yuuge endorsement

Sen. Kamala Harris endorsed Gavin Newsom in the California governor’s race Friday. The move is not surprising — the two Democratic politicians share the same political advisors, began their careers in San Francisco city politics and have known one another for more than two decades. Los Angeles Times



Mueller investigation: A California man who pleaded guilty to identity theft as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was a self-described digital marketing strategist who once ran a website that helped people get around security measures for online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Los Angeles Times

LAX changes: United Airlines, the third-largest carrier at Los Angeles International Airport, has started trying out a new way to board passengers that might cut back on confusion and frustration. Los Angeles Times

Troubling: The shortage of mental health physicians in California is already bad and keeps getting worse, according to a study. Capital Public Radio

New bill alert: A state lawmaker has revived legislation that would require law enforcement agencies across California to disclose all of their surveillance equipment and enact public policies for their use of the technology. Los Angeles Times

Guilty plea: A former assistant pastor at a Carlsbad church pleaded guilty this week to child molestation charges, a prosecutor said. San Diego Union-Tribune

Click: Check out these vintage portraits of California prospectors from the 1850s. The Guardian

Doggos! How an 80-pound goldendoodle helped build a California wine brand. Washington Post


1. Her throat cut, a dying woman tells police she was attacked by two co-worker friends. Los Angeles Times

2. L.A. County attorneys who represent indigent clients in criminal court protest their new boss. Los Angeles Times

3. A federal judge visits homeless camps as he pushes for Orange County shelter solution. Los Angeles Times

4. Jimmy Kimmel is targeted by a street artist over his Sunset Boulevard car wreck. The Hollywood Reporter

5. What $2,150 rents you in L.A. Curbed LA


What these shootings do: Two weeks ago, Alysia Evans was driving to work when she heard on the radio that there had been a shooting at an L.A. middle school. Her son was in preschool a few blocks from Santa Monica College in 2013 when a man went on a shooting rampage there. At first, she thought incorrectly that it might be the school where her daughter is in the sixth grade. “I had to pull over, I was crying so hard,” Evans said. Los Angeles Times

Sad story: Norwalk resident Shawn Alvarado weighs 500 pounds, and his doctors say he’ll die without surgery. His insurer shrugs it off. Los Angeles Times

Defining L.A.: What a big exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has to say about L.A.’s ongoing search for “civic identity.” Los Angeles Times

Mystery solved! “Birmingham man reunited with drone lost while vacationing in Los Angeles.” WIAT

Cool new book: Here’s what Huckleberry Finn might say about immigration and the L.A. River. KPCC

Big ups in basketball: “What city produced the top three finishers in MVP voting last season? What city produced more All-Stars than anywhere else this season? What city has a strong chance of producing the league’s MVP in consecutive years for the first time? The answer to all three questions is Los Angeles.” Yahoo Sports

New rules in effect: Learn about what happened after San Francisco started making residents register if they wanted to put their home on Airbnb, HomeAway and FlipKey. San Francisco Chronicle

Watch: Roy Choi’s mom, “Mommy Choi,” teaches us how to make tteokbokki (spicy Korean rice cakes). Los Angeles Times

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.