Newsletter: Essential California: Trump, immigration and ‘The Wall’

A barrier built in the 1990s in Calexico from recycled metal scraps and landing mat is being torn down for bollard-style posts. (Sandy Huffaker / AFP/Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, March 1, and here’s what’s happening across California:


About that wall

President Trump hailed his administration’s “big victory” in court in a case that challenged his proposed border wall, but threatened Wednesday to delay improving some sections of the existing border barrier in California. One of his Wednesday tweets, an apparent attempt to punish California, seemed to be an effort to fuel the continuing battle between the state’s liberal, pro-immigration officials and Trump’s White House. Los Angeles Times


Plus: “Donald Trump’s California supporters are ‘ecstatic’ that the president will be making his first official visit to the state next month. But his March trip to San Diego to advance construction of a border wall is also firing up progressive activists who are determined to make him feel unwelcome.” Politico

And: The war of words between the Trump administration and officials in California over immigration intensified around federal sweeps in the north of the state that ended with more than 150 arrests. Los Angeles Times

By the border: A wall is going up along the border in Calexico. “But agency officials said people shouldn’t confuse this with President Donald Trump’s much-hyped wall.” The Desert Sun

Where’s the money?!

Nearly two years ago, state lawmakers passed a $2-billion bond measure designed to build housing for homeless residents. But, despite the need, the money is tied up in court without an end in sight. Los Angeles Times

Changes to the 710

Transportation officials have clashed for decades with local and environmental advocates over how to untangle traffic and speed the movement of goods along the 710 Freeway without further harming the surrounding neighborhoods that lie in what’s known as “the diesel death zone.” After all that debate, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a chance this week to make a decision. At a downtown board meeting Thursday, the agency’s directors will consider two alternatives to widen the 710, both of which would require evicting hundreds residents and business owners to make room for new freeway lanes. Los Angeles Times


Stormy days ahead: A winter storm that is on track to hit Southern California late Thursday is expected to bring steady rain to the region and has authorities in areas devastated by deadly fires and mudslides on alert. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Can one monster storm save California from a drought? Curbed SF

Here come the robot cars: Sometime this spring, self-driving test cars will begin appearing on California highways with no people inside, the result of new regulations issued by the state Department of Motor Vehicles this week. Los Angeles Times

History lesson: Parkland, Fla., student activists should study the East L.A. “blowouts” that launched a movement in California, says columnist Gustavo Arellano. Los Angeles Times

Big purchase: With its sale to Amazon, the doorbell start-up Ring has gone from “Shark Tank” reject to the L.A. tech scene’s latest success. Los Angeles Times


Bocanegra update: Three months after Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment, an Assembly investigation has found the Pacoima Democrat likely engaged in “unwanted conduct” toward three subordinate employees while he worked as a legislative staffer. Los Angeles Times

New legislation alert: California would raise the minimum age for purchasing a rifle and other long guns from 18 to 21 under legislation proposed Wednesday in response to the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school. Los Angeles Times

Get ready: “California officials on Wednesday planned to vociferously oppose an effort by President Trump’s administration to scrap an Obama-era policy that slashes climate-changing emissions from coal-fired power plants.” Associated Press

Interesting solution: “An emergency homeless shelter made out of shipping containers will soon go up on the edge of downtown Modesto after Stanislaus County leaders approved $2.5 million in funding for the project.” KCRA


Under investigation: An L.A. County sheriff’s deputy is under criminal investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with a woman who was seeking protection from her ex-husband. Los Angeles Times

Be careful: Authorities said they are dealing with a string of sexual assault cases in which attackers pretend to be ride-hail drivers to lure women into their vehicles. When customers call for an Uber or Lyft, they might not pay attention to the type of vehicle the service is sending and end up jumping into the first car that pulls over for them, police say. Los Angeles Times

Student arrested: A freshman at a San Diego County high school was arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats after he posted a photo of a Lego rifle on social media with a threatening message, a school district official said. Los Angeles Times


Following up: The Coastal Commission’s “preposterous antics” are going to court, and taxpayers will foot the bill, says columnist Steve Lopez. Los Angeles Times


Cool story: Film screeners — the DVDs sent to Hollywood players — are a key part of the showbiz awards season apparatus, ensuring that influential people who vote for the Oscars and other awards shows can see the contending pictures. The screeners were, it turns out, invented by accident by a “desperate” man. Los Angeles Times

Get tripping! These 10 California creatures could be the oozing, bellowing, fluttering, galloping stars of your next weekend. Los Angeles Times

Allegations: Volleys are continuing back and forth between Ryan Seacrest and a former personal stylist who has accused him of sexual harassment, with some publicists reportedly saying they’ll be steering their clients away from the “American Idol” host on the red carpet at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony. Los Angeles Times

Wow: “The work of prolific mid-20th century developer and architect William Mellenthin is largely unknown outside of the greater Los Angeles area, where the builder erected more than 3,000 homes over an illustrious career spanning between three decades.” The Architect’s Newspaper

Cool photos: A peek inside vintage California grocery stores of years gone by. San Francisco Chronicle


Los Angeles area: partly cloudy, 59, Thursday; showers, 58, Friday. San Diego: sunny, 60, Thursday; showers, 62, Friday. San Francisco area: showers, 54, Thursday and Friday. Sacramento: showers, 52, Thursday and Friday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Stephen Patt:

“My father, Howard Patt, was born to an immigrant family in Philadelphia in 1917 and moved to Los Angeles, near the original Farmers Market. He attended Fairfax High, played golf with Chico Marx, and attended medical school in San Francisco just in time for WWII. During summers in the 1930s, he worked at salad prep at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite. His kitchen skills later served him well when he trained as surgeon. Dad fell in love with quiet nights and beautiful skies, and introduced his kids — myself and my two brothers — to the lodge in the 1980s. On arriving, he gazed up and stared. ‘It hasn’t changed a bit,’ he marveled.”

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.