Newsletter: Essential California: Trump administration sues over laws protecting immigrants

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions plans to speak to the California Peace Officers Assn. on Wednesday to announce a challenge to California policies on immigration enforcement.
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, March 7, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The Trump administration, seeking to force a defiant California to cooperate with its agenda of stepped-up immigrant deportations, asked a federal court to invalidate three state laws — the administration’s most direct challenge yet to the state’s policies. Administration officials say the three laws in question, all passed by the Legislature last year, blatantly obstruct federal immigration law and thus violate the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which gives federal law precedence over state enactments. Gov. Jerry Brown called the federal suit a “stunt.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: California is bracing for a battle with the Trump administration over student loans. Los Angeles Times


Impossible dream?

Two of California’s leading candidates for governor say they’re going to end the housing shortage, a driver of the state’s affordability crisis. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa both have said they want developers in California to build a half million homes in a year — something that’s never happened, at least in modern history. And they want builders to do it for seven straight years, resulting in 3.5 million new homes from the time the next governor takes office through 2025. Those numbers are so out of scale with California’s history that they might be impossible to achieve. Los Angeles Times

Deal collapses again

The deal for an investor group to acquire Harvey Weinstein’s former movie and TV studio has collapsed in yet another twist in an ongoing saga that has seen agreements come and go amid the general chaos surrounding Weinstein Co. A source close to Maria Contreras-Sweet, a former Obama administration official who is leading the investment group, said Tuesday that there was about $50 million more debt on the New York company’s books than previously thought. Los Angeles Times


The Playboy mansion: Hugh Hefner died last year, but the Gothic-Tudor facade of his famous Playboy Mansion will live on, thanks to a recent agreement between its new owner and the city of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times

Who will run LAUSD? The drama over New York City’s selection process for school chief has removed two big prospects from the discussion for who will run the Los Angeles Unified School district. Los Angeles Times

Great story: From a TMZ tour bus to a seat at the Oscars, columnist Carolina Miranda went searching for the elusive celebrity culture in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Times

The president and the porn actress: Stormy Daniels sued President Trump in Superior Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday in an attempt to nullify an agreement that she keep quiet about her alleged affair with him in return for $130,000. Los Angeles Times


Interesting study: California’s public colleges and universities face a “drastic disparity” in diversity between their undergraduates, who are overwhelmingly students of color, and their predominantly white faculty and campus leaders, a new study has found. Los Angeles Times

It adds up: Homeowners in California received nearly $6 billion in state tax subsidies last year, according to a new report that also revealed a wide gap between state support for homeowners and renters. Los Angeles Times

What happened up north: “California’s emergency response system is a model for the country. And yet, a KQED News investigation found that system failed on several levels the night the North Bay fires erupted in October — leaving 44 people dead and thousands of homes burned to the ground.” KQED


Jailhouse interview: A Joshua Tree couple who had been arrested and later charged with felony child abuse were released from jail Tuesday. They still face abuse charges. Los Angeles Times

Watch: Dramatic video captured by security cameras in a Hermès store at the Fashion Valley mall in San Diego reveals just how quickly a group of 10 thieves systematically robbed the place of more than half a million dollars’ worth of merchandise. San Diego Union-Tribune

The Turpin case: “Cellist Yo-Yo Ma visited the seven adult Turpin children in a California hospital on Friday for an impromptu performance, Corona Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Uffer said.” CNN


So sad: “The picturesque Lake Tahoe area in the California Sierra Mountains was the scene of a horrific ‘freak accident’ Monday when a mother and her 7-year-old son were found buried under 3 feet of snow near the front door of their vacation condo.” ABC News


What are inclusion riders? “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider.” With that cryptic salvo from the stage at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, lead actress winner Frances McDormand sent much of Hollywood frantically Googling and speed-dialing their attorneys to figure out what exactly an “inclusion rider” is and what repercussions it could have at a time when studios are facing pressure to showcase more diverse casts in movies and TV shows. Los Angeles Times

Checking in on the purple and gold: With an infusion of young talent, the Lakers are contending to become a legitimate spot for free agents who want an energetic culture where they can win, writes columnist Bill Plaschke. Los Angeles Times

Changing demographics: “This L.A. neighborhood is the most gentrified in the U.S. — and these other Zip Codes made the top 10.” CNBC

Drink up: Common Space Brewery and tap room opens in Hawthorne with plenty of promising brews. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: cloudy, 73, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 74, Thursday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 70, Wednesday and Thursday. San Francisco area: partly cloudy, 65, Wednesday.; cloudy, 60, Thursday. Sacramento: partly cloudy, 67, Wednesday; cloudy, 65, Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Gordon Oslund:

“I was born in Barstow. That statement inspires smirks. In the 1970s, that desert town offered a screening of California dreaming. From our school playground we stood in awe as the first test flight of the Space Shuttle, strapped atop a 747, traced the horizon. Back and forth. The infinite dream of routine spaceflight. NASA’s next step after that first step. California dreaming. And then it happened the next day. And the next. Everyday. And the dream became a backdrop to blacktop basketball. We heard the rumble, but no longer looked up. That’s California dreaming — the audacious impossible becoming just another part of an awe-inspiring landscape.”

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.