Newsletter: Essential California: A new era for the L.A. Times

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong takes ownership of the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, June 18, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The Los Angeles Times, perhaps more than any other institution, helped create and foster the sense of Southern California as a place. Its owners helped fuel the growth that brought water, movies, defense contractors and subdivisions. Some owners used the paper for good. Some used it for greed, self-enrichment and as a platform for extremist views. An unflinching history of a highly imperfect institution as it receives a new owner. Los Angeles Times

-- The sale of The Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is closing today, bringing local ownership back to The Times along with many questions. Los Angeles Times


-- “I believe that fake news is the cancer of our times and social media the vehicles for metastasis. Institutions like The Times and the Union-Tribune are more vital than ever. They must be bastions of editorial integrity and independence if they are to protect our democracy and provide an antidote to disinformation. We will continue our papers’ dedication to truth, integrity, journalistic independence, and storytelling that engages, informs, educates and inspires with care and compassion.” — Soon-Shiong, in a letter to readers. Los Angeles Times

-- Who is Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong? Los Angeles Times

-- Some advice for the new owner. Medium

-- The sale ends a particularly rocky period for The Times, which has seen more than its fair share. NPR

With The Times’ sale completed, here are some classics about the paper and its storied, troubled history:

-- Joan Didion on how the Chandler family invented L.A., for better and worse. The New Yorker


-- How The Times went from worst to (almost) best. The New Yorker

-- The 2009 PBS documentary series “Inventing L.A.: The Chandlers and Their Times.” YouTube

-- The newspaper and the family feud. Los Angeles Times

-- Fault lines in the 2005 Times newsroom. Los Angeles Times

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Tamlorn Chase paddles his kayak around rocky headland cliffs from Gaviota State Park toward Hollister Ranch.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )


No day in the sun: Times columnist Steve Lopez on Southern California’s newest public beach. It’s not very public. And you might die trying to get there. Los Angeles Times

Caught on video: Hollywood director and producer Michael Morris was driving his Tesla down Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon when a couple flagged him down to alert him about something happening to his car. Morris’ wife, actress Mary McCormack, tweeted a video of flames shooting from underneath the electric vehicle, near its front tires. There was no collision before the blaze, which ignited “out of the blue,” McCormick said. Los Angeles Times

Rally time: San Pedro comes out to support a gay man who says he was harassed by neighbors. Daily Breeze


Misconduct alleged: Four UCLA employees have filed lawsuits against UCLA and the UC Board of Regents, accusing their workplace supervisor of sexual harassment and the university of failing to properly handle abuse complaints. Los Angeles Times

Remembering Cory Iverson: The first Father’s Day without Dad for the family of a firefighter killed in the Thomas fire. San Diego Union-Tribune


Your ad here: In the nearly eight years since Jerry Brown was elected governor, his administration has nearly tripled the number of commercial digital signs permitted along highways, from 125 to 366, records show. More ads may be on the way. Los Angeles Times

Survey says: The Bay Area believes in H-1B visas, even if the rest of the country has doubts. Mercury News

Protest: Prison workers gathered outside the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville to protest what they say are unsafe conditions that have been exacerbated by the recent transfer of hundreds of immigration detainees to the facility. Los Angeles Times

Changing times: Relatively cheap housing became a way of life and an act of faith for many in Sacramento. Now, as the Bay Area comes with its piles of cash, there are worries it could all end. Sacramento Bee

Historic: San Francisco’s incoming mayor gives a boost to the city’s dwindling African American community. San Francisco Chronicle


Art of the provocative: Ann Philbin’s 19 years as director of the UCLA Hammer Museum have turned the institution into one of the nation’s most enticing and risk-taking ventures, exhibiting not only contemporary and conceptual art, but also holding hundreds of programs a year on topics including racism, civil disobedience, feminism, clean energy and sex. Los Angeles Times

Disneyland debate: The politics of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” bride auction. Los Angeles Times

Cheering on El Tri: An extraordinary sense of elation swept over Mexico, and a lot of Los Angeles, on Sunday with the national soccer team’s stunning 1-0 victory in the World Cup tournament against powerhouse Germany, the reigning champion. Los Angeles Times

Plus: For many, Mexican soccer is a family affair. Los Angeles Times

State of their union: L.A.’s favorite couple say they are going strong. New York Times

Scooter mania: The two-wheel gold rush in Silicon Valley. Wall Street Journal

Defining moment: “Coco” might be seen as the movie for this moment in Trump’s America. Amid the immigration crackdown and family separations, is there a message in this movie for all of us? The New Yorker


Los Angeles area: Sunny, 71, Monday. Sunny, 78, Tuesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 70, Monday. Partly cloudy, 71, Tuesday. San Francisco area: Mostly sunny, 65, Monday. Mostly sunny, 64, Tuesday. Sacramento: Sunny, 89, Monday. Sunny, 95, Tuesday. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: Rep. Scott Peters (June 17, 1958), rapper Kendrick Lamar (June 17, 1987), Rep. Jerry McNerney (June 18, 1951), Rep. Pete Aguilar (June 19, 1979), Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (June 21, 1947), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (June 22, 1933) and Rep. Adam Schiff (June 22, 1960).

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.