Newsletter: Essential California: Trump’s immigration flip

Bianey Reyes, center, and others protest the separation of children from their parents at the El Paso Processing Center.
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, June 21, and here’s what’s happening across California:


In a rare retreat amid continued outrage about his “zero tolerance” policy at the southern border, President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to end family separations. His directive was expected to keep families together but in indefinite detention. That is likely to open a new legal battle over a landmark 21-year-old court settlement known as the Flores agreement, under which the federal government agreed to hold minors no longer than 20 days. Los Angeles Times

-- Trump launched his campaign by denouncing Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and criminals. On Tuesday, he said “illegal immigrants ... infest our nation.” The wrenching scenes of children weeping on the border may test how far he can go in dehumanizing and criminalizing migrants. Los Angeles Times


-- The long-lasting health effects of separating children from their parents at the U.S. border. Los Angeles Times

-- University of California President Janet Napolitano, former Homeland Security chief, explains why she said no to family separation. Los Angeles Times

Big deals

Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox struck a new deal Wednesday: Disney agreed to pay $71.3 billion for Fox entertainment assets, surpassing the $65-billion offer from Comcast Corp. Disney said it amended its original Dec. 21 agreement with Fox in which Disney offered $52.8 billion. The Fox board accepted Disney’s new offer, although it is subject to shareholder approval and does not rule out evaluating a competing bid. Los Angeles Times

Big port news

About 40% of all U.S. imports moves through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout Southern California. Shipments in and out have been rising this year, especially those from China. But on Monday evening President Trump threatened tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods, his largest action yet. The move drew immediate counter-threats of retaliation from the world’s second-largest economy — and predictions from trade experts that an escalating trade war could soon hit Southern California warehouse workers and truck drivers, while raising prices for consumers. Los Angeles Times


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New policy, new videos: The Los Angeles Police Department, roiled more than two decades ago by an infamous video of police brutality, entered a new era Wednesday, publicly releasing police body camera video in what will be a regular process aimed at increasing transparency when officers use force. Los Angeles Times

On the streets: An impromptu memorial for the slain rapper XXXTentacion turned rowdy late Tuesday night as hundreds of people gathered in the street in the Fairfax area, with some climbing onto rooftops and swarming moving cars as police ordered them to disperse. Los Angeles Times

On the field: Here’s why artificial turf fields are failing across Southern California and costing millions. Orange County Register

Cute! Chubbs, the 29-pound cat who has gained social media followers worldwide from his perch at the Pasadena Humane Society, is finally going home. He was adopted Wednesday, after “a purrfectly choreographed social media campaign.” Los Angeles Times


Poll alert: With about four and a half months to go until a midterm election that will determine whether Democrats gain power to check President Trump, voter interest in the contest has reached historic highs, with far more intense focus than usual on one subject: the president. Los Angeles Times

In Sacramento: A California net neutrality bill that advocates hailed as the “gold standard” for Internet protections was eviscerated, its chief backer said, in a committee hearing Wednesday morning. San Francisco Chronicle


“Sanctuary state” challenge: A federal judge on Wednesday challenged attorneys for the Trump administration and California over their contrasting views of laws designed to limit the state’s involvement in enforcing federal immigration policy. In the end, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez seemed to poke a number of sizable holes in the federal government’s argument. Los Angeles Times

Drone alert: The Huntington Beach Police Department received the City Council’s unanimous approval Monday night for a one-year pilot program to learn how two drones can be used to enhance public safety. Los Angeles Times

Charged: A Newport Beach doctor was charged Monday with two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance on allegations that he sent messages with sexual connotations to two Newport Harbor High School cheerleaders. Los Angeles Times


Fire season: “California is poised to spend just over $2 billion this year to suppress and prevent wildfires. Last year, the state spent $2.6 billion, according to the Department of Finance.” Capital Public Radio


Great read: Times film critic Justin Chang has a thoughtful essay that takes a look at why diversity in film criticism is sorely needed. Los Angeles Times

Buy the book: David Lynch’s memoir-slash-biography is, yes, strange — and deeply American. Los Angeles Times

Short straw: With plastic straws on the way out, Bay Area bartenders face paper straw shortage. San Francisco Chronicle

Fun this weekend: Here’s what you should eat at the Arroyo Seco music festival this weekend based on your favorite act. Los Angeles Magazine

Cool: “As military bases around the country are converted for civilian purposes, a San Francisco landmark plans a ‘campus for change.’ ” New York Times

Exciting: AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theater chain, has unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service as a rival to the flagging MoviePass. Associated Press


Los Angeles area: Sunny, 79, Thursday. Sunny, 81, Friday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 71, Thursday. Sunny, 75, Friday. San Francisco area: Sunny, 67, Thursday. Sunny, 71, Friday. Sacramento: Sunny, 96, Thursday. Sunny, 104, Friday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Chuck Williamson:

“My first memory of Los Angeles is living in a Lincoln Heights duplex with my mother, grandmother and sister in about 1936. My father had passed at a veterans hospital the year before. We later moved to Highland Park, where I spent my K-12 years attending a series of grammar schools as they were then called. As a child, along with older neighborhood kids, we were free to roam the then undisturbed natural environment. A favorite summertime activity was locating and extracting trapdoor spiders. For those who don’t know, the spider boroughs a small round hole in the earth lined with a silky web. To extract the spider, one poured water that loosed the web and the spider was extracted along with the web. Once contained in a glass jar, it was subjected to many hours of inspection. Beginning when I was about 12 my grandmother and I would take the W yellow car to the Grand Central Market and do the weekly shopping. Eating in the Chinese cafe was a treat and shopping the various stalls taught me a great deal. After I graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in 1950, my education continued at Frank Wiggins (L.A. Trade Tech), where I graduated and obtained an FCC radio license. I was able to effectively use my education from the L.A. school district first at Lockheed and later in the computer industry. I have fond memories of Los Angeles, the yellow cars, which from the age of 7 took me to school, work and movie theaters and the friendly safe and exciting neighborhoods. I am currently living in Austin, Texas, with my child bride of 59 years.”

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.