Newsletter: Essential California: A big change at the University of California

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, July 12, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The University of California opened its doors to a record number of Californians for fall 2018, led by growth in transfer students from across the state. The preliminary data reflect UC’s stepped-up efforts to reach more deeply across California for community college students, as it responds to growing pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to open access for more residents. Brown has long advocated the transfer option as a cheaper alternative to a four-year degree. Los Angeles Times

So long, perhaps


Authorities voted to dissolve the troubled Sativa Los Angeles County Water District after customers in Compton and Willowbrook complained of foul drinking water. The unanimous vote by the county Local Agency Formation Commission, which monitors special districts such as Sativa, begins a process to get rid of the water district, which has also been accused of financial mismanagement, nepotism and other wrongdoing. Los Angeles Times

‘You don’t love me anymore?’

One immigrant father showed up to a federal appointment in downtown L.A. fearful that he would be deported without his 6-year-old son. A wrenching story of family separation even as children and their migrant parents are supposed to be reunited. Los Angeles Times

Get the Essential California newsletter »

San Francisco Mayor London Breed waves during her inauguration at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images )


The fight ahead: USC has been one of academia’s biggest success stories. But after a scandal involving the campus’ longtime gynecologist, the university faces a difficult recovery. The scandal brought down its president, but other challenges lie ahead. Town and Country

Amazing! Five Picassos went missing from the L.A. Times’ headquarters. What happened to them? Los Angeles Times

Out on the street: He handed water to homeless people when temperatures topped 100. Some Silver Lake neighbors jeered, while others cheered. Los Angeles Times

Still closed: Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory remained closed Wednesday after a 25-acre brush fire scorched hillsides in Griffith Park a day earlier. Los Angeles Times

Life-changing: The book that made one writer want to stay in L.A. Los Angeles Magazine


No deal: Contra Costa County is ending its contract to detain immigrants at a jail in Richmond, becoming the third California jurisdiction since last year to cut such ties with the federal government. Los Angeles Times

Harrowing story: “For many L.G.B.T. migrants, north of the border is no refuge.” New York Times


Making history: London Breed has been sworn in as the first black female mayor of San Francisco. Los Angeles Times

In Congress: As Silicon Valley and automakers attempt to steer the nation toward a future of driverless vehicles, a group of influential lawmakers remains concerned that bipartisan legislation now moving through Congress could leave consumers at risk by preventing states from demanding tighter safety regulations. Los Angeles Times

Big picture: “Churning out everything from cars and computer chips to nuts and wine, California’s mighty economy will suffer big time if the U.S.-China trade war worsens” Agence-France Presse

Staying up to speed: What you need to know about California’s new data privacy law. Harvard Business Review


Arrested: Authorities have arrested a woman suspected of being involved in the assault of a 91-year-old man on the Fourth of July. Los Angeles Times

Charged: Former Pro Bowl defensive back Brandon Browner has been charged with attempted murder. Los Angeles Times

See you in court: Harvard professor, liberal activist and former presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig is suing one of the most liberal states in the country, arguing that California’s winner-take-all system disenfranchises Republican voters. Sacramento Bee


On the Gulf of Baja: To save the world’s rarest marine mammal, conservationists are seeking a ban on Mexican seafood imports. Los Angeles Times

Help or hindrance? “Is California’s CEQA environmental law protecting natural beauty — or blocking affordable housing?” KPCC

Ahead of schedule: “In a major win for California’s fight against global warming, the state appears to have hit its first target for cutting greenhouse gases — and it reached the goal four years early.” San Francisco Chronicle


A chapter comes to a close: A bankruptcy court judge has approved a $21-million price cut in the sale of Weinstein Co., the studio devastated by a raft of sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder Harvey Weinstein. The Delaware judge, at a Wednesday hearing, signed off on the company’s new agreement to sell its assets to the Dallas-based private equity firm Lantern Capital Partners for $289 million. Los Angeles Times

She’s gone: “Uber Technologies Inc.’s Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey resigned on Tuesday, Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said, following an investigation into how she handled allegations of racial discrimination at the ride-hailing firm.” Reuters

TBT! Check out this wild oral history of Google — “the most important company on the Internet, from grad-school all-nighters, space tethers, and Burning Man to the ‘eigenvector of a matrix,’ humongous wealth, and extraordinary power.” Vanity Fair

Wow: Read Gustavo Arellano’s dispatch from Highway 99 and the underappreciated wonderland of Mexican food that stretches from Bakersfield to Sacramento. Eater

Sure, why not? “The essential guide to eating California.” Eater


Los Angeles area: Sunny, 87, Thursday. Sunny, 85, Friday. San Diego: Sunny, 79, Thursday. Sunny, 78, Friday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 69, Thursday. Sunny, 68, Friday. Sacramento: Partly cloudy, 96, Thursday and Friday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Heather Frank:

“I vividly remember visits to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland when I was 4. I caused a commotion at the former, riding the Calico Railroad with my parents. When ‘bandits’ boarded and proceeded to ‘rob’ my father at gunpoint, I threw myself in front of my dad and started slapping the gunman and crying hysterically. The bandits immediately backed down and tried to placate me, but it was a tense standoff until we were back at the station. I wonder if I was the only child to be so thoroughly undone. And, I’d still risk a bullet for my daddy.”

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.