Newsletter: Essential California: How a program that reunited families was killed

Andrea, 22, and her son Mateo, 4, were beneficiaries of President Obama’s Central American Minors program, which the Trump administration ended, leaving them without legal protection. A class-action lawsuit has been filed over the program’s termination.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, July 16, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The so-called Central American Minors program, which reunited Central American children with their parents in the United States, is yet another Obama-era humanitarian relief initiative rolled back under President Trump. The current administration abruptly ended programs including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and a case management program meant to keep asylum-seeking families out of detention. This program was created in late 2014 in response to a surge of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing violence in the region. A class-action lawsuit was filed this month in California against the administration over its termination. Los Angeles Times

Plus: After being separated for two months, a father is reunited with his son amid tears, relief and fear of what’s next. Los Angeles Times


And: The Trump administration, under a court order to quickly reunify families that have been separated at the border, is moving ahead — somewhat reluctantly — with a new, streamlined plan to bring together the roughly 2,500 remaining children and their parents in order to meet the court-imposed deadline. Los Angeles Times

Ouch (ouch ouch ouch ouch)

Workers’ compensation claims involving at least five injured body parts have become by far the most common in California, according to a Times data analysis of millions of workers’ compensation cases spanning nearly three decades. In the past, injuries to a single body part — a knee, a shoulder, the lower back — were the most prevalent, the data show. That changed abruptly in the mid-2000s, when then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed through legislation that drastically lowered the amount that can be paid out in benefits for each injured body part. Los Angeles Times

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Gondola Adventures co-owner Greg Mohr paddles a couple around Newport Harbor on one of his boats Friday. The city’s last gondola operator must move in November and is looking for a new location.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)


1st Amendment fight: A federal judge on Saturday ordered the Los Angeles Times to remove information from an article that described a plea agreement between prosecutors and a Glendale police detective accused of working with the Mexican Mafia, a move the newspaper decried as highly unusual and unconstitutional. Los Angeles Times

Peeling the onion: The number of tents, vehicles and makeshift shelters on Los Angeles’ streets increased, according the 2018 homeless count. That’s as the number of homeless people decreased marginally. Los Angeles Times

Trouble at the Griffin: A gathering of members of the Proud Boys, “a self-described ‘western chauvinist’ men’s club that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a hate group,” at an Atwater Village bar called the Griffin drew protests, police and an outcry online. L.A. Taco

What a tale: A fallen Tarzana cyclist’s stolen bike has been found. It took a community. Los Angeles Daily News


Surprising! California Democratic Party leaders took a step to the left Saturday night, endorsing liberal state lawmaker Kevin de León for Senate in a stinging rebuke of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Los Angeles Times

Down the ballot: Donations from a candidate’s father fueled a high-spending race for California’s lieutenant governor. Los Angeles Times

On the campaign trail: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is one of several city leaders from across the country who are using their unique platform to potentially prepare for a run for president. Politico

Sad! Newport Harbor’s last gondola operator may be forced to say arrivederci. Los Angeles Times


On the border: Promises of cash and protection are luring teens into smuggling drugs across the border. Los Angeles Times

Scary: A tour bus carrying 32 passengers crashed into a barrier and tipped over on the westbound 10 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles early Saturday, injuring more than two dozen people, authorities said. Los Angeles Times


Deadly blaze: A forest fire burning near Yosemite National Park forced the closure of Highway 140 into the park and prompting evacuations of nearby communities, officials said. The fire was only 2% contained Sunday, a day after a firefighter was killed battling the blaze. No structures had been lost. Los Angeles Times

The future: California expects drier dry years and wetter wet ones in the decades ahead. That means projects to restore river habitats now serve another purpose: battling the coming floods.” New York Times

Wow:A pair of San Luis Obispo County residents who were camping in Big Sur became unlikely heroes Friday, locating an Oregon woman who had been missing for seven days after driving her car over a cliff.” Sacramento Bee

Case study: Trump says environmental regulations tank the economy. California is proving him wrong.” BuzzFeed


Enough LeBron! Columnist Steve Lopez says that true Angelenos should root for the Clippers, not the Lakers. Los Angeles Times

He tweeted what? The Elon Musk story took a bizarre turn Sunday morning, as the world-famous entrepreneur took to Twitter to suggest a critic of his submarine rescue plan is a pedophile. Los Angeles Times

Scandal by the Bay: “Stephen Buel stepped down Saturday as the publisher of the alternative weekly East Bay Express, a day after publishing an editorial where he admitted to using a racial slur for African-Americans and other ‘hateful words’ during a meeting with staff last month.” KQED

Yum! 13 new and notable OC Fair foods and where to find them.” Orange County Register

Ugly: It’s getting new antennas, but “Sutro Tower, the three-pronged TV broadcasting tower celebrating its 45th birthday, is not about to get any less ugly.” San Francisco Chronicle

RIP: Mai Tai Sing, a pioneering Chinese American entertainer, has died at age 94. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 85, Monday and Tuesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 76, Monday and Tuesday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 68, Monday and Tuesday. Sacramento: Sunny, 99, Monday. Sunny, 102, Tuesday. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California: Rep. Barbara Lee (July 16, 1946), actor Will Ferrell (July 16, 1967) and State Supt. of Public Instruction

Tom Torlakson (July 19, 1949).

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.