Newsletter: Essential California: The state’s apocalyptic forecast for the future

Trees shrouded in smoke from the Ferguson fire, which burned more than 96,000 acres near Yosemite National Park. A state assessment found climate change will make Sierra Nevada forests more susceptible to wildfires.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Aug. 28, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Heat waves will grow more severe and persistent, shortening the lives of thousands of Californians. Wildfires will burn more of the state’s forests. The ocean will rise higher and faster, exposing California to billions in damage along the coast. These are some of the threats California will face from climate change in coming decades, according to a new statewide assessment. The projections come as Californians contend with destructive wildfires, brutal heat spells and record ocean temperatures that scientists say have the fingerprints of global warming. Los Angeles Times

-- California’s coastal water temperatures are breaking records as well. And that might be the cause of a massive fish die-off in Malibu. Warming water temperatures can alter the marine food chain in various ways — bringing about toxic algae that make crabs, for example, dangerous to eat. Researchers are also seeing more warm-water animals, like jellyfish and stingrays, off the coast. Los Angeles Times


-- The trauma of the wine country fires is still raw for these Santa Rosa teenagers. Press Democrat

-- Remembering Whiskeytown, a beloved local spot destroyed by the Carr fire. Record Searchlight

Gas tax revolt

The GOP might be beleaguered in California, but it might have found one potential issue. Democratic leaders are facing a mutiny by four of the party’s congressional candidates who are opposing a recent increase in the California gas tax that has proved unpopular with many voters. The defections could bolster Proposition 6, a Republican-led initiative on the November ballot that would repeal a 2017 law that increased the state’s gas tax and vehicle fees to fix roads and improve mass transit. Los Angeles Times

Get the Essential California newsletter »

USC student Katherine Ho sang her version of Coldplay’s song “Yellow” in Mandarin in the movie “Crazy RIch Asians.”
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)


Paper fight: Nine months after a mysterious new company bought LA Weekly, one of the company’s owners is suing the rest, alleging they have mismanaged the alternative weekly, pillaged it for their own gain and improperly kicked him out of the management team. David Welch is seeking to dissolve the company, which could leave LA Weekly searching for another new owner. Los Angeles Times

Helping hands: In Studio City, residents are coming together to help the homeless in their midst. Los Angeles Daily News

More flames: A flare-up ignited Monday and charred 150 acres in the Cleveland National Forest where the Holy fire recently burned in Orange County. Los Angeles Times

Save the mall: Crowdsourcing to help save the ailing Westminster Mall. Orange County Register

Changes on Fig: Did the massive makeover of Figueroa Street actually make things better? Curbed Los Angeles



Under review: Fullerton Police Chief David Hendricks and another police officer were placed on paid administrative leave Saturday pending the outcome of an investigation, a city official said Monday. Los Angeles Times

Cracking down: BART is beefing up security after a series of crimes that further tarnished the transit system’s reputation. Mercury News


Survey says: Facing a federal indictment for misuse of campaign funds, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) is still the front-runner in the race for the 50th Congressional District — although with a shrinking advantage over Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar. Los Angeles Times

Fake letter: The FBI and Capitol Police want to talk with Omar Navarro, Rep. Maxine Waters’ 2018 Republican opponent, about a fake letter he posted to Twitter that falsely indicated the congresswoman wants to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in her Los Angeles district. Los Angeles Times


What’s going on? Can a controversial San Diego County development get a new look from regulators in Trump’s Washington? San Diego Union-Tribune

Reversing course: Faced with declining rail and bus ridership, Sacramento might cut fares. Sacramento Bee

Appeal denied: An Assembly committee has rejected former Assemblyman Matt Dababneh’s appeal of a legislative investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, upholding the probe’s original findings that he “more likely than not” exposed himself to a lobbyist in a hotel bathroom. Los Angeles Times


A star is born: After chemistry class on a recent weekday, USC sophomore Katherine Ho described how her rendition of Coldplay’s “Yellow” appeared during the climactic scene in the box-office-topping movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” Los Angeles Times

Novel idea: Can selling stock in newspapers to readers help save them? One Northern California publisher is about to find out. New York Times


Clean lines: A San Francisco museum gets a tasteful upgrade. SF Gate

Looking up: There are hints that the Amazon effect is boosting Whole Foods, which had been losing ground to rivals as organic food went mainstream. In more than 100 places in the United States, the upscale grocer gained foot traffic at the expense of Trader Joe’s and others. Los Angeles Times

Yum: Finding the Bay Area’s best Chinese noodles. San Francisco Chronicle

Taking a U-turn: Why Elon Musk’s latest scheme unraveled so badly. Wall Street Journal


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 81, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 83, Wednesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 79, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 80, Wednesday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 65, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 67, Wednesday. San Jose: Partly cloudy, 76, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 77, Wednesday. Sacramento: Sunny, 80, Tuesday. Sunny, 81, Wednesday. More weather is here.



Today’s California memory comes from Judi King:

“I grew up in Lennox, which is under the flight lines near LAX. One year my dad painted our house gray, joking that every time a plane flew over, we got a new coat of paint. My mother was slightly deaf, and every few minutes we had to wait for a plane to pass before resuming our conversation. A happy memory was when the Concorde passed over on its first flight to the United States. Although it was not allowed to travel at supersonic speeds, it was quite a sight as it passed directly over our house.”

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.