Newsletter: Essential California: The 6-year-old girl living with a bullet in her body

Emely Ramirez, 6, was shot in the back at a gas station near her home in South Los Angeles on Oct. 12.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Nov. 1, and here’s what’s happening across California:


There’s a bullet inside Emely Ramirez, but it only hurts when the 6-year-old bends down. On a rainy Friday night last month, she was strapped into her car seat at a South Los Angeles gas station — her mother and 13-year-old sister were trading jokes outside the car. A nearby Pontiac was making Emely’s mother, Brenda Ramirez, nervous. Then a BMW pulled up and people from both cars began shooting at one another. In the ensuing gunfight, the shooters didn’t hit one another. But a bullet struck Emely in the back. Los Angeles Times

Midterm mayhem


On the home page of his campaign website, Rep. Steve Knight of Palmdale has posted a television ad showing a veteran praising the Republican congressman for helping him get a double lung transplant. It turns out that veteran, David Brayton of Santa Clarita, has posted dozens of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim comments on Facebook. Brayton has also promoted violence against journalists he sees as hostile to President Trump and called on citizen militias to turn their weapons on left-wing protesters. Los Angeles Times

Coming Tuesday! Will California flip the House? The key races to watch. Los Angeles Times

Not a trendsetter this time: Female candidates are running in record numbers for the midterm election, just not in California. The Conversation

Plus: Early voting is blowing the doors off this midterm election, but it’s unclear what that means for Tuesday. Los Angeles Times

In San Diego: As different as Rep. Duncan Hunter and Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar may be, they have a strategy in common: In a district with a large veteran population, they’re relying on the moral authority of those who wore the uniform to try to portray the other as unsuitable for office. Los Angeles Times

A maddening moving mud pot

The San Andreas fault begins its dangerous dance through California at the Salton Sea, at a spot that seismologists long have feared could be the epicenter of a massive earthquake. But in recent months, this desolate location where the North American and Pacific plates rub together has become the focus of intense interest for a type of movement that is less the Big One than the Slow One. A muddy spring mysteriously has begun to move at a faster pace through dry earth — first 60 feet over a few months, and then 60 feet in a single day, according to Imperial County officials. Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Police Asst. Chief Jorge Villegas was accused of having improper relationships with subordinate officers before his sudden retirement last week, officials told The Times.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)


$$$: A proposal to limit the amount of paid time off that veteran Los Angeles police and firefighters can take while in a controversial retirement program would save nearly $13 million in the first year, according to a city report. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A high-ranking Los Angeles Police Department official had been accused of having improper sexual relationships with officers under his command shortly before his sudden retirement last week. Los Angeles Times


Beyond slashers and “scream queens”: Three women of horror on the legacies of their legendary roles. Los Angeles Times

From “virtual loner” to the White House: An oral history of Stephen Miller’s days at Santa Monica High. Los Angeles Magazine


In Texas: Migrants arriving at the U.S. border to seek asylum are routinely subjected to tactics that immigration rights advocates say are designed to drive them away, in violation of their rights under federal law. Los Angeles Times



Down ballot: Democratic state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra and Republican challenger Steven Bailey discuss the issues facing California. Los Angeles Times

The big picture: Why one of America’s richest states is also its poorest. The Economist

On the ballot in SF: “Salesforce founder Marc Benioff has poured a combined $7.9 million in personal and corporate money into the effort to pass Proposition C, the San Francisco ballot measure that would nearly double city spending on homeless services by increasing taxes on the city’s largest corporations, including Salesforce itself.” San Francisco Chronicle



Big payout: The city of San Diego on Tuesday agreed to pay nearly $1.5 million to settle a pair of lawsuits involving more than a dozen exotic dancers who claimed their constitutional rights were violated during raids at two San Diego strip clubs more than four years ago. Los Angeles Times

In depth: An unlikely alliance was born in search for answers over the O.C. snitch scandal. ABC 7

Ghost ship fire update: “Breaking a long silence, the reclusive owners of the Ghost Ship warehouse, where 36 people died in a fire, are blaming the tragedy on their electrician, claiming he lied about being a licensed contractor.” East Bay Times



Water wars: “In an 11-0 vote, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors agreed in a resolution to support the State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to leave more water in the San Joaquin River and its tributaries to benefit struggling fish populations. The vote splits the city from the Trump administration and instead moves its support to a state plan that its utilities commission warns could lead to severe drinking water shortages for its nearly 884,000 residents.” Sacramento Bee

Not the Rolling Stones song: Critics worry that California’s wild horse roundup could lead to slaughter. CBS News



Fin: Film Independent has announced that it will discontinue the L.A. Film Festival after 18 years. Instead the L.A.-based arts organization will shift resources into more year-round events, including several that traditionally occurred during the festival. Los Angeles Times

A complicated place: From afar, L.A. shimmers like a diamond-studded bear trap. Yet, Chris Erskine is still smitten. Los Angeles Times

Cool exhibit: Underworld” at the Getty Villa examines celebrity ghosts of ancient times. Los Angeles Times

Funny! For more than three weeks, authorities have been scouring California wine country, hoping to find an 800-pound hammer. New York Times



Los Angeles area: sunny, 81, Thursday; sunny, 84, Friday. San Diego: sunny, 77, Thursday; sunny, 79, Friday. San Francisco area: partly cloudy, 72, Thursday; partly cloudy, 67, Friday. San Jose: partly cloudy, 81, Thursday; partly cloudy, 77, Friday. Sacramento: partly cloudy, 84, Thursday; partly cloudy, 81, Friday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Larry Mayer:


“In early November 1963, Dad and Mom, with us six kids, loaded the family station wagon and headed west to California from Phoenix. It was long after dark the second day when we arrived in San Francisco, and we were weary from the long journey. After driving around all evening and failing to find accommodations, Dad checked us into a salesman’s display room on the third floor of the St. Francis Hotel. I remember how grand we felt the next morning waking up to witness the sun, which rose up bright and clear over Union Square, generously illuminating our room through the hotel’s spacious windows. I remember my sisters leaning out a window above the Powell St. portico that Saturday morning to marvel at the activity on the street and square below. There was Macy’s to the south, Bullock and Jones to the north, City of Paris to the East with its replica Eiffel Tower and red neon sign, and I. Magnin was just around the corner. The traffic on Post, Geary, and Powell Streets, the latter replete with the distinctive sound of cable cars, was mounting for a busy morning of shoppers on the square.”

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.