Newsletter: Essential California: The tragedy and the politics of police Cpl. Ronil Singh’s death

Law enforcement officials carry the casket of police Cpl. Ronil Singh into the Westside Theatre for a public viewing in Newman, Calif.
(Deke Farrow / AP)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Jan. 11, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The procession of police cars worked its way through the Central Valley, escorting the body of Ronil Singh for his final watch. The silver hearse swept past ads for farm equipment, campaign signs for a Republican congressman who narrowly lost his reelection bid and cows grazing in the vast dairy farms. Word of Singh’s death had spread quickly through Newman, population about 11,000. Many in town personally knew and grieved for the officer who, like a large number of the people he protected, was an immigrant. The suspect in his death is also an immigrant, a Latino man living in the country illegally. Now people in the majority-Latino town have found themselves thrust into a familiar ritual of recrimination that feels at once specific and unsettlingly broad. Los Angeles Times

Budget day in CA


Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a $209-billion budget on Thursday that boosts funding for public schools and healthcare programs and includes significant one-time spending to combat the state’s homelessness epidemic and prepare for future natural disasters. “I know it’s rote and cliché to say it’s a reflection of our values, but it is a reflection of our values,” Newsom said at a news conference in Sacramento. “It is demonstrable that these dollars attach to real people and real people’s lives.” Los Angeles Times

Columnist George Skelton says: When it comes to style, former Gov. Jerry Brown and Newsom couldn’t be more different. Los Angeles Times

Trump at the border

President Trump has moved closer to declaring a national emergency in an effort to secure funds for a border wall and resolve a government shutdown now into its 20th day. “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Trump said to reporters before departing the White House for McAllen, Texas, where he toured Border Patrol facilities and met with agents along the U.S.-Mexico border. Los Angeles Times

On the ground: On the border in Texas, residents have a message for Trump: There is no crisis. Los Angeles Times

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Strike update: A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Thursday cleared the path for an L.A. teachers’ strike to start Monday. More negotiations are scheduled to take place today. Los Angeles Times

Flashback Friday: L.A. teachers last went on strike in 1989. The nine-day walkout, causing angst across the city, ended with a 24% three-year raise that had to be scaled back four years later and a package of reforms that have largely been lost to history. Los Angeles Times

New reviewer in town: Get to know Bill Addison, one of The Times’ new restaurant critics. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Fiona bakery showcases pie queen Nicole Rucker’s baking talents, and so much more. Los Angeles Times


Play ball? The Angels and the city of Anaheim are expected to agree to a one-year extension of the team’s lease at Angel Stadium, which would keep the team in Anaheim through the 2020 season. The City Council is expected to consider the extension at its meeting Tuesday. New Mayor Harry Sidhu, who plans to introduce the proposal, met last week with Angels owner Arte Moreno. Los Angeles Times

Click: Give a listen to this great new podcast about preparing for the Big One. KPCC


Pancho Villa, prostitutes and spies: The U.S.-Mexico border wall’s wild origin story. Washington Post


Trade-war consequences: From Barbie dolls to bottles of Merlot, the slowdown in China’s massive economy and the U.S.-China trade dispute are impeding sales growth for some other California companies doing business in China, serving Chinese tourists or pulling in Chinese investment. Los Angeles Times


Gulp: “California has already determined that PG&E Corp. is responsible for a string of wildfires in 2017. Regulators are now getting ready to figure out how much that could cost the company.” Bloomberg

What’s going on here? “The state agency in charge of wildfire cleanup has awarded a contract worth as much as $250 million to the company at the center of San Francisco’s Superfund scandal — an environmental engineering firm that was caught falsifying soil tests and is being sued by the U.S. Justice Department, whistleblowers and homeowners.” San Francisco Chronicle


Update from West Hollywood: The Los Angeles County coroner’s office on Thursday identified the man who died this week in the home of longtime Democratic donor Ed Buck as 55-year-old Timothy Dean of West Hollywood. Los Angeles Times

Weinstein legal drama: A federal judge in Los Angeles has dismissed Ashley’s Judd’s sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein but says the actress can still pursue other claims in her civil suit against the disgraced movie producer. Los Angeles Times

That was dumb: Two teens were charged Wednesday with vandalism after prosecutors said they tagged a statue of the UCLA mascot with red and yellow paint and wrote “SC” on its base in November in the week leading up to the school’s football game with rival USC. Los Angeles Times



Follow the leader: California set a goal of 100% clean energy, and now other states may follow its lead. Los Angeles Times

Helping out: How goats are helping Nevada City, Calif., fight wildfires. Wired


The Sopranos” at 20: Melfi, Carmela, Livia — the women of HBO’s mobster epic made it magic. Los Angeles Times

Big deal: Pitchfork’s Ryan Schreiber shaped internet music journalism and now is leaving it behind. Los Angeles Times


Read and weep: What $5,500 rents in San Francisco right now. Curbed SF


Los Angeles area: cloudy, 65, Friday; showers, 62, Saturday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 64, Friday; showers, 61, Saturday. San Francisco area: rainy, 58, Friday; partly cloudy, 57, Saturday. San Jose: showers, 61, Friday; partly cloudy, 60, Saturday. Sacramento: showers, 60, Friday; partly cloudy, 60, Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Casey Caldwell:

“As an adult living in Northern California, I hear a lot of disparaging remarks when I tell people I grew up in Los Angeles, but I have many great memories of that time. Hitchhiking down Wilshire Bouelvard to hit the beach each summer, hanging out in Westwood Village and exploring the hills and mountains of Malibu are just a few. The most vivid memories are those of growing up just a block from the campus of UCLA. I was 14 in 1969, and it seemed each day was filled with warnings about going into Westwood Village or the UCLA campus because of demonstrations and riots. As a 14-year-old, that was like a magnet to me and my friends. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but seeing social activists such as Daniel Ellsberg, Angela Davis, Cesar Chavez and Eldridge Cleaver made an impression on me that has stayed with me throughout my life. Being the teenage hoodlums that we were, we were mostly interested in breaking into campus buildings, playing basketball at Pauley Pavilion, swimming in the campus pools. The campus was our backyard, and we knew each and every nook and cranny of the campus. Although I moved north 25 years ago, I still view L.A as a vibrant and exciting city.”


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.