Newsletter: Essential California: How a haven for farmworkers took a financial hit

Co-founder and president Gloria Gomez comforts Gerardo Olivares after listening to his life hardships. Olivares was at Our Lady of Guadalupe shelter to sleep.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, April 10, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The Our Lady of Guadalupe Shelter doesn’t seem like much, but for the migrant farmworkers who descend on the impoverished desert town of Mecca, it’s a far cry from the fields and dirt parking lots they once called home. The shelter in the Coachella Valley was started a little over a year ago with a large donation from Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad. But late last year, she grew concerned about asylum seekers being welcomed there. Fearing that the focus had shifted away from the farmworkers, Ingebrand-Pohlad in November decided not to renew her contribution — creating an uncertain future for those who have been trickling in over the past few weeks in preparation for the grape season. Her decision raised unusual questions about the mission of helping immigrants — and which immigrants, even when they’re bound by shared cultures and languages and dreams. Los Angeles Times

LACMA gets a green light


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s proposed $650-million new home has received final approval from the county Board of Supervisors, which voted unanimously to provide key funding. Celebrities including Brad Pitt and Diane Keaton turned out to support the LACMA plans. The five supervisors’ vote certified the new building’s final environmental impact report, approved demolition of four existing LACMA buildings and green-lighted $117.5 million in county funds toward construction. But it still must get city approval. Los Angeles Times

Predictive policing

The Los Angeles Police Department was a pioneer in using controversial algorithms and databases to fight crime, but critics claimed partial victory Tuesday when the agency ended one program and the Police Commission raised questions on whether another worked without harming minorities. The commission, the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD, demanded more information about how the agency plans to overhaul a data program that helps predict where and when crimes will likely occur. Los Angeles Times

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Shock move: Magic Johnson is stepping down as Lakers president of basketball operations, he announced during an impromptu news conference on Tuesday evening before the team’s regular-season finale against the Portland Trail Blazers. Los Angeles Times

Magic Johnson hugs Lauren Jones, a reporter for the Los Angeles Sentinel, after announcing he would step down as Lakers president of basketball operations.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

It’s blustery: Thousands of residents were left without power Tuesday evening after strong winds blew through the Southland, snapping tree branches that wreaked havoc on streets, rooftops and power lines. Los Angeles Times

Mark your calendars: A public memorial service for slain rapper Nipsey Hussle is set for 10 a.m. Thursday at Staples Center. Los Angeles Times

Plus: The intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Avenue will be named Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square. Los Angeles Times

Finally: UCLA hired Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin on Tuesday, ending a lengthy search that started on the last day of December and concluded one day after the final game of the college basketball season. Los Angeles Times

Coming this weekend: Your ultimate guide to Coachella 2019. Los Angeles Times


Plus: Coachella at 20, looking back at every festival. Los Angeles Times


On the horizon: “President Trump has directed top officials to execute the most aggressive changes in immigration policy since his inauguration.” Axios


In Sacramento: Doctors have blocked nurse practitioners from expanding care. Could that change? Los Angeles Times

The tour continues: Officials at the U.S Embassy in El Salvador set a rule for a meeting with California Gov. Gavin Newsom: No reporters. But tensions over Trump’s foreign policy have been evident on Newsom’s trip to El Salvador, where he is seeking to counter the president’s immigration narrative. Los Angeles Times

2020 watch: How Sen. Kamala Harris’ death-penalty decisions broke hearts on both sides. CNN

Changing the focus: “As worries about Baby Powder’s safety mounted, J&J focused its pitches on minority, overweight women.” Reuters



Who did it?! Ugandan police have arrested eight people in connection with the kidnapping of Costa Mesa tourist Kimberly Sue Endicott and her Ugandan tour guide, Jean Paul Mirenge. Associated Press

U-turn? After dropping off some San Mateo residents at the airport, an Uber driver headed straight for their home to burglarize it, police say. Los Angeles Times

Your tax dollars at work: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says his eighth-floor executive office complex at the Hall of Justice in downtown has proved to be inconvenient, so he’s relocating to a second office in Monterey Park.” NBC 4

Coming at the media: “In his latest legal onslaught against perceived critics of his policies, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, filed a $150-million defamation suit Monday in a Virginia circuit court against the McClatchy Co. and a Virginia communications consultant described as a ‘digital terrorist for hire.’ ” Fresno Bee


RIP: In memory of Super Bloom in Lake Elsinore, which officials have declared over. Los Angeles Times

Our changing weather: Meet the Big Sur resident who bought his own firetruck and is trying to start his own crew to combat wildfires. BBC


Winter is here: HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is coming to an end. Here’s everything you need to know as the final season begins. Los Angeles Times

Interesting twist: Netflix has been portrayed as the bogeyman of the movie theater industry for years. But now the streaming video giant is looking to preserve one of cinema’s most famous historical institutions, the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times

Plus: “Millions of Netflix users are using someone else’s password, but that’s not bad for Netflix.” Recode

Mogul status: At just 14, Marsai Martin is a Hollywood mogul in the making. Associated Press

On the road: Cara Romero’s billboard art reminds us we’re on Native American land. Los Angeleno


Los Angeles area: sunny, 78, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 75, Thursday. San Diego: sunny, 71, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 71, Thursday. San Francisco area: cloudy, 65, Wednesday; cloudy, 60, Thursday. San Jose: partly cloudy, 70, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 65, Thursday. Sacramento: cloudy, 71, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 68, Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California Memory comes from Brie Jongewaard:

“On Sunday I turned 80, and my California story is about my grandmother who died 50 years ago at age 92. My 90-year-old Southern California grandmother loved watching wrestling matches on TV. Her favorite wrestler was Pepper Gomez. Imagine my excitement upon learning that her hero and his family had moved into my Northern California neighborhood. His wife gave me an autographed photo, and it became one of my grandmother’s treasures. She never accepted that in a calculated marketing ploy the heroes in one area became the villains in another. To her, he was, without question, perpetually heroic, and a fine respectable gentleman everywhere he went and in every match he had. She would also strain to get a glimpse of Alcatraz when we drove across the Bay Bridge on her visits north. Criminality, deception and trickery were of special interest to her. With both Alcatraz and San Quentin in our area, she was convinced that the north held those who would be intentionally dishonest. The south was the home of harmless make-believe in the entertainment industry. She did not place televised wrestling in that category. To her it was a genuine sporting match without any preplanned outcome. And, of course, Pepper Gomez was king.”

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.