Newsletter: Essential California: Nipsey Hussle’s L.A. farewell

Crowds attend the Nipsey Hussle celebration of life memorial at Staples Center.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, April 12, and here’s what’s happening across California:


South Los Angeles swelled with mourners of the rapper Nipsey Hussle. His funeral took place at Staples Center followed by a 25.5-mile procession through the neighborhoods where Hussle grew up and called home. Inside the arena hundreds of roses surrounded his casket. The service, which was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., was delayed for nearly an hour as fans waited to get into the venue to honor the man, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, who was gunned down in broad daylight outside his clothing store on Slauson Avenue on March 31. Los Angeles Times

The 33-year-old rapper was shot nearly two week ago. Here’s more of The Times’ coverage:


— During the procession, thousands lined streets of L.A. for a final farewell.

— Hussle’s dreams were bigger than hip-hop, writes music reporter Gerrick Kennedy.

— Then here was one of the most heartbreaking pieces you’ll read: about Nipsey’s final moments with his older brother.

— Before his death in South L.A., Hussle was trying to buy back his ’hood.


— Hussle had a vision for South L.A. It all started with a trip to Eritrea.

One of the world’s largest and most secretive companies

Standing on Huawei Technologies Co.’s sprawling new campus near Shenzhen, it’s hard to conceive that Ren Zhengfei, backed by five friends of friends, could have singlehandedly turned his tiny start-up into a technology-driven colossus. How could Ren, then in his 40s and possessing no intellectual property, have grown Huawei into the world’s biggest seller of telecommunications equipment and one of the largest makers of smartphones, with 188,000 employees in 170 countries? Los Angeles Times

The perfect side door

William “Rick” Singer had a trusted scam, one he described in federal court last month: He bribed college coaches and administrators to recruit his clients’ children as student athletes. He drew on a number of sports. His clients’ children played water polo, tennis, volleyball, football, basketball, soccer; they sailed, ran track, competed in the pole vault — at least on paper. But one pastime was particularly suited to Singer’s scheme. According to court documents, when it came to helping designer J. Mossimo Giannulli and actress Lori Loughlin, he turned to a sport with large rosters, little fan or press scrutiny, and wide latitude in recruiting female athletes. Los Angeles Times

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Amazing story: She was buried in a mudslide that killed her father and brother in Montecito. Singing has been her salvation. Los Angeles Times


Behind the story: Winning the trust of a traumatized family. Los Angeles Times

Lauren Cantin does a dress rehearsal of the song she chose to sing, "Hero," by Mariah Carey, before the final performance of "Teen Star" at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara.
(Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

What a mess: The Lakers are in trouble, and many around NBA think general manager Rob Pelinka must go. Los Angeles Times

More charges: In an expansion of the criminal charges against Michael Avenatti, a federal grand jury has indicted the Los Angeles lawyer on 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement and other financial crimes. Los Angeles Times


The problem gets worse: “Wait times at the ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border have soared as the Trump administration diverts officers to handle an influx of immigrants, leaving trucks backed up for hours and industry leaders warning of possible produce shortages and supply-chain interruptions.” Washington Post


Impact: the public agency that manages Orange County’s network of toll roads is ending its multimillion-dollar public outreach campaign with consultants who billed up to $185 an hour to read news stories and has launched an external audit of the consulting bills. It comes after a Times article last month. Los Angeles Times


Changing their ways? Los Angeles officials took a tentative step Wednesday toward clamping down on political donations from real estate developers, as a City Council committee pressed forward with plans to ban donations from people seeking City Hall approval for their building projects. Los Angeles Times

They want help: Tenant activists are urging Los Angeles leaders to make sure that renters facing harassment or eviction can turn to a lawyer for help. Los Angeles Times


Jail watch: For several years, Los Angeles County’s vast jail system has been under careful monitoring by a team of court-appointed watchdogs who’ve helped implement policies to curb excessive force and retaliation against inmates. But the lead monitor, Richard Drooyan, is now saying he’s concerned that years of progress could be undermined by recent decisions by Sheriff Alex Villanueva, whose department operates the jail system. Los Angeles Times

Arrested: The head of a Sherman Oaks firm accused of bilking thousands of investors in a $1.3-billion Ponzi scheme was arrested Thursday along with two associates on federal criminal charges. Los Angeles Times


From D.C.: David Bernhardt, President Trump’s pick to the lead the Interior Department, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday amid persistent ethical concerns and doubts about his independence from the energy and water industry groups he long represented as a lobbyist. Los Angeles Times

Gulp: “If California wildfires continue to be as devastating as they have been the past two years, millions of customers’ electric rates could skyrocket 50% and threaten the state’s ability to execute some of its top clean energy initiatives, according to a new analysis prepared for Gov. Gavin Newsom.” San Francisco Chronicle

Plus: Check out this package of stories about the increasing perils of living near fire zones. Sacramento Bee


Rise of the machines: Can a computer write a script? Machine learning goes Hollywood. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Picking strawberries takes speed, stamina and skill. Can a robot do it? The New Yorker

This weekend, Part 1: Coachella has officially gone pop, but the fest likely had no other choice. Los Angeles Times

This weekend, Part 2: Everything you need to know before attending the L.A. Times Festival of Books. Los Angeles Times

RIP: Blase Bonpane, a USC football player turned priest turned peace activist, dies at 89. Los Angeles Times

Question of culture: Uber battles its own history in a historic IPO filing.” Recode

Tesla watch: A key supplier has cut its growth plans, raising red flags over demand for the Model 3. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: sunny, 75, Friday; partly cloudy, 77, Saturday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 70, Friday; sunny, 72, Saturday. San Francisco area: partly cloudy, 67, Friday; partly cloudy, 67, Sunday. San Jose: partly cloudy, 72, Friday; partly cloudy, 76, Saturday. Sacramento: cloudy, 73, Friday; partly cloudy, 77, Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Larry Mayer:

“Our family moved to Millbrae from Minnesota in the dead of winter, January 1957. I was a 9-year old third-grader. Later in the spring, I realized we had special neighbors. Three or four ballplayers from the San Francisco Seals AAA baseball team had moved into the house across the street and often held victory parties there with their teammates. That year was a championship year for the Seals and their last in San Francisco as the Giants were moving from New York.

“I specifically remember the sports cars parked out front. Frequently, there was an Austin-Healey 100 with its sexy, fan-shaped grill and spoke wheels parked at the curb and a black Porsche 356a T1 Speedster parked at a rakish angle in the driveway. No one in our working-class neighborhood drove sports cars like these, much less ever saw one.

“I remember Dad looking wistfully at these young men coming and going one late-summer Saturday afternoon after a day-game victory. He was watering the front lawn, holding a hose-end nozzle and smoking a cigarette, the tip of which glowed red as darkness swallowed the neighborhood. We both vicariously enjoyed the moment: he, a family man, burdened with myriad responsibilities, and I, a little kid, observing life’s glorious possibilities.”

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.