Newsletter: Essential California: Facebook’s coming cryptocurrency and a Slack IPO in the week ahead

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
(Mladen Antonov / AFP/Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, June 17, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead:

Tuesday: Facebook is rumored to be unveiling details of its new cryptocurrency (code name: Libra) in a white paper.

Wednesday is Juneteenth, America’s other Independence Day. Juneteenth (a portmanteau for June and 19th) marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when word of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Galveston, Texas, officially freeing the last slaves held in the United States. From Fresno to Oakland to Oxnard, thousands of Californians commemorated Juneteenth with celebrations over the weekend.

Slack, a San Francisco-based workspace collaboration software company, is expected to be valued at $16 billion to $17 billion when the company goes public on Thursday. (The Slack IPO is part of the “IPO gold rush” of newly public and soon-to-be newly public tech companies flooding money into the already money-flooded Bay Area.)


On Friday, the annual “World’s Ugliest Dog” contest will return to Sonoma-Marin Fair for a 31st year.

At Sunday’s BET Awards, rapper Nipsey Hussle will be honored posthumously with a humanitarian award.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:



With its apostle accused of rape and sexual abuse, La Luz del Mundo — the largest evangelical church in Mexico, with a strong religious presence in parts of Southern California — has come out fighting. Church officials have mounted an aggressive and public defense of their leader, calling the allegations falsehoods. Los Angeles Times

Could the Lakers dominate the next NBA season? They’re set to acquire NBA superstar Anthony Davis in a trade with the Pelicans … and Las Vegas oddsmakers are now putting the Los Angeles team as favorites for next season’s NBA champion. Los Angeles Times

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DJ Karina Ramirez from the Chulita Vinyl Club in February.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The Chulita Vinyl Club is curbing cultural erasure, one spinning record at a time. Los Angeles Times

Here’s what a normal L.A. commute was like in 1988. Jalopnik

Three men were killed in separate shootings on Saturday in Willowbrook and Compton. Los Angeles Times


Companies such as Google, Amazon and Netflix are gobbling up vast chunks of Los Angeles office space in a race to set up shop. Meanwhile, real estate developers are performing radical makeovers on older buildings as next-gen offices put a premium on features such as natural light and outdoor decks. Los Angeles Times

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A California interfaith movement bolsters support for migrants across the state. National Catholic Reporter



San Francisco Mayor London Breed is struggling to build consensus on a sweeping housing plan that would amend the City Charter. San Francisco Chronicle

A newly elected Northern California state senator received criticism after holding a town hall that appeared to be open only to Christians. The Hill

In another sign that California’s legal cannabis market is in deep trouble, state officials plan to extend the period that pot businesses can operate with provisional licenses by five years, giving them a delay in complying with stricter rules for regular permits. The proposal faces opposition from environmental groups. Los Angeles Times


At least 16 pro-impeachment rallies (all described as “relatively small and calm”) were held across Southern California on Saturday, as part of a nationwide call for protests. Los Angeles Daily News


The 32-year-old man shot and killed by an off-duty police LAPD officer in a Costco store in Corona was nonverbal and had an intellectual disability, according to a family member. Corona police said the off-duty officer was attacked while holding his young child. Los Angeles Times

A retired veteran was apparently so worried about potential voter fraud that he registered his golden retrievers and deceased father to vote, in the hopes of calling attention the issue. “We appreciate his political activism on this and told him not to do it again,” a county district attorney said. “He went ahead and did it again.” The man now stands accused of committing voter fraud. Salinas Californian



A tree that’s said to have inspired Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” toppled in a La Jolla park. ABC 8

A celebrated annual oyster festival in Arcata, Calif., was almost canceled after the State Department of Public Health issued a ban on the consumption of oysters from Humboldt Bay. But it turned out the high toxin levels they’d seen were actually just the result of a math error in the lab. The ban was rescinded, local oysters were declared safe to eat, and the festival proceeded with great relief. Eureka Times-Standard



In California’s dusty Imperial Valley, residents struggle to ”eke by” in the shadows of California agribusiness. Capital & Main

You’ve definitely heard of NIMBYs, and maybe also YIMBYs (an acronym for “Yes, in my backyard”). But what about YIGBYs? The newest acronym in the alphabet soup of California housing lingo stands for “Yes, in God’s backyard,” and it references a growing movement for “faith-built housing,” wherein congregations take steps to build affordable housing on their properties. Mercury News

Virginia Ramos rose to local fame in San Francisco for offering her patrons frank life advice while selling homemade tamales at Mission District bars and beyond. After Ramos’ sudden death in September, a Mission District supervisor is pushing for a recognized day to honor her legacy. San Francisco Examiner

Are you a fiction writer in Mendocino? A local paper wants to publish your work. Mendocino Voice


San Francisco bars are courting luxury drinkers with private liquor lockers. Eater SF

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has recommended that attendance at Burning Man be capped for the next 10 years at the existing limit of 80,000 people. Associated Press

Actor Martin Sheen channeled “West Wing” President Josiah Bartlet in a Santa Clara graduation speech. Mercury News



Los Angeles: partly sunny, 72. San Diego: partly sunny, 68. San Francisco: partly sunny, 68. San Jose: partly sunny, 83. Sacramento: sunny, 96. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:

Venus Williams (June 17, 1980), Rep. Scott Peters (June 17, 1958), rapper Kendrick Lamar (June 17, 1987), Rep. Jerry McNerney (June 18, 1951), Rep. Pete Aguilar (June 19, 1979), Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson (June 20, 1942) Sen. Dianne Feinstein (June 22, 1933) and Rep. Adam Schiff (June 22, 1960).


If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (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, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.