Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, May 7.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week
The likely end of Roe vs. Wade. A leaked draft Supreme Court opinion overturning the landmark decision sent shock waves through the judicial and political systems Tuesday as Americans prepared for the likely end of nearly five decades of federal legal protection for women seeking abortions.
Here we go again: Cases are rising. Coronavirus cases are up by 10% in the last week — and that’s likely an undercount — prompting one health official to warn that the state is heading into the next wave of the pandemic. Meanwhile, researchers have detected two new subvariants.
The government will release less water from the Colorado River reservoir. After years of severe drought compounded by climate change, the water level in Lake Powell has dropped to just 24% of full capacity. Meanwhile, Southern California residents will be placed under unprecedented water restrictions.
Three charged with murder in Sacramento shooting. Sacramento authorities on Tuesday charged three alleged gang members with murder in a shootout that killed six and wounded 12 in a barrage of bullets outside a Sacramento nightclub strip in the early hours of April 3.
L.A.’s crackdown on homeless camping off to slow start. After City Council members designated some areas as off-limits to homeless camps, tents and makeshift shelters remain as outreach workers struggle to persuade people to move and police issue tickets sparingly.
Free online games
Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our game center at latimes.com/games.
California’s population keeps falling. The state’s population continued to decline after falling for the first time on record during the COVID-19 pandemic — but that loss is showing signs of slowing. People also shifted within the state as a growing number of families moved inland.
Dave Chappelle attacked during a Hollywood Bowl set. A 23-year-old man ran onstage and tackled the comedian late Tuesday, apparently evading several layers of security. Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s office declined Thursday to file felony charges, though City Atty. Mike Feuer announced that his office had filed four misdemeanor counts.
L.A. County D.A.’s office is at war with itself. In interviews, more than a dozen prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that the bad blood pitting Gascón and his inner circle against hundreds of prosecutors they command is at best a distraction and at worst a serious disruption.
Can the Magic Castle be made safe for women? A 2020 Times investigation uncovered allegations of sexual misconduct, racism and other issues at the Castle, home to the prestigious Academy of Magical Arts. New leadership is trying to pick up the pieces.
Here are the L.A. Times electoral endorsements for 2022. The June 7 primary is a key moment in Los Angeles and California. To help voters choose, The Times’ editorial board publishes endorsements based on candidate interviews and independent reporting.
(From the Essential California archives: How the newspaper endorsement sausage gets made)
ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads
Pot-smoking L.A. moms on parenting while high. Modern-day mothers have been far more open than past generations about advocating for self-care to address the challenges and stresses of motherhood. As cannabis moves mainstream, that conversation includes more moms who find a little weed does what a glass or two of Chardonnay did for their moms.
California condors soar over Yurok tribal lands once again. After being pushed to the brink of extinction, California condors have returned to a slice of Northern California habitat for the first time in 130 years. On Tuesday, four of the big birds flew the coop after being born in a captive-breeding program.
A top California official pushed hard for a $600-million mask deal. Fraud claims followed. Two years after the start of the pandemic, lawsuits stemming from failed contracts provide a glimpse into the dealmaking — including how California Controller Betty Yee, a two-term Democrat with no formal role in the contracting process, worked behind the scenes to help a pair of political operatives land a deal that turned out to be one of the state’s most flawed.
Today’s week-in-review newsletter was curated by Laura Blasey. Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to email@example.com.
Our daily news podcast
If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll love our daily podcast “The Times,” hosted every weekday by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom. Go beyond the headlines. Download and listen on our App, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow on Spotify.