Hello and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday May 8.
The stories that shape California
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Here’s a look at some of the main stories from the past week:
Our state of shrinking. For the first time in its history, California’s population fell in 2020 – by 182,083 people, to be precise – highlighting broader trends that recently cost it a seat in Congress. Nationwide, the birth rate in the United States has fallen to another all-time high, new data shows.
The recall gets weird. As coronavirus cases plummet, issues at the center of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall campaign are changing. Personalities exposed this week: a candidate brought a Kodiak bear, and another sought to leveraging your celebrity status.
New warehouse pollution rules. A warehouse boom in Southern California has brought more and more polluting diesel trucks into neighborhoods already hit hard by dirty air. On Friday, air quality officials adopted groundbreaking rules to hold warehouses accountable.
Progress of COVID-19. Even as Oregon and Washington face new outbreaks, cases in California continued to drop dramatically, just like related deaths.
But vaccinations are dropping. With the drop in demand, California officials are closure of some mass vaccination sites while redoubling efforts to expand access, become “hyperlocal” and convince the reluctant. Young Latinos and Blacks have the lowest vaccination rates in LA County.
Mixed economic outlook. Hope for a local economic recovery increase as cases decrease, but nationwide economists concerned about women, who lost more and more jobs. U.S. employers added just 266,000 new jobs in April, well below expectations.
Gun violence. As COVID-19 began hospitalizing and killing more people in and around Los Angeles last year, so have street shootings. The rise of violence did not back down.
Anti-Asian sentiment. Reports of hate crimes against Asian Americans increased in cities across the United States, including in California, according to a study by Cal State San Bernardino. A survey also reveals that Californians are more willing to recognize discrimination and growing animosity.
Is it sufficient? Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., The group behind the Golden Globe Awards, voted Thursday to go ahead with radical reforms proposed by his council earlier this week.
Fins on the left, fins on the right. Great white sharks were thought to be quite rare in Southern California. Researchers using drone technology find they are closer and more abundant that most people realize.
New editor. The Los Angeles Times named veteran journalist Kevin Merida as its senior editor and gave him the task of transforming paper in a digital center. “I don’t see anything other than an opportunity,” he said.
This week’s most popular stories in Essential California
1. Caitlyn Jenner says transgender girls should not be allowed to participate in sports, despite her own history of competing in women’s golf. TMZ and Los Angeles Times
2. Forty years later, a famous mural from the Depression era returns to Richmond. Mercury News
3. California Republicans are losing the bear – and some momentum for Newsom’s recall election. Washington post
4. This year’s Folsom Lake super bloom is incredibly rare – and unsettling. Chronicle of San Francisco
5. A high school in northern California reported a large outbreak of COVID-19, with 150 students quarantined. SFGATE
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ICYMI, here are the excellent reads of this week
The Republican War on Transgender Children. This question-and-answer session with the prominent ACLU lawyer who won landmark transgender justice cases offers a deeper dive into the politics, history and real impacts of the political arguments Jenner raised with her comments about children in sports. GQ
How a mother learned to stop worrying and to love video games. You should read Deborah Netburn’s funny, touching, and very relatable personal essay if you haven’t. (Or you can listen to it!) It’s, as she writes, the story of a journey from ignorance to understanding, questioning beliefs, parenting and childhood. and the pandemic – but at the end of the day, it’s about video games. Los Angeles Times
Blake Bailey, base character. Perhaps, as a college professor, Philip Roth’s disgraced biographer – now charged with grooming, sexual misconduct, and rape – was a type, the kind of teacher driven by the need to dominate his students. The New Yorker
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