|Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. I’m Sarah Parvini, and I’m filling in for everyone’s favorite gatherer of news and poetry, Julia Wick. It’s Friday, Feb 26., and I’m writing from Los Angeles.
(Since it’s Friday, Friday you might as well listen to the 10th anniversary remix of the 2011 ear worm that lives in your mind rent free. Or don’t.)
On to the news.
What’s first on your agenda when you’re fully vaccinated and feel more comfortable reentering the world? Maybe you’ll go on a date with someone else who has both of their shots. Perhaps you’ll hop on a plane and take that vacation you’ve been waiting on for a year. That’s what some vaccinated Californians are planning as they enter the pandemic’s post-inoculation world.
As my colleagues Maura Dolan and Alejandra Reyes-Velarde report, some are making plans to catch up on postponed doctor’s appointments, eat inside restaurants, hug family members and enjoy a sex life with other vaccinated people.
[Read the story: “Sex, travel, peace of mind. How life is changing for some of the fully vaccinated” in the Los Angeles Times]
But not everyone plans to be a bit more lax in their outings. Many, my co-workers report, have become accustomed to the surges in cases, the new variants, and the caution ingrained from a year of warnings and rising death tolls. They want to see cases drop and more people vaccinated before truly easing their guard — because even though the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are around 95% effective, they’re still not 100%.
Still, vaccinated health experts say that they would feel comfortable flying, especially after case rates come down. Fully vaccinated people can socialize safely, said Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco.
“I think life can be back to normal when you are talking about what two vaccinated people can do together,” the 63-year-old said. He’s received both doses of the shot and now does all the family shopping.
And now, here’s what’s happening across California:
I’m fully vaccinated. Can I hug a friend? Eat indoors? See a movie? Here are answers. Los Angeles Times
Cornelius Kincy hugs friend Fannie Mayfield before receiving a COVID-19 vaccination at Los Angeles Christian Health Center in downtown L.A. Hugs may still be risky if both people are not fully vaccinated. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Uproar at KCRW, as a former producer accuses the public radio giant of “blatant racism.” The Santa Monica-based station came under fire after a former news producer alleged that she experienced a pattern of racist behavior while working there. Los Angeles Times
“Isolation, impostor syndrome, snail mail: Why fewer high school seniors are applying for college financial aid.” By the middle of this month, just 33% of California high school seniors — about 159,000 students — had completed an application and submitted their grade-point average to qualify for a Cal Grant, a 10% decline compared with this time last year. LAist
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COVID-19 vaccine tiers may disappear as the supply chain ramps up, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti says. The city is still primarily providing second-dose appointments but hopes to be able to “accelerate once again first-dose appointments” starting next week, the mayor said. Los Angeles Times
Black Lives Matter-L.A. launches a campaign against law enforcement unions. Activists said that they intend to stage protests every week outside the headquarters of the Police Protective League, the union that represents roughly 9,800 Los Angeles police officers, while also working to end that group’s status as a labor union. Los Angeles Times
After a Times investigation, Golden Globes voters vow to “bring in Black members.” The absence of any Black members in a group that votes on one of the industry’s most high-profile awards has drawn widespread attention on social media and elsewhere. This year’s awards show is Sunday. Los Angeles Times
After Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot in Hollywood, she offers $500,000 for her dogs’ return. The victim was transported in unknown condition to a hospital. A pair of Gaga’s French bulldogs, Koji and Gustav, were abducted. Los Angeles Times
The road where Tiger Woods crashed has been notorious for decades. Now officials are hoping to fix it. Numerous crashes dating from the 1970s — including one in which an out-of-control truck hit a car, burning three occupants to death — sparked debates then about how to make the essential thoroughfare in and out of the Palos Verdes Peninsula safer. Los Angeles Times
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IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER
A Santa Ana student’s father faced deportation. Her work to free him helped send her to Harvard. Before Cielo Echegoyén was accepted to Harvard University last fall, only three Santa Ana High School students ever had been admitted to the Ivy League school. Los Angeles Times
Bay Area spouses of visa holders are thrown out of work by government delays. Spouses of workers on the H-1B, a visa intended for jobs requiring specialized skills, receive a H-4 visa. Although President Biden’s administration canceled a work ban planned under the Trump administration, many H-4 visa holders are losing their jobs anyway because of fingerprinting delays. Mercury News
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Will Kevin McCarthy’s cozying to Trump make him House speaker? Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy — California’s most powerful Republican — sees a chance to ride his relationship with Donald Trump into the House majority and a job he’s coveted for years. Los Angeles Times
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CRIME AND COURTS
California’s Supreme Court has upheld a law preventing many young teens from being tried as adults. The court decision was a significant victory for advocates of criminal justice reform. Los Angeles Times
Sheriff’s Department reform in Antelope Valley has lagged for years, court monitors say. Progress has been slow, with crucial reforms in areas such as use of force policy, community engagement, and the handling of public complaints languishing for years. Los Angeles Times
A 27-year-old drove the Victorian “Englander” house to its new SF location: “I was so scared.” A fourth-generation house mover contends with San Francisco’s hilly streets to move a historic home. SF Gate
“I found the Bay Area hill in Windows XP’s iconic wallpaper.” Are you a true millennial? Then you probably remember that verdant, rolling hill everyone used as their Windows XP background. It’s apparently a real place, and it’s in California. SF Gate
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Los Angeles: sunny, 74. San Diego: sunny, 70. San Francisco: sunny, 62. San Jose: sunny, 66. Fresno: sunny, 69. Sacramento: sunny, 69.
Today’s California memory comes from Lynn Schenk:
1961-62, Los Angeles Hamilton High School. Big decision of the day (other than what to wear) came around 10:10 a.m. at “nutrition.” Choices for our pennies: A thin soggy “tuna sandwich” that was mostly relish or that warm, just-from-the-oven, circular piece of sugar heaven, cinnamon rolls! Well, yes, there was an odd machine at the corner of the lunch court dispensing apples, but oh those glazed rolls! Made high school bearable.
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.