|Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, March 26, and we have some very good news to report.
On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state will be dramatically expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in the weeks ahead.
Starting April 1, all Californians 50 and older will be eligible to get vaccinated. And beginning April 15, all Californians 16 and older will be eligible for vaccines.
[Read the story: “All California adults can get COVID-19 vaccine next month” in the Los Angeles Times]
State officials said the dramatic move was based on expected increases in vaccine supply. “Our ability to do more has always been constrained by supply, manufactured supply,” Newsom said. “We have confidence, now, of the manufactured supply becoming available sooner than we had anticipated.” But as my colleagues Luke Money and Colleen Shalby report, state officials emphasized that it may still take several months to vaccinate all adult Californians, even as the number of doses allocated to the state increases.
For those in search of pointers on how to make your appointment or troubleshooting tips, my colleague Jessica Roy has put together a guide to just that.
[Read more: “Here are a bunch of things you can do to try to get a COVID vaccine in California” in the Los Angeles Times]
Depending on the system you’re using, you may be able to book an appointment for April 1 or April 15, or sometime thereafter, through your health provider now. But the state’s official My Turn scheduling site won’t begin offering appointments for the new eligibility brackets until April 1 and April 15, respectively. (At least as of now. We’ll let you know if that changes.)
And now, here’s what’s happening across California:
USC will pay $1.1 billion to settle decades of sex abuse claims against a former gynecologist: The settlement involving former campus gynecologist George Tyndall marks the largest sex abuse payout in higher education history. The sole full-time gynecologist at the student health clinic from 1989 until 2016, Tyndall was accused of preying on a generation of USC women. After The Times exposed his troubled history at the university three years ago, the 74-year-old was stripped of his medical license and arrested. He has pleaded not guilty to dozens of sexual assault charges and is awaiting trial. Los Angeles Times
[See full coverage of The Times’ investigation of Tyndall]
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Chaos in Echo Park: Scores of Los Angeles police officers once again surrounded Echo Park Lake on Thursday evening, where a few holdouts remained inside a tent encampment that had become a flashpoint in the city’s homelessness crisis. Police clashed with protesters for a second night after issuing a dispersal order in the area. Award-winning Los Angeles Times reporter James Queally was also briefly detained by the LAPD while covering the protest, but was ultimately released without charges after inquiries were made by Times editors and the paper’s attorney. Los Angeles Times
An Echo Park protester alleges that an LAPD officer broke his arm with a baton strike during the largely peaceful protest on Wednesday night. Los Angeles Times
Where’s Eric Garcetti? L.A.’s mayor has largely stayed in the background amid a raging debate over the future of the park and its homeless occupants. Los Angeles Times
Dodgers fans can sit in pods of up to six people under new safety protocols: A 20% capacity crowd of about 11,000 fans will be socially distanced in pods of two, three, four, five or six seats when Dodger Stadium opens to fans this season, the team announced as part of its COVID-19 safety protocols. Los Angeles Times
Fans line up for Dodger Dogs and snacks before a game in 2019. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
To protect their dad, this L.A. family all enrolled in COVID-19 vaccine trials: Mark Deetjen, the patriarch of the Henderson-Deetjen clan, has multiple serious medical issues, so his wife and two teens hoped to create an immunized bubble around him. LAist
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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to California Democrats: Don’t run in the recall. Pelosi warned Democrats against running in California’s likely gubernatorial recall election while speaking at a news conference Thursday. Politico
A meme about “only-in-San Francisco” political scandals is tearing up the internet. Fill in your information to concoct your own satire San Francisco political scandal, many of which sound uncannily realistic. San Francisco Chronicle
CRIME AND COURTS
In a major ruling, the California Supreme Court says the state cannot keep criminal defendants behind bars simply because they cannot afford to post bail pending their trial. Judges may still conclude that money bail is reasonable, but they must consider the defendant’s ability to pay, along with the seriousness of the charged offenses and the person’s criminal record, and set bail in an amount the person can afford, according to the high court’s opinion. Los Angeles Times
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HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
“Variants of concern” dominate recent virus samples tested in L.A. County, official says. Los Angeles Times
A reading guide on the Asian American experience from Viet Thanh Nguyen, Charles Yu and more: A list of more than 40 books on the experience of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this country, including poetry, essays, memoirs, histories and some of the best fiction of the last couple of decades. Los Angeles Times
In the heart of O.C.’s Little Saigon, Meals on Wheels-receiving seniors will soon start getting some Vietnamese options: “In order to find just the right authentic meals to offer, there was a vetting process in which taste testers graded a variety of different dishes found in traditional Vietnamese households.” Orange County Register
Vaccinated seniors are filling up restaurants in Sonoma County. More than 82% of people 65 and older have been vaccinated in the county. Sonoma Magazine
A poem to start your Friday: “So Much Happiness” by Naomi Shihab Nye. Poets.org
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Los Angeles: sunny-ish, 66. San Diego: morning clouds, 63. San Francisco: sunny, 64. San Jose: sunny, 72. Fresno: sunny, 70. Sacramento: still sunny, 73.
Today’s California memory comes from Daniel Espinoza:
As a 15-year-old non-English-speaking immigrant, I was enrolled at my local high school on arrival. The first day of school I was given a class schedule and walked to my first period. There were more students enrolled in school than there were residents in my native town. When the bell rang, I walked out of the classroom with everyone else just to see them disappear a few minutes later. I spent most of the day on the courtyard witnessing a rush of activity every hour or so. It was not until someone spotted me that I was taken to the office for a quick reprimand and a new copy of my class schedule.
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.