|Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, April 3.
Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week:
Vaccinations speed up. Eligibility expanded to all Californians age 50 and over on Thursday. More than 30% of Californians are now at least partially vaccinated, and that share will rapidly grow — provided supplies keep pace and variants don’t catch up.
The reopening conundrum. New guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says vaccinated people can travel, and state rules paved the way for outdoor arts events. But public health officials worry people are becoming too relaxed.
2022 campaigns begin. Not long after Assemblyman Rob Bonta was appointed California’s next attorney general, he filed papers to campaign next year to keep the job. And in northern Los Angeles County, Democrat Christy Smith plans to challenge GOP Rep. Mike Garcia for a seat that could be key to determining control of Congress.
Mass shooting in Orange. Four people, including a child, were killed Wednesday evening and a fifth person was injured in a shooting at an office complex — the third mass shooting in the country in two weeks. The suspect, who police said had a personal and business relationship with the victims, was charged with murder on Friday.
Newsom hangs on. A poll finds that a majority of likely California voters would keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office if a recall election were held this week. But that support isn’t guaranteed: His survival hinges on how Californians feel about their lives — and by extension, the pandemic.
Police pushback. Despite months of criticism and a growing number of lawsuits over the LAPD’s use of force last summer, officers are again being criticized for their response to protests over the removal of a homeless encampment around Echo Park Lake.
The country’s hottest rental market? Surprise: It’s Fresno. Over the last four years, no large U.S. city has seen greater increases in rent. This one also makes regular appearances on lists of America’s worst places to live.
Drought returns. A second consecutive parched winter has drawn to a close in the usually wet north, leaving the state’s major reservoirs half-empty. Northern California will be hit harder than Southern California.
A UCLA basketball win. The Bruins defeated top-seeded Michigan to go to the Final Four in the men’s NCAA tournament — the first time the team has made it this far in 13 years. The unexpected success contrasts with the UCLA women’s team’s unexpectedly early tournament exit last week.
Reckoning with the past. Like the legacy of its founder and namesake, the Huntington Library was built on inequity. It’s now trying to pivot to inclusivity, as are countless other institutions in the post-George Floyd era. But can it?
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This week’s most popular stories in Essential California
1. Seeking help with her 12-year-old’s video schooling, a Palmdale mother says she endured his teacher’s racist rant. Los Angeles Times
2. A Harvard-Westlake student pushes back on Bari Weiss’ portrayal of the L.A. private school. The Chronicle
3. A tale of two reckonings: How should Manhattan Beach atone for its racist past? Los Angeles Times
4. The hardest (and easiest) California state park campgrounds to book right now. SFGATE
5. Plans for the future of Sierra and Sequoia national forests are being decided now. Here’s how last year’s Creek fire figures in. Fresno Bee
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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads
“Birth certificates. Scribbled phone numbers. Prized belongings hauled for weeks over hundreds of miles.” Molly Hennessy-Fiske writes about the things migrants carried — and dropped — as they crossed the border. Los Angeles Times
The last days of Tony Hsieh. As the late Zappos CEO spiraled downward, an entourage of hangers on helped sustain his drug habit, protected him from outsiders and lived off his largess. Wall Street Journal
“‘Listen,’ she chided, ‘You cannot take a bong hit when you are on the phone with your divorce attorney.’ ” A profile of Laura Wasser, one of Hollywood’s premier divorce lawyers. New York Times
From the archives: The wonderful Patricia Escárcega’s conversation with her own mother, Maria Teresa Escárcega, about Maria Teresa’s food memories from her Mexican childhood. Los Angeles Times
Poem of the week: “Ave Maria” by Frank O’Hara. Poetry Foundation
Bonus video: Dr. Anthony Fauci talking to FOX LA’s Elex Michaelson about California’s reopening. The Issue Is
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. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Laura Blasey for all her help on the Saturday edition.)