|Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, April 12, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead:
Ramadan Mubarak to all who celebrate: The holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin Tuesday.
Thursday will be a big day in California, as the state formally opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older. Some areas have already opened their eligibility to that age group, including the city of Los Angeles, which made the move over the weekend.
In accordance with changes to the state’s reopening blueprint announced earlier this month, Thursday also marks the first day indoor live events will be allowed in most of California, albeit with strict capacity limits and other requirements.
And in sports news, the 2021 WNBA draft will be held Thursday.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books begins Saturday. The weeklong festival will be entirely virtual.
[See also: “Spring reading: Here’s what to expect from authors featured at the 2021 Festival of Books”]
And now, here’s what’s happening across California:
Coronavirus shutdown of jury trials upends California’s federal courts: The 13-month suspension of trials in the federal court system’s Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles and six neighboring counties, has disrupted the prosecution of hundreds of alleged drug dealers, tax cheats, cybercriminals, child porn purveyors and health insurance swindlers. It has clogged the courts with an unprecedented backlog of criminal and civil cases. While many of those charged with crimes have been free on bail as they await trial, others have remained behind bars, enduring long stretches of solitude as detainees are kept apart to minimize spread of the coronavirus. Los Angeles Times
A crowd of White Lives Matter protesters and anti-racism counter-protesters filled the streets near the Huntington Beach Pier on Sunday but quickly dispersed after police declared an unlawful assembly amid increasingly hostile clashes between Donald Trump supporters, those displaying allegiance to white supremacist groups and their opponents. Los Angeles Times
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Five L.A. poets on life beyond the pandemic: Sesshu Foster, Megan Dorame, William Archila, Yesika Salgado and Jenise Miller on a year of isolation and their hopes for what lies ahead. Los Angeles Times
From top left clockwise: Sesshu Foster, Megan Dorame, William Archila, Yesika Salgado, and Jenise Miller. (Los Angeles Times photos by Gina Ferazzi / Myung Chun/Dania Maxwell / Jason Armond)
Hollywood has long rewarded, even encouraged, monstrous behavior. And the bullies won’t be stopped until the mythmaking around them stops, writes columnist Mary McNamara. Los Angeles Times
LAPD is rejecting most complaints against officers from summer protests; others still under review: Internal affairs investigators reviewing hundreds of allegations of misconduct and excessive force by other Los Angeles police officers during last summer’s mass protests against police brutality are ruling on the side of the officers in most cases. Los Angeles Times
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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
As protesters on left and right target public servants at home, one city pushes back: “No more,” said an open letter signed by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, his eight fellow City Council members and about 60 other individuals and organizations. Los Angeles Times
The brother of embattled Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli joined the chorus of people calling on Foppoli to resign after allegations of sexual assault detailed in a San Francisco Chronicle report. San Francisco Chronicle
[See also: “Windsor reeling from accusations against mayor” in the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat]
Another politician in trouble in wine country: Former Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob was arrested Saturday on suspicion of five felony and one misdemeanor sexual assault crimes against a minor. San Francisco Chronicle
CRIME AND COURTS
The Supreme Court, citing religious liberty, has lifted another of California’s COVID restrictions. It held that the state may not prevent people from gathering in homes for Bible study and prayer meetings. Los Angeles Times
An unthinkable crime in Reseda: Three children, ages 3, 2 and 6 months, were found dead in their Reseda apartment complex by their grandmother on Saturday. The children’s mother was arrested in connection with the slaying later that day. Los Angeles Times
HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT
The COVID-19 death toll in California has exceeded 60,000, a grim reminder of the pandemic’s toll even as conditions in the state continue to improve. Los Angeles Times
Latino areas devastated by COVID-19 are reopening slowly, with caution and fear about the future: Even with California on schedule to fully reopen in June, Whittier Boulevard business owners fear their customers will not return. Los Angeles Times
[See also: “For L.A. Latinos, Whittier Boulevard is still a crossroads of change and hope” in the Los Angeles Times]
The first wave of San Francisco students is poised to return to classrooms after a year at home: Preschool through fifth-graders, special education students and vulnerable older groups will be returning to schools on Monday. San Francisco Chronicle
Prince Philip apparently loved the California desert. “His Royal Highness loves the informality. He is enjoying himself and is struck by the friendliness here,” a source told the Desert Sun during a 1966 visit. Desert Sun
A poem to start your week: “Spring (Again)” by Michael Ryan. Poets.org
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Los Angeles: aggressively pleasant, 72. San Diego: generally sunny, 64. San Francisco: mostly sunny, 63. San Jose: some clouds, 75. Fresno: sunny, 84. Sacramento: sunny, 84.
This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:
Former Rep. Susan Davis (April 13, 1944), Rep. Jim Costa (April 13, 1952), singer Al Green (April 13, 1946), Rep. David Valadao (April 14, 1977), the late Queen of Tejano music Selena (April 16, 1971), Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (April 16, 1947) and director Adam McKay (April 17, 1968).
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.