Essential California: Trump tax returns to end the year


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is New Year’s Eve: Dec. 31, 2022. All of us at The Times wish you a happy, healthy and safe 2023.

Editor’s note: We will be taking Monday off. Essential California will be back in your inbox Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week

A House committee released six years of Trump tax returns documenting his aggressive efforts to minimize what he paid the IRS. With that, his seven-year battle to keep the public from seeing his taxes ended in defeat.

The Jan. 6 committee is running out of time. Key documents may soon be locked away for decades.

Southwest meltdown was “perfect storm” of well-known vulnerabilities, not a shock.

Final California inflation relief payments are coming, with debit cards being sent by Jan. 14.

The extensive professional relationships Sam Bankman-Fried cultivated with current and former federal regulators risk embarrassment for all. Good thing the L.A. Times got the emails showing his courtship of federal regulators.

You should take a solo trip in January. Here are seven rejuvenating spots around California.

UCLA football: How Chip Kelly and Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s mutual trust elevated UCLA.

Free online games

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Climate and drought

A deputy killed. A wild pursuit. A deadly freeway gun battle.

Berkeley Police Department

TV and movies


ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

“The War on Drugs Part II”: California taxes, rules are killing small legal weed farms.

Dancing is in, dissent is out: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince transforms his country.

I’m Mexican American: The L.A. City Council audio leak reminded me that I’m Oaxacan too.

“What’s up! I can’t read”: He went viral after schooling left him functionally illiterate. Meet TikTok’s unlikeliest literary hero.

More great reads from 2022

I asked Column One editor Steve Padilla to share some of The Times’ most memorable reads of the year. Here’s what he wanted you to see:

P.S.: Here are the best dishes to celebrate New Year’s and beyond. See you in 2023.

Today’s week-in-review newsletter was curated by Karim Doumar. Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to

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