Essential California: No relief for the drought, Harrison Ford recovers from crash, mountain lions' family portrait

Good morning. It is Friday, March 6. Here's what's happening today in the Golden State:


Weak El Niño no match for drought

California experienced another mirage Thursday in its hopes of drought relief. Forecasters say an El Niño has developed, but the state should not expect much from the rain-generating phenomenon. Though December and January did see some rainstorms, the weather was too warm for the snowpack to build up. Said one expert: "Unfortunately, this El Niño is likely too little, too late and too weak.”  L.A. Times

Sour notes

David Geffen’s decision to donate $100 million to the Lincoln Center in New York is ruffling feathers in the L.A. music scene. Rather than sending his money east, critics say Geffen could have donated to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion or Music Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. “Did the Music Center even bother to come calling?” L.A. Times

Crash landing

Harrison Ford is expected to recover from injuries he suffered when the vintage plane he was piloting crashed onto a Venice golf course. But the accident is likely to revive a debate about the safety of Santa Monica Airport, where Ford and other celebrities keep their planes. Ford has been a vocal supporter of the airport, which some residents would like to see shut down. L.A. Times



Obamajam is back: President Obama will be in Los Angeles next week to attend a Democratic fundraiser. L.A. Times

Portrait of a feisty family: New photos of a mountain lion family in the Santa Monica Mountains have rangers talking. L.A. Times

A sense of place: What does “City of Quartz” mean for Los Angeles 25 years after it was published? The book’s theory on quasi-public space seems to have held up, but Los Angeles is being “re-urbanized” and gentrified in unexpected ways. Curbed LA

New on the Westside: The neighborhood newly named Sawtelle Japantown is a nod to a West L.A. history that includes veterans, immigrants and a legendary real estate deal. LA Weekly, LA Observed

Anatomy of a successful campaign: The matchup between L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar and former Supervisor Gloria Molina was supposed to be the political fight of the year. So what happened? Money, social media and masterful mail. Downtown News

More than the "Latino candidate": Writer Joe Mathews considers why Antonio Villaraigosa, a former Assembly speaker and Los Angeles mayor, was reduced to “the Latino candidate” in recent coverage of a possible senatorial run. “If one of this era’s most complicated, accomplished, and frustrating Californians can be defined so narrowly, then what hope do the other 38 million of us have to be considered as full and complex humans, products not only of our heritage but also of our deeds and dreams?” Zocalo

“Blurred Lines” deliberations: Jurors began deliberations Thursday in the lawsuit between singer Marvin Gaye’s family and musicians Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. The family is seeking millions of dollars for what they say was copyright infringement of the 1977 chart-topper "Got to Give It Up." L.A. Times



Laws of reproduction: Students in the Bay Area have been asking law professors to teach “reproductive justice” and it looks as if that may finally be happening. The course would include laws that regulate sex, contraception, pregnancy and family, according to writer Robin Abcarian. L.A. Times

Tsunami debris? A 20-foot log that landed on a Santa Cruz beach is believed to be from Japan. It likely drifted across the Pacific Ocean following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. L.A. Times

Trouble with exports: Demand for some American goods in China is slowing, and that has hurt California businesses. L.A. Times

Sticker shock in the Bay Area: The San Francisco real estate gold rush has reached a new high (or low): A one-bedroom luxury condo on the market for $2.5 million. SF Gate

The new taste makers: How did Mexican Americans come to dominate professional kitchens? “The Mexican presence in the commercial kitchen has become a vital component and a necessity for every aspect of a productive and sustainable restaurant in the Golden State.” OC Weekly



In Thursday’s Essential California, we asked for your feedback on plans to bring professional football back to the L.A. area. This is what reader Thomas Patrick O’Shaughnessy had to say: “No NFL team -- we do not need the clutter and the blackout rules. If we could set up a Green Bay Packers structure where the community owns the team that would be different. Corporate greed and the owners would never let that happen again.”

For today’s Talk Back, we want to hear what you think about Ringling Bros.’ decision to retire its elephants by 2018. Will children miss out on a true circus experience if there are no elephants? Is it more humane to retire elephants from their performing duties?

Tell us by tweeting with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or sending us an email: reporter Alice Walton and California Editor Shelby Grad.



College students are spending more time than ever on social media. The Los Angeles Times reports the annual American Freshman survey compared freshmen’s weekly use in 2007 with  2014:


-- Less than one hour: 32%

-- 1-5 hours: 49%

-- 6-16 hours: 14%

-- 16-20 hours: 5%



-- Less than one hour: 22%

-- 1-5 hours: 51%

-- 6-16 hours: 19%

-- 16-20 hours: 8%


Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.