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Essential California: Rodney King and the LAPD, 25 years later

Good morning. It is Thursday, March 3. Singer Adele is a big fan of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room at the Broad. The piece provided a backdrop for her performance at the Brit Awards. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:

TOP STORIES

Caught on tape

It’s been 25 years since Los Angeles police officers beat Rodney King with their batons at the end of a car chase. In 1990, the year before that incident, LAPD officers used their batons 741 times; last year, the baton was used in just 54 cases. “The baton became a constant — and unnerving — presence in police interactions with the public, in part because training at the time told officers to avoid getting into close contact with suspects.” Los Angeles Times

Not-so-welcome wagon

For decades, Angelenos have believed Boyle Heights was on the cusp of gentrification. It is finally happening, though very slowly compared to areas like Silver Lake and Highland Park. The working-class community, however, isn’t going without a fight. “Our point is we have to defend Boyle Heights at all costs. If that means some people are going to get upset or feel threatened, so be it,” said Facundo Rompe, a member of Serve the People LA. Los Angeles Times

New exhibit

A giant external fuel tank will soon join the space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center. The ET-94, however, is currently in New Orleans. To get to its new home, the tank will travel on a ship through the Panama Canal to San Diego and then Marina del Rey. Ultimately, it will travel through the streets of Los Angeles to Exposition Park. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Rain is coming: California could experience torrential downpours this weekend, with 12 inches of rain and snow expected in the Sierra. In San Francisco, those storms could bring flooding, strong winds and blackouts. CityLab

Hit the slopes: The Lake Tahoe area is expected to get as much as three feet of snow in the next three days. Showers should hit the Bay Area beginning Thursday, with most of the snow falling on Saturday. SFGate

L.A. AT LARGE

Hiking trail closed: Runyon Canyon’s hiking trail will close for four months while utility crews install a new pipe. Guess you’ll have to take your Instagram selfies elsewhere. Los Angeles Times

Missing in action: Mayor Eric Garcetti’s staff was troubled by Southern California Gas Co.’s response to the Aliso Canyon gas leak, even as the mayor stayed quiet on the issue, according to newly released emails. The mayor did not hold a news conference on the leak, which was first reported Oct. 23, until December. “Every public office should have been more upfront on this issue,” said Alexandra Nagy, senior organizer at Food and Water Watch. Daily News

What are these spots: Some Porter Ranch residents say they’re coming back to homes covered in dark, oily spots. “We still don’t feel safe to come back. We have to really clean the house, and we’re thinking of getting new drapes,” said one homeowner. Public health officials say people should not eat any fruits or vegetables covered in the oily residue. CBS Los Angeles

International concerns: Could Donald Trump’s campaign hurt Los Angeles’ chances of hosting the 2024 Olympic Games? The International Olympic Committee is based in Western Europe, a region that has targeted the Republican for criticism. IOC President Thomas Bach says the presidential race will not factor into any decision. Los Angeles Times

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Voter initiatives: Supporters of at least 60 measures are working to qualify their proposals for the state ballot. Here are nine of the "nuttiest proposals," including California nationhood, a new drinking age and the elimination of charter schools. LA Weekly

CRIME AND COURTS

Cop arrested: A 17-year-old in Huntington Beach was stabbed twice as he spoke Arabic with his brother-in-law, police said. One of the three suspects arrested in connection with the attack was identified as an Illinois police officer who was on vacation. Police could not confirm whether the crime was motivated by race. ABC7

Love in Hollywood: Few people get married or divorced in Hollywood without the help of attorney Laura Wasser. One of her strategies to keep celebrity clients out of the tabloids is to hire a private judge to rule on the divorce case at hand. That has proved to be so lucrative that many judges have retired early, leaving inexperienced judges to rule in the cases of couples without means. Bloomberg

Cause of death: A longtime In-N-Out employee found dead in the restaurant’s La Mirada parking lot last week died of blunt force trauma, according to the coroner. Josefina Alcocer likely suffered a fatal blow to the head. Los Angeles Times

BUSINESS

More diversity: Director J.J. Abrams’ production company and its agency, CAA, say they are implementing new standards to improve Hollywood’s representation of women and minorities. “The Oscars controversy was a wake-up call to examine our role in expanding opportunities internally at Bad Robot and externally with our content and partners,” Abrams said. Hollywood Reporter

EDUCATION

Insufficient punishment: At UCLA, students and faculty are upset that a history professor was allowed to return to the classroom following allegations of sexual harassment. Two graduate students accused Gabriel Piterberg of making sexual remarks, pressing up against their bodies and sticking his tongue in their mouths. “By allowing him to return … the administration is perpetuating the unsafe and hostile climate of our department,” according to a letter sent to UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and other campus officials. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Streets of L.A.: The new Netflix series “Love” is all about dating in Los Angeles. And the creators are using it as a vehicle to show off Echo Park and other realities of being a 20-something in the city. Los Angeles Times

Butt of a joke: At Sunday’s Oscars, host Chris Rock cracked a joke at the expense of Asian Americans. The bit involved three young children. The mother of one of those actors explains her feelings on the material: “This was not OK and should never have happened. But the angrier people are and more people talk about it, the better it will be moving forward.” Public Radio International

That’s hilarious: Doing comedy in L.A. is a grind. Here’s a week in the lives of comedians. BuzzFeed

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

San Francisco will be cloudy with a chance of rain and a high of 61 degrees. In Sacramento, there will be a sprinkling of rain as temperatures reach 62 degrees. Los Angeles will have low clouds and a high of 71. Riverside will be sunny and 76 degrees. San Diego will have low clouds and a high of 68.

AND FINALLY

Today's California Memory comes from Wayne Davis:

“I was born in rural Tennessee and moved to Memphis at age 8. I joined the Navy and was sent to boot camp in San Diego in 1954. I stepped off the plane, looked up at all the colorful homes on Point Loma, took a deep breath, and said, ‘Oh, my God! I have finally come home.’ Except for about a year in Phoenix, I have lived here ever since. I am now 81 and still love my San Diego!”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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