Essential California: Hyperloop moves to Arts District, discrimination case in Silicon Valley, Bible study at the beach

Good morning. It is Wednesday, March 25. The San Diego Zoo just welcomed a bouncing baby hippo. There’s even video of the newborn calf swimming with its mother. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Hyperloop gets a new home: Billionaire Elon Musk is moving his Hyperloop project to Los Angeles’ trendy Arts District. Hyperloop is imagined as vacuum tubes that would move people and cargo between L.A. and San Francisco at 750 mph. The company’s 38,000-square-foot office will share a city block with garment factories and a fish wholesaler. L.A. Times

Discrimination case in Silicon Valley: Attorneys are wrapping up closing arguments in a high-profile sex discrimination case in Silicon Valley. Ellen Pao sued her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, alleging it was a sexist environment that failed to promote women. The defense denies those allegations, and will continue its closing argument later today. The case is being closely watched by tech media and employment attorneys.  L.A. Times

Jump in crime: Shootings are up in Los Angeles, and 54 more people have been shot this year as compared with 2014. To combat the increase in violent crime, the LAPD has dispatched officers to neighborhoods with gang-related crimes. L.A. Times



Bible study at the beach: Every week, about 80 students from Pepperdine University gather on the beach in Malibu for waves and worship. “Surf Chapel” is a way to reach young adults who might not be attracted to services in a traditional church environment. L.A. Times

Cost of doing business: Nine things you need to know about Los Angeles’ plans to increase the minimum wage. L.A. Times

Painting over crimes: Last year, the city of Los Angeles removed 1 square mile of graffiti from buildings and sidewalks. “The scale of the effort is staggering, and the complexity of it made trickier by the fact that the work aspires for invisibility.” Medium

Red Car disappears, again: It took $10 million to bring the Red Car trolley back to San Pedro but now it’s facing an uncertain future. The trolley will go offline for the renovation of Ports O’ Call Village. After that, port officials are unsure if it will return. Daily Breeze



Presidential fundraising: California continues to serve as an ATM for both political parties. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be in Newport Beach, Bel-Air and San Francisco next week to raise money for a super PAC set up to support his expected presidential run. Washington Post

Women's economic agenda: Pay equity and child care are top priorities for Democratic women in the state Legislature. They are pushing a half-dozen bills that would strengthen laws against pay discrimination and create more family-friendly workplaces. “These actions will help more California women not only participate in the economic recovery but also in building our economic future,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. L.A. Times

Reaching out to the homeless: In a Q&A, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis suggests that not all homeless services should be clustered on Skid Row. “I would rather have people close to where they came from, with their families, to stabilize them,” she said. Downtown News

Labor advocate retires: The head of Orange County’s largest public employee union will retire in July. Over the years, Nick Berardino sparred with Costa Mesa over a decision to pink-slip half of the city’s workforce. Daily Pilot



Should Brentwood teacher return to school? Parents and students are calling for the reinstatement of a teacher who was suspended from a Brentwood school following allegations he made racially insensitive comments. The school district is being sued by a student who says Steven Carnine made racist comments, including use of the n-word. Carnine’s defenders say he “skillfully uses primary historical resources in his classes, even when they contain language that would be considered offensive.” L.A. Times

Major donation to USC: Venture capitalist Mark Stevens and his wife are donating $50 million to USC’s Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute. The hope is to solve disorders like autism and traumatic brain injuries. Stevens, 55, graduated from USC as an undergraduate in 1981 and received his master’s in 1984. L.A. Times

New degree programs: The Cal State University system will phase in new degree programs over the next decade. “It’s really taking a look at the workforce needs in that particular region. You’ll see campuses meet workforce needs, and then some programs that lose popularity are phased out,” said a spokesman for the university system. Daily News

Boosting school spirit: It’s been three weeks since a popular teacher at El Dorado High School killed herself on campus. An anonymous donor is now trying to cheer up students by donating “Hawk Strong” T-shirts. “These shirts are helping students smile again,” said the interim principal. Orange County Register



Case of animal abuse: A $5,000 reward is being offered for information on the person responsible for shooting a brown pelican in Redondo Beach. It’s at least the second intentional attack on a pelican in Los Angeles County in the last year. It was just six years ago that the animal was taken off the endangered species list. L.A. Times

Storing green energy: Gov. Jerry Brown wants California to get half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. This Q&A explains how he might that do despite the state’s inability to store the energy. L.A. Times



A new Dodger: One of Cuba’s top baseball players will join the Dodgers. Infielder Hector Olivera signed a six-year, $62.5-million contract. He is the fourth Cuban defector to sign an eight-figure deal with the Dodgers. L.A. Times



They're so L.A.: Here are 18 text messages you will only find in Los Angeles, including “OMG, it’s so cold today … It’s like 50.” Buzzfeed

Humble sanctuaries: A photo essay of one-room churches in Southern California. Zocalo

Skiing on dirt: In Squaw Valley, skiers and snowboarders are stuck with dirt instead of snow. At least 10 resorts were forced to close early this season due to lack of snow. L.A. Times



In Tuesday’s Talk Back, we asked for your thoughts on toll lanes. Here’s what you had to say:

“Haven't found them slow in either direction at the times we've taken them: midday and late evening. Should they charge more? Depends: have they paid for their construction? If yes, then no fee hike. We're two-tiered enough around here.” -- Kimberly Ayers

“I drove it yesterday from PCH to downtown at 3 pm. It was a blessing, averaged 50 mph. Got off at Adams and limped my way to Pasadena Freeway.” -- Terry Smith

“I say raise the toll to a level that allows them to once again serve their purpose. There is nothing wrong with different people choosing to pay different prices for a different level of service. There are examples of this all around us -- happens on airplanes (first class vs. coach) everyday.” -- Chris Woolley

In today’s Talk Back, we want to hear from you about the 2016 presidential race. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced his candidacy Monday, officially kicking off the election season. What do you want to hear from the candidates, both Republicans and Democrats? How important are endorsements and fundraising figures to you? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.



A 14-year-old girl was found guilty Tuesday of setting a fire that led to the 2014 San Marcos Fire in San Diego County. It was a massive fire, as the numbers show:


-- Acres burned: 2,000

-- Structures destroyed: 40

-- Firefighters on scene: 500

-- Total damage: $10 million


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.