Essential California: Californians' support for immigrants, a bizarre kidnapping in Long Beach, remaking San Francisco

Good morning. It is Thursday, March 26. Has Los Angeles’ Arts District truly become Manhattan? The chic private club Soho House plans to open a new location in L.A. next year  called Soho Warehouse. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Attitudes shift on immigration

A majority of Californians support citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally. That’s the finding of the latest poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. George Skelton reports 73% of likely voters would support citizenship for these immigrants if they pay back taxes, pass a background check and learn English. L.A. Times

Remaking San Francisco

Since Ed Lee became mayor of San Francisco, unemployment has dropped, the city’s coffers have grown and philanthropists have stepped in to fund hospitals and schools. At the same time, housing costs have skyrocketed. Lee now finds himself between the  tech sector’s billionaires and housing advocates who want more affordability. L.A. Times

Arrests in baby's murder

Four people were arrested in the bizarre kidnapping and murder of a 3-week-old baby in Long Beach. Police believe Eliza Delacruz and her family were targeted by a 47-year-old woman who wanted to convince her boyfriend she had given birth when she had not. The infant was taken from her home Jan. 3 after her parents and uncle were shot. The adults survived but Eliza’s body was later found in a Dumpster near the Mexican border. L.A. Times



Pricey river restoration: It will cost more than originally projected to makeover the Los Angeles River. The city may also have to shoulder more of the financial burden. That’s according to a new study out of City Hall. Renovating 11 miles of the river could cost $1.36 billion and take as long as 30 to 50 years. L.A. Times

City’s tech boom: Mayor Eric Garcetti and his City Hall colleagues are getting more praise for their efforts to bring Los Angeles’ technology into the 21st century. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a city better equipped to boldly confront its tech future than Los Angeles.” Government Tech

Dr. George dies: George Fischbeck was a popular and enthusiastic weatherman at KABC-TV for almost 20 years. Sometimes he was so enthusiastic he would forget to tell viewers if it would be sunny, cloudy, rainy or cold. "I must begin with an apology. Last Friday we got carried away again and we got everything in but the forecast,” he said during a 1978 broadcast. Fischbeck was 92. L.A. Times, ABC 7



Governor’s race is on: From Gavin Newsom to Antonio Villaraigosa to Ashley Swearengin, handicapping the 2018 gubernatorial race. Sacramento Bee

Increasing voter registration: Secretary of State Alex Padilla wants eligible Californians to be automatically registered to vote. He’s exploring legislation that would do just that. This comes as Oregon begins sending ballots to every resident who has made contact with the Department of Motor Vehicles in the past year. Sacramento Bee



Slave labor? A restaurant owner in Santa Clarita was arrested after one of his employees complained to authorities that he was being kept as a slave. The man said he was forced to work 14 hours a day, seven days a week, and was subjected to physical punishments. L.A. Times

Kidnapping hoax: The kidnapping of a Vallejo woman appears to have been a hoax. Police say Denise Huskins, who allegedly went missing early Monday, was not the victim of a stranger abduction. It’s unclear what the motivate may have been. Huskins was “found” in Huntington Beach Wednesday but authorities have been unable to reach her or her family. L.A. Times

Police officer killed on duty: A 14-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department was killed Tuesday night as he responded to a call. Michael Johnson is the 12th officer to be killed since the department was founded in 1849. L.A. Times

New sex abuse lawsuit: A longtime volunteer at a Catholic church in Manhattan Beach is suing the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, alleging that she was molested by a priest. The woman says she was arranging flowers for a Sunday Mass when the priest allegedly came up behind her and touched her inappropriately. The priest was later placed on leave and reassigned to another church. L.A. Times



A choice for the dying: As California considers a bill that would allow doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, one woman is speaking out about how such a law could have helped her wife as she died from cancer. “To be able to say, 'I'm ready, I can't do this anymore, I want to do it this way and take a pill and be done...' she needed that right. And other people need that right,”  Deborah Reuter-Zsarko said in a videotaped message. KPCC

Dirty air harms babies' brains: Air pollution may shrink white matter found in the brains of fetuses and lead to developmental problems during the toddler years. A study from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles examined how pollution affected 40 children over an eight-year span. “California has gone a long way toward improving and cleaning up the air, but there’s a long way to go. Future generations depend on it,” according to the director of the hospital’s Institute for the Developing Mind. L.A. Times

Killer bees: Three  Australian shepherds were killed at their Santa Ana home and authorities believe they know the culprits -- bees. Animal Services officers found a large hive in a shed on the a neighbor’s property. KTLA



Freeway as a social program: The story of how the Century (105) Freeway was built is not simply a story about building a road. It’s a story about revolutionizing the way Southern California views public transportation, pollution, housing and civil rights. Ultimately this story “ensured that central planners could no longer impose public-works projects on communities without residents having their say.” Long Reads

California by any other name: Reddit asked its users to describe their state in one word. What were the top 10 words for California? SF Gate

Explaining L.A.’s architecture: An illustrated history of Los Angeles’ obsession with castles. Curbed LA

Fighting against intolerance: Producer Harvey Weinstein has some advice on dealing with anti-Semites: “Kick them in the ass.” His comments came at a benefit for the Wiesenthal Center Tuesday evening. “We are going to have to get as organized as the mafia. We just can’t take it anymore, we just can’t take these things. There’s gotta be a way to fight back,” he said. L.A. Times



In Wednesday’s Talk Back, we asked you what you would like to hear from the presidential candidates running in 2016. Here’s what you had to say:

“How about… nothing? I’d like to hear them shut up and do their job!” -- Ron Monteleone

“The two parties sincerely working together for the betterment of our country, rather than constantly locked in ideological gridlock...perhaps either side may not get all it wants, but it would give some hope to people that politics does matter.” -- Richard Choi Bertsch

“What do I want to hear from politicians? Truth.” -- Nazario "Tito" Gonzales

Today, we want to know what you think about increasing the minimum wage. It’s something happening in cities around America, and now Los Angeles is considering an hourly wage of $15.25. Will the higher wage life Californians out of poverty? Will it force businesses to cut back their staffs?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.



It was on this day in 1977 that Rose Bird was sworn in as the chief justice of the California Supreme Court. She was the first woman to hold that job. Her time on the court came to an end in 1986 when she was recalled by voters. A 1995 L.A. Times article explores what happened to Bird after she left the court.


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.