Essential California: Verdict in Silicon Valley case, 'Empire' actress apologizes, San Francisco stages a boycott

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 28. Here are a few stories to keep you busy this weekend:  

Silicon Valley discrimination: Jurors found that Ellen Pao’s former employer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, did not discriminate against her because of her gender. The case was closely followed by tech companies in Silicon Valley and employment lawyers. “Although the loss was a setback for Pao, legal experts and tech industry insiders say the issues raised will ripple through the tech industry. Many companies have begun to examine and reform their hiring and promotion practices, and gender discrimination lawsuits were recently filed against Facebook and Twitter.” L.A. Times

"Empire" actress apologizes: Actress Taraji P. Henson apologized Friday for telling reporters her son was racially profiled by police in Glendale. The apology came after a 40-minute dash cam showed police actually gave her son a break after they pulled him over for driving through a crosswalk and found marijuana in the car. “ Sometimes as humans we overreact without gathering all the facts,” she said. Glendale News-Press

Analyzing Orange County’s election: Mail-in ballots appear to have made the difference in a race for supervisor in Orange County that was decided by just 43 votes. In Santa Ana, an area that favored Lou Correa, 22% of absentee voters returned their ballots. That was in contrast to communities such as Little Saigon that favored Vietnamese-American Andrew Do. Do’s victory also highlighted the importance of on-the-ground, get-out-the-vote efforts. L.A. Times

Boycotting Indiana: The city of San Francisco is boycotting Indiana because of a new state bill that would allow discrimination against the LGBT community. Mayor Ed Lee said the boycott would prevent any city employees from traveling to the state on business. “San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally sanctioned discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by the State of Indiana,” Lee said. Huffington Post

Cop arrested for drugs: The deputy police chief in Fresno is on administrative leave following his arrest on federal drug charges. “I really am at a loss for words, quite frankly, other than to say that as the police chief, I’m extremely shocked,” said Chief Jerry Dyer.  Sacramento Bee

Dudamel stays in L.A.: The conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic will stay on until 2022. That essentially takes Gustavo Dudamel out of the running for a job in New York when the conductor there leaves in two years. L.A. Times

Venice eyesore: It was suppose to become a creative hub but instead the old Venice post office is an eyesore. More than two years ago, producer Joel Silver announced the WPA-era building would be the new headquarters for Silver Pictures. Instead, the building has become magnet for vagrants and unpaid bills. Variety

Multimillion-dollar shack: A dilapidated home in San Francisco just sold for $1.2 million. These pictures show just how awful the home looks inside and out. Business Insider

Music in the mountains: There is now a piano atop a lookout in the Santa Monica Mountains. A group of friends brought the piano along on a two-mile hike so it could appear in a music video. CBS Los Angeles


This week’s most popular stories in Essential California


  1. Here’s a preview of some of the texts messages you might be sending this weekend. “Omg i have to get out of town ...” Buzzfeed

  2. Quick -- what’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of California? A rundown of the 10 most popular answers. SF Gate

  3. Los Angeles is now home to the $35 million tear-down. “For a while it was Middle Eastern money and then it was Russian money and then South American money and then Asian money. Now it's all of those.” L.A. Times

  4. What’s cuter than a baby hippo at the San Diego Zoo? Video of a baby hippo at the zoo. LAist

  5. When a plumber died, his vintage car collection went to Orange County. Now, officials there are considering an auction. Orange County Register 


ICYMI, here are this week’s California Great Reads

The new San Francisco: Mayor Ed Lee finds himself caught up in questions over who benefits from the boom in his city. L.A. Times

Waves of prayers: Pepperdine University is offering “Surf Chapel” for students who want to experience religion in an unconventional environment. L.A. Times

To health and wealth: A downtown pharmacy promises its customers the keys to love, health and good fortune. L.A. Times


Looking ahead

-- An estimated 90,000 spectators are expected at the Coliseum today for a friendly soccer match between Mexico and Ecuador.

-- Testimony in Shelly Sterling’s lawsuit against her estranged husband’s former mistress is expected to continue.

-- The city of Los Angeles’ public hearings on increasing the minimum wage will continue on Tuesday in Van Nuys.


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.