Essential California: Profile of a homegrown terrorist

Good morning. It is Friday, April 24.  Here's what’s happening in the Golden State:


Homegrown terrorist

One of the Al Qaeda terrorists killed in a January drone strike in Pakistan was Orange County native Adam Gadahn. The grandson of a Jewish doctor became increasingly radical in his beliefs after attending the Islamic Center of Orange County. Beginning in 2004, Gadahn appeared in a terrorist video making threats against America. He became the first American since World War II to be charged with treason. Los Angeles Times

Working together

Tech firms in Silicon Valley may say they’re furious that the National Security Agency spied on their customer data, but the reality is that many of those companies are joined at the hip with the U.S. Department of Defense. That’s because the federal government is spending billions of dollars on the intellectual property created in Silicon Valley. Los Angeles Times

Fracking and earthquakes

A study from the U.S. Geological Survey finds wastewater disposal is causing earthquakes in states that don’t typically get shakers. But in California, similar earthquakes have not occurred near wastewater wells in the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles Basin. The reason may be different oil extraction methods.Los Angeles Times


Get out the brooms: Mayor Eric Garcetti launched a $9.1 million program to clean up Los Angeles’ dirty streets. Ultimately, he wants to rate the cleanliness of each city street, something that’s already done in New York and San Francisco. Los Angeles Times

Stadium proposal: The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders released new renderings of what an NFL stadium in Carson could look like. The stadium is reminiscent of the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and includes a 120-foot tower that is a pedestal for a cauldron. Los Angeles Times

What’s in a name? Writer Erin Aubry Kaplan says that renaming South L.A. as SOLA is simply an advertising gimmick. “The attempt to rename/rebrand South Central feels uncomfortably like an attempt to dilute black history, to soften its complicated edges, and there's entirely too much of that going around.” KCET

Back on track: The Inland Empire is driving California’s comeback, thanks to a construction boom and the logistics industry, Joe Mathews writes. “An unemployment rate that topped 14% in late 2009 has been cut in half. Housing prices have roared back.” Zocalo



Ugly lawns: The state Assembly is taking action to prevent cities from fining homeowners who let their lawns go brown during the drought. “If California is going to manage its water resources efficiently and sustainably, then we cannot allow municipalities to penalize individuals for conserving water by not regularly watering their lawn,” said Assembly Cheryl R. Brown (D-Rialto). Los Angeles Times

Unreliable drinking water: Some of the poorest communities in the eastern part of the Coachella Valley don’t need to be told to conserve water. That’s because the water that comes into their homes is so unsafe they’re forced to buy all of the water they need. More than 1 million Californians lack access to safe drinking water. Desert Sun

End of California? The state’s ongoing drought has prompted one writer to liken Southern California to “a settlement on Mars: Everything it needs to survive is hauled in.” Newsweek

Assigning blame: A flowchart tries to determine just who is to blame for California’s drought. The governor? The media? Anyone but farmers? Vanity Fair



Needs of students: The California State University system is conducting a one-year study to determine how many of their students are affected by hunger and homelessness. “Students should be focused on their education -- but this focus is hard to maintain for those who do not know where they will sleep or when they will eat their next meal,” said Chancellor Timothy P. White. Los Angeles Times



Videotaped arrest: Police released video of state Sen. Ben Hueso’s drunk-driving arrest from last year. The traffic stop was made when the San Diego Democrat drove the wrong way down a one-way street in Sacramento. His blood-alcohol level was .08 and he was charged with a “wet reckless” misdemeanor. Sacramento Bee



Wife indicted: The wife of the late mayor of Bell Gardens pleaded not guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter in connection with her husband’s shooting death. Lyvette Crespo shot Daniel Crespo three times in the chest last September. Lyvette Crespo told authorities she was a battered wife and killed her husband in self-defense after he attacked their son. Los Angeles Times



Embracing change: Critic Mary McNamara notes that at a time when transgender men and women are being embraced in popular culture, none of the same empathy or dignity has been extended to Olympian Bruce Jenner. Los Angeles Times

Movable house: The incredible story of how a home from Hollywood, known as the Cora C. Hollister House, ended up in Edmonton, Canada. Los Angeles magazine

Foot traffic: It’s picking up on the Pacific Crest Trail, due in part to the 2014 movie “Wild,” which depicted one woman’s journey on the hiking trail that stretches up the West Coast from Mexico to Canada. U-T San Diego

Boat race: About 200 boats will depart from Newport Beach for Ensenada this morning as part of the International Yacht Race. There are 41 new entries -- a record, at least in recent memory. Orange County Register

Tasty treats: Seven Asian desserts from the San Gabriel Valley, including a cotton candy cloud and snow cream. KCET

Black and whites: The Huntington Library will acquire a set of Ansel Adams portfolios. The pictures include personal favorites and iconic images, such as the Face of Half Dome. LAObserved



In Thursday’s Talk Back, we asked what water agencies could do to encourage conservation now that a court has ruled against tiered rates. Here’s what you said:

“Every renter should have his or her own water meter and an account directly with the local water agency. People who continue to use more than their fair share of water because they can afford it should face substantial civil penalties, which should be directed to statewide water development/conservation efforts.” -- Robbie Monsma

“It is very simple -- if you can't tier them, you can fine the heavy users for usage beyond planned goals.” -- David Anderson

Today, we want your feedback on helping college students in need. The California State University system is surveying its students to see how many face challenges with housing and hunger. What responsibility do universities have to helping students? Are these issues you struggled with as a student? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.



Take a drive across the San Joaquin Valley with Harper's magazine.


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.