Today: A Manson Family Parole? The New Shell Game.

I'm Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.



A Manson Family Parole?

Leslie Van Houten had been denied parole 19 times since she was convicted of murder in the deaths of grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, at their Los Feliz home in 1969. Now, a review board has recommended parole for the former Charles Manson family member. After further review, it will be forwarded to Gov. Jerry Brown, who could block it. "There's no way I can agree with the ruling today," said Cory LaBianca, the victims' daughter. "I don't seek revenge. I just think it's just for someone to do that to stay in prison."

The New Shell Game

How do 45,000 pounds of shelled pistachios go missing? Easily, it turns out. Their theft in mid-November was one of 31 reported heists of almonds, pistachios and cashews last year in the Central Valley. Bandits have hacked databases, faked documents and loaded up trucks to steal $9 million in nuts. Here's how much of the ill-gotten goods go through L.A. before being shipped or sold off.

A Cabbie's Lament

Just as many a taxi driver had feared, Uber and Lyft have dealt a blow to the cab industry in L.A. City records show the total number of taxi trips has dropped by nearly a third within the last three years. Cab drivers are taking the biggest hit. A manager for one company said drivers now take home $400 to $500 a week, down from $800. One bright spot: an increase in trips in South L.A.

Trump's Effect on TV Ads

Speaking of disruptors, Donald Trump has had really, really amazing free TV coverage. The best. (OK, you get the idea.) So Trump hasn't had to spend much on TV ads, and that means nervous time for local TV stations that rely on the spoils of political season. Could that change by the time the general election rolls around? Some analysts think it will.

The Brochella Music Festival

Lots of women attend the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, so why has there been only one female-centric act to appear as a headliner on the main stage since it began in 1999? As this year's edition gets underway today, senior writer Lorraine Ali examines the absence of female performers at what some are calling "brochella."


-- The state doesn't have enough housing, and lawmakers aren't doing much about it.

California homebuilding has fallen well behind what's needed to bring costs into line with the rest of the country.
California homebuilding has fallen well behind what's needed to bring costs into line with the rest of the country. (Legislative Analyst's Office/Los Angeles Times)

-- How a plan to create a much-needed park in Koreatown withered.

-- In a big victory for unions, an appeals court rejected a bid to end tenure for teachers.


-- The first gender-neutral bathroom in the L.A. Unified School District opens today.


-- In the latest debate, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton sparred over who has the judgment to be president.

-- Video appears to show some of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls alive.

-- Bullfighting in Baja: Art form or outdated ritual? Join the conversation on Facebook.

-- On his annual call-in show, Russian President Putin covered political issues and his private life.

-- Book review: Seymour Hersh's "The Killing of Osama bin Laden" details a grave threat to our democracy.


-- The writers of "Barbershop: The Next Cut" didn't want to follow the "black movie" formula.

-- The secret connection between Cervantes and Shakespeare. Critic at Large David Kipen connects the dots.

-- James Cameron promises to make four "Avatar" sequels starting in 2018.

-- After some Le Carré-worthy twists, "The Night Manager" arrives with Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston.

-- Are "texting friendly" auditoriums coming soon to AMC movie theaters?


-- The number of deadly infections from dirty scopes is far higher than previously estimated, a congressional investigation shows.

-- Does your credit card contract contain a hidden surprise?

-- Cuban-born tourists are being blocked from taking a cruise to the island.


-- Every shot Kobe Bryant ever took. All 30,699 of them. In one graphic.


-- Watch: A driver's-view tour of the Long Beach Grand Prix track. The big race is this weekend.

-- In a blockbuster deal, the L.A. Rams traded for the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.


-- How to stamp out the transgender "bathroom panic."

-- L.A. has a terrible track record on land-use rules. Is that about to finally change?


-- How YouTube, Facebook and more have policed content, and how that's shaping the future of free speech. (The Verge)

-- A newly released diplomatic cable says Pakistani spies may have funded an attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan. (Foreign Policy)

-- What the world eats for breakfast, one day at a time. (Roads & Kingdoms)


It inspired the steamy Judith Krantz novel "Scruples" and helped make Rodeo Drive the apotheosis of luxury shopping that it is today. But in Fred Hayman's first year of ownership, the Giorgio boutique almost failed. "Mr. Rodeo Drive," as Hayman came to be known, has died at age 90. Here's a look back at how his perfume brought the sweet smell of success to Beverly Hills.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.