Hello. I'm Davan Maharaj, the editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines you shouldn't miss today.
When Veronica Zaragoza became a picker in the fields of Baja Mexico 13 years ago, she earned $8 a day. Mexican agribusiness has prospered, but Zaragoza has not. She still makes $8 a day. Now she and other workers are confronting police in a rare and violent strike. It's an early test for an alliance formed to improve the miserable lot of Mexican farmworkers exposed in a Times series, "Product of Mexico."
State of drought
Millions will be spent for food and emergency drinking water. More money will go to preserving imperiled wildlife. Shades of drought in sub-Saharan Africa? No. It's an accurate portrait of life in California, where Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a $1-billion plan to deal with the state’s four-year drought. "Something we’re going to have to live with,” he said. "For how long, we’re not sure.”
Church vs. state
If you're a judge and a devout Christian, how do you separate the biblical from the constitutional? How do you cleave the opinions you hold in your church pew from the ones you issue from your courthouse bench? In today's Great Read, Matthew Teague follows an Alabama judge as he grapples with his faith and whether he should allow gay couples to wed in the heart of Dixie.
Rush to justice
The trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev seems to be moving at lightning speed. Sure, he did it, his defense asserts, but he was a mere pawn of his older brother, Tamerlan. What's happening? Tsarnaev's lawyers are prepping jurors for the penalty phase. Read about a bold strategy aimed at saving their client from execution.
Who is President Obama to believe? The Benjamin Netanyahu who, frantic for right-wing votes on the eve of Israel's election, issued a flat "no" to the idea of a Palestinian state? Or the one right after the election who said, well, he didn't really mean it that way? The icy response from the White House is telling. Read what a major rethink of Mideast policy might mean.
-- Dueling studies of a plan to raise L.A.'s minimum wage come to -- surprise -- different conclusions.
-- An LAPD officer accused of murder in Pomona appears to have fled to Texas.
-- Emily's List endorses state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris for the U.S. Senate, another nod from the Democratic establishment.
-- Salvation for the Pinoleville Pomo Nation just might lie in pot. Is it a template or a cautionary tale?
-- A Texas judge threatens to sanction the Justice Department over Obama's immigration plan.
-- Rock salt, the go-to road de-icer, is in short supply, so it's getting some help from additives -- beet juice, cheese, pickles, even vodka.
-- Islamic State claims responsibility for a deadly museum attack that has rattled Tunisia's fragile democracy.
-- A surge in fighting in southern Yemen worries U.S. officials.
Passings: Malcolm Fraser, 84, former prime minister of Australia; Joel Moskowitz, 75, maker of ceramic body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
-- American Apparel's new CEO edges away from the founder Dov Charney's freewheeling culture.
-- A strong dollar and falling oil prices that hurt some regions foster a growth spurt in the Inland Empire.
-- Elon Musk says the Tesla Model S is not a car, but a "sophisticated computer on wheels."
-- Bill Plaschke sizes up the coach's kid and the amazing Golden Brick that advanced UCLA in the NCAA tournament.
-- Chris Dufresne: UC Irvine isn't intimidated by Louisville's NCAA tournament history.
-- As NASCAR visits Fontana, Kevin Harvick is blazing. Tony Stewart isn't.
-- The latest sports scores and stats. NCAA tournament bracket.
Passings: Allen Jerkens, 85, Hall of Fame thoroughbred horse trainer.
-- Review: New vision benefits "The Divergent Series: Insurgent." Also, an interview with actor Theo James.
-- L.A. Phil conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his wife, Eloisa Maturen, file for divorce.
-- Harrison Ford, who recently crashed his plane, is scheduled to narrate an aviation documentary.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- "Normcore" lives on, elevating the dreary to trendy in fashion.
-- Twenty-five years after a huge art heist, empty frames still hang in a Boston museum.
-- New life for the Western Flyer, the boat immortalized by John Steinbeck.
-- Russia's strategic bomber fleet appears to be on a global intimidation mission.
ONLY IN L.A.
Why does a mountain lion cross the freeway? It's not always clear, but researchers seem excited about one that crossed the 101 recently near Camarillo. It is only the second time that's happened, and it's "a pretty big deal," a wildlife ecologist said. Read about the role freeways play in the lives of these cats and their ability to breed.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.