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Essential California: Dodgers will play Game 7 of the World Series tonight

The Dodgers came back to beat the Astros, 3-1, and force a deciding Game 7. A man killed at least 8 people when he drove a truck into a crowded bike path in Manhattan on Tuesday. Filmmaker Brett Ratner is the latest in Hollywood to be accused of sexual harassment and misconduct. 126 million Americans may have seen Russian-generated Facebook ads over the last two years.

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Wednesday, Nov. 1, and here's what's happening across California:

TOP STORIES

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Dodgers win to force a Game 7

Dodger Stadium has staged concerts, soccer games, a papal mass, even a bullfight. But today will mark the first time baseball's third-oldest ballpark will play host to Game 7 of a World Series. The Dodgers forced a final game by defeating the Astros, 3-1, on Tuesday. "Could you expect any less? Could you ask for any more? The baseball gods may not answer letters, but they do allow dreams to flourish," The Times' Andy McCullough writes. Los Angeles Times

How big is this? It's "the biggest baseball game ever played in this city. And it is happening because of the smallest things, the little jabs the Dodgers threw Tuesday night in what could have been their final hours," columnist Bill Plaschke says. Los Angeles Times

The pitcher: The Dodgers delivered on a promise to Yu Darvish, who will get a chance for redemption in Game 7. Los Angeles Times

Paint it blue: A bridge too far? Los Angeles Times

And: Houston versus L.A., library division. LAist

Weinstein and Toback investigations

Beverly Hills police said Tuesday the department has open investigations into movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and filmmaker James Toback after recently receiving allegations that they committed sexual assaults. In a statement released Tuesday evening, police did not provide details of the investigations but urged anyone who believes he or she was a victim to come forward. Los Angeles Times

In England: British police are investigating 11 allegations of sexual assaults involving Weinstein that span several decades, sources said. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Life can be tough when your harasser is a superstar. New York Times

The secrets of nondisclosure agreements

Why do some actions in Hollywood stay hidden? Consider these agreements: If you wanted to work for Leonardo DiCaprio's company Greenhour Corp. a few years ago, you would have had to sign a document crucial to the Oscar winner's "personal safety, well being and business." Prospective workers were asked to consent to confidentiality agreements that not only prevented them from disclosing private information about the actor, but also a long list of "offensive/inappropriate material" they may be exposed to in the development of films and other projects. Los Angeles Times

Taxing time for motorists — and later, politicians?

A state gas tax increase of 12 cents per gallon kicks in Wednesday, and while the immediate impact will mean less money in motorists' wallets, the long-term political fallout could roll into next year, when the higher levies are expected to be an issue in elections across California. Los Angeles Times

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L.A. STORIES

Crackdown: Despite protests from civil libertarians, Los Angeles lawmakers voted Tuesday to ban protesters from carrying pepper spray, baseball bats, glass bottles, stun guns and other potentially dangerous items after clashes in Berkeley, Charlottesville, Va., and other cities. Critics contend that the new law would end up criminalizing the act of carrying ordinary items such as soda bottles or stiff signs. Los Angeles Times

Real estate deal: The Grand Central Market on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles is being sold to a Beverly Hills real estate investor who vows to preserve its historic charms while sprucing the place up. The sale for a yet-unknown amount includes the Million Dollar Theater building next door. Los Angeles Times

Lion surprise: An uncollared mountain lion was caught on camera roaming the Hollywood Hills just after midnight recently — the first official evidence of a cougar inhabiting a specially preserved parcel of land in Laurel Canyon, wildlife advocates say. Los Angeles Times

Jail protest: Demonstrators interrupted the L.A. County Board of Supervisors meeting to protest the expansion of jails in the county. They want a moratorium on a jail expansion project. Los Angeles Times

Big move: Amazon Studios is picking up stakes from its current home in Santa Monica and moving to the Culver Studios, the historic lot in Culver City where classic films such as "Gone With the Wind" and "Citizen Kane" were filmed. Los Angeles Times

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Fire fears: PG&E power lines experienced numerous issues on the first night of the epic wine country firestorm, which killed more than 40 and destroyed more than 8,000 homes. But new documents don't say for sure whether downed lines caused the fires. That could be a huge problem for the utility. Mercury News

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Loss update: The wildfires that ravaged wine country this month caused at least $3 billion in insured losses, officials said Tuesday. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the staggering number and warned it would probably grow as more claims are reported by insurers. Los Angeles Times

Outbreak spreads: San Diego's hepatitis A outbreak has now claimed 20 lives across the region. Los Angeles Times

CRIME AND COURTS

School standoff: Police officers on Tuesday evening swarmed a Riverside elementary school classroom and shot a parent who had taken a teacher hostage, ending an hours-long standoff. Los Angeles Times

Sad testimony: The grandfather of Gabriel Fernandez, a Palmdale boy who authorities say was tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend, sobbed in court on Monday as he testified about his beloved grandson, whom he said he practically raised as his own son with his late wife. CBS LA

Twist in videotaped shooting: A man shot and killed by a Huntington Beach police officer in September — an incident caught on tape — was identified Tuesday as a suspect in the fatal beating of an 80-year-old man that occurred three days before the shooting. Los Angeles Times

Grim case: A decision to stop for a meal almost two weeks ago at a small seafood restaurant in Tijuana's Camino Verde neighborhood proved fatal for Larry Macy, a U.S. citizen living in Mexico. San Diego Union-Tribune

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Worth the hype? Yayoi Kusama's much-hyped exhibition at the Broad: Lots of mirrors, not so much artistic reflection, writes Times art critic Christopher Knight. Los Angeles Times

Disney delays: Despite the huge attendance, Disneyland has a crisis: traffic both outside and inside the park. Here are some ideas, from ride lines to freeway improvements, for addressing it. Orange County Register

And: Disneyland's top 10 problems. Orange County Register

Scary sight: People in the San Francisco Bay Area suburb of Pleasant Hill are not happy about this blackface Halloween costume. SF Gate

Giving life: His wife's lungs are now hers. The organ donor's husband and the recipient met for the first time and became family. Fresno Bee

This cat is back: Thousands of miles away from each other, a lost cat and her family are reunited. San Gabriel Valley Tribune

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy and 70. San Diego: Cloudy and 68. San Francisco area: Sunny and 60. Sacramento: Sunny and 71. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

Today's California memory comes from John Jezak:

"I won a trip to L.A. as a seventh-grader in 1974. Then, a trip to L.A. was equivalent to my own personal moon landing. I lived in Maumee, Ohio, had never flown, and the prospect of visiting Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios, among others, was beyond comprehension. I saw Telly Savalas on the "Kojak" set and Hank Aaron play at Dodger Stadium. But when I took five rolls of pictures of the dolphin show at Marineland of the Pacific, I earned decades of ribbing from my parents for being so awestruck by the 'stars' of that show!"

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.

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