Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Warm, heavy rain means more flooding is likely

Water is released at 15 cubic feet per second from the Santa Anita Dam.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, March 11.

Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week

Back-to-back atmospheric rivers drive flooding and evacuations. The first of two atmospheric river storms descended Friday on California, prompting widespread evacuation orders as it flooded creeks and rivers and dropped warm, heavy rain atop the state’s near-record snowpack.


20 years later, we look back at a cringeworthy Oscars for the ages. Much about the 2003 ceremony has aged poorly — or worse. Two decades on, we break down a night that portended a Hollywood reckoning to come.

Lots of Russian soldiers want to surrender. Ukraine makes it easier with a high-tech hotline. The Ukrainian military’s surrender hotline, dubbed “I Want to Live,” is enticing some Russian soldiers to quit the battlefield as the war drags on.


We found 95 instances of plagiarism in a USC scientist’s new book. Sales have been suspended. At least 95 separate passages in the book resemble — sometimes word for word — text that originally appeared in other published sources available on the internet. The passages are not credited or acknowledged in the book or its endnotes.

The Week in Photos

Brang Miller shovels snow off the roof of Mammoth Fun Shop.
Over 550 inches of snow has fallen in San Bernardino as residents try to dig out.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A brutal killing devastates a family; California braces for flooding. Here are the photos that defined the week.

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Why are Californians moving to Florida? Affordability is a big reason, ‘wokeness’ probably not. In his feud with California, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis claims the Golden State is losing residents because of its leftist ways. Indications suggest otherwise.

Billy Joel on his L.A. years: I felt like ‘an exiled writer living in Paris.’ If he had to do it over again, Bill Joel says he’d un-write “at least 25%” of his songs.


Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo is front and center in Dominion’s defamation suit. The host of “Sunday Morning Futures” and morning host for Fox Business Network figures prominently in Dominion’s claims that the network lied about election fraud.

Inside the financial ties between a controversial housing nonprofit and Kevin de León. As an incoming L.A. City Council member in 2020, Kevin de León requested a meeting with city officials about their oversight of residential hotels owned by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. But he didn’t tell the city the foundation was paying him, officials say.

A chunk of Rancho Palos Verdes is sliding into the sea. Can the city stop it? A decades-long landslide has reshaped a 240-acre part of the Palos Verdes Peninsula known as Portuguese Bend. Rancho Palos Verdes is mounting a plan to slow it.

Column: The real and complicated reasons why Los Angeles still has so many RV encampments. There aren’t enough trucks to tow or space to park large vehicles. But those issues pale in comparison to changing the mindset of many who live in RVs.

Former BET CEO Debra Lee details affair with co-founder: ‘I would’ve lost everything.’ In her memoir “I Am Debra Lee,” BET’s former CEO gets candid about her tenure at the cable network and shares advice for women in corporate America.

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ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Column: Drew Barrymore is too much — and that’s just right. At 48, Drew Barrymore has survived divorce, quitting alcohol and leaving her beloved Los Angeles. Now she’s trying to embrace herself as she forges ahead in a new direction — talk show host.

Kitesurfing Californians found the perfect beach in Baja. Then they gentrified it. A quirk of geography has created a spot in southern Baja with nearly perfect winds for kitesurfing. In the last few years, Californians have built a thriving outpost there. Is the growth sustainable?

L.A. Affairs: I was too happy and in love to notice the red flags. Adriano was wearing a Lakers cap backward and he had a smile that immediately broke through the seven seals that had been guarding my heart for almost 10 years.

Today’s week-in-review newsletter was curated by Karim Doumar. Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to

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