Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Safety flaws aboard the Conception

Fire on the boat off Santa Cruz Island.
Fire on the Conception dive boat off Santa Cruz Island.
(Ventura County Fire Dept.)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Sept. 7.

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

Top Stories

Boat fire. A preliminary investigation into the Conception fire has suggested serious safety deficiencies aboard, including the lack of a “roaming night watchman” who is required to alert passengers to danger, according to several law enforcement sources.

Rent cap. California lawmakers are on the verge of approving one of the only state laws in the nation to limit rent increases, after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a deal with legislative leaders last week on a bill to cap annual rent hikes.


Ghost Ship verdict. The two men accused of turning an Oakland warehouse into an arts collective that became the site of one of the deadliest blazes in California history avoided criminal punishment Thursday, marking a stinging defeat for prosecutors and the victims’ families after a years-long battle over who was truly responsible for the 2016 fire.

‘Straight pride.’ The story of Modesto’s controversial “straight pride” parade is really the story of two mothers and a son caught in a strange trinity at the white-hot center of it all.

Vaccine bill. Newsom’s effort to change legislation that would tighten immunization rules for California schoolchildren went beyond what his advisors had insisted would be nothing more than a “technical” tweaking. But he and the bill’s sponsor reached a deal Friday to scale back aspects of it.

Secret donor. Once a USC scholarship student, billionaire B. Wayne Hughes Sr., a founder of self-storage behemoth Public Storage, has donated about $400 million to the school — nearly all of it anonymously.

Tenaja wildfire. Nearly 900 firefighters are working to contain a fast-moving brush fire that has scorched 2,000 acres in the hillsides near Murrieta.

Egyptian Theater. Opened by Sid Grauman in 1922, the iconic Egyptian Theater has been designated a Los Angeles historic-cultural monument and is one of the few remaining repertory theaters in the city the film business calls home. So what happens when Netflix buys it?


Anthony Avalos. The 10-year-old had been under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services sporadically over a four-year period beginning in 2013 and ending in 2017. But child protective workers and others tasked with protecting him from abuse missed numerous warnings and opportunities to intervene before his death from a brain bleed.

Punk rock. Pork sandwiches. The future of San Pedro. Local music legend Mike Watt took the L.A. Times on a journey to eat at the Busy Bee and talk about music and the “econo” way of life.

1. After years of being identified as “Emily Doe” in the Stanford rape case, Chanel Miller is no longer anonymous. The New York Times

2. An earthquake fault long thought dormant could devastate Los Angeles, researchers say. Los Angeles Times

3. A rediscovered archive from California in the 1970s. The New Yorker

4. A cheerleader’s blackface video has raised ghosts of Fresno’s racist past. Los Angeles Times


5. The details of Tyler Skaggs’ death could trigger a legal battle with millions at stake. Los Angeles Times

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

What the Wine Train can tell us about the history, future and controversies of Napa Valley. San Francisco Chronicle

Meet Maer Roshan, the new editor trying to restore Los Angeles Magazine to its former glory. Los Angeles Times

This man died Sunday on a West L.A. sidewalk. He was homeless. He is part of an epidemic. Los Angeles Times

From the archives: A 2012 deep dive into the life of a man who’s made helping people disappear into a career. The Believer

Looking ahead

Saturday Recommendation: Pasta at Osteria Moto in El Dorado Hills

Bucatini carbonara at Osteria Moto in El Dorado Hills, Calif.
(Julia Wick / Los Angeles Times)

There is an upscale mall where the building facades vaguely resemble the Old West section of a studio backlot in the foothills about 30 or 40 minutes east of Sacramento. And in that mall — which, like the greatest hits of Rick Caruso to the south, is designed to look eerily like a faux-nostalgic town center — there is a large and lovely osteria that, once you step inside, doesn’t feel like it belongs in a mall at all. And in that osteria, there is some truly fantastic housemade pasta to be had.

I had finished an interview in the Sacramento suburbs on a reporting trip a few weeks ago when I stumbled back to my rental car and decided that, after procuring dinner the night before from a Motel 6 vending machine, I should find some really good food. Like any decent millennial, I turned to the internet, and then headed 15 minutes in the opposite direction down Highway 50. It was a very good decision.

Osteria Moto is large and airy, with a glass-walled pasta-making room that is more than a little mesmerizing to stand in front of. All of the pasta is handmade in-house daily, and the produce is sourced directly from local farms. The carbonara is transcendent, the salads are beautiful and don’t sleep on the bread, which comes warm in a little butcher-paper pouch.

In a strange twist, Osteria Moto actually made its way to El Dorado Hills by way of L.A. The mall’s developer, Tony Mansour, was a regular at Osteria La Buca on Melrose and convinced the restaurant’s owner Stephen Sakulsky to come up to El Dorado Hills and open a restaurant. Sakulsky moved his family up north and opened up shop last December.

Osteria Moto is located at 4364 Town Center Blvd., Suite 124, in El Dorado Hills. (916) 573-6200.


Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Diya Chacko for all her help on the Saturday edition.)