Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Fires and power outages


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Oct. 12.

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

Top Stories

Fires burning. The Saddleridge fire, which broke out late Thursday in Sylmar amid strong Santa Ana winds, spread rapidly overnight west into Porter Ranch and other communities of the San Fernando Valley on Friday, burning at least 31 structures, closing freeways and forcing thousands to flee.

In Riverside County, a blaze that broke out Thursday afternoon quickly swept through a mobile home park in Calimesa, killing a resident who was unable to escape the flames, officials said Friday.


Here’s a map of all the fires currently burning in California.

Power outages. Earlier this week, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off electricity to hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses in Northern California to reduce wildfire risks.

With forecasts for strong winds in the area, Southern California Edison began to do the same, cutting power to thousands. The utility said power could be cut off to more than 173,000 customers in parts of eight counties. You can look up your address to see if you may be affected.

Here’s all our coverage of the fires and power outages throughout California.

Who’s to blame for the Dodgers’ loss? In front of a booing crowd that had been earlier stunned into silence, the Dodgers’ season ended in a 7-3 defeat that marked the worst collapse in their current seven-year postseason run, writes Bill Plaschke. Houston Mitchell says there’s a whole list of people to blame.

Galaxy’s Edge. Todd Martens says he should have waited until Disney opened Galaxy’s Edge for the crowds to evaporate — little did he know that soon after its May 31 opening, the parks would be a dead zone, with every attraction a walk-on and blissfully bare sidewalks. Here’s his progress report on the Star Wars expansion.

Limits on gun buyers. Following a string of mass shootings across the country this year, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday toughened California’s already strict gun control laws. He signed a raft of bills that included a major expansion of the state’s “red flag” law and a ban on the purchase of more than one semiautomatic rifle per month.

Hollister Ranch opens. Newsom also signed into law a bill designed to open the exclusive beaches at Hollister Ranch — a significant move forward under his administration on an issue that had stalled for decades in the face of powerful landowners.

Instagram for weed? San Francisco rapper and marijuana business owner Gilbert Milam Jr. had a very specific desire: He wanted to share photos of weed with his 1.2 million Instagram followers. He created his own, unfiltered version of the Facebook-owned social photo-sharing app — but it all went horribly wrong.

Analyzing racial profiling. Los Angeles police officers search blacks and Latinos far more often than whites during traffic stops, even though whites are more likely to be found with illegal items, a Times analysis has found.

Inequality soars. Wage inequality has risen more in California cities than in the metropolitan areas of any other state, with seven of the nation’s 15 most unequal cities located in the Golden State. More surprising, perhaps, is the inclusion of Bakersfield.

Sexual misconduct lawsuits. The California Democratic Party has spent more than $800,000 on legal costs stemming from three lawsuits alleging discrimination and sexual misconduct by former Chairman Eric Bauman. The sum includes more than $430,000 in attorney’s fees alone.


Test scores released. Just over half of California public school students who took the state’s standardized English language arts test performed at grade level, while only 4 in 10 are proficient in math, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.

Great white shark bite. While kayaking Oct. 5 off Catalina Island, Danny McDaniel saw the head of a great white bite the back of his kayak. The behemoth left two teeth behind — and based on their size, experts estimated the shark was 19 feet long.

1. Here’s where SoCal Edison may shut off power in California. Los Angeles Times

2. An actor’s death was ruled an accidental drowning. His widow and private investigators suspect foul play. Los Angeles Times

3. In-N-Out Burger owner Lynsi Snyder speaks on spiritual warfare, and her desire to be “plugged in” to God’s plan. The Christian Post

4. Read this excerpt from Joan Didion’s essay “Los Angeles Notebook.” Silver Birch Press

5. Here’s where PG&E may shut off power in California. Los Angeles Times

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

Otis the pug is stolen. Otis the pug is found. A homeless man refuses the $15,000 reward. And then things get weird. Mission Local

How Darrell Corti became a tastemaker in California food and wine: “He’s one of those people whose importance is far greater than the name recognition.” Los Angeles Times

They lived on the porous border between haves and have-nots. They died in a double murder-suicide. Los Angeles Times

When GoFundMe gets ugly: The largest crowdfunding site in the world puts up a mirror to who we are and what matters most to us. Try not to look away. The Atlantic

Looking ahead

Saturday Recommendation: The casunziei at Colapasta in Santa Monica

Casunziei is a fresh-stuffed pasta native to northeastern Italy. The pasta is a house specialty at Colapasta, a new casual restaurant in Santa Monica.
Casunziei is a fresh-stuffed pasta native to northeastern Italy. The pasta is a house specialty at Colapasta, a new casual restaurant in Santa Monica.
(Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

I will be honest, as an Angeleno firmly ensconced in a life east of Western Avenue, San Francisco often seems less cumbersome to get to than Santa Monica — at least any time during rush hour, which occurs roughly between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day, give or take. All of which is to say that I do not often fantasize about crossing the 405, let alone approaching Manifest Destiny at the dinner hour.

But restaurant critic Patricia Escárcega has a review of a new, pasta-centric restaurant from a Michelin-starred chef operating out of a tiny kitchen by the shore that has me rethinking my most dearly held beliefs. Here’s what she had to say about the casunziei at Colapasta (and why I’ll soon be trekking west to try it):

“Recently I’ve become mildly obsessed with casunziei, the half-moon-shaped ravioli native to the northeastern part of Italy, where the Dolomite Mountains rise, and that are the house specialty at Colapasta, a low-key trattoria that opened near Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade this summer.

Casunziei are a still life of hyper-saturated color — golden-yellow around the edges, with a brooding, dark-purple center that conjures black figs or dead-ripe summer berries. They are filled with roast beetroot and bathed in brown butter, Parmigiano cheese and poppy seeds; the interplay of the supple, paper-thin pasta and the delicate crunch of the tiny poppy seeds is unusually compelling. Each bite is vivid with the sweetness of beets, their bright earthiness slicing through puddles of melted cheese and brown butter.” [Read the full review.]

Colapasta is located at 1241 5th St. in Santa Monica. (310) 310-8336. Want for more food stories delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the Tasting Notes newsletter, written by restaurant critics Patricia Escárcega and Bill Addison.

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.)