Newsletter: Essential California Week in Review: Heading to Texas

Californian families leave a bus to tour one of several north Texas homes Saturday.
(Molly Hennessy-Fiske / For The Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Jan. 25.

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

Heading to Texas. Californians have been leaving the Golden State for decades in search of cheaper housing, lower taxes and a different way of life. For thousands, that search leads to Texas. First, however, they must grapple with the trade-offs of leaving California.

Trump vs. California over abortion access. The Trump administration warned California on Friday that it must stop requiring health insurance plans in the state to provide abortion coverage or risk losing federal money.

SoFi Stadium rises. The new, 70,000-seat home of the Rams and Chargers is 85% complete and on schedule to open with a Taylor Swift concert in late July. But some worry about how the vast venue will affect one of the last black enclaves in California.

Coronavirus spreading? A traveler who arrived at LAX on a flight from Mexico City was taken to a hospital early Thursday for an evaluation amid growing concerns over the spread of the deadly coronavirus.


Clean energy after sundown. Geothermal plants can generate emissions-free, renewable electricity around the clock, unlike solar panels or wind turbines. But development has been bogged down by the high costs of building facilities.

Prank gone wrong. A Corona man was charged with three counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder after authorities say he intentionally rammed into a car with six teenagers inside. They say he began chasing them after a “ding-dong-ditch” prank.

Once upon a time. Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Quentin Tarantino reminisce about their early days in Los Angeles before they made it big in Hollywood.

The hottest 24/7 reality show in SoCal. As many as 5,000 people at any moment are watching eagles nicknamed Jackie and Shadow on a livestreaming webcam in a mountain town about 100 miles northeast of downtown L.A. It’s highly addictive — and highly adorable.

Riot Games discrimination lawsuit. Two state agencies are trying to stop Riot Games from paying out $10 million to female employees to settle a gender discrimination class action suit. They think the plaintiffs could be entitled to as much as $400 million instead.

Facebook group supports homeless people. Many homeless people have turned to the internet to ease the isolation and disdain they face on the streets. One Facebook group — more than 1,200 strong — is a community where members provide peer support around the clock without judgment.

1. He built his 20-foot-wide house over a secret brook in the middle of L.A. Los Angeles Times

2. Elizabeth Holmes’ financial jeopardy: Will court cases leave Theranos founder ruined? Mercury News

3. Yosemite’s “firefall” glow lasts only two weeks. Here’s how to see it. Los Angeles Times

4. Fresno State band member’s viral performance brings more joy on national TV. Fresno Bee

5. Gustavo Arellano discovers a long-forgotten grave in Orange County — and the secrets it keeps. Alta

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

The voice of the podcast generation: A fun profile of “The Daily’s” Michael Barbaro. New York Magazine

“Pendeja, you ain’t Steinbeck.” Myriam Gurba’s original take down of novel “American Dirt,” which kicked off a firestorm of controversy. Tropics of Meta

Careers for a Cause equips people to work in homeless services. These participants, fresh from their own hardships, can relate. Los Angeles Times

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.)