Newsletter: Essential California: Will El Niño leave SoCal high and dry?

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 19. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:


Shift happens: For more than three decades, Lucy Jones has made Californians feel better about the dangers of earthquakes. “She’s been called the Beyoncé of earthquakes, the Meryl Streep of government service, a woman breaking barriers in a man’s world.” Now, she’s retiring from the U.S. Geological Survey to focus on climate change, tsunamis and other natural disasters. Los Angeles Times

Charges tossed: A murder charge filed against a drug rehabilitation center and its employees was thrown out by a Riverside County judge Friday. The initial grand jury indictment of A Better Tomorrow treatment facility was seen as a highly unusual move. Superior Court Judge Elaine M. Kiefer found “insufficient evidence was presented to the grand jury to establish the elements of murder to the standard of probable cause.” The case involved the 2010 death of a man who had sought treatment for alcohol addiction. Los Angeles Times


Targeted ads: To advertise the film “Straight Outta Compton,” Universal Pictures and Facebook partnered to tailor ads to different segments of the population. That meant educating white consumers on N.W.A, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The film grossed $160 million domestically. Business Insider

The “in” crowd: The coolest women in Los Angeles aren’t fighting to get into the hottest pilates class or nightclub. Instead, they want an invitation to an elite, super-secret Facebook group. “It’s like joining a sorority — a digital sisterhood where women vent, fight, offer advice, trade tips, crack jokes and critique each other’s selfies.” Fusion

April showers? Time is running out for an impressive showing from El Niño. “Northern California has been the real beneficiary this year of the El Niño weather pattern,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist at the National Weather Service in Oxnard. LA Weekly

Homes for wayward kitties: Some of Los Angeles’ top architectural firms designed small shelters for stray cats. The projects were part of a fundraiser for FixNation, which provides sterilization services for feral felines. Curbed LA



1. This Palm Springs home has barely been touched since it was built and decorated in 1969. The home is in pristine vintage condition. LAist

2. Drought and fire have left some parts of California “diminished.” Take a look at those spaces from overhead. CityLab

3. Here are 15 L.A. tacos that are “too perfect for words.” BuzzFeed


4. Comedian Amy Poehler. Developer Geoff Palmer. Media mogul David Geffen. Those are just some of Beverly Hills’ most prolific water wasters. Los Angeles Times

5. Check out Los Angeles’ underground network of abandoned rails. Los Angeles Magazine


Peas in a pod: Five years ago, Andrew Breitbart predicted a Donald Trump campaign. “If these guys don’t learn how to play the media ... we’re going to probably get a celebrity candidate,” he said at the time. Now, the conservative site Breitbart News finds itself intertwined with the campaign, with one former reporter suggesting it resembles “an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign.” Los Angeles Times


Certificate of authenticity: It’s considered one of the most valuable movie props ever created: the Maltese Falcon. A lead Maltese Falcon sold at auction for $4.1 million in 2013. But was it the real one? Vanity Fair

25 years later: Decades before the Black Lives Matter movement and before names like Trayvon Martin and Ezell Ford were known around the country, there was Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old girl who was killed by a Korean shop owner two weeks after the Rodney King beating. “We are not here to remember Latasha. We never forgot her here in the community,” one activist said at a vigil for the teen. Los Angeles Times

Fashion designs: Remaking Moschino for the Instagram era. The New Yorker



Tuesday: Federal prosecutors and attorneys for Apple will be in a Riverside courtroom to argue over access to a phone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Friday: The Los Angeles Zoo will celebrate “Big Bunny’s Spring Fling.”

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.