Newsletter: Essential California: Leonard Nimoy’s influence, homicide risk for Latinos, money in L.A. city elections

Good morning. It is Saturday, Feb. 28, and here are a few articles to keep you busy this cold and rainy weekend:

He lived long, and L.A. prospered

Actor Leonard Nimoy, who died Friday at the age of 83, meant much more to Los Angeles than just his character on “Star Trek.” He frequently appeared on the stage, and later in life took up photography, often celebrating the female form. Nimoy and his wife contributed to local cultural institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Griffith Observatory and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony. From his obituary: “My folks came to the U.S. as immigrants. They were aliens, and then became citizens. I was born in Boston a citizen, and then I went to Hollywood and became an alien.” L.A. Times

Latinos and homicide: Weekends are deadliest

Weekends are the most dangerous time for Latinos living in Los Angeles County, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times. Latino homicide victims are 15% more likely to be killed on a weekend than are victims from other ethnic and racial groups. One criminologist believes that the trend is tied to employment and leisure schedules: “What leisure time they do have, especially [Latino] males, is concentrated in and around the weekend and weekend nights in particular.” L.A. Times

So long, and don't look back, ‘Mr. L.A.’ 

L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge seems more like a small-town politician than a man who represents 250,000 people in America’s second-largest city. He’s known for early morning hikes in Griffith Park, handing out pumpkin bread made by nuns, and taking a hands-on approach to neighborhood problems. But the race to succeed LaBonge is bringing out his critics. What will that mean for the candidate he has endorsed? L.A. Times

An election perennial: Money, money, money

By the time L.A.’s election rolls around on Tuesday, independent expenditure groups will have spent at least $1.2 million on candidates, most of whom are incumbents. Critics say the spending can make candidates feel “grateful” toward those special interests. The spending has reached the point that the firefighters union and a billboard company spent $7,300 combined to support Councilman Mitchell Englander, who is running for reelection unopposed. L.A. Times

Regarding UC's costs, voters choose frugality

California voters want to hold the line on higher University of California tuition, even if that means fewer places for state residents in the 10-campus system -- and more slots for out-of-state students who pay higher fees. Respondents to a USC Dornsife/L.A. Times poll say UC authorities deserve an “F” if they raise tuition. Voters side with Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for more frugality -- even if that means cuts in UC spending. L.A. Times

Living -- and thriving -- with Asperger’s

Becoming a successful entrepreneur with a home in Malibu is no easy feat, but it has been particularly challenging for Storm Sonders. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 35. “Freed from a lifetime of struggling to explain his quirkiness -- to himself, and to friends and girlfriends -- Sonders now wonders whether sharing his experience might help others in his situation.” L.A. Times


1. It’s the weekend, so treat yourself to one of these 23 cheap and delicious L.A. treats -- including a fried chicken biscuit with Sriracha honey and Fruity Pebbles doughnuts. BuzzFeed

2. Sometimes Los Angeles can be a very beautiful city -- as when its landmarks are filmed and set to an indie soundtrack. YouTube

3. This piece takes a look at the connection between Koreatown and Seoul: “Young people the world over have dreamed of California for decades, but the sheer number and variety of California cliches invoked on the streets of Seoul reached a whole other level.” Boom

4. She’s a Los Angeles original and as popular as ever. Angelyne spends her days cruising L.A. in her hot-pink Corvette and taking pictures with fans. KPCC

5. Auntie Fee is known for whipping up recipes with ingredients like Patron tequila and lard, and she’s doing it all with language that would make a sailor blush. She’s a big hit on YouTube. L.A. Times


Survivor’s guilt: Truth, secrets, trauma, death and Iraq. It’s one Army veteran’s odyssey. L.A. Times

A legend retires: The crusading mayor who took a bullet but kept on going. L.A. Times

(Fake) turf battle: The epic drought pits San Diego residents against homeowners associations. L.A. Times


In the voting booth: One of the biggest questions before Los Angeles voters on Tuesday will be whether to change the calendar for municipal and school board elections. At present, such elections are held in March and May of odd-numbered years, which may explain chronically low voter turnout. But some say elections would get more expensive and favor incumbents if they synced up with presidential and gubernatorial years. L.A. Times

At the movies: Can Will Smith’s crime comedy “Focus” push “50 Shades of Grey” out of the top spot at the box office? It’s a spot Smith used to own. L.A. Times

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.