Newsletter: Essential California: Art world coup, resilient Pacific coral

Good morning. It is Wednesday, April 1. It’s almost time for Dodger baseball so take a quick tour of Vin Scully’s Los Angeles. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Long-lost art discovery

A Montecito woman found a real surprise under her couch -- a long-lost 18th century piece by Mexican painter Miguel Cabrera. It is one of 16 casta paintings that explore the theme of miscegenation. The discovery of the painting, which is now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is considered a major event in the art world. . L.A. Times

A housing shortage in Orange County could push young adults out of the community and make it more difficult for businesses to find qualified workers. Those are the findings of a new report that suggests the region is 50,000 to 62,000 units under what it needs to support its population.  L.A. Times

Studying the Pacific

Below the Channel Islands, scientists are studying coral – how old are they? What do they eat? How fast do they grow? “We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of our ocean,” said one deep-sea engineer. L.A. Times




New minimum wage study: The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has called for a study on increasing the minimum wage in unincorporated parts of the county, as well as hiking wages for anyone who contracts with county government. The move is likely to bolster the city’s efforts to increase hourly wages to $13.25 or $15.25. L.A. Times

Face of L.A. County: The makeup of Los Angeles County is changing. There are fewer young children and more senior citizens. There’s also been a slowdown in immigration and migration from other states. “People are unconsciously working with a set of assumptions that are about 20 years out of date. It’s taken a while for everyone to adjust. Even the professional demographers have been behind the times, and they are just now catching up,” according to a USC professor in public policy. Daily News



Possible Senate candidate: Rep. Xavier Becerra popped up in San Diego, fueling speculation that he will run for the U.S. Senate. “I am telling (people) that I am absolutely serious about this,” he said. Sacramento Bee

Increasing voter rolls: New data show that 144,000 Californians who were registered to vote in 1974 are still registered today. Overall, more than 40% of California’s voters registered after 2008. Washington Post

Non-representative government: California voters who show up on Election Day are older, whiter and wealthier than the state’s average resident. And that has a direct impact on policy. “When we look across the racial and ethnic communities of California there’s a strong desire to invest more, a strong belief that we need more for a better future,” said the president of the Public Policy Institute of California. KQED



Death in Getty family: One of J. Paul Getty’s grandsons was found dead Tuesday in his Hollywood Hills home. Andrew Getty,  47, was an heir to the family’s multibillion-dollar oil fortune. L.A. Times

Earthquake scam: Police are warning Beverly Hills property owners about a scam in which someone pretending to be with the city calls up and asks to inspect a home for earthquake damage. One homeowner who received such a call thought it was suspicious since there haven’t been any recent earthquakes. L.A. Times

Mysterious freeway death: It’s a mystery why a 19-year-old college soccer player ended up on a Los Angeles freeway after a fraternity party at USC. Eloi Vasquez was killed early Saturday when he was struck by a car traveling at 60 mph. L.A. Times



Marijuana’s entrepreneurs: Female entrepreneurs are trying to crack the “green ceiling” by hosting Tupperware-type parties to show off their marijuana-related products. With jurisdictions legalizing marijuana, or at least thinking about it, the market for products has increased to $2.7 billion. SF Gate

Revolutionizing U.S. economy: A handful of California’s tech investors have created the Economic Innovation Group, an organization dedicated to creating a more entrepreneurial U.S. economy. Founders include Ron Conway of SV Angel, Napster co-founder Sean Parker, L.A.-based investor Joe Sanberg and Dana Settle of Los Angeles venture capital firm Greycroft Partners. L.A. Times

Supporting Ellen Pao: A group of female tech workers took out a full-page ad in the Palo Alto Daily Post, thanking Ellen Pao for her gender discrimination lawsuit against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Pao lost the case but, “Ellen's story resonated, it hit a chord with so many women,” said Lori Hobson, who led the effort to crowd-fund the ad. Business Insider



Jail time for water wasters: Everyone knows it’s important to conserve water during the state’s drought but in past crises, Californians were threatened with hefty fines and even jail time if they wasted water. However, despite the threats, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Water District said he couldn’t find evidence that any wasteful Californian ever ended up in the slammer for watering down a driveway or filling up a swimming pool. L.A. Times



Brooding Bay video: A beautiful and dramatic time-lapse video of San Francisco. City Lab

Chasing cherries and ghosts: What could be more challenging than getting around the Rose Bowl or Beverly Hills? Doing it as Pac-Man. L.A. Times



In Tuesday’s Essential California, we asked for your feedback on modifications to Jessica’s Law, which regulates where convicted sex offenders can live. Here’s what you had to say:

“The Jessica's Law restrictions on residency is one of the most ill-conceived ideas ever promulgated. They do not protect children unless one concludes that sex offenders do not have cars or other means of transportation that ferry them into restricted areas. They do, of course, create sometimes overwhelming problems for those offenders who have served their time without a corresponding benefit to society.” -- Eric Kaminsky

For today’s Talk Back, we want to hear your thoughts on Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s proposal to automatically register Californians to vote. The move could greatly increase voter participation. However, a Los Angeles Times editorial notes that it could create new privacy concerns. Should people be automatically registered to vote? Will there be unintended consequences, like exposing the addresses of judges and domestic abuse victims?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.



Thirty-nine years ago today, Apple Computer was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.


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.