Newsletter: Essential California: Remembering the end of the Vietnam War

Good morning. It is Saturday, May 2. Here are a few stories to keep you busy this weekend:  

Museum plans: Recently released documents show how filmmaker George Lucas' plans to open a San Francisco museum fell apart. "When the Presidio Trust announced last year that it was rejecting George Lucas' bid to build a museum at Crissy Field, its leaders didn't reveal that three days earlier they had been prepared to grant the 'Star Wars' creator the land he sought.” SF Gate

Remembering 1975: A Bay Area writer talked to her parents about what it was like to leave Vietnam at the end of the war and build new lives in California. The conversation was captured through a series of text messages. Buzzfeed

Voting bloc: The Vietnamese community in Orange County’s Little Saigon is reaching political maturity. "Vietnamese American voters have consistently shown they are more concerned with electing fellow Vietnamese than they are with party affiliation, regularly crossing party lines to vote for one of their own." Orange County Register

This is the end: No, it’s not, though the drought will force California to become more creative in how it uses its resources. "What California still has, in great supply, is ingenuity." The New York Times

Investigation opened: The L.A. County D.A.’s office is investigating the financial dealings between the City of Industry and companies owned by its former mayor. City contracts generated $326 million over a 20-year period for companies overseen by David Perez and his family members. Los Angeles Times

Water concerns: Environmental activist Erin Brockovich was in Gardena to talk to residents about the black water that comes out of their taps. Officials with Golden State Water have told customers the discolored water is the result of corroding pipes. Daily Breeze

Upside of the drought: Dodger Stadium had 33 home runs in April,  and some players think it's all because of the drought. "There's no moisture" in the air, said outfielder Andre Ethier. Los Angeles Times

Man punches bear: A man in Northern California punched a bear in the face after the animal tried to attack his Chihuahua. Carl Moore, who happens to be a former boxer, believes the bear ate his chickens during a previous attack. Los Angeles Times


This week’s most popular stories in Essential California


  1. Do you know how much water you use every month? This handy calculator can tell you the answer. City Lab

  2. The end of the Vietnam war was the start of a new life for tens of thousands of refugees. Here is a look back at Camp Pendleton's tent city. Los Angeles Times

  3. If California had an earthquake the magnitude of the one that hit Nepal, an estimated 1,800 people could be killed. Los Angeles Times

  4. An 83-year-old Woodland Hills man only used AT&T to dial up his AOL service. So, imagine his surprise when he got a bill for $24,000. Los Angeles Times

  5. Five patients who visited the same doctor in Santa Barbara contracted Hepatitis C. Los Angeles Times


ICYMI, here are this week’s Great Reads

Illegal vending: In downtown Los Angeles, a 79-year-old woman supports herself with the $15 a day she earns selling Christmas ornaments on the street. This is the story of what happens when she racks up expensive tickets for illegally selling goods on the sidewalk. Los Angeles Times

Funeral services: More than 6,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal. Along the Bagmati River, professional body burners work around the clock. Los Angeles 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.