Newsletter: A dangerous situation at Oroville Dam

Adele’s big night at the Grammys, an overflowing dam threatens homes in Northern California, Santa Monica is set to approve the nation’s most extensive seismic retrofit plan, and L.A. Metro officials continue to be vexed by falling ridership.

Good morning. It’s Monday, Feb. 13, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Dangerous situation

Thousands of people were evacuated from below the Oroville Dam after a hole was discovered at the emergency spillway, capping days of worry about damage at the main spillway. Officials were frantically trying to reduce the water levels at the reservoir to prevent the emergency spillway from giving way. Los Angeles Times


Plus: How problems at the Oroville Dam became a crisis. Los Angeles Times

And residents rushed to flee their homes, jamming roads and fraying nerves. Los Angeles Times

The black bloc

Early this month, UC Berkeley was roiled by violent protests when President Trump supporter and Internet enfant terrible Milo Yiannopoulos came to speak. Much of the damage on campus was done by a band of black bloc militant protesters who have been around the Bay Area for decades and are now rising up in the age of Trump. Los Angeles Times

Stadium profits

The Rams and Chargers’ new stadium in Inglewood won’t be ready for the upcoming NFL season, but you can be sure that once it is, this new field will make the two teams tons of money. Los Angeles TImes


Remembering history: Saturday night was the 50th anniversary of the gay rights demonstration outside the Black Cat tavern in Silver Lake. The community headed out again this weekend to remember that night in 1967 when many were arrested and several were beaten in a precursor to the better-known Stonewall riots in New York City. Los Angeles Times


Eyes on the stars: Atop Mt. Wilson, a small team of volunteers works to keep the peak’s nearly century-old observatory in fighting shape. Los Angeles Times

Grammy winners: The Grammys were last night, and here’s the list of winners. Los Angeles Times

Another big winner: The biggest winner of the awards show season will be the city of Los Angeles itself. “Between the Grammys, Oscars and Emmys, nearly $500 million — directly and indirectly — rains down on local businesses and into local government tax coffers each year, according to recent studies.” Los Angeles Daily News



Sanctuary trains? The Bay Area Rapid Transit system may soon become a “sanctuary in transit” for people who are in the country illegally. Los Angeles Times

California cars: Even though they’re unpopular with consumers right now because of low gas prices, “California’s influence is a main reason automakers are developing electric cars and plug-in hybrids.” Wall Street Journal

What’s next? Kevin de León has been one of California’s most outspoken critics against President Trump, but with term limits and political roadblocks ahead, what’s next for the California Senate leader? Los Angeles Times

Pothole problems: “This is the worst I have seen,” former Caltrans director Will Kempton said of road conditions in California. Now the question is what will Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration do about fixing them? Los Angeles Times


Cannabis tax debate: Now that marijuana has been legalized in California, Sonoma County is fighting over how to tax and regulate the crop. The Press Democrat


Dorner anniversary: Four years ago Sunday, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Det. Jeremiah MacKay was shot and killed outside an Angelus Oaks cabin by former Los Angeles Police Officer Christopher Dorner, as a manhunt came to a close. Here’s how the Dorner story unfolded, as told in The Times’ series that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. Los Angeles Times

Fire by the freeway: One person has died in a fire at a homeless encampment under the Santa Ana Freeway. NBC Los Angeles


Conflict of interest? Questions are being raised about a Huntington Park councilwoman’s political consulting business and whether it creates a conflict of interest for her. Los Angeles Times


Disneyland gets more expensive: The price of admission to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure is being raised again. Orange County Register

Grammy winner passes: Al Jarreau, the legendary jazz artist and seven-time Grammy winner, has died. He was 76. Los Angeles Times


Biking problems: Marin County is where mountain biking began, but aficionados of the activity are becoming increasingly frustrated by the dearth of access to trails. San Francisco Chronicle

Click: Here’s a map of the great Northern California breweries, which you must check out. San Francisco Chronicle


Los Angeles and San Diego: Sunny Monday, partly cloudy Tuesday. San Francisco: Cloudy Monday, partly cloudy Tuesday. Sacramento: Partly cloudy Monday and Tuesday. More weather is here.


A note to our readers: Tuesday will be a day full of roses and chocolates, and your Essential California authors are on the hunt for some great Valentine’s Day-themed California memories. Send them our way and we’ll highlight our favorites. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)


This week’s birthdays for notable Californians: Rep. Jared Huffman (Feb. 18, 1964), rapper-producer Andre “Dr. Dre” Young (Feb. 18, 1965) and author Amy Tan (Feb. 19, 1952).

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