Newsletter: The dangers of living near a freeway

How Jeff Sessions came to be an integral part of Trump’s administration, and he says he’ll recuse himself from the Russia investigation, how Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel feels after the historic IPO and L.A.'s ongoing identity struggle.

Good morning. It’s Friday, March 3, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The dangers of living near the freeway

If you live near a freeway in Los Angeles, you’re more likely to get a heart attack, a stroke or lung cancer. Despite these health risks, more apartments are being built and more people are moving in, even though living there makes people sick. Los Angeles Times 


We want your stories: Do you live near a freeway? Tell us your story. Los Angeles Times

The changing city

The evolving face of Los Angeles — more vertical and less about bungalows with orange trees — is on the ballot next week. The outcome of Measure S is not just about a two-year moratorium on projects that require Los Angeles City Council approval. It’s about L.A.’s changing identity. Los Angeles Times 


Open it up

California’s highest court decided unanimously Thursday that government officials may be required to make public what they said about official business on their private telephones and personal computers. Advocates for public access have long complained that government officials were deliberately using private devices to shield their communications from public records requests. Los Angeles Times

The big IPO

“We built our business on creativity,. And we’re going to have to go through an education process for the next five years to explain to people how our users and that creativity creates value.” After a whirlwind month of IPO preparations and investor discussions, Evan Spiegel popped off his tie and sat down for a black coffee in a brick-walled Brooklyn cafe. The 26-year-old Snap Inc. chief executive is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in history to a take a company public and perhaps the youngest-ever to lead a $30-billion enterprise. Los Angeles Times

Plus: When is the right time to invest in L.A.’s hottest company? Los Angeles Times

And in Venice: They held a protest hoping Snapchat leaves the beach. Curbed Los Angeles


Hoping for a reunion: A sick Syrian boy is in L.A. His parents are in Syria and can’t get here. So they see each other on the phone. There’s a push to get the parents to L.A. Eyewitness News ABC 7


More dirty air: Flaring from a controversial refinery in Torrance has caused high amounts of pollution compared with other local refineries. Daily Breeze

Hot property: What does it mean when a home in El Sereno — yes, El Sereno — sells for nearly $1 million? LAist

Time capsule: In 1938 this week, a catastrophic flood of the Los Angeles River devastated the city. Check out these images of the damage. NBC Los Angeles

Vegas train talk: A new report estimates that a high-speed train route linking Las Vegas and Anaheim would attract 11 million round-trip riders a year by the year 2035. Las Vegas Review-Journal


Ground floor of the wall: President Trump’s border wall might be bad for Southern California’s immigrant population, but it could be good for some of the region’s construction businesses. There are about 50 entities from California that signed on to the pre-solicitation notice put out by the Department of Homeland Security last Friday concerning the wall’s construction. Los Angeles Times 

Uncertain future: Here’s the story of two young Latina “Dreamers” from San Diego who are graduating from high school and college, respectively, as students who benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program question their futures. NBC News



Not-so-easy pickings: Councilman Paul Koretz’s quest to be reelected for a third time is proving to be no walk in the park. Los Angeles Times

Your tax dollars at work: A recent state audit found some curious evidence on state employees. An example: A library employee at California State University Fresno may have cost taxpayers $22,200 in time he wasted using his work computer to visit 48,000 Web pages for online videos and games unrelated to his duties during a 13-month period. San Diego Union-Tribune

Rail money: Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Trump administration to reverse itself on a key decision to withhold a $647-million grant for a state passenger rail project. Los Angeles Times

Not gonna happen: Not so fast on the Oprah for president rumor. Los Angeles Times


Joining the fight: The city of Los Angeles has joined an amicus brief supporting transgender bathroom rights for students in a case that’s before the Supreme Court. CBS LA


Hot doc: There’s a new documentary out about California’s historic drought. It’s called “Water & Power: A California Heist,” and it’s on National Geographic. Los Angeles Times 

Cat killed: A California coyote hunter killed a mountain lion after the cat pounced on him near the northern shore of Mono Lake. Authorities say he was mimicking a wounded rabbit. Sacramento Bee

Testing, testing: A power plant at the foot of the Oroville Dam, closed last month after a portion of the reservoir was overwhelmed by rising waters, could begin tests as early as today in anticipation of reopening. Los Angeles Times

Too early for St. Patrick’s Day: Why a creek in Placerville suddenly turned bright green. Sacramento Bee


Rap time: “When I say ‘my community,’ I’m talking about Compton, Long Beach, L.A., the Bay Area, San Francisco, Oakland. For them to be like: ‘He’s the champ! He knows what we go through and what we dealing with’ — I’m talking about growing up in a gang-infested community in L.A. So the album comes out and then I go on tour and I’m rockin’, I’m on stage and I see that the energy is the same as it was when I was at home in Compton.” Read more about Kendrick Lamar’s artistic inspiration. The New York Times 

At the DQ: Dairy Queen is making a comeback in Southern California with fast-food focused restaurants. Orange County Register

Remaking magic? How Disneyland is being remade in the image of Marvel Comics. Los Angeles Times


San Diego and Los Angeles area: sunny Friday, partly cloudy Saturday. Sacramento and San Francisco area: partly cloudy Friday, rainy Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Cynthia Tanner:

“I have been coming to California for over 30 years, and in the past few years have visited every Christmas. We pack our standard poodle in the car, take a ferry to Washington state from Vancouver and then begin the multi-day drive to Northern California. Because of the traffic, a two-day trip becomes a five-day drive! Every time we leave southern Oregon we are first greeted by the golden bears on the bridge at Klamath River. A few more miles south we enter the first of the Redwoods, and it’s a sight that never fails to take my breath away. A few months ago we stopped to admire one of the largest redwood trees in the world — over 1,500 years old — and there was no one around us, just these majestic trees and the sound of the wind. I will never forget the beauty and peace of that moment, and I can’t wait to return.” 

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.