Newsletter: Essential California: Where in the world is Mayor Garcetti?


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Sept. 30. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:


Where in the world is Mayor Garcetti?

One day after securing the 2028 Olympics for Los Angeles in Peru this month, Mayor Eric Garcetti greeted reporters on a noisy tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport. It was an appropriate setting for Garcetti, whose travels have taken him to Atlanta, Phoenix, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and Berlin, among other places, in the last year. As Garcetti flirts with the idea of running for president, he is also testing the public’s willingness to tolerate his absences. Los Angeles Times


No good solution to a housing mess

The “15 good bills” Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Friday morning include a new fee on real estate transactions and a $4-billion bond on the 2018 ballot that together could raise close to $1 billion a year in the near term to help subsidize new homes for low-income residents. The problem, though, is these laws will hardly put a dent in the state’s housing problems. Developers need to build about 100,000 new homes each year beyond what’s already planned, simply to keep pace with California’s population growth. Los Angeles Times

Bullet train problems

The California bullet train project is facing $1.7 billion in cost overruns on a 119-mile segment under construction through the Central Valley, a 27% jump over the original estimate, according to documents recently posted on the California High-Speed Rail Authority website. Los Angeles Times


Sheriff Joe in Fresno: When the Fresno County Republican Party invited former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to speak at its fundraiser Friday night, it was clear they were choosing a figure that would please many conservatives, particularly those on the hard right. For other Republican officials, the choice of the 85-year-old ex-Maricopa County lawman could not send a worse message for a party struggling for relevance in an increasingly Democratic state. And especially to the group that is now the largest in California: Latinos. Los Angeles Times

Cold case cracked: A pregnant newlywed was found beaten to death on a beach in 1980. Now, detectives say they’ve found her killer. Los Angeles Times

Down by skid row: Tensions over competing ambitions for the skid row area came to a head Friday, as several dozen activists protested a 33-story apartment tower proposed at 7th and Maple streets, where skid row and the Fashion District meet. Los Angeles Times

Magazine alert: “A new Berkeley publication called Anxy stands out for several reasons. First, there’s the striking cover of the spring/summer 2017 issue, the magazine’s first: A mysterious humanoid made up of red spikes with an all-caps cover line announcing The Anger Issue.” San Francisco Chronicle

Ups and downs: The story of former Chargers All-Pro Kenny Graham, who lived on vacant lot and in a car while sorting post-football life. San Diego Union-Tribune

Wrong man? He was accused by L.A. prosecutors of a hate crime. But do authorities have the wrong man? CNN

Homelessness update: “Finding $1.2 billion to build housing for the homeless — as voters here did last year by overwhelmingly approving a hike in their own property taxes — may turn out to have been the easy part.” The NewYork Times

Fun stuff: Los Angeles’ original Blue Line train car will be preserved in downtown Long Beach. Curbed LA


1. L.A. County’s oldest restaurant keeps a 130-year diner tradition alive. Eater LA

2. Is Disney paying its share in Anaheim? Los Angeles Times

3. A review of the photographer Lauren Greenfield’s “Generation Wealth.” Wall Street Journal

4. Charges have been filed against a passenger who was forcibly removed from a Southwest flight to L.A. Los Angeles Times

5. Here’s why President Trump’s tax plan will hit Californians especially hard. Los Angeles Times


Keeping tabs on a legend: Japanese ace and slugger Shohei Ohtani has the kind of extraordinary talent that could change the sport. He’s done it in Japan, and he soon could do it in the major leagues, all the while maintaining the innocence of a boy playing a kids’ game despite the scrutiny and pressure he faces as Japan’s most-popular athlete. He also could be at a ballpark near you very soon. Los Angeles Times

Great profile: Famed lawyer Gloria Allred has been around the block more than once. Now the attorney is taking on Bill Cosby, rape law and Donald Trump. The New Yorker

No fake news here: California-based and the search for facts in a post-fact world. The website “has kicked around the internet since 1994 — which makes it almost as old as what we once called the World Wide Web. In this age of untruth, it has become an indispensable resource.” Wired

He paid his dues: Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley “has taken the long road to success, from Europe to the D-League to the NBA. Now running point for the L.A. Clippers, ‘Mr. 94 Feet’ is an underdog no more.” The Ringer


Saturday: The Huntington Beach Air Show continues.

Monday: The Tournament of Roses will announce the seven members of the 2018 Royal Court.

Tuesday: The grand opening for a $1-billion makeover of the Westfield Century City mall.

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.