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Essential California: LAPD investigating Harvey Weinstein after an actress in L.A. accuses him of rape

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Oct. 20, and here’s what’s happening across California:



A new allegation

An Italian model-actress met with Los Angeles police detectives for more than two hours Thursday morning, providing a detailed account of new allegations that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her at a hotel in 2013. She is the sixth woman to accuse Weinstein of rape or forcible sex acts. Los Angeles police Lt. Billy Hayes confirmed that the department has launched an investigation into the matter. A representative for Weinstein says he has “unequivocally denied” allegations of non-consensual sex. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A group of Weinstein Co. staffers responded to sexual harassment and assault allegations against their company’s disgraced co-founder, saying they did not know he was a “serial sexual predator.” Los Angeles Times

Checking in: Weinstein appears done in Hollywood. But what about Lisa Bloom — the civil rights lawyer who briefly served as an advisor to the disgraced producer? Los Angeles TImes

Wine country lacked water-dropping aircraft

In the first critical hours of the wildfires that swept through wine country this month, firefighters struggled to defend homes without the help of water-dropping aircraft. Fire officials said there were no helicopters or planes capable of slowing the fast-moving fires the night of Oct. 8, as flames swept into Sonoma and Napa county neighborhoods, eventually destroying more than 5,000 structures and killing more than 40 people. Officials say it’s doubtful more air support that night would have made a major difference, given the winds. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Deadly wildfires in Northern California have caused more than $1 billion in insurance losses, according to California’s insurance commissioner. Los Angeles Times

Dodgers win!

The L.A. Dodgers will return to the World Series for the first time since 1988 after crushing the Chicago Cubs by an 11-1 score in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. Game 1 of the World Series will be on Tuesday. Los Angeles Times

Those cheaters

On any given morning, more than 25% of drivers in the toll lanes of the 110 Freeway have evaded the single-driver toll, a problem that has become the top issue for Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s traffic officials. The high scofflaw rate has harmed the efficiency of the lanes, driving up prices and slowing down speeds for the customers who did pay to enter, they said. Los Angeles Times


A changing of the guard: Why the departure of the OC Weekly's “Ask a Mexican” columnist Gustavo Arellano highlights the endangered status of Latinos in English-language media. Los Angeles Times

Impact: Rep. Judy Chu has written to two powerful congressional committees demanding an investigation after the release of a report from the Washington Post and "60 Minutes" detailing how a little-noticed piece of legislation took away the DEA's ability to prevent hundreds of millions of painkillers from entering the black market. Los Angeles Times


Get prepared, please: When a big earthquake hits, your first instinct can mean life or death. The last person to die in a California earthquake, during the 2014 Napa temblor, was a woman who was struck in the head by a television that hadn’t been strapped down. Los Angeles Times


Deportation story: About a week before a court hearing that could have cleared her record, a single mother who had previously been permitted to stay in the U.S. was deported Thursday to Mexico. San Diego Union-Tribune


Bannon in California: The California GOP’s decision to have former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon speak at the party's convention this weekend in Anaheim has riled up some Republicans who think inviting the provocateur will inflict further damage on the GOP's image in left-leaning California. Los Angeles Times

They’re investigating: As a blunt manifesto painting the state Capitol as rife with sexual harassment and misconduct ricocheted through Sacramento this week, state leaders have begun looking into an explosive allegation of a forced sexual encounter. The story shared by one lobbyist of a legislator masturbating in front of her in a bar bathroom has sparked investigations by the state Senate and Assembly. Los Angeles Times

Closing ranks: The five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have unanimously endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senator's campaign announced Thursday. Los Angeles Times



In court: A former Los Angeles police officer accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl in the department’s cadet program was held over for trial Thursday on charges of possessing a cache of assault weapons at his San Bernardino County home. Los Angeles Times

Baby’s death: Police are investigating the death of a 2-month-old baby after she and two other people were found nude, unconscious and covered in white powder in a parking lot just south of downtown Los Angeles early Thursday. Los Angeles Times

Racist group: Learn more about the Rise Above Movement, a Southern California hate group whose members were at violent rallies in Charlottesville and Berkeley this year. “RAM’s members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during protests in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley. Many of the altercations have been captured on video, and its members are not hard to spot.” ProPublica


Musical cars: Japanese visual and sound artist Ryoji Ikeda selected a bunch cars for their stereo sound systems, which he harnessed in service of a composition called “A [for 100 Cars]” outside Walt Disney Concert Hall. Los Angeles Times

Where will Amazon go? Irvine has unveiled its proposal to win Amazon’s second headquarters, joining cities from across the country that are vying to lure the tech giant and tens of thousands of new jobs. Los Angeles Times

Hotel lawsuit: Workers at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes have sued the ritzy hotel, contending they aren't paid for the time they spend waiting to get uniforms before each shift and being driven on a bus from a remote parking lot. Los Angeles Times

Behind the magic: They're the size of small sheds, but seem huge inside. Here's the trick to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 75, Friday. Sunny, 84, Saturday. San Diego: Showers, 70, Friday. Sunny, 79, Saturday. San Francisco area: Partly cloudy, 60, Friday. Sunny, 63, Saturday. Sacramento: Partly cloudy, 66, Friday. Sunny, 71, Saturday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes form Rhoda Chandler:

“One of my favorite Los Angeles memories was my afternoon trips downtown to sell fundraising chocolate bars in front of my mother’s office building. I would head over after school in my navy blue school uniform on the bus to 12th and Hill (my stop), where I would check in with mom working upstairs at Occidental Life Insurance. At the end of the workday, employees poured out of the front doors scurrying home, most by bus. I would offer the possibility of a sweeter ride home as I hawked my chunky ‘World’s Finest’ chocolate bars for a dollar. I was always a top seller at Our Lady of Guadalupe school in East L.A. Sometimes if my mom wasn’t too tired, she would give in to my pleas for the ultimate end to my afternoon downtown — a ride on Angels Flight! (GO DODGERS!)”