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Essential California: High anxiety in Hollywood

Essential California: High anxiety in Hollywood
The fall of Harvey Weinstein set off a landslide of allegations that, some say, may change Hollywood for good. (Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images for IMG)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Nov. 6, and here’s what’s happening across California:



High anxiety in Hollywood

Hollywood has always reveled in scandal. The rumors, the whispers. The unfortunate photographs. The apologies and returns to grace. But the recent sex abuse stories have turned into a parade of tawdry violations and twisted passions, the stuff of movies acted out in real lives against the unglamorous air of disgrace. Some wonder whether Hollywood has been forever changed. Los Angeles Times

Story behind a lawsuit: The story of the woman who claims director Brett Ratner raped her — and how she is now dealing with a defamation suit filed by the Hollywood titan. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Did being gay but in the closet help Kevin Spacey hide allegations of abuse? BuzzFeed News

Beyond the ‘killing fields’

Long Beach is home to the largest diaspora of Cambodian people outside of that country. For years, the community lived in the shadow of the "killing fields" of the 1970s terror and genocide campaign. But now, Cambodia Town is moving from survival to success. Los Angeles Times

Could more people have been saved?

The fire that swept through Redwood Valley last month — killing nine people, including some who were trying to escape the flames — has prompted questions about whether more could have been done to evacuate the community more quickly. A Times review of police and fire dispatch calls that morning reveals a chaotic scene as officials debated when to send evacuation orders and struggled to comprehend the dimensions of the emergency. Los Angeles Times

Housing woes: As expected, rents are already rising in Napa County after the firestorms. Napa Valley Register

On the lookout: Lawyers are circling around Santa Rosa’s burned-out neighborhoods. Press Democrat

Pricey insurance benefit: For the rich, private firefighters helped out in wine country. Wall Street Journal


Housing crisis winners: There are thousands of losers in California’s real estate economy, as rents rise faster than wages, displacing low- and middle-income families and transforming neighborhoods in a way that one observer called “white flight reversal.” But not everyone is losing. When neighborhoods gentrify and rents and property values spike, landlords, developers and speculators cash in, columnist Steve Lopez writes. Los Angeles Times

Graceful: TMZ catches up with Yu Darvish after the World Series loss, and he’s nothing if not graceful in defeat. TMZ


Trump neighbor: You might soon be able to live next to President Trump’s Palos Verdes golf club, if you can afford it. Daily Breeze

Homes of distinction: A guide to L.A.’s Case Study houses, an essential link to American architecture. BBC


Feinstein and Trump: A handful of words about Trump uttered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein over the summer personified her well-worn reputation as a measured veteran elected official. And they’ll also surely be the centerpieces of Democratic campaigns attempting to unseat her. But her comments are more complex than they seem. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Another challenger from the left. Los Angeles Times

Making money off Medicaid: Medicaid is rarely associated with getting rich. The patients are poor, the budgets tight and payments to doctors often paltry. But some insurance companies are reaping spectacular profits off the taxpayer-funded program in California, even when the state finds that patient care is subpar. Los Angeles Times

Very big government: Supporters of an effort to create a California Legislature with up to 12,000 representatives of individual neighborhoods submitted voter signatures Friday for their dramatic proposal to reshape the state's version of representative democracy. Los Angeles Times

Rent controlled? Stanford researchers say San Francisco’s rent control laws have actually contributed to the city’s housing woes. Curbed San Francisco



Santa Monica shooting: The fatal shooting of a young mother on a party bus near the Santa Monica Pier remained unsolved Sunday evening, as police continued to ask for the public’s assistance in identifying the perpetrators. Los Angeles Times

Hate crime: Seal Beach police are searching for four men accused of threatening and robbing a gay couple in what authorities believe was a hate crime. Los Angeles Times

Robbed: A TV reporter becomes the story when she is robbed in a Costco parking lot. SF Gate


Not all bad? Can wildfires actually help preserve the spotted owl and other wildlife? Boom California


Hard commodity: Amid California’s building boom, an unlikely story of importation. The rock and sand are coming from a much more distant source: Canada’s Vancouver Island, more than 1,400 miles away. That’s a long distance to ship commodities that are still abundant locally, sell for less than $20 a ton — and often cost more to transport than to mine. Los Angeles Times

Stage right: The remarkable California immigrant story of Helena Modjeska. L.A. Review of Books

Falling down: The decline of the once-bustling alternative press from the vantage point of Orange County. Reason

But do they still buy avocado toast? When millennials become parents. Welcome, parennials! New York Times

War in the Sierra: The gondola battle taking shape in Lake Tahoe. San Francisco Chronicle

L.A.’s fine. Really: Does L.A. need a World Series victory? Writes Molly Knight: “Los Angeles’s biggest selling point is its Mediterranean climate. For that reason I’ve never understood why ‘fair-weather fan’ is used as a pejorative. I’ve been a Rams fan for a year, and I’m all in. If they win a Super Bowl at some point, I’ll drink and high-five strangers in bars. If they lose, I’ll get on with my life five minutes later. Isn’t that what fandom should be — all upside, no anguish?” New York Times


Los Angeles area: Mostly cloudy and 67. San Diego: Mostly sunny and 71. San Francisco area: Sunny and 60. Sacramento: Sunny and 62. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:

Retired basketball player Bill Walton (Nov. 5, 1952), actress Sally Field (Nov. 6, 1946), L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (Nov. 6, 1954), former California First Lady Maria Shriver (Nov. 6, 1955), Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang (Nov. 6, 1968), former Sen. Barbara Boxer (Nov. 11, 1940) and L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson Jr. (Nov. 11, 1951).