Newsletter: Essential California: Sex harassment allegations shake Sacramento, Hollywood and big media

Raul Bocanegra, Mike Gatto
Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) speaks in Sacramento in August 2014.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Nov. 21, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Sexual harassment in politics, Hollywood and the media

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra announced he will not seek reelection Monday as The Times published new allegations from six women who had accused him of sexual harassment. The paper presented its findings to Bocanegra’s office Friday afternoon. “It was a moment that I truly regret, that I am very sorry for, and for which I have accepted responsibility for my actions,” he said. Los Angeles Times


--The sexual harassment allegations are roiling Sacramento. Los Angeles Times

--Women say Sacramento’s partying culture makes harassment worse. Sacramento Bee

--Charlie Rose, the CBS and PBS host, is accused of misconduct and is off the air. Los Angeles Times

--And a noted New York Times political reporter. Vox


--Lena Dunham defends a writer accused of wrongdoing and is labeled a “hipster racist.” Los Angeles Times

DOJ versus AT&T

This is shaping up to be the big regulatory battle after years of mega media mergers. The U.S. Department of Justice has sued to block AT&T’s proposed $85-billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. — one of the largest media mergers in American history — saying the proposed combination is illegal and could stifle innovation in technology. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Is Trump making the right move for the wrong reasons? Los Angeles Times


The mayor’s future: The good news for Mayor Eric Garcetti: The New York Times is writing about his possible presidential ambitions. The bad news, it includes this line: “Mr. Garcetti was sworn into his second term as mayor just five months ago, and has not built a particularly broad record of accomplishments to showcase to the nation.” New York Times

Who was he? A Daily Breeze reporter digs into the life of a well-known homeless man in Lawndale who died last month and comes up with some surprising answers. Daily Breeze

What he really meant: Trump, China and those UCLA players. Politics, sports and respect. Washington Post


Build that wall: Taylor Swift is trying to paparazzi-proof her Beverly Hills home. TMZ


Into the breach: Hackers broke into Sacramento’s transportation agency and are demanding a ransom. Sacramento Bee

Delays: Why fire prevention rules designed to reduce the risk of fires started by electric power lines have taken so long to come online. San Francisco Chronicle

Threat: A San Pedro man threatened to kill U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters in a voicemail filled with racist and anti-gay slurs after he became angered over her criticisms of President Trump, according to court documents. Los Angeles Times

Columnist Robin Abcarian writes: “Despite attempts to make it so, sexual harassment and assault are not a partisan issue. The sooner men (and to a much lesser extent women) realize that, the faster we can get to work solving the real problem that allows it to flourish: the power differentials that define most workplaces.” Los Angeles Times


Manson aftermath: “People are saying that this should be some kind of relief, but oddly enough it really isn’t. While Charlie may be gone, it’s the ones that are still alive that perpetrate everything, and it was up to their imaginations for what brutal things were going to be done. In an odd way, I see them as much more dangerous individuals.” — Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate, on Charles Manson’s death. Los Angeles Times


Plus: The Manson family in pop culture. New York Times

Today’s cult: How the cult of Charles Manson endured five decades after his murders. What does that say about our society? The Atlantic

Sinister influence: The downside of our obsession with Manson. The New Yorker

And: Quentin Tarantino’s new movie will film in the Los Angeles area and is set against the backdrop of the Manson murders of 1969, though the film is believed to focus on fictional personalities working in the movie and TV businesses. It is getting state subsidies. Los Angeles Times

Meth’s potency: Ten years ago, the average gram of meth available in the U.S. was 39% pure. Today, it is being sold in a nearly pure state, manufactured in Mexican “superlabs” and smuggled across the border to feed an epidemic of addiction. San Diego Union-Tribune


Video: This month, The Times’ Envelope section gathered some of the industry’s top actors not just to talk about their award-contending films but to take the temperature of a community rattled by revelations of sexual harassment and assault claims. Here’s what Gary Oldman, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and others had to say. Los Angeles Times

Art appreciation: The history of art in California remains shockingly understudied. Even now, when artists working here rank among the world’s top tier, there is no place to go to see even a thumbnail history laid out in paintings, sculptures, photographs and other works of art. L.A. is a global powerhouse for new art and, thanks to the Getty, for art scholarship. But no museum, including the art section of the multidisciplinary Oakland Museum of California, tells the backstory. Los Angeles Times

Early Oscars predictions: Will Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks be back at the podium? Los Angeles Times

Keeping it weird: A lot of crazy stuff has happened in San Francisco’s Dolores Park. But this? SF Gate

You don’t get a pass: Disneyland’s annual pass for Southern California residents is gone — at least for now. Here’s why. Los Angeles Times

That’d be a change: An all-female board for Weinstein Co.? Los Angeles Times

Now? And that enduring question on the freeway: When to merge into traffic? Sacramento Bee


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy and 84. San Diego: Partly cloudy and 77. San Francisco area and Sacramento: Partly cloudy and 68. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Keith Fahey:

“On Saturday, Nov. 18, about 4 p.m., I was driving west on the Ventura Freeway, somewhere around the Woodman offramp. The sun was lowering to my left in the southwestern sky, but straight ahead was a reflection off the clouds that was so bright it seemed like another sun. Naturally I wished I could take a picture of these two suns with my phone, but it would have been crazy to attempt it in the congested traffic; crazy in any kind of traffic. So I can relive the moment only in my mind’s eye, wondering if anyone out there saw it, and had a passenger who could safely capture the moment.”

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.