Newsletter: Essential California: A much-needed storm, but it’s likely too little too late


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Tuesday, Feb. 13, and here’s what’s happening across California:


What’s up with the weather?

Scattered showers are likely in Los Angeles through Wednesday, but the light rains won’t do much to alleviate a dry start to the year, the National Weather Service said. Up in Northern California most of the region has never recorded such a dry winter. The snowpack in the Sierras is anemic. This storm will help a bit. But it’s too little too late, unless there’s a March miracle — and that would bring its own hazards. Los Angeles Times


The Olympic spirit, made in California

Staring down the halfpipe, ready for her third and final run, Chloe Kim hesitated a moment. The Southern California teenager stamped her snowboard, leaned forward and exhaled hard. Twice. An athletic prodigy at 17, Kim had already clinched gold at these 2018 Winter Olympics with a solid first run, but solid wasn’t going to be enough. “I was like, I can do better than that,” she said. “I can one-up myself.” Los Angeles Times

Plus: Here’s how Kim got her start. Los Angeles Times

And: As a little girl, Mirai Nagasu formed her Olympic dreams while she slept on a cot in the storage room of her parents’ sushi restaurant in Arcadia. After years of disappointments and near-misses, Nagasu made those dreams come true — and made Olympic history. Nagasu, who finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics and was passed over for the 2014 Sochi team, landed a flawless triple axel jump to launch her long program in the figure skating team event at Gangneung Ice Arena. Los Angeles Times


Deal in trouble: New York Atty. Gen. Eric Schneiderman on Monday blasted the proposed sale of Harvey Weinstein’s studio to former Obama official Maria Contreras-Sweet, saying that the deal does not do enough to protect employees and compensate women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault, and rewards company officials who had a responsibility to stop Weinstein. Los Angeles Times


Speaking out: More than 150 deputy public defenders gathered in downtown Los Angeles on Monday to protest what they say is an existential threat to the office: their new boss. Los Angeles Times

Ahhh: The center core booster of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy didn’t land on a floating sea platform as intended during last week’s first test flight because it ran out of ignition fluid, company Chief Executive Elon Musk said Monday. Los Angeles Times

Important story: “The Lynwood jail has held women inmates since 1997. The building, however, can barely hold up itself, sheriff’s officials add.” Los Angeles Daily News


Up in Sacramento: State lawmakers want to restore an urban renewal and affordable housing program. But it’s complicated. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A coalition of 37 low-income housing and tenant groups in Los Angeles is opposing state legislation that would dramatically increase new housing around transit. Los Angeles Times


Big deal afoot: “With 13,000 local employees whose salaries average about $105,000, Qualcomm generates about $7.4 billion, or 3.6 percent, of the region’s annual economic output.” But some of those jobs and the economic vitality of San Diego could be at risk if a $121 billion takeover of the company goes through. New York Times

Cash in the mail: The state has earned its first royalty check after investing billions in stem cell research. San Francisco Chronicle


Replacing Chief Beck: Mayor Eric Garcetti and his five appointees on the Police Commission have a daunting task ahead: finding L.A.’s next police chief. Los Angeles Times

Big endorsement: Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday received his second major endorsement from law enforcement in his 2018 bid for governor, giving him some influential and well-funded allies in a tightening race. Los Angeles Times

Scary: Los Angeles police are looking for a man who reportedly attacked an elderly woman in Koreatown, leaving the 85-year-old with a cracked skull and badly bruised face. Los Angeles Times



So cute: After weeks of anticipation, the first of two bald eagle eggs near Big Bear Lake hatched as viewers watched in real time via a streaming webcam. Los Angeles Times

America in 2018: This is what it’s like to live with toxic tap water in California. Buzzfeed


Harshing the mellow: A new study shows that drivers who get stoned on 4/20 are just as dangerous as drivers who get drunk on Super Bowl Sunday. Los Angeles Times

What’s up with Facebook? “How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all.Wired


Somewhat surprising: “The California place with the most income inequality is right in Sacramento’s suburbs: the community of Arden Arcade.” Sacramento Bee

Awards season: Here were the big winners at the WGA awards. The Hollywood Reporter

End of an era: The U.S. Air Force plans to phase out its B-1B and B-2 bomber fleets as the new B-21 bomber, currently being built in Palmdale by Northrop Grumman Corp., becomes operational in the mid-2020s. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles area: Partly cloudy, 64, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 66, Wednesday. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 62, Tuesday. Showers, 65, Wednesday. San Francisco area: Sunny, 62, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 56, Wednesday. Sacramento: Sunny, 63, Tuesday. Partly cloudy, 62, Wednesday. More weather is here.



Today’s California memory comes from Igor I. Solar:

“As a marine biology student at the University of Chile in 1967, also active in politics and the performing arts, I participated in a USA/Chile exchange program for student leaders. It was the first time out of my country. In addition to activities related to student life, I had the opportunity to visit the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California. My visit to California was certainly a memorable experience that strengthened my interest in oceanography and encouraged a lifelong commitment to marine sciences, fisheries, and aquaculture. Participating in some aspects of student life during my brief visit to UC Berkeley campus also left enduring memories. Several years later, while working in Canada, I went back to California with my kids to share with them memories of the joy of Disneyland, the excitement of San Francisco’s Chinatown, the scenic coastline of Big Sur, the serene charm of the Japanese Tea Garden and the amazing displays of the California Academy of Sciences at Golden Gate Park, among many other interesting places.”

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.