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Newsletter: Essential California: Where in the world is Harvey Weinstein?

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Harvey Weinstein, shown at the Academy Awards in 2016, has spent much of his time in the Phoenix area since being widely accused of sexual misconduct. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Feb. 24. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:

TOP STORIES

Where is Weinstein?

To visitors of the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, one of the main attractions is the Praying Monk, the natural rock formation in the shadow of Camelback Mountain that resembles a holy man kneeling in contemplative repose. In recent months, however, another man has come to the area in search of his own isolation: Harvey Weinstein. The disgraced movie mogul fled from his haunts in New York and Hollywood four months ago to this stretch of desert as he deals with accusations from more than 80 women who allege he sexually harassed or assaulted them. Los Angeles Times

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Such a dry month

California is headed to a dry finish to February, historically one of the state’s wettest months. The state has been getting cold storms in recent days, which have been responsible for plunging temperatures, but the systems have been dry because they’ve been coming inland, from Canada, instead of over the Pacific Ocean, where they can soak up moisture. Los Angeles Times

Garcetti in South Carolina

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is not well known in Hopkins, S.C. — a rural town of 2,882 residents. So there were lots of questions when the dapper 47-year-old Democrat, who presides over a city of nearly 4 million, strolled into a local health and fitness center Wednesday evening, grinning broadly as a crowd of more than 100 seniors finished their dinner of fried chicken and mac and cheese. Los Angeles Times

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AROUND CALIFORNIA

Sea Breeze update: The developer of a controversial $72-million apartment project was charged Friday with illegally donating tens of thousands of dollars to eight local politicians while seeking a change to the zoning of his property in L.A.’s Harbor Gateway neighborhood. Los Angeles Times

Rohrabacher in the news: Richard W. Gates III, who helped lead President Trump’s campaign after making millions of dollars advising Ukraine’s pro-Kremlin government, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy against the United States and lying to the FBI about a 2013 Ukraine-related meeting between his former business partner Paul Manafort, a lobbyist and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa). Los Angeles Times

Ouch: After the Americans failed to medal in the free skate at the Games, columnist Dylan Hernandez writes that Mirai Nagasu “isn’t an Olympic champion, except in the field of complaining.” Los Angeles Times

Nunes in the Bee: Rep. Devin Nunes refused to speak to his hometown paper for more than a year. Finally he agreed to sit down for 20 minutes. Fresno Bee

Development: “The developers looking to build a trio of new buildings at Silver Lake’s Sunset Junction are marching forward with plans to incorporate a boutique hotel in the project.” Curbed LA

Great news! “After a four-month-long absence, Los Angeles news site LAist is returning to the city’s local journalism scene under a new owner — public radio station KPCC.” KPCC

A San Diego County sheriff’s deputy who was accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women over recent months turned himself in to law enforcement officials Thursday and was quickly arraigned on 14 criminal counts. Los Angeles Times

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Boomtown: “There’s a construction boom underway in Menifee. New houses, stores and restaurants are sprouting all over the southwest Riverside County town.” The Press-Enterprise

Get off “my” beach: “On Thursday, Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla filed a 151-page petition with the Supreme Court in order to fight to keep the public off the shoreline near his property.” Gizmodo

THIS WEEK’S MOST POPULAR STORIES IN ESSENTIAL CALIFORNIA

1. This Torrance inventor says his “galactic” condom will change the world. The Daily Breeze

2. How one Trump tweet could change the course of California’s 2018 elections. Los Angeles Times

3. A missing Uber driver was found in Koreatown and taken to Los Angeles hospital. Los Angeles Times

4. A Southern California News Group investigation says hundreds of U.S. swimmers were sexually abused for decades and the people in charge knew and ignored it. Orange County Register

5. “How the World’s First Movie Stars Made Sure Beverly Hills Didn’t Become Part of L.A.” Los Angeles Magazine

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ICYMI, HERE ARE THIS WEEK’S GREAT READS

Fear sweeping schools: Nine days since the Valentine’s Day shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead in a Florida high school, an incident at the Harvard-Westlake School is only the latest in a series of threats of violence against schools in Southern California. Almost every day this week brought a new report that sent law enforcement scrambling to decipher the meaning and intent of teenagers’ social media posts and comments to friends. Los Angeles Times

Take the bus: “Of course we all want traffic to drop, so let’s accept the one solution that could actually work. Let’s get on the bus,” writes columnist Gustavo Arellano. “No, seriously: It’s not Elon Musk’s hyperloop or the Jetsons’ flying car that could become our best congestion-killer, but the hulking, humble mule of mass transit.” Los Angeles Times

Chilling story: “ProPublica obtained the chat logs of Atomwaffen, a notorious white supremacist group. When Samuel Woodward was charged with killing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein last month in California, other Atomwaffen members cheered the death, concerned only that the group’s cover might have been blown.” ProPublica

Newsom profiled: “When he took his seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Gavin Newsom wasn’t exactly the left-leaning stalwart who would emerge two decades later as the front-runner for California governor. Newsom’s appointment in 1997 was viewed as providing a dose of moderation to the liberal board.” Sacramento Bee

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.


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