Newsletter: Essential California: Feinstein snubbed by state Democratic Party

Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks to the environmental caucus at the California Democrats' convention in San Diego.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, Feb. 26, and here’s what’s happening across California:


The California Democratic Party decided not to endorse in the U.S. Senate contest on Saturday, an embarrassing rebuke of veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Her challenger, Kevin De León did not get the endorsement, either. But success in blocking Feinstein from receiving it shows that his calls for generational change and a more aggressively liberal path have resonated with some of the party’s most passionate activists. Feinstein still has a massive lead in the polls. Los Angeles Times

Outside the party: The snub of Feinstein reflects the leftward sway of the Democratic establishment. But does it also reflect the voter mood? Politico


Context: Feinstein has never been popular at the Democratic convention. She was booed in 1990 for expressing support for capital punishment. The Mercury News

Plus: There are so many Democrats running for Congress in some districts that they could split the votes in the June 5 primary and send two Republicans to the November election, thanks to California’s top-two primary system. Los Angeles Times

Saga continues

Weinstein Co., the New York studio co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, will file for bankruptcy protection after last-ditch talks to sell its assets to an investor group collapsed, the company’s board of directors said Sunday night. “While we recognize that this is an extremely unfortunate outcome for our employees, our creditors and any victims, the Board has no choice but to pursue the only viable option to maximize the company’s remaining value: an orderly bankruptcy process,” the board said in a statement. Los Angeles Times

Change in MacArthur Park

Gentrification has swept across much of Los Angeles in the last decade, but few places seem primed to change as fast as the Westlake district just west of downtown L.A., one of the most densely populated areas in the nation that was for decades controlled by street gangs. The area is now in an upswing that has attracted developers. But some longtime residents fear being pushed out. Los Angeles Times


L.A.’s homelessness crisis

“There are few sights in the world like nighttime in skid row, the teeming Dickensian dystopia in downtown Los Angeles where homeless and destitute people have been concentrated for more than a century.” — The beginning of a Times editorial series on homelessness. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A new push to house L.A. homeless women. Los Angeles Times


A bit of hope: In a week of student activism over the Florida school shooting, Steve Lopez catches up with another youthful hero in L.A. and says it’s hard not to feel upbeat about the next generation. Los Angeles Times

In the SGV: Several Southern California hotels have added amenities to lure big-spending Chinese tourists, including putting tea pots and slippers in each room. But a hotel built specifically to draw Chinese visitors opened recently in San Gabriel, featuring robots, Mandarin-speaking concierges, a high-end Chinese restaurant and a popular messaging app. Los Angeles Times


Old dreams die hard: “When the 101 near Santa Barbara was overtaken by a mudslide in January, the freeway seemed to stand in for all of the ways in which Southern California’s relationship with the natural world is out of whack.” — Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne on L.A. and its freeways. Los Angeles Times

What a mess: Bike-sharing programs have a downside: bikes left strewn across the city. Los Angeles Daily News

Home again: Luring doctors back to their hometowns. Riverside County is trying a new tact. Politico

Yes, it works: One of the things that makes L.A. great — the hamburger-doughnut subgenre of restaurants. Los Angeles Times


On alert: Oakland’s mayor raised eyebrows this weekend by warning that immigration raids might be coming in the city. SF Gate


Real estate mogul: Google is quietly building an empire of new buildings in Silicon Valley, the equivalent of 14 Saleforce Towers. San Francisco Chronicle

Orange, the new blue? Can the Democrats flip once dark-red Orange County to blue? Wall Street Journal

Come fly with me: More questions over the activities of a Santa Monica council member. Los Angeles Times


Silicon Valley suit: A new lawsuit says Google’s “bro culture” leads to sexual harassment. The Mercury News

Mystery: Why homicides are plummeting in San Diego. San Diego Union-Tribune


1st Amendment issue? Is Orange County’s district attorney deleting critical comments about him from his social media pages? Orange County Register


No fluke: “Black Panther” eclipsed $108 million at the box office over the last three days, trailing only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” as the largest second weekend of all time, according to data from measurement and analytics firm ComScore. Los Angeles Times

In the flesh: Stormy Daniels brought her exotic dancing performance, and the political drama that comes with it, to Los Angeles over the weekend. Los Angeles Times

Updated classic: Huck Finn on the L.A. River, with Jim replaced by Miguel. L.A. Review of Books

Road tripping: He spent five years on the road in search of the “real” California. This is what he found. Sacramento Bee


The time is ripe: A massive orange hamburger stand is getting new life at a California fossil museum. Fresno Bee

History lesson: The amazing story of San Francisco’s “abortion queen” and her battle with the morals police. L.A. Review of Books


Los Angeles area: mostly sunny and 65. San Diego: mostly sunny and 62. San Francisco area: cloudy and 53. Sacramento: showers and 54. More weather is here.


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

L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey (Feb. 27, 1957), architect Frank Gehry (Feb. 28, 1929), Rep. Ami Bera (March 2, 1965) and Rep. Paul Cook (March 3, 1943)

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.