Newsletter: Essential California: The richest and the poorest in Congress

The 55 members of California’s congressional delegation are worth at least $439 million. The state is home to both the richest and poorest man in Congress.
(Los Angeles Times)

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


The 55 members of California’s congressional delegation are worth at least $439 million. The state is home to both the richest (Darrell Issa) and poorest man (David Valadao) in Congress. This database allows you explore the minimum net worth of the state’s members of Congress based on annual financial disclosures covering 2016. Los Angeles Times

As the mall turns


In what is seen as a key point in the decline of shopping malls and the rise of online competition, Westside Pavilion will be converted to mostly office space after losing its anchor department stores. Developers will turn the once-bustling mall into about 80% offices for rent while keeping the rest of it retail. It speaks to the health of the Westside office market, booming with tech and entertainment jobs. Los Angeles Times

Plus: The California “lifestyle architect” behind the mall and so many other landmarks. Los Angeles Magazine

A true original

In an era before downloaded music, Tower Records was king. Its eccentric, larger-than-life founder, Sacramento businessman Russ Solomon, was long known and admired for his passion for music, a quality that often trumped his business acumen. He was also known for personal idiosyncrasies, such as confiscating neckties of employees, salespeople or customers. True to form, Solomon died at 92 on Sunday at his home in the state’s capital, while watching the Academy Awards telecast with his family and sharing his thoughts on what he liked about what he was seeing — and what he didn’t. Los Angeles Times

Take that, robot!

The human response to possible takeover by robot overlords is off to a troubling start. Of six crash reports involving robot cars filed in California so far this year, two involved a human approaching the car and attacking it. Los Angeles Times


Hospital closing: Community Medical Center Long Beach will close within four months after a report revealed the facility sits on an active earthquake fault. Officials said in November that the hospital would not meet state seismic regulations that will become effective next June because of the fault zone under the 94-year-old structure. Los Angeles Times

No charges: A Los Angeles police officer won’t be criminally charged in the shooting of Jesse Romero, a 14-year-old boy whose 2016 death inspired protests in his Boyle Heights neighborhood and became part of a broader, often-heated debate over how officers use deadly force. Los Angeles Times

Stack ’em up: A Koreatown library is getting a new park, on top of the parking lot. Curbed Los Angeles

Flippy! At this Pasadena eatery, a robot flips the burgers and even cleans the grill. KTLA


Hmmm: Sacramento officials say homelessness is public health issue, then close public restrooms many used to keep themselves clean. Sacramento Bee

Under consideration: How many new housing units could be coming to BART stations under a proposed law? 20,000. And it might not be enough. Mercury News

College professor: A racist rant caught on video. SF Gate

CFIUS? The little-known government agency at the heart of the Qualcomm corporate takeover drama. New York Times


Uh-oh: Two attorneys who have represented Marion “Suge” Knight at various stages of his upcoming murder trial were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit subornation of perjury, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and serving as accessories after the fact to murder. Los Angeles Times

Stranger than fiction: The curious case of Frances McDormand’s stolen Oscar. Los Angeles Times


Party time: The first Vanity Fair Oscar party with a new editor had some of the same old Hollywood elegance but with a twist. New York Times

Hey, where’d everybody go? The audience for ABC’s Sunday annual telecast of the Oscars declined for a fourth consecutive year, according to Nielsen data, dropping to an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers. The dip of nearly 20% from last year put it under the previous low of 32 million in 2008. Los Angeles Times

Hopes dashed: Sacramento made it to the Oscars but got a rude greeting. Sacramento Bee

“Owning that Glambot”: How did the red carpet become “Zoolander”? New Yorker

Where was the anger? It was a night of #MeToo-light. Los Angeles Times

So over it: Yes, there is such as thing as Oscar fatigue. Los Angeles Times

Here we go: Even some in Silicon Valley say the gold rush is over and are looking east for the next big thing. New York Times

Plus: The latest suburb of Silicon Valley is Bend, Ore., where techies have one hell of a commute. CNBC


Los Angeles area: mostly sunny and 77. San Diego: sunny and 73. San Francisco area: partly cloudy and 66. Sacramento: partly cloudy and 66 More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Genevieve Barrios Southgate:

“I remember my brothers and I would be so excited to wake up the morning after a frost to see all the black stuff that we would blow out of our noses. We lived next to an orange grove, and the black stuff was from the smudge pots that were burned to keep the fruit from freezing. This was the in the ’40s, and we had no awareness of air pollution, nor its harm to our health.”

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.