Newsletter: Essential California: Zuckerberg faces heat on the Hill


Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, April 11, and here’s what’s happening across California:


Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg faced criticism Tuesday from senators in a Capitol Hill hearing that has amounted to a reckoning on how technology companies obtain and profit from personal data. Clad in a dark suit and bright blue tie rather than his signature gray T-shirt, Zuckerberg offered contrition for his company’s mishandling of personal information from up to 87 million unsuspecting Facebook users that landed in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that worked on the Trump campaign. But the session also highlighted how unprepared Congress is to impose game-changing rules on the world’s biggest social network. Los Angeles Times

— Here’s how political campaigns target you online. Los Angeles Times


Investors are probably happy, for now. Wall Street Journal

— Zuckerberg’s “I’m sorry” suit, a fashion review. New York Times

Quite the water bill

Southern California’s biggest water agency voted Tuesday to shoulder most of the cost of replumbing the troubled center of the state’s vast waterworks, committing nearly $11 billion to the construction of two massive water tunnels. The approval pushes ahead a controversial infrastructure project that has dominated discussions of how to halt the steep ecological decline of the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta — a decline that has threatened water deliveries to the state’s most populous region. Los Angeles Times

— Is California’s focus on the tunnels missing the larger problems with water and the environment? Sacramento Bee

— Another bullet train in the making? Orange County Register

— The lesson from “Chinatown” isn’t what you might expect. GV Wire

There’s trouble in Inglewood

When the California Department of Education stepped in to save Inglewood’s schools after decades of mismanagement, it had a mandate to bring financial stability. Instead, the district has cycled through three leaders — not including interim appointees — chosen by State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. None has stayed long. The chaos of constant turnover has contributed to uncertainty over whether the school system can still be saved. Los Angeles Times

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The waiting game: A sexual-assault prosecution of Harvey Weinstein would be, according to legal experts, “the case of the century.” So the stakes are high for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Los Angeles Times

Crash update: Delano police say immigration agents gave statements that conflicted with surveillance footage after a crash in which two immigrants in the country illegally died while fleeing. Los Angeles Times

Big changes: “For the first time since the early 1990s, Metro is gearing up to totally restructure its sprawling bus network.” Curbed LA

Batter up: The Dodgers will host the 2020 All-Star Game, the first time since 1980 that the team has hosted the mid-summer event. Los Angeles Times

Awww: Three puppies were found at a San Gabriel Valley park and police are looking for their owners, but for now the dogs are getting a lot of love. San Gabriel Valley Tribune


South of the border: The widespread killings of candidates have cast a shadow over Mexican elections. Los Angeles Times

A pricey way in: The surest path to a green card may be an investor visa — at least for anybody with $500,000 to spare. Los Angeles Times

But wait, there’s more: A ruling by a San Diego federal judge allowing construction of President Trump’s border wall to go ahead will be appealed by two entities opposed to the wall, including California’s attorney general. San Diego Union-Tribune


On the campaign trail: Delaine Eastin is one of the lesser-known gubernatorial candidates and the only female one. So she is barnstorming the state, appearing in all of California’s 58 counties. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday endorsed Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s reelection bid. Los Angeles Times

On the horizon: Ahead of its first legislative committee hearing scheduled for next week, a Bay Area lawmaker has narrowed his bill aimed at building more housing near transit across California. Los Angeles Times


Major impact: Sacramento police have issued their first written policy on when officers may turn off body cameras after two officers muted their microphones following the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in his grandparents’ backyard. Los Angeles Times

Following up: Ten months after a man who had a toy gun was shot by Los Angeles police, then run over by an uncontrolled patrol car, police commissioners determined that the officers were justified in using deadly force. Los Angeles Times

San Bernardino update: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend 25 years in prison for Enrique Marquez Jr., the Riverside man who bought the two semi-automatic rifles and explosive powder used by two terrorists in the Dec. 2, 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino that killed 14 and wounded 22.” Press-Enterprise

Remember the Turpins? California lawmakers are considering how to regulate home schools after the couple were arrested on suspicion of keeping their 17-year-old daughter and her dozen siblings in squalid conditions where they were tortured and shackled to beds. NPR

On video: Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who is running for reelection, once said it was better “financially” to kill suspects than to “cripple” them. Los Angeles Times


Rocky road: Roseanne Barr‘s roller coaster Hollywood ride. Los Angeles Times

How democracy dies: “Democracy cannot succeed without a healthy, free press. So the owners of the press must be committed to its vital role, even if it reduces their profit,” writes Mercury News editor Neil Chase — of his paper’s owner. Mercury News

Sign of the times: Even before President Trump threatened a barrage of tariffs on Chinese goods, foreign direct investment by China into the U.S. dropped more than a third — to $29 billion in 2017 from $46 billion the previous year. Los Angeles Times

Plus: How will this trend affect California? San Francisco Chronicle

Marvel mayhem: Read the wild story of how Marvel founder Stan Lee’s daughter may be taking advantage of her wealthy father. The Hollywood Reporter

$$$$: Two of the United States’ richest ZIP Codes are in Silicon Valley. Los Angeles’ 90067 comes in as the seventh-richest. Bloomberg


Los Angeles area: sunny, 75, Wednesday; sunny, 70, Thursday. San Diego: partly cloudy, 67, Wednesday; sunny, 65, Thursday; San Francisco area: showers, 57, Wednesday; cloudy, 57, Thursday. Sacramento: rainy, 62, Wednesday; partly cloudy, 61, Thursday. More weather is here.


Today’s California memory comes from Marceline Mendoza Clausen:

“I remember in the late 1940s and early ’50s going into downtown San Diego with my mother. We walked three long blocks from our house to the streetcar line on University Avenue. Mom always wore a dress, a hat, gloves, nylons and high-heel shoes. I was in a starched dress with a big bow in my hair. The streetcar stopped in Balboa Park, and I recall that it was elevated at that point with a view of the merry-go-round. When we got off at 5th and Broadway, mom immediately met several ladies she knew who were also in town to shop. I also recall the wave of military, mostly sailors, that strolled the downtown streets in those days.”

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.