Newsletter: Essential California week in review: Anticipating the Big One

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, July 6. Here’s a look at the top stories of the last week:


Massive quakes: It was hard to miss the two largest earthquakes in two decades that rattled Southern California on Thursday and again on Friday. Ending a quiet period in the state’s seismic history, these quakes aren’t going to delay the Big One — the massive temblor scientists have long warned is coming.

Homeless property: Since settling a 2016 lawsuit, L.A. has been restricted from tossing homeless people’s personal property. Now, property owners and residents of shelters on Skid Row are going to court, saying the settlement has brought rats and disease.


Mackenzie Lueck: Investigators have discovered the body of Mackenzie Lueck, the 23-year-old El Segundo woman who was presumed dead after she was reported missing in Salt Lake City last month.

Kawhi to the L.A. … Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, the reigning NBA Finals MVP and the most coveted free agent this summer, is heading not to the Lakers, but to the Clippers, who’ve also agreed to trade for another marquee star: Oklahoma City’s Paul George.

Smog wars: Southern California has seen a resurgence of dirty air in the last few years, one that has sharpened the divide between wealthier coastal enclaves with cleaner air and lower-income inland communities with smoggy air.

Predictive policing: The LAPD uses data technology about past crimes to predict future crime locations. But the widely hailed tool has come under fire in the past 18 months.


Tyler Skaggs: The Angels returned to baseball but not to normalcy after pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ death. Fans gathered outside Angel Stadium in Anaheim to mourn.

Bat disaster: A fungus that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States and left caves littered with their tiny carcasses has arrived in Northern California, with the potential to spread throughout the state.

Hate report: Despite a slight decline in the overall number of hate crimes reported statewide, incidents targeting Latinos and Jewish people in California rose last year, an uptick experts have blamed on vitriolic rhetoric over immigration and emboldened hate groups.

Cannabis travels: Hawaii has allowed visitors to buy medical cannabis since March 5 if they comply with state regulations — including having their paperwork in order. That appears to be a stumbling block for many Californians, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.

Spicy snacks: The L.A. Times’ food journalism team would like to present the authoritative, definitive and completely undisputed L.A. Times Spicy Snack Power Rankings.

Larger than life: In 1960s Los Angeles, after the catastrophic Watts riots, a legendary figure emerged — one who found an unexpected way to unite people across race and class. Introducing “Larger Than Life,” a new L.A. Times podcast on street racer Big Willie Robinson.

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1. L.A.’s new Airbnb rules are now in effect — here’s what you need to know. Curbed Los Angeles

2. A group was arrested on suspicion of using fake credit cards at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara. Santa Barbara Independent

3. A Ventura County jalapeño grower was awarded $23.3 million in a Sriracha lawsuit. Ventura County Star

4. The ultimate Palm Springs area bucket list: 25 things to do in the California desert. Desert Sun

5. Busloads of Chinese tourists used to visit L.A. luxury stores. Not anymore. Los Angeles Times


Inhaled: Air quality, wildfire pollution and the potential severe health effects stemming from California’s deadliest wildfire. Chico Enterprise-Record

Desert pool culture: More than 50,000 homes in the Coachella Valley have swimming pools. And all year long, backyard laborers scrub them clean. Desert Sun


Dispatch from the Imperial Valley: A forgotten corner of California gets its “Rocky” with Andy Ruiz Jr.’s underdog win. Los Angeles Times


Saturday Recommendation: A sanctioned tour of the Case Study House No. 22 in Los Angeles

Visiting preservationists and architects enjoy the view from Case Study House No. 22 in the Hollywood Hills.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The image — of a perfectly elegant early-’60s living room scene, suspended in midair and surrounded on all sides by the Los Angeles skyline — has become one of the most famous photographs of all time.

Julius Shulman’s photo of Case Study House No. 22 not only helped sell modernism to the general public. It also became an instant visual shorthand for midcentury Los Angeles and the broader California dream, defining both to viewers around the globe.

Designed by Pierre Koenig, the glass-and-steel pavilion in the hills was one of 36 houses commissioned by Arts & Architecture magazine between 1945 and 1966 as part of the Case Study House Program. The experimental program aimed to give postwar America a new model for residential living.

For the Stahl family, who moved into the house in the summer of 1960, Case Study House No. 22 was home. Buck Stahl and his wife, Carlotta, bought the plot of land above Sunset Boulevard for $13,500 and a handshake in 1954. The three Stahl children (Bruce, Sharon and Mark) were raised in the modernist mecca and “grew up roller skating on the concrete floors.” And the house remains in the family.

You can’t roller skate in Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 670, but you can visit. The Stahl family opens the house for afternoon and evening tours three days a week. Tickets are not cheap (afternoon tours cost $60 for a single guest and $35 per person for multiple guests arriving in the same car; evening tours are $90 and $50 for the same categories), but the reviews are glowing.

Case Study House No. 22 is in the Hollywood hills just west of Laurel Canyon and open to the public by reservation only. Tours tend to sell out early, so book ahead online. (208) 429-1058

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.