Newsletter: Today: Down on the Pot Farm, Unease Grows. Old Water Habits Die Hard.

I’m Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today.


Down on the Pot Farm, Unease Grows

Proposition 64 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California, but not everyone in the medical cannabis community is high on the prospect of it passing. The ballot measure has sharply divided growers, dispensary operators and activists. Some see new business opportunities. Others fear taxes will make marijuana too expensive for those who need it to manage their conditions and that big corporations will push out the little guys.


Old Water Habits Die Hard

How’s this for human nature? California is entering its sixth year of severe drought, but as soon as regulators pulled back on mandatory water restrictions in June, the spigots turned back on. For three months, conservation has dropped. Among the worst offenders: affluent cities. Don’t blame Beverly Hills this time, though. Try Malibu.

How Secure Is the National Security Agency?

Federal prosecutors say they secretly arrested an NSA contractor and charged him with stealing classified intelligence documents and digital files. Sound familiar? Like Edward Snowden, Harold Thomas Martin III worked for Booz Allen Hamilton. For now, Martin’s motives remain unknown, although the case at first glance does not appear to be as severe as the 2013 leaks.


Why Trump Leads Our Poll

You may have seen Donald Trump mention it in his Twitter feed: He’s leading Hillary Clinton in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak tracking poll. He probably won’t bring up that Clinton is leading in lots of other major polls, including those in key states, or the particulars behind his lead. Some of his support in our poll comes from people who say they are less than 100% sure to vote. Another big reason: the gender gap, with Trump’s lead among men outweighing Clinton’s edge among women. Times Washington bureau chief David Lauter gets into the nitty-gritty, including how blue-collar white voters are still the key to a Trump victory.

More Politics

-- Asian American voters are spurning Trump and threatening to abandon the Republican Party.

-- Libertarian vice presidential nominee William Weld said his main goal now is to stop Trump.

-- Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez traded jabs over who will work harder in the U.S. Senate in their only debate. And then there was Sanchez’s dab.

Please, Don’t Send in the Clowns

One of the last things we need right now is creepy clown sightings. The first reports came out of South Carolina in August. Since then, similar reports have spread across the nation, prompting the White House and even horrormeister Stephen King to weigh in. Now, police in California are dealing with calls from an anxious public. Though most appear to be pranksters, the fear and drain on law enforcement resources are real.



-- The loved ones of disabled men who were found dead after a fire at state-licensed home for disabled adults in Temecula Valley want to know what happened, but there are few answers.

-- Authorities said an L.A. County sheriff’s sergeant was fatally shot while responding to a call of a residential burglary in Lancaster. Steve Owen was remembered as “a cop’s cop.”

-- After a settlement agreement, sex offender parolees won’t be required to post “do not disturb” signs on Halloween.

-- There are now more registered voters in California than the population of 46 states.


-- Tom Jones’ wife of 57 years, Linda, died in April. The Welsh singer says music has saved him in the aftermath.

-- Theater owners aren’t too happy with Netflix’s plan to release movies online and in theaters at the same time.


-- He wrote the Michael Jackson hits “Rock With You,” “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Baby Be Mine” among others. Take a look back at the craft of songwriter Rod Temperton, who died at age 66.

-- Esa-Pekka Salonen and his London orchestra, the Philharmonia, played larger than life to start a West Coast tour.


-- Forecasters now say Hurricane Matthew is expected to strengthen as it approaches Florida’s heavily populated Atlantic coast.

-- The biggest threat facing China? According to a survey, just under half of respondents in the people’s republic see the U.S. as “a top threat,” more than climate change or Islamic State.

-- With friends like these … The U.S. faces a tricky situation with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who seems fond of cursing President Obama.

-- Methuselah doesn’t count: Scientists calculate the upper limits of the human lifespan, and it tops out around 125 years.

-- What can happen if an e-cigarette blows up while you’re using it? You probably don’t want to know.


-- Scary stuff: Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs was silenced by a huge hacker attack.

-- The Jeff Bezos-backed aerospace company Blue Origin successfully tested its in-flight escape system for would-be space tourists. Do you feel safer already?


-- Modest but proud, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw gets another chance to polish his October legacy. But first, here’s how to interview him in three easy steps.

-- Ronda Rousey hasn’t fought inside a UFC octagon for nearly a year. Is she missed?


-- The baby boomers’ monumental quagmire in Iraq.

-- Three law students ask: Why won’t UC health centers provide birth control without a prescription?


-- A journalist reflects on the challenges of reporting human rights abuses in Cambodia and how she survived an assassin’s attack. (Columbia Journalism Review)

-- The psychological underpinnings of blaming a victim. (The Atlantic)

-- Mesmerizing: Marcel Duchamp’s experiments with discs meant to be spun on a turntable as visual entertainment. (Hyperallergic)


Ol’ Blue Eyes’ Palm Desert retreat is back … on the market. After it didn’t sell a year ago, Villa Maggio — a Midcentury house with an outdoor dance floor, swimming pool, tennis court, helipad, and a moniker referencing Frank Sinatra’s character in “From Here to Eternity” — is now being offered for a slightly reduced price of $3.9 million, and the owners are throwing in some surrounding parcels of land the second time around. Get a look at the joint here.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.