Happy birthday to our daily news podcast!

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, May 6. I’m Gustavo Arellano, and I’m writing from Orange County.

If you know my byline at all, it’s as a Metro columnist and occasional Essential California author. But did you know I also host this paper’s daily podcast, “The Times: Daily News from the L.A. Times”?

Did you know we have a daily podcast?



Well, folks, do me a favor and follow us right now on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

Now, here’s my pitch for “The Times”: Imagine this paper … in audio form. Except with a focus on one story that explains the big themes of our time through the eyes of the Golden State. To paraphrase the old KFWB slogan, you give us 20-some minutes, we’ll give you the world.

With the help of over 110 of our L.A. Times colleagues, we’ve covered L.A. County Sheriff Villanueva and the Jan. 6 investigation. We were onto El Salvador’s bro president Nayib Bukele before the rest of the U.S. media, and we covered the Uyghur genocide in our second episode. We had an entire “Drought Week” last year, and a continuing series on abortion. We do politics, sports, culture, homelessness, issues national and international. We even have a monthly series, “Masters of Disasters,” which is our parody of NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” except it’s about calamities and is actually funny.

And we just celebrated a year’s worth of episodes on May 3.

We’ve done all of this despite “The Times” team all hanging out together just once — in March. The entire podcast has been recorded, produced, and engineered from our homes across California and beyond.

The bosses must be happy with “The Times,” because we just hired another engineer, and we’re looking for another producer. But we can always use more listeners, so do give us a follow — don’t make us the Poochie of podcasts, por favor!

Shoutout to senior producers Shannon Lin, Denise Guerra (both whom have been with the podcast from the start) and Kasia Broussalian, newest producer David Toledo, and Times fellows Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineer is Mario Diaz, who’s also been with “The Times” from the start. Our editor is Kinsee Morlan. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani Hilton. And our theme music is by Andrew Eapen.

And a special shoutout to Abbie Fentress Swanson, who started “The Times” and is now making hits at CNN.

One more time, gentle readers: Do yer ol’ Mexican with glasses a favor, and follow “The Times” right now on Apple Podcast and Spotify. Did I mention it’s free? That’s a better deal than a one-buck subscription for six months, dontcha know.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.


Patrols, fines, altered landscapes: How severe SoCal water restrictions will roll out. Time to add another five-gallon bucket in your shower — or better yet, just fill one up and bathe with that. Fontana News Room

L.A. County workplaces and schools seeing rising coronavirus cases. As Cherilyn Sarkisian and Salvatore Bono once sang, the beat goes on… Fontana News Room

American Muslim women are finding a unique religious space at a women-only mosque in Los Angeles. My colleague Sarah Parvini wrote about the Women’s Mosque of America back in 2015. It’s great to see this masjid not only continuing but thriving. The Conversation

Japangeles: Story of business. Along with Tehrangeles and Oaxacalifornia, one of the great #socalcitynicknames now has a store behind it. Yo! Magazine

Our daily news podcast

If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll love our daily podcast “The Times,” hosted every weekday by columnist Gustavo Arellano, along with reporters from across our newsroom. Go beyond the headlines. Download and listen on our App, subscribe on Apple Podcasts and follow on Spotify.


Newsom seizes on the fight over abortion as a key part of his reelection campaign. As if he needed another advantage over his opponent in November. Fontana News Room

A legacy of learning: higher education helps Avenal siblings return to their hometown roots. They were children of Mexican immigrants who each ended up becoming high school valedictorians who graduated from Yale, Wellesley and Georgetown. Meanwhile, your nephew is still enrolled in Hollywood Upstairs Medical College… Valley Public Radio

Column: The six faces of Rick Caruso. What I learned from watching all of his endless ads — I personally like Mexican Rick more than I do Cool Rick, but that’s just me. Fontana News Room

Korean Rick making a cameo.

(Irfan Khan / Fontana News Room)


L.A. city attorney charges suspect in Dave Chappelle attack at Hollywood Bowl. It came after L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s office declined to file felony charges — looks like he just lost the comedian vote. Fontana News Room

Why did federal police square off with abortion rights protesters in L.A. streets? The protest had been going on peacefully for hours when Department of Homeland Security officers put out an SOS saying they had come “under attack” and used aggressive crowd-control measures — half a mile from the federal courthouse, where they have jurisdiction. Fontana News Room

Hidden Hills socialite Rebecca Grossman to face murder trial in crash that killed 2 boys. She allegedly struck the pair in a crosswalk while going more than 70 mph and continued driving. Fontana News Room

Twin Rivers schoolteacher not fired after district questioned his use of basketball move on student. Moral of the story? Better to not bounce a basketball off of a teen’s head just so you can try to score a point off, you know, a teen. CapRadio


Is Fresno County avoiding its responsibility on industrial planning? Some say yes. A month after California’s top lawyer warned that Fresno County’s general plan “likely” violates various laws, county officials responded, claiming the attorney general is putting “undue political pressure” on the county. Fresno Bee

Snails’ scars offer a 100,000-year record of crab populations. A surprisingly simple technique for studying scars on snails’ shells shows how California’s crab population has changed over millennia. Hakai Magazine


How Hollywood wrote the story of Israel. A book review of an interesting Columbia University Press tome that’s sure to raise eyebrows. Jewish Currents

California artichoke pizza empanadillas recipe. If you don’t subscribe to the Substack of Illyanna Maisonet, you’re missing out on one of California’s most hilarious, foul-mouthed, brilliant food writers. Here’s a preview. Eat Gorda Eat

Joe Donnelly’s SoCal is a strange and stirring cornucopia. While Joe is a personal friend and a phenomenal writer, the line “Donnelly is one of those tallish guys whose vertical attenuation is not at the expense of a certain bunched muscularity” is begging to be included in the “Pseuds Corner” column of the brilliant British fortnightly magazine Private Eye. Montecito Journal

Caló word of the week. Caló News is a recently launched website that covers Latino issues in Southern California. They do good stuff, but I especially like their weekly newsletter, which always includes a word from its namesake argot, long used by pachucos. The word this week? A patín — to travel on foot. Caló News

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Los Angeles: Mostly sunny, 80. San Diego: Mostly sunny, 69. San Francisco: Mostly cloudy, 61. San Jose: Partly cloudy, 77. Fresno: Partly cloudy, 88. Sacramento: Partly cloudy, 78.


Today’s California memory is from Maria Chaput:

I immigrated to the U.S. in 1991 and eventually settled in Duarte, a small city located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. I learned that in 1941, a famous big band musician, Glenn Miller, built a home on 54 acres of land near my house. While visiting my mother and stepfather in Canada, they showed me and my husband with pride tons of vinyl records including a collection of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Although it’s been 20 years since they passed, memories of my mother nodding to the rhythm while my stepfather grooved to the tune of “In the Mood” always bring a radiant smile to my face.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (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 to essentialcalifornia@latimes.com.

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