Essential California: Time for ‘The Times’, the new LA Times news podcast

Hello and welcome to Essential California bulletin. It is Monday April 26. I am Gustavo Arellano, filling in for Julia Wick, which will return later this week.

I write from Orange County, from a cramped room in my house filled with so many books (including two copies of the Carey McWilliams classic “Southern California Country: An Island on the Land”) that its soundproofing qualities create a place to record a podcast.

And wouldn’t you know, I am.

On May 3, the first episode of “The Times: Daily news from the LA Times” will air on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and anywhere else you can find podcasts. I will be the host of this half hour on the world through the eyes of the west coast. We will be releasing new episodes Monday through Friday. And, just like this newsletter, it’s free.

“The Times” operates under the bold philosophy that you can’t figure out what’s going on without checking California first. As the Golden State goes, so does everyone. So we will bring you stories that you must know through the voices of my talented colleagues and guests, famous or not. Expect rants, talks, ruminations, hilarity and just a bunch of desmadre (Spanish for “a big mess” or “a good exciting time”, depending on your outlook on life).

I can hear you already, sweet readers: Another one daily news podcast? Isn’t there already a big one whose name rhymes with “Da Bailey”?

Yes to both. But “The Times” is not meant to be audio Death Star; we are happy to start as BB-8, and I hope to become a R2-D2 (and we are definitively will not be the Poochie podcasts). We’ll be nimble, in a hurry, biting and badass – because our team is California.

Senior producer Denise Guerra is from the Inland Empire. Producer Shannon Lin makes her home in the Bay Area. Engineer Mario Diaz lives in his hometown in Southeast LA. Yours truly will never leave Orange County because it’s so much fun.

Our personal and professional lives span the globe and this country, and have taught us to cover what matters, whether it’s an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, the evolution of Kamala Harris, the drama ongoing on housing residents in inner city neighborhoods, or whether In-n-Out is actually overrated (I maintain it is; my producers are trolling me by posting pictures of animal fries and of Double-Doubles).

So subscribe to “The Times”, right? I’ll be appearing on the LA Times Instagram channel this Wednesday evening at 10:15 p.m. to answer your questions and comments on our new podcast. Gracias to read – now, please to listen!

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

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


Oh yeah, the Oscars were last night. My Calendar colleagues have everything from a trivia challenge to how they got taken off to Chloe Zhao’s magic, ghastly ratings, red carpet looks and (historic) winners over (expected) winners on winners (upset). Los Angeles Times

A judge’s order puts LA Mayor Eric Garcetti at the center of a legal battle over a slippage. Leave it to an Orange County guy – United States District Court Judge David O. Carter – to put the LA mayor’s billion-dollar plan to tackle homelessness hard. Los Angeles Times

Here’s our full coverage of the LA Times Festival of Books 2021. Our annual printed word party ended yesterday – may we all do it in person next year. Los Angeles Times


This Mexican restaurant plans to serve hot meals to children detained at the Long Beach Convention Center. “These kids need love,” says the owner of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine. THE Tacos


Armenian-American activists hail US recognition of genocide but say fight is not over. More than 1,000 people demonstrated outside the Turkish Consulate in Beverly Hills after President Biden’s landmark statement. Los Angeles Times

In Sacramento, legislative attempts to slow down drivers hit speed bumps. My companion columnist Steve Lopez explains how automated speed control is a possibility in California. Los Angeles Times


Black activists in Fresno and Bakersfield discuss the future of police reform. A round table in two cities that need it. Public radio of the valley

She could not eradicate anti-Asian hate crimes. So she made a manual on how to fight them. Esther Lim’s booklet, published in multiple languages, describes how to document an attack and lists phone numbers to report it. Los Angeles Times


The most amazing park extension you’ve never heard of. Adam Schiff, Donald Trump and the existential emergency of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act, which would link the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area to Mount Baldy – no, really! Red Canary Collective

Los Angeles County continues to report progress in the fight against coronaviruses. Keep wearing those masks and getting vaxxed, folks! Los Angeles Times


The description of a racial stereotype by a lecturer at San Diego State University adds to the debate over academic freedom of expression. A teacher is shocked – shocked! – that his attempt to teach the harms of racism by saying racist things he didn’t mean was not well received. San Diego Union-Tribune

Who will be the Oakland Poet Laureate? The city is accepting applications. The two-year residency begins in June. Oaklandside

The unlikely story of a 1950s American League batting champion turned pot producer on a massive scale. From the Seals of San Francisco to the A’s of Philadelphia to the city of Georgetown to the Gold Rush for Ferris Fain. Sports stories

A poem to start your week: “The Bad Old Days” by Kenneth Rexroth. Poetry foundation

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Los Angeles: mostly sunny, 64. San Diego: light showers, 64. San Francisco: cloudy, 57. San José: cloudy, 60. Fresno: sunny, 67. Sacramento: partly cloudy, 66.


This week’s birthdays for those who marked California:

Chief Alice Waters (April 28, 1944), former mayor of Los Angeles Richard Riordan (May 1, 1930), football player David Beckham (May 2, 1975) and Dwayne The Rock Johnson (May 2, 1972).

If you have a memory or a story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

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.

Bernard P. Love