Follow the Carpetbagger for all our Oscars coverage.
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
• It’s official: Tronc is selling The Los Angeles Times to Patrick Soon-Shiong, a health care mogul and former surgeon, for $500 million. The paper’s journalists cheered. At least one popped champagne. [The New York Times]
• Mr. Soon-Shiong became famous for inventing a cancer drug. He’s also been the subject of media investigations, medical criticism and a handful of lawsuits. [The New York Times]
• Representative Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor at 10:04 a.m. on Wednesday. She spent eight hours speaking — a protest of the lack of protection for young immigrants known as Dreamers. [The New York Times]
• The number of women who say that they were sexually abused at a prestigious San Jose Catholic school has grown to 20. Accusers say that officials at Presentation High School are ignoring their demands. [Mercury News]
• State officials will develop a smaller version of the long-planned water delivery project Waterfix, building one tunnel, not two, in the heart of the state’s waterworks. [The Los Angeles Times]
• The owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield can refuse to make same-sex wedding cakes, a judge has ruled. [Associated Press]
• A convicted murderer in San Quentin State Prison is being awarded $65,000 after being turned into a “sex slave” by a female prison staff member. [San Francisco Chronicle]
• California will block the transport through its borders of petroleum from new offshore rigs, officials said Wednesday. It is the most aggressive step yet by a state trying to halt the Trump administration’s expansion of federal oil and gas leasing. [Reuters]
• Increased coal shipments through Richmond have some residents wiping black, greasy deposits off their windowsills. [East Bay Express]
• “Are we going to slide inevitably toward the California way — more taxes, more spending, more regulation, sanctuary states?” Nevada’s attorney general is calling his state’s race for governor the contest of a generation. [The Nevada Independent]
• People are leaving California “in droves.” Among them are the Ambuskis, who wanted a home with “less crime, better jobs, friendlier people, improved services, less traffic and a more politically conservative atmosphere.” [Victorville Daily Press]
• For the first time, scientists are mapping the genome of the coast redwood — in the hope of saving these ancient, threatened trees. [The Washington Post]
And Finally …
Once again, it was not an alien spacecraft. It was SpaceX.
If you saw a light moving slowly across the sky earlier this week, it was a space Tesla. More specifically, it was the second stage of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida early in the day on Tuesday.
The payload on the rocket was a red Tesla Roadster from Elon Musk, the chief executive of both SpaceX and Tesla, which are both California companies. Since it was a test flight, Mr. Musk put the Tesla on board, instead of heavy and boring concrete, and sent it on an elliptical orbit around the sun that would extend beyond Mars’s orbit.
The light in the sky was the final engine burn that pushed the car away from Earth and onto its interplanetary journey.
This was of course not the first time Mr. Musk’s company has freaked out Californians.
In December, a night launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base left a surrealistic glowing trail in its wake above Los Angeles. On Twitter, Mr. Musk reassured the world, “It was definitely aliens.” The Falcon Heavy by itself won’t transform the space industry — there’s currently only a limited need for a rocket that big — but the nearly flawless flight showed that ambitious privately financed space ventures can succeed.
Mr. Musk said that no government money went to the development of the Heavy, which cost more than half a billion dollars. That’s a good thing, since his next project is even more ambitious — a two-stage behemoth spaceship for taking people to Mars, among other tasks.
California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.
Continue reading the main story