Essential California: How much does your commute cost?

Good morning. It is Tuesday, June 9. Food writer Mark Bittman says the next big thing in greens are weeds. They're delicious and free, as long as you're plucking them out of the ground on walks around the East Bay. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:



Big day for LAPD and its overseers

The Los Angeles Police Commission will take up one of its biggest decisions in years today when it considers the 2014 shooting of Ezell Ford, an African American man whose family says he suffered from mental problems. He was shot in the back by police after he allegedly reached for an officer's gun. An internal report found that the shooting was justified, but a big question for commissioners is whether the officers' action leading up to the shooting were within policy. Los Angeles Times 

The mayor and Ezell Ford

Meanwhile, Mayor Eric Garcetti is facing criticism for what some say is an inappropriately muted response to the shooting of Ezell Ford. He waited days to comment on the LAPD's findings, and then had an awkward run-in with protesters outside his official residence. Times columnist Cathleen Decker writes that Garcetti is the latest in a long line of mayors who have had to find a balance between supporting the LAPD and gaining the support of the African American community. 

Contest it now, pay later

It's a major shift in policy for the state of California: Drivers who wish to contest a traffic ticket will no longer have to pay fines before taking their cases to court. That could provide major relief to the 5 million drivers who have lost their licenses in the last 10 years because they couldn't afford to pay the fees added onto a basic traffic ticket. The issue is actually one that was first raised in the U.S. Justice Department's critique of policing in Ferguson, Mo. Los Angeles Times 

Their idea: Go underground

The state's high-speed train should travel only in underground tunnels when it cuts through the northern portion of Los Angeles County. That's the opinion of a new alliance that argues that a long-planned above-ground track would destroy businesses and homes. "Our calls for social, economic and environmental justice have been ignored. The city could go into bankruptcy," said the mayor of San Fernando. Los Angeles Times 



California's fill-the-buckets list: What are some of the major challenges still facing the state's leaders as they grapple with the drought? Building the delta tunnels, providing water to farmers and ultimately deciding the most beneficial use of California's water. Los Angeles Times

Fewer greens, more brown: The drought has gotten so bad that even golfing great Jack Nicklaus is ripping out turf and picking native plants as he redesigns Sherwood Country Club's course. "Water is a big issue right now. You have to be aware of what you're doing," he said. Other sports venues are working to adapt. Los Angeles Times

Leading by example: Gov. Jerry Brown says he's doing his part to save water -- skipping showers and installing low-flow toilets. Bloomberg

Dry times don't mean dry wines: Thanks to the drought, 2015 may end up being a great vintage  for wine. The lack of water intensifies the sugars in the grapes, creating a more flavorful wine. At the same time, the smaller harvests mean that those wines may come at a higher cost. 89.3 KPCC


Sign up for the Water and Power newsletter, the  Los Angeles Times' guide to the drought. We'll bring you the latest news, introduce you to the important players, provide analysis and separate drought fact from myth. Sign up here.


Prosecutor dies: The man who successfully prosecuted Charles Manson and his followers for their 1969 killing spree has died at the age of 80. Vincent Bugliosi was an L.A. County deputy district attorney who gained worldwide fame thanks to the sensational trial. He went on to be a true crime writer. "No matter what I do, I'll be forever known as the Manson prosecutor," he said in 1994. Los Angeles Times

Bumper to bumper: Angelenos spend an average of $3,640 a year commuting to work. The typical driver will spend 238 hours a year behind the wheel just getting to and from the office. Worse than that, two-thirds of those surveyed said it was the only "me" time they have. LA Weekly


Numbers man: The man who created the state's popular Field Poll died Sunday at the age of 94. Mervin D. Field influenced California politics for more than 50 years. "The results, widely broadcast and published throughout the state, could instantly recast a campaign or alter a policy debate in Sacramento." Los Angeles Times

Closure, at last: The family of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta accepted the Navy Cross on Monday in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton that ended nearly a decade of controversy. The Peralta family long believed that their son deserved the Medal of Honor, as his dying act was to smother an enemy grenade in Iraq in 2004. The U.S. Department of Defense initially agreed but later rescinded that decision after determining that Peralta was clinically dead and that any actions at that time were involuntary. Los Angeles Times

The action's outside: While lobbyists work the inside the building, more and more private companies are putting on a show outside the Capitol in Sacramento. Disney brought Mickey Mouse, Taco Bell brought lunch, and SeaWorld arrived with kangaroos and penguins. Sacramento Bee



A ruling for gun storage: The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a San Francisco law that requires gun owners to keep their weapons locked up at home. Gun advocates said the law hinders their ability to defend themselves. SF Gate


He's aces with tennis fans: Billionaire Larry Ellison is trying to bring prominence back to professional tennis in the United States, an effort that's similar to what he did for the sport of sailing. To that end he has transformed a multimillion-dollar tennis complex in Indian Wells. "It is so important for the tour to have someone like Larry buying a big tournament and pushing the other events," said champion player Rafael Nadal. Bloomberg

Big market, big bet: The Chinese box office is expected to overtake the U.S. in 2018, and that has studios scrambling to enter the market. DreamWorks Animation is a step ahead with Oriental DreamWorks, a $330-million joint venture that's allowing the California company to receive preferential treatment in China for releases like next year's "Kung Fu Panda 3." Los Angeles Times 


Debt forgiveness: Students who attended the for-profit Corinthian Colleges may have their student loans forgiven. The U.S. Department of Education closed down the Santa Ana-based company in April after investigations into fraudulent job placement figures and misleading marketing campaigns. A new policy extends debt forgiveness to students who were victims of fraudulent marketing and recruitment. Los Angeles Times


Time capsule: The Beverly Hills property that was once home to actress Marlene Dietrich just sold for $23.5 million. As these pictures show, the gorgeous home looks much as it did in the 1930s. Curbed LA

Not ready for a close-up: A $29-million film made by disgraced soccer federation FIFA about its now-former president Sepp Blatter made just $607 in its first weekend. About a quarter of that, $164, came from one theater in North Hollywood. Los Angeles Times


Summer has arrived, at least in the Central Valley, where Sacramento hit 105 degrees and Modesto 106 on Monday. It was cooler elsewhere. San Francisco will be partly sunny with a high of 65. San Diego has a 20% chance of rain, with temperatures around 77 degrees. In Los Angeles, there will be a 30% chance of thunderstorms and a high of 85.


Ah, the excitement of the NBA Finals, which move to Cleveland on Tuesday night tied at a game apiece, and yet another round of lackluster friendly bets between elected officials. Politicians from California and Ohio shot air balls with their predictable wagers on the series between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Ohio senators put up six-packs of Cleveland craft brews, while California senators offered up bottles of Chardonnay and some coffee.


Last year was so much better with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti forcing New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to sing "I Love L.A." on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" when the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New York Rangers in hockey's Stanley Cup Finals.

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