Newsletter

Essential California: Water or a bullet train? Your choice

Good morning. It is Tuesday, Feb. 16. Remember that time the president came to town? Here’s what's going on in California:

TOP STORIES

Water versus train

Concerns about the rising costs and delays of California’s bullet train have been growing in recent months. Now, some critics of high-speed rail are proposing a ballot measure that would kill the project and use the money for various water projects in the drought-damaged state. Los Angeles Times

Too young to die

In the wake of the slaying of a 1-year-old girl in Compton, the Homicide Report takes an in-depth look at the youngest victims of murder in L.A. Many are the victims of abuse or violence in their homes. Los Angeles Times

Expensive ballot

The November ballot in California is already shaping up to be complex and voluminous. By some estimates, $450 million to $500 million will be spent this fall on political advertising of various kinds for initiative efforts. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Heat stays, winter goes? Southern California’s winter heat wave shows few signs of ending. Monday saw new record high temperatures for the day. Though it will cool down a few days this week, it looks like the warm conditions will pick up again over the weekend. Los Angeles Times

Paying a price: One effect of the drought: a drop in hydroelectric production as reservoirs decline. And that means more costs to ratepayers. KPBS

L.A. STORIES

Mega-mansion's father: Meet the designer behind the 104,000-square-foot “giga-mansion” in Bel-Air, which could end up being the most expensive home ever. He lives a decidedly more suburban life. Orange County Register

Fixing the mall L.A. loves to hate: For years, there has been talk of giving the Beverly Center a major face-lift — news that brought cheers to some who consider the brown monolith one of L.A.’s grimmer pieces of architecture. Now it appears those plans are moving forward. Curbed LA

Inside TMZ: The New Yorker says L.A. celebrity news powerhouse TMZ “resembles an intelligence agency as much as a news organization.” The New Yorker

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Union boost? The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia could deal a major blow to a California lawsuit that had been widely expected to weaken the financial muscle of teachers unions. Los Angeles Times

Strange bedfellows: How one of California’s most conservative Republicans has become an unlikely icon to marijuana legalization forces. Sacramento Bee

CRIME AND COURTS

Key job: A series of scandals that have rocked the Orange County legal system makes finding a new public defender crucial. Orange County Register

Family fight, big stakes: Inside the drama in the Redstone family and how it will affect CBS and Viacom. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA COMMENTARY

Teacher blues: Columnist George Skelton says a lot of California public school teachers are demoralized and questioning their career choices. They're not at all surprised that fewer and fewer college students are going into teaching. Los Angeles Times

Reform now?: An Op-Ed piece says it's time to fix the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power — before it’s too late. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Music's biggest night: Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar set the house on fire with a controversial performance and multiple awards, while Taylor Swift got a little revenge on Kanye West at the Grammy Awards in Staples Center. Los Angeles Times

Lion's feast: A new study confirms mountain lions are eating California’s household pets. SFGate

The new, new Pam Anderson: The California evolution of Pamela Anderson. Vice

Camp Annenberg: The Sunnylands retreat of the late billionaire Walter H. Annenberg and his wife, Leonore, has become a grand setting for casual diplomacy and sunburned caddies — a western version of Camp David that concentrates on the Pacific Rim. Now, Obama is using it for an international summit. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

There will be lots more sunshine and a high of 86 degrees in Los Angeles. San Francisco will be mostly sunny with a high of 76 degrees. Mammoth Lakes will be partly cloudy and reach 64. San Diego will be sunny and 81 for the second day in a row.

AND FINALLY

Today's California Memory comes from Sierra Rose:

"In 1962, I was an arrogant 20-year-old in Hollywood. I pulled into a Santa Monica drive-in called Goody-Goody and ordered lunch. The car hop (a man) whispered, did I realize that was Richard Widmark parked right in front of me and did I want to meet him? I answered rather too loudly, 'If Richard Widmark wants to meet me, let him get out of his car.' And he did. He walked back to my window and put out his hand saying, 'I'm Richard Widmark, and I've always wanted to meet you.' His eyes sparkled with friendliness and good humor, and here I am at age 72, still chuckling about it."

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (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, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.

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