CALIFORNIA
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Essential California: Lead testing at Exide

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 26. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:

TOP STORIES

Testing for lead: California officials have blood test results that show high levels of lead in some children living near the old Exide battery plant — but they are not using those results to direct the cleanup operations at homes. “Officials should rely on blood lead data and soil lead levels to identify hot spots and target cleanup. Otherwise they will be shooting in the dark,” said Bruce Lanphear, a public health physician and professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University who studies lead and children's environmental health. Los Angeles Times

Pardons issued: For Easter, Gov. Jerry Brown announced 59 gubernatorial pardons. Most of those went to inmates convicted of drug crimes or low-level offenses. “These pardons recognize — and even affirm — that people can turn their lives around after making mistakes and become solid members of their community,” the governor said. Sacramento Bee

Disney history: The original offices of Walt Disney’s animation company are now home to a copy store, tattoo parlor and skate shop. Despite its famous history, the Kingswell Building in Los Feliz does not have any historical protections. “Every time I'm here I feel like there is history around me — like a good, rad history,” said D.J. Chavez, a retired pro skateboarder who co-owns Kingswell. Los Angeles Times

Bike path: Why will it cost an estimated $425 million to put in a bike path along the 51-mile Los Angeles River? “Now you're talking about bridges, tunnels, spiral ramps and possibly even a bike elevator of some sort. If they want more than two or three access points, this could be a large part of the cost.” LA Weekly

Looking for clues: An esteemed acupuncturist, his wife and 5-year-old daughter have been identified as the victims of that triple homicide in Santa Barbara. Dr. Weidong Henry Han ran the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic. Sheriff’s investigators are looking for any witnesses. Los Angeles Times

In the wild: In San Francisco, pet owners are worried about coyote attacks on dogs. At a recent hearing, one woman was particularly upset given that coyotes are not really contributing members of society. “We pay high taxes to live here. The coyotes don’t pay taxes, they aren’t voting,” she said. SFist

Seen, not heard: Au Fudge is a new West Hollywood restaurant for children where the children are watched by au pairs who help them bake bread and create “aesthetically beautiful arts and crafts projects” while their parents nosh on corn lollipops and truffle french fries. Los Angeles Times

THIS WEEK’S MOST POPULAR STORIES IN ESSENTIAL CALIFORNIA

1. An intimate look inside the home of the late Elizabeth Taylor. Zócalo Public Square

2. Amazing photos show how the drought and El Niño are shaping California’s landscape. Los Angeles Times

3. The Metro Expo Line is doing more than changing transportation. It’s changing housing and rents along its route. Curbed LA

4. A home that William Randolph Hearst once gave to a contest winner is now up for sale with a $5.8 million price tag. SFGate

5. Elisa Lam was found dead at the Hotel Cecil in 2013. Her death remains a mystery, even after viewing the bizarre security footage. BuzzFeed

ICYMI, HERE ARE THIS WEEK’S GREAT READS

New life: An albino teenager from Tanzania is finding a new life in Los Angeles. Bibiana Mashamba was the victim of a terrible attack in her home country but now, thanks to the African Millennium Foundation, she and her sister are receiving medical care and an education. “I will speak different languages and make sure all the people who hurt albinos in my country get their punishment,” said Tindi Mashamba. Los Angeles Times

Policing strategies: Helicopters have changed how Los Angeles police monitor the city. They’ve also changed how people commit crimes. “The built environment may inadvertently catalyze new forms of illegal activity, but this also means that the Los Angeles Police Department is constantly responding to criminal innovation with new forms of police work, often before the rest of the world even knows they might be necessary.” New York Times

Trump supporters: Columnist Steve Lopez found plenty of people who support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump because they believe he’s a straight shooter who will get things done. “I just felt like he spoke what was on his mind. I like that because a lot of politicians say whatever they need to say to get votes from the party they're in,” said one business owner in the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles Times

Investigation status: Last July, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris vowed to review the Center for Medical Progress, the group that falsely claimed Planned Parenthood trafficked fetal tissue. But so far there hasn’t been any action, writes columnist Robin Abcarian. “Over the last few days, advocates for reproductive rights have wondered aloud during interviews whether Harris' campaign to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate has anything to do with her apparent lack of urgency on this case,” she writes. Los Angeles Times

LOOKING AHEAD

Monday: Malibu will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a city.

Tuesday: The Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles will present “Making Sense of Department of Power and Water Reform.”

Wednesday: Ontario International Airport Authority CEO Kelly Fredericks will be in Riverside to talk about the future of the airport.

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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