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Essential California: The state's next senator, a brutal economy and campus naming rights

Welcome to Essential California, your daily newsletter covering stories across the Golden State. I'm California editor Shelby Grad. Alice Walton, who started at The Times this week, will be joining me soon on this digest.


2016 Is Right Now

The election to replace Sen. Barbara Boxer is 20 months away, but it feels like some of the real drama is happening right now. Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is stacking up endorsements at a rapid clip and using her status as AG to build her brandstay in the news -- and boost her profile. Harris’ biggest potential challenger is former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is mulling a run. His allies are pushing back against the idea of Harris' inevitability. One argument: A Villaraigosa run would rally California’s big Latino vote.

Winners, Losers in New California Economy

For some, the California economy is booming. A new report found that the state is doing very well among “advanced industry” workers -- software designers, architects, medical equipment manufacturers and Web developers who make on average $90,000 a year. But the story can be grim for less-skilled workers. Steve Lopez has been talking to some on the Boeing aircraft line in Long Beach, which will be closing later this year, taking with it some of region’s best-paying blue-collar jobs. They are looking for new work and learning how brutal the “new economy” can be. One had been making $40 an hour plus hefty overtime. Now his best job prospect pays $15 an hour.

Measles’ Predictable Demographics

A Times data analysis found low rates of measles immunization at preschools in some familiar areas: the Westside, coastal Orange County and the South Bay, as well Marin County, Berkeley and parts of Silicon Valley. It’s the same zones of vaccine doubters in upscale communities seen in kindergarten data. Overall, private preschools had lower immunization rates than public ones. Head Start programs, which serve low-income children, had some of the highest rates.

L.A. Stories

This locker is sponsored by ... At Beverly Hills High School, officials appear to be taking a page from NASCAR when it comes to naming rights on campus. It generates money for programs, but some see a downside.

Asia adventures: Southern California developers are cashing in on Asia’s obsession with theme parks. One, in Harbin, China, is three times the size of Disneyland.

Location scouts: More proof of the long economic coattails of TV and film production in L.A.: Here's a look by KPCC at the folks who make those ubiquitous yellow signs that point crews to location shoots.

California Chronicles

Bipartisanship on diapers: A liberal California assemblywoman and a conservative state senator have found middle ground on an unlikely issue: cutting taxes on diapers. “For many, diapers have become extremely expensive and for many families it’s a burden,” Sen. Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) tells the San Diego Union-Tribune.

A full-time job: A new contract for educators who work at Catholic schools in the East Bay says they must “demonstrate a public life consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” There has been much debate about how that will affect what the teachers can say and do off campus, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Uber and DUIs: Uber claims its service is helping reduce drunk driving in California. ProPublica asks: Where’s the proof?

And Finally ...

Since the gold rush days, people have loved San Francisco and loved to hate San Francisco. SF Gate rounded up some of the best quotes about “The City.” Two favorites:

“San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality.” - Paul Kantner

“San Francisco is a golden handcuff with the key thrown away.” - John Steinbeck

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to shelby.grad@latimes.com


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