Essential California: A big squeeze on water. A bold vote for legalizing pot. A deal for L.A. teachers.

Good morning. It is Tuesday, April 7. Pictures are up from San Francisco’s annual Big Wheel tricycle race. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Putting the squeeze on water supplies

The Metropolitan Water District is expected to vote next week to ration imported water that it supplies to 26 Southern California water districts and cities, something the agency has done only twice before. Cutbacks could range from 10% to 20%. Cities such as Los Angeles that have already reduced consumption are likely to feel less of a sting. L.A. Times

Claims go unpaid in wage-theft cases

A new study finds that even when California workers can prove they are owed back wages, very few successfully collect the money. One problem is that businesses will often change ownership and the new company isn’t responsible for the previous company’s debts. “It’s like trying to collect from the tooth fairy,” said the director of the Wage Justice Center. L.A. Times

New ground rules for Dodgers tailgaters

Will the LAPD’s crackdown on tailgating at Dodger Stadium drive an even bigger wedge between the team and fans? The move comes as most Southern California cable subscribers can’t even watch the game on television because of the continuing disputes between Time Warner Cable and other cable providers. L.A. Times



Old school meets "Chipsters": On 1st Street in Boyle Heights, two bars highlight the differences in a changing neighborhood. “The two bars sit side-by-side like an immigrant father and his Americanized son, springing from the same root but not quite always getting each other.” L.A. Times

Benefit deal for L.A. teachers: Teachers and school officials with the L.A. Unified School District have reached a multibillion-dollar deal on health benefits. The proposal would address some of LAUSD’s unfunded liabilities, but it is still likely to strain the district’s annual budget. L.A. Times

He's a Philip Marlowe man: Mystery writer Michael Connelly says he reads Chapter 13 of Raymond Chandler's “The Little Sister” several times a year. “I think it’s some of the best stuff ever written about Los Angeles and it holds up.” L.A. Review of Books

Westbound trains: Finally -- a Metro train gets into the Westside. This photo gallery shows Metro testing out the new Expo Line to Santa Monica. Metro

A barfly's best friend: At Musso & Frank Grill, Ruben Rueda has tended bar since 1967. He has served some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but it was Charles Bukowski whom he describes as “like a brother.” “I served him for many years. I used to give him rides home when he was drunk,” Rueda said. Vice



Harris raises millions: Atty Gen. Kamala Harris raised $2.5 million for her U.S. Senate campaign in the first quarter of the year. She’s still the only Democrat running in the 2016 race to succeed the retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer. Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez has also declared his candidacy. Sacramento Bee

A bid to legalize pot: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is backing efforts to legalize marijuana in California. While that position may win over younger voters, it could pose risks as he courts voters for his gubernatorial run in 2016. “Taking a leadership role on this could make older swing voters nervous, even if they agree with him on the issue. It's a potentially risky play,” said Dan Schnur of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. L.A. Times



Apple targets construction workers: Workers with felony convictions are being kicked off the construction site at Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino in the Silicon Valley. “Advocates for ex-offenders say that what has happened on Apple’s campus is unusual because prior felonies usually aren’t a factor when hiring construction workers.” San Francisco Chronicle

Frightening shooting: An 8-year-old boy was shot in the head as he slept after an intruder broke into his family’s Del Rey home. The intruder, who entered through the front door, fired 10 shots inside the house. The boy was in critical but stable condition. L.A. Times

Onetime NFL player arrested: Former 49ers and Raiders offensive lineman Kwame Harris was arrested Sunday on suspicion of committing two hit-and-runs while under the influence of drugs. When police found Harris, he was asleep in a running car. He also tried to bite an officer, authorities said. SF Gate



Call a water cop, face the consequences: A reporter invited a water inspector into his home to calculate his water use. Her findings were rather embarrassing, including an inefficient shower head and a leaky garden hose. KQED

Water wars head to court: A long-simmering fight between San Diego water officials and the Metropolitan Water District has ended up in court. San Diego officials believe they’re being overcharged for water while being shortchanged. “The lawsuit dives into the deepest arcana of water law.” L.A. Times



Famous thief now homeless: A renowned jewel thief who once took a 10-carat diamond ring worth $545,000 in Monte Carlo is now homeless and living in Long Beach. Doris Payne bounced in and out of jail for her crimes, but she says, “I have no remorse. Why? I ain’t killed nobody.” Orange County Register

Images of Skid Row: A photographer from Amsterdam has spent the last six years photographing Los Angeles’ Skid Row. “Some people have found comfort on Skid Row, most have not. But all have found community.” Medium

Do you speak San Diegan? Here are 18 words that have different meanings in San Diego. BuzzFeed



In Monday’s Essential California, we asked about parking restrictions in Los Angeles. Here’s some of what you had to say:

“Parking in L.A. is hard to find and/or expensive. It shouldn't be illegal to be parked in one spot for more than 72 hours. L.A. is just trying to squeeze more money out of its residents and visitors.” -- Stephanie Olivas

In today’s Talk Back, we want to know about your commute. A new analysis finds that the distance between drivers' homes and their jobs is growing. How long does it take you to get to work? Have you ever moved to be closer to a job? Are there benefits to living far from work? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.



How many gallons of water does it take to grow your favorite foods? This handy graphic spells it out.

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.