Essential California: Immigration in Kern County, punishing water wasters, police beating in Apple Valley

Good morning. It is Friday, April 10. California’s newest water official, a cartoon character named "The Drop," would appreciate it if you would keep your showers to just five minutes. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Punishing water wasters

Are cities finally going to get tough on water wasters? That’s the question as Californians have been ordered to cut water use by 25%. Many water agencies favor education and warnings over harsh fines. Another popular stick is tiered rates, where heavy water users are charged more. But such calculations are on shaky legal ground. L.A. Times  

Immigration law in Kern County

Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who is in one of the reddest counties in a blue state, often is at odds with California immigration policy. It’s a big deal because he patrols an area with roughly 66,000 immigrants who are in the country illegally. "I always say Kern is a county that ought to be in Arizona," Youngblood said. L.A. Times

Police beating in Apple Valley

Sheriff’s deputies in San Bernardino County were captured on film kicking and punching a suspect at the end of a pursuit that took place on horseback. Video appears to show the officers beating the suspect after he is on the ground and his hands are behind his back. "The video surrounding this arrest is disturbing and I have ordered an internal investigation be conducted immediately," said Sheriff John McMahon. L.A. Times



Robert Durst’s letter: You can add accused murderer Robert Durst to the list of people who want to see the NFL return to Los Angeles. That’s just one of the opinions he expressed in a handwritten letter to a Los Angeles Times reporter. He also slammed the L.A. Opera’s Wagner’s Ring Cycle as "a true example of Hollywood gone berserk." L.A. Times

Saving one drop at a time: Mayor Eric Garcetti wants Angelenos to "save the drop." It’s a new campaign to encourage water conservation. Last year, the mayor called for cutting freshwater use by 20% by 2017. The campaign features a cartoon droplet who comes with his very own Twitter handle (@savethedropLA). L.A. Times

Nuts for water: Are almonds really the enemy? Some are making the case that almonds deserve our water for both economic and health reasons. Perhaps almonds and other nuts are not quite the water wasters they’re made out to be. Gizmodo, L.A. Times

How bad is the drought? One climatologist in Sacramento compared it to the Dust Bowl.  L.A. Times



GOP’s ATM: Just this week, four presidential hopefuls swung through Orange County to pick up checks from some of the Republican Party’s most generous donors. "The visits of high-profile candidates is testament to the county GOP’s enduring legacy as a place to fill up the campaign purses." Orange County Register

Running up campaign debt: California lawmakers accumulated $3.7 million in unpaid bills and loans in last November’s election. That’s led to "debt retirement" fundraisers. Sacramento Bee

Utility fine: Pacific Gas & Electric Co. was fined $1.6 billion for a 2010 gas explosion in San Bruno. The fine is the largest ever levied by the Public Utilities Commission. L.A. Times



Kidnapped, assaulted: A woman kidnapped in Arcadia Thursday was repeatedly raped as she was held captive for 11 hours, officials said. At one point, the woman was able to escape and alert a neighbor, who called police. Following a seven-hour manhunt, police arrested a 29-year-old suspect who was out on bail for a different crime. L.A. Times

Airport security: Over the last decade, there have been 82 security breaches at airports in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. Those breaches included drunk drivers crashing into barriers and wanna-be travelers hopping over fences. Associated Press

Apple’s hiring policy: Apple has reversed course on a policy that prohibited former felons from constructing its new Cupertino campus. Going forward, the company says it will evaluate construction workers on a case-by-case basis. SF Gate



Stopping a mega-mansion: Celebrity developer Mohamed Hadid is plowing ahead on a 30,000-square-foot Bel-Air mansion, despite a stop-work order from the city. Neighbors contend the development is destabilizing a hillside, and Building and Safety inspectors want Hadid to rip out all of the illegal construction. An attorney for the developer said the additional work was done to protect the house from rain. L.A. Times



Going green: Californians love their yards so much that even a drought can't stop them from keeping up lush, green lawns. In San Diego, that means homeowners have resorted to painting their lawns. It costs 25 cents a square foot to have someone paint the lawn. Or for $80, you can pick up a half gallon and paint it yourself. L.A. Times (NEEDS LINK -- me-abcarian-lawn-painting)

Get a lift ticket: A spring storm brought fresh snow to Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain, allowing resorts to extend the ski season for a few more weeks. L.A. Times



Downsizing to expand: The Orange County Museum of Art is without a curator following a round of layoffs. The downsizing came because museum officials need to sell their Newport Beach building and ramp up fundraising so they can break ground on a new building by June 2017. The new building is expected to cost $50 million. L.A. Times 


Cars of the rich: New data suggest that if you are wealthy in the Bay Area, you’re likely to have a Tesla Model S. And if you are wealthy in Beverly Hills, your preference likely leans to  Mercedes-Benz. Wall Street Journal

Hating on L.A.: Comedian Louis C.K. wrote a love letter to New York City that also managed to take a few digs at L.A. One of his criticisms is that people are far too segregated. "So when you go to L.A. and your liberal friend is rude to the valet guy or the busboy, it can be a little shocking. In New York, everyone is so mixed together that there's less of a feeling of class here." Hollywood Reporter



In Thursday’s Essential California, we asked how you felt about nurse practitioners responding to 911 calls. Here’s what you said:

"There is relief to the injured and those helping at the scene when you hear the sirens approaching. It shouldn't matter who is medical personnel as long as they come in a timely manner." -- Paula Trudeau

Today, we want to hear from you about police misconduct and video cameras. Do you think people are more likely to believe allegations of misconduct when an incident is captured on film? Does filming one part of an interaction give a biased viewpoint? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.



A new poll finds two-thirds of California’s registered voters support having schools serve breakfast during class hours. Support came regardless of respondents’ age, gender, ethnicity and geography, according to the Los Angeles Times.


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.