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Essential California: Water cutbacks, a visit from Florida's governor, a mountain lion under a house

Good morning. It is Tuesday, April 14. One Alaska Airlines employee had a pretty bad day -- he fell asleep in the cargo hold of an airplane and didn’t wake up until the jet was on its way to Los Angeles. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


TOP STORIES

MWD considers water rationing

The Metropolitan Water District will consider a proposal today to cut its water delivery to 26 agencies by 15%. If the plan is approved, agencies that go beyond their allocation could be charged four times the usual price of water. L.A. Times

Legality of water rates

It’s not uncommon for water agencies to use tiered rate structures. That means the more water you use, the more expensive it gets. But residents in San Juan Capistrano are challenging that model, arguing that such structures result in arbitrarily high rates. A court is expected to rule on the issue this week. L.A. Times

Florida wants California’s businesses

Florida Gov. Rick Scott was in Los Angeles on Monday to try to persuade California businesses to move to the Sunshine State. The governor zeroed in on the recent labor disputes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. He’s hoping to increase shipping volume at Florida’s ports. L.A. Times

 

L.A. AT LARGE

State of the City: Will city workers protest Mayor Eric Garcetti’s State of the City speech this evening? The mayor’s annual address comes just days after members of SEIU 721 voted to authorize a strike. More than 20,000 city employees have been working without a contract since July. Daily News

Campaign for Board of Supervisors: The race is on to fill L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s seat when he is termed out next year. So far, there’s no clear front-runner. Political observers expect Antonovich’s successor to be a Republican, although one who is not quite as conservative as the longtime supervisor. L.A. Times

Former defendant alleges misconduct: A skin care guru to the stars is suing the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, accusing deputies of conducting a shoddy investigation into allegations that she wanted to kill a rival. Earlier this year, it took a jury just one hour to find Dawn DaLuise not guilty of solicitation of murder. In her lawsuit, DaLuise says one of the witnesses against her was actually her stalker. L.A. Times

P-22 finds a home … under a home: Griffith Park’s most famous resident, the mountain lion known as P-22, was found in a home’s crawl space Monday. He was discovered by technicians installing a security system in Los Feliz. State Fish and Wildlife officers were called in to try to coax him out. NBC 4

 

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

From member of Congress to lobbyist: A new batch of former lawmakers is continuing the tradition of joining lobbying and public relations firms. California’s Buck McKeon started his own firm, while Henry Waxman joined his son’s communications firm. USA Today

More police on peninsula: The Newport Beach City Council is looking to beef up the police presence on the Balboa Peninsula, an area with lots of bars and rowdy behavior. The cost of adding more officers is estimated to be north of $565,000. L.A. Times

Apology in vaccine debate: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has apologized for using the word "holocaust" to describe the effects of vaccines. "I employed the term during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism, which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families." L.A. Times

 

CRIME AND COURTS

Ex-NFL player accused of murder: Former NFL player Lawrence Phillips is accused of killing his cellmate at the Kern Valley State Prison. Phillips, who helped the University of Nebraska win two national championships, is serving 31 years for domestic violence, vehicle theft and false imprisonment. L.A. Times

Cycle of mental illness: What happens when a family can’t get help for a mentally ill son? Violence, homelessness and prison can result. L.A. Times

Witness in Calderon case: The leader of the California state Senate will be called as a witness in the corruption trial of former Sen. Ron Calderon. A spokesman said Kevin De Leon will "readily and fully participate." Sacramento Bee

Behind controversial sentencing: An Orange County judge who received a barrage of criticism after he gave a sex offender 10 years in prison rather than 25 may have been influenced by a statement from the victim’s parents. Kevin Nieto Rojano was convicted of assaulting a 3-year-old relative. In a statement, the child’s father said, "Kevin is a good person that has endured childhood traumas.… He requires rehabilitation that focuses on psychological healing as a preventive measure, and not solely on retribution." KTLA

 

HOUSING

Neighborhood disappears: One neighborhood near LAX has become a ghost town as airport officials buy up homes only to bulldoze them and make space for a rental car lot. This video shows what happened in Manchester Square, where 500 homes have been reduced to just five holdouts. City Lab

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

Harassment allegations: The top research administrator at UC Berkeley resigned after allegations that he sexually harassed a former assistant. That assistant was fired from the university in 2012 after it was revealed that she had had an affair with a subordinate. San Francisco Chronicle

 

ENVIRONMENT

Building more pools: Drought? What drought? There is a swimming pool boom going on in Orange County. That mirrors increases in construction and housing sales. As for the water usage, there are disagreements over how much water pools really use. Orange County Register

Bottled at the source: Does Nestle have a valid permit for taking water in San Bernardino County and bottling it as Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water? It appears that the company’s permits may have expired back in 1988. A representative for Nestle said the company uses 705 million gallons of water a year -- roughly enough to irrigate two golf courses. Desert Sun

 

TRANSIT

Overcrowded trains: San Francisco’s BART system is being dragged down by its own success. Its weekday ridership is up about 100,000 users from five years ago, yet the transit agency hasn’t maintained its infrastructure. "As every rider knows, sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, pile onto a train packed with sweaty people, bikes and backpacks, and deal with the discomfort." SF Gate

Will Valley get light rail? The Metro Orange Line is the busiest transit line in the San Fernando Valley, carrying 30,000 riders a day between Chatsworth and North Hollywood. Given its popularity, some supporters want to convert the busway to a light-rail line. It would take about $1.7 billion and three years to do so. L.A. Times

Baseball may boost ridership: In Orange County, transit officials are hoping that baseball season will jump-start a new transit hub in Anaheim. Ridership at the $188 million-station, which is near Angel Stadium and the Honda Center, has lagged. L.A. Times

 

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

L.A.'s comebacks: Sure, Los Angeles is congested, expensive and dirty, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and take the criticism. Here are some witty one-liners. Los Angeles Magazine

Lost in the desert: There's one tent you hope to avoid at Coachella -- the lost and found. Missing purses, cellphones, credit cards and car keys are just some of the items revelers hope to find. L.A. Times

Fries with your 4x4: In-N-Out may be the granddaddy of all "secret menus." Although only three burgers are listed on the menu, true In-N-Out fans know there are six additional preparations. Bring on the Animal Style! Eater LA

 

TALK BACK

In today’s Talk Back, we want to focus on professional football. In a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council complains that when cities like Inglewood and Carson agree to place NFL stadium proposals on the ballot, they’re legally allowed to skip environmental reports. That means residents don’t know how a stadium might influence traffic, noise and air quality.

What would you want to know before agreeing to a stadium project? Does the possibility of job creation and economic development outweigh environmental concerns? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.

 

AND FINALLY

On this day in 1860, the first Pony Express mail pouch arrived in San Francisco after an 11-day journey that started in Missouri. Something to keep in mind in the age of text messages and overnight deliveries.

 

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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