Essential California: Public in the dark when hospitals have infection outbreaks

Good morning. It is Monday, April 20. As if Westside traffic wasn't bad enough already, Santa Monica’s California Incline off the Pacific Coast Highway is closing for the next 13 months. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:


Tipping tiff

Amid the push to significantly increase the minimum wage in Los Angeles, whether to count the tips that waiters and other restaurant workers receive has become an issue of contention. Restaurant servers may get $9 or $10 an hour in wages but as much as $30 or more hourly when tips are included, say some restaurant owners. Los Angeles Times

Hidden risks

Once or twice a month, an infection outbreak inside a Los Angeles County hospital is confirmed by the health department. The public rarely finds out which hospital is involved, how many patients were stricken or whether any died. “In California, hospitals are required to report unusual events such as outbreaks to state health officials — but face no financial penalty if they don't.” Los Angeles Times

Relief in sight?

An unusually warm mass of seawater in the Pacific has puzzled scientists. Some now believe it could bring soaking rains to Southern California this winter. There is much debate, however, about whether it could be a drought-buster. Los Angeles Times



Living in the garage: Behind the various pushes to increase the minimum wage, there are people like Rafael Leon, whose family lives in a garage. Leon is a cook for an airline catering company, “at times preparing lobster and other delicacies for high-rolling first-class travelers,” writes Steve Lopez. Los Angeles Times

Beach curfew: Homeless advocates are challenging the beach curfew in Venice. So far, police are ignoring them. Los Angeles Times

Diners beware: Food safety violations were on the rise last year at Orange County restaurants. According to data from the county, there was a 38% increase from the previous year in the number of restaurants forced to temporarily close for major health violations. Orange County Register

A new boulevard: Here’s what Crenshaw Boulevard will look like with a light rail line running down the middle. Curbed LA



Turning off the tap: Updated water conservation orders will be harder on some California cities than others. Water suppliers that recorded the lowest residential per-capita water use in July, August and September of last year will have to cut only 8%. Communities with the highest per-capita numbers, including Arcadia and Beverly Hills, have to chop consumption by 36%. Los Angeles Times

Water desperation:  These are desperate times in parts of California where dry wells have cut off water supplies. Bloomberg

Governing crisis: Crisis is a constant for California governors. As Cathleen Decker writes: “The story of California is one of calamity begetting calamity, of destructive droughts giving way to destructive flooding, of economic collapse followed by earthquake collapse, of the manufacturing base imploding and then housing prices imploding.” Los Angeles Times

Save the Drop: This video asks: What would you do if you saw a leaky faucet? YouTube



Senate campaign: Will U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez run for the U.S. Senate? She says she’ll make an announcement as soon as this week. Sanchez has a reputation as “a hard-nosed campaigner with connections she could tap for needed resources.” Sacramento Bee



Athletic competition: UC San Diego is considering a leap to Division I. A previous effort in 2012 was rejected by students who didn’t want to pay the higher fees associated with the move. San Diego Union-Tribune



Animal cruelty: Four people kidnapped a baby sea lion from Dockweiler Beach. LAist

White palms: Look what happens when an artist paints palm trees and a former motel on Sunset Boulevard white. Eastsider LA



Theme park prices are leaving many with sticker shock. But what if you take inflation into account? That's what the Orange County Register did when it compared admissions prices of today with prices when the parks opened.

-- In 1962, it cost $2.50 to get into Universal Studios. If ticket prices rose with inflation, a ticket in 2010 would have cost $17, not $74.

-- In 1955, a ticket to Disneyland was $1. In 2010, a ticket was $72. Had prices increased with inflation, that same ticket would have been just $8.


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