Good morning. It is Wednesday, April 29. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:
Gov. Jerry Brown wants to be able to fine water wasters as much as $10,000 a day. That’s a huge increase over the $500 cap currently in place, reports the Los Angeles Times. "There's a lot to be done. We've done a lot. We have a long way to go," Brown said.
Five patients in Santa Barbara tested positive for Hepatitis C after visiting the same doctor. The county’s Public Health Department investigated the doctor’s office and found practices that put patients at risk of blood-borne viruses.
The LAPD will become the largest police department in America to equip patrol officers with body cameras. However, in voting for the program, the Police Commission showed it is still divided over whether cops should be allowed to review their footage before writing incident reports. Chief Charlie Beck says he does not expect most of the footage to ever be seen by the public.
Farming and water: There’s a science experiment taking place in Irvine. Researchers want to know how little water it might take to grow blueberries, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Water calculator: How much water do you use? CityLab has an easy-to-use calculator to help you figure it out.
Watering the Central Valley: The drought has again prompted questions over the cost of water and how it is allocated in the central part of the state, reports Bloomberg. "The government has made the drought worse -- by pursuing policies for far too long that undervalue and waste the West's most precious resource."
Story behind water suit: The lawsuit that brought down tiered water rates in California is a case study in grassroots activism and determination, reports the Orange County Register. It started with John Perry, a San Juan Capistrano resident whose complaints about water rates were routinely ignored by City Hall.
Problem solving: The Brown administration launched a program to find innovative solutions to the state’s water problems. Work is expected to begin this summer, according to the Los Angeles Times.
L.A. AT LARGE
Stolen funds: The woman behind La Maison du Pain in the Mid-Wilshire area prided herself on building the bakery from scratch. Too bad it wasn’t true. A court opinion says she embezzled more than $5 million to finance the business, luxury cars and lavish vacations, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Parallels between riots: Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez compares the riots in Baltimore with the L.A. riots that started 23 years ago today. "Both dramas played out in areas where economic devastation and social dysfunction were deeply rooted — neighborhoods that stand apart, lag behind and ultimately give up on the idea that anything will ever change," he writes.
Sky-high bill: Why did AT&T charge an 83-year-old Woodland Hills man $24,000 for his AOL dial-up connection? L.A. Times columnist David Lazarus explains.
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Candidate in L.A.: Sen. Marco Rubio told a Los Angeles audience that he wants the prime minister of Japan to acknowledge his country’s role in forcing Korean women into sexual servitude during World War II, reports the Los Angeles Times. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting America and will address Congress later today.
Government’s big idea: Venture capitalist Tim Draper’s plans to split California into six states didn’t turn out so well. So now he’s launching the "Fix California Challenge" to crowd-source ideas on improving government, reports SF Gate.
Honoring California’s past: State leaders are debating whether a statute of Father Junipero Serra in the U.S. Capitol should be replaced by one of Sally Ride, reports the Washington Post. But it’s rather awkward timing, as Pope Francis will be in Washington, D.C., later this year to canonize Serra.
Home on the range: Concerns over development and the environment have allowed the Bay Area’s last slaughterhouse to live on, per Grist. “All it took to keep it open was the collapse of the entire American real estate market — that, and 8.7 million pounds of recalled beef.”
House poor: A study from the California Housing Partnership finds 1.5 million households in the state cannot access housing that is affordable based on their income. California’s poorest families spend two-thirds of their income on housing, often leaving little money for food and other expenses, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Former Dodger’s diagnosis: Former Dodger Kirk Gibson has Parkinson’s disease. “I look forward to being back at the ballpark as soon as possible,” he said Tuesday, per the Los Angeles Times.
Family vibe: For the Clippers, the post-game celebration in the locker room is a family affair, reports the Los Angeles Times. Chris Paul started the tradition of allowing players’ young sons to hang out after a game.
Pot delivery: Rapper Snoop Dogg is backing a new marijuana-delivery service. He’s invested $10 million in Eaze, which is intended to help out medical marijuana patients. The service is operating in San Francisco and is expected to expand to Los Angeles, according to the LA Weekly.
L.A. at night: A photo collection that shows the beauty of Los Angeles at night, courtesy of Mashable.
Is there something we missed in today’s Essential California? Drop us a line and we’ll include your link (and a credit) in tomorrow’s edition. Share your thoughts with us on Twitter with the tag #EssentialCalifornia or send us an email: Alice Walton and Shelby Grad.
Los Angeles is experiencing something of a heat wave, though it will cool down by the time the weekend rolls around. Highs are expected to reach the mid-80s today. It will be 80 degrees and sunny in San Diego. And in the Bay Area, it will be mostly sunny and in the mid-60s today, with a warm-up expected Thursday and Friday.
Happy birthday to William Randolph Hearst, born on this day in 1863 in San Francisco.
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.