Good morning. It is Friday, May 1. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:
Restoring the delta
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been the focus of California's water fights for decades. Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday announced a scaled-back approach to restoring and re-engineering the troubled estuary. It retains a proposal to build twin tunnels under the delta to keep water flowing, according to the Los Angeles Times, but drastically reduces the fish and wildlife habitat that would be restored.
Public money, private spending
Administrators at two nonprofits -- set up to provide training to Department of Water and Power employees -- spent ratepayers' money on steak dinners and trips to Las Vegas and Hawaii, according to the Los Angeles Times. One administrator even spent $30,000 on gas for personal vehicles between 2010 and 2014.
Rescued from the rubble
A 15-year-old boy was pulled from a collapsed hotel in Katmandu five days after the country’s devastating earthquake. Firefighters from Los Angeles County assisted in rescuing Pemba Lama, who was dehydrated but otherwise uninjured, reports the Los Angeles Times. When the first officer reached him, Pemba sang, "You are a god who has come to me to try to save me."
Drought funding: Democrats in the state Senate want the governor to spend drought relief funds faster. They also want to see farmers do more to conserve water. Agriculture "can – and should – do more during the drought," according to a letter signed by the 25 Democrats, per the Los Angeles Times.
Season opener: A lack of snow means Yosemite’s Half Dome will open three weeks early. Hikers can head up starting on Sunday, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Wildfires: California is likely to have a dangerous fire season thanks to the drought. "The state is literally a tinderbox," according to Mother Jones.
Drought infestation: Ants are invading San Francisco homes. Experts say it’s because a lack of rain has led to a population explosion, reports SFist.
Looking for solutions: In a piece for the Jewish Journal, L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz says California should look to Israel for ways to address water shortages. Those include reclaiming sewage and building a local water source. "Israel got religion about the drought crisis long ago; now, Los Angeles has clearly — finally — done the same," he writes.
Celebs save water: Saving water is the "in" thing in Hollywood, as the Hollywood Reporter found out. Rapper LL Cool J is taking shorter showers and Billy Ray Cyrus says he's replacing his garden with succulents.
L.A. AT LARGE
Indictment at the port: The police chief at the Port of Los Angeles was indicted Thursday on federal corruption charges, reports the Los Angeles Times. Ronald Jerome Boyd is accused of helping a software company get a contract, all while hiding that he had a financial stake in the firm. Boyd is expected to surrender to authorities next week.
Construction complications: In a blow to the Hollywood revitalization campaign, a judge says building permits cannot be issued for two Hollywood skyscrapers because the proposed Millennium project, which neighbors have long opposed, did not adequately address traffic and congestion concerns. Critics also say the project is not seismically sound, according to the Los Angeles Times.
COURTS AND CRIME
App for that: The ACLU launched a new app in California that allows people to send in cellphone footage of police activity. A similar app in New York generated more than 30,000 videos over a three-year period, per the Los Angeles Times.
Bail money: Suge Knight must really be hoping Floyd Mayweather Jr. wins his fight against Manny Pacquiao on Saturday. That’s because Mayweather may use some of his prize money to bail Knight out of jail to the tune of $10 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Alleged assault: A USC student says she was raped by an Uber driver Saturday about 1 a.m., reports the LA Weekly.
Stolen car: So much for a car alarm -- a suspect walked into a La Jolla car dealership, swiped a set of keys and took off in a brand new Maserati. The car is valued at $80,000 to $85,000, according to U-T San Diego.
Legendary criminal: The OC Weekly tells the legend of Rosario "Zarco" Sainz, O.C.'s last desperado.
Looking for food: A sea lion pup was found out on the streets of San Francisco. It’s actually the second time the pup, named Rubbish, has been rescued by animal control, according to Buzzfeed. Sea lion pups have been making their way to land as they look for food.
Where are you from? Are you more Northern California or Southern California? This Buzzfeed quiz can tell you with these nine questions.
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.
If you’re headed to Southern California's beaches this weekend, be careful. The National Weather Service says there will be large waves arriving Saturday and peaking Sunday night. That could lead to rip currents.
San Francisco will be 70 degrees today with clouds coming in this evening. The weekend is expected to be foggy, with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees. San Diego is also expected to be cloudy at 79 degrees. Los Angeles will be sunny and about 84 degrees, with temperatures cooling just slightly Saturday.
The Los Angeles Times has a poll to name the Griffith Park mountain lion, who is simply known as P-22. "Sure, he’s not our pet and we should keep our distance, but he is our feline celebrity."
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.