Essential California: L.A. sues Wells Fargo over banking practices

Good morning. It is Tuesday, May 5 -- Cinco de Mayo. Here’s a short rundown of where you can stop for tacos and margaritas after work, plus some other things happening in the Golden State:


Focus on banking practices

The L.A. city attorney is suing Wells Fargo, the largest California-based bank, for allegedly pushing employees to open unwanted bank and credit card accounts for customers. The practice can damage customers’ credit scores and lead to unnecessary fees and penalties. Los Angeles Times 

Ride-shares at LAX

A proposal to allow Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers at LAX is adding a new dimension to the companies’ war with taxi drivers, who have a stronghold on the airport. Some politicians want ride-share drivers to pay a fee for picking up at the airport and undertake new insurance and fingerprint requirements. Los Angeles Times 

Healthcare for immigrants

Providing medical care to immigrants who are in the country illegally may cost California $740 million a year, according to a state Senate report. It’s the first time a price tag has been attached to a bill from Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). Los Angeles Times



Smart meters: They may be a lot more expensive than traditional water meters, but they can be a lot more accurate when it comes to conservation efforts. Glendale and Burbank are already using the new smart meters. Los Angeles Times 

Bottled at the source: Ethos Water is known for donating money to water projects in the developing world. Now, some are looking at the source of Ethos Water near Merced, Calif. Mother Jones

Green thumb: A Q&A with Australian landscape designer Jamie Durie. "We should also be recycling all of our water. Our tap, bath and laundry water should be used in the garden," he says. Los Angeles Times

Water business: Businesses in Orange County are finding innovative ways to use less water. And that may have an unexpected upside. "For businesses that do find such innovative solutions, the result can be effective marketing that appeals to water-wise consumers." Orange County Register



Allegations of infidelity: The late Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo had a lot of girlfriends -- and a room in his house where he brought women during lunch breaks and after work, according to court documents. And all of that was known to his wife, who is now facing voluntary manslaughter charges in Crespo’s shooting death. Los Angeles Times

New kind of athlete: A peek into the lives of minor league video game players, whose salaries start around $40,000 a year. Los Angeles Times 



Flirting with bankruptcy: It’s an incredibly popular company with a celebrity CEO, but in 2013 Tesla came within two weeks of running out of cash and no one outside of Tesla or Google ever knew. That tidbit is from a new biography on Elon Musk. SF Gate



Junk food wars: Efforts to keep sugary drinks and junk foods out of the hands of schoolchildren have led to a decline in childhood obesity --  but mostly in higher income neighborhoods. It’s another sign that often the healthy choice is not the affordable one. Los Angeles Times 

Reimagining education: In San Francisco, one school is using technology to reinvent education. The AltSchool uses tech to put a spin on the classic Montessori experience, and it’s just raised $100 million in Series B funding as it tries to expand to a national network. Buzzfeed



Heavy lifting: Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says the rest of the country could learn a lot about the environment from California -- and weightlifting. "When I heard the news last week that Gov. Jerry Brown, who followed me into the governor's office, had accelerated California's goal to reduce greenhouse gases, the weightlifter in me was overjoyed," he said. Time

Homeless representation: Residents living on Los Angeles' skid row want to create their own neighborhood council to advocate for housing and public restrooms. LAist

School spirit: A bill approved by the state Assembly would prohibit schools from using "Redskins" as a mascot. There are four public high schools that still use term: in Merced, Calaveras, Madera and Tulare counties. SF Gate



Teacher’s new charges: A former Marlborough School teacher was charged Monday with sexually abusing a second student. Joseph Thomas Koetter is accused of abusing a 16-year-old girl between February and June 2004. He’s already facing charges related to crimes that allegedly took place in 2000. Los Angeles Times

An apology: An actress who said she was mistreated by police responding to a call about a couple having sex in a car will now have to write letters of apology. Daniele Watts made news by publicly claiming police had racially profiled her. However, a recording later released by one of the cops discredited the complaint. Los Angeles Times

No good deed: A Pasadena police officer was charged with insurance fraud after she appeared in an Ice Bucket Challenge  video while out on disability for a back injury. Authorities say the five-gallon bucket of ice water that she threw on a fellow officer weighed 42 pounds. Jaime Robinson has pleaded not guilty. Los Angeles Times



Spending public money: City Hall leaders should do more to oversee the spending of ratepayers' money at the Department of Water and Power. That's according to an L.A. Times editorial, which was prompted by audits on the spending of two nonprofits that were supposed to provide safety training to DWP employees. "City leaders repeatedly signed off on labor contracts that guaranteed funding for the trusts, with no accountability or transparency." Los Angeles Times



Matter of logistics: Writer Joe Mathews says California is falling down on the job when it comes to connecting east-west traffic. "California's east-west connections, despite improvements, are narrow, far from numerous, and hard to navigate," he writes. Desert Sun

Chirp, chirp: Are crickets the next big trend in food? One entrepreneur hopes so. He's set up an edible cricket farm in the San Fernando Valley. Daily News



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 and San Diego will be mostly cloudy today with a chance of drizzle this evening. Temperatures should be in the high 60s. In San Francisco, there will be patchy fog with temperatures in the low 60s.



Waves set off by a storm near New Zealand hit Southern California’s coast Monday.

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.