Good morning. It is Thursday, May 7. Can you match San Francisco neighborhoods with their emojis? There’s a quiz for that. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:
Phony show of force
An aide to state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, along with two others, allegedly impersonated a cop and told people he worked for a police department that was 3,000 years old and had jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico. Brandon Kiel was placed on paid leave after he was arrested. Los Angeles Times
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says he is very concerned about the shooting of an unarmed homeless man in Venice Beach. The chief said he watched surveillance tape of the shooting. "I don’t see the supporting evidence that I normally would," Beck said. Los Angeles Times
Price of water
Water districts are trying to prove that the huge rates they charge heavy users aren't simply punishment -- now that a court has ruled against tiered water rates. That means new calculations to show it's more expensive to deliver water to people and companies that use the most. Los Angeles Times
Greener pastures: Columnist George Skelton goes against the grain to advocate for keeping green lawns in the midst of a drought. "Homeowners now should be pounding in their own signs for the politicians to read, like a Clint Eastwood character once said: 'Get off my lawn!'" he writes. Los Angeles Times
No crops to pick: As California's farming fields have dried up, so too have jobs for farm workers who crossed the border. "Across the Golden State, fields lay dry and fallow, crops unplanted." Pacific Standard Magazine
Placing blame: Thanks to the drought, Californians are going through the seven stages of grief. Right now, they're somewhere between denial and anger. Grist
Unnatural habitats: The drought is forcing animals into more urban environments as they hunt for food and water. The giant kangaroo rat is in a particularly dangerous situation. Washington Post
L.A. AT LARGE
Occupational hazards: Employees with the Department of Water and Power are twice as likely to be injured on the job as employees at other utilities. The DWP's general manager suggested the injury rate was increasing because of City Hall's efforts to audit two nonprofits responsible for safety and training programs. Daily News
Walking in L.A.: Fights over jaywalking tickets and access to public stairways are the latest signs that Los Angeles is becoming a more walkable city. City Lab
Planes, trains, automobiles: One New Yorker, astonished to learn Los Angeles has public transit, attempted to get around L.A. County on buses and rail lines. "A subway in Los Angeles: What a concept! A clean, well-appointed subway at that, with a train that arrived within minutes." New York Times
Paving freeways for paradise: A new video shows what Los Angeles' Civic Center could look like if the Hollywood (101) Freeway were covered with parklands. Curbed LA
College prep: Three-quarters of Los Angeles' 10th graders are not prepared to meet new college prep requirements. The standards were set in 2005 and require students in the class of 2017 to achieve a C or better in courses that would make them eligible for the University of California and California State systems. Los Angeles Times
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Power of non-voters: Even though they can't vote, immigrants who are in the country illegally still have political clout in California. "You have a sizable number of legislators that are keenly aware that for the continued economic growth of California, we need to normalize the legal status of this population," said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. Orange County Register
Asking for a raise: A panel will meet next week to decide whether Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers should get a raise. Though California has the nation's highest-paid legislators, state senators and assembly members make less money than many county supervisors. Los Angeles Times
CRIME AND COURTS
Fraud sentencing: A former Navy Seal was sentenced to more than six years in prison for defrauding investors, including fellow members of the military, out of more than $1 million. "I let my pride, my ego, my hubris lead me to believe I did not need help," Jason Mullaney told a San Diego court. U-T San Diego
Sick sea lions: Someone poured chlorine into the water filtration system at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which affected 17 rescued sea lions. All of the center's chlorine was accounted for, leading police to believe someone brought in chlorine to intentionally dump in the water. Los Angeles Times
Sense of self: At the age of 47, producer Melissa Rivers is trying to find her identity, something that was always wrapped up in her famous mother, Joan Rivers. "It's going to take me some time to find my voice. I'm still working on that." Los Angeles Times
Reliving history: The son of Louis Zamperini flew in a B-24 from Santa Barbara to Torrance this week. Zamperini was flying a B-24 bomber over the Pacific Ocean during World War II when he went down about 800 miles from Oahu. "There's nothing in between you and a bullet except a little tiny bit of aluminum," said Luke Zamperini. 89.3 KPCC
Earthquake connections: Small earthquakes shook Northern California and the Inland Empire Wednesday. So is there any connection between the temblors? Seismologists say it's just business as usual. Los Angeles Times
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 will be mostly cloudy today with a chance of rain. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 60s. San Diego also has a chance of rain with the possibility of thunderstorms. Highs will be in the low 60s.
San Francisco will enjoy some sunshine with temperatures in the low 60s.
Tweet of the Day is a PSA from Sutter Brown.
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.