Essential California: L.A.'s homeless population on the rise

Good morning. It is Tuesday, May 12. Just in time for Bike to Work week, there’s new evidence that bike thefts are soaring in downtown Los Angeles. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:


More homeless on streets

The rate of homelessness in Los Angeles County increased 12% in the last two years, according to newly released figures. Advocates for the homeless say city and county leaders haven’t done enough to build affordable housing. Los Angeles Times

Curbing illegal racing

Street racing may be woven into Southern California’s DNA, but the LAPD is doing everything it can to put on the brakes. The Aggressive Driving Detail is arresting reckless drivers and handing out tickets for illegally modified cars. Los Angeles Times


Bottled water woes: Columnist Michael Hiltzik suggests Starbucks doesn’t deserve much credit for moving its water bottling plant out of California. “Its valiant step of moving its supply out the California drought zone deserves the applause of one hand clapping,” he writes. Los Angeles Times

Recycled water: The tale of how one reporter took care of his lawn with free water from Fresno City Hall. Fresno Bee

#DroughtShaming: As these aerial photos show, some of California’s most high-profile residents, including Kanye West and Barbra Streisand, are keeping their lawns green and their flowers blooming despite the drought. Los Angeles Times, New York Post

Investor vs. farmer: Investors are rushing to back almonds, and that has cattle ranchers concerned that the increase in farming could deplete their water supplies. “We are seeing investors come from all over the world trying to get in on it. It’s kind of like the Gold Rush,” said the president of the  California Farm Bureau Federation. KQED

Challenging tiered rates: Glendale residents are the latest group to challenge water agencies’ tiered pricing structures. However, city officials believe they can show that the rate structure does match the cost of providing the water. Glendale News-Press



Wavering support: Some small business owners who supported Eric Garcetti during his 2013 run for mayor are disappointed by his campaign to increase the minimum wage. They say there’s been minimal outreach, and the mayor’s staff is often unresponsive. Los Angeles Times

Art legacy: Critic Christopher Hawthorne on the architectural character of artist Chris Burden’s work, particularly LACMA’s “Urban Light.” “Here were deeply familiar symbols of car culture brought together into a quasi-architectural shape and used, without sarcasm or apology, to suggest an emerging role for the pedestrian and the public realm in 21st century Southern California,” Hawthorne writes. Los Angeles Times

Passing of trailblazer: Civic leader Ann Shaw died at the age of 93. She was the first African American to head the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles. Shaw was also the only woman on the California Commission on Judicial Performance when it investigated the court of Chief Justice Rose Bird. Los Angeles Times 

Seoul to Silicon Beach: Koreans who want to work for technology firms are flocking to Los Angeles. The city’s large Korean American population can make for a smoother transition. The cost of living is also more affordable than moving to Silicon Valley. Los Angeles Times



Getting a raise: Gov. Jerry Brown and state legislators will receive a 3% pay raise on Dec. 1. The chairman of the California Citizens Compensation Commission said the salary bumps reflect the state’s economy recovery. Sacramento Bee

Baby on board: Former state Treasurer Bill Lockyer and his wife are expecting their second child. Nadia Lockyer was an Alameda County supervisor until 2012 when she was forced to resign in the wake of a meth addiction and an affair with a man who allegedly assaulted her in a motel room before trying to blackmail her. SF Gate



Officer-involved shootings: This graphic finds how and when police in Orange County fire their guns. The basic takeaway: the county has two police shootings a month, usually in the central and northern regions. Orange County Register

Emotional testimony: The criminal trial of a man who plowed his car through the Venice Beach boardwalk in 2013, killing a newlywed and injuring 17 others, is bringing back painful memories for the victims’ families. Los Angeles Times

Passing the bar: The dean of UC Irvine’s School of Law believes it’s time California adopted the Uniform Bar Exam, which could make it easier for attorneys to move across state lines. “It's crazy that a lawyer from, say, Oregon, who has practiced law for decades can't move across the border into California and pick up where he left off,” Erwin Chemerinsky writes in an op-ed. Los Angeles Times



Cost of living: How tough is the Los Angeles rental market? It now costs as much to live next to LAX as it does to rent in Beverly Hills. Curbed LA

Housing imbalance: The city of Irvine is home to one in 12 Orange County residents but it is responsible for half of the county’s new housing. Orange County Register



Preparing for Preakness: Columnist Bill Dwyre profiles a local trainer, Bob Baffert, who could be the first person to win the Triple Crown since 1978. “While talk of a Triple Crown is premature before the Preakness, there could be no better trainer and spokesman to get it done, while gracefully handling the inherent pressures along the way,” he writes. Los Angeles Times

Game 5: The Clippers play the Houston Rockets tonight. If they win, it will be the team’s first trip to the Western Conference Finals in its 45-year history. Los Angeles Times



Regulating homeless: The city of Los Angeles should consider partnering with businesses and nonprofits that could offer their parking lots to homeless men and women who live in their cars. The suggestion comes as City Attorney Mike Feuer is considering how to best regulate Angelenos whose only home is a vehicle. Los Angeles Times



Measuring wealth: This breakdown shows just how wealthy California’s tech entrepreneurs are. For example, Elon Musk is worth 20 Beyonces and 20 Taylor Swifts. BuzzFeed

No double-doubles: An Orange County man is accused of selling phony In-N-Out franchises in the Middle East, ultimately bilking investors out of more than $4 million. Craig Stevens pleaded not guilty to wire fraud. Los Angeles Times

Minor collisions: Over the last six years, Google’s self-driving cars were involved in 11 minor crashes. 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.



It should be a breezy day in San Francisco, where wind gusts could reach 28 mph. Temperatures will reach a high of 59 degrees.

Los Angeles will have patches of fog today, with highs reaching 70 degrees. San Diego will have a cloudy morning but should see some sunshine in the afternoon with temperatures around 66 degrees.



A cartoonist's perspective on the drought. Los Angeles Times


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