Essential California: Tuition freeze for some UC students

Good morning. It is Friday, May 15.  It looks as though Harry Shearer might leave “The Simpsons,” a show he has voiced since 1989. Which of his characters is your favorite? We’re partial to newsman Kent Brockman. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:



Senate run

Suddenly, what looked like a routine race for the U.S. Senate just got more exciting. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat from Orange County, announced Thursday she will join the race, which has now been dominated by Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. Sanchez has a lot less money but the woman who famously defeated Bob Dornan two decades ago is known for her blunt style, and she is making a direct appeal to California’s Latinos. Los Angeles Times

Tuition freeze

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget will freeze tuition at UC campuses for in-state students for two years.  That represents an agreement reached between the governor and UC President Janet Napolitano. An uptick in revenue will also be used to hire more teachers and counselors for elementary, secondary and college campuses.  Los Angeles Times 

Federal charges

L.A. County’s former undersheriff, Paul Tanaka, was indicted Thursday on allegations of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a case prosecutors said was filled with "cover-ups, diversionary tactics, retribution and a culture generally reserved for Hollywood scripts." Tanaka is expected to take a leave of absence from his job as mayor of Gardena. One big question: Does the investigation go even further up the food chain to former Sheriff Lee Baca?  Los Angeles Times



Great wet hope: There could be a big El Niño weather pattern that would bring heavy rains to drought-parched California. Over the last year, scientists have been disappointed as signs of El Niño fizzled. But this week, they are seeing clear signs that one is forming in the Pacific, and that could mean rains in winter. Los Angeles Times 

Relief funds: The governor's budget proposal also sets aside $2.2 billion for drought relief. The funds will be spent on water conservation and improving local water supplies. "We hope to make a dent not only in this year’s drought, but to change behaviors," said Mark Cowin, director of the Department of Water Resources.  Los Angeles Times

Bottled at the source: The CEO of Nestle Waters says not only will his company not stop bottling California’s water, but he would take more water if he could. “It’s driven by an on-the-go society that needs to hydrate,” said Tim Brown. 89.3 KPCC

Empty lakes: New drone footage shows just how depleted some of California’s reservoirs have become. NBC News

No water deliveries: For the first time in nearly 100 years, farmers who get canal water from the Fresno Irrigation District won’t receive their regular deliveries. “We’re definitely experiencing history being made,” said the irrigation system’s general manager. Fresno Bee

Green policies: One professor says the drought is a good reminder that environmental policies should benefit the greater good. He points to almond milk and bottled water as items that benefit a few, sometimes to the detriment of the environment. Talking Points Memo



Game 7: The Clippers lost to the Houston Rockets, 119-107, and face elimination in Game 7 of their NBA playoff series Sunday in Houston. Los Angeles Times

Paid time off: Mayor Eric Garcetti says he’s concerned about a provision that was inserted  into a minimum wage proposal at the 11th hour. The language would require employers to give their minimum wage workers vacation and sick leave. “ I would be very uncomfortable without any study,” Garcetti said. Los Angeles Times

Gun violence: It has been almost a year since the mass shooting in Isla Vista, and in that time the father of one of the victims has thrown himself into advocacy work. “No little kid in this country when I was growing up ever had to worry about being shot and killed in their school. I mean, what kind of country are we?” Richard Martinez asks columnist Robin Abcarian. Los Angeles Times 

Urban farming: L.A. residents who can’t get enough honey may soon be allowed to maintain their own bee hives. The city is getting closer to legalizing backyard beekeeping but only in single-family neighborhoods. Curbed LA

Drivin’ in the rain: Here’s an evergreen, helpful guide for any Angeleno who has never driven in the rain before -- or perhaps driven at all. Tips include slowing down and turning on headlights. Los Angeles Times



Harassment allegation: A former city employee claimed Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson sexually harassed her multiple times over a seven-month period. The city found the claim did not have merit. It’s the third time in two decades that Johnson has faced allegations of unwanted touching. Sacramento Bee

Living on the brink: A peek at what it’s like for city government when that city plunges into bankruptcy. In this case, the city is San Bernardino. “San Bernardino is not rich or lucky enough to survive the handicap of a badly flawed system. It doesn’t have the same margin for error.” The Atlantic



Tea sting: A former teen heartthrob who went on to create a new-age temple is in trouble with the state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. Undercover officers raided actor Andrew Keegan’s Full Circle for selling blueberry kombucha, a tea that is slightly fermented. The temple did not have a license to sell the drink. Vice

180,000-carat gem: A civil trial is expected to begin today to determine the rightful owner of an 840-pound emerald. The Bahia Emerald is valued at $372 million. Los Angeles Times

Street fight: Artists and skateboarders brawled in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza, armed with just their easels, boards and a hammer. The whole thing was captured on tape. SF Gate

Judicial review: For the fourth time in his career, a Kern County judge was disciplined by a judicial oversight panel for intimidating court administrators and attorneys. Los Angeles Times



State budget: While $7 billion may sound like a lot of money, this editorial shows just how quickly it can be absorbed into state programs. However, the fact that California’s revised budget includes such an amount is a sign of Gov. Jerry Brown’s fiscal caution. Los Angeles Times 

Deficit of cops: California has a shortage of police and that’s contributing to a breakdown in community policing relationships, writes Joe Mathews. “Cops also have to cover more ground and have less time to develop deep relationships within the neighborhoods they cover,” he writes. Zocalo Public Square



Banana and birthday suits: A photo gallery of the dos and don’ts for Sunday’s Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. SFist

Sharks spotted: Six great white sharks were spotted in the waters off Surfside in Orange County. Video footage shows them surrounding a sheriff’s patrol boat. LAist

Baseball and beer: Five bars where you can watch the Dodgers on TV and drink craft beer. Los Angeles Times



Both San Diego and Los Angeles can expect rain and possibly a thunderstorm before noon. Temperatures will be in the mid-60s. San Francisco will be cloudy with some sunshine expected in the afternoon. Temperatures will reach 57 degrees.



Did you know: Orange County got its name first and its oranges second. It was a marketing pitch to draw in migrants, but the name worked too well. Land prices skyrocketed, Disneyland opened, and, eventually, developers chopped down the citrus trees to make room for tract homes. 89.9 KCRW


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