Essential California: Loretta Sanchez offers apology

Good morning. It is Monday, May 18. Any chance you enjoyed a steak dinner this weekend? Here’s a look at how much water goes into making a good piece of meat. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Cultural insensitivity

U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez is apologizing for a video that showed her imitating a “war cry” as she joked about the difference between Indian Americans and Native Americans. One of her opponents in the race, Kamala Harris, has a mother who is Indian. “I don’t know what to say to that. That – that – that’s shocking,” Harris said of the video. Los Angeles Times 

Goodbye lawns

This drought may officially mark the end of California’s green lawns. In just one week this month, the Metropolitan Water District received $49 million worth of requests for conservation rebates. Los Angeles Times

Carbon footprint

One impact of the state’s drought is a reduction in electricity production at California dams. While that reduction won’t lead to brownouts, it will force the state to rely on other sources of power, like natural gas. Los Angeles Times

End of the line

The Clippers' season came to a screeching halt with a 113-100 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of their NBA playoff series. The Rockets came back from a three-games-to-one deficit to eliminate the Clippers. Los Angeles Times



Dry wells: About 1,900 wells in California have gone dry. That represents less than 1% of the state’s wells. “As the drought persists and groundwater levels drop, thousands of Californians have been left without well water and some parts of the San Joaquin Valley are sinking.” Los Angeles Times

Purchasing water: Orange County water officials are looking into purchasing water from a proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach. Work on the plant could start in 2016. Los Angeles Times

No help from feds: Federal legislation that would address California’s drought has stalled -- and what details do exist remain shrouded in secrecy. Some California Democrats have called Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s efforts “very disappointing.” Fresno Bee

Personal consumption: In this drought, it might make some Californians feel good to give up almonds or alfalfa but overall, those changes in personal consumption won’t make a dent in the state’s water needs. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an important part of the conversation. “Shaming, when done right, can not only affect behavioral change; it can usher a larger ethic—in this case, water conservation—into the public sphere in a way that forces us to collectively appreciate its gravity.” Pacific Standard Magazine

Hitch a ride: The drought has dried up riverbeds that typically take young salmon downstream. So, the state is undertaking the largest “fish lift” in its history. An estimated 30 million young salmon will travel by tanker truck. Sacramento Bee



New housing: Mayor Eric Garcetti overruled his own appointees to the Planning Commission when he signed off on a new apartment building in Koreatown. Critics say the new building, with its 269 apartments, will overshadow the significantly smaller buildings around it. The developer of the building agreed to put $1 million into the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and another $250,000 toward a project for the area’s councilman. Los Angeles Times 

End of an era: This is a chronicle of the final days of Victor’s Square Restaurant, which offered Jewish delicacies served up by an Italian who grew up in Brooklyn. That Italian is Bill Gotti, younger brother to Mafia boss John Gotti. Los Angeles Times 



Cause of drought? Is California’s drought the result of policies implemented by Gov. Pat Brown? “The stark challenge that confronts this state is putting a spotlight on a father and son who, as much as any two people, define modern-day California.”The New York Times

Bankruptcy recovery: The city of San Bernardino is working on a plan to emerge from bankruptcy. The highlights include making retirees pay more for healthcare and contracting out fire and sanitation services. Los Angeles Times

New political landscape: With Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez both running for the U.S. Senate, the 2016 election could be a glimpse into California’s political future. “Though from strikingly different class backgrounds, Sanchez and Harris are both among the 20 million U.S.-born adults who have at least one immigrant parent, and we’re about to see many more of these second-generation Americans running for office, particularly in California.” National Review



Crimes against children: Within the Los Angeles Police Department, one unit is responsible for finding predators who view and trade child pornography. Since the unit was created in 2002, its officers have reviewed 132 million images. Officers here are required to regularly visit psychologists. Los Angeles Times 

Hitman wanted: In Orange County, a member of a prominent surf family was arrested in a murder-for-hire plot. Joseph Jordan Taylor is accused of hiring an undercover officer who posed as a hitman. Taylor has five prior criminal convictions, including kidnapping, carjacking, criminal threats, and a DUI that caused injury. Orange County Register



DWP complaints: Columnist Steve Lopez visits with Angelenos who have had repeated problems with the Department of Water and Power’s customer service. He advocates for funding a ratepayer advocate to look out for their interests. Los Angeles Times

Backroom deal: The Los Angeles City Council’s move to slip a paid leave provision into a minimum wage ordinance, an editorial says, shows the panel is “incapable of operating in an open and transparent manner.” Los Angeles Times

Judges’ campaign donations: Law professor Jessica Levinson writes in an op-ed that campaign finance reformers should not rejoice in the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on judicial candidates’ abilities to raise money. “The decision does not represent a sea change in the high court’s otherwise dismal campaign-finance jurisprudence,” she writes. Sacramento Bee

Abolishing death row: A woman whose sister was the victim of Orange County’s worst killing says the death penalty should be abolished. “What happens on the day you watch them put a needle in his arm and watch him fall asleep? Are you going to get satisfaction?” asks Bethany Webb. Orange County Register



Band is not on the field: The Stanford band is prohibited from attending away games for the next year after university officials determined members had participated in hazing and sexual harassment. The band has a history of embarrassing the university, from urinating on football fields to dressing its conductor as a nun at Notre Dame. SF Gate

Segregated schools: One newspaper’s investigation found one-third of San Francisco’s elementary schools are segregated. It’s the result of housing patterns and a system that emphasizes parental choice. San Francisco Chronicle



San Diego will be most cloudy with highs in the mid-60s. Los Angeles will have patchy fog with a high of 67 degrees. In San Francisco, it will be mostly cloudy with a high of 58 degrees.



One Los Angeles woman was looking to do some spring cleaning when she was surprised to find a mother opossum and her babies living in a trash bag on her patio. So, what did the woman do? She filmed the wild animal, of course, and then gave her some directions: “Just take 3rd all the way to Beverly Hills.



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