Essential California: L.A. joins minimum wage movement

Good morning. It is Wednesday, May 20. A start-up company says it was meant to be playful, but San Francisco drivers were not smiling when they discovered the “parking ticket” on their windshield was a coupon for a new app. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


New minimum wage

Los Angeles is the latest big city to increase its minimum wage. The city council approved a plan to increase hourly wages to $15 by 2020. L.A.'s action comes as efforts to increase the federal minimum wage have stalled. Los Angeles Times 

 Political support

Sony Pictures Entertainment donated $25,000 to a political action committee that L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas had founded at a time when the studio’s chief executive needed the politician’s support.  That’s according to internal emails that shed light on how LACMA’s leadership courted Ridley-Thomas and how Sony, concerned about appearances, delayed the PAC contribution until a few weeks after a school board race. Los Angeles Times

2015 election results

The first Korean American was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Unofficial results show David Ryu beat out Carolyn Ramsay by a 1,600-vote margin. Ramsay was a former aide to incumbent Councilman Tom LaBonge, and ran with the support Mayor Eric Garcetti and council President Herb Wesson. Over at the L.A. Unified Board of Education, two incumbents lost while member Richard Vladovic hung onto his South L.A. seat. Los Angeles TimesLos Angeles Times



Refilling a lake: Lake Mission Viejo is home to 1.2 billion gallons of drinkable water. With the state in its fourth year of the drought, officials are now considering a proposal to fill the lake with recycled water. Los Angeles Times

Tough task: A new Field Poll finds that while a majority of Californians think the drought is extremely serious, 44% of them think it will be difficult to conserve more water. San Jose Mercury-News

No big rapids: It will be a short rafting season this year due to the drought. KQED

Drinking water: The state Water Resources Control Board approved funding that will help some California communities access drinking water. The money will be used to purchase water and repair wells. Los Angeles Times

Drought tourism: From Pebble Beach to Disneyland, the state’s top tourist attractions are figuring out how to conserve water without losing customers. New York Times



Graduation protest: A Columbia University student who has been carrying a mattress around campus to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault hung onto the mattress as she graduated. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was the commencement speaker. “You've held contrary opinions, held die-ins and sit-ins, carried mattresses. Never stop being academics, and never stop being activists,” he said. NBC News

Sidewalks, bike lanes: Is Mayor Eric Garcetti truly committed to making L.A. bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly? That’s the question now that the mayor’s appointed Board of Public Works has approved a plan for the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge that preserves traffic lanes but removes a sidewalk. Streetsblog LA

Reward offered: A $1,000 reward is being offered for the return of a woman’s exotic bird, a 28-year-old miligold macaw. The bird was stolen from his cage in an East Los Angeles backyard. He answers to the name Mickey and his favorite movies include “Transformers” and “Congo.” Los Angeles Times



Court delay: The trial of former state Sen. Ron Calderon was delayed for a third time. The Montebello Democrat will now go on trial in March of next year. In 2014, he was indicted on 24 counts of bribery, money laundering and tax fraud. Sacramento Bee



End of solitary: Minors in Contra Costa County’s juvenile hall will no longer be kept in solitary confinement. The move is the result of a legal settlement. “The draconian practice of solitary confinement will come to an end and the focus will be, as it should, on education and rehabilitation,” according to the managing attorney at Disability Rights Advocates.  Los Angeles Times

Excessive force allegations: A mentally ill homeless man is suing 14 LAPD officers, accusing them of excessive force when they arrested him last year in Venice. Video footage of the arrest shows one officer using a Taser on Samuel Arrington while other officers try to subdue him. One cop said he saw a colleague punch Arrington twice in the head with a closed fist. Los Angeles Times

Drug death: A prostitute who injected a former Google executive with a fatal dose of heroin was sentenced to six years in prison. Alix Tichelman is now considered a suspect in a similar case in Georgia. Los Angeles Times

Hit-and-run: An actor who appeared in “Unbroken” was sentenced to 50 days of community service and must pay $161,000 in restitution for running over a cyclist in Hollywood. Spencer Lofranco left voice-over actress Camille Banham on the side of the road with a broken hip and other fractures. LAist

Off the radar: A 24-year-old flight instructor in Palo Alto is accused of stealing a plane and disappearing over the Pacific Ocean. Los Angeles Times



Burst pipe: Crude oil leaked into the Pacific Ocean Tuesday after a pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara County. Los Angeles Times

Whale ashore: Another dead whale has washed up on the shores of Northern California. A spokeswoman for the Marine Mammal Center says that during migration season, it’s not unusual to see more whales from April to June. Los Angeles Times

New animal: A brand-new critter was found near the Port of Los Angeles. It is called Exosphaeroma pentcheffi  after the teacher who discovered it. City Lab

Sea lion funds: A 9-year-old girl in Virginia raised $1,746.24 to help the starving baby sea lions that continue to wash up on Southern California’s beaches. She gave the funds to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which will use the money to buy fish and medical supplies for the pups. Orange County Register

Back home: A mountain lion that wandered into a San Mateo neighborhood was released back into the wild after he was tranquilized by animal control officers. SF Gate



SoCal homes: The median price of a home in the Southland is now $429,000 -- a 6.2% increase from April 2014. It’s also the highest median price since November 2007. Los Angeles Times



Memories of Case Study House No. 22: What was it like to grow up in one of the most famous Midcentury Modern homes in the world? Los Angeles Magazine

What’s for dinner? The Los Angeles Public Library’s collection of menus from L.A. restaurants reveals the city’s history. The oldest menu in the collection is from 1875. NPR

Old grudges: A look at how a fight between motorcycle gangs in Hollister back in 1947 inspired the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.” Los Angeles Times 

Hooray for Hollywood: California’s film tax credits appear to be attracting new projects. Six television shows that film outside the state applied for $27.6 million in financial incentives. Los Angeles Times



San Francisco has a 20% chance of showers with a high near 58 degrees. There is a chance of drizzle in Los Angeles and San Diego, where temperatures will reach the mid-60s.



Talk about extra innings. On May 20, 1977, the San Diego Padres defeated the Montreal Expos, 11-8, in 21 innings.


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