Essential California: Cleaning up Santa Barbara's oil spill

Good morning. It is Thursday, May 21. Put down that hamburger! The city of Long Beach has endorsed Meatless Mondays. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Latest on oil spill

A least 21,000 gallons of oil has flowed into the Pacific Ocean following Tuesday's rupture of a pipeline off the coast of Santa Barbara. The U.S. Coast Guard has six vessels on scene to help with cleanup, which is expected to take three days.  Los Angeles Times 

History of infractions

The company behind the pipeline that burst, Plains Pipeline L.P., has a history of safety and maintenance infractions. It was the fifth-most cited company in a database of more than 1,700 pipe operators. Los Angeles Times 

Analyzing school board race

With the election of Ref Rodriguez to the board of the L.A. Unified School District, charter school supporters now have a seat -- literally -- at the table. About 15% of L.A. public school children are enrolled in a charter. In opposing candidates backed by the teachers’ union, the charter movement is filling a role previously held by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The current mayor, Eric Garcetti, has declined to be involved in educational issues. Los Angeles Times



More federal funds: California will receive $33 million from the federal government for water recycling and irrigation projects. The money won’t do much to help the drought. Rather, the goal is to boost local water supplies in the long term. Los Angeles Times

Giving up water: A group of farmers is considering voluntarily giving up a quarter of their water. In exchange, the farmers want guarantees that their remaining water rights won’t be compromised, even if the drought worsens. Sacramento Bee

Free water: In South Pasadena, officials can’t even give water away for free. A local high school offered up its swimming pool water when the pool had to be drained for repairs. Just a handful of folks showed up with buckets and trash cans. Zocalo Public Square

Strict conservation: About 1 million residents in Silicon Valley will need to cut their water consumption by 30%. The San Jose Water Co.’s plan is an across-the-board cut that is not dependent on a customer’s prior use. SF Gate



Ryu wins: Councilman-elect David Ryu went up against the biggest names in City Hall and won. He did so by staying on message and tapping into anti-establishment sentiments. Los Angeles Times 

Customer service? For more than a year, one Van Nuys couple has dealt with a Department of Water and Power billing problem that left them with a $51,000 tab, writes columnist Steve Lopez. Over roughly a six-month period, the DWP estimated they used 6.7 million gallons of water -- “or enough to flood half the San Fernando Valley.” Los Angeles Times

Using ratepayer money: Television cameras caught up with the head of the DWP's labor union to ask him about public dollars that went toward expensive meals and fancy hotels. Brian D’Arcy denied having anything to do improperly spent money. CBS 2



Future wage hikes: Not only do Los Angeles politicians want to increase the minimum wage, they want to tie future increases to the Consumer Price Index. Entrepreneurs and small business owners say that could tie their hands in an economic downturn. Los Angeles Times 

Value of money: But wait, L.A. workers won’t actually make $15 an hour. One economist writes that between inflation and the city’s high cost of living, making $15 in 2020 will be more like $9.75. FiveThirtyEight

Fractured rod: Caltrans officials determined that a steel rod in the Bay Bridge fractured after stewing for more than a year in water. SF Gate



No charges: Prosecutors will not charge more than a dozen Venice High School students accused of sexually assaulting two classmates. A spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office cited insufficient evidence. Los Angeles Times

Dashboard cam: Video of an LAPD officer jamming her boot into the side of a handcuffed suspect was played in court for the first time Wednesday. Officer Mary O’Callaghan is charged with assault under color of authority; she denies any wrongdoing. Los Angeles Times



Real estate boom: Eight before and after photos that show how much development has gone up in Los Angeles in just the last seven or eight years. Curbed LA



In the name of art: This video revisits artist Chris Burden’s 1971 performance piece “Shoot.” New York Times

Flying food: A rundown of where to eat when you’re stuck in San Diego’s airport. Eater San Diego

Tiki Ti reopens: Two weeks after closing “indefinitely,” the Tiki Ti, with its 92 tropical drinks and 12 bar stools, is reopening. Los Angeles Times



Addressing poverty: Now that the L.A. City Council has agreed to increase the minimum wage, city leaders need to do something to attract more middle-class jobs, an editorial says. “Without growth in higher-wage jobs, L.A. has done nothing but make itself more attractive to low-wage workers and less attractive to businesses that would hire them.” Los Angeles Times



San Francisco has a slight chance of showers with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees. There may be drizzle in Los Angeles before 11 a.m., with a high of 65 degrees. San Diego will be 64 degrees with a chance of drizzle.



(Cue the John Williams music in your head.) Lucky No. 3: On this day in 1980, "Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back" was released. The California connection should be obvious, but if you need a hint: George Lucas.


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