Essential California: Water rights at risk

Good morning. It is Friday, May 22.  A sea lion who tried to get into a Newport Beach bar was turned over to the authorities after he was carded by a bartender. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Water rights

The State Water Resources Control Board is preparing to tell senior rights holders, those who have claims to water dating back before 1914, to shut off their pumps. It would be the first time in four decades that water officials have had to reach back that far in the water-rights hierarchy. Los Angeles Times 

Cleanup continues

More than 300 workers and 18 boats are working around the clock to clean up the oil spill along the coast of Santa Barbara. Even though it is a relatively small spill, the pipeline rupture could be a major hit to the ecosystem and local economy. Ultimately, the spill could result in a $500,000 to $2-million fine under the Clean Water ActLos Angeles Times 

Political milestone

Koreatown is celebrating the election of David Ryu to the Los Angeles City Council. The fact that most of that community is outside his district doesn’t seem to matter. “It’s a sign of our civic community maturing over the years, from the first generation to now,” said the executive director of the Koreatown Youth and Community Center of the election of the council’s first Korean-American. Los Angeles Times 


Raging waters: What is it like to visit a water park in the middle of California’s drought? “There was undoubtedly something discordant about seeing so much water dedicated to recreation, particularly with a backdrop of parched hills in the distance.” The New Yorker

Eat more blueberries: This interactive graphic shows how the rest of America is contributing to California’s water shortage. New York Times

Television coverage: A new study finds the broadcast media’s coverage of California’s drought is giving short shrift to climate change. Media Matters

Allergy season: Have your allergies been acting up? Blame it on the drought. The dry conditions mean pollen from trees and grass collects on the ground and then blows around in the wind. CBS News



L.A.’s spending plan: The city of Los Angeles approved an $8.6 billion budget that provides more money for street cleaning and tree trimming. There are also funds to hire 270 firefighters. Not included in the budget is money for raises, even though most city unions are still in labor talks with the city. Los Angeles Times

Harassment lawsuit: An aide to West Hollywood Councilman John Duran is suing the politician and the city, alleging he was sexually harassed. The aide, Ian Owens, says the city’s behavior “would be expected of a high school or reality show – not the government of a sophisticated municipality.” Duran denies any wrongdoing. Los Angeles Times



Secret bills: Up in Sacramento, “unbacked bills” give lobbyists tremendous influence. Bills that are not sponsored by a legislator may be shopped around or introduced at the last-minute. “Legislators are outsourcing their jobs to people in the shadows that we don’t know,” said Jessica Levinson, a professor of governance and ethics at the Loyola Law School. KQED



Moratorium on development: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a moratorium on private development in the Mission District. Supporters say the moratorium would give public officials time to purchase land and put up more affordable housing. City Lab

Uncertainty for Airbnb: Laguna Beach now has a 45-day ban on all short-term rentals, like Airbnb and VRBO. That will give the city council time to decide what sorts of restrictions to place on property owners who rent out their homes. Orange County Register

Controlling their fate: In Los Angeles’ Frogtown neighborhood, residents are trying to control their own destiny before developers and market forces take over. It’s a community where older residents remember the disruption of the Golden State (5) Freeway and the eviction of families from Chavez Ravine. NextCity



Historic spill: With attention focused on the oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, it is worth remembering that it was a 1969 oil spill in the same area that launched the modern environmental movement. Vox



Tunneling San Francisco: Work on two new subway tunnels in San Francisco was completed last week. The $1.6-billion subway project is expected to be completed in 2019. SF Gate



Money and tech: The fact that Goldman Sachs held its annual shareholders meeting in San Francisco is a sign of the financial industry’s interest in Silicon Valley. “Tech is where the money is. Wall Street wants a bigger piece of the action.” Buzzfeed

11-year-old graduate: The youngest person to graduate high school has just graduated college with associate degrees -- one year after that first achievement. Los Angeles Times

Video testimony: A San Clemente woman battling anorexia is gaining support from the public after posting a video about her struggle with the eating disorder.”This is a psychological disease fight followed up with biological pain and suffering that go along with it,” she said. Los Angeles Times



Obama and oil: In an op-ed, the executive director of Blue Frontier writes that  President Obama should visit Santa Barbara to see the result of offshore drilling. “He seems to have learned little from theBP blowout five years ago in the Gulf of Mexico,” writes David Helvarg. Los Angeles Times 



San Diego is likely to have showers with temperatures in the mid 60s. Los Angeles will have 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms with highs around 67 degrees. There’s also a slight chance of showers in San Francisco, where temperatures will be about 59 degrees.



End of an era: Almost 23 years before David Letterman left the stage, Johnny Carson did so on this date in 1992. Carson’s "The Tonight Show" taped in Burbank from May 1972 until the show faded to black for the final time.


Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.