Essential California: Drought, meet El Niño

Good morning. It is Thursday, May 28. What’s for breakfast? If you live in Los Angeles, it’s probably avocado toast. (I’ll stick with coffee, thank you very much.) Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Preparing for El Niño

There is hope among forecasters that the California drought could end later this year thanks to a powerful El Niño weather pattern. The storm would need to dump 75 inches in the northern Sierra Nevada to replenish reservoir storage and runoff. The rainy season runs from October to April. Los Angeles Times 

Arsonist arrested

When the Da Vinci apartment building in downtown L.A. was set on fire last year, developer Geoffrey Palmer didn’t receive much sympathy from the design community. One blogger went so far as to suggest on Curbed LA that it may have been a “crime of aesthetic passion.” Now, police say the alleged arsonist was 56-year-old Dawud Abdulwali. He’s being held on $1-million bail. Los Angeles Times 



Yards of yesteryear: Losing your front yard to California’s drought may not be such a bad thing. Maintaining all that green grass is taxing on wallets and the environment. City Lab

Why so green? After protesters with Occupy LA destroyed the lawn at City Hall in 2011, city leaders decided to replace half the grass with drought-tolerant plants. But that doesn’t mean L.A. City Hall has escaped #droughtshaming on Twitter. Curbed LA

Making a buck: Business is booming for companies that offer drought-tolerant plants and graywater systems. Perhaps no one has benefited more than Turf Terminators, which opened 10 months ago. In that time it has gone from three employees to 500. NPR



Union exemption: During the campaign to increase L.A.’s minimum wage, some observers questioned why union leaders would so enthusiastically support a law that could harm their own efforts to organize workers. Well, perhaps because they don’t think the wage law should apply to them. The leader of the county Federation of Labor wants unionized companies to  be exempt from the new law. Los Angeles Times

Only in the movies: The only review of the new movie “San Andreas” you’ll need to read comes from earthquake expert Lucy Jones, who tweeted her thoughts from the film’s Hollywood premiere. “Recognizing water draw down as sign of tsunami is good. However tsunami from San Andreas is impossible. Now we are in fantasy territory,” she tweeted @DrLucyJones. Los Angeles Times



Political ATM: The wealthiest Californian already owns fighter jets and a Hawaiian island. So, why not spend part of his $54-billion fortune on GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio? Larry Ellison will host a fundraiser for the Florida senator on June 9 in Woodside. Mother Jones

New insurance:  Uber, Lyft and Sidecar drivers can now apply for insurance that will cover them from the time they launch the app to the time they’re matched with a passenger. It turns out it was pretty murky whether personal insurance plans would cover drivers in those circumstances. Los Angeles Times

Living on the streets: The homeless population of San Diego is up 26% from last year -- and no one seems to know why. San Diego Union-Tribune



Family hid fugitive cop: Former LAPD officer Henry Solis was able to spend two months on the run thanks to relatives who kept him hidden in Juarez, Mexico. When the former Marine was discovered by authorities, he resisted arrest, though he also said he knew his capture would come “sooner or later.” It’s unclear when Solis will return to Los Angeles to face a murder chargeLos Angeles Times

Cold case heats up: There may finally be justice for a young mother from Palmdale who was raped and murdered in 1978. The case of 20-year-old Leslie Long had gone cold until police were able to link two men to the crime through DNA. Terry Moses, 59, and Neal Antoine Matthews, 58, face capital murder charges. Los Angeles Times

Prison population: Los Angeles County is one of 20 jurisdictions that will receive a $150,000 grant to help inmates integrate back into mainstream society. It’s just one part of a $75-million program that’s trying to reduce the country’s prison population. Buzzfeed



No more sugary drinks: The city of Davis wants restaurants with children’s meals to make sure milk or water, and not juice or soda, is what’s being offered to youngsters. It’s the latest example of a local government trying to reduce childhood obesity. Will this be more successful than South L.A ‘s ban on fast-food restaurants? Sacramento Bee



Happily ever after: Writers, look no further for your next screenplay. A Huntington Beach woman prayed to St. Anne, the patron saint of unmarried women, and then visited the Vatican, where she fell in love with a Swiss Guard. The two have been blessed by Pope Francis and will marry this fall. Orange County Register

Just between us: You probably see it every day on your morning commute -- motorcyclists weaving through cars and speeding up to get ahead of traffic. California is about to become the first state to sanction the practice of lane splitting. Los Angeles Times 



War memories: One professor from Pomona College is collecting the stories of Latino soldiers who fought in Vietnam. “The majority of fathers of the people I went to elementary school with were veterans. When you come from more working-class communities of color, you start to see how Vietnam didn't evenly affect all communities,” Tomás Summers Sandoval told Patt Morrison. Los Angeles Times



San Diego will be most cloudy with highs near 67. Los Angeles will have patchy fog before 11 a.m. Temperatures should be about 76 degrees. San Francisco will have patchy fog and clouds, with a high of 61.



It was on this day in 1957 that National League owners voted to allow the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants to relocate to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively.


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