Essential California: Ports, pardons and the newest healthcare recipients

Good morning. It is Wednesday, June 3. How good are the reubens and rugelach at Canter's Deli? So good that U2's Bono left a $150 tip on the $20 tab. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Having power and using it

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was within his rights when he reduced a prison sentence for the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez without first notifying the victim’s family. That’s according to the 3rd District Court of Appeal. The decision to cut Esteban Nuñez's sentence for voluntary manslaughter was announced just hours before Schwarzenegger left office in January 2011. The court found that although the then-governor "had abused his power," his action was not illegal. Los Angeles Times 

Immigrants and healthcare

Now that the state Senate has approved a plan that would allow many immigrants who are here illegally to sign up for healthcare, the big question is whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the bill. In the past, he has indicated that he does not want to expand care to include such immigrants. Los Angeles Times 

Heavy cuts for heavy users

A conservation plan approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors will require some large residential consumers to cut their water usage as much as 90%. Customers who can't reach that goal could see their water rates double or triple. Large households or customers with extenuating circumstances may be able to appeal the new rates. Los Angeles Times



Water report card: Californians are saving water -- just not enough. Urban water consumption was down 13.5% in April from the same month in 2013, though Gov. Jerry Brown has called for a 25% cut. Los Angeles Times

Water and the economy: The drought has drained an estimated $2.7 billion from the state economy and eliminated 18,600 jobs. But that loss has been hard to detect because the agriculture sector is just 2% of California's economy and because farm employment has grown in the last decade. In fact, farmworkers are in demand in areas that get their water from the Colorado River. Los Angeles Times

There's one upside: California’s drought has been good for Washington state winemakers. The warmer winters up north are favorable for grape cultivation. And Washington grape growers don't have to deal with a 25% cut in their water supply. New York Times




Seaside traffic jams: The backup of ships at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has become so bad that some local companies have found it faster to have their products sent to the East Coast and then sent via truck to their final destination. "The ports are scrambling to respond to rapid changes in global shipping, most notably the advent of giant cargo ships now clogging the docks with massive loads." Los Angeles Times

Life lessons: For almost 25 years, a 92-year-old World War II veteran has visited elementary schools to talk about the components in the Pyramid of Success of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. The volunteer work is an extension of Mel Feuer's career as a teacher, something he decided to do when he was released from the Stalag 17 POW camp, Steve Lopez writes. Los Angeles Times 

Regulating Airbnb: Los Angeles is trying to embrace "house sharing" while preserving affordable housing. A proposed set of rules would allow Angelenos to rent out their homes as long as they are their primary residences. "We cannot tolerate how a growing number of speculators are eliminating rental housing and threatening the character of our neighborhoods," Councilman Mike Bonin said. Los Angeles Times

5 stars on the beach: Take it as a sign that the luxury resort market is making a comeback. Developer Rick Caruso is building a high-end resort on the site of the old Miramar Hotel off U.S. 101 in Montecito. The $185-million project is expected to open in 2018. Los Angeles Times 



No-smoking section: California could become one of the first states to push the legal age for tobacco to 21. The state Senate approved a bill, citing research that says most smokers pick up the habit by the age of 18. "Cigarettes are the single most dangerous consumer product ever sold," Sen. Ed Hernandez of Azusa said. Sacramento Bee

Recovering: Former state legislator Tom Hayden, 75, is recovering from a stroke. Aside from his work in the state Senate and Assembly, Hayden is known for being a member of the Chicago 8 at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. He was in Kern County with an anti-fracking group when he suffered the stroke last month. LA Observed



Death penalty: California will probably have a new drug cocktail for lethal injection procedures this year. That development is the result of a lawsuit brought on behalf of families whose loved ones were killed by inmates sent to death row. Los Angeles Times

(Leaving) crime pays: In the city of Richmond, violent criminals are paid to stay out of trouble. They get $1,000 a month as long as they follow a "life map" that includes GED classes and anger management. City Lab

Modern policing: The LAPD of 2015 is navigating how best to use technology and community policing to reduce crime. "The job of building community trust is never finished," Chief Charlie Beck said. UCLA Blueprint



Getting back to college: One-third of African American adults in California started college but never finished. The Campaign for College Opportunity is hoping to coax them back to school. With college degrees, many could move into higher-paying jobs. Los Angeles Times



Your rent is how much? It's not enough to save your pennies if you want to live in San Francisco. The median rent is now $4,225 a month. New data show that the entire Bay Area, from Oakland to San Jose, constitutes the fastest-growing rental market in the whole country. SF Gate

Rent versus buy: In Los Angeles, neighborhoods tend to be either for renters or homeowners. The division is pretty clear on this new map. Curbed LA



Birthing options: With more young mothers wanting to give birth outside of a hospital setting, the number of birth centers in San Diego County has doubled. "It's almost like birthing in a bed-and-breakfast," one mother said. San Diego Union-Tribune

"Food swamps": In San Francisco, there is a movement to transform corner stores packed with alcohol and cigarettes into neighborhood markets with fresh produce and healthy foods. It requires community input and a change in the way stores do business. Next City

Back on the air: Deejay Art Laboe is returning to L.A.'s airwaves. He'll be back on KDAY-FM (93.5) on Sunday. He has been off since his previous station switched to a hip-hop format in February. LAist



There's a chance of drizzle in San Diego this morning. It will then be cloudy with a high of 67 degrees. Los Angeles will be cloudy with a high of 75. San Francisco will be partly sunny and breezy at 62 degrees.



Fallbrook is referred to as the world's avocado capital, and it is the location for a yearly Avocado Festival. This may not be good for the drought. Mother Jones found that it takes 74.1 gallons of irrigated water to grow a pound of avocados in California.


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