Good morning. It is Monday, June 8. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:
California’s epic drought has cast some doubt on the state’s future, but along the Santa Ana River in Orange County water officials have put aside their interests and are working together on some innovative steps to better manage the water supply during dry times. Los Angeles Times
A state court could decide today on a rule that would make it easier for California drivers to contest traffic tickets. The problem in some counties is that judges require drivers to pay their fines before they can contest the offense. “The traffic infraction penalty consists of a fine that is then quadrupled by all the fees that have nothing to do with the person’s culpability,” said Christine Sun of the ACLU of Northern California. Los Angeles Times
Paying for idle trucks
Investigators are looking into allegations that the city of Industry was charged for hours when streetsweepers and other trucks weren’t being used. The company that held the contract for those trucks was owned by former Mayor David Perez and his family. A lawsuit filed by the city claims that the company collected millions of dollars thanks to phony invoices. Los Angeles Times
Losing an icon: The Joshua tree is the symbol of California deserts, but the ongoing drought is hastening its decline. Now, one ecologist from UC Riverside is studying the effect climate change is having on the tree and the species they cover. Los Angeles Times
Crafting water policy: If rain comes and finally ends the drought, will that also end California’s opportunity to create long-term water policy? “The discussion will beg the question of whether California's typically short attention span, its term-limit churn and its constant crises will allow a solution that can weather years of compromise, planning and execution,” writes Times columnist Cathleen Decker. Los Angeles Times
Water for fish: Environmentalists are suing state and federal regulators, arguing that billions of gallons of water earmarked for salmon and Delta smelt were instead given to people. “Legally, fish actually have quite a bit of clout. There’s a legal obligation to keep fish going,” said Peter Moyle, a biologist at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Sacramento Bee
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L.A. AT LARGE
Wage theft investigators: With Los Angeles already struggling to cover the basics of running a city -- fixing sidewalks, picking up dumped furniture -- some are questioning a plan to create a new office that would enforce laws against wage theft. City officials have approved one-third of the funding needed to fully staff the office with investigators. Los Angeles Times
Demonstration for Ford: Protesters took to Getty House on Sunday to call for Police Chief Charlie Beck’s firing and demand a public forum on the death of Ezell Ford. The demonstration was a response to the LAPD’s finding that two officers acted within department policy when they shot and killed Ford, an African American man whose family says he had mental problems. Los Angeles Times
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Driving service canceled: After a handful of state legislators were pulled over for drunk driving, the state Senate hired two part-time employees to be late-night and early-morning drivers for the politicians. The program was ended by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon days after it was first exposed by the Sacramento Bee. Sacramento Bee
Attorney’s fees: A dispute over a $1 fine ended with the state of California paying a former San Jose mayor $106,173. Chuck Reed appealed the $1 fine from the Fair Political Practices Commission, won and then demanded the state pay his attorney’s fees. Los Angeles Times
CRIME AND COURTS
Crash death: A cyclist died Friday following a crash with a San Francisco police patrol car. Police are now looking for witnesses to provide information on how the crash occurred. San Francisco Chronicle
What led to police shooting?: A family is searching for answers after Long Beach police fatally shot their 20-year-old son. Last month, Feras Morad fell or jumped out of a window. Police were called to help, but what happened next -- and what ultimately led to Morad’s death -- is unclear. Los Angeles Times
Running the Mouse House: Disney’s stock price has quadrupled under Robert Iger’s leadership, thanks in part to bold acquisitions such as Pixar Animation Studios and Marvel Entertainment. “Fast forward to 2015, which marks the first time that each of the acquired companies is releasing a film in the same year, underscoring the central role they now play in the Disney empire.” Los Angeles Times
Money for cars: More Californians are turning to their cars when they’re strapped for cash. Auto title loans allow consumers to borrow against their vehicles, but often they’re forced to borrow more money than they need, trapping them in a cycle of debt. One out of nine borrowers ends up losing their car. Los Angeles Times
Young programmers: Teens are blowing off college, and sometimes high school, and flocking to San Francisco to work in the tech industry. “Some were too distracted by programming projects and weekend hackathons to go to class. Others couldn’t pay for college and questioned why they should go into debt when there is easy money to be made.” California Sunday Magazine
Bad milk: Three children from Orange County fell ill after drinking unpasteurized goats' milk from a farm in Northern California. One of the youngsters ended up in the hospital. Orange County Register
Yearbooks recalled: School officials at Berkeley High School are asking students to return their yearbooks after a racist “joke” made its way onto one of the pages. Someone referred to a group of African American and Latino students as future trash collectors. The prankster wasn’t funny or very smart, as he spelled collectors as “collators.” Buzzfeed
Chronicling gentrification: In San Francisco, one woman is chronicling the changes in her city through “Vanishing SF.” “What I worry about now is how many people we have who are living so close to the edge, who are really important, wonderful, valuable people, and how we can live in such denial when they’re right next door to us,” she said. SF Gate
Los Angeles will be sunny with a high temperature of 88 degrees. San Diego will have patchy fog and clouds, with the temperature reaching 73. San Francisco will be sunny with a high of 79.
To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Disney produced more than 500 souvenir items. Among them is a crystal miniature of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. It can be yours for just $37,500.
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