Essential California: Rain in winter forecast, yes, really

Good morning. It is Friday, June 12. A mountain lion was sniffing around Glendora when, just like any other tourist, she stopped to have her picture taken. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


New day at Fox 

It’s a corporate structure that is practically unheard of for publicly traded companies. Rupert Murdoch will hand over 21st Century Fox to his son James Murdoch. A second son, Lachlan Murdoch, is expected to be named executive co-chairman. Just how the two men will run a media empire that includes television, film and newspapers remains to be seen. Los Angeles Times 

DWP embezzlement

The Department of Water and Power is already dealing with controversies over its broken billing system and the possible misuse of training funds. Now, there’s a new headache. A former employee is accused of embezzling $4 million from the publicly owned utility. Prosecutors say Thatcus Carl Richard helped direct contracts toward shell companies owned by his friends. They then subcontracted DWP work to Richards' firm. Los Angeles Times 

Losing trees

Trees from Balboa Park in San Diego to Griffith Park in Los Angeles are dying because of the drought, and that’s having a ripple effect. Fewer trees could disrupt animals' natural habitats and increase temperatures. Someday the lack of trees could also lead to flooding, as trees absorb rainwater. Los Angeles Times 


Building a water park: One Northern California town is building an aquatics center in the midst of a drought. While that may seem like bad timing, columnist Robin Abcarian finds there are some pretty good arguments for new pools, water slides and even a fake beach. Los Angeles Times 

Rain on the way? A new forecast suggests El Niño will show its strength this fall. And a strong El Niño could bring substantial rain to California. Los Angeles Times

Food insecurities: Rice could be the next victim of the drought, and if it is it will affect millions of people and birds. Rice production is expected to be down 30%. Native mallards and shore birds like to use the rice for nesting. After the harvest, remaining grains can feed as many as 7 million birds. Los Angeles Times

Spreading the blame: Writer Joe Mathews would like to find one scapegoat on which to pin the entire state drought. How about a higher power? “This drought is all on you, God. Not only do you fail to send California enough water, but also you deluge us with way too many possible culprits for this crisis,” he writes. Zocalo Public Square

Essence of life: Comedian Jon Stewart is just getting caught up on the California drought. Off Gov. Jerry Brown's recent comments on water, Stewart offered up, “He’s still good ol’ Gov. Moonbeam, putting the water scarcity issue in terms that anyone on 'shrooms can understand.” The Daily Show (video)

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Supporting LAPD: After the Police Commission ruled on the shooting of Ezell Ford, Chief Charlie Beck sent a message to the rank-and-file members of LAPD to remind them that he, the mayor and the city support them. Conspicuously absent? The support of commissioners. Los Angeles Times

Parade and festival: The 45th annual Pride Parade will take place in West Hollywood on Sunday. Expect street closures and massive crowds throughout the weekend. LAist

Beverly Hills, 90210: Most people know they’ve crossed into Beverly Hills when the potholes disappear from the road, but just to make sure, city officials will install two 40-foot columns displaying the city shield. A report found the current, more modest signs are often obscured by traffic lights. Los Angeles Magazine


Marijuana legislation: A former cop is now the state’s most powerful pot lobbyist. As a child, Nate Bradley walked the halls of the Capitol to lobby for the pro-life movement. He later became a police officer and heavy drinker. Smoking marijuana changed his life, and now he’s trying to change California’s pot laws. Buzzfeed

Fighting over art: A California family has spent 15 years trying to get back a painting that the Nazi government seized from their ancestor as she fled Germany during World War II. Now they say they’ll take their case to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 1897 masterpiece by Camille Pissarro is on display in a Spanish museum, where officials believe they purchased the artwork in good faith from a German baron. Orange County Register


Not college prepared: The LAUSD Board of Education’s decision to relax graduation requirements and allow “D” students to receive diplomas won’t help students who want to apply to the University of California or Cal State University systems. 89.3 KPCC

Graduating with honors: Every graduating senior at Verbum Dei School in Watts was accepted to college this year. The all-boys school is located next to the Nickerson Gardens housing project. The students themselves are low-income and typically enter the school one to two years behind grade level. ABC 7 (video)


Police tactics: What is a reasonable search? When should a police officer follow a hunch? These are questions that the L.A. Times editorial board says need to be answered after the Police Commission split with Chief Charlie Beck on whether the Ezell Ford shooting was within policy. “Mayor Eric Garcetti has been largely silent on the issue. It's time for him to step up and help the chief negotiate the aftermath and help assure the public that their concerns about police methods and the use of force haven't been ignored,” according to the piece. Los Angeles Times


Literary legend: Writer Lawrence Ferlinghetti is one of the best-selling poets of the last century, but most San Franciscans know him as the man behind City Lights bookstore in North Beach. He was responsible for publishing the writers of the Beat Generation, starting with Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl.” NPR (audio)

Sports trivia: It turns out, Oakland’s Golden State Warriors have a lot of fair-weather fans. And those fans don’t mind sounding like idiots when the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” show asks questions like, “Do you think the Warriors are going to start L. Ron Hubbard?” LAist (video)


June Gloom is in full effect. Los Angeles will have patchy fog in the morning and then sunshine and a high of 76. In Riverside, there will be clouds in the morning and a high of 84 degrees. San Diego will be mostly cloudy and 69 degrees. San Francisco will be 77 degrees and sunny.


Pixar’s animators must not have liked their lunch options in Emeryville. The studio’s new cartoon “Inside Out” makes fun of the Bay Area for putting broccoli on pizza. “Congratulations, San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza,” cries one character. SFist

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