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Essential California: New water regulations

Good morning. It is Saturday, June 13. Here are some stories you don’t want to miss this weekend:

 

Curtailing water rights: Californians whose water rights date back to 1914 must stop pumping water from rivers and streams in the Central Valley. It’s the first time since the 1970s that the State Water Resources Control Board has issued a ruling affecting those senior rights holders. The decision is expected to be met with legal challenges. Los Angeles Times 

Financial help: The federal government will give $110 million to Western states, including California, to help mitigate the impact of the drought. Some of that money will go to workers who have lost their jobs. Other funds will pay for water management projects. Los Angeles Times

Stanford president retires: During his 15 years at the helm, John L. Hennessy doubled the size of Stanford University’s endowment and tied Silicon Valley’s money with the university's talent to produce popular apps like Instagram and Snapchat. “John Hennessy is the father of Silicon Valley,” venture capitalist Marc Andreessen told the New Yorker in 2012. Hennessy will step down next year. Los Angeles Times 

Living on base: The U.S. Department of Defense has worked to make Camp Pendleton a family-friendly military base with nice homes, restaurants, schools and a movie theater. Those amenities can bring comfort to spouses and children while their loved one is deployed, but some worry that it further separates military personnel from civilians. Los Angeles Times 

Tight housing market: Nearly 40,000 San Diego homeowners are underwater on their homes. Those problems don’t just affect the property owner. Because those owners are essentially forced to stay in their homes, the real estate market has a limited inventory, which increases the purchasing price for everyone and makes it more difficult for would-be homebuyers to jump into the market. San Diego Union-Tribune

Money problems: The financial chief for the city of Hawthorne confirmed that he misled officials about the city’s solvency. Hawthorne’s fiscal outlook is “dire” in part because Rickey Manbahal used the city’s savings to plug budget holes. The city could face bankruptcy next year if it doesn’t slash its budget. Daily Breeze

New contract: The Dodgers’ longtime organist retired Thursday -- for about three hours. Nancy Bea Hefley took to Facebook to air her frustrations about her diminished role at games and announce she would not be returning to the team. After a social media backlash and calls from reporters, the Dodgers offered her a lifetime contract. “I'm so humbled by all this,” she said. Los Angeles Times

Messy stadiums: On the subject of baseball stadiums, you might want to bring some wet napkins to the next game. Baseball teams aren’t hosing down the stands as often in an attempt to conserve water. “Off the field, the (San Francisco) Giants are pressure-washing the green seats every other game. Sticky soda spills, gooey nacho cheese or stray garlic fries might be staying put a little longer in the stands these days.” Associated Press

New drought theory: An assemblywoman from Bakersfield is suggesting that California is experiencing a drought because the state allows access to abortion services. Shannon Grove suggested that God ended the drought in Texas when state lawmakers passed legislation restricting the procedure. “Biblical history shows a consequence to man’s actions,” she said. Sacramento Bee

Flag protest: In an op-ed, journalist Alex Abella suggests the Bear Flag of California is a “symbol of blatant illegality and racial prejudice … Like the Confederate cross of St. Andrew, the Bear Flag is a symbol whose time has come and gone.” Los Angeles Times

VIP treatment: The new Delta terminal at LAX has a new feature for wealthy folks who want to remain under the radar. For $350 on top of the price of a first-class ticket, passengers may be picked up on the Tarmac in a Porsche and driven to a “secret subterranean location” where they’ll be met by their personal driver. Curbed LA

Marijuana radio: A La Jolla man known for outrageous publicity stunts just bought a Colorado radio station that’s now branded as Smokin' 94.1 with news at 4:20 p.m. “It's not for money. It's not for marijuana. It was to re-create a radio station of the past that was fun and off the wall. And people love it,” said Marc Paskin. San Diego Union-Tribune

 

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This week’s most popular stories in Essential California

  1. California is slowly sinking, as people pump more and more water from underground aquifers. The vast majority of that water goes to irrigating the state’s crops. Mother Jones

  2. The Beverly Hills home of actress Marlene Dietrich just sold for $23.5 million. The house is something of a time capsule, looking very much as it did when she lived there in the 1920s and '30s. Curbed LA

  3. An untagged mountain lion was roaming around Glendora when she was surprised by an unmanned camera. LAObserved

  4. This isn’t the first time California has found itself slipping away. Long Beach’s oil production was happening at such a fast pace that by the 1940s, homes were flooding and parts of the port were disappearing into the water. KCET

  5. There’s hope that this winter will be a wet one. Scientists say El Niño is on its way and it’s unlikely that it will weaken or disappear. Los Angeles Times

 

ICYMI, here are this week’s Great Reads

Veteran’s home: When high-schoolers in Lancaster heard about the challenges facing a young veteran who was paralyzed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, they embarked on a two-year project to build him a house. They raised money, bought property, hired a contractor and built a house for Jerral Hancock and his family. Los Angeles Times (video)

Robots to the rescue: Will robots come to our aid one day when a major disaster hits? That was the challenge put to participants in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The idea was born after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Employees there needed to release valves for steam but couldn’t get close enough because of the high levels of radiation. Los Angeles Times

Mysterious potion: Tourists are heading to Colombia to try yage, a potion first experienced by  Beat writer William S. Burroughs 60 years ago. The bittersweet drink (pronounced yah-hey) provides quite the trip. First comes the nausea and diarrhea, then the visions of snakes and jaguars. If you can stick it out, it might just bring inner harmony. Los Angeles Times

 

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