Essential California: Are California's unions doomed?

Click below to listen to the newsletter and please send us an email to tell us what you think.



Good morning. It is Wednesday, July 1. Did you lose a car? The Fire Department found one in the Los Angeles River. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


No religious exemption

California’s fight over vaccinations heated up with the recent measles outbreak and has now resulted in one of the nation’s strictest laws on vaccines. The state Legislature drafted a new law that would only allow children with documented medical conditions to skip vaccinations. Gov. Jerry Brown signed that law Tuesday, saying, “While it's true that no medical intervention is without risk, the evidence shows that immunization powerfully benefits and protects the community.” Los Angeles Times

More on vaccinations

Are the kindergartners in your school vaccinated? This map identifies school by school how many children were not vaccinated because of a parent’s personal beliefs. About 800 schools fell below the level needed for “herd immunity.” Los Angeles Times

Court challenge

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case brought by an Orange County teacher that is a major challenge to public employee unions. The question is whether employees should have to pay fees to a union they do not belong to. California and 20 other states have had similar “fair share fees” since the 1970s. Los Angeles Times

Labor’s concerns

The announcement that the nation's high court would review the issue of union dues and fees has California’s labor community worried. A ruling against the “fair share fees” would be a financial hit to the unions and could erode membership. “This is part of an ongoing, concerted effort to undermine the existence of unions and weaken them,” said former Assembly Speaker John PerezLos Angeles Times



Recycling water: Here's an easy how-to guide to setting up your own graywater system in which wastewater from tubs, showers and washing machines is diverted to lawns and fruits trees. “The hardest thing to do was literally drilling through my tile. Any chucklehead can do this, swear to God,” said one homeowner. Voice of San Diego

Shut off the water: Lawns in San Diego can only be watered twice a week. Decorative fountains are outlawed. And residents found to have violated the new water conservation laws could be fined $500. It’s all part of the city’s efforts to reduce water usage. San Diego Union-Tribune

Fewer birds: The populations of breeding waterfowl are falling as wetlands dry up and farmers fallow rice fields, which often feed these birds. Even once the drought ends, it could take three years for the population to recover. Sacramento Bee



Ballet history: At 13, Misty Copeland was a bit late in starting ballet. But when an instructor in San Pedro saw what she could do, it became clear Copeland was a prodigy. The Southern California native was named a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre on Tuesday. Now 32, Copeland is the first African-American woman to be named to the prestigious position. Los Angeles Times

More on the ballerina: Copeland’s strength and beauty is often on display on her Instagram account. Buzzfeed

Neighborhood’s evolution: Ten years ago, residents in Boyle Heights were afraid their working-class neighborhood would gentrify. But the in the decade since then, it’s been the children and grandchildren of those residents who have opened businesses that blend their Mexican heritage with 2015 tastes. “As the economy has heated up, the conversation has shifted to sustaining what's become a delicate cultural and socioeconomic balance.” 89.3 KPCC

Made whole: A retired UCLA professor who fled the Nazis as a young child is still waiting for her native Poland to make amends to the families of Polish Jews who lost everything in World War II. It’s the only Eastern European country that has not adopted a national restitution program. Los Angeles Times 



Mickey jail: It would probably be an inconvenience if you left your fanny pack in your hotel room while visiting Disneyland. But it’s downright criminal when the bag includes a handgun and cocaine. A 51-year-old Bay Area corrections officer who did just that while visiting the theme park with his family is now facing charges in Fullerton. NBC Bay Area

Firefighter sentenced: A former L.A. city firefighter will spend 180 days in jail for punching a woman who was feeding stray cats in his West Adams neighborhood. “My emotions got the best of me,” Ian Eulian said of the 2013 attack. He also apologized to the victim. Los Angeles Times



Public company: The company owned by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who happens to be the wealthiest person in Los Angeles, is about to go public. The news follows a major investment from an electronic medical records firm into NantHealth. “We feel we have one or two transactions to accomplish, then we will initiate the public offering that we anticipate will happen probably within this year,” Soon-Shiong said. Los Angeles Times



With the state’s extreme heat, the California Independent Systems Operator is asking Californians to conserve power. Officials also ask folks to stay indoors and drink plenty of water.

Los Angeles has a chance of showers today. It will then be sunny and 86 degrees. In San Diego, there may be thunderstorms before 11 a.m. Temperatures will be about 77 degrees. There’s a chance of showers in Riverside before noon but it will still be hot -- 94 degrees.

San Francisco will luck out with sunshine and 70-degree temperatures.



One father biked 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in honor of his son who died of AIDS in 2013, and it was documented by a YouTube user. (video)


Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.