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What would it take to end California's drought?

What would it take to end California's drought?
An aerial view of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada in January shows how much conditions have improved since last spring. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Jan. 4, and here's what's going on around California:

TOP STORIES

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Drought buster?

So what would it take to bust the California drought? A lot more of the kind of storms that have dumped large amounts of rain and snow across Northern California the last few months. State officials say they've seen major improvements — especially as key reservoirs rise back to normal levels — but stress that a lot more rain is still needed. Los Angeles Times

Trump trials

Xavier Becerra's confirmation hearings to become California attorney general will take a decidedly Donald Trump flavor. Lawmakers asked for Becerra's positions on immigration, including cooperation with federal immigration authorities and his view of sanctuary cities, civil rights, environmental protection, police accountability and consumer protection. It underscores how Trump is emerging as Public Enemy No. 1 in Democrat-controlled Sacramento. Los Angeles Times

Music and lights

Inside the new push to renovate one of Los Angeles' strangest landmarks. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

Gay landmark: The Factory, a groundbreaking gay nightclub in West Hollywood and a key part of the gay rights movement, is threatened with demolition. Now, there is a push to preserve it. Curbed Los Angeles

Shipping container mall: In the Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach, they're rethinking the shopping center with a food court made out of shipping containers. Press-Telegram

Calendar craze: In the Chinese American shopping districts of the San Gabriel Valley, this is calendar season. And some customers can't get enough. "With the calendar, we can honor tradition, celebrate culture and give something meaningful, useful and practical." San Gabriel Valley Tribune

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Harris milestone: Before friends and family in a packed chamber, Kamala Harris was sworn in as California's newest U.S. senator Tuesday morning. She became the first black woman the Golden State has sent to the Senate and the first Indian American to ever serve in the body. Los Angeles Times

Brace yourself: Tolls on Bay Area bridges could rise to $8. Mercury News

Family leave: This week, a groundbreaking family leave law takes effect in San Francisco. Most parents living in the city will now receive six weeks of fully paid leave. SFGate

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Fake news: Did California Democrats legalize child prostitution? No, but the claim is the latest "fake news" battle. Sacramento Bee

Homeless woes: Sacramento's new mayor is facing a familiar problem for cities in California: homelessness. New York Times

CRIME AND COURTS

Killer ill: Charles Manson is seriously ill and was taken to a hospital, but the exact nature of his condition is unknown. Los Angeles Times

Solutions sought: A big surge in homicides in San Bernardino has city leaders struggling to figure out some solutions. San Bernardino Sun

Mall ban: Hoping to reduce the number of brawls and violence, some shopping malls have a radical idea: banning teenagers. Civil liberties groups are crying foul, and a mall in Sacramento might become a test case. Mercury News

Double killings: A man was arrested Monday in connection with the deaths of a woman and her friend after a house fire in Westminster led authorities to their bodies, which were found miles away in Newport Beach. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Jack in the Box taco mystery: Some call it vile and gross, an insult to Mexican food. But the people love it. A look at how the Jack in the Box taco has become such a huge fast-food hit. Wall Street Journal

Arts District dead? Valet parking, $6 coffee, four-star restaurants and luxury high-rises: Is L.A.'s once-gritty Arts District dying before our eyes? LA Weekly

Dogged concern: The dog of a homeless man finds a new home and breaks some hearts in Fresno. Fresno Bee

Beyond orcas: Making good on SeaWorld's promise to add more thrill-oriented rides, the San Diego theme park will build its tallest and fastest roller coaster. Is it enough after years of "Blackfish" backlash? Los Angeles Times

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Museum brawl: The latest rivalry between Los Angeles and San Francisco is over George Lucas and a lot of "Star Wars" booty. Associated Press

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles area: Cloudy with highs topping out at 60. San Diego: Partly cloudy with highs in the low 60s. San Francisco area and Sacramento: Rainy with highs in the low 50s.

AND FINALLY

Today's California memory comes from Tom Kruse:

"I had arrived in California from Chicago in 1960 and my brother had given me a job in his warehouse. I didn't bring my lunch one day and asked a co-worker where I might get something inexpensive. He told me about a Mexican deli a block away and told me to ask for a burrito. I thought it was a joke, but I asked the counterman if he had anything called a burrito. He gave me the once over and smiled and asked what kind I wanted. I didn't know. He said he would fix me up. It was probably the best thing I had ever eaten."

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

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

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