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Storms chip away at California's drought

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, Jan. 10, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

No drought this week

A few big storms alone won’t end the six-year drought, but there were growing signs that the so-called atmospheric river was making a major dent. By the end of the week the total snowfall for the year in some mountain areas could top 20 feet. That means a generous addition to the Sierra Nevada snowpack, a precious water supply that California cities and farms rely on when it melts in the spring and summer. On Monday, it was at 126% of its average for this time of year. Los Angeles Times

Framed?

When officers arrived at Angela Diaz’s condo last June in response to her 911 call, police said, they found her in tears, with a ripped shirt and red marks on her neck. A man had just tried to rape her in her garage, she said. Detectives became convinced the attack was plotted by her husband’s ex-fiancee, who soon faced 10 felony charges and the possibility of life in prison. It was a bizarre enough case, but on Monday it took an even stranger turn: Authorities say they were fooled. Los Angeles Times

Bill comes due

For several years now, the Los Angeles City Council has repeatedly settled high-profile and costly lawsuits brought against the city, agreeing to spend millions to end litigation brought by a grieving family, the wrongfully convicted, or disabled groups. Now the bill has come due. Budget officials say the city needs to immediately borrow tens of millions of dollars to avoid dipping into its emergency reserve fund after payouts are expected to hit $135 million this fiscal year.  Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

Beverly Hills drive: Can Rodeo Drive, the home of Rolls-Royce and Porsche, become a testing ground for geeky self-driving cars? That’s what Beverly Hills wants. Curbed Los Angeles

Diversity push: USC has hired a leading expert on campus diversity and racial equity to launch a new research center on campus. Shaun R. Harper will join the USC Rossier School of Education in July as a professor and founder of the USC Race and Equity Center. Los Angeles Times

Theme park crime: Police reports show that crime rates at Southern California theme parks are extremely low, but each park wrestles with unique crime problems such as shoplifting at Universal Studios Hollywood and car burglary at Knott’s Berry Farm. At Disneyland, reports of counterfeit money are more common than incidents of grand theft or credit card fraud. Los Angeles Times

Making a statement: The small San Gabriel Valley city of La Puente is considering declaring itself a sanctuary for immigrants as well as Muslims, the disabled and gay people. Pasadena Star-News

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Big day: The four big questions as Gov. Jerry Brown is set to release his state budget on Tuesday (healthcare is probably the biggest). Sacramento Bee

Political influencer: From his one-bedroom apartment in West Hollywood, Rob Pyers, 41, anchors one of the most trusted compendiums on state politics and, despite his distaste for many aspects of the Sacramento political orbit, is quickly becoming the ultimate insider in the often-opaque world of campaign finance. His passion for organizing massive amounts of data has transformed the publication and made his Twitter feed a go-to resource for some of Sacramento’s top operatives. Los Angeles Times

Trump’s organizer: Thomas Barrack is a well-known figure in Hollywood. Now, his close friendship with Donald Trump has made him one of the most influential Californians in the inner circle of the president-elect. Trump put Barrack in charge of planning his Jan. 20 inauguration. Barrack is the founder and executive chairman of Colony Capital Inc., a Los Angeles investment giant that manages more than $60 billion in assets, much of it for Arab clients. Los Angeles Times

Remembering Nixon: Celebrating what would have been Richard Nixon’s 104th birthday at his library in Yorba Linda. Orange County Register

CRIME AND COURTS

LAX spooks: Inside LAX’s own in-house anti-terrorism unit, which tests a theory that there can be useful intelligence gathered at the very local level. The Atlantic

Lies in trial: A bizarre case out of Orange County on how taxpayers are footing the bill as the county argues a social worker didn’t know lying in court was wrong. OC Weekly 

Sign writer: A Pomona artist was arrested Monday on suspicion of trespassing in connection with altering the Hollywood sign to read “HOLLYWeeD” on New Year’s Day. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

A lot of water: The series of storms over the last few weeks in the Sierra Nevada has been very good to Lake Tahoe. According to the National Weather Service, the lake has gained about 33.6 billion gallons of water since Jan. 1 — and the lake has risen about one foot. Los Angeles Times

Water falling: One sign of Southern California's new wet streak: The famed waterfall on Dana Point Harbor Drive is flowing again. Orange County Register

Rain app: Want to measure the rain? UC Irvine researchers have an app for that. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Golden brawl: Are there any winners in the Donald Trump vs. Meryl Streep culture war? Los Angeles Times

High-end trash barge: At first the glance, a trash-collecting barge in the middle of Newport Bay might seem out of character in the tony seaside area. But… Los Angeles Times

La La La: “La La Land” is a vintage Los Angeles tale in many ways, including in the way men get whatever they want and women stay on the sidelines, this writer argues. Los Angeles Review of Books

California squeeze: A critical look at California’s economic boom, and why for all this wealth the middle class can’t afford to live here. Wall Street Journal

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles area: Cloudy with highs in the low 60s. San Diego: Partly cloudy with highs in the low to mid-60s. San Francisco area: Rainy with highs in the upper 50s. Sacramento: Rainy with highs in the mid-50s.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Judi Kanaster Haase:

On Sunday, Jan. 9, 1949, my family traveled to Mt. Wilson for our first snow experience. All I did was complain how cold it was and how my feet were completely frozen. Just as I was getting used to it, I began to enjoy the snow. By then the day had ended and we had to return home to San Pedro. That night I prayed for snow. Imagine my surprise the next day when I woke up to discover that it had snowed during the night! I was 8 years old and my prayer had been answered!”

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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