Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Jan. 11, and here’s what’s happening across California:
Force in L.A.
Score a big one for Los Angeles. George Lucas’ personal collection of fine and popular art, including ephemera related to his “Star Wars” franchise, will fill a futuristic-looking new museum planned for L.A.’s Exposition Park, which beat out a competing design for Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The rivalry had pitted the two cities in the competition not only for Lucas’ collection and the tourism it will bring, but also for the thousands of jobs that backers said the project will create. Los Angeles Times
Some Los Angeles politicians are calling for a ban on political contributions from real estate developers while they are seeking city approval for their projects, in an attempt to counter the perception that money drives planning decisions at City Hall. Los Angeles Times
Plus: The move comes after a Times investigation into the hidden web of contributions for a controversial development. Los Angeles Times
Lakes and reservoirs are filling up across Northern California thanks to weeks of heavy rain and snow. Throughout the course of California’s nearly six-year drought, the declining water levels at these places became a stark symbol of the state’s water shortage. Now, they serve as barometers of the state’s rapidly evolving drought picture. Lake Tahoe has risen a whopping 12 inches in just the last two weeks as the storms have dumped 33.6 billion gallons of water into the lake. As of Tuesday morning, 154 of the largest reservoirs had filled to about 97% of their collective average for the day. Los Angeles Times
Plus: The death toll — and damage — from the storm is rising. Los Angeles Times
Tensions: After a public hearing marked by angry clashes between supporters of President-elect Donald Trump and pro-immigrant activists, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the creation of a new office that would help immigrants receive county assistance. Los Angeles Times
Taste test: What is being billed as “the world’s best food hall” is going to be built in downtown L.A., with an all-star team of foodies running the show. Will it live up to the hype? Bloomberg
Student protest: A UCLA history professor suspended over sexual harassment allegations returned to teaching this week, but his classes were canceled after students launched noisy protests. Los Angeles Times
Reality intrudes: There are hundreds of famous movie locations around Los Angeles, from blockbusters to beloved indie fare. A photographer went back see how they fared in real life, and often it’s not very good. LA Weekly
STATE BUDGET PRIMER
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said the state is projected to run a $1.6-billion deficit by next summer — a noticeable shift in the state’s fiscal stability that could worsen under federal spending cuts championed by Trump. Key points:
The cause: Officials lowered the official tax revenue forecast, in part, due to slower-than-expected growth in wages as well as reduced expectations for sales and corporate taxes.
The effect: Slowing the growth in spending on public schools by $1.7 billion and scrapping $1.5-billion worth of spending ideas left over from last year’s budget negotiations, including higher subsidies for child care programs and awarding new college scholarships to California students from middle-class families.
The politics: It could give Republicans a stronger hand in demanding spending cuts in the Democrat-dominated Legislature. Los Angeles Times
Plus: How GOP-controlled Washington could hit California’s pocketbook hard. Sacramento Bee
… And repealing Obamacare would really hurt. KQED
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Nice work if you can get it: San Diego County supervisors voted Tuesday to give themselves a 12.5% raise, sparking protests from activists who say it sends the wrong message. Was it a political blunder? San Diego Union-Tribune
Not what they intended: In Los Angeles, a database of suspected gang members has come under criticism for years. But now, there are concerns the database could be used for deportations under Trump. New York Times
CRIME AND COURTS
Policing the police: A proposal that would give civilians a greater role in the discipline of Los Angeles police officers accused of serious misconduct could also lead to more leniency for officers facing termination or lengthy suspensions. Los Angeles Times
LAX bust: A Los Angeles man was indicted on suspicion of trying to smuggle heroin wrapped in Christmas-themed paper onto a flight departing Los Angeles International Airport. Los Angeles Times
Opioid study: In an attempt to stem abuse of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma spent a decade and several hundred million dollars developing a version of the painkiller that was more difficult to snort, smoke or inject. Since those “abuse-deterrent” pills debuted six years ago, misuse of OxyContin has fallen and the company has touted them as proof of its efforts to end the opioid epidemic. But a study has found that rather than curtail deaths, the change in OxyContin contributed heavily to a surge in heroin overdoses across the country. Los Angeles Times
Try again: Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that they will retry former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca after a recent mistrial. Los Angeles Times
$2.2-billion suit: A Sacramento woman is suing Chipotle Mexican Grill for allegedly using her image and posting it in several restaurants without her permission. Los Angeles Times
DROUGHT AND CLIMATE
It’s gotta go somewhere: California floods its fields and farms to prevent cities from going underwater. Wired
Late merging: Some states are pushing a new approach to having motorists merge into traffic, which some think will reduce accidents. But California officials aren’t sold. Wall Street Journal
Laid-back: They considered Ventura and Redlands among other places. But this L.A. couple looking for hipness and affordability settled on Lake Arrowhead. Los Angeles Times
Elite elegy: There’s been much written about the white working class and how it fits into the rise of Trump. But how about an elegy for California’s coastal elite? Los Angeles Review of Books
Hate incident: Two swastikas were found earlier this month in Mission Viejo’s Pavion Park. Residents decided to make the hate incident into teaching moment. Orange County Register
More hate: Meanwhile, vandals wrote “kill whites” in big letters on a Torrance hillside. Daily Breeze
Los Angeles area: Showers with highs in the mid-60s. San Diego: Rain with highs in the low 60s. San Francisco area: Scattered showers with highs in the low 50s. Sacramento: Scattered showers with highs in the mid-50s.
Today’s California memory comes from Thomas Cockle:
“In 1963 and ’64, I lived on Marcia Drive in Silver Lake. As a lifelong Laurel and Hardy fan, I had always wondered where the iconic stairs in their Academy Award-winning ‘The Music Box’ were located, if indeed they still existed. Many years later I learned, through Laurel and Hardy fan groups, that they are located on Vendome, just south of Sunset, have been recognized by the city with a plaque, and indeed are now formally named for the team and the picture. Imagine my chagrin to realize that back in the ’60s I had unknowingly lived just a few blocks from the top of The Steps.”
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.)
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