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Essential California: 1,800 tons of nuclear waste with an ocean view and nowhere to go

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, July 3, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES

Where the waste goes

At the San Onofre nuclear power plant, there’s 1,800 tons of radioactive waste with an ocean view and nowhere else to go. The facility is closed, but Washington, D.C., has yet to find a lasting solution for this radioactive material and the other 79,000 tons of spent fuel spread across the nation. “It doesn’t make any sense to store the fuel at all these sites,” said Thomas Palmisano, chief nuclear officer at the Southern California Edison plant. “The public doesn’t want the spent fuel here. Well, the fuel is here.” Los Angeles Times

The gender gap

Among those who fight fires, a wide gender gap remains, with women holding about 13% of the permanent wildfire-suppression jobs in the Forest Service. But last month an exclusive group took part in a Women in Wildland Fire Basic Training Camp — the first to be held in Southern California’s Angeles National Forest. Los Angeles Times

A day at the races

About 1 p.m. this afternoon, for the 91st time since Santa Anita started its racing season the day after Christmas, a group of horses will break from the gate and run on a unique racecourse in the United States. They will start gaining velocity as they head downhill on the grass, flatten out for a few strides before heading slightly uphill for a couple of jumps and then make the only right-hand turn in American racing. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

Sworn in: Mayor Eric Garcetti had his inauguration for a second term Saturday. Considered a politician with a future in national politics, he may find that his soaring ambition could also meet a sobering reality when taking stock of what he has accomplished. Los Angeles Times

Keeping up or catching up: The Los Angeles Unified School District has online and compressed “credit-recovery” courses to give students more, and often much speedier, ways to pull their grades up from failure. But it’s hard to know whether they are getting the same level of education as they would in a regular class, or even as their peers in other credit-recovery courses. Los Angeles Times

Plus: A new curriculum is teaching students in rural California about the dangers of human trafficking. CNN

Minimum wage upped to $12: More than half a million Angelenos got a raise this weekend, making the city the latest testing ground in the drive to boost the incomes of bottom-rung workers. Los Angeles Times

IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER

Trump supporter faces deported: Jorge Ramirez, an Oceanside minister and immigrant who is in the country illegally, didn’t think he would end up in line for deportation when he encouraged his U.S. citizen daughter to vote for now-President Trump. Now he could be booted from the country. San Diego Union-Tribune

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

At a crossroads: As Gov. Jerry Brown approaches the end of his tenure, the prospects of twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to carry Sacramento River water southward and a north-south bullet train are in jeopardy. The two projects are central to his legacy. CalMatters

All debts are paid: Orange C​​​​​​ounty on Saturday delivered its last payment on the $1 billion worth of bonds it used to get out of bankruptcy. With interest, the repayment totaled about $1.6 billion. Los Angeles Times

Fight between behemoths: The conflict between California and Texas isn’t new, but Trump’s inauguration has aggravated the rivalry on several different fronts and turned it into an all-out war. Politico

CRIME AND COURTS

Boy’s body discovered: The remains of a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy have been found at a Santa Barbara County recreation area, capping weeks of searching. Los Angeles Times

Going back in time: Learn the story of Kevin Sherbondy — who went to jail for owning an antique gun and later earned his release after several wealthy Bay Area socialites advocated for him. San Francisco Chronicle

Across L.A.: Two women and a man were killed in three unrelated slayings overnight in Carson, Lancaster and Palmdale, authorities said Sunday. Los Angeles Times

THE ENVIRONMENT

Deadly river: Authorities say a 22-year-old Los Angeles man jumped into the fast-moving Kern River and drowned. CBS LA

Out on the bay: A U.S. Geological Survey research team looking under the San Pablo Bay has found that the two major Bay Area faults connect beneath the body of water. Mercury News

Not much beach: With water levels of Lake Tahoe at an unprecedented high, there’s less space on the sand at the lake’s most popular beach. San Francisco Chronicle

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Wild stuff: Go inside Alejandro G. Iñárritu's VR border drama at LACMA. What you see might make you cry. Los Angeles Times

A makeover for the times: Disneyland plans to revamp a section of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean attraction that depicts a parade of women being put on the auction block — under a decidedly un-PC banner that reads “Auction, Take a wench for a bride.” Los Angeles Times

Linking up: This sperm donor is connecting with the 19 children he’s fathered through the years. Orange County Register

The winner is...: Cal Poly senior Jillian Smith, a 22-year-old native from Grass Valley, was crowned Miss California during Saturday night’s competition at Saroyan Theatre in Fresno. Fresno Bee

Who makes the fireworks? Behind the patriotic hoopla of America’s birthday celebration, five generations of Souzas have built a logistics powerhouse that mounts 400 Independence Day spectacles a year, including the Rose Bowl's, the L.A. Coliseum's, downtown L.A.'s and the country’s biggest, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks in New York City, broadcast nationwide on NBC. Orange County Register

Five decades later: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. For many, the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 is when it all began. That's when Bay Area acts such as Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin shot to international fame with three days of riotous rock. NPR

In Montecito: “Gwyneth Paltrow’s plans to build a 14,000-square-foot mansion in Montecito, Calif., are even less popular than the jade vagina eggs she sells on Goop for $66.” New York Post

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

San Francisco and Los Angeles area: sunny Monday, partly cloudy Tuesday. San Diego: sunny Monday and Tuesday. Sacramento: sunny Monday and Tuesday. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

This week’s birthdays for those who made their mark in California: Former Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn (July 3, 1950), attorney Gloria Allred (July 3, 1941) and former Rep. Sam Farr (July 4, 1941).

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 Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.

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