Newsletter: Essential California: Down and out in Pacific Palisades

Good morning. It is Monday, Nov. 2. A couple in the Richmond district of San Francisco were  attacked by a dozen raccoons. It’s the second such attack in the district this year -- eek! Here's what else is happening in the Golden State: 


Arts education

Data from the Los Angeles Unified School District show the vast majority of campuses do not have adequate arts programs. An additional analysis from The Times found elementary schools with fewer students in poverty were more likely to have better arts programs. “Classrooms lack basic supplies. Some orchestra classes don’t have enough instruments. And thousands of elementary and middle school children are not getting any arts instruction.” Los Angeles Times 

Bankruptcy filing 

The company behind the Orange County Register filed for bankruptcy protection. The CEO of Freedom Communications Inc., which also owns the Riverside Press-Enterprise, plans to reorganize the company and assume ownership. “The goal is to strengthen our position as the leader in providing local news and information for Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties,” said publisher Rich Mirman. Los Angeles Times


Weather forecast: Cooler weather is on the way for the Los Angeles region. There’s also a 40% chance of rain today and tomorrow. “It's going to be a real shocker for Angelenos," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. Los Angeles Times

Water’s Catch-22: Across California, water officials are dealing with this conundrum: They need users to save water, but doing so means less money for water districts. “Is water a commodity to be purchased at a given rate? Or is it more like a public service, like the police or court systems? It might be better to conceptualize it more like the latter.” CityLab

Lessons on smog: Los Angeles could be an example to the world of how to clean up smog, even though the region still has work to do when it comes to improving air quality. “Public protests, environmental organizers, nonprofit lawyers, investigative scientists, crusading journalists, dedicated public officials, and democratically elected leaders all contributed to enacting laws and policies that have steadily ratcheted down pollution levels through regulations, taxes, and incentives.” LAObserved


Daily challenges: Columnist Steve Lopez profiles a Fairfax High School senior whose dream is to go to a four-year college, despite challenges at home. Miriam Antonio shares a two-bedroom apartment with five other relatives and must take two buses just to get to school each morning. “I keep in mind that in order to be successful, we must be greater than what we suffer,” she wrote in her college applications. Los Angeles Times

Regulating pet shops: Three years ago, city leaders banned pet stores from selling commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits, hoping instead that Angelenos would adopts pets from shelters. But zoning codes haven’t caught up with that decision, leaving such rescue storefronts to operate in industrial, rather than commercial, locations. The issue is now in the hands of a court. Los Angeles Times

Down and out: In the affluent Pacific Palisades, residents are raising $500,000 to help the area’s 180 homeless men and women. It’s a far different approach than in other parts of the city, where homeowners and business owners rely on the city and county to assist the homeless. “I personally think we can't wait to get government support. Our residents should be able to step up to the task and fund our own solution,” said Maryam Zar, chair the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness. Los Angeles Times

Boom time: Tax credits may be one reason behind the renewed boom in Hollywood. The number of shooting days on location here is up, and that’s good news for all of the vendors who supply film and TV sets. “The surge in L.A.-area filming is a dramatic turnaround from only a few years ago, when local business owners and union officials were fretting over the loss of jobs as other states lured away location filming with tax credits and rebates.” Los Angeles Times


Price of education: Incoming Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon was never much into education, essentially having a failing GPA at one time. It was while working a graveyard shift loading trucks that he first had the idea to take classes at Cerritos College. From there, he went to college and finished with a doctorate in political science. “I was a product of California’s low-cost higher education. I don’t know that I would have thought of college as an option today,” he told columnist George Skelton. Los Angeles Times 

Inverse trends: In decades past, California’s state dynamics previewed national trends, from Ronald Reagan to anti-tax sentiments. But now, the Golden State’s political parties are moving in the opposite directions of their national counterparts. “California's role as the outlier has been driven by changes in party strength, demographics and, for lack of a better scientific term, group dynamics,” writes columnist Cathleen Decker. Los Angeles Times

Minimum wages: The cities of Santa Monica, Long Beach and Pasadena are all looking at increasing the local minimum wage, but they’re moving at a slower, more deliberate speed than L.A., which agreed to increase wages earlier this year. “Because we’re not just looking to adopt something somebody else came up with, we do need sufficient amount of time to look at the data,” said Long Beach Councilwoman  Stacy Mungo. 89.3 KPCC

West Nile: Health officials say 28 people in California have died so far this year from West Nile virus. The virus has been more active, and experts believe that may be because mosquitoes are having to find alternative sources of water. Los Angeles Times 


Future of death penalty: California voters could be asked to weigh in on two competing death penalty measures in the November 2016 election. A measure from a pro-death-penalty group would seek to speed up the appeals process and shorten the amount of time inmates spend in prison before they are executed. A second measure would scrap the death penalty altogether. The state has executed 13 inmates since 1978. Los Angeles Times

Halloween riot: Thousands of people rioted near UC Berkeley on Halloween night. It was unclear what prompted the crowds to throw rocks and bottles, but several large parties were being shut down by police. One car was damaged in the melee. SFist


So many bats: It’s National Bat Week. Did you know California has 27 species of bats? KCET

Art show: A new exhibit in San Francisco captures the boom and bust of San Francisco. “Rather than focusing on the obvious symptoms of the area’s gentrification — high-rises, Silicon Valley charter buses, an abundance of new condos — the exhibit depicts subtle moments in the everyday lives of residents affected by, and left out of, the tech boom.” California Sunday Magazine

California history: Did you know the famous fiberglass mammoths at the La Brea Tar Pits reached their final destination via a 1958 Volkswagen? Los Angeles Times 


San Diego will have afternoon showers and a high of 74 degrees. Los Angeles will be 73 with strong winds. Riverside will have winds and possible rain, with a high of 76. San Francisco will be cloudy and windy at 64 degrees.


This week’s birthdays for notable Californians:

Former NBA player Bill Walton (Nov. 5, 1952), actress Sally Field (Nov. 6, 1946), L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (Nov. 6, 1954), former California First Lady Maria Shriver (Nov. 6, 1955) and co-founder of Yahoo! Jerry Yang (Nov. 6, 1968).

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.