Essential California: Academy responds to #OscarsSoWhite

Good morning. It is Saturday, Jan. 23. Here's what you don't want to miss this weekend:



Calls for diversity: Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Thursday to double the number of women and minorities on their board by 2020. The vote came in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite, a social media campaign to bring attention to the lack of diversity among nominees for this year's Academy Awards. The academy also changed the requirements needed to be a lifetime voting member. Los Angeles Times

Dangerous conditions: The California Department of Transportation will have to pay $12 million to five construction workers who were exposed to dangerous fungus at a work site in 2008. A jury found the state agency knew the risks associated with the Kern County project. "They warned their own people about the risk. It would be so easy to warn the plaintiffs about this," said attorney Peter Alfert. Los Angeles Times

Skirting the rules: The Normandie Casino in Gardena will plead guilty to shielding high rollers from federal reporting requirements and failing to maintain an anti-money laundering program. The company will forfeit $1.3 million in earnings as a result. Los Angeles Times

Utility oversight: An L.A. city councilman wants a ballot measure to restructure the governance of the Department of Water and Power. Councilman Felipe Fuentes wants to replace the volunteer commission that oversees the utility with a board of full-time, paid professionals. "We cede a lot of control from City Hall, which might not make folks in the building all that happy. But what you get in return is a focused, professional management system in place," he said. Los Angeles Times

Jail time: A former Santa Ana city councilman was sentenced to a year in jail for attempted sexual battery and grand theft. Carlos Bustamante was accused of assaulting seven female employees between 2003 and 2011. In addition to his time behind bars, Bustamante will have to register as a sex offender. Los Angeles Times

Job creation: The average annual unemployment rate in Fresno County dipped below 10% for the first time since 2007. "The final three months of the year (2015) saw significant employment year-over-year surges in several industries, particularly private-sector education/health services and leisure/hospitality." Fresno Bee

Art work: Harry Chandler, a member of one of L.A.'s most famous families, has devoted his life to art. "We'll never catch up to the great old museums of the world, the Louvre, the Met — you can't rebuild collections like that — but in terms of artistic energy, it's really wonderful here," Chandler says of Los Angeles. KCET


1. One ranking has Pasadena as the snobbiest city in America. The list was based on median home prices, the percentage of the population with a college degree and country clubs per capita. Travelers Today

2. What's a bobcat doing in a nice San Jose home? ABC 7

3. People love to hate on California. Why? Is it our healthy lifestyles? Sunny weather? SFGate

4. Joseph Trotter was a fixture outside the Public Defender's Office in Little Tokyo. Attorneys were attracted to his personality and his dog, a dachshund mix named Cookie. Now, they're mourning his loss, writes Steve Lopez. Los Angeles Times

5. There are at least nine traits shared by Los Angeles and New York. LA Weekly



On our own: California has no use for the rest of America, according to one candidate running for state Assembly. Louis J. Marinelli talked to columnist Robin Abcarian about his campaign for the Golden State to secede from the United States. "There are two kinds of people in California. People who identify themselves as Californians and Americans who are occupying California," he said. Los Angeles Times


Monday: Former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton will bring the Clinton Health Matters Initiative's fifth annual Activation Summit to a close in Indian Wells.

Tuesday: The California State University Board of Trustees will meet in Long Beach to discuss the governor's proposed budget.

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