Newsletter: Essential California: How do you fix environmental damage from a gas leak?

Good morning. It is Monday, March 21. Congratulations to the Granada Hills Charter High School Academic Decathlon team. It won the state championship this weekend, which means the team can defend its national title next month in Anchorage. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:



Offsetting emissions


The Southern California Gas Co. is going to have to make up for the 100,000 tons of methane that leaked out of its well in Aliso Canyon. Remedies could include plugging abandoned wells, installing methane-gobbling digesters at dairy farms and helping people buy more efficient furnaces and water heaters. ”If done right it will reduce methane far into the future and hold the oil and gas industry accountable for its aging infrastructure,” said Timothy O’Connor, who directs the California Climate Initiative for the Environmental Defense Fund. Los Angeles Times 

For the cool kids

The new Broad Museum is a big hit with younger Angelenos, as evidenced by the fact that the average age of a visitor is just 32. What’s the attraction for millennials? It’s got great art, it’s downtown and it’s free. “Seeing the fun that friends were having from afar, in pictures and videos, they didn’t want to fall prey to “FOMO” (fear of missing out).” Los Angeles Times

Public or private


With more police departments embracing body cameras, there is still a thorny issue to be sorted out: who gets to see the footage? The fight between transparency and privacy will come to a head in Sacramento, where the Democratic caucus has two competing bills on the issue. “Generally departments restrict all public access to the footage outside of a courtroom or police review panels that include citizens, though Oakland had made some videos public through records requests.” Los Angeles Times



Into the desert: Jim Mattern -- better known as Death Valley Jim -- is making the case for “the desert as a place of sacred mystery.” See Joshua Tree and Death Valley through his eyes. Newsweek 

Storing energy: The Santa Monica-based company SolarReserve believes it has found a way to store electricity using salt. “With California’s requirement that 50% of the state’s electricity generation come from renewable sources such as solar and wind power by 2030, storage facilities such as Crescent Dunes have great potential.” Los Angeles Times



Up in the sky: The glass slide that will appear outside the U.S. Bank Tower this summer was airlifted to the building’s 69th floor. “Guests of all ages will have the opportunity to transform their view of Los Angeles as they glide down, gazing at unparalleled views of the city,” said the president of the company that owns the building. It’s all part of a $50-million makeover. Los Angeles Times


Soaring rents: It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that rents are rising as much as 15% near the soon-to-be opened Metro Expo Line. This map shows what it costs to rent a one-bedroom apartment along the various light rail and subway lines. Curbed LA

Miracle of life: There was an amazing scene in Dana Point this weekend: a false killer whale gave birth right near a whale-watching boat. Even more incredible is that false killer whales are rarely seen in Southern California. “I don’t know if anyone has ever seen a false killer whale give birth. At least no other commercial boat has reported this,” said captain Tom Southern. Orange County Register

Get prepared: Consider this a reminder to prepare for a major earthquake or other disaster. That means stocking up on water, canned goods and maybe a generator. “When an earthquake hits, they use that as a catalyst to get prepared. Our goal is to get people prepared before disaster hits,” according to the owner of  SOS Survival Products in Van Nuys. Daily News



Political circus: Columnist Steve Lopez went to Arizona to see what the Donald Trump campaign is all about and what we might expect when he makes his way to California. “After years of stagnant wages in a time of obscenely escalating wealth for the privileged few, the angry masses have chosen as their spear carrier one of the richest men in the world, and his rise began with an assault on some of the poorest,” he writes. Los Angeles Times

Hollywood to DC: Actress and former president of the Screen Actors Guild Melissa Gilbert is running for the U.S. Congress in Michigan. The Hollywood celeb moved to a rural part of the state after marrying her third husband, actor Timothy Busfield, who got a taste of Washington playing a White House correspondent on “West Wing.” Her campaign disclosure forms read like a who’s who of Hollywood. Washington Post 

New coins: Coins commemorating former President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon were unveiled at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda. The coins are part of the U.S. Mint’s presidential series. Los Angeles Times


Freedom of speech: The mayor of Baldwin Park is once again trying to take legal action to silence his loudest critic, a year after the city first lost in court. “When these kinds of restraining orders are entered against government officials’ critics, based simply by showing that this person has said something hostile and has allegedly followed them, that is bad for democracy,” said Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor. Los Angeles Times 



Body cameras: The Los Angeles Police Department is defending its decision to use Taser International to supply its body cameras. Lawmakers have expressed concern over the LAPD’s decision to “piggyback” on a bidding process done Kern County. But LAPD brass say Taser is the only company that can meet the needs of a department its size. Los Angeles Times

Remains found: Two hikers in Griffith Park discovered a human skull there Saturday. Authorities believe the skull is many years old and is not part of a larger crime scene. Los Angeles Times

On the run: A couple of zebras escaped from UniverSoul Circus Friday and were later discovered roaming around East Oakland. Circus personnel were able to get the zebras back in time for their performance. The animals were not injured in the escape. SFist



Medical technology: A new smartphone app is bringing back the doctor’s house call, but at what cost? House visits fell out of favor as patients and doctors found it more cost effective to go to an office. “It’s a very, very inefficient process for a doctor, especially in L.A.,” said Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, a Harvard health policy professor. Los Angeles Times

Newspaper empire: Digital First Media is expected to be approved today to purchase the Orange County Register and the Press-Enterprise of Riverside for $52.3 million. A few days ago it appeared that Tribune Publishing would be the newspapers’ new owner, but a U.S. District Court judge approved a temporary restraining order Friday to stop the sale. The federal government believes selling the papers to Tribune would harm competition. Los Angeles Times



Grab a tube: About 40 people went down to the Los Angeles River this weekend for the L.A.zy River event. Half the group floated down the river in inner tubes, despite the city’s efforts to shut down the party. Time Out

Power of scent: Natasha Gregson Wagner is remembering her mother, the late actress Natalie Wood, with a new perfume. “I knew when she was home because I would smell her perfume. She would waft through the house,” said Gregson Wagner. New York Times

Time for breakfast: Many East Coasters believe they’ve cornered the market on bagels but here are the 11 best bagels in L.A. LAist

Burger time: It’s the ultimate showdown between In-N-Out and Shake Shack. Buzzfeed



Los Angeles will start the morning with fog and then have sunshine with highs reaching 71 degrees. San Diego will begin the day with fog, then temperatures are expected to reach a high of 68. Riverside will be partly sunny and breezy with a high of 76. Sacramento is expected to have showers in the afternoon with temperatures reaching 62 degrees. San Francisco will have afternoon showers and a high of 59.



This week’s birthdays for notable Californians:

Actor William Shatner (March 22, 1931), Secretary of State Alex Padilla (March 22, 1983), Clippers owners Steve Ballmer (March 24, 1956), L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian (March 24, 1960), L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo (March 25, 1954), studio executive Amy Pascal (March 25, 1958), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (March 26, 1940), former football player Marcus Allen (March 26, 1960), and actress Leslie Mann  (March 26, 1973).


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