Newsletter: Essential California: Minimum-wage deal gets a speedy approval

Good morning. It is Friday, April 1. The latest food craze in Koreatown is waffle pizza. You can order the dish with something traditional, like pepperoni, or branch out and try grilled kimchi. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


Wage legislation

The state Legislature voted to increase California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the bill on Monday. The whole deal has happened at lightning speed, with lawmakers reaching a legislative compromise on the issue just last week. “This is an argument about economic justice,” said Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas. Los Angeles Times


New warehouse

Amazon will open a second fulfillment center in San Bernardino, a community that’s become attractive to the tech giant thanks to its land prices, proximity to ports and access to an enormous consumer market. The 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse will add 1,000 new full-time jobs to the city. “Ultimately, Amazon wants to delivery anything to anybody, all within a couple hours,” said an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. Los Angeles Times

Driving into the future

The Tesla Model 3 could be the first affordable electric car for the masses. The company is now taking pre-orders for the car. “My 8-year-old daughter won’t ever drive a car powered by gas. Her first car will be a Tesla,” said one man who arrived at the Santa Monica store at 4 a.m. to put his name down for the $35,000 car. Los Angeles Times



Disaster revisited: It has been 34 years since the deadliest avalanche in U.S. history. It hit the Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe. Seven people died and four people survived. Here, survivor Anna Allen talks about the five days she endured before rescuers arrived. 89.3 KPCC

Dry conditions: The typical rainy season is coming to a close, and Los Angeles has experienced below-average rainfall despite the promise of El Niño. Will storms come in late spring? “It’s not something you’d want to gamble a lot of money on,” said David Pierce, with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Curbed LA



Housing strategy: Los Angeles County officials want independent cities to pitch in and help end homelessness. Specifically, they want city officials to invest in shelters and affordable housing and discourage police from arresting homeless individuals for low-level offenses. The county is home to 44,000 people without a place to live. Los Angeles Times

Temporary closure: Runyon Canyon is not Los Angeles’ best hiking trail, but it’s probably the most popular. The views are great and the people-watching is even better. But beginning today, the park will close for four months so crews with the Department of Water and Power can replace a pipe. “I’m very, very upset,” said Lady Victoria Hervey, a British aristocrat who hikes the canyon five days a week with her Norfolk terrier. Los Angeles Times

Reimagining transit: It will take more than a $120-billion tax proposal to transform Los Angeles’ relationship with traffic and transportation. “If it’s now possible for me to get from Pasadena to Westwood on transit, I’m all for that. But if Pasadena doesn’t get more populated, then there are only so many people who are going to make that trip,” said Lisa Schweitzer, a scholar of transportation and urban planning at USC. CityLab

Get your tickets: Season tickets for the Los Angeles Rams will range in price from $360 to $2,025. Those ticket prices will spike, however, when the team moves from the Coliseum to its permanent home in Inglewood. “We wanted to make Rams football accessible to as many people as we could, so the pricing we’re going with is extremely reasonable when compared to what people might have expected,” said Jake Bye, Rams vice president. Los Angeles Times


Designer shades: Grand Park is getting some shade. “Paper Airplanes” by artists Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff will cover the Olive Court. Yes, the shades look like paper airplanes. Curbed LA


No vote: Sacramento Councilwoman Angelique Ashby left Tuesday’s council meeting minutes before a vote on increasing water rates — and that move is being criticized by her rival in the city’s mayoral race. Ashby denied accusations that she skipped out on the vote. “I left the meeting entirely, after expressing my opposition, because the mtg ran long,” Ashby said in a text message to a reporter. Sacramento Bee

Late fees: In San Jose, fines and fees are keeping many low-income residents away from libraries. It doesn’t help that the library system sends fines of $50 or more to a collections agency. “The kids who are barred from the door of the library are the ones we most desperately want to reach,” said Mayor Samuel T. Liccardo. New York Times


Punishing your own: Proposition 50 on the June ballot would allow members of the state Assembly and Senate to suspend a colleague without pay. It is meant to close a loophole in the Legislature’s disciplinary rules following the arrests of state Sen. Ron Calderon and state Sen. Leland Yee and the conviction of state Sen. Rod Wright. San Francisco Chronicle


Texting allegations: San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón says his office has discovered more racist and homophobic text messages sent between the city’s police officers. The messages were sent between 2014 and 2015 by five officers. These text messages are separate from the ones that emerged last year in a federal investigation. Los Angeles Times

Hate crime: Authorities in Irvine are investigating a hate crime. They say Christopher Qu, who is Asian, attacked two African American men with a metal pipe while shouting racial slurs in an unprovoked incident. Los Angeles Times


A legend: “Get me Gladys!” That’s what defendants shouted when they needed one of the best (and best-dressed) lawyers in Los Angeles. Gladys Towles Root made herself famous by taking on some of the city’s most unsavory cases and wearing outrageous outfits. “Apart from being great advertising, her costumes were also a trial tactic — they took the jury’s attention off the heinous crimes of which the defendants were often accused.” KCET


Book prize: U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will receive the L.A. Times Book Prize’s 2015 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement on April 9. On the sensibility he brings to his job, Herrera says, “I bring a multicultural scene of all colors. San Diego, Tijuana, L.A. and S.F. were my libraries, my workshops, my poetry tutorials and volcanoes from 1956 to 1985.” Los Angeles Times

Out in the open: There is a very public, $40,000 urinal in Dolores Park. Wait, what? “I have never seen anything quite like it. The base is a concrete pad with a drain but no spigots. A crescent-shaped fence offers limited privacy,” writes columnist Robin Abcarian. Los Angeles Times


Musical duo: It’s been exactly 35 years since Marty and Elayne started a two-week gig at the Dresden in Los Feliz. The husband and wife team say they’ll keep playing until the world ends. “We both have ESP. We are soul mates; we’re both die-hard jazz players,” said Elayne. Los Angeles Magazine

Unique home: A glass pyramid that gets as hot as a “jungle greenhouse” in the summer is for sale in Sierra Madre. Get ready to do some work — the property is being sold “as is.” Curbed LA


San Diego will have low clouds and a high of 67 degrees. Los Angeles will have a mix of clouds and sun as temperatures reach 72 degrees. In San Francisco, there will be clouds as temperatures reach 61 degrees. Sacramento will be sunny and 73. Sunny and 78 in Riverside.



Today’s California Memory comes from Dale M. Hanson:

“I had a business conference in Los Angeles in 1986. I invited my girlfriend along with the idea we would travel the coast highway up to San Francisco following my meetings. We ended up spending 10 days traversing the curvy roads along the coast highway and taking in the sights. Nearing the end of our trip we had dinner in San Francisco at a restaurant named Rue Lepic located near Nob Hill. Over dinner I told my girlfriend how much I loved California and how I would like to get a job in the state. One year later I accepted a job in Sacramento and shortly later married my girlfriend. That was almost 30 years ago.”

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 Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.