Newsletter: Essential California: Debating L.A.'s minimum wage

Good morning. It is Thursday, May 14. If you’re cycling to work today, there are lots of Southern California freebies you can pick up thanks to Bike to Work week. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Increasing minimum wage

A key Los Angeles City Council committee agreed Wednesday to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. "This is perhaps the greatest shift of wealth in the history of this city," said Councilman Gil Cedillo. The full city council is expected to take up the proposal next week. Los Angeles Times

Enforcing rental restrictions

Now that Santa Monica has voted for some of the country’s tightest restrictions on short-term rentals, attention is turning to just how the city will go about enforcing the rules. Already some landlords are looking for work-arounds. ”The reality for regulators is that the industry has already taken off, creating its own political and economic constituencies of property owners and customers.” Los Angeles Times 



Geography lesson: Columnist George Skelton offers up an explainer on the state’s Central Valley and why that matters when it comes to talking about the drought and how much water farmers use on their crops. “The importance in all this is that it’s much drier — and more water-gulping for crops — in the southern Central Valley than in the north,” he writes. Los Angeles Times

Water sales: Water agencies in the Sacramento Valley are considering major water sales to farms south of the Delta. Those sales would come even as the agencies’ customers are being asked to conserve. Sacramento Bee

Making a pint: California’s craft beer industry uses 651 million gallons of water a year. That’s about the annual usage of 12,000 people. Quartz

Not-so-fairways: The drought has some golf courses removing the turf around fairways and clubhouses. “Some of the finest courses in California are taking such steps as tearing out the grass in places where it won't affect the game, planting drought-resistant vegetation, letting the turf turn brown in spots and installing smart watering systems.” Business Insider

Water rights: Is groundwater a public resource? Or does it belong as a common resource? That’s the question some Californians are facing when it comes to measuring groundwater sources. CNBC

Thirsty foods: Musician Moby joined the Courage Campaign to ask Gov. Jerry Brown to “realign” the state’s water rights. For the campaign, that means cracking down on almonds, beef and alfalfa. Courage Campaign



Street survey: The number of homeless veterans living in Los Angeles increased 6% over the last two years. That may throw a wrench into Mayor Eric Garcetti's plan to house all vets by the end of the year. "In L.A., we got off to a slow start," said a special assistant to the U.S. Veterans Affairs secretary. Los Angeles Times 

Major gift: UCLA’s graduate school of management will receive a $100 million gift from the widow of its namesake, John Anderson. The money will create a $60-million endowment for financial aid and research. The remaining funds will help create a new building next to the existing school. Los Angeles Times 

Fighting fines: An app intended to help drivers fight parking tickets is now operating in Los Angeles. Fixed pairs drivers with paralegals to argue why a ticket should be thrown out. The success rate is 20% to 30%. LA Weekly

Harassment lawsuit: The daughter of the late politician Mervyn M. Dymally is suing the mayor of Carson for allegedly trying to sexually assault her and then later harassing her. Albert Robles denies the allegations, saying instead that Lynn Dymally has a vendetta against him. Los Angeles Times

New bike lanes: On the Glendale-Hyperion bridge redesign, a win for cyclists is a major loss for pedestrians. Eastsider LA



Helping the homeless: Berkeley's panhandlers are getting some competition. The city installed 10 boxes around the city that allow people to donate directly to the Downtown Berkeley Assn. and Berkeley Food and Housing Project. SFist

Public comment: An El Monte city planning commission is in trouble after posting a Facebook story on Islam. Art Barrios posted an article with the headline “China makes major moves to ban Islam” and then added, “Sounds good maybe the rest of the world should do the same.” Now one group is calling for his resignation. Los Angeles Times

Shopping with open space: Developer Rick Caruso is planning a 26-acre shopping center in Carlsbad that would also preserve 176 acres for strawberry fields and hiking trails. The project will ultimately require approval from the California Coastal Commission. Los Angeles Times



Guilty verdict: A man accused of deliberately throwing his 4-year-old daughter off a Rancho Palos Verdes cliff was found guilty nearly 15 years after the girl’s death. Prosecutors argued Cameron Brown killed his daughter so that he wouldn’t have to pay child support. Los Angeles Times



Roommate wanted: The guys living in Silicon Valley’s “start-up castle” are looking for roommates -- very specific roommates. Applicants must exercise at least 15 hours a week, commute by bicycle and keep makeup, marijuana and alcohol to a minimum. Fusion

Price per square foot: A rundown, 1,065-square-foot house in Venice is on the market for $2.2. million. Curbed LA



Supporting a rival: USC President C. L. Max Nikias penned an op-ed in support of more funding for the public UC system. “Even though our historic cross-town rival stands to benefit from a more robust funding structure, there is no disagreement between us about higher education’s potential to strengthen California,” he writes. Daily News

Head east: Tired of The New York Times treatment of Los Angeles, this piece is a tongue-in-cheek look at Angelenos moving to NYC. “They’re finding that New York is more than a capitalist prison that runs on the fumes of the finance industry and nostalgia for CBGB’s,” writes Ann FriedmanLos Angeles Times 



Literary career: Just in time for the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee, a look back at Mark Twain’s time here and how the experience sparked his literary career. Los Angeles Times 

Meow, meow: CatConLA is coming to Los Angeles in early June. The two-day event is described as ComicCon for cat lovers. Even Lil Bub will make an appearance. Los Angeles Times

Not lovin’ it: San Francisco is demanding that McDonald’s do something about the drug dealers who hang out at their restaurant in Haight-Ashbury. Over the last three years, police have received 1,100 calls for drug use and assaults at that spot.  SF Gate

Fear and loathing: The staff at Laguna Woods Village, a retiree community, are plagued with political infighting and ineptness, according to a new report. Orange County Register



A cold storm out of the Gulf of Alaska will bring rain and snow to California today and tomorrow. It will be cold in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties in the morning.

Los Angeles can expect showers with temperatures in the low 60s. San Diego is expected to get rain in the evening and temperatures reaching 59 degrees.

San Francisco will likely have rain, with a chance of thunderstorms in the evening. Temperatures will be in the mid- to low 50s.



Police in San Bernardino found an officer’s stolen gun Tuesday … when a 3-year-old pointed the loaded weapon at them as they spoke her mother. “Obviously it’s a jaw-dropper for something like that to happen,” a police lieutenant told the Los Angeles Times.



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.

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