Newsletter: Essential California: L.A., you are terrible at parking


Good morning. It is Thursday, July 23. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:


Assault charge

This spring, millions of people saw the video of Los Angeles police officers shooting and killing a man on skid row. The video also showed a homeless woman picking up an officer’s baton. That action landed Trishawn Cardessa Carey, 34, in jail, facing the possibility of $1-million bail. She was charged with assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer. If convicted, Carey, who has a history of mental illness, could spend the rest of her life in jail because of the state’s three-strikes law. Los Angeles Times

O.C. economy

The recession decimated two of Orange County’s leading industries: construction and the mortgage business. But now the economy appears to be coming back to life. Employment is on the rise and new office buildings are going up to accommodate the growing businesses. “The economy of Orange County is doing extremely well,” said Esmael Adibi, director of Chapman University’s A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research. Los Angeles Times


Rebooting an old plant: The city of Santa Barbara is looking to reactivate a desalination plant that was built, but never used, during the drought of the early 1990s. It will cost $55 million to get the plant going again. Doing so could provide Santa Barbara with one-third of its drinking water. Los Angeles Times

Q&A on El Niño: Here's an explainer on El Niño and what it could mean for your winter and the state’s drought. “The really big El Niños -- we’re not there yet -- can soak the whole state. But right now, it’s possible to get a lot of flooding and mudslides in the south. In Northern California, you could get below-normal rainfall and snowpack,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Los Angeles Times

Anger, fear: Tensions are rising in rural Porterville. Just west of the town in Jones Corner, residents are upset that tanker trucks are being sent in to pump water and bring it back to East Porterville. Drivers have been threatened and followed as they try to deliver water. Fresno Bee

Call of the wild: Hungry, thirsty coyotes are showing up in Capitola and feasting on small pets. Residents should keep their animals indoors and refrain from putting out water or food bowls. San Jose Mercury-News


Bank shutdown: Banamex USA, formerly known as the California Commerce Bank, will shut down and pay $140 million in penalties to settle state and federal investigations of money laundering. Los Angeles Times

No love for NFL: A casual survey of 100 Angelenos found there’s not much support for a return of professional football to L.A. That’s because lots of respondents are transplants who root for their hometown teams. There’s also strong support for the USC and UCLA football programs. “We get to go, ‘rah-rah’ on Saturdays, then watch from afar on Sundays. We get the best of both worlds, why be greedy?” said one UCLA season ticket holder. Sports Illustrated

Unfriendly welcome: How would you like to fly to a foreign country only to find that when you get there, your ride is late and you have to sleep on a gym floor? That’s what happened to 1,500 athletes and coaches with the Special Olympics when they landed at LAX. Delayed flights, a backup of buses and construction near the airport meant they had to spend the night on the floor at Loyola Marymount University before they could make it to their host cities. Associated Press


UC’s minimum wage: Following the lead of local governments, University of California president Janet Napolitano announced the university system would pay employees $15 an hour by 2017. The move is expected to intensify debate around a bill to increase the statewide minimum wage. The move is expected to cost the University of California an additional $14 million and would be paid for with fees from parking garages and bookstores. Los Angeles Times

History lesson: Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, could school anyone on religion and philosophy, even a docent at the Sistine Chapel. That’s what happened to one poor guide at the Vatican when the governor asked him if he knew when Ignatius of Loyola died. He did not but Brown did -- 1556. Sacramento Bee

Donor network: Hollywood donors favored Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the presidential race eight years ago. To reintroduce herself to the entertainment community, Clinton is participating in small, backyard fundraisers. And that strategy is helping her build a strong base of small donors. Hollywood Reporter

O.C. health inspections: Orange County saw a spike last year in the number of restaurants temporarily closed for a major health violation. As a result, the Board of Supervisors agreed that health inspectors should visit restaurants at least three times a year. At the same time, the board continued to reject the idea of giving those businesses letter grades that might indicate their health and safety. Orange County Register


Metro investment: As the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots approaches, new attention and money are being drawn to that community. The new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital just reopened and now Metro wants to spend $65 million to upgrade the Rosa Parks transit stop, which is one of the busiest and most violent stations in the system. Los Angeles Times

Bus riders: The Metro board is expected today to consider changes to its bus system that may seem minor on the surface but which could have serious consequences for Angelenos who are dependent on the system, writes D.J. Waldie. “Fewer and more crowded buses will serve discretionary riders and fewer dependent ones. There will be real improvements for riders who will live in the new apartments and condos being built along L.A.'s 'transit corridors,' but with a catch for everyone else,” he writes. KCET

L.A. can’t park: That Hummer parked in the compact space? The Bentley owner who decided to take up three spaces? Your parking is being shamed on a new Instagram account. Zócalo Public Square


Stinky flower: A titan arum plant, better known as the “corpse flower,” is blooming at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. The flower gives off an odor best described as a dead animal in order to attract flies and beetles. KQED

River walk: A love letter to the Santa Ana river. “We walk most days along the Santa Ana River Trail, an asphalt bike path that begins in San Bernardino and eventually ends at the ocean, and on every single day or evening, I come back with a story.” Boom


Cost of water: In an op-ed, UCLA’s Mark Gold argues that the Department of Water and Power’s proposed rate increase isn’t enough to meet the city’s ambitious water goals, like reducing dependence on imported water. “ If Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to realize his ambitious, big-picture water management agenda, we must all pay more,” he writes. Los Angeles Times

LAUSD’s next leader:  Stanford education historian Diane Ravitch is no fan of the movement behind the proliferation of charter schools, which she says “operate with minimal oversight, receiving public funds but not necessarily acting like public schools.” Ravitch, who wants the next superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District to take more of a skeptical approach to privately operated public schools, also advocates reducing the importance of standardized tests and creating an atmosphere of respect for teachers. Los Angeles Times


San Diego will start the day with clouds and then have some sun and temperatures reaching 78 degrees. Los Angeles will have clouds and sun and 80 degrees. Riverside will have low clouds and 85 degrees. San Francisco will also start with clouds and reach 68 degrees.


A three-story-tall Burning Man sculpture in San Leandro is sparking controversy. Some question whether the nude, female silhouette is appropriate for the town. “Truth is beauty, but tacky is forever,” said one resident.  

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.