Newsletter: Essential California: How to beat a parking ticket

Good morning. It is Monday, Aug. 17. Musician Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers has a new hobby -- bees. The bassist’s Los Angeles backyard is home to three hives and 180,000 bees. Here's what is happening in the Golden State:


Effect of higher wages

One Bay Area pizza place is seeing firsthand the effect of raising the minimum wage. Now that all employees make between $15 and $25 an hour, Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub charges as much as $30 for a pizza. Although some customers have welcomed the new living wages, others have balked at higher prices. Sales are down 25% and some locations have had to close for lunch. “The necessity of paying people a living wage in the Bay Area is clear, so it’s hard to argue against it, and it’s something I’m really proud to be able to try doing. At the same time, I’m terrified of going out of business after 18 years,” said Vic Gumper. Los Angeles Times

State finances

The state’s ruling Democrats want to repair roads, build more low-income housing and fund public healthcare. To do so, Californians could face billions of dollars in new taxes and fees. Those proposals come even as the state’s revenue exceeds projections. And GOP leaders are already expressing skepticism. "I don't think there will be any interest in raising taxes any further," said Assembly GOP leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto). Los Angeles Times

Drought preparedness

California’s water officials are already preparing for the next big drought. Those projects include desalination plants, next-generation irrigation systems and a reimagining of landscaping. “Gone will be the massive projects once erected to battle water shortages. In their place will be a host of incremental measures, each designed to do more with what nature provides.” Los Angeles Times


Barren farmlands: In the Palo Verde Valley, farmers are fallowing their land so their water can be purchased by the Metropolitan Water District and distributed to urban customers. For farmers, the arrangement can provide a steady, reliable source of income. “I’m a farmer myself. For me, the [fallowing] program is not a success unless it benefits both parties,” said Randy Record, chairman of the MWD Board. Los Angeles Times

Viva Las Vegas: Despite outward appearance, Sin City has actually mastered water management and fared far better than California in the drought. “The hard limit on Nevada’s supply from the Colorado River gave the city an incentive to hold down its use long before it became urgent.” The Economist

Beating the drought: California appears to be firing on all cylinders and doing its best against the drought. That may be because “the state has been getting ready for this drought for the past 20 years.” That means modernizing its irrigation system, recycling water and turning ocean water into drinking water. New York Times


Traffic safety: Angelenos have had a preview of the city’s Mobility Plan 2035, which focuses on adding bicycle and bus-only lanes to the city’s roads, on a stretch of Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake. Following a fatal collision there three years ago, the city reduced the number of lanes for cars and found it resulted in slower traffic and fewer crashes. But neighbors complained it just sent traffic onto nearby residential streets and ultimately caused major backups during rush hour. Los Angeles Times


Dark money: Who is donating to campaigns in the city of Los Angeles? It can be unclear when donations are given through companies that share CEOs and addresses. The process of determining whether such companies are owned by the same person is a complicated, tedious process. “We restrict the amount that any one individual or entity can give. But passing it through numerous companies can be a way of getting around the restrictions,” said Kathay Feng with California Common Cause. Los Angeles Times

Candidates’ criticisms: Three presidential candidates respond to Gov. Jerry Brown's challenge to come up with ideas on global warming and the drought. Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former executive Carly Fiorina instead believe state officials should have built more dams and reservoirs to better capture stormwater in wet years. Sacramento Bee

The anti-Trump: In a summer that seems dominated by the antics of billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump, columnist Cathleen Decker reflects on a politician who was the anti-Trump -- former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley. “There is Bradley, with his peers, working not on bitter gibes but on the big stuff — the growth of a city, the poverty of many of its citizens, the grandeur of a wildly successful Olympic Games, fiery violence in the form of a race-based riot,” she writes. Los Angeles Times

River plans: The city of Long Beach is looking to update its plans for the L.A. River now that architect Frank Gehry’s involvement is publicly known. “The River Link plan should reflect this profoundly positive development, as well as all the other great work that’s been done over the last eight years,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. Long Beach Press-Telegram


Posted signs: An Angeleno who sued the city of Los Angeles for towing his minivan after it remained parked on the street for more than 72 hours beat his traffic ticket. A judge agreed that the city should have posted that vehicles cannot be on the street for more than three days. But from there, the case becomes more complicated. Los Angeles Times

Planes crash: Five people were killed Sunday when two small airplanes collided over the eastern part of San Diego County. Both planes were trying to land at Brown Field airport. Los Angeles Times

Fire rages: Firefighters continue to work on the blaze north of Glendora known as the Cabin fire. The fire broke out Friday and destroyed at least three cabins and an outhouse. Los Angeles Times

Suspect killed: A man suspected of kidnapping and the slaying of a peace officer was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies in Kern County over the weekend. Police had been pursuing Benjamin Peter Ashley for weeks in a search that forced local schools and even part of the Pacific Crest Trail to shut down. Los Angeles Times


Room and board: More and more students find that it’s cheaper to live off campus than remain in a dorm and rely on dining halls for meals. Room and board at the state’s universities are rising at rates double that of inflation. UCLA officials estimate a student can save at least $4,000 a year by living off campus. Los Angeles Times


Valuable land: A 4.5-acre trailer park in Silicon Valley could be worth as much as $55 million. But what would it mean to the community to lose one of the last affordable places in the region? City and county leaders are hoping they can pool together enough funds to save the park. Wall Street Journal

Landmark remade: After nearly four years of construction, the L.A. landmark cafeteria Clifton’s is set to reopen next month. “Patrons will find a three-story atrium has been carved into the building — where they will encounter a 250-pound meteorite perched on a Gothic-style bar fashioned out of a century-old church altar from Boston.” Los Angeles Times

Galaxy not so far away: A “Star Wars”-themed area is coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It will cover 14 acres of land. “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever,” said Disney Chairman Bob Iger. Fans have been anticipating the theme park additions since the company acquired Lucasfilms and the "Star Wars" franchise in 2012. Orange County Register

NorCal challenge: An 11-year-old girl was just one of the hundreds of competitors to tackle the Alcatraz Challenge in San Francisco. It included a 1.5-mile swim from the island to Crissy Field and a seven-mile run. SF Gate


Los Angeles will have plenty of sun and 88 degrees. Some areas of San Francisco will have low clouds. There will also be sunshine and 76 degrees. Riverside will be sunny and 98 degrees. San Diego will have clear skies and 81 degrees.


This week’s birthdays for famous Californians:

Businessman Larry Ellison (Aug. 17), actor Sean Penn (Aug. 17), decathlete Rafer Johnson (Aug. 18), actor and director Robert Redford (Aug. 18), actor John Stamos (Aug. 19), Google co-founder Sergey Brin (Aug. 21), chef Giada De Laurentiis (Aug. 22).

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.