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Essential California: California's right-to-die bill is back

Good morning. It is Thursday, Aug. 20. Lots of California kids headed back to school this week and at least one of them had a pretty hard time saying goodbye to his mom.

Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:

TOP STORIES

Outbreak suspected

Did medical scopes cause a bacteria outbreak at a Pasadena hospital? That’s what officials at Huntington Memorial Hospital are looking into. The bacteria may be related to Olympus Corp. duodenoscopes, which were responsible for the superbug outbreak at UCLA Medical Center. Los Angeles Times

Slowing sinking

Parts of the San Joaquin Valley are sinking faster than ever because of all of the water being pumped out of underground aquifers. Although it may not be visible to the naked eye, the sinking can cause roads to crack and irrigation canals to buckle, resulting in millions of dollars in damage. Land near Corcoran sank more than 13 inches over eight months last year, and farmland near El Nido dropped 10 inches last year. Los Angeles Times

Earthquake dangers

A major earthquake would pose a greater risk of a tsunami in Ventura County than previously believed. Waves could be as high as 20 feet in Ventura Harbor and at the Channel Islands Beach area near Oxnard. “It’s kind of a bad place to have a tsunami propagate into, because a tsunami can propagate into lower-lying lands easier than they can steeper ones,” said Kenny Ryan, the lead author of the study. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT

Water supplies: State officials say 21 groundwater basins are sustaining “critical overdraft” as a result of the drought. That means more water is being taken out of the basin than is going in. “This is one snapshot of some significant issues we’re facing and everybody’s got to come together ... move forward and fix them,” said Lauren Bisnett, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Water Resources. Los Angeles Times

Little help: Partisanship and vacancies in key offices are just two of the reasons the federal government hasn’t done more to address the West’s ongoing drought. “You’ve [had] four years of knockdown, drag-out fights in Congress that have achieved nothing but bloody noses and that’s very debilitating,” said Rep. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove). Sacramento Bee

More questions: Readers had a lot of questions after the New York Times suggested California is winning the drought. Their feedback included concerns on the state’s ecosystem, population size and agriculture industry. New York Times

Emergency preparedness: L.A. County supervisors want to know how prepared the region is for the major storms that could come this winter as a result of a potentially strong El Niño. They’ve asked for a report that looks at the county’s infrastructure to prevent flooding and capture stormwater. Los Angeles Times

L.A. AT LARGE

Housing market: Venice Beach is ground zero in the fight to regulate short-term rentals. The neighborhood has an estimated 1,000 units on Airbnb, which translate to $13 million in revenue that isn’t taxed by the city the way hotel revenue is. “These opportunistic owners are gaming the sharing economy to illegally convert affordable housing into hotels in disguise,” said Judith Goldman with Keep Neighborhoods First. LA Weekly

Hotel or apartment: L.A.'s Department of Building and Safety is cracking down on a Hollywood high-rise that officials say is being treated as a hotel. The Sunset Boulevard apartment building is already locked in another battle with the city over allegations it violated its building permits by razing a 1924 structure on the property. In that case, a judge ordered tenants to move out, though that decision is on appeal. Los Angeles Times

Caught in red tape: In Westchester, a man has been working since February of last year to open a pizza joint. But as columnist Steve Lopez found, he has hit city roadblocks at every turn. Los Angeles Times

Missing taxes: A new audit finds the city of Los Angeles is missing out on $20 million a year because the state is not collecting enough tax revenue from businesses. Controller Ron Galperin said city, county and state tax agencies need to work together to coordinate their tax collections. Los Angeles Times

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

No notice: The L.A. County Board of Supervisors violated the state’s open meeting law last week when they voted on a new jails plan. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey determined the public had not been notified that the board would vote on the issue of building a jail. Instead, it was tacked onto a discussion about mentally ill inmates. A new vote is expected Sept. 1. Los Angeles Times

End of life: A right-to-die bill is back from the grave. The state bill is nearly identical to one introduced this year, but this time it is part of a special legislative session that will allow its backers to bypass a committee vote. “People are counting on us to win the freedom to end their life the way they choose," said Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), who co-wrote the legislation. San Jose Mercury-News

Immigration fears: In Lynwood, Latino children hear and comprehend just enough of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s remarks on immigration to be frightened. ”He’s a villain in a flaccid pompadour, spewing threats and insults that have filtered down into the bosom of many a Latino family, to be heard by children gathered by the television set or at the dinner table,” writes Hector Tobar. New York Times

Making the grade: Health inspectors want to make it tougher for L.A. County restaurants to receive an “A” for cleanliness. Under the current system, restaurants can get an “A” even if they have two major health violations. Pasadena Star-News

COURTS AND CRIMES

Prison riot: An inmate at the California Correctional Center in Susanville was killed by guards during a riot, the third melee at a state prison in the last week. According to the Department of Corrections, 23-year-old Jonathan Velarde was shot as he attacked an inmate with a weapon. Los Angeles Times

Detective dies: A retired LAPD detective known for working the Biggie Smalls murder case died of a heart attack Wednesday. Russell Poole helped advance a theory that the rapper was killed as part of a plot between a corrupt LAPD detective and Marion “Suge” Knight. Los Angeles Times

Family fight: The children and widow of Robin Williams continue to fight over the late comedian’s estate. In court papers, Williams’ three children accuse Susan Schneider Williams of trying to get a “guaranteed income stream” out of the estate. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Up on high: This may be the best view of the city of San Francisco. San Francisco Chronicle

Need a hand: Someone cut off the marble arm of the weeping Angel of Grief at Stanford University. The statue was commissioned by Jane Stanford to honor her late brother. Previously, the statue’s arm was damaged in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and stolen sometime in the 1990s. NBC Bay Area

Pop culture pins: The rotating Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign is one of the most recognizable symbols of L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood. Now, one boutique has turned the funky sign into wearable pins. Timeout Los Angeles

GOLDEN STATE PERSPECTIVES

Housing bubble? There isn’t one in L.A. despite hysteria over the occasional $3-million teardown or million-dollar fixer-upper, writes UCLA economist William Yu in an Op-Ed article. Rather, based on historical data that establish predictable, long-term cycles of bull markets followed by bear markets, Los Angeles is probably somewhere in the middle of a steady climb in housing prices that will last a few more years. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles will have low clouds and then sunshine and 81 degrees. In San Diego, the clouds will make way for the sun. Highs are expected to reach 77 degrees. Riverside will have clouds and sun, with temperatures reaching 91. San Francisco will have clouds and sun, with a high of 68 degrees.

AND FINALLY

Today's California Memory comes from Gail Owen-Smith:

“One of my most wonderful memories was going to Yosemite as a child and riding bicycles through the valley with the big trees sheltering us from the sun. It was truly magical and one of my fondest recollections.”

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.

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