Good morning. It is Saturday, Aug. 22. Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:
Academic pursuits: Attending kindergarten could soon be mandatory for California’s children if a new state bill is approved and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Backers argue kindergarten has evolved from finger painting and playtime to learning how to count, spell and hold a pencil. Most of the state’s youngsters already attend kindergarten, and critics say that choice should remain a parental one. Los Angeles Times
Iran deal: Two dozen Democrats from California’s congressional delegation have yet to weigh in on the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. That makes the Golden State crucial to the conversation in Washington, D.C. Lawmakers are using the summer recess to solicit the feedback of their constituents. Los Angeles Times
Expensive rents: Five of the 25 neighborhoods with the highest median rent in America are in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. No. 6, Jordan Park-Laurel Heights, is in San Francisco. Coming in at the top spot is Bel-Air, where you can expect to spend more than $10,000 a month. City Lab
Guilty plea: A Costa Mesa-based coin dealer pleaded guilty to defrauding more than 400 customers out of $15 million. Hannes Tulving Jr. admitted he induced customers to place orders he knew he could not fulfill. More than 20 years ago, Tulving was suspected of defrauding customers out of $40 million. In that case, he settled with the Federal Trade Commission for $1.3 million. Orange County Register
New lawns: These 11 waterwise landscapes may be all the motivation you need to tear out turf. Los Angeles Times
Tasty grapes: The drought has prompted the wine industry in California to reevaluate its relationship with water. In some cases, winemakers are embracing dry farming, which rejects irrigation and forces plant roots to dig deep for groundwater. New York Times
History lesson: Now that students are heading back to school, parents of fourth-graders can look forward to their children’s projects on California’s missions. This page is full of information to help you ace that class, from an interactive timeline to a map of the 21 missions. Los Angeles Times
Car restoration: A Torrance man paid $50,000 for a 1962 E-Type Jaguar, but when it arrived in his driveway from Oklahoma it didn’t look quite as he had hoped. The vintage car was charred in the Cajon Pass fire. To make matters worse, the transporter responsible for delivering the car may not have been insured. “There’s nothing on it that’s broken, damaged or melted that can’t be repaired or replaced or made as good as new,” said Malcolm Croxton. Daily Breeze
A "Godzilla" El Niño could end a drought-worsening weather pattern affecting California. A persistent mass of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska has kept wet storms away from California in recent years and has caused a growing "blob" of warmer ocean temperatures in the northeast Pacific Ocean.
Image by Paul Duginski:
THIS WEEK'S MOST POPULAR STORIES IN ESSENTIAL CALIFORNIA
1. Why did longtime ABC 7 weatherman Garth Kemp abruptly leave the station after 17 years? LA Observed
2. By one federal standard, Ventura County is the most desirable place to live in America. That’s based on its scenery and climate. Washington Post
3. A Westside lawyer got his parking ticket tossed after successfully arguing that the city should have posted a sign about parking limits. But it’s unclear whether that victory will force Los Angeles to change the way it posts parking signs. Los Angeles Times
4. Telegraph Hill in San Francisco may provide the best views of the city. San Francisco Chronicle
5. What are California’s most popular emojis? SwiftKey
ICYMI, HERE ARE THIS WEEK'S GREAT READS
Elected representation: With elected representatives and public comments, the scene could be any city council meeting in California. Instead, it’s inside L.A. County’s jail system. Inmates now participate in councils that allow them to voice their concerns, from food to laundry to medical care, directly to the people in charge. Los Angeles Times
Learning to fly: In Kenya, one man is making his 14th attempt to build an airplane in his backyard. He’s studied aircraft blogs and culled NASA’s website for details on how to make his dream a reality. Los Angeles Times
College prep: In China, high school debate teams are now seen as a way to prepare for the rigors of Western higher education. That’s because the Chinese educational system is test-oriented. “They don't let students innovate. It's just pushing the knowledge to your mouth,” said one 17-year-old student. Los Angeles Times
Tuesday:: The West Basin Municipal Water District will host a greywater workshop in Torrance.
Thursday: UCLA will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the Wasserman Football Center and Mo Ostin Basketball Center.
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.