Newsletter: Essential California: Oil industry scores a win on climate change bill

Good morning. It is Thursday, Sept. 10. Los Angeles has a heat wave and that’s a problem for public school classrooms with aging or faulty air conditioning. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Aid-in-dying bill advances

A bill that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to the terminally ill was approved by the state Assembly. "I was confident that the full Assembly, reflective of and responsive to the people it represents, would do the right thing and move us closer to making it possible for terminally ill Californians to decide for themselves how to manage their last days," said Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), who formerly worked in hospice care. Ultimately, it will be up to Gov. Jerry Brown whether to sign the bill. Los Angeles Times

Not a love story

Boy and girl meet. They get married, and honeymoon in Las Vegas. But this isn't a typical love story. Federal authorities say a man and his daughter were arranging fake marriages between U.S. citizens and Chinese nationals who wanted to obtain green cards. Clients paid as much as $50,000 for the matchmaking service, authorities said. Los Angeles Times

Climate (bill) change

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders will drop a major environmental goal from a proposed climate change bill after they failed to gain the support of moderate Democrats. Gone is a provision calling for a 50% cut in petroleum use by 2030. "Slashing the use of gasoline was one of the three major pillars of the proposed new policy, along with doubling the energy efficiency of older buildings and requiring half of California's electricity to come from renewable sources." Los Angeles Times


Federal hearing: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) hopes to schedule a hearing in Washington, D.C., on the drought for October. That legislative hearing is expected to focus on proposals from Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would help ease conditions in California. Politico

Water and pot: Marijuana growers will flock to Northern California this weekend for the Golden Tarp Awards, a celebration of "light deprivation" farming techniques. They're expected to discuss water conservation and how to make their crops drought tolerant. SF Gate

Going buggy: Insects, including ants, are taking to homes and other buildings in search of water. "You've got to understand that these ants are on the move looking for food. You might get them out of one room, but they will show up in another -- full strength," one exterminator said. KRON 4


Street plan roadblock: A Westside group called Fix the City is suing the city of Los Angeles over a proposal to build hundreds of miles of bus-only and cycling lanes. The group says the city's environmental review erroneously concluded that the plan would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "This conclusion is not backed by any rational or meaningful analysis," the lawsuit says. Los Angeles Times

Going to extremes: It's been a time of intense weather in California, causing problems including lightning-sparked fires in Saugus, Valencia, Castaic and Canyon Country. Elsewhere, rain led to mudslides and flash-flood warnings. Los Angeles Times

Transit timetable: L.A. County transit officials, in light of L.A.'s bid for the 2024 Olympics, want to speed federal funding for two major rail projects. Metro wants to pursue an "extremely aggressive" schedule to build out a rail line to LAX and the subway to Westwood. Under the current proposal, those projects would not be completed until 2028 and 2036. Los Angeles Times


Off-roading: The city of Sacramento is revising its laws on cycling. A new ordinance would clarify when cyclists may take to the city's sidewalks, something many riders do in the absence of bike lanes or paths. Sacramento Bee


Young victims: Three brothers, ages 8 to 12, were found stabbed to death inside a car parked in South L.A. Police say that their father, who was hospitalized with stab wounds, is the main suspect. "These are incidents that scar not only the community, but the first responders who have to handle them," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. Los Angeles Times

Stolen art: Nine Andy Warhol silk-screen prints were stolen from the walls of a family business in Los Angeles and replaced with fakes. The imitation art must have been pretty good because the owner didn't realize that his valuable works were missing. Los Angeles Times

Cameras and cops: A curious things happened when San Diego police strapped on body cameras -- officers used more force but ultimately received fewer complaints. "This first year of data all seems to suggest that [body cameras] aren't the end-all solution to all social issues," San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said. San Diego Union-Tribune

Prosecutor departs: A deputy district attorney who prosecuted three of the four criminal cases that fell apart in the wake of Orange County's misuse of jailhouse informants is leaving the state. Erik Petersen was once considered a rising star in the prosecution of members of the Mexican Mafia and other gangs. Orange County Register


Falling short: California's children did not do well on new, more rigorous standardized tests linked to the "Common" Core standards. Just 44% of students scored at grade level or better in English, and 34% did so in math. "The results show our starting point, a window into where California students are in meeting tougher academic standards that emphasize critical thinking, problem solving and analytical writing," state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. Los Angeles Times

School score card: Are you curious to see how your child's school did on the exams? This database allows you to look up the results by school. Los Angeles Times

College score card: Caltech in Pasadena is the 10th-best university in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings. UC Berkeley landed at No. 20 overall (and No. 1 among public universities), while USC and UCLA tied (along with Carnegie-Mellon University) for 23rd. Los Angeles Times


Behind-bars scene: Former inmates are reviewing prisons on Yelp and Google. Of Pelican Bay Prison, one wrote: "A California judge recommended this place to me. He even arranged free transportation." The Marshall Project


Do your best to stay cool. Los Angeles is going to heat up to 98 degrees today. Riverside will reach 99 degrees, with a chance of thunderstorms. It will be sunny and 89 degrees in San Diego. San Francisco will be mostly sunny and 83 degrees.


Today's California Memory comes from Stoney Richards:

"An avid runner, I prepared for a marathon regardless of weather. The Santa Anas were blowing and the highs were in the 100s, so at 9 p.m. one night I set out for a two-hour run. I ran from our home in Studio City through Griffith Park and back. In the park in the dark, I became aware of what sounded like a sizzle that I soon realized was sand falling down off the hillside. That's how hot and dry it was! My imagination took over (what of coyotes and other creatures), helping me complete my run in record time."

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.