Newsletter: Essential California: The No. 1 water guzzler in California

Good morning. It is Friday, Oct. 2. A mountain lion popped up in Hesperia — on top of a utility pole. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Conservation figures

Californians saved water in August, though not as much as they did in the months immediately after Gov. Jerry Brown's call for conservation. Water use dropped 27% in August compared with the same month in 2013. State water officials are concerned that conservation efforts will drop off during the winter, when the weather turns cold and potentially wet thanks to El Niño. Los Angeles Times

Cutting smog

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released new standards for air quality, though California already fails to meet the current requirement. As the state's most polluted areas, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will have until 2037 to meet the standard for ozone of 70 parts per billion. "The state must undergo full transformation of its transportation sector, including cars, trucks, ships, trains and construction equipment, state regulators say." Los Angeles Times


Hot, dry: A reminder of the drought's grim consequences: "The 2015 water year also saw the highest average temperature in 120 years of record-keeping.... The biggest impact of warmer temperatures has been that they intensify the effects of drought, increasing evaporation and drying out the soil." Los Angeles Times

No. 1 customer: In the exclusive Bel-Air enclave, there is a household that used 11.8 million gallons of water in one year. Whoever is living there is the top water user in California. That amount of water would be enough to sustain 90 typical households. Center for Investigative Reporting

Systemic problems: Problems for residents in East Porterville started long before their wells went dry. "The San Joaquin Valley's history of Wild West land-use planning, its governance structures, and the political disenfranchisement of an entire class of citizens have created a human-made crisis." City Lab

End of an era: Lake Balboa's cherry blossoms are in danger after years of hot, dry weather. Half of the trees that surround the lake are dead, and the rest look as if they could go at any time. There are no plans to replace them. Daily News


Diverse services: A new LGBT center in Boyle Heights will open next week to provide bilingual services to Latinos. "Finally, we get a little piece of heaven on the Eastside for us to be able to be who we are," state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said. Los Angeles Times

Drug front allegations: Two brothers are facing federal charges that they used a West Los Angeles pharmacy as a front for drug trafficking. Berry and Dalibor Kabov are accused of being the top purchasers of oxycodone among pharmacies in Los Angeles. They allegedly shipped the drugs around the country in exchange for cash payments made to a bank account that they controlled. Los Angeles Times

Saving the view: Downtown residents are protesting a proposed modern building that would bring luxury apartments to the Historic Core. Members of the Society for the Preservation of Downtown Los Angeles believe that the project at 9th and Hill would block views of the iconic clock on the Eastern Columbia Building. Curbed LA


Attorney general's race: California's insurance commissioner is running for attorney general. Democrat Dave Jones is starting the 2018 campaign with $2.6 million left over from previous contests. Four other candidates have filed papers, including Lou Correa, who is running this year for Congress. Los Angeles Times

Campaign donations: Six members of the Los Angeles City Council have started working on getting reelected in 2017. By filing their reelection paperwork, Councilmen Joe Buscaino, Bob Blumenfield, Mike Bonin, Gil Cedillo, Mitch O'Farrell and Curren Price can beginning soliciting donations. Daily News

Social services: San Francisco is providing free diapers to low-income families. An estimated 1,300 families with children under age 3 will be able to participate in the program. Al Jazeera America

Sex ed: California's teenagers will soon learn about consent and sexual violence. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will require high school health classes to talk about preventing sexual assault and the importance of affirmative consent. Los Angeles Times


Cosby investigation: L.A. County prosecutors are reviewing allegations that comedian Bill Cosby drugged a woman at the Playboy Mansion in 2008. The accuser says that when she awoke she was naked and that Cosby was biting her toes, with his pants around his ankles. Cosby denies the allegations. The statute of limitations has expired on the case, but prosecutors are reviewing it in the event that Cosby is charged with other crimes. Los Angeles Times

Patient zero: The recent outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at San Quentin State Prison was traced back to sludge in cooling towers atop the prison's medical buildings. More than 80 inmates contracted the disease, as did three employees. Although some inmates required hospitalization, none died. Los Angeles Times

Lawsuit filed: A group of predominantly African American women who were kicked off the Napa Wine Train in August after complaints that they were too loud filed a lawsuit seeking $11 million in damages. The women say they were humiliated to be pulled off the train while on a field trip with their book club, and two women allege that they lost their jobs as a result. Los Angeles Times

Arson suspected: A fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Thousand Oaks was the work of an arsonist, police said. It is believed that someone used a rock to break a window and then threw gasoline inside and ignited it. Los Angeles Times


Culture clash: The gentrification of downtown Los Angeles has attracted families with trendy coffee shops, lofts and playgrounds. But with homelessness on the rise, many of those families are confronting the realities of living in the epicenter of social services. "If you want to live in a particular area, you have to deal with what's going on. If you don't feel you can deal with that, then you need to move out," said Brent Smith of the Skid Row Housing Trust. 89.3 KPCC

Shelter debate: Orange County officials are debating whether to turn a vacant warehouse into a homeless shelter. At a public hearing, business owners and residents spoke out against the shelter, arguing that tenants may increase crime and create a "skid row" feeling about the neighborhood. A homeless veteran spoke in support of the project, telling the audience, "We served the country, we looked out for you. It's time for you to look out for us." Orange County Register


Cost of living: Silicon Valley may seem expensive given the wealth coming out of tech firms, but it's nothing compared to the economy during the Gold Rush. "A dozen eggs might cost you $90 at today's prices; a pick axe would be the equivalent of $1,500; a pound of coffee $1,200 and a pair of boots as much as $3,000 when today you could get a decent pair for around $120." Smithsonian

Statues desecrated: The canonization of Junipero Serra has brought the spotlight to Carmel-by-the-Sea — and not always for the right reasons. Twice now someone has vandalized statues of the new saint, writes columnist Robin Abcarian. "I cannot say I found the crimes entirely shocking, or even unexpected. Every fourth-grader in California learns about Father Serra and the spiritual 'order' he imposed on California's native tribes," she writes. Los Angeles Times


Los Angeles will be sunny and 85 degrees. In San Francisco there will be clear skies and a high of 73 degrees. Riverside will be sunny and 87. San Diego will be 78 and partly sunny.


Today's California Memory comes from Bret Colson:

"I'm a fifth-generation Californian, and working with the Oakland History room a few years ago, I traced my ancestry back to relatives who were some of the original settlers of Oakland. As a result, I visited their homestead on 2nd Street on what is now Jack London Square. Turns out, in the 1850s, my great-great-grandfather Pierre Berit was a fishmonger. Although it was a humble profession, I remember being filled with pride and telling my sixth-generation children who were along for the ride, 'We have history in California. We belong here. Never forget, we are California.'"

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.)

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