Newsletter: Essential California: Environmentalists and the fight over clean energy

Good morning. It is Tuesday, Dec. 1. A man who bought a lottery ticket at a San Francisco Safeway is now $5 million richer. His Max-a-Million scratcher game card had the lucky number 39. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:


Setback for project

The Newhall Land & Farming Co.'s plan to build homes for 58,000 residents along the Santa Clara River suffered a major setback Monday when the California Supreme Court invalidated its environmental impact report. Justices found that the report did not support the conclusion that the project would not affect greenhouse gas emissions. The project was first approved by Los Angeles County supervisors 12 years ago. Los Angeles Times

Frustration over homeless plan

Over the summer, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he would come out with a "battle plan" to shelter the city's homeless. Two months later, City Council members called the problem an emergency that required immediate action. But so far, there's little to show for all of the rhetoric coming out of City Hall. "The results aren't happening. ... Words are cheap," said Jaime Regalado, an emeritus professor of political science at Cal State L.A. Los Angeles Times

Post-Kobe accounting

Kobe Bryant's decision to retire at the end of the NBA season will free up tens of millions of dollars that the Lakers organization can spend on free agents. The Lakers are 2-14 and, at this rate, will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season. "The chances are improving they'll keep their top-three protected lottery pick next year because of their poor record and, yes, there will be a potential shopping spree next July." Los Angeles Times

Clean-energy dispute

Homeowners who have solar roof panels aren't too pleased with the state's new clean-energy law. Half of the state's energy must come from renewable sources by 2030, but legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't include solar panels in that calculation. "We all think we're making a difference and contributing. I'm just so angry," said a homeowner in Livermore. Los Angeles Times


Taking stock: Biologists are taking inventory of the fish in the Los Angeles River to track what happens to them in the upcoming El Niño rainstorms. "If we are ever going to fully understand the ecology of this river, and prospects for the return of species that evolved in it, we have to know first what's in it now, and how well those creatures do in extreme conditions,” said Rosi Dagit, a senior biologist for the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. Los Angeles Times

Brrrr, it's cold: There were record lows in Northern California on Monday. "We're actually getting the weather we should be getting; it just seems unusual because we've been in a drought for the past several years," meteorologist Craig Shoemaker said. Los Angeles Times

Hear me now? The drought has changed the soundscape of California. NPR


Open secret: Nightlife in Koreatown includes a lot more than late-night eats and karaoke. For-hire party girls move in and out of the clubs, offering faux affections for $120 an hour. From a Reporter's Notebook: "Doumi girls are woven into Koreatown's fabric, right there in places I'd celebrated birthdays with friends, where I'd taken my parents when they were in town." Los Angeles Times

Housing costs: The city of Los Angeles illegally cut housing subsidies in 2004, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. A three-judge panel found that the city erred when the Housing Authority cut funds to Section 8 recipients. The city plans to appeal the verdict. Los Angeles Times

Slow progress: What is taking so long when it comes to the rebirth of the Los Angeles River? "As anyone who's ever set out to build in Los Angeles knows, things aren't always as simple as they seem. A vision becomes reality at a glacial pace, which can be a good or bad thing." KCET

Runs in the family: The Butkovich sisters of Blue Springs, Mo., have made Caltech history — they are believed to be the first three sisters admitted to three graduating classes there at the same time. They take after their mother, a chemical engineer. Daily News


Wage dispute: Is the electric vehicle company Build Your Dreams, better known as BYD, paying its workers what they are owed under L.A. city's laws? Company officials are tangling with union representatives over whether BYD employees are covered by a living wage ordinance that mandates an hourly wage of $12.42. Los Angeles Times

Emergency response: L.A. County supervisors are blasting Mayor Eric Garcetti and city officials for shifting $11 million in federal funds that were earmarked for a multi-jurisdictional radio system for emergency responders. It's just the latest setback for a system that was conceived in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Los Angeles Times

Arriving for battle: Grab your red Starbucks cards — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is expected to be in Los Angeles this week to give a speech on the "war on Christmas." The venue will be the holiday party of the Hollywood conservative group Friends of Abe. LA Weekly

Teacher housing: In the Bay Area, the Santa Clara Unified School District is providing housing so teachers can afford to live in the expensive neighborhoods in which they teach. "There are a limited number of spaces at Casa del Maestro, so there's a very long waiting list. Teachers can only stay seven years before they have to move out and give their spot to another teacher." KALW Public Radio


Mother sought: Sheriff's deputies are looking for the mother and possibly father who abandoned a newborn in Compton. The baby girl was found under asphalt inside a crevice along a bicycle path. "It's truly a miracle that this young baby girl is alive," L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe said. Los Angeles Times

Ex-deputies sentenced: Two former deputies with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department were sentenced to federal prison for beating a jailhouse visitor and then scheming to cover up the crime. Sussie Ayala and Fernando Luviano were sentenced to six and seven years, respectively. Los Angeles Times

Sexting alleged: A math teacher at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo was arrested Monday on suspicion of exchanging sexual text messages with a 16-year-old student. Justin Verducci, 25, was placed on unpaid leave. The investigation into Verducci began Friday after the student's parents discovered the inappropriate texts on her phone, police said. Daily Pilot

Health decisions: A court battle over who will control Sumner Redstone's end-of-life decisions continues. Judge Clifford L. Klein set a January hearing to determine whether the 92-year-old mogul's onetime girlfriend should be put back in charge of his healthcare decisions should he become incapacitated. Los Angeles Times


Drop the "interim": Clay Helton was named permanent head coach of USC's football team. He took over the team on an interim basis in October after Steve Sarkisian was fired. "I am so proud to have the chance to lead what I feel is the pinnacle of college football and to represent our Trojan Family," Helton said in a statement. Los Angeles Times


Setting the scene: A replica of Jerry Seinfeld's TV apartment is coming to West Hollywood. Your chance to burst through the door a la Kramer will last from Dec. 16 to 20. LAist

Paved paradise: Amazing. 14% of incorporated land in L.A. County is devoted to parking. The first parking lot opened in 1917 at the corner of 4th and Olive in downtown. Curbed LA

Who needs roads? Can you identify Los Angeles or San Francisco on these "naked" metro maps? The Guardian


San Diego will be sunny with a high of 69 degrees. In Los Angeles and Riverside, there will be sunshine with a high of 71. San Francisco will be partly sunny and 57.


Today's California Memory comes from Michael Mooney:

"My two buddies and I had just driven from New Hampshire and were now moving into the cheapest 'three'-bedroom apartment we could find on Melrose near Normandie — not a nice place. We got restaurant jobs. Mine was at the Magic Pan in Beverly Hills. A few stars like Angie Dickinson and Lindsay Wagner complimented me on my cooking. That was kind of cool. Mostly, though, being low-income and new to L.A. was hard."

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.