Newsletter: Essential California: Piecing together the San Bernardino puzzle

Good morning. It is Friday, Dec. 4. What can we learn from the Rain Room at the L.A. County Museum of Art? Here's what is happening in the Golden State:


Stockpiling weapons

The Redlands home shared by the assailants in Wednesday's shootings contained thousands of rounds of ammunition and dozens of pipe bombs. The arsenal suggests that the attack by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik was more than a spontaneous response to a workplace dispute. Federal authorities also believe that Farook was in touch with suspected extremists, though government officials refrained from calling the rampage an act of terrorism. Los Angeles Times

Water audit

Widespread mismanagement threatens the financial well-being of the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which serves 2 million people in southeast Los Angeles County, according to a new state audit. "They have had poor leadership on the board and instability at the top executive levels for many years. The role of the financial director has been unstable as well," said Margarita Fernandez, the state auditor's chief of public affairs. The water district initially drew attention in 2013 when it became enmeshed in the federal investigation of state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon. Los Angeles Times


What now? Columnist Steve Lopez tries to make sense of Wednesday's rampage, noting that it was the country's 355th mass shooting this year. "So what do we do in response? Anything but accept daily massacres as inevitable," he writes. Los Angeles Times

Losing loved ones: For 22 excruciating hours, Ryan Reyes received conflicting reports about the safety of his longtime boyfriend, who ran the coffee shop at the Inland Regional Center. Had he been shot in the arm? Was he in surgery? On Thursday morning, Reyes got the call that Daniel Kaufman was among the 14 who were killed. Los Angeles Times

Remembering the victims: Here is what we know about the men and women who were killed or injured in the attack. Los Angeles Times

Child left behind: On Wednesday morning, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik left their 6-month-old daughter in the care of Farook's mother, telling her that they were off to a doctor's appointment. The mother later told a relative that she had not sensed that anything was amiss, according to an account provided by a relative through a local Islamic leader. After hearing news of the shooting, she feared for their safety — not knowing that her own son and daughter-in-law were responsible for the massacre. Los Angeles Times

Full coverage: More about the shootings and investigation. Los Angeles Times


Freeway detour: Plans to build an aboveground extension of the 710 Freeway through Pasadena and South Pasadena have been dropped, which means Caltrans has started the process of selling about 400 residential properties. "Instead of letting the property it controls melt back into the private realm, the agency should work with Los Angeles County and the state of California to build a combination of new parks and affordable and market-rate housing in the 710 corridor," writes Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. Los Angeles Times

Saving history: Before another piece of L.A.'s LGBT history is torn down, preservationists are meeting with developers to find a way to memorialize Circus Disco, which has long been a haven for Latinos and men of color shunned at other gay nightspots. "It's not about freezing these places in time or saying that Circus Disco must stay there, but people can still learn from these places,” said Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the L.A. Conservancy. Los Angeles Times

Student loans: New maps show how college loan debt is spread across the city. In the beach communities, residents have higher balances but lower rates of default, while lower-income areas have less debt but struggle to make those payments. Curbed LA


Poor choice of words: A Lake Forest councilman is apologizing for likening a misdemeanor charge of theft to rape. Councilman Adam Nick was charged in connection with the theft of another councilman's campaign signs. Nick then sued the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case. "He raped me. He raped my reputation with the force of the law behind him," Nick told the Voice of OC last month. Orange County Register

Local identity: What does the Los Angeles County seal say about the region's identity? "The iconography of the county seal contains appeals to a past we don't want — to Pearlette the award winning heifer, an unnamed tuna fish, and drafting tools. These obsolete markers of our former prosperity mock what we used to think of ourselves," historian D.J. Waldie writes. KCET


Jail plans: San Francisco is one step closer to building a new facility to replace the jail at 850 Bryant St., which is seismically unsafe. The Board of Supervisors is expected to make a final decision on Dec. 15. The proposal comes even as the city's inmate population has dropped by nearly 50% in seven years. SFGate


Homeless department: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is following the lead of Houston and Salt Lake City and moving all of the city's services for homeless individuals under the umbrella of one department. The mayor expects to spend $1 billion over the next four years to help 8,000 homeless. "I want our programs and services for the homeless to be in a less siloed place, with a defined outcome — housing every homeless person we can with the help that they need to live healthy lives," Lee said. SFGate

Road forward: Can the Bay Area save its quality of life by investing in affordable housing, infrastructure and middle-class jobs? A new report from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute looks at the challenges. "Once known for its progressivism, creativity, and diversity, the region is becoming more divided, unequal, unaffordable, congested, and unlivable for all but a privileged minority." City Lab


Future of Yahoo: Marissa Mayer's days as the CEO of Yahoo Inc. could be numbered. The tech company is facing pressure to turn around its advertising business, expand its user base and bring life back into the company culture. "She came into an extraordinarily difficult situation, one a lot of people would have said was a no-win situation," said Paul Sweeney, a media industry analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. Los Angeles Times

Rich man, not-poor man: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg plans to give away 99% of his Facebook shares during his lifetime, but even at the end, he won't be poor. Today, 1% of his shares is worth $450 million (and that doesn't take into account his other cash and real estate). Bloomberg


Living wages: It pays to work in tech. In San Francisco, the average wage for an employee in the technology sector, including salary, bonuses, stocks and perks, was $176,275 a year. SFist


San Francisco will be partly sunny and 58 degrees. Los Angeles will be partly sunny with a high of 72 degrees. In Riverside, it will be partly sunny and 70. San Diego will have sunshine and 69 degrees.


Today's California Memory comes from Nancy Adams:

"I moved to Santa Barbara from northeast Ohio when I was 19 years old. I remember my first trip to the grocery store. I was so thrilled to see the variety of produce offered at the Safeway on Montecito. I was especially delighted to see sweet potatoes available. ... I had always thought they were only available at Thanksgiving 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.)

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