This pension deal cost Californians billions of dollars

This pension deal cost Californians billions of dollars
Former Gov. Gray Davis at his law office in Century City. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It is Monday, Sept. 19. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti documented the Rams' home opener Sunday with this hashtag on Instagram. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:



Pension pains

When Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill that provided state employees with retirement benefits typically reserved for the wealthy, Californians were assured they wouldn't see any additional costs. But the state's math on that was off -- by billions of dollars. Data from the California Public Employees' Retirement System show California spends 30 times what the state paid in retirement benefits in 2000 before the new law's effects could be felt. Los Angeles Times

Sticker shock

The return of NFL football to L.A. has turned the Coliseum area into an unlikely laboratory for a way of thinking about traffic, parking and mass transit. The parking sticker shock on Rams game day -- well into the hundreds of dollars -- might push more people into using mass transit. Los Angeles Times

School's in session

Santee Education Complex needed three more students to qualify for more money and more teachers. So the school's dean and principal tracked down students -- literally going door-to-door -- to boost enrollment. Would they make it? Los Angeles Times


Peanut butter & jelly time: The Primetime Emmy Awards honored "Veep" as the best comedy series and "Game of Thrones" as the top drama, while "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" also earned several awards. But what was up with those sandwiches handed out in the Microsoft Theater in downtown L.A.? Los Angeles Times

Be prepared: The Big One simulator lets you feel a magnitude 7.5 quake without living through one (yet). Here's a video. Buzzfeed

Landmark status: The Bob and Dolores Hope estate in Toluca Lake might not become an epic L.A. teardown after all. The Los Angeles City Council is moving to make the home a cultural landmark. Los Angeles Times

Back in the game: The aging Memorial Coliseum, which has been the site of some of L.A.'s truly iconic moments, is being pushed back into service as the Rams return. Is it up to the challenge? Los Angeles Times

Forgetting history: William Pereira was one of Southern California's legendary postwar architects. But an effort to preserve one of his most famed buildings -- the old MWD complex on Sunset Boulevard -- appears to have failed. Curbed LA

Traffic controls: The beloved "peacekeeper" at the Silver Lake Trader Joe's is back at work after a horrible accident. LA Weekly



Crime and punishment: More than half of voters oppose a November ballot measure that would abolish the death penalty in California, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Los Angeles Times

Greater diversity: New census data show that for the first time, Irvine has more Asian residents than white residents. "It is partly the city's evolution as a decidedly upscale and aspirational multinational community that is increasing its appeal at home and abroad." Orange County Register

Makes me sick: The presidential election is making former President Ronald Reagan's campaign manager so ill he's on medication. Over lunch with columnist Steve Lopez, Stu Spencer talks about the damage money and 24-hour media coverage have done to the political process. Los Angeles Times


Sad and beautiful story: Construction crews were digging up Ericka Karner's San Francisco garage when they discovered a glass and cast-iron coffin belonging to a young girl in a white christening dress with sprigs of lavender in her hair. A team of volunteers using DNA, maps and a host of sleuthing techniques is now working to identify the child who was so lovingly interred. Los Angeles Times

Too young to die: The tale of one young man lost to drugs in the Central Valley. Fresno Bee

Locked and loaded: Rapper Coolio was taken into custody Saturday at LAX after a loaded -- and stolen -- handgun was discovered in his carry-on luggage, police said. The musician and a 39-year-old man who initially claimed the bag were both arrested on on suspicion of possessing a stolen, loaded firearm. Los Angeles Times


Tip of the iceberg: The bankruptcy of South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Co. may be just the start of problems for flailing shippers. "That cozy assumption that carriers can't be killed off has been eroded. We know they have breaking points now," said Simon Heaney, an analyst at London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants. Los Angeles Times



Out of the water: Officials are grappling with how to deal with toxic algae in numerous California lakes and waterways. Among the bodies of water temporarily closed: Del Valle Reservoir near Livermore, Pyramid Lake north of Los Angeles and Lake Elsinore. East Bay Times

Turf problems: Why is the L.A. Department of Water and Power watering fake grass during a drought? To get rid of the dog urine. CBS 2


Hometown team: The East Bay thinks it can keep the Raiders from moving to Las Vegas. But the odds seem to be stacked against Oakland. San Francisco Chronicle

Changing times: The Crystal Cathedral, the original mega church and such a powerful symbol of postwar California suburbia, is being transformed by the Catholic Church. It's a spiritual and architectural challenge. Los Angeles Times

Bottom of the ninth: The High Desert Mavericks played their final game this weekend. The team won the 2016 California League championship over the Visalia Rawhide. San Bernardino Sun

Blast from the past: This may be Hollywood's juiciest sex scandal. And it's from 1936. Vanity Fair

For fate to turn the light on: The actress who portrayed Liesl von Trapp in the 1965 musical "The Sound of Music" died Saturday at the age of 73. Charmian Carr famously performed the song "Sixteen Going on Seventeen." Los Angeles Times

Danger zone: Dodger Joc Pederson hit a home run Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks that struck a woman in a wheelchair. The ball was traveling 109.9 mph as it left Pederson's bat. (Earlier this year, HBO's "Real Sports" reported on such dangers in the stands.) LAist


Sacramento will be sunny with a high of 96. San Francisco will have low clouds and a high of 73 degrees. Los Angeles will have some sun and a high of 70. There's a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm in Riverside. San Diego will be partly sunny with a chance of a thunderstorm.


This week's birthdays for notable Californians:

Commentator Van Jones (Sept. 20, 1968), baseball legend Tommy Lasorda (Sept. 22, 1927) and Rep. Doris Matsui (Sept. 25, 1944).

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.