Newsletter: Essential California: Green rush is on in Desert Hot Springs

 Marijuana cultivation
Growers now operating at this facility in downtown Los Angeles will be among the tenants of a planned 380,000-square-foot facility in Desert Hot Springs.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It is Tuesday, May 10. Breweries in Los Angeles and Orange counties were big winners at the World Beer Cup awards. This year’s competition included 6,000 beers from 2,000 breweries. Cheers! Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:


Case dismissed

A Los Angeles judge dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the mental competency of 92-year-old billionaire Sumner Redstone. The case was brought by the media mogul’s former companion, Manuela Herzer, who said Redstone was not in his right mind when he dismissed her as healthcare agent and cut her out of his will. Judge David J. Cowan said he was moved by a videotaped deposition of Redstone. “He seemed very alert. He was composed and did not appear angry,” Cowan said. Los Angeles Times


Green rush

The real estate market in Desert Hot Springs is taking off thanks to the city’s decision to allow large-scale medical marijuana cultivation. The move is a financial one for a city with a median household income of $33,500 -- well below the state median. “I can only imagine what we can do with the tax revenue. We’re in need of parks, our roads are dilapidated. All around — our sidewalks, curbs, gutters,” said Mayor Scott Matas. Los Angeles Times 

Water rules

Thanks to heavy rainfall in parts of the state, communities may soon ease or even drop mandatory water conservation measures. The State Water Resources Control Board will consider the revised rules on May 18. “Now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence and water conservation must be a part of our everyday life,” said Gov. Jerry Brown. Los Angeles Times



Water conditions: A new report finds 90% of the state is in a drought. It’s the first time since 2013 that even a small part of the state has not been in a drought. Associated Press


No concern: Records obtained by The Times show Palos Verdes Estates officials dismissed allegations of harassment by the “Bay Boys” as urban legend and discussed ways to avoid further media scrutiny. Members of the group have been accused of harassing and attacking other surfers at Lunada Bay. “If blaming victims of perpetuating an ‘urban legend’ is the official position of Palos Verdes Estates, it is disappointing,” said attorney Kurt A. Franklin. Los Angeles Times

Education funding: A report funded by the teachers’ union finds charter schools, which are non-union, are costing the Los Angeles Unified School District millions of dollars a year in tax money. About 16% of LAUSD students are enrolled in a charter school. “With more education tax dollars going directly to charters, the result is a decline of more than $500 million a year — about 7% — in the district’s core budget, the researchers say.” Los Angeles Times 

Summer blackouts: An executive with the Southern California Gas Co. says the utility is looking at how it can avoid summer blackouts. The situation appears to be less dire than initially portrayed in a report released last month. Gas officials have said that with the Aliso Canyon storage field offline, they may have less ability to move around natural gas this summer. Los Angeles Times

Dangerous conditions: Did the city of Los Angeles ignore warnings that could have prevented a fatal crash in San Pedro? A jury thought so when it awarded Thomas Guilmette’s widow and son a $23.7-million judgement. During a civil trial, attorneys presented evidence that city officials had been warned about a dangerous intersection that made it difficult to see oncoming traffic. The city plans to appeal. Daily Breeze



Feel the Bern: The California Nurses Assn. is throwing its weight behind Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as he prepares for the state’s June 7 primary. “When Bernie comes to California, the fact that the nurses support him legitimizes his candidacy. Here’s a union that’s powerful and important in California,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at UC Santa Barbara. Los Angeles Times

Future of drugs: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is talking about drug policy reform now that he’s backing a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use in California. “Alcohol is not good for kids either, and tobacco is more devastating in many ways. But we don’t incarcerate people for smoking a cigarette. We don’t incarcerate people for having a beer,” he says. Mother Jones

Partisan fight: Assemblywoman Catharine Baker is the Bay Area’s only Republican lawmaker at the state or federal level -- and that makes her a prime target for Democrats in this year’s election. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) has said turning the seat from red to blue is one of his top priorities. San Francisco Chronicle


Out of control: A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was placed on leave after he allegedly got drunk and ended up in a car belonging to a tamale vendor, authorities said. Two people tried to disarm the deputy after they noticed he had a weapon on him. He was later arrested by police. The deputy, whose name was not released by authorities, was in town to attend law enforcement memorial events. Los Angeles Times

Beer, guns, vomit: A $15,000 reward is being offered for information on three men who got drunk and fired off guns in Death Valley National Park, officials said. One of the men apparently went skinny-dipping at Devils Hole -- his boxer shorts were found floating in the water -- and may have caused the death of a pupfish. “A necropsy is being performed on the pupfish to determine whether the vandals’ actions may have caused the death of this member of an endangered species,” according to park officials. Los Angeles Times


Life on the left coast: Writer Joan Didion on California: “The place names have the ring of real places to me. I can pronounce the names of the rivers, and recognize the common trees and snakes. I am easy here in a way that I am not easy in other places.” New York Review of Books


Diversity in Hollywood: Where are the Asian American actors in Hollywood? That’s the question folks are asking following the news that that actresses Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansson are portraying characters Asian American characters in two new movies. “Nothing can be more frustrating than the fact that there aren’t enough roles that [Hollywood] allows us, and then to take a role that is written Asian and turn it into one that you can no longer be considered for is adding insult to complete injury,” said actress Maggie Q. Hollywood Reporter

Cheap gas: Why is gas so cheap at Berri Brothers? “Tarek Berri and his uncles, who run the company, found that keeping the stations independent of national brands allowed them to secure gas for less because they don’t have to pay franchisee fees.” Orange County Register

Art walk: Take a walk through the Echo Park craft fair. New York Times


San Diego will have low clouds and a high of 70 degrees. In L.A., there will be clouds as temperatures reach 71. Riverside will start with clouds; temperatures there are expected to reach 77 degrees. Sacramento will be mostly sunny and 86. San Francisco will have low clouds and a high of 69.


Today’s California Memory comes from Nancy Wyatt:

“Visiting San Francisco for the first time in the ‘60s, my brother, who lived there and was my ambassador to the world, took me to see all the ‘spots.' I visited many times thereafter, but that first visit was truly when “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Brother has passed on, but I’ll never forget how he loved to show off his city. I left with tears in my eyes. Truly an enchanting city.”

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.