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Newsletter: Essential California: When it comes to the Expo Line, will L.A. mass transit be stuck in park?

It’s Saturday May 14. Here’s what’s going on around California:

TOP STORIES

Numbers cruncher: Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget confirms a noticeable erosion in state revenues compared to estimates from January. Overall, tax receipts are now expected to shrink by $1.9 billion. And Brown’s budget team continues to say that California could face as much as a $4-billion deficit by the summer of 2020. Los Angeles Times

Housing dollars: A move to provide significantly more funding for the state’s homeless is moving forward. Brown on Friday threw his support behind an ambitious $2-billion plan to build housing for California’s mentally ill homeless population. It would make the most significant boost in state funding for homeless Californians in years. Los Angeles Times

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All burned out: Use of coal to generate electricity has dropped so dramatically — essentially going from small to almost microscopic. Los Angeles Times

Gas leak fallout: News tests show signs of metals in homes impacted by the Porter Ranch gas leak. Are they making residents sick? KPCC

A hitch in the commute: The Expo Line opens next week, offering the first rail service from downtown L.A. to the Pacific Ocean in more than 60 years. But the line has one potential disadvantage from the beginning: A lack of parking. Will be commuters walk or bike or be driven to take mass transit? Los Angeles Times

If you build it: On the California border, there is anxiety of GOP presidential candidate’s proposed wall. San Jose Mercury News

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Who’s watching the lawyers? The agency charged with regulating California’s attorneys has failed to give a transparent view of its finances while its top tier of executives have enjoyed more generous salaries than the governor and attorney general, according to a scathing state audit. Los Angeles Times

Dangerous training: The deaths of three men in Navy SEAL training in San Diego is sparking alarm and questions about the program. Washington Post

THIS WEEK’S GREAT READS

In the name of … progress: Inside the epic decade-long battle by U2’s The Edge to build a compound in Malibu. It’s involved 60 lawyers, lobbyists and environmental consultants and more than 70 technical reports, filling 26 bankers boxes, from all manner of experts — geologists, biologists, hydrologists, archaeologists, arborists, structural engineers, transportation engineers. Los Angeles Times

The gang’s all here: The company that will help you with fake paparazzi, false supporters and other pretend services that make you look more popular and important than you really are. California Sunday Magazine

A world of riches: Meet the Queen of Montana Avenue. This 90-year-old who for nearly two decades slept in a strip-mall laundromat spends her days fielding interview requests from the likes of People magazine. Los Angeles Times

Transitional neighborhood: Before it was the stomping grounds of the Kardashians and other celebrities, the town of Calabasas was a scary place. Curbed LA

Stories of the rich and famous: How the Sumner Redstone legal drama became such an lurid Hollywood soap opera. Los Angeles Times

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THIS WEEK’S MOST POPULAR STORIES IN ESSENTIAL CALIFORNIA

1. War criminal or role model? Students at Scripps College selected Madeleine Albright — the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of State — to be this year’s commencement speaker, but that hit a nerve with other students and faculty. Some protested her selection and called her a “war criminal.” Los Angeles Times

2. Pool party’s over: An artist who created a hidden pool in the California desert says his installation was destroyed by vandals. LAist

3. Adorable: Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is setting records as MVP, but his daughter Riley Curry is stealing the show. SFist

4. Life on the left coast: “The place names have the ring of real places to me,” Joan Didion writes of California. New York Review of Books

5. Mais oui: Here’s what it is like to eat at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. Business Insider

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.

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