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Newsletter: Essential California: Gun control laws move to governor’s desk

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, left, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and Assemblyman Miguel Santiago shake hands after a measure to restrict the sale of ammunition was approved by the Assembly.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Good morning. It is Friday, July 1. The streetcar proposed for downtown Los Angeles would move at 6 mph. At that speed, why not just go for a run? Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:

TOP STORIES

New gun laws

California lawmakers sent a package of gun control legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) called it a “historic day.” The bills include a ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, background checks for those buying ammunition and new restrictions on homemade firearms. The governor is expected to sign some of the bills today before he leaves for vacation. Los Angeles Times

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High gas prices

State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is launching an investigation into California’s high gas prices. She’s subpoenaed oil refineries to determine why drivers here paid pump prices $1.50 higher than the rest of the country last summer. “An advisory panel to the California Energy Commission has been reviewing gas prices over the last several months to determine what, if anything, lawmakers might consider to ensure that consumers aren’t being gouged at gas stations.” Los Angeles Times

Autopilot investigation

Federal regulators have opened a preliminary investigation into the autopilot feature of the Tesla Model S electric car after a fatal crash in May. Tesla automakers stressed the autopilot feature is still in beta mode. “Autopilot is getting better all the time but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” the company said in a post online. Los Angeles Times

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DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Raging fire: A wildfire in Northern California is threatening thousands of homes. The Trailhead fire broke out Tuesday near Todd Valley. Los Angeles Times

Snakes on a porch: A record-number of rattlesnakes are showing up in California backyards. “By taking away shrubbery as much as you can, you take away the rodent, the food source, which eliminates the snakes,” said Bo Slyapich, a “rattlesnake wrangler.” CBS Los Angeles

L.A. AT LARGE

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Understanding Garcetti: What makes Mayor Eric Garcetti tick? Hard to say. “People see what he backs as a politician, but they don’t see what he’s willing to fight for. And they aren’t sure what drives him.” Los Angeles Magazine

Paying for help: Los Angeles city officials say they need $1.8 billion to help the tens of thousands of Angelenos sleeping on the streets and in their cars. This week, the City Council is considering two separate tax proposals, though voters will only see one of them on the Nov. 8 ballot. This Q&A breaks down the confusion over the competing proposals. Los Angeles Times

Tiny house: This 264-square-foot house in Beverly Glen could be yours for $499,000. It doesn’t have a bedroom, but it does include a carport. Curbed LA

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

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Ballot fatigue: Seventeen measures have qualified for the November ballot. The initiatives range from legalizing marijuana to regulating pornographic film sets to repealing the death penalty. “These are all hot-button issues, and ones that will generate big time advertising expenditures,” said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at UC San Diego. Los Angeles Times

Unequal representation: Why aren’t there more women in elected office in California? It’s a complex answer that boils down to sexism and fundraising challenges. “It’s sort of surprising because California has always been seen as a trendsetter,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics. 89.3 KPCC

ENVIRONMENT

Toxic algae: Potent toxins in California’s lakes are leaving people and animals sick. “No one expects the algae to go away anytime soon. We expect it to get worse,” said Carolyn Jones, a spokeswoman for the East Bay Regional Park District. San Gabriel Valley Tribune

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Gas transmissions: A few months ago, energy officials warned that Southern California could experience a summer of rolling blackouts thanks to the temporary closure of Aliso Canyon. Now comes news that gas deliveries from California to Mexico have jumped 45% in the last two weeks. Bloomberg

CRIME AND COURTS

Charges filed: Seven counter-protesters have been charged with attacking Ku Klux Klan members during an Anaheim rally earlier this year. “This is about the mob mentality turning violent, which shut down neighboring streets, access to the park, and endangered the community as a whole,” said Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas. The demonstrators were all charged with misdemeanor assault or battery or resisting arrest. Los Angeles Times

Roommate dispute: Five days after a judge rejected a Cathedral City woman’s request to evict her roommate, the woman was dead and her roommate in jail. “I am being terrorized daily in my own home,” Mimie Anita Cowen, 65, said in court documents before her death. Scott Pettigrew has pleaded not guilty to murder, elder abuse and violating a court order. Desert Sun

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House invasion: The country’s oldest national park ranger was beaten in her Richmond home this week and robbed of one of her most prized possessions — a commemorative coin President Obama gave her in December. Betty Reid Soskin, 94, works at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park. A White House official said the coin would be replaced. Los Angeles Times

New commissioner: L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed an attorney and public policy strategist to the Police Commission. If she’s confirmed, Cynthia McClain-Hill would replace Robert Saltzman on the civilian panel. “She is an independent thinker with a sharp and analytical mind, and shares my vision for an LAPD that fully embraces the demands of 21st century policing and gives officers the steady support they need to keep our streets safe,” Garcetti said. Los Angeles Times

About that chase: Whatever happened to the White Ford Bronco used in the infamous O.J. Simpson chase through Los Angeles? For a long time, it sat in the parking garage of a Westside condominium. ESPN

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

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Homeless coverage: Columnist Robin Abcarian looks at how 70 news organizations, most in San Francisco, came together this week to cover one topic: homelessness. “Instead of coming off as hand wringing — or overkill — it felt like a great force was shaking the city’s shoulders: Wake up, people. This is not an intractable problem. It can be fixed,” she writes. Los Angeles Times

What would you do...: If you found yourself homeless on the streets of San Francisco with $20 and two children to care for? This simulation offers up the difficult choices you might have to make. BuzzFeed

What’s in a name? There’s no question Hollywood influences many aspects of American life. Here’s how 100 celebrity names have affected baby names. (Funny, we don’t see Alice or Shelby on the list...) The Hollywood Reporter

Women in power: These seven women could be considered the founding mothers of Silicon Valley. The essay is a response to this Newsweek cover from April. Backchannel

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CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles will have clouds and a high of 79. It will be sunny and 93 in Riverside. San Diego will have low clouds as temperatures reach 73 degrees. San Francisco will be mostly sunny and 69. Sacramento is expected to hit a high of 100 degrees.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California Memory comes from Linda Goldman:

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“In the 1950s, my family was one of the first to have a swimming pool in our North Hollywood neighborhood. The backyard was filled with family and friends every Sunday throughout the summer. A favorite memory is Fourth of July with Dad barbecuing sirloin steaks on the grill, my mouth watering at the scent, and Mom carrying out a platter piled high with steamed corn on the cob. The kids liked to see how far we could spit the watermelon seeds. After dark, adults and kids alike oohed and aahed over Dad’s firework display near the old pepper tree.”

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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