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Essential California: How this artist is facing down the threat of total paralysis

California is generating more solar and wind power than it can use. President Trump's intervention with Otto Warmbier was rare for a president who resists broadly promoting human rights. A new salary agreement with the city of L.A. would give DWP workers six raises over five years. Kam Redlawsk has a genetic disorder that progressively weakens her muscles.

Credits: Gina Ferazzi / KTLA / Rick Loomis / Eben McCue

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Thursday, June 22, and here's what's happening across California:



Travel, love, create, yearn

Kam Redlawsk's story is both tragic and inspiring. She has a rare genetic disorder that progressively weakens muscles as it inches throughout her body. One day she'll likely experience something similar to quadriplegia. Until then Redlawsk lives every day to her fullest. Los Angeles Times

More on that raise

A new salary package, backed by Mayor Eric Garcetti and heading to the City Council next week, will give six raises in five years to thousands of DWP workers. This bump could spur other unions to seek the same deal, placing new burdens on a city budget already under significant stress. Los Angeles Times

Uber ouster

So why did Uber investors oust Travis Kalanick? They feared that Kalanick wouldn't evolve as a leader quickly enough — and that as long as he and his negative image were around, Uber would struggle to recruit strong candidates for a long list of high-ranking openings, people familiar with the discussions said. Los Angeles Times


-- The tricky task facing Uber: Finding a new CEO who can improve the culture while continuing growth. Los Angeles Times

-- And Uber offers a lesson about fixes needed across Silicon Valley. New York Times

-- Is all this the power of one blog post? The Verge

And over at the Department of Children and Family Services

Thousands of regular assistance checks from DCFS failed to reach recipients after the agency implemented a new computer system in October. Due to glitches in the conversion, the department for several months failed to pay foster care parents, young people living on extended foster care assistance, group homes and others. When The Times first reported the problem in January, DCFS officials said approximately 700 payments were missed. That number eventually grew to almost 4,500, DCFS figures show. Los Angeles Times


Indictment in the desert: Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford has been charged with illegally receiving more than $60,000 a year from local consultants and failing to publicly disclose the income on economic statements, prosecutors said Wednesday. Los Angeles Times


Beware of wildfires: A punishing heat wave that brought record temperatures to California this week may be easing, but the risk of wildfire was expected to grow Thursday as a result of continued warmth, increased winds and lush ground cover, according to the National Weather Service. Los Angeles Times

Soaring prices! The median home price in L.A. County has broken the record, which was set in 2007 during the last decade's housing boom. Los Angeles Times


Settlement reached: Lawyers for a father detained by immigration officials after dropping off his daughter at school in Los Angeles settled the two decades-old misdemeanor convictions that prompted his arrest. Los Angeles Times

Coyote arrested: A 26-year-old man was arrested Sunday after a Mexican woman he picked up near the border died while hiding in his truck, authorities said. Los Angeles Times


Rich county gets to limit growth: Lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow parts of Marin County to limit growth more tightly than other regions of California. Los Angeles Times

In the spotlight: Now that both John Chiang and Gavin Newsom are running for governor, they are drawing rare attention to the little-known but powerful State Lands Commission. Los Angeles Times

In Orange County: "Nowhere, with the exception of the White House, was the news of Republican Karen Handel's special election victory more welcome than in Orange County, California." Politico


Some relief: Los Angeles police may not hold impounded cars for 30 days without justification, a federal appeals court decided Wednesday. Los Angeles Times

Out in the desert: The Mojave desert's massive size and harsh conditions make it the perfect place to hide a body. Vice

See you in court: Students and Jewish community members filed a lawsuit Monday against San Francisco State University and Cal State's board of trustees, alleging that the San Francisco campus of the country's largest public university system has long cultivated a hostile environment for Jewish students. Los Angeles Times

Oakland police under fire: A court-appointed California investigator has blamed Oakland's mayor and the city's former police chief for mishandling and downplaying a sexual misconduct scandal in the city's police department. Associated Press


It wasn't a gun: A suspected carjacker who was fatally shot Tuesday by South Gate police was armed with a replica firearm, according to authorities. Los Angeles Times


Another drowning: On Tuesday, divers with the Placer County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of a swimmer from the North Fork American River in Auburn. Los Angeles Times


See you in court, part 2: Walt Disney Co. is being sued by a child development expert who alleges that the 2015 Pixar movie "Inside Out" used her original idea for an animated program that would have explored children's emotions through a host of characters representing different moods. Los Angeles Times

Parting ways: Four months into production — and less than a year before it's due in theaters — the directors of the Han Solo "Star Wars" spinoff were removed from the project. Los Angeles Times

Where to go: Here are some great summer travel adventures along California's lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Los Angeles Times

Meals for the neediest: "California nonprofits are advocating for a medically tailored meal pilot program for low-income residents." KQED


San Francisco and Los Angeles area: sunny Thursday, partly cloudy Friday. San Diego: partly cloudy Thursday and Friday. Sacramento: sunny Thursday and Friday.


Today's California memory comes from Joseph Torres:

"My earliest memories are growing up as a kid in Lincoln Heights in the 60's and always playing outside with a group of neighborhood kids. I remember impromptu baseball games on Gates Street or wild football games at nearby Lincoln Park with my plastic Rams helmet. In order to fund our occasional visits to the Starlight Theater on Broadway to catch the latest scary movie like 'The Blob' or 'The Tingler,' we kids would collect a ton of soda bottles, get the refunds to pay for the 35-cent movie tickets and candy. That was living high on the hog."

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 Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.