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Essential California: Will L.A. tax its way out of congestion?

June 24, 2016

Good morning. It is Friday, June 24. In these new PSAs from Metro, Safetyville turns out to be a pretty dangerous place for stick figures. Here’s what else is happening in the Golden State:

TOP STORIES

Transit tax

Los Angeles transit officials voted 11-2 Thursday to place a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. The proposal could generate $860 million a year for street repairs, highway improvements and new rail lines. The tax, which requires a two-thirds vote for approval, would not have a sunset date. Supervisor Don Knabe was one of the dissenting votes. “This is a forever tax. I mean, forever. The accountability needs to be there,” he said. Los Angeles Times

A blow for immigrant healthcare

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision effectively blocking President Obama’s immigration program is a major blow to immigrants here illegally who were hoping to apply for healthcare coverage in California. Immigrants who are not in the country legally are ineligible to sign up under the Affordable Care Act. However, immigrants who are granted temporary relief from deportation may sign up for Medi-Cal. Had the decision gone the other way, half a million immigrants could have applied for health insurance in California, according to research. Los Angeles Times

Copyright dispute

A Los Angeles jury found Led Zeppelin did not lift music for the opening of its famous song “Stairway to Heaven.” Guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant were sued by the estate of singer Randy Wolfe, which alleged the famous riff was taken from the song “Taurus.” Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Danger ahead: A major earthquake would have the power to rupture pipelines and set massive wildfires, according to a new report that urges Southern California to take these risk seriously. “It’s easier to bury your head in the sand, but that’s no longer an acceptable answer,” said John Bwarie with the Southern California Disaster Risk Initiative Committee. Los Angeles Times

No restrictions: The Coachella Valley’s six water agencies believe they have more than enough water in underground aquifers and therefore no longer need to set conservation goals. But not everyone agrees with that assessment. “This isn’t OK. I just think all of this is the wrong message to be sending,” said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. Desert Sun

L.A. AT LARGE

Where are they now? Ten years ago, 40,000 students in Southern California walked out of their classrooms in support of immigrant rights. So what are they doing a decade later? Los Angeles Times

Oil spill: A spill released more than 29,000 gallons of crude oil in Ventura County on Thursday. The oil did not reach the ocean or trigger any evacuations. The pipe leak was spotted about 5:30 a.m. Los Angeles Times

Slide on down: The Skyslide at the U.S. Bank building will open on Saturday. The slide, which is part of a $50-million makeover of the building, takes riders through a glass tube that’s about 1,000 feet above the street. “If the office tower is no longer reliably a machine that can make the land pay, it just might be one capable of making tourists do so,” writes architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. Los Angeles Times

More fun: Despite some serious reservations, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s sidekick Guillermo went for a ride on the slide. YouTube

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Gun measure: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ballot proposal to restrict firearms qualified for the November ballot. The initiative would require background checks for bullet sales, a ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and a felony charge for gun thefts. Los Angeles Times

Secret talks: The U.S. Senate wants to know what kind of information the CIA is giving Hollywood writers and directors. An amendment added to an intelligence-spending bill by Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein asks the director of national intelligence to provide annual reports on how 16 intelligence agencies interact with the entertainment industry. “Since the release of Zero Dark Thirty and the disclosure that the CIA assisted on the production of the movie, the agency’s Office of Public Affairs … completely overhauled its procedures for interacting with the entertainment industry.” Vice

CRIME AND COURTS

Shooting settlement: The city of Long Beach will pay nearly $3 million to a man who was shot 19 times during a clash with police. Tyler Woods was shot and killed in 2013 as he fled police. “The jury’s verdict in this case reflects a shifting tide among the community, a feeling that enough is enough,” said John Fattahi, an attorney for the family. Los Angeles Times

Internet vigilantes: This is how the Reddit community helped find the artist who defaced seven national parks. “This case illustrates the important role that the public can play in identifying and sharing evidence of illegal behavior in parks,” said Charles Cuvelier with the National Park Service. Casey Nocket of San Diego is now banned from national parks and federal lands. NPR

Impound lot: Why did Orange police impound 16 luxury vehicles? Police aren’t saying other than they’re part of an active investigation that may be connected to a December crash with a cyclist. Orange County Register

Silver lining: Youth organizations in the Coachella Valley just received $100,000 in seized drug money courtesy of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. “It’s not a choice between being tough on crime, which we are, and crime prevention. We have to do both, and that’s what we are doing,” said Dist. Atty. Mike Hestrin. Desert Sun

EDUCATION

Child’s pose: Parents are outraged that the Encinitas Union School District will spend more than $400,000 this year for a yoga program. Problems for the program began in 2013 when some parents sued on religious grounds. Now, there’s anger that so much money will go to the program and not more to instructors who teach courses like science and music. San Diego Union-Tribune

Farm to fork: Chef Alice Waters was in Orange County to help raise money for healthier school lunches. “I think we need a very sizable soda tax that can pay for a free school lunch for every child in this country,” she said. Orange County Register

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

New release: Rapper Kanye West will debut the “visual” for his song “Famous” at the Forum today. Tickets to see the “visual” will be sold for $25. The “visual” will be simultaneously live-streamed on Tidal. Los Angeles Times

Taking a stand: About 200 musicians and industry executives signed onto an open letter to Congress to do something about gun violence, specifically universal background checks and blocking terrorists from purchasing firearms. “Billboard and the undersigned implore you — the people who are elected to represent us — to close the deadly loopholes that put the lives of so many music fans, and all of us, at risk.” Billboard

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Sacramento will be sunny and 94. San Francisco will start with fog and reach a high of 72 degrees. Los Angeles will have low clouds and a high of 81. It will be sunny and 95 in Riverside. San Diego will have low clouds and a high of 75.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California Memory comes from Bill Badland:

“When we drove to L.A., the tallest building we could see was the City Hall.”

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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