Essential California Week Recap: Expect More Water Restrictions Next Year

Good morning and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. it is Saturday October 8th.

Here’s a look at the top stories from the past week

Further water restrictions are expected to follow next year. Four water districts and the state’s Colorado River Board said in a letter to the federal government Wednesday that they are proposing to reduce water use by up to 400,000 acre-feet per year. That would account for about 9% of the state’s total water allocation from the river by 2026. In Southern California, Metropolitan Water District officials planned to support mandatory conservation measures to begin rationing water for cities and local authorities serving 19 million people in six counties.

Bass and Caruso faced each other in their second one-on-one mayoral debate in LA. Rhetorical daggers flew as Rep. Karen Bass attempted to portray real estate developer Rick Caruso as a shape-shifting opportunist who voters cannot fully trust. Caruso, in turn, aimed to characterize the congresswoman as unjudgmental and unpresentable for her time in Washington, DC

What you need to know about the gas tax refund. On Friday, the state began distributing one-time payments ranging from $400 to $1,050 for couples who filed their 2020 state income taxes together and $200 to $700 for those who filed independently. Payments will come in a variety of ways, including direct deposits into approximately 8 million bank accounts for those who filed their 2020 state income tax returns electronically. The state expects the majority of all direct deposits to be received in bank accounts by the end of October, and more will be sent out by November 14. Another 10 million payments will be sent to California residents on debit cards.

SoCal gas prices have fallen slightly, but for how much longer? Oil and gas analysts said wholesale prices for California-grade gasoline appeared to have peaked this week after the closure of at least five refineries across the state caused shortages. But they said it often takes much longer for prices at the pump to reflect market falls. And the announcement by OPEC+, a coalition of two dozen countries, on Wednesday to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day has the potential to affect California prices, officials said.

Why LA’s flu season might be worse this year. Influenza has been largely dormant for the past two seasons, a development attributed to infection prevention protocols put in place to ward off the coronavirus. However, as measures such as mask requirements, physical distancing, and restrictions on business and social activities have been lifted amid improved pandemic conditions, California could be primed for a more active flu season this year.

An internal LAPD report ruled that an officer’s death in training was an accident. The report of Houston Tipping’s death last spring found that Tipping and the other officers involved in the training were following standards set by a state agency. No evidence was found to support a claim by Tipping’s mother that other officers simulated a mob and beat him during practice.

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A plan to save the Salton Sea was rejected. By channeling desalinated seawater through the desert, some residents and environmentalists say, California could prevent its largest lake from shrinking and becoming saline and restore its once-thriving ecosystem. However, seawater abstraction advocates were dealt a major blow when a state-appointed panel of experts rejected the idea after a year-long review, citing tens of billions of dollars in costs, damage to the coastal environment and a long construction schedule many years before water would reach the lake.

A serial killer could be behind six deadly shootings. Last week, Stockton police said five fatal shootings reported in the central California city between July 8 and September 27 were linked. On Tuesday they said a sixth fatal shooting in Oakland last year and a non-fatal shooting in Stockton were also linked. All of those killed were men, shot in the late night or early morning hours, with no signs of a robbery, police said. Five of the six were Latinos, according to police.

LA landlords can resume evictions starting February 1. The City Council voted unanimously to end restrictions that have prohibited landlords from evicting tenants affected by COVID-19. In February 2024, landlords may also begin evicting tenants for unauthorized pets or residents not listed on leases. In rent-controlled apartments, rent increases may be resumed from February 2024.

A high school football team lost the season after players staged a “slave auction.” Doreen Osumi, the superintendent of the Yuba City Unified School District, called the incident at River Valley High School in Yuba City “extremely disturbing” and confirmed that the participating students would not be playing for the remainder of the season. The student-athletes violated the code of conduct, Osumi said.

ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads

The USC Cardinal Divas are more than just a dance team. Even before she set foot on USC campus, Princess Lang knew she wanted to join a dance team. USC had several options, but “none of them called my name,” she said. So she set about creating the Cardinal Divas, a majorette team whose moves recently went viral during the USC football game against Fresno State. “I want to be able to create black space for black women everywhere,” Lang said.

How a corrupt FBI agent protected an LA criminal figure for cash. Edgar Sargsyan, a fake attorney who made a fortune off identity theft, pulled a laminated piece of paper from the glove box and handed it to officers during a traffic stop in Burbank. The parking sign had a US Department of Justice seal on one side and an FBI agent’s business card on the back. Sargsyan thought the poster would get him out of a minor traffic jam. Instead, the 2016 traffic stop started a cascade of events that led to Tuesday’s conviction of a decorated FBI agent on federal bribery and money laundering charges.

Haute (dog) cuisine. Some restaurants welcome customers’ furry companions during a seated meal, but Dogue — which opened September 25 in San Francisco’s Mission District — only serves dogs. During the weekdays, Dogue serves Parisian pastries and “dogguccinos” that start at $4.95. A $75 three-course meal — which is seasonal and changes frequently — is served to Sunday visitors only. “It’s like you come into my restaurant and the star guest is your dog,” says owner and chef Rahmi Massarweh.

Today’s weekly recap newsletter was curated by Jason Sanchez. Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to [email protected]

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