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Morning Brief: Californians' Water Usage, Robocalls, Sheriff Villanueva’s Subpoena Defiance

Here Is Where Our Water Comes From - Water sprays from a dam outlet across the air and onto a river.
The L.A. County Flood Control District’s Morris Dam.
(Daryl Barker
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Now, back to the news...

This comes as no surprise to anyone, but California is in a drought… and things are getting worse.

Fifty out of California’s 58 counties are currently under anemergency drought declaration.

Earlier this summer, Gov. Newsom asked Californians to voluntarily cut their water usage by 15%, in hopes of alleviating some of these drought conditions, but new numbers are showing Californians are way behind in hitting that goal.

In July people reduced water usage by only 1.8% compared to last year.

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Ben Stapleton, the executive director of the U.S. Green Building Coalition - L.A. (an organization that’s putting together plansto reduce water usage in the state), says the urgency and direness of the water shortage has not been effectively communicated by state and county officials.

“You know we felt like it was a crisis. I'm not sure that people feel like it's a crisis right now,” Stapleton explained to LAist reporter Phoenix Tso.

The problem of information still stands, though. Lots of people don’t know where their water comes from… or how much it costs to get to them.

That’s why our infrastructure reporter Sharon McNary put together a guide to answer any and all your water related questions… everything from “how exactly does water get to my tap?” to “how does L.A. clean its water supply?”

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Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • L.A. won’t have to find housing for people on Skid Row by next month after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a ruling from Judge David Carter. 
  • If you’ve been receiving tons of pesky robocalls,that may be over soon. Phone service providers have until Sept. 28 to comply with a federal law requiring them to implement technology to block illegal robocalls altogether. 
  • Smoke is back — for now. Wildfire smoke from the Sequoia National Forest has reached L.A. and is expected to stick around until this weekend. 
  • Southern California Edison released an analysisof the policy changes and additions needed to ensure that California meets its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goals. The key to reaching that goal? Electrifying our energy use (this includes vehicles, homes, and offices). 
  • Another update on all the Sheriff’s Department saga: The Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission responded to Sheriff Villanueva's defiance of its subpoena to testify on allegations that he is launching criminal investigations to punish his political opponents. They plan on subpoenaing Undersheriff Tim Murakamito respond to the allegations after Villanueva refused to comply for a third time.
  • Bored this weekend? Go see St. Vincent shred at the Hollywood Bowl, hop on a haunted hayride, take a virtual African cooking lesson, or check out another awesome event from our weekend event roundup.

Before You Go … A new L.A. county program brings multilingual nature classes for little ones

The backside of a California desert tortoise.
A California desert tortoise raised in captivity ambles across a lawn.
(Mariana Dale/ LAist)

LAist’s Mariana Dale wrote abouta parent and me program out of the nature center at Deane Dana Friendship Park in San Pedro.

The program offers lessons in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and American Sign Language, with the goal of expanding access to nature, especially for communities of color.

Just about half of L.A. County residents live farther than a 10-minute walk from a park, according to 2016 county analysis — and Black and Latino residents were more likely to live in areas with less park space than Asian or white residents.

Marlene Yang, Superintendent of the Deane Dana Friendship Park says she wants to make nature a more inclusive and welcoming place through this program.

“I want to provide a place where people feel safe interacting with nature, where they appreciate it, can learn about it, but they don’t have to fear it.”

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

California firefighters are getting injured and dying during training — most from heat related illness. (LAist)

City Councilmember Kevin De Leon is running for mayor… He’s joining fellow Councilmember Joe Buscaino and City Attorney Mike Feuer. (LAist)

You might be eligible for your third COVID booster shot, here’s how you can get yours. (LAist)

A new “Queer Mercado” is creating exclusive space for LGBTQ-owned vendors and food businesses in East L.A. (L.A. Taco)

California is relying on private contractors to get rent relief to tenants and landlords. They just increased this lucrative deal to get more money in tenants pockets. (CalMatters)