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Morning Brief: It’s Time To Cut Your Water Usage, LA

Layers of dry shore surround a lake with a bridge running across
An aerial drone view of Lake Oroville on May 6 where the reservoir was at 55% of total capacity.
(Kelly M. Grow
Courtesy California Department of Water Resources)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s June 2.

It’s a good thing I’ve learned to take 5 minute showers (really, it’s not hard). Water restrictions are now in effect for more than 6 million Southern Californians across Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Many of us will now have to limit outdoor watering to one day a week. Here in L.A., we can water two days a week. Check out my colleague Erin Stone’s story to see if you live in one of the affected cities.

The fines are pretty hefty if you get caught not following the rules. That’s a $600 bill that I know you and I don’t need in our already expensive California life!

This drought is real, people, so we all need to do our part. Need inspiration? Here’s one Angeleno with a solution. Meet Leimert Park’s Lynetta McElroy. She’s an expert at a water conservation technique called gray water recycling — that's untreated wastewater from “showers, laundry machines and bathtubs.” Lynetta collects HER water from the shower and faucet and uses it in her garden. “When we wash our vegetables, we don't let that water just go down the drain,” McElroy said. “We catch that water.”

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It’s legal, too, in the state of California as long as gray water is not used on edible crops. Read all about Lynetta’s process here. She also collects water from the shower while it heats up. Go ahead and try it yourself. You, too, might be able to make it a habit. [And if you just want to smile, check out the episode of our Off-Ramp podcast that walks you through exactly how to take a Navy shower.]

Voter Game Plan: LAUSD School Board

We’re helping you with your ballot every day from now until Primary Election Day on June 7. Today, we’re talking about what you need to know about the races for LAUSD school board.

The L.A. Unified School District is the largest school district in the country where voters, rather than the mayor, choose their school board representatives directly. And the next election for these school board members is Tuesday.

LAUSD school board members have a lot of power. They hire (or fire) the superintendent, pass the district’s $9 billion operating budget, and vote on every charter school that hopes to open in Los Angeles. This power is why,as my colleague Kyle Stokes writes, teachers’ unions and advocates for charter schools have spent millions against each other in these races over the past decade, hoping to seat their favorite candidates on the school board.

The next school board is up against these challenges:

  • Enrollment has declined for the past two decades, and it plunged during the pandemic. School funding is tied to enrollment, so the school board will have to figure out how to stretch the budget once pandemic relief funds run out.
  • Remote learning led to learning loss for many students, especially students with disabilities. Many students also say their mental health has suffered. The school board will have to figure out how to help students and make up for lost time in the classroom. 
  • In 2020, the board agreed to cut the school police budget by $25 million and redirect that money into something called the Black Student Achievement Plan. The next school board will be responsible for successfully implementing this plan.

Three LAUSD school board seats are up for election. Are you voting for one of them? You can check your ballot, or input your address intoVoter’s Edge. Then you can explore ourVoter Game Plan guide on the school board race to learn all about the candidates who are running and how they would approach the job.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go...Lady Lowriders Take Over L.A.

A woman leans out the driver's side window of a lowrider, glancing backwards over her shoulder and smiling. The passenger side of the car is lifted off the ground. The concrete barriers to the L.A. River can be seen in the background.
Sandy Avila in the driver's seat of her 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, Simply Beautiful.
(Samanta Helou Hernandez for LAist)
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If you’ve been in Los Angeles long enough, you’ve probably seen a lowrider. Historically, the person in the driver’s seat has been a guy. But now, the lady lowriders are calling the shots with all-female car clubs.

In my colleague Jessica Ogilvie’s story, you’ll meet several of these trendsetting women like Sandy Avila, the president of Lady Lowriders Car Club. For Avila, being the leader of a car club is a lot of work. “Like they say, it’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. You have to have that thing, where you do this because you love it.”

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