Gov. Gavin Newsom calls it a dimmer switch, but for many Golden State businesses, it’s lights out. Again. And it’s a good gig if you can get it — a security guard at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power pulled in a cool $931,000 in overtime over the past three years. His base salary is around $25,000.
It’s Arlene bringing you all the news to know for Monday.
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Dimming … dimming … dark
Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down more parts of the economy on Monday as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to grow. His new order affects 30 counties, or 80% of the Golden State’s population. It requires these indoor operations to close:
Indoor operations at bars, restaurants, wineries, zoos, and family entertainment centers had already been shut down in counties on the state’s watch list. They’ll stay that way.
California’s average daily new cases hit 8,211 over the past seven-day period.
Newsom took the opportunity to repeatedly urge people to wear masks, noting how caseloads were lower in places that required them versus those that didn’t: “What more evidence do you need?”
LA, San Diego schools won’t reopen in August
Two of the nation’s biggest school districts announced on Monday they’ll start the school year off distance learning.
San Diego Unified, which has 122,000 students, including those who attend public charters, had been discussing as recently as this weekend plans to allow for in-person schooling. Parents had overwhelmingly responded in surveys they wanted full-time, in-person learning, but school officials said it wasn’t safe enough to reopen.
Los Angeles Unified has about a half-million students and 75,000 employees in its system. Most recently, district officials had been exploring a hybrid of in-person and online classes.
“The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control,” a joint statement by San Diego and Los Angeles leaders said.
‘Glee’ star’s body found; when your mom (allegedly) launders money; arson at a mission?
Rescuers found a body believed to be “Glee” actor Naya Rivera, 33, near the surface of Lake Piru on Monday morning. She went missing Wednesday after renting a boat with her 4-year-old son. Officials said the two had gone swimming but only the boy made it back to the boat.
The corruption case against Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, accused of taking bribes in exchange for fast-tracking downtown developments, involved an unlikely money launderer, according to investigators: His 80-year-old mother.
Arson may have caused the fire that destroyed the inside and roof of the San Gabriel Mission, which was undergoing renovations in preparations for its 250th anniversary.
The LADWP security guard who pulled in $320,000 in overtime
For the second year in a row, a security guard at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power racked up over $300,000 in overtime, according to the nonprofit Transparent California.
Over the past three years, LADWP principal security officer Ricardo Frias has made $931,000 in overtime. He topped the department’s list last year, making $320,000 in overtime on a base salary of $24,672.
Overtime and other questionable spending by the LADWP have for years been reported on by media outlets, but seemingly nothing changes. Witness: In 2019, overtime hit a record $258 million last year, up 90 percent from 2013, the nonprofit’s analysis shows.
It also found that the average LADWP worker made $136,045, with a record-high 320 employees receiving overtime pay of at least $100,000.
To earn the kind of overtime Frias earned in 2018 ($313,000), he would have had to work on average 70 hours of overtime every week, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
Explore LADWP compensation here.
Read Consumer Watchdog’s report on how the person who was supposed to hold the powerful public agency accountable hasn’t exactly been doing that.
What else we’re talking about
Temperatures in Palm Springs on Sunday reached a record-breaking 121 degrees. A day later, temperatures were expected to peak at a more reasonable 111.
A New Jersey hedge fund pitched a combo of debt and cash as the high bidder for the Sacramento-based newspaper chain McClatchy, owner of the Sacramento Bee, Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee and San Luis Obispo Tribune. McClatchy filed for bankruptcy in February.
A San Francisco event planner who moved back to her mom’s house in Mission Viejo. A massage therapist slowly draining her savings. A San Diego sports angler who moved to Fontana to fix up cars: Across nine industries, what life four months into a pandemic looks like.
More than 100,000 mail-in ballots were rejected by state election officials during the March presidential primary, data obtained by The Associated Press shows. The biggest factor? They came in late. Yet another reason procrastinating doesn’t pay off.
A vow to rebuild a secret birding spot destroyed in fire
Downtown Niland, a community of maybe 1,000 people who live nestled between the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain, was incinerated the night of June 28 when a brush fire with mysterious origins jumped Highway 111 and torched an estimated 40 residences, leaving at least 30 families homeless.
“Us and the goats watched the glow of Niland under the stars,” said Barnacle Snug Luffy, 74, a self-proclaimed recluse who moved here to wipe the memories of what he’d seen in the Vietnam War.
Snug has six acres of palm trees, cottonwoods and koi ponds — certified as wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. They have over the years become territory for numerous birds and the birders that followed.
Now, the future is less certain for this once-green slice of the desert but Luffy hopes to rebuild the oasis of his ranch, which sits squarely in the Pacific Flyway, a corridor used by a plethora of migratory birds.
Read Luffy’s journey here.
In California brings you top news and analysis from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: California Sunday, Transparent California, LAist, San Diego Union-Tribune, Associated Press, LA Daily News.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: California, LADWP, schools close, birds, dimmer, Glee: Monday news