Southern California breaking news and trends

7 things to know before lunch—Parched ethics, carwash culture, urban ziplines, Boyle Heights builds a youth orchestra


1. Metropolitan Water District to rehydrate its ethics policy (KPCC)

Investigations of ethics complaints would be streamlined under a proposal by the Metropolitan Water District being considered Monday.

The agency has a $1.5 billion budget, oversees the resource for 19 million people in Southern California and is responsible for delivering 1.7 billion gallons of water every day.

2. Will San Diego mayor return amid recall drive? (KPCC)

Things have only gotten worse for the leader of the nation's eighth-largest city with more than a dozen women going public with sexual harassment accusations. Even the local Hooters says San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is not welcome.

Accusations prompted calls for Filner to resign. He'd said be back at work on Aug. 19 but whether he actually shows up Monday is anybody's guess. A recall campaign kicked off in earnest Sunday.

3. A tiny youth orchestra in Boyle Heights takes root (KPCC)

Using a patchwork of grants and donations, the one-year-old orchestra charged students only $30 for the entire summer, giving students 15 hours of weekly instruction and a year-end recital. Students could take home loaner instruments to practice.

The orchestra is certainly one of a few - and may be the only - option for classical music instruction for low income families in Boyle Heights. That's in part because L.A. Unified had chopped the arts education budget to nearly 50 percent of '07-'08's $34 million budget.

4. The sudsy, bubbling heart of LA car culture (KPCC AudioVision)

Los Angeles' timeless carwash culture, and the city's monuments to our pampered wheels, have been captured by photographer George Tate Jr. (1920-1992).

Tate moved to Los Angeles during a population and car buying boom in 1951. He came to Southern California from Texas to attend Art Center in Pasadena.

5. NASA 2014 missions will study climate change on Earth (KPCC)

Scientists hope data gathered this year will help to understand how climate change is affecting Earth.

NASA will launch three separate missions next year to monitor wind patterns, CO2 and moisture. For NASA, 2014 will be "the year of Earth Science," according to agency administrator Charles Bolden.

6. 'The Butler' cleans up weekend box office (KPCC)

"Lee Daniels' The Butler" is serving up success at the box office. Penned by Emmy-winning screenwriter Danny Strong, the film tells the story of White House employees who serve multiple presidents.

Starring Forest Whitaker as a longtime butler and Oprah Winfrey as his boozy wife, The Weinstein Co. biopic debuted in the top spot with $25 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

7. Getting weird with transportation: Past proposals and future innovation for LA (KPCC)

Traveling across town is often an exercise in stagnation. For the frustrated commuter and/or daydreaming driver we've put together a collection of bizarre and fantastic unrealized remedies and in-development hopefuls.

Foldable bikes that charges your gadgets, urban zip-lines, a domed airport and flying buses — they're all in here.

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