On the eve of Election Day, a new poll shows the two Republicans vying to challenge Gov. Jerry Brown are in a dead heat. Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari has been trailing Assemblyman Tim Donnelley through the primary election campaign, but he’s now has pulled into a statistical tie with his rival. The USC Dornsife-L.A. Times Poll finds that 32 percent of likely Republican voters say they’ll vote for Kashkari, compared to 21 percent for Donnelly. But 23 percent of likely GOP voters are still undecided. If Kashkari wins and advances to the November run-off, it’ll be seen as a victory for establishment Republicans and a defeat for Tea Party forces. Meanwhile, Brown continues to hold a wide lead over both his GOP challengers. If the general election were held today, the poll says Brown would beat Donnelly 54 to 26 percent, and Kashkari, 55 to 27 percent.
For the first time in more than 50 years, there is no incumbent on the ballot in the L.A. County Sheriff’s race. The sudden retirement of Lee Baca earlier this year has made it a wide-open competition, with seven career law enforcement officers in the running. The crowded field means it’s almost a certainty that no candidate will get more than 50 percent of the vote, meaning the contest will likely be resolved in November showdown. The candidates include several department insiders, including Assistant Sheriffs Todd Rodgers and Jim Hellmond, and former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell is the most notable outsider in the race. And former Sheriff’s Commander Bob Olmsted has emerged as something of a wildcard. Olmsted worked for the department for three decades before he become a whistle blower, telling the FBI and the news media about brutality in the jails.
The L.A. Kings have skated their way to hockey’s ultimate showdown for the second time in three years. After trailing most of the game, the never-say-die Kings got an overtime goal from Alec Hernandez to eke out a 5-4 thriller over the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. The Kings have won all three of their playoff series in Game 7s on the road this year. Now it’s on to an L.A.-New York matchup. The Kings will play the New York Rangers in the championship round. Game 1 is Wednesday night at Staples Center. The King’s won the franchise’s first championship in 2012, defeating the New Jersey Devils 4 games to 2.
Some drought-stricken rivers and streams in Northern California’s coastal forests are being polluted and sucked dry by water-guzzling medical marijuana farms, according to state wildlife officials. A new report says much of the marijuana being grown in northern counties under the state’s medical pot law is not being used for legal, personal use, but for sale both in California and states where pot is still illegal. This demand is fueling backyard and larger-scale pot farming, especially in the more remote Lake, Humboldt and Mendocino counties on the densely forested North Coast. State biologists say many affected waterways contain endangered salmon, steelhead and other animals protected by state and federal law.
Catalina Island is bracing for strict water rationing this summer, and perhaps even more severe restrictions in the fall that some fear could have a devastating effect on its tourism industry. Starting next month, most people will have to cut water use by 25 percent, or face penalties on their bills. If drought conditions continue, Southern California Edison warns it could be forced to reduce water usage by 50 percent in November. Business leaders say if that happens, restaurants may have to use paper plates and plastic utensils, and hotels may have to turn away customers.