California

Voters in Oceanside, Calif., have chosen a dead man over a woman, re-electing Gary Ernst as city treasurer despite the fact that Ernst died in September. A prominent city councilman had urged voters to elect Ernst rather than challenger Nadine Scott, promising to appoint a replacement for Ernst.

Proposition 60, California's controversial ballot measure that would require adult film performers to use condoms, has been rejected by a margin of nearly 54 percent against and 46 percent in favor, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

The measure has been a topic of heated debate, pitting the Free Speech Coalition, the adult entertainment industry's trade association, against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's been a brutal forest fire season in California. But there's actually a greater threat to California's trees — the state's record-setting drought. The lack of water has killed at least 60 million trees in the past four years.

Scientists are struggling to understand which trees are most vulnerable to drought and how to keep the survivors alive. To that end, they're sending human climbers and flying drones into the treetops, in a novel biological experiment.

Nearly two decades after California banned bilingual education, voters next month will have a chance to restore it. Proposition 58 would officially end the era of English-only teaching and re-introduce instruction in English and a second language as an option.

About 1.4 million English Language Learners, or ELLs, make up roughly 23 percent of California's public school students. Most are Spanish-speakers.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has launched an investigation into allegations that Wells Fargo & Co. engaged in criminal identity theft when the bank created millions of accounts without customer consent, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The unemployment rate for transgender people is double that of the general population. Now, California has set up the nation's first ever large-scale program to help transgender people find jobs.

And it's all because of Michaela Mendelsohn, a trans woman who's employed trans people at her restaurants for years.

'I'm A Trans Owner Supporting Trans People'

California has its first open U.S. Senate seat in 24 years. And on Wednesday night, the only debate for the race ended unexpectedly when candidate Loretta Sanchez capped off her closing remarks with what appeared to be a dab.

Each time New York state increased its tobacco tax — now at $4.35 per pack of cigarettes — calls to the state's Quitline spiked.

In New York City, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg hiked the tax even more.

"I was so angry with him, I could hardly afford it," says Elizabeth Lane, a Harlem resident who paid $12 a pack. "I had to beg, borrow and steal to get money to buy cigarettes."

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from communities north of Los Angeles because a wildfire is burning out of control in dry, hot canyons. More than a dozen homes have already been destroyed and a man was found dead in a car inside the fire zone on Saturday.

The man's home was one of those burned when the fire swept through Iron Canyon in Santa Clarita, Danielle Karson reports for NPR.

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