• School Inoovation and Achievement
  • San Diego Water Authority

Updating . .   

Ex-L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca's obstruction trial ends in mistrial; jurors hopelessly deadlocked -- A mistrial was declared Thursday in the corruption case against former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca after a jury failed to reach a verdict on charges that he tried to obstruct an FBI investigation into allegations that deputies abused jail inmates. Victoria Kim and Joel Rubin in the Los Angeles Times$ Susan Abram in the Los Angeles Daily News$ Brian Melley Associated Press -- 12/22/16

After Trump election, California GOP leaders split over Electoral College reform -- Jim Brulte, the current chair of the California Republican Party, once served as a high-profile backer of National Popular Vote, a movement that supports the elimination of the Electoral College. Carla Marinucci Politico -- 12/22/16

Uber ships self-driving cars to Arizona after failed San Francisco pilot -- Uber on Thursday announced plans to resume testing its self-driving cars in Arizona, one day after the California Department of Motor Vehicles forced the company to pull the cars from San Francisco streets. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/22/16

Trump backs out of real estate projects around the world, but that may not be enough to avoid conflicts -- The Trump hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, would be “among the finest in the world,” Donald Trump promised two years ago, another example of “our involvement in only the best global development projects.” Joseph Tanfani in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

With environmental review finalized, could construction on the Delta tunnels begin in 2018? -- After years of planning, officials have finalized all 97,000 pages of environmental documents to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to build two massive tunnels through the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/22/16

From football to taxes: How California’s ban on travel to bathroom-bill states will play out in 2017 -- California cops and tax auditors can follow their investigations wherever they lead, but the Bruins and Golden Bears may need to think twice before scheduling an out-of-state-state football game. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/22/16

Farmers score in battle over diverting Klamath River water for endangered species -- Northern California and Oregon irrigation districts have won a key round in a long-running legal battle as they seek compensation for their loss of water in the Klamath River Basin. Michael Doyle in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/22/16

County board overrules LAUSD to keep the embattled Magnolia charter schools open -- A little-known county board overruled its own staff and the powerful Los Angeles Unified School District this week to allow three embattled charter schools to remain open. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Here's how San Francisco became so segregated -- San Francisco likes to think of itself as a beautiful melting pot of people from different cultures, races and financial standings living harmoniously integrated within its 49 square miles. Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16

U.S. economy's strong growth isn't expected to last -- The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the fastest pace in two years and more than the government had previously estimated. But the growth spurt isn't expected to last. Martin Crutsinger Associated Press -- 12/22/16

Stem cell agency: No giveaways in $150 million plan -- The president of the California stem cell agency, Randy Mills, yesterday said that the firms that responded to an ambitious proposal to create a $150 million public/private partnership were seeking to make a “better deal” than the agency had offered. David Jensen Capitol Weekly -- 12/22/16

Why the ‘Ghost Ship’ Was Invisible in Oakland, Until 36 Died -- The warehouse is close to a firehouse. Yet amid haphazard inspection protocols, it became the site of America’s worst structure fire in a decade. Thomas Fuller, Julie Turkewitz, Yamiche Alcindor, Conor Dougherty and Serg F. Kovaleski in the New York Times$ -- 12/22/16

Fox: Black Bart Award Winner 2016—Kamala Harris, Symbol of New Democrats -- The consensus pick for the 8th annual Fox and Hounds Daily’s Black Bart Award is soon to be U.S. Senator Kamala Harris. She took the prize not only for her achievement of capturing the senate seat vacated by Barbara Boxer, setting herself up as a prime antagonist to the potential moves of the new administration, but also as a symbol. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 12/22/16


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Gov. Brown forgives more felons in past 6 years than were pardoned in previous 30 -- He has granted more than 700 pardons since 2011, many for drug crimes—a stark contrast to his recent predecessors. Between 1991 and 2010, three California governors granted a total of just 28 pardons. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters.org -- 12/22/16

State Water Project customers will get bigger allocation due to winter’s wet start -- The Department of Water Resources said customers can expect to receive 45 percent of what they’ve requested in 2017. That compared with the initial allocation of 20 percent a few weeks ago. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16

Jurors deciding ex-Sheriff Lee Baca’s fate ask to hear back testimony -- A second full day of deliberations ended Wednesday without a verdict in the federal jail corruption trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. Susan Abram in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/22/16

November’s presidential election broke records in California -- About 14.6 million Californians — roughly the population of the six states in New England and more than the population of all but four U.S. states as of 2015 — cast ballots in the Nov. 8 presidential election, according to results certified by Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Jeff Horseman in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/22/16

Morain: Jerry Brown plunges ahead on twin tunnels -- Jerry Brown is jumping into the deep end, and he’s asking the rest of us to take a leap with him. Dan Morain in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/22/16

Inspected by city, San Francisco warehouse may still be evicted by landlord -- The warehouse that’s home to seven artists in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights underwent a nervously-awaited city inspection Wednesday, the latest in a series of spot checks by city agencies on such spaces in the aftermath of the Ghost Ship building fire in Oakland that killed 36 people. Michael Bodley in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16

10,000 urge San Francisco officials to halt inspections after Oakland fire -- The abrupt inspection of the Potrero Hill warehouse her identical twin sister shares with other artists prompted Julie Mastrine to act, bringing her before San Francisco building officials Wednesday. Michael Bodley in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16

Underground music gets scrutiny after deadly Oakland fire -- About a week after 36 people died in a fire at an underground music party in Oakland, inspectors acting on a complaint discovered a makeshift nightclub and unpermitted living quarters concealed in a warehouse near Los Angeles International Airport. Michael R. Blood Associated Press -- 12/22/16

California lawmakers try again to expand DNA evidence collection -- California lawmakers are once again trying to expand the collection of DNA evidence in criminal cases, something they say has declined under Proposition 47, hurting cold rape and murder investigations. Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Former White House aide, L.A. Times employee joins long list of candidates vying to succeed Xavier Becerra -- Former White House staffer Alejandra Campoverdi has entered the race to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles). Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Prosecutor is ninth candidate in L.A. congressional race to replace Becerra -- The number of candidates fighting to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra is now at nine, with L.A. County prosecutor Steven Mac the latest to jump in. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Union organizer announces run for Xavier Becerra's congressional seat -- Raymond Meza, a Los Angeles union organizer, says he will join several other declared candidates vying to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles). Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Measure S supporters file lawsuit over 'misleading' voter guide -- Opponents of Measure S, an initiative that would block some large-scale real estate development in Los Angeles, have been accused in a lawsuit of submitting inaccurate statements for a city voter guide. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Video of BART police officer punching handcuffed man spurs anger -- Videos captured the moment in July when Bay Area Rapid Transit police officers pounced on Michael Smith and his girlfriend in downtown San Francisco, ordering them to the ground at gunpoint and handcuffing them. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Woman says miscarriage due to excessive use of force by BART police -- A pregnant woman who was held facedown on the ground and handcuffed in a San Francisco train station by BART police officers — despite an agency policy against cuffing pregnant women behind their backs — said Wednesday that she suffered a miscarriage because of the officers’ actions. Vivian Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16

San Francisco Police Commission votes to prohibit shooting at moving vehicles -- The San Francisco Police Commission approved a use-of-force policy Wednesday that would prohibit the city’s police officers from shooting at moving vehicles or using carotid restraints. Vivian Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16

Los Angeles sues Boyle Heights recycling center after massive pile of trash burns for 6 weeks -- A Boyle Heights recycling center is overrun with piles of trash two stories high and poses a health hazard to nearby businesses and the public, the Los Angeles city attorney’s office claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Fresno County health, education leaders meet to fight teen suicide -- Faced with a big jump in suicides by young people this year in Fresno County, local school districts, hospitals, government agencies and law enforcement met Wednesday to begin addressing how to best handle mental health issues and ensure each agency has the ability to help those in need – especially children. Rory Appleton in the Fresno Bee -- 12/22/16

Teen suicide clusters prompt mandate for California schools to confront taboo topic -- In California and across the country, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens—a grim reminder that many high school students’ primary barrier to adulthood is themselves. Jessica Calefati Calmatters.org -- 12/22/16

A word from new Milpitas mayor, but it’s really Obama’s -- Tran, 31, admitted Wednesday that about half of his mayoral acceptance speech given on Dec. 13 at the Milpitas City Council meeting was taken nearly verbatim from Obama’s inaugural address. But anyone accusing him of plagiarism would be wrong, he said. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16


Remembering the 192 homeless who died in Orange County in 2016 -- On the longest night of the year, the forgotten were remembered. An interfaith ceremony Wednesday at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove honored 192 homeless men, women and children whose lives had ended largely in obscurity. Theresa Walker in the Orange County Register -- 12/22/16


California treasurer accuses 2 public pension funds of 'craven greed' in affordable housing fight -- California Treasurer John Chiang on Wednesday slammed two out-of-state public pension funds for what he called a shameful ploy to eliminate 79 affordable housing units in a massive San Fernando Valley housing complex. Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ Elizabeth Chou in the Los Angeles Daily News$ Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/22/16

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions 

Uber pulls its self-driving cars off the streets of San Francisco -- The state Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday revoked the registration of 16 Uber cars being used commercially as test vehicles for self-driving technology. Although a human driver employed by Uber inhabited each vehicle, the cars are equipped with artificial intelligence able to drive the car robotically without, in many circumstance, human input. Russ Mitchell in the Los Angeles Times$ Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press -- 12/22/16

New Law Requires Comprehensive Background Checks For Uber, Lyft Drivers -- People in California who drive for Uber, Lyft and other ride-booking companies will face more extensive background checks in the New Year. Steve Milne Capital Public Radio -- 12/22/16

California drivers paying for underfunded CHP pensions -- Californians in April will start paying more to register their cars — not to help maintain roads, but to keep the pension checks rolling for the motorcycle cops who policed them. Romy Varghese Bloomberg -- 12/22/16

Court to hear appeal in case pitting antennas against aesthetics -- The state Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether San Francisco, in the interest of aesthetics, can prevent telephone companies from installing wireless antennas on utility poles. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16

Swiss shipping firm takes over Port of Long Beach’s largest terminal after Hanjin bankruptcy -- South Korea Hanjin Shipping Co. has signed a deal to sell its stake in Long Beach’s largest terminal, a move that could end months of uncertainty about the port’s future and again reshuffle cargo business at the nation’s busiest port complex. Rachel Uranga in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/22/16

How state and local government budgets will be affected by CalPERS' trimmed investment expectations -- Pension costs for state and local government will begin to rise in 2017 after CalPERS officials voted to throttle back the expectations on profits earned from its $299 billion portfolio. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Anaheim's new city council sets about reversing Disney-friendly past -- In one of its first salvos, the council — dubbed by some “the people’s council” — voted unanimously Tuesday to ditch a program that promised generous tax breaks for luxury hotels. Jill Replogle KPCC -- 12/22/16

State report: Millennials tied to California birth rate falling to an all-time low -- California’s birth rate has reached a historic low, according to newly released data from the state Department of Finance, a trend demographers say is driven largely by millennials putting off parenthood to finish college and launch careers. Tatiana Sanchez in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 12/22/16

LA grew bigger, but not faster, than any other county in California -- Los Angeles County saw a larger overall increase to its population than any other California county over the past year, though its overall growth rate lagged in comparison, according to new state figures. Brian Frank KPCC -- 12/22/16

Right to Try Gives Terminally Ill Options Without FDA Approval -- A new law allowing terminally ill patients the chance to try treatments not yet approved by the federal government begins Jan. 1. Mike DeBartoli has been living with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for 3.5 years. Ja'Nel Johnson Capital Public Radio -- 12/22/16

How Much Do Businesses Pay for Stolen Data? -- One day early this year, employees at a hospital in Hollywood found their computers completely unusable. Kaveh Waddell The Atlantic -- 12/22/16

Snapchat signs Disney-ABC and Caruso shopping centers to big advertising deals for 2017 -- Disney-ABC Television Group will stream some new online shows on Snapchat, becoming the second national broadcaster to make a major commitment to the video-sharing service. Paresh Dave in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16


Talking About the Future of California’s Water in the Face of Climate Change -- Inless than a month, the United States will be led by a president who denies climate change exists. Tara Lohan KQED -- 12/22/16

Rain totals were 400% of normal in parts of Northern California this fall -- A wet start to the rainy season means much of the Bay Area enters winter with well above average rainfall. The National Weather Service released maps on Thursday showing the majority of the Bay Area at over 110 percent of normal for this time of year. Bill Disbrow in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/16


California schools chief urges districts to declare themselves 'safe havens' -- California’s top education official has urged the state’s public schools to declare themselves “safe havens” for students who are in the country illegally. Joy Resmovits in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

School districts scrambling to stop student enrollment drops -- A new report from the Governor’s Department of Finance predicts significant increases and drops in student enrollment in Southern California counties in the coming years. Adolfo Guzman-Lopez KPCC -- 12/22/16

Teaching Computer Programming Through Making in Oakland’s Fruitvale -- Making computer programming a part of the K-13 curriculum is becoming a rallying call in the United States. But just because you teach a subject doesn’t mean you get kids interested in it. So the real challenge is how to get kids, who might not necessarily be into computers, to pursue a career in coding? Queena Sook Kim KQED -- 12/22/16

More than a million California children missing out on state subsidized child care -- Only one in seven California children who qualify for subsidized child care received services from state programs in 2015, according to a December report from the California Budget and Policy Center. Of the state’s estimated 1.5 million children – newborns to 12-year-olds – who are eligible for subsidized child care, only 218,000 were enrolled in programs, the report states. Ashley Hopkinson EdSource -- 12/22/16

California appeals federal decision on state science testing -- California education officials have appealed the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to reject the state’s request to begin phasing in tests this spring based on new science standards, rather than administer current tests based on standards in place since 1998. Pat Maio EdSource -- 12/22/16

CalPERS cuts earnings forecast; school districts to pay more for pensions -- School districts, already bracing for record pension contributions for school employees, will face additional costs they hadn’t expected as a result of a decision Wednesday by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 12/22/16


Abcarian: Is marijuana legalization in California the beginning of the end of the war on weed? -- The door to legalized marijuana in California cracked ajar in 1996, when voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, which allowed doctors to recommend cannabis to their patients. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Immigration / Border 

Young immigrants rush to use travel loophole before Trump’s inauguration -- It has been 20 years since Mitzie Perez last saw her native Guatemala and now she’s aiming to make the trek before it’s too late. Alejandra Molina in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/22/16


Why Obama's offshore oil drilling ban didn't extend to the Pacific Ocean -- Well, part of the reason is there simply wasn't enough opposition to off-shore drilling in California. And that's likely because there hasn't been a new offshore well in the Pacific for over 30 years. Emily Guerin KPCC -- 12/22/16

Governor, Coastal Commission urge Obama to block new offshore oil and gas leases in California -- On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced it will block oil and natural gas drilling from vast swaths of the Arctic Ocean and parts of the Atlantic Ocean. Will the outgoing president do the same for the California coast? Rob Nikolewski in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/22/16

LA County, AQMD suing firm to force chromium 6 emissions cuts -- Los Angeles County and the South Coast Air Quality Management District will seek a court order Thursday requiring a metal plating business in Paramount to immediately curb its emissions of the carcinogen hexavalent chromium. Rebecca Plevin KPCC -- 12/22/16

Clovis wins $22 million against Shell Oil over toxic drinking water -- The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people. Andrea Castillo in the Fresno Bee -- 12/22/16


Why are California Republicans Prioritizing Dental Care for the Poor? -- Democrats have traditionally been the ones to champion health care programs for low-income Californians. But this month, Republicans proposed a bill that would put $200 million dollars toward improving Denti-Cal, the state’s free dental care program for the poor. April Dembosky KQED -- 12/22/16

Why LA is seeing fewer fentanyl deaths even as trafficking rises in the region -- A new federal analysis has found that deaths related to the powerful opioid fentanyl more than doubled nationally from 2013 to 2014. But the drug has not caught on in Los Angeles County, according to a senior public health official. Devin Browne KPCC -- 12/22/16

Health Care Access And Affordability Improve In California, New Report Finds -- Unlike some other states, California has embraced Obamacare. And a new report shows California has reaped enormous benefits. Kenny Goldberg KPBS -- 12/22/16

Regulation Of Stem Cell Treatments Uncertain In Era Of Political Change -- With a new year and a new White House administration just around the corner, some experts in the field of stem cell science say it's unclear whether proposed regulations of unproven and expensive stem cell treatments will move forward. David Wagner KPBS -- 12/22/16

How 4 drug companies rapidly raised prices on life-saving drugs -- U.S. Senate committee detailed in an investigative report Wednesday how drug companies were exploiting the market by acquiring decades-old crucial medicines and suddenly raising their prices astronomically. Melody Petersen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Also . . . 

Wal-Mart removes 'Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter' shirts after police complaint -- Wal-Mart has agreed to remove T-shirts and sweatshirts that say “Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter” from its website after a complaint from the president of the country's largest police organization, but the retailer said it would not remove those that say only “Black Lives Matter.” Tom Jackman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

A giant red swastika, words apparently reading 'Trump' and a racist note: Police investigate possible hate crime at Montrose family's home -- Glendale police are investigating a possible hate crime in Montrose after a family said its home was defaced with a swastika last Friday morning. Andy Nguyen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

POTUS 45  

Trump Suggests Berlin Attack Affirms His Plan to Bar Muslims -- President-elect Donald J. Trump seemed to suggest on Wednesday that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin vindicated his proposal during the presidential campaign to bar Muslims from entering the United States. Mark Landler in the New York Times$ -- 12/22/16

San Diego judge OK's Trump University settlement -- A San Diego federal judge has approved the $25 million Trump University settlement, allowing the process of notifying class members to begin. Kristina Davis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/22/16 ** auto start audio on this link -- 12/22/16

Trump names UC Irvine professor and fierce China critic to new White House Trade Council -- President-elect Donald Trump, signaling that he intends to follow through on his tough talk on trade, is establishing a new White House-based trade council to be headed by a vehement cri ic of China’s economic policies. Don Lee in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Donald Trump is holding a government casting call. He’s seeking ‘the look.’ -- Donald Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part. Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty in the Washington Post$ -- 12/22/16


Decker: American voters wanted change in 2016, but will they get the change they wanted? -- Nothing about the 2016 presidential election was predictable — not the purloined emails, vulgar videotaped bragging, the insults flung every which way, or the riotous, raucous ascent of a reality television star as he defeated the first woman nominated by a major party for the presidency. Cathleen Decker in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/22/16

Change the system, or game it? Supporters and critics read Trump cabinet picks differently -- They are billionaires and generals. Seven of the 23 named so far have no government experience. At least six oppose key policies of the agencies they’ve been nominated to run. Martin Wisckol in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 12/22/16

Exclusive: Clinton aides kept tabs on anti-Trump elector gambit -- But a batch of correspondence obtained by Politico shows members of Clinton’s inner circle — including senior aides Jake Sullivan and Jennifer Palmieri — were in touch for weeks with one of the effort’s organizers as they mounted their ill-fated strategy. And despite repeated requests for guidance, Clinton’s team did not wave them off. Kyle Cheney Politico -- 12/22/16

Cyber Experts Cite Link Between DNC Hacks and Aggression Against Ukraine -- Malicious software used in a hack against the Democratic National Committee is similar to that used against the Ukrainian military, a computer-security firm has determined, adding evidence to allegations that the hackers who infiltrated the DNC were working for the Russian government. Shane Harris in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 12/22/16


-- Wednesday Updates 

Meet Donald Trump’s newest nemesis: Xavier Becerra, son of immigrants -- Xavier Becerra was in class at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento when he saw a buddy who’d just bungled an exam getting ready to toss something in the trash. “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he said, ‘Well, I was going to apply to this college but no reason to do that anymore,’ ” Becerra remembered four decades later. “I said, ‘Don’t throw it away. Give it to me.’ ” Sean Cockerham in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/16

Senate leader Kevin de León announces committee assignments, leadership posts -- California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León released committee assignments and floor leadership posts for the upcoming session Wednesday, shuffling the chairmanships of some influential panels. Taryn Luna in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 12/21/16

Stephen Curry auctions off 'Ghost Ship' shoes to aid Oakland fire victims -- Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is auctioning off two special pairs of shoes to raise money for victims of the Oakland warehouse fire. Associated Press -- 12/21/16

A peaceful lake? Or the next Santa Monica Pier? Silver Lake Reservoir's future is up for debate -- On a recent afternoon in Silver Lake, joggers circled the reservoir, dogs ran in the dog park and families picnicked on a meadow on the eastern side of the lake. Nina Agrawal in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/16

Opponents of Newport Beach condo tower say they have petition signatures to get issue on the ballot -- Leaders of a petition campaign calling for a referendum on a planned 25-story luxury condominium tower in Newport Beach say they have gathered enough signatures and soon will turn them in to the city clerk. Bradley Zint in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/16

Afghans who aided US military face long, fearful visa wait -- Army Capt. Matthew Ball relied heavily on his Afghan interpreter during a yearlong mission in one of Afghanistan's most dangerous areas, entrusting him daily with his life. The interpreter received death threats from the Taliban for helping American troops, and has now been in hiding for nearly four years. He ventures out only in the cloak of darkness. Julie Watson Associated Press -- 12/21/16

Lazarus: Soaring insulin prices are a case in point: A 'free market' in healthcare is doomed -- A key feature of Republican plans to replace Obamacare is allowing market forces to boost innovation and competition among healthcare providers. David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/16

Pot ads along highways? Lawmakers wrangle over legalization's consequences -- Comedian Tommy Chong’s image grinned from a freeway billboard near Sacramento in recent months, promoting the counterculture icon’s brand of marijuana to passing motorists. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/16

Man who lifted $1.6-million pot of gold flakes in N.Y. could be in Los Angeles, police say -- Police say a man who managed to snatch a pot of gold off an armored truck on a busy New York City street has made his way to Los Angeles. Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/16

Silicon Valley Philanthropists Often Overlook Local Needs, According to New Report -- Before Kathy Kwan lavished a $225,000 gift on the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, she took a tour of one of the nonprofit’s clinics. What the Silicon Valley philanthropist saw inside—homeless, drug-addled, disease-ravaged clients, a panorama of human suffering—made her want to run out the door. Jennifer Wadsworth San Jose Inside -- 12/21/16

San Francisco's tallest buildings ranked -- Salesforce Tower may still be under construction but it’s already changed the San Francisco skyline. Upon completion the structure will tower at 1,070 feet, outdoing the Transamerica Pyramid by 217 feet, as the highest building in the city. Susana Guerrero in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/21/16

San Diego Mayor Asking Landlords To Participate In Program To House Homeless Veterans -- More than 700 homeless veterans have been enrolled in the city of San Diego's "Housing Our Heroes" campaign since it began in March of last year, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Wednesday in urging landlords to take part in the program. KPBS -- 12/21/16

Settlement reached in San Diego police excessive force lawsuit -- A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit accusing San Diego police of using excessive force against a family at their City Heights cellphone store in 2014. Kristina Davis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/21/16 ** auto start audio on this link

Alzheimer’s Plaque in Mice Cut in Half With Flashing Lights -- Radiolab, a frequent favorite among the public radio set, uncharacteristically covered a bit of breaking news on Dec. 8, speaking to researchers who’d just published their novel approach to treating Alzheimer’s-infected lab mice. Ericka Cruz Guevarra and Jon Brooks KQED -- 12/21/16

Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle Scientists -- A spate of extreme warmth in the Arctic over the past two months has startled scientists, who warn that the high temperatures may lead to record-low ice coverage next summer and even more warming in a region that is already among the hardest hit by climate change. Henry Fountain and John Schwartz in the New York Times$ -- 12/21/16

UC Irvine professor Peter Navarro lands newly created role in Trump administration -- UC Irvine professor Peter Navarro will serve in a newly formed White House National Trade Council as assistant to the president and director of trade and industrial policy, President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced Thursday. Todd Harmonson in the Orange County Register -- 12/21/16

Trump stops the 'drain the swamp' talk as new alligators emerge -- It made for a great slogan during the campaign, but now that he’s won, Donald Trump is finding that maybe he doesn’t actually want to “drain the swamp.” In fact, the alligators seem to be doing quite well. Evan Halper in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 12/21/16

Trump on the future of proposed Muslim ban, registry: ‘You know my plans’ -- Speaking outside his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump did not walk back the proposals after he was asked by a reporter whether he was rethinking or reevaluating them in the wake of a fresh terrorist attack in Berlin. Abby Phillip and Abigail Hauslohner in the Washington Post$ -- 12/21/16