• School Inoovation and Achievement
  • San Diego Water Authority

Updating . .   

Trump's budget is 'a complete withdrawal' of working with states, says Gov. Jerry Brown's budget chief -- President Trump's proposed federal budget would dramatically shrink the nation's role in solving important issues in California, according to an early analysis by advisers to Gov. Jerry Brown. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

Fear of deportation comes to middle school -- Middle school is confusing enough to navigate when your family life is stable, but for the kids at one Oakland school, it’s been even more difficult since the election. They’ve been asking their teachers and counselors a lot of heavy questions, like, “Will my parents be home when I get home from school?” Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/16/17

California to Trump: Keep ICE out of our courthouses -- California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye asked the Trump administration on Thursday to stop immigration agents from “stalking” California’s courthouses to make arrests. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ Scott Shafer KQED Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/16/17

Decker: President Trump embraces the blame game, while brushing aside some inconvenient realities -- President Trump’s frustration has repeatedly been visible as his successful campaign has given way to a troubled presidency, driven by the distance between his promises and the bracing difficulty of governing. Cathleen Decker in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

Democratic and Republican legislative leaders join to fight campaign finance rule change -- In a rare bipartisan agreement, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican caucuses of the state Senate and Assembly have united to fight a proposal by the state’s campaign watchdog agency to change the test for when a candidate controls a political committee. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

Man pulls down gay pride flag outside Rep. Alan Lowenthal's Washington office -- An unidentified man entered Rep. Alan Lowenthal's Capitol Hill office Wednesday upset about the display of a gay pride flag and pulled it from its stand outside the office to forcefully and repeatedly step on it, the Long Beach congressman said Thursday. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

California's revised draft rule on pesticide use near schools is a bit softer -- Before using pesticides near California public schools, growers would have to notify school and county agricultural officials, under a revised draft regulation released Thursday — but the notification requirements would be less strenuous than what was proposed a few months ago. Samantha Masunaga in the Los Angeles Times$ Robert Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee -- 3/16/17

People are furious that Trump's new budget cuts funding to Meals on Wheels -- A popular organization that provides food and companionship to millions of seniors around the country is at risk of losing its funding in President Donald Trump's new budget — and people are incensed. Katie Dowd in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/16/17

Proposed Trump budget slices needed federal funding for Sacramento streetcars, light rail -- Sacramento’s planned streetcar and numerous other transit projects in cities nationally are on the chopping block in the Trump administration budget unveiled Thursday morning. The president’s budget also eliminates funding for the program that local leaders are counting on to help fund a long-planned light rail extension from downtown to Sacramento International Airport. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/16/17

State releases another data tool potentially more useful than new dashboard -- Separate from its new California School Dashboard, the California Department of Education has prepared another online resource that some school officials say may be more useful than the dashboard itself. It consists of color grids showing a breakdown of how every school in a district did on each performance indicator, with links to each school’s dashboard report. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 3/16/17

Trump budget would result in loss of hundreds of millions in education dollars to California -- Even as his proposed 2017-18 budget calls for increasing funding for “school choice” programs, President Donald Trump is proposing to cut programs that would result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal support to California for early learning programs, K-12 schools, teacher preparation and retention, and college student aid. Louis Freedberg EdSource -- 3/16/17

President approves California storms disaster declaration -- President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for California to address damage from January storms that were part of the state's extremely wet winter. The action Thursday makes federal funding available to state, local and tribal governments as well as nonprofit groups. Associated Press -- 3/16/17

Borenstein: County hired social worker with domestic violence history -- A Contra Costa child protective services worker has her own history of domestic violence and participated in an infamous “Dirty DUI” scheme to entrap her ex-husband for drunken driving. Daniel Borenstein in the East Bay Times -- 3/16/17

Family ID’s 16-year-old killed by Fremont police -- Relatives identified the 16-year-old girl fatally shot in Hayward on Tuesday by Fremont detectives who opened fire on a car officials said was stolen and had slammed into the officers’ unmarked patrol vehicle during a traffic stop. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/16/17

These four public employees are accused with four others of stealing from the dead -- The state Attorney General’s office has filed a 34-count complaint that charges eight people – four of them Fresno County employees – with thefts from dead people and their families. Marc Benjamin in the Fresno Bee -- 3/16/17

What’s That Thing Off 280? The Flintstone House -- We don’t normally profile real estate listings for Bay Curious, but this one was too fascinating to pass up. The “Flintstone House,” as Peninsula locals call it, is on the market for $3.2 million. Which means we have a rare opportunity to peek inside. Rachael Myrow KQED -- 3/16/17

State librarian hunts dollars in DC -- Prying funds out of the Trump administration may not be easy, but California State Librarian Greg Lucas is giving it a shot. And not just for California. John Howard Capitol Weekly -- 3/16/17

Michael Flynn Was Paid by Russian-Linked Firms, Letter Shows -- Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, was paid over $65,000 by companies linked to Russia in 2015, according to a letter released on Thursday by congressional investigators. Adam Goldman and Michael Schwirtz in the New York Times$ Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger in the Washington Post$ -- 3/16/17


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Trump budget would reignite California's financial strains -- President Trump’s budget would deliver a painful financial blow to California, with the potential to push a state that has struggled for years to keep its books balanced back into the kind of red ink that consumed it after the housing market collapse a decade ago. Evan Halper and Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

California ready to pursue clean car standards as Trump brakes -- Automakers hailed President Donald Trump’s call on Wednesday for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review and possibly dial back car fuel efficiency standards. But California sees things differently. Peter Henderson Reuters Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

$3 million in penalties for petroleum companies’ environmental violations -- A group of petroleum companies and an official at one of them have been ordered to pay $3 million in penalties after violating environmental protection laws and then failing to make the changes required by a 2011 settlement, the Alameda County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday. Filipa A. Ioannou in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/16/17

Could San Francisco’s universal health care model work for all of California? -- Alice Chen sees a steady stream of patients here, at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center – a massive medical campus that serves as the backbone of the health care delivery system for the city’s undocumented population and its poorest residents. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/16/17

Fiance of woman killed in crash with undocumented immigrant says President Trump called him -- An Arleta man whose fiancee was killed in a car crash last month allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times said he has received words of encouragement from President Donald Trump. The item is in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 3/16/17

Skelton: What does 'sanctuary state' actually mean? It's time for lawmakers to figure it out -- “Sanctuary” is a fighting word in the state Legislature — whatever “sanctuary” means. And that’s one of the hang-ups. There’s not even bipartisan agreement on what it means to be a “sanctuary city.” Geoge Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

"Sanctuary State" Bill's Backers Put Senate Leader Between Rock And Hard Place -- “Awkward” only begins to describe the spot California Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León found himself in Wednesday. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 3/16/17

Vulnerable California Republicans find themselves at center of healthcare bill persuasion efforts -- Seven California Republicans are among the 23 Republicans nationwide who represent House districts that chose Hillary Clinton for president. Now they find themselves at the center of the debate over the proposed House GOP healthcare bill. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

California gas prices could rise if the state's cap-and-trade program is extended, legislative analyst says -- As California lawmakers debate the future of the state's battle against global warming, there's one politically sensitive issue they'll have to consider: gas prices. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

Pain at the pump: Average gas price in Fresno nears $3 -- Fresno’s average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas now stands at $2.96, which is below the $3 statewide average. Even so, the Auto Club noted in its latest report that Fresno’s price is up 16 cents per gallon from a month ago and California’s average is well above where it has been over the past year. The item is in the Fresno Bee -- 3/16/17

The rise and fall of Lee Baca, L.A. County's onetime 'Teflon Sheriff' -- Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca’s conviction Wednesday for obstructing a federal investigation into abuses in county jails and lying to cover up the interference is a dramatic end to career marked by both early promise and running scandal. Shelby Grad in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

California's bullet train board bad-mouths the state's Republican delegation -- The state’s high-speed rail authority board verbally assaulted the state’s Republican House delegation Wednesday, blaming it for the delay of a grant that would have benefited California’s bullet train project. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

$1.4 billion bond sale to benefit high-speed rail work in the San Joaquin Valley -- The state Treasurer’s Office is expected to sell about $1.4 billion in high-speed rail bonds next month – the first sale of Proposition 1A bonds for construction of California’s embattled bullet-train project in the San Joaquin Valley. Tim Sheehan in the Fresno Bee -- 3/16/17

Can California repair damaged Delta reservoir within 45 days? -- State officials said Wednesday that Californians reliant on water pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta won’t face supply shortages, even as crews shut down a massive pumping station that serves much of Southern California for at least a month to make repairs to its intake reservoir. Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese in the Sacramento Bee$ Dan Brekke KQED -- 3/16/17

Nevada County GOP touts dress code, seating tips for LaMalfa Town Hall -- As politicians face protests at town hall meetings nationwide, Republicans in Nevada County are trying to maximize support for Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Oroville at a scheduled gathering in Grass Valley on Saturday. Robin Opsahl in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/16/17

Sacramento mayor defies ‘bully’ Trump in DC visit -- Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, visiting Washington in hopes of winning support for a wide range of development plans, found himself defending his city's immigrant residents against a Trump administration determined to enforce tougher policies. The mayor challenged a Trump official on the president’s rhetoric and touted the city’s sanctuary status to tech entrepreneurs as a reason for them to move to Sacramento. Sean Cockerham in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/16/17

Newport-Mesa district to pay $106,000 to settle lawsuit claiming election system is unfair to Latinos -- The Newport-Mesa Unified District Board of Trustees voted to pay $105,937 to settle a lawsuit that alleges its current trustee election system hinders the election of Latino candidates. The vote Tuesday night comes two weeks after the board unanimously voted to switch from an at-large voting system, in which members are elected by all voters in the district, to one based on trustee areas. Louis Casiano Jr. in the Orange County Register -- 3/16/17

To make voters care about gerrymandering, cast it as a villain? -- Having collaborated to create California’s nonpartisan system for setting political boundaries nearly a decade ago, former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the government watchdog group Common Cause are now teaming up to try to overhaul how political maps are drawn in several other large states. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters.org -- 3/16/17

Patt Morrison asks: Congressman Adam Schiff on investigating Trump's ties to Russia -- He occupies a piece of political ground that’s become high profile even on Capitol Hill — in spite of the fact that he’s a Democrat, in the party out of power. Patt Morrison in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

North Korea amps up worries about potential threat to the U.S. power grid -- The scenario is apocalyptic: The United States plunges into darkness after its electrical grid goes down— not just for a few hours or even a few days, but a vulnerable power system could take 18 months to recover, so long a period of time that millions would die. Rob Nikolewski in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 3/16/17

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds    

To create affordable housing, lawmakers eye ending tax breaks for vacation homes -- Lifelong Californian Lori Thompson is well aware of the state’s dire affordable housing problem. She’s just wondering why she’s the one who has to pay to fix it. Matt Levin Calmatters.org -- 3/16/17

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions 

Yahoo hacking case won’t mend divide between tech, government -- Implicit in federal agents’ expression of gratitude to tech giants Yahoo and Google for helping them tie two Russian spies and a pair of hackers to a massive email breach in 2014 was an overture to the rest of Silicon Valley: If you work with us, federal agents seemed to say, we can better defend against foreign attacks. Marissa Lang and Wendy Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/16/17

CalPERS cuts LA Works pensions: Who’s at fault? -- CalPERS board members voted yesterday to cut the pensions of about 200 former employees of a disbanded job-training agency known as LA Works, unless the four founding cities agree to make a $406,345 payment before July 1. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 3/16/17

Wells Fargo shareholders call for a new, broader probe into the bank's accounts scandal -- A San Francisco banking advocacy group, several religious organizations and a Rhode Island pension fund want Wells Fargo to provide a broader accounting of what led to widespread fraud in the bank’s sales practices. James Rufus Koren in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

American Airlines to offer free meals on flights between L.A. and New York -- Airplane food is coming back. American Airlines will once again offer complimentary meals in its main cabin on select cross-country flights, including those between Los Angeles and New York. Nina Agrawal in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

Demolition resumes on California's crumbling Big Sur bridge -- Heavy rain damaged the bridge beyond repair, stranding more than 400 residents on one side. Helicopters are bringing in food, and people can use a footpath to cross the divide. Caltrans said it will take at least nine months to rebuild the bridge. Associated Press -- 3/16/17

Petition Drive To Bring MLS To San Diego Gets Underway -- A group attempting to bring professional soccer to San Diego kicked off a signature drive Wednesday aimed at getting the proposal in front of the city council. The plan, by a group calling itself GoalSD, wants to use the Mission Valley property at the site of Qualcomm Stadium. KPBS -- 3/16/17

California Oil Sees Ally in Trump, Even If He Can’t Really Help Them -- President Trump has vowed to bolster the country’s oil and gas industry by rolling back environmental regulations. But it may not make much of a difference for California oil. The industry’s success is tied to a broad mix of influences, some outside the scope of federal law. Lauren Sommer KQED -- 3/16/17

Oakland Considers Boycotting Companies That Work on Trump’s Proposed Border Wall -- Oakland may soon launch a boycott of any company involved in designing or building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Proposals for the Trump administration’s multibillion-dollar project are due this week, and more than 600 interested vendors already have signed up on the Federal Business Opportunities website. Tara Siler KQED -- 3/16/17

Apple, Google, Facebook skip legal challenge to new travel ban -- Apple Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google and Facebook Inc are among more than 60 technology companies that appear to have backed away from the legal fight against U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, deciding not to put their weight behind a lawsuit seeking to block the second version of his executive order. David Ingram Reuters -- 3/16/17


CSU students fight proposed 5 percent tuition hike -- California State University students are fighting a proposed 5 percent tuition increase for next fall which, if approved next week by the trustees, would be the first for CSU since 2011. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/16/17

Average cost of attending a UC campus rose about 4% last year, regents told -- Amid rising public concern about college expenses, University of California regents were told Wednesday that the cost of attending UC campuses increased by about $1,100, or 4% last year. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

California’s new schools report card has both more and less information for parents -- Four years after dumping its single-number rating of every public school, California on Wednesday rolled out a new education report card with bold color charts and minute detail on select metrics for each school district. Sharon Noguchi in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/16/17

California's long-awaited School Dashboard debuts -- Years in planning, the website broadens the concept of a successful school from a single metric – standardized test scores – to multiple indicators measuring academic achievement, school climate, student engagement and other priorities specified in the Local Control Funding Formula. The State Board of Education said the website is intended to provide data for school improvement as well as information for parents and the public. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 3/16/17

Immigration / Border 

U.S. halts visas for Afghans who aided American forces -- Afghans who aided U.S. forces fighting the Taliban can no longer receive special visas for their service, at least until year’s end, said U.S. senators and advocates who are trying to pass legislation to restart the flow of newcomers. Stephen Magagnini in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/16/17

Refugee family lands in US amid fight over travel ban -- Just a week ago, Nadia Hanan Madalo and her family had received news that refugees like them have been waiting to hear: They had seats on a flight bound for the U.S. from Iraq, with an arrival just before the latest Trump administration travel ban was to take effect. But until they set foot on U.S. soil, they weren't sure. Julie Watson, Malak Harb and Allen G. Reed Associated Press -- 3/16/17


Study: California Has Some Of The World’s Dirtiest Oil -- The report looked at the entire life cycle of oil, from production to end use, and found some oils emit as much or more greenhouse gases as Canada’s oil tar sands. The study also found California has some of the cleanest oils. Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon says that’s because an oil’s chemical composition can vary. Amy Quinton Capital Public Radio -- 3/16/17


As Drug Costs Soar, People Delay Or Skip Cancer Treatments -- The doctor recommended a drug called Alecensa, which sells for more than $159,000 a year. Medicare would charge Krahne a $3,200 copay in December, then another $3,200 in January, as a new year of coverage kicked in. For the first time since being diagnosed 10 years ago, Krahne, 65, decided to delay filling his prescription, hoping that his cancer wouldn't take advantage of the lapse and wreak further havoc on his body. Liz Szabo Capital Public Radio -- 3/16/17

Health of California’s College Athletes Would Be Focus of New State Panel -- Under Gonzalez’s bill, AB 1435, a state commission would be responsible for ensuring colleges maintain accurate medical records for athlet es and making sure those records are available to athletes. Chris Nichols Capital Public Radio -- 3/16/17

A New Diagnosis: ‘Post-Election Stress Disorder’ -- Wally Pfingsten has always been a news junkie. But since President Donald Trump was elected, he’s been so anxious about the political tumult that even just having the TV news on in the background at home is unbearable. Jenny Gold KQED -- 3/16/17

Also . . . 

One killed when detectives fire on car that rammed police vehicle -- A passenger in a stolen vehicle linked to a series of robberies was shot and killed by Fremont police detectives Tuesday evening, authorities said. Veronica Rocha in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

Sting snares 13 who misuse disabled parking placards near state Capitol -- A plainclothes Department of Motor Vehicles enforcement officer strolled along Ninth and N streets Wednesday afternoon, keeping his eyes peeled on the driver of a gray Toyota Prius. Nashelly Chavez in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/16/17

POTUS 45  

Openly Testy, Republicans Reject the President’s Wiretap Claims -- In a striking repudiation, Republicans on Wednesday threatened subpoenas and vented openly about the lack of evidence behind President Trump’s tweet that President Barack Obama had wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. Michael D. Shear, Adam Goldman and Emmarie Huetteman in the New York Times$ -- 3/16/17


Trump federal budget 2018: Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor -- President Trump on Thursday will unveil a budget plan that calls for a sharp increase in military spending and stark cuts across much of the rest of the government including the elimination of dozens of long-standing federal programs that assist the poor, fund scientific research and aid America’s allies abroad. Damian Paletta and Steven Mufson in the Washington Post$ -- 3/16/17

In Trump Budget, More for Military, as His Supporters May Lose out -- But in his first spending blueprint since taking office, Mr. Trump also made choices demonstrating that parts of America will be more first than others — and some of the budget losers, it turns out, may be some of the very constituencies that have been most supportive of the new president during his improbable rise to power. Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 3/16/17

The Pentagon wins and diplomacy loses in Trump's 'hard power' budget -- The Trump administration is proposing dramatic cuts to the State Department as part of a budget blueprint that would ramp up defense spending and commit more than $4 billion for construction of a border wall with Mexico, setting up a battle with Democrats and potentially even fellow Republicans over government spending priorities. Michael A. Memoli in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/16/17

Trump’s budget calls for seismic disruption in medical and science research -- Trump had made clear that he would target the Environmental Protection Agency, but the budget blueprint calls for a startling downsizing of agencies that historically have received steady bipartisan support. The National Institutes of Health, for example, would be cut by nearly $6 billion, about a fifth of the NIH budget. Joel Achenbach in the Washington Post$ -- 3/16/17


-- Wednesday Updates 

Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca found guilty on obstruction of justice and other charges -- Lee Baca, the once powerful and popular sheriff of Los Angeles County, was found guilty Wednesday of obstructing a federal investigation into abuses in county jails and lying to cover up the interference. Joel Rubin and Victoria Kim in the Los Angeles Times$ Susan Abram in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 3/15/17

Federal judge in Hawaii puts Trump travel ban on hold -- Hours before it was to take effect, President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was put on hold Wednesday by a federal judge in Hawaii after hearing arguments that the executive order discriminates on the basis of nationality. Ben Nuckols and Gene Johnson Associated Press -- 3/15/17

Nunes and Schiff say they've seen no evidence to back Trump's wiretapping claim -- The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that they had seen no evidence to support President Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama before he took office. David S. Cloud in the Los Angeles Times$ Adam Goldman and Emmarie Huetteman in the New York Times$ -- 3/15/17

Trump won't seek to roll back California vehicle authority -- President Donald Trump will announce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will revive a review of the feasibility of strict fuel efficiency standards through 2025, but will not seek to withdraw California's authority to set its own vehicle rules, a White House official said late on Tuesday. David Shepardson Reuters -- 3/15/17

Man who spent 30 years in prison for LA murder is exonerated -- A Los Angeles judge Wednesday ordered the release of a man who spent more than three decades in prison for murder after prosecutors conceded he did not get a fair trial. Deputy District Attorney Erika Jerez said during in a Superior Court that there were errors in the case against Andrew Leander Wilson, now 62. Christopher Weber Associated Press -- 3/15/17

San Jose: Judge won’t throw out Trump supporters’ negligence suit over rally melee -- A federal judge Wednesday denied San Jose’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought on behalf of Donald Trump supporters who claim city officers steered them into an angry mob of protesters who attacked and injured them as they left a June campaign rally downtown. Ramona Giwargis in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/15/17

John Van de Kamp, former California attorney general and L.A. County district attorney, dies at 81 -- John Van de Kamp, a towering political figure who became the top prosecutor in Los Angeles and then California before running for governor, died Tuesday at his home in Pasadena after a brief illness. He was 81. Matt Stevens in the Los Angeles Times$ Jim Miller in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/15/17

CA120: High diversity, but low turnout looms in 2018 -- Any sound voter analysis tries to identify prior events that hopefully serve to predict future voter behavior. For this we examine several past elections, including the gubernatorial elections we mentioned in Part I, and other recent presidential primaries. Paul Mitchell Capitol Weekly -- 3/15/17

ICE agents make arrests at courthouses, sparking backlash from prosecutors and attorneys -- Octavio Chaidez was walking out of a Pasadena courtroom with a client last month when four men jumped up from a hallway bench and rushed toward them. James Queally in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/15/17

Grudgingly, CalPERS cuts pensions for 200 workers of defunct LA agency -- For the second time in four months, CalPERS on Wednesday voted to cut pensions for a group of public workers whose former employer quit contributing to the retirement fund without making arrangements to protect their benefits. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/15/17

Father of victim in deadly Oakland warehouse fire tells state lawmakers more affordable housing is needed -- The father of an artist who was among the 36 people killed during a fire inside an Oakland warehouse told state lawmakers on Wednesday that California needs more affordable housing and safe performance venues in order to prevent similar tragedies. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/15/17

Yahoo hack: Two Russian spies indicted, Google users hit -- Some of the stolen Yahoo data was used to obtain unauthorized access to the contents of accounts at Yahoo, Google and other webmail providers, including accounts of Russian journalists, U.S. and Russian government officials and private-sector employees of financial, transportation and other companies, the Department of Justice said in a press conference. Ethan Baron in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/15/17

Claiming momentum is on their side, California lawmakers try again to require more transparency on drug prices -- State Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) unveiled his new bill at a Capitol news conference Wednesday. He said the legislation would curtail the "arms race of profit generation" by the pharmaceutical industry by requiring manufacturers to give 90 days' notice to purchasers before significantly increasing a drug's price. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/15/17

Why CalPERS is pouring millions into a Southern California water deal -- On the edge of the Mojave Desert, beneath 1,800 acres of scrubland and tumbleweeds, California’s giant public pension fund is trying to make a killing in the water business. CalPERS is the primary owner of the Willow Springs Water Bank, an underground reservoir that could hold as much water as Folsom Lake when fully developed. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/15/17

How did Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a protege of Reagan, become 'Putin's favorite congressman'? -- Rohrabacher is one of Capitol Hill’s strongest backers of President Trump’s view that the United States has unfairly demonized Russia, which both see not as an adversary but a potentially important partner in the fight against terrorism. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/15/17

This Democrat and geologist says she is considering a run for Republican Rep. Steve Knight's seat -- Geologist Jess Phoenix, a Democrat, is considering challenging Rep. Steve Knight (R-Lancaster) in the 2018 midterm elections as part of a larger effort to get scientists elected to Congress. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/15/17

Fox: Don’t Tax Teachers? -- It seems those pushing a bill to eliminate state income taxes for teachers have a large strategic hurdle to clear. Teachers through their unions frequently campaign for more taxes. How would it look if teachers are campaigning for more taxes and they no longer have to pay income taxes? Bad optics, as they say in the PR biz. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/15/17

New health care bill: Midterm flak may hit Republicans -- Republicans don’t just have a policy problem with their proposed health care plan; they’ve got a political problem: It hurts some of the older and low-income voters who helped put Donald Trump in the White House, and helps younger voters who wanted little to do with him. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 3/15/17

‘People are scared’: Paranoia seizes Trump’s White House -- Staffers are leaving their phones at home, using secret apps and monitoring each other’s social media. Alex Isenstadt and Kenneth P. Vogel Politico -- 3/15/17