Updating . .   

Assemblywoman’s ex-staffers say she had sex with other lawmakers -- The latest sex-harassment scandal in the state Legislature took an interesting turn the other day when four of state Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s former staffers alleged that she “spoke graphically” about having sex with other lawmakers in their offices. Matier & Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/18/18

Veteran L.A. cops and firefighters can work one shift, then collect double pay for years -- A program that allows Los Angeles cops and firefighters to collect their pensions and salaries simultaneously at the end of their careers was originally hailed as a no-cost way to keep the most experienced officers on the job. Jack Dolan, Gus Garcia-Roberts and Ryan Menezes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Girl’s undue jailing exemplifies plight of foster youth in custody -- A 14-year-old foster youth arrested at a long-troubled San Joaquin County children’s shelter was held in jail for weeks after a court had approved her release, simply because child welfare officials were unable to find a suitable home for her. The girl’s incarceration ended abruptly Wednesday, hours after a reporter contacted officials at the local juvenile hall to inquire about her case. Joaquin Palomino, Cynthia Dizikes and Karen de Sá in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/18/18

Focus on Dreamers breeds resentment from other immigrants here illegally -- Ever since Sam Paredes crossed into the U.S. illegally from Mexico nearly 30 years ago, he followed a simple philosophy of keeping his head down and trying to stay out of trouble. Cindy Carcamo and Brittny Mejia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Northern California wildfire victims learn 'your insurance company is not your friend' -- Laurie Lamantia, 58, whose house was left uninhabitable by the fire, said she is constantly having to fight her insurance company to get what is owed her. She said she spends at least eight hours a day dealing with insurance matters, documenting every conversation and following every meeting and phone call with an adjuster with a written note. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Former UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks: The American university is 'under growing attack' -- Four years ago, Nicholas Dirks left a top job at Columbia University for the chancellorship of UC Berkeley, the nation’s top public research university. It was not a smooth ride. He faced crisis after crisis: a critical budget deficit, sexual harassment scandals, a free speech riot, personal controversy, declining faculty confidence in his leadership. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Lack of rain makes desert wildflower super blooms unlikely this year -- Less than one inch of rain has hit the desert floor in Borrego Springs since September. In contrast, by the end of February last year, the total was seven inches. J. Harry Jones in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Despite lots of barking and one bad bite, dogs still welcome at winter homeless shelter -- On an average day inside the city’s winter triage homeless shelter on Railroad Drive, burly pit bull terriers trot on leashes, eager for their walks. Dainty chihuahuas lounge on bunk beds next to their owners. Dogs of all colors and varieties yap from their crates. Cynthia Hubert in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/18/18

Diaz: Former Republican Steve Poizner will test California’s independent streak -- The Republican brand has been so severely damaged and diminished in California that, barring a dramatic reversal of fortune in the polls, the party will not have a candidate on the ballot for governor or U.S. senator in the November election. Under a system adopted by voters in 2010, the top two finishers in the June primary advance, regardless of party. John Diaz in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/18/18

Lynwood mayor pro tem steps away from duties amid workplace sexual harassment probe -- Lynwood Mayor Pro Tem Edwin Hernandez has agreed to relinquish his position as the city investigates allegations of sexual harassment made against him by a female city employee, officials said. Carlos Lozano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

He was one of the first. Now, the last: A Navajo code talker remembers Iwo Jima -- Swirled in cannon smoke from a 21-gun salute and washed in the applause Iwo Jima’s survivors have come to anticipate during their annual reunions at Camp Pendleton, one of the 27 veterans stood out. Carl Prine in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/18/18

Former Trump aide Rick Gates to plead guilty; agrees to testify against Manafort, sources say -- A former top aide to Donald Trump's presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign. David Willman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Survivors of Deadly School Shooting Lash Out at Trump -- Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. “You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “How dare you,” he added. Jason Dearen, Allen G. Breed and Tamara Lush Associated Press -- 2/18/18


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

At California’s Capitol, those accused of sexual harassment find success -- When the state Senate investigated sexual harassment allegations against a high-ranking legislative staffer three years ago, the house’s handling appeared to be done quickly and decidedly. The staffer, Steve Davey, was placed on paid leave and ultimately resigned as chief of staff at the request of his boss, Republican Sen. Ted Gaines. But Davey wasn’t without a job. Gaines’ campaign hired him immediately, even as the investigation continued, then kept him on after the allegations were substantiated. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/18/18

Myers: How one Trump tweet could change the course of California's 2018 elections -- If it happens, the 280 characters might just make up one of the most important social media messages in California politics this year: a tweet from President Trump about the Golden State's race for governor. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Willie Brown: Dianne Feinstein is in one Democratic Party. Kamala Harris is in another -- The votes by California’s two U.S. senators on a key immigration proposal showed that it’s not just the country that’s splitting into competing factions. So is the Democratic Party. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/18/18

Walters: Proposition 13 turns 40, may face mid-life crisis -- This year is the 40th anniversary of Proposition 13, the iconic property tax limit measure that California voters overwhelmingly endorsed in 1978. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 2/18/18

A year after devastating Coyote Creek floods, some victims still struggling -- Concepcion Romero used to love standing at her kitchen counter cooking up chilaquiles for her husband, Francisco. The couple bought the quaint house on S. 20th Street more than 30 years ago and relished the tranquility and sense of community in their Olinder Park neighborhood. Emily DeRuy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/18/18

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Merced SNAP recipients won't benefit under Trump proposal, officials say -- The Trump administration's proposed budget for next year could bring major slashes in funding and tighter regulations to one of the largest food assistance programs in the country that tens of thousands in Merced County depend on. Monica Valez in the Merced Sun Star -- 2/18/18


Elite or elitist? Why there are so few black and Latino students in advanced high school programs -- Kennedy Maravilla faced a tough choice a few years ago when he was deciding where to go to high school in Sacramento: Should he pick inner-city Luther Burbank, noted more for gangs than academics, or attend the prestigious HISP at C.K. McClatchy, widely considered a pathway to top colleges. Anita Chabria in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/18/18

Also . . . 

Trolls on Twitter make false claims of being assaulted at screenings of 'Black Panther' -- As Marvel's latest superhero movie, "Black Panther," draws praise and rakes in millions of dollars at the box office, Twitter trolls have emerged across the country attempting to stoke racial division by spreading false reports about the film's largely African American fans. Jaclyn Cosgrove and Greg Braxton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/18/18

Here's why there's a giant inflatable Trump chicken cruising around Alcatraz today -- A massive chicken that bears a striking resemblance to the 45th president of the United States set sail about the island Saturday afternoon. A large boat, generally used to transport fish not fowl, was chartered for the occasion – a protest of President Donald Trump on a weekend designated for celebrating presidents. Michelle Robertson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/18/18

POTUS 45  

Worries about Trump's legitimacy resurface with Russia indictment -- New charges on Friday in the special counsel’s Russia investigation put attention squarely on a notion President Donald Trump has aggressively sought to avoid: the legitimacy of his 2016 election. Matthew Nussbaum Politico -- 2/18/18

Trump’s Conspicuous Silence Leaves a Struggle Against Russia Without a Leader -- After more than a dozen Russians and three companies were indicted on Friday for interfering in the 2016 elections, President Trump’s first reaction was to claim personal vindication: “The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!” he wrote on Twitter. He voiced no concern that a foreign power had been trying for nearly four years to upend American democracy, much less resolve to stop it from continuing to do so this year. Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 2/18/18

The 21st-century Russian sleeper agent is a troll with an American accent -- Not long after Marat Mindiyarov started working at the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll factory indicted by the U.S. Justice Department on Friday, he began hearing about the coveted “Facebook Department.” Anton Troianovski, Rosalind S. Helderman, Ellen Nakashima and Craig Timberg in the Washington Post$ -- 2/18/18


Trump administration assault on bipartisan immigration plan ensured its demise -- The Trump administration’s extraordinary 11th-hour strategy to sabotage the bill showed how, after weeks of intense bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill, it was the White House that emerged as a key obstacle preventing a deal to help the dreamers. David Nakamura and Mike DeBonis in the Washington Post$ -- 2/18/18


-- Saturday Updates 

Republicans struggle to raise money in increasingly blue California -- If campaign cash is a signal of political enthusiasm, California’s beleaguered congressional Republicans are a dour-looking bunch these days. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/17/18

Long Beach civic center is getting a $900-million makeover that's a model for other cities -- Long Beach City Hall is not long for this world. The concrete-winged tower looks stout enough, but it's not someplace you'd choose to be in an earthquake. Dedicated in the bicentennial year of 1976, the high-rise is the centerpiece of an obsolete civic center that the coastal city is busy erasing. Roger Vincent in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/17/18

Lopez: Yes, gun control. But here's another critical measure to keep us safe -- The day after the Florida school massacre, I was on a plane and kept hearing the faint sounds of gunfire. I flinched the first couple of times, then calmed down when I realized the noise was coming from young folks shooting up virtual enemies in video games. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/17/18