Aaron Read
Capitol Web Works
Olson Hagel
Capitol Weekly
CA Leg Analyst

California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Trump’s bizarre SF attack: says needles flowing to ocean — but that’s unlikely, experts say -- President Trump said Wednesday his administration will issue San Francisco an environmental violation notice within a week for polluting the ocean with needles and other waste via the city’s sewer system — but city officials said such waste is unlikely to get into the ocean through the city’s grated drains. Lauren Hernández and Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

San Francisco to Get Environmental Violation for Homelessness, Trump Says -- Traveling aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington from a three-day trip to California and New Mexico, Mr. Trump told reporters that San Francisco was in “total violation” of environmental rules because of used needles that were ending up in the ocean. Michael D. Shear, Thomas Fuller and Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 9/19/19

Can He Do That? Lawyers Doubt Trump Can Kill California's Clean-Air Powers -- The latest attempt by the administration to dismantle longstanding environmental regulations follows California's voluntary framework agreement in July with Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW on clean-car standards. Kevin Stark, Peter Arcuni KQED -- 9/19/19

Trump’s big idea to fix homelessness is to do what California is already doing — sort of -- President Trump’s big idea for fixing California’s homelessness crisis should look familiar to many prominent Democrats: Eliminate layers of regulation to make it easier and cheaper to build more housing. Liam Dillon, Benjamin Oreskes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/19

Obama tells SF audience that ‘nuance’ in politics is cool -- Former President Barack Obama came to San Francisco on Wednesday to extol the virtue of something that gets no respect in the current political climate: incrementalism. During a paid, hour-long appearance sponsored by the San Francisco data and analytics company Splunk, Obama lamented how “in so many of the issues we talk about now, we just talk about absolutes.”Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

PG&E to judge: We're doing more tree work than any utility ‘has ever done before’ -- An attorney for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. defended the company’s tree trimming to a federal judge Tuesday, describing its efforts to prevent more wildfires by heavily clearing vegetation around power lines as necessary and unprecedented in reach, even while conceding some major flaws in the program. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

California looks for ways to preserve environmental clout -- In eliminating California’s authority to set its own emission standards for cars and trucks, the Trump administration would take away leverage the state needs to convince the world’s largest automakers to make more environmentally friendly vehicles. Adam Beam and Michael Biesecker Associated Press -- 9/19/19

Walters: Three bills that flunk smell test -- This is the story of three bills that, while superficially distinct, reflect the expansive tenor of the Legislature’s Democratic majority — a belief that making government larger and/or more intrusive is beneficial. However, all three flunk the smell test, and two of them fell by the wayside before the Legislature adjourned last week. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 9/19/19

Skelton: The jury’s still out on Newsom as governor — but he did OK his first year -- One question invariably asked over lunch around the state Capitol is: “How do you think Newsom is doing?” And the answer almost always is: “The jury’s still out.” When pressed, the consensus seems to be: “He’s doing OK, but not great.” George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/19

911 call from man drugged at Democratic donor Ed Buck’s home key to criminal case, sheriff says -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an interview Wednesday that his department had been closely monitoring Buck after two men were found dead in his apartment, one in 2017 and the other earlier this year. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ Jose A. Del Real and Laura M. Holson in the New York Times$ -- 9/19/19

Elderly often face neglect in California care homes -- In her final months, Elaine Geslicki, a bedridden dementia resident at a home for seniors in the Los Angeles area, had difficulty communicating. But by the time the owner of Court Yard Estates sent her to the hospital in an ambulance, the severe pressure sores and bite marks from rats gnawing on her flesh spoke for themselves. Jennifer Gollan of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting Associated Press -- 9/19/19

For first time, court calls U.S. “enhanced interrogation techniques” torture -- Lawyers for a Guantanamo Bay inmate who was subjected to brutal treatment at CIA “black sites” can question two U.S. psychologists who designed the government’s interrogation program, a federal appeals court said Wednesday in a ruling that took the rare step of disdaining the euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

What California’s Pay for Play Bill could look like if it becomes law -- The conversation about whether collegiate athletes should be compensated beyond just a base scholarship and room and board went from hypothetical to the verge of reality last week. Adam Grosbard in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 9/19/19

SF leaders want $2M for relief to Chinatown amid subway construction delay -- With the troubled Central Subway project now delayed into 2021, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin have asked the city’s transportation agency to pony up money for Chinatown, the neighborhood they say is most harmed by the ongoing construction. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Nurses to hold strike at Modesto, Turlock hospitals, citing patient safety issues -- The walkout will affect hospitals in California, Arizona and Florida owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. About 5,400 registered nurses work at those facilities. Ken Carlson in the Modesto Bee$ -- 9/19/19

TV Networks Take Down Juul and Other E-Cigarette Ads -- As health concerns mount over the rise in teenage vaping, CNN, CBS and Viacom are ending advertisements by e-cigarette companies. David Yaffe-Bellany in the New York Times$ -- 9/19/19

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg dines with senators in DC -- Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg met with a half-dozen U.S. senators on Wednesday for dinner as the company seeks to boost its reputation in Washington. David Shepardson Reuters -- 9/19/19

‘Drug use has completely taken over my block’: Mr. Smith’s closes after 15 years in SF -- Older businesses around the Bay Area have been swept with sudden closures in recent weeks, and now another San Francisco business joins that list. Mr. Smith’s, a Mid-Market nightclub and cocktail lounge, quietly closed its doors after 15 years. Last month, Max Young, owner of Mr. Smith’s, wrote an email to Mayor London Breed and District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney to express his frustration over widespread drug use and dealings just outside his business. Susana Guerrero in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Lyft driver kidnapped, shot at in Richmond -- Contra Costa County authorities have charged a man in connection with the alleged kidnapping and attempted murder of a Lyft driver in Richmond last week. Jason Green in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/19/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

PG&E to raise average monthly bill nearly $5 next month -- PG&E is implementing rate increases to fund improvements to its gas transmission and storage system and cover costs from the company’s response to natural events in 2016 and 2017 — but not the deadly wildfires its power lines caused. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19


It’s going to take some big cash to make Bay Area bridges cashless -- All seven of the Bay Area’s state-run bridges will be tearing out their toll booths and converting to a cashless, all-electronic toll system within the next four years. The first changeovers are expected as early as 2022. And it’s not going to be cheap. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

SFO runway construction will end a week early, sparing weekend travelers -- San Francisco International Airport’s runway construction will finish a week ahead of schedule, opening all runways on Thursday at 9 p.m., the airport said Wednesday. Crews have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Sept. 7 to install a new base layer on Runway 28L. They’re now repaving and repainting the surface layer of the runway. Mallory Moench in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19


Hotly contested plan for homeless housing in Valley district moves forward -- A contested plan to bring dozens of units of homeless housing to Chatsworth is moving forward to the Los Angeles City Council, after a council committee voted narrowly against delaying the decision. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ Olga Grigoryants in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 9/19/19


Worried about rising rents, an L.A. councilman calls for ‘anti-displacement’ zones -- Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson called this week for the rejection of a proposed 577-unit housing project, saying the city should go further by establishing “anti-displacement zones” around certain market-rate housing developments. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/19


Rogue stem cell clinics come under microscope as California considers oversight -- California’s medical board on Wednesday took up an issue that scientists and consumer watchdog groups say is critical to patient safety: oversight of the for-profit stem cell industry, which has exploded over the past decade with little state or federal supervision. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Q&A: California has more stem cell clinics than any state, with little oversight -- How many clinics are there? No one really knows for sure. Two scientists who have been observing the for-profit industry for years estimate there were 715 clinics operating as of 2017, and they believe there are more now. California has more clinics than any other state. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

The Miracle Cell -- Stem cells are seen as the keys to solving medicine’s most impossible puzzles, with the potential to heal the incurable, repair the unfixable, perhaps even stall the effects of aging. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19


Hundreds Of Cameras Will Be Watching For Wildfires In California, Nevada This Fire Season -- As fall approaches, bringing strong winds to California’s dry landscape, a coalition of universities, public safety agencies and utility companies is building a network of cameras in high fire risk areas like the foothills, coastal mountains and the rangelands of Nevada. Bert Johnson Capital Public Radio -- 9/19/19


Sacramento City Unified teacher vacancies mean hundreds of students are taught by substitutes -- More than three weeks into the school year, several hundred Sacramento City Unified School District students are being taught by substitutes as school officials continue to look for teachers to staff classrooms. Sawsan Morrar in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/19/19

‘Do something’: Active shooter classes teach how to face down a gunman -- The gunman paced the hallways of the charter school, passing framed paintings of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson before stopping outside classroom 138. There, he took a deep breath, yanked open the door and began firing. “Shooter!” shouted someone inside the classroom. “He has a gun!” Kurtis Lee in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/19/19

UC President Napolitano expanded enrollment, student services but faced critical audit -- When Janet Napolitano was named as the first woman president of the 10-campus University of California in 2013, her champions focused on her experience as a veteran political player on the state and national levels. Larry Gordon EdSource -- 9/19/19

Immigration / Border 

San Diego County refugee arrivals hit eight-month low -- The number of refugees arriving in San Diego County has hit an eight-month low in August, with refugees from Afghanistan replacing the Democratic Republic of Congo as the largest refugee group during summer 2019. Celina Tebor in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/19/19


San Francisco Bay is rising — are we moving fast enough to adapt? -- As the symptoms of climate change reveal themselves, the need to prepare for sea level rise grows more stark each year. John King in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Californians are buying up electric cars. But where will they plug in? -- As a renter, Bruce Wolfe knows the struggles many people face driving an electric car when they lack access to a charging outlet at home. Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Facebook bans plastic water bottles in new offices, joining SFO -- The social media giant, one of the Bay Area’s fastest-growing companies, said Wednesday it won’t have plastic water bottles in new employee cafeterias in Burlingame, Fremont, San Francisco or Sunnyvale. Instead, the company will install water-filling stations. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

California trumpets its climate leadership. But wildfires and flying could stymie its goals -- California prides itself on having steadily lowered its greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade, surpassing a major goal for 2020 years early. But the reality behind that progress is more complicated. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Fact check: Trump says his pollution rules will make cars safer and cheaper. Will they? -- President Donald Trump appealed to Americans’ wallets — and fears of dying behind the wheel — when he announced Wednesday he was revoking California’s legal authority to impose stricter air-pollution regulations on cars. California officials, environmentalists and transportation experts said Trump has got it all wrong. Dale Kasler and Hannah Wiley in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/19/19

Also . . . 

Woman comes forward with half-billion-dollar winning lottery ticket bought in San Diego -- Imagine the patience it must take: Winning $522 million in the lottery, but sitting on that massive money— we’re talking a half a billion dollars here — for a few weeks before cashing in. Laarni Bibal did just that. She “took some time before claiming her ticket,” California Lottery officials said in a statement Tuesday to announce that a big winner had come forward. Teri Figueroa in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/19/19

Compensation process opens for clergy sex-abuse victims -- Childhood victims of clergy sex-abuse in San Diego and five other Roman Catholic dioceses in California can file for compensation under a program that started accepting claims this week. John Wilkens in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/19/19

SF supervisors blast plan that would lead to more youths in juvenile hall -- A plan that would expand the population of San Francisco’s juvenile hall even as it approaches closure has run into fierce opposition from a group of supervisors who initiated legislation to block the effort. Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

Phillips: Wear this, not this: The unspoken dress code for African Americans -- Saison is one of the most expensive restaurants in San Francisco, and it doesn’t have a dress code. In fact, the restaurant’s website explicitly states: “We welcome guests to come as they are.” Justin Phillips in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/19/19

POTUS 45  

Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say -- Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris in the Washington Post$ -- 9/19/19

No truce: Trump keeps up feud with California during visit -- Trump’s primary mission during his two-day visit to the state was to raise millions from wealthy Republicans. But he also made a point of deriding the state’s handling of its homeless crisis, and on Wednesday, he issued a long-expected challenge to California’s authority to reduce car emissions. Kevin Freking and Michael R. Blood Associated Press -- 9/19/19

In San Diego, Trump praises border wall, rallies supporters, provokes outrage -- The brief tour was the last leg of a nearly six-hour visit in San Diego, which kicked off with a fund-raising luncheon at the US Grant Hotel downtown that was punctured by a sometimes raucous crowd of supporters and protesters outside. Kristina Davis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/19/19


House Democrats eager to impeach Trump struggle to galvanize public support -- The public, some Democrats fear, is becoming desensitized to Trump-related scandals, making the committee’s job convincing voters even more difficult. Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis and Josh Dawsey in the Washington Post$ -- 9/19/19

Revealed: how US senators invest in the firms they're supposed to regulate -- s they set national policy on important issues such as climate change, tech monopolies, medical debt and income inequality, US senators have glaring conflicts of interest, an investigation by news website Sludge and the Guardian can reveal. Alex Kotch of Sludge via The Guardian -- 9/19/19

Kamala Harris bets it all on Iowa to break freefall -- Kamala Harris is putting her stumbling campaign on the line with a new Iowa-or-bust strategy: She's shifting away from the closed-door fundraisers that dominated her summer calendar to focus on retail politicking in the crucial kickoff state. Christopher Cadelago Politico -- 9/19/19


-- Wednesday Updates 

Newsom signs landmark bill rewriting California employment law -- California businesses will be limited in their use of independent contracts under a closely watched proposal signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, a decision that is unlikely to quell a growing debate over the rules and nature of work in the 21st century economy. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ Levi Sumagaysay in the San Jose Mercury$ Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 9/18/19

University of California President Janet Napolitano says she will step down in August -- Napolitano, 61, has led the vast university of 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national laboratories since 2013. Before that, she served as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama. In that position, she was instrumental in creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy, known as DACA, that has shielded from deportation immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, as long as they are students. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/19

Can Trump really yank California’s power to police tailpipe pollution? ‘See you in court’ -- The Trump administration has revoked California’s unique authority to combat tailpipe pollution on its own terms, raising the specter of worsening air quality, jeopardizing public health and hindering the state’s ability to battle climate change. Rachel Becker Calmatters -- 9/18/19

Newsom, Becerra lash out at Trump plan on California emissions standards -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday criticized the Trump administration’s plan to rescind California’s nearly half-century-old authority to impose tough car emissions standards, vowing to take legal action to block the move. Phil Willon, Anna M. Phillips in the Los Angeles Times$ Tal Kopan and Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Michael Biesecker and Adam Beam Associated Press Michael Wilner and Hannah Wiley in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/19

Study finds air pollution reaches placenta during pregnancy -- A new study suggests when a pregnant woman breathes in air pollution, it can travel beyond her lungs to the placenta that guards her fetus. Lauran Neergaard Associated Press -- 9/18/19

Trump, no fan of big cities and their Democratic leaders, unleashes his derision on L.A. -- One of the most arresting images of Donald Trump’s inaugural address in 2017 was a grim portrait of urban America, riddled by poverty, gangs, drugs and other blight. Janet Hook in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/19

Speculation still swirls over CTA chief’s firing -- California’s education world is abuzz with speculation about three recent developments, little of which has to do with schools. Chuck McFadden Capitol Weekly -- 9/18/19

This Valley district got a rare pitch to build homeless housing. Can it survive opposition? -- No new apartments for homeless people have been built in the northwestern San Fernando Valley, even with more than a billion dollars approved by taxpayers for new housing flowing to the city of Los Angeles. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/19

Minority contractors claiming to be ‘Native American’ to undergo nationwide review -- Federal, state and local authorities are intensifying scrutiny of minority contracting programs across the country in the wake of a Times investigation that found that companies received more than $300 million in government contracts based on unsubstantiated claims by the firms’ owners to be Native American. Paul Pringle, Adam Elmahrek in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/19

In wake of deaths, sales of vaping products drop in California’s marijuana shops -- Sales of recreational marijuana vape products have dropped in California in the wake of hundreds of cases nationwide of acute lung disease linked to electronic cigarettes that dispensed THC or both nicotine and THC, according to industry trade publication Marijuana Business Daily. Cathie Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/18/19

California Says Nearly All Cannabis Businesses Will Be In Statewide Tracking System By End Of October -- California says its system for tracking cannabis products from seed-to-sale will soon cover the entire industry — but regulators still have more work to do. Scott Rodd Capital Public Radio -- 9/18/19

A divided Fed cuts key rate for 2nd time this year -- A sharply divided Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate Wednesday for a second time this year while saying it’s prepared to continue doing what it deems necessary to sustain the U.S. economic expansion. Martin Crutsinger Associated Press -- 9/18/19

Trump’s new national security adviser is Bay Area native, UC Berkeley Law alum -- President Trump named Robert C. O’Brien on Wednesday as his new national security adviser, tapping a UC Berkeley Law School alum who grew up in the Bay Area for the influential position. Tal Kopan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/18/19

Trump touches down in San Diego for whirlwind visit -- President Donald Trump arrived in San Diego today, kicking off an hours-long visit that will include speaking at a downtown fundraiser and taking a quick tour of the border. Kristina Davis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/18/19

Lopez: Column: She drives a convertible and bowls her age: 100, to be exact -- Lillian Solomon tools around Los Angeles in a sexy silver-blue convertible, has a live-in boyfriend, plays blackjack at the Hollywood Park Casino, goes to the gym on Mondays and anchors her bowling team on Wednesdays. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/18/19