Updating . .   

L.A. loves the glitz but suspects the rich. Will it turn to a billionaire mayor? -- Joe Russell, a Hollywood producer who has worked on spots for billionaires seeking political office, was on a date with his wife at the Grove on a recent afternoon when he took a break to talk about the suddenly relevant phenomenon of L.A. billionaires seeking public office. Jessica Garrison, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

John Legend wants you to vote in Sacramento County’s DA election. Here’s what’s on his mind -- This year, one of the candidates benefiting from his support is Alana Mathews, who is running for Sacramento County District Attorney against Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Thien Ho. Legend highlighted Mathews on Twitter last month in a batch of six district attorney endorsements, touting her campaign to the more than 13 million people who follow him on the social media platform. Marcus D. Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/22

Inside one of the Capitol’s most secretive processes -- That’s because lawmakers then embarked on an opaque process called the suspense file, a twice-annual procedure in which they rattle through a list of hundreds of bills at breakneck speed, passing or killing them without a word of explanation — and, in the cases of some dead bills, without even mentioning them at all. Emily Hoeven CalMatters -- 5/20/22

Broken laptop? How California’s right-to-repair movement is trying to make it easier to fix your electronics -- That was the philosophy behind California’s SB 983, the “Right to Repair” bill, which died in committee on Thursday after supporters believed it would pass. Carolyn Said in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

Banks: The Buffalo shooting brings back a lifelong question: Why do they hate us so much? -- My reaction to news of the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., was more than emotional; my heart raced and my stomach churned. My hands are shaking as I write this nearly a week later. Sandy Banks in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

Calmes: Buffalo, Laguna Woods and the Supreme Court’s radical revision of U.S. history -- The founders intended the 2nd Amendment to protect not individuals’ rights, but the rights of states to arm their own militias, without interference from the federal government. Jackie Calmes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22


Will DC’s anti-gouging bill lower gas prices in California? -- Gasoline prices in California topped $6 a gallon this week and have kept on climbing, and the U.S. House Thursday tried to ease the pain. But it’s unlikely consumers will see the consequence of its action anytime soon. “It will not reduce prices,” said Mark Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast. David Lightman in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/22

COVID Cash In  

‘Michael Jordan of COVID testing’: How these political operatives cashed in during the pandemic -- Petition circulators who typically make a living gathering signatures to qualify political measures for the ballot found a new, highly profitable cottage industry during the pandemic: operating pop-up coronavirus testing sites. Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22


Bay Area, California job gains slow as post-COVID rebound wilts -- Job gains slowed in the Bay Area and California during April, a sign the economic rebound in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak has begun to wilt statewide and in this region, a report released Friday shows. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/20/22


Why L.A. is watching out for this rare but potentially serious illness -- While monkeypox is in the same family of viruses as smallpox, it has been nowhere nearly as contagious as its better known cousin, nor is it anywhere nearly as contagious as the virus that causes COVID-19. Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money in the Los Angeles Times$ Kellie Hwang in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22


74-year-old Oakley woman shoots and kills man in self defense, city officials say -- Oakley city officials said a 74-year-old woman shot and killed a 51-year-old man in self defense early Friday morning following “an act of physical violence” that took place between them. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

A diversion program has proved to keep young people out of jail. Why hasn’t it grown under Chesa Boudin? -- The family’s story is a window into how local diversion programs can work at a time when District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s embrace of them has become a political sticking point for critics who say he should be recalled in favor of someone more focused on traditional prosecution. But low enrollment in the evidence-backed program Rahoi’s daughter used also shows the limits of Boudin’s reach. Joshua Sharpe in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22


Given a chance to avoid jail and criminal charges, mentally ill, addicted and homeless people in L.A. pass -- A diversion program in Los Angeles designed to keep mentally ill, addicted or homeless adults out of jail and instead provide treatment and housing is having little success, according to statistics provided by police officials. The problem? Little interest. Kevin Rector in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22


San Francisco faces $1.3 billion shortfall in quest to meet state housing goals -- San Francisco would need an additional $1.3 billion in order to meet the state-mandated affordable housing production requirements set to kick in next year, according to a report from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. That’s just the start: The number swells each year, topping out at $2.4 billion by 2029. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

Is California’s housing market finally cooling off? Here’s the latest data on home sales and prices -- Three reports from different real estate companies and associations each found that sales activity in April in the Bay Area and California slowed compared to March as well as year over year. Danielle Echeverria in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22


‘I thought it would go away’ — School districts are paying millions to former students who say leaders were negligent in protecting them from abuse -- After years of yearning to hold her former high school accountable for failing to protect her from sexual abuse by her coach, Allison Brown, a former star basketball player at Valley Christian High School, got her chance when a new state law opened a three-year window that allows studßents to sue their schools for failing to protect them from abuse they suffered years ago. Kayla Jimenez in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/20/22

UC system takes another step toward keeping students debt-free -- By officially prioritizing part-time work as a way for students to pay for college, the University of California moved closer to its goal of students avoiding burdensome loans by 2030. Mikhail Zinshteyn CalMatters -- 5/20/22

Chabria: How can we protect our kids from racism? Author Ibram X. Kendi has this advice -- When an advance copy of Ibram X. Kendi’s new book, “How to Raise an Antiracist,” arrived in my mailbox, the massacre in Buffalo hadn’t yet happened. Nor had the shooting in Laguna Woods, where another gun-toting man is accused of killing out of hatred. Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22


Lake Tahoe to the Delta: Sacramento region plans 750-mile trail network -- As the Sacramento area’s freeways become more congested and suburban sprawl covers formerly open space, regional planners are focusing on alternate ways of moving people around. Ryan Lillis in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/22

Young mountain lion roams 100 miles between beach and Santa Ana Mountains -- An adventurous young mountain lion that escaped the recent Coastal fire and has successfully crossed through cities and the 91 Freeway has lived a “charmed life” so far, but researchers tracking him worry his future holds many dangers giving him only a 50% to 60% survival rate. Erika I. Ritchie in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 5/20/22


California Policy and Politics Friday Morning  

California lawmakers kill plans to ban oil drilling in state-controlled waters -- Facing fierce opposition from California’s powerful oil industry and trade unions, legislation to close down operations on three offshore oil rigs off the Orange County coast failed Thursday to win passage in a state Senate committee, seven months after a major spill fouled the beaches and wetlands around Huntington Beach. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

The Great Culling: Which California bills did legislators kill? -- On suspense file day, legislators killed about 220 California bills on issues including education, health care, housing and workers. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

From housing on golf courses to offshore drilling, here are key bills the California Legislature just killed -- No ban on offshore drilling in state waters. No election day holiday. No speed cameras. Dustin Gardiner, Sophia Bollag in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

Richard Riordan, L.A.’s last Republican mayor, endorses Rick Caruso -- The last Republican to serve in the role, Riordan ran a similar campaign to that of Caruso — a billionaire former Republican who is now running as a Democrat focused on public safety and making the city more hospitable for business. Benjamin Oreskes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

Congress acts to save segregated ‘Mexican’ school -- The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) to turn a formerly segregated, “Mexican” school in west Texas into a historic site, the first of its kind. Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

Want to donate Bitcoin to your favorite candidate? California commission weighs crypto policy -- The Federal Election Commission, the FPPC’s federal counterpart, currently permits donations of Bitcoin valued at $100 or less, though it prohibits political committees from using Bitcoins to buy goods or services. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/22


L.A. County coronavirus cases rise to new risk level, sparking concern -- Los Angeles County hospitals are once again seeing a marked increase in the number of coronavirus-positive patients requiring their care — triggering new concern that healthcare systems could once again come under strain unless the region gets its arms around the latest resurgence of the virus. Luke Money, Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ Lisa Jacobs in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 5/20/22

Almost as contagious as measles: Coronavirus spins out worrisome new mutations -- The relentless evolution of the coronavirus, which has spawned new variants to fuel fresh surges of disease every four to six months, could in the not-distant future propel the virus to overtake measles as the most contagious of all known infections. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

This elite Bay Area private high school is going remote as COVID infections rise -- Beginning Thursday morning, teachers at The College Preparatory School held classes online, hoping that the school’s 372 students would return to campus for finals on May 27, followed by in-person events to celebrate graduation. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22


Top California Democrats in a stalemate over gas rebates -- Top Democrats in the legislature balked at the idea of tying relief to car ownership, pointing out that Newsom’s proposal could mean a person with two luxury vehicles would get $800 while a family that can’t afford a car wouldn’t get any cash. Instead, Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins (D–San Diego) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D–Lakewood) want to target relief to individuals who earn up to $125,000 or joint filers up to $250,000. They want to send each person $200, with an additional $200 per dependent. Nicole Nixon Capital Public Radio -- 5/20/22


L.A. antiabortion activist charged with harassing San Francisco doctor, defacing statue -- He was part of a group that “invaded” a healthcare clinic and stalked a doctor who provides abortions, among other health services, to women, according to the district attorney’s office. Gregory Yee in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

Man accused of attacking Dave Chappelle charged with unrelated attempted murder -- Isaiah Lee, 23, allegedly stabbed his roommate following a fight in December. In a statement issued Thursday, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said “the publicity generated by the attack on Mr. Chappelle” led the victim in the stabbing to identify Lee to Los Angeles police detectives. James Queally in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

Co-owner of beloved Oakland Filipino restaurant killed in shooting in front of his 11-year-old son -- The co-owner of a beloved Filipino restaurant in Oakland was shot and killed Wednesday night, jolting residents of his Fruitvale neighborhood and prompting an outpouring of grief from the Bay Area food scene. Jessica Flores, Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22


Using conservatorships to deal with gritty urban issues -- As San Francisco grapples with overlapping crises of homelessness, drug overdoses and lagging mental health resources, political momentum is building toward expanding the use of conservatorships to legally compel more people into treatment. Sydney Johnson in the SF Examiner -- 5/20/22


To pre-rinse or not to pre-rinse? How to use your dishwasher during the drought -- The science is in. Dishwashers save water — especially if you run them only when you have a full load. Ada Tseng in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22


Battle ready: Firefighters position themselves for possible wildfires in Lake, Colusa counties -- California emergency services officials have “strategically” placed fire engines and water tenders in Lake and Colusa counties ahead of critical fire weather conditions that are expected in parts of Northern California through Friday evening, authorities said Thursday. Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22


Black vice principal resigns, says Sacramento school failed to protect her from racist messages -- A Black Sacramento high school administrator who said she was targeted in a series of racially motivated incidents on campus late last year is resigning from the Sacramento City Unified School District. West Campus High School Assistant Principal Elysse Versher told the district this week that she will not return for the next school year. Marcus D. Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/22

Sac City won’t extend school year after all. What it means for students and district -- Sacramento City Unified School District will not extend its academic year to make up for class time lost during an eight-day teacher strike, district officials announcing on Thursday, dropping a proposal that could have kept classrooms open until late June. The last day of school will be June 16 for all 40,000 students in the district. Sawsan Morrar in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/22

California’s new grads share lessons learned from college in a pandemic -- Eight months into my first year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, in May 2021, I visited the university campus for the first time. Because of the pandemic, I was taking class virtually from 200 miles away, and repeated COVID-19 spikes pushed a campus visit down on my list of priorities. Carolyn Kuimelis, Elina Lingappa, Itzel Luna, Emily Margaretten and Omar Rashad CalMatters -- 5/20/22

Should kindergarten change in California? -- Should kindergarten be mandatory in California? Should it always be a full-day program like first grade? These questions are at the heart of two newly introduced bills that could significantly shift the early education landscape in California if they eventually become law. Karen D'Souza EdSource -- 5/20/22

Capitol Riot  

Far-right UCLA student who sat in VP’s chair on Jan. 6 pleads guilty -- A far-right Republican leader at UCLA with white supremacist ties pleaded guilty Thursday after admitting to sitting in Vice President Mike Pence’s chair in the Senate during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Christian Secor, a member of America First Bruins, admitted to obstructing an official proceeding — namely Congress’s certification of the election of Joe Biden — in a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors. Spencer S. Hsu in the Washington Post$ -- 5/20/22


Congress might have inadvertently legalized a form of cannabis under Trump -- Although marijuana remains strictly forbidden by federal law, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Congress quietly amended the statute in 2018 to legalize cannabis cigarettes and vaping products that have similar intoxicants but are made from hemp. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

Cannabis licensing efforts tied to Anaheim corruption investigation -- Democratic leader Melahat Rafiei, also a consultant to cannabis companies, confirms she's cooperated with FBI for three years. Brooke Staggs in the Orange County Register -- 5/20/22


Growing number of sick and dying California brown pelicans worries animal experts -- Some of these large birds — known for their distinctive oversize bills — arrive with fractures, likely hit by cars, while others have multiple fish hooks and fishing lines tangled around their bodies, officials said. Many are emaciated and starving. Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

Also . . .   

With baby formula scarce, California mothers are sharing their breast milk -- For Diana Granados, 29, the quest began with a callout on a popular Instagram page for new parents. “Do you have any formula to spare?” Sonja Sharp in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/22

There’s a monkeypox outbreak. What is it and should Bay Area residents be worried? -- A new global virus outbreak is making headlines, and it’s not related to COVID. Cases of the viral infection known as monkeypox, which is related to smallpox, have been reported worldwide. One case has been identified in the U.S. so far, and a handful of other cases have been reported in Canada, the U.K. and several European countries. Kellie Hwang in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/22

The Loneliest Team in Baseball -- With the Oakland Athletics having gutted their roster and flirted with Las Vegas, their once-loyal fans appear to be in revolt. David Waldstein in the New York Times$ -- 5/20/22


Thursday Updates   

Gavin Newsom’s inflation relief package could drive up prices even more, experts say -- An $18.1 billion inflation-relief package proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will put salve on key pain points for Californians most affected by rising gas and grocery prices but also likely will cause prices to tick up just a tad more, leading economists. The Newsom package also won’t likely stave off a possible recession, the fear of which tanked the markets on Wednesday, experts said. Cathie Anderson and David Lightman in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/19/22

A ‘no party preference’ prosecutor could shake up California attorney general’s race -- As a prosecutor, Anne Marie Schubert has thrived on being able to pull off what seemed impossible. Schubert, who has served as Sacramento County’s district attorney for eight years, has a reputation for poring over long-forgotten cases and detailed DNA evidence. Hannah Wiley in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

Skelton: California attorney general is one of few key races on the ballot. It’s worth our attention -- Except for governor, the most important statewide elective office in California is attorney general. And there’ll be a pivotal vote on the job in the June 7 primary. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

Big oil backers and bobblehead ads? Sacramento’s Senate race heats up as PACs weigh in -- Sacramento drivers who’ve recently stopped near a busy Curtis Park intersection may have spotted a billboard featuring a suit-wearing bobblehead. Lindsey Holden in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/19/22

Former L.A. public defender picked to lead federal Access to Justice office -- During a college internship at the Orange County Public Defender’s office, Rachel Rossi was sent to the local jail. She was given a simple instruction: Ask people who had recently been arrested what they need. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

Secret retreats and a powerful ‘cabal’: Corruption probe reveals who really runs Anaheim -- A year and a half ago, two power brokers in Anaheim discussed a critical question on the phone: Who should they invite to a secretive gathering of Anaheim business leaders, consultants and politicians? Nathan Fenno, Adam Elmahrek, Gabriel San Román in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

Arellano: Corruption scandal shows that in Anaheim politics, there are no angels -- I arrived early to Tuesday’s Anaheim City Council meeting, expecting to find an overflow crowd wielding metaphorical pitchforks and torches. Evidently, so did the powers that be. Gustavo Arellano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22


Acrimony, threats, absent doctors: L.A. County and USC clash over hospital management -- For years, a contentious dispute between Los Angeles County’s healthcare leaders and the University of Southern California has seethed behind closed doors, injecting tension and acrimony in the operations at one of the nation’s busiest public hospitals that climaxed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

Latinos hold only 3% of California’s public company board seats despite diversity push -- Latinos held only 3% of California public company board seats at the end of 2021, lagging behind other minority groups that made larger gains in the previous year, according to a new report. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/22


New coronavirus mystery: Some are getting COVID-19 again even after taking Paxlovid -- Some coronavirus-positive patients who have completed treatment of the anti-COVID drug Paxlovid are rebounding into illness, and experts are urging people to be cautious if they develop COVID-like symptoms again and become infectious. Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money in the Los Angeles Times$ John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/19/22

Almost as contagious as measles: Coronavirus spins out worrisome new mutations -- The relentless evolution of new variants could propel the coronavirus to overtake measles as the most contagious of all known infections and propel new COVID surges around the world. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/22

COVID Economy  

S.F. hotels see tourism comeback with highest occupancy, room rates of pandemic -- April hotel occupancy reached a pandemic era high of 67.2% in April and the average daily room rate was $226.59, also the highest of the pandemic, according to San Francisco Travel, the city’s tourism bureau. Occupancy is almost double 2021’s 35.5% level but lags 2019’s record high of 82.9%. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/22


Inside the Laguna Woods church shooting: A stranger lurking, ‘evil’ and heroes rising -- Behind the pulpit of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, Pastor Billy Chang was in his element. Hailey Branson-Potts, Hannah Fry, Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

San Francisco’s juvenile hall was scheduled to close last year. So why are kids still locked up there? -- Three years ago, the Board of Supervisors made the landmark decision to shut down its juvenile hall by the end of 2021, becoming the first major city in the nation to do so. Yet the Youth Guidance Center, as it’s officially known, remains open. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/22

Co-owner of beloved Oakland Filipino restaurant killed in shooting -- The victim was identified by the restaurant on their social media accounts as Jun Anabo, the co-owner of the Filipino restaurant Lucky Three Seven. The restaurant did not respond to requests from The Chronicle for comment. “We have entered a time of uncertainty. And although Jun would want us to keep it moving and keep it pushing … we find ourselves lost without him,” the restaurant said in an Instagram post. Jessica Flores in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/22


Oakland wins $11 million to turn Coliseum hotel into homeless housing -- The project, dubbed The Inn at Coliseum, will allow the city to buy a 37-room hotel, rehabilitate it and convert it into long-term housing. It’s the latest award under Newsom’s Homekey initiative, which doles out funding to help cities and counties turn hotels, dormitories and other buildings into homes for unhoused people. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/19/22

Homelessness is up 10% in San Diego County. ‘More miserable out there than I have seen in years’ -- Homelessness has increased in San Diego County, and it’s especially apparent in several cities where tents and makeshift structures fill sidewalks, canyons and freeway offramps. Gary Warth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22


With severe drought, an urgent call to rework the Colorado River’s defining pact -- One hundred years after a landmark agreement divided the waters of the Colorado River among Western states, the pact is now showing its age as a hotter and drier climate has shrunk the river. Ian James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

Can you keep your grass green during California drought? Tips for Sacramento homeowners -- California cities are enforcing water-saving measures, summer heat has crept in early and your lush green grass is probably starting to wither. Hanh Truong in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/19/22


Wildlife officials truck Chinook salmon to cooler waters in emergency move to help them spawn -- The spring-run Chinook, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, are being moved from traps at the base of Keswick Dam to Clear Creek in the Sacramento River. Christian Martinez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/22

Storied California redwood grove ‘almost loved to death’ reopens this weekend, with new boardwalk -- A grove of ancient redwoods that had suffered a decade’s worth of damage from tourists in California's far north has been retrofitted with a new boardwalk to shield it from further abuse. Gregory Thomas in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/22