California Policy and Politics Sunday  

Los Angeles agencies returned $150 million in federal funds to house homeless people -- Nearly $150 million worth of federal grants to the three main housing agencies working to reduce homelessness in Greater Los Angeles went unspent between 2015 and 2020, as the number of unhoused people soared. Connor Sheets in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/25/22

Homeless advocates urge L.A. leaders to buy downtown hotel and turn it into housing -- Homeless advocates on Friday called on city leaders to purchase the L.A. Grand Hotel, which has served as emergency shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic, to convert into permanent housing. Ruben Vives, David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/25/22

Los Angeles homeless count raises doubts about accuracy. Is it time for a new way? -- When the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority this month published a spreadsheet breaking down its homeless count by every census tract in the county, those with knowledge of Venice were incredulous. Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/25/22


It now costs almost $1.2 million to build a single affordable home in San Francisco -- Though exorbitant building costs have long been a Bay Area norm, housing researchers say the trend has been compounded by increasingly acute worker shortages, pandemic-era inflation and familiar political issues like long and unpredictable approval processes. Lauren Hepler in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/25/22


Why does California still have manned fire lookouts in the age of cell phones and cameras? -- From his panoramic perch atop Mount Tamalpais's East Peak, the highest point in Marin County, Steven Post lifted his binoculars and peered north across a hazy landscape where paved subdivisions give way to dry, golden hills. It was nearing 2 p.m. and getting hotter. Gregory Thomas in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/25/22

The Grid  

California's latest power grid problems are just the beginning -- California’s recent decisions to postpone the closure of its last nuclear plant and to extend the life of some natural gas-fired facilities highlight what officials and experts say is the fact that the state with the most ambitious energy goals is far from achieving them. Camille Von Kaenel Politico -- 9/25/22


COVID is in a lull, again. Experts say it’s still a time of ‘tradeoffs’ -- His comment was off the cuff — and the White House spent the rest of the week walking it back. But when President Biden said last Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that the COVID-19 pandemic was “over,” his words fell on American ears all too eager to believe he was right. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/25/22


Big waves move railroad tracks, again, in south San Clemente -- A storm surge that hit the region recently caused damage to a railroad line in southern San Clemente, the same section that had to close a year ago when battered by storms that prompted a landslide and track movement. Laylan Connelly in the Orange County Register -- 9/25/22

Also . . .   

Fat Leonard’ had life of leisure, relaxed security before escape, capture -- On home confinement in San Diego, "Fat Leonard" Francis hired servants and undermined the security requirements aimed at keeping the mastermind of a $35 million Navy bribery scandal from fleeing, according to interviews and records obtained by The Washington Post. Jonathan O'Connell in the Washington Post$ -- 9/25/22

UC Hastings College of the Law is now UC College of the Law, San Francisco -- On Friday, Newsom signed AB1936, renaming the SF law school that was founded in 1878 by Serranus Clinton Hastings. Hastings supported and funded the mass killings and other atrocities committed against Native American people in the mid-19th century. The name change will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Matthew Tom in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 9/25/22

Iranian Americans in S.F. protest Islamic leadership after woman’s death over hijab -- Mitra Guerin left Iran in 1973, before the Islamic Revolution, which overthrew the Shah of Iran and replaced it with a theocracy. She hasn’t returned since. The item is in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/25/22

Are Trump presidential records still missing? The answer could take years — or may never come -- As questions continue to swirl about the 11,000 records the FBI recovered during its raid of former President Trump’s Florida home, Congress has asked the National Archives to provide it with a preliminary report by Tuesday detailing what Trump presidential records might still be missing. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/25/22


Saturday Updates   

Gavin Newsom signs a law giving undocumented immigrants another way to get a California ID -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill from Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, that gives non-drivers the ability to get ID cards, which were previously off-limits to Golden State residents without legal status. Mathew Miranda and Lindsey Holden in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/24/22

On Native American Day, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law re-naming UC Hastings -- Under Assembly Bill 1936, by Assemblyman James Ramos, D-Highland, the college’s new name will by University of California, College of the Law, San Francisco, or UC Law, San Francisco for short. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/24/22

More California street vendors can open shop under new law signed by Gavin Newsom -- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law on Friday that will simplify the rules for street vendors to obtain health permits, easing bureaucratic barriers for taco stand and fruit cart owners. Mathew Miranda in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/24/22

Newsom signs law removing ‘squaw’ across California. What it means for Squaw Valley -- In the central San Joaquin Valley, Assembly Bill 2022 should impact the rural Fresno County town of Squaw Valley. Carmen Kohlruss in the Fresno Bee$ -- 9/24/22


California gas is ‘out of whack’ – nearly $2 more than national average. Who’s to blame? -- Due to the state’s special gas blend, California is often termed a “fuel island” because nearly all gas sold in the state is refined locally by a handful of companies, including Chevron, Marathon Petroleum and PBF Energy. That means mechanical hiccups at refineries can cause major price spikes not seen elsewhere in the country. Eliyahu Kamisher, Scooty Nickerson in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/24/22


California’s homelessness crisis hits new flash point: Private residents suing cities over encampments -- In the Tenderloin, it was UC Hastings College of the Law that sued the city of San Francisco over “abandoning” the neighborhood to tents and open drug dealing. In Venice Beach, a couple with two kids filed suit against Los Angeles over the tent city outside their front door. Lauren Hepler, Raheem Hosseini in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/24/22


California bans mandated parking near transit to fight high housing prices, climate change -- Citing the need to address California’s twin crises of housing affordability and climate change, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that bars local governments from mandating parking spaces as part of most development near transit stops. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/24/22

PG&E Wildfire  

PG&E equipment blamed for Mosquito Fire, California’s largest wildfire in 2022, in lawsuit -- The Mosquito Fire has so far charred nearly 80,000 acres. The troubled utility which was found criminally responsible for its equipment’s role in a series of wildfires including 2018’s Camp Fire that leveled much of the town of Paradise and remains the deadliest in California history, is again being accused of putting dollars over public safety. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/24/22

SoCal Edison Wildfire  

Families sue SoCal Edison over Fairview fire that killed 2, destroyed dozens of structures -- Multiple families have filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison, alleging the utility failed to properly de-energize its electrical lines and caused the deadly Fairview fire in Hemet, which destroyed dozens of structures. Summer Lin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/24/22


An 81-year-old was knocked off trail by the Mosquito fire. She’s still hiking -- If everything had gone according to plan, Mary Davison, an 81-year-old long-distance hiker, may have died in the Mosquito fire. Noah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/24/22


Bay Area senior facility sued for alleged elder abuse after three fatal poisoning incidents in multiple locations -- The family of a 93-year-old man who died after being served cleaning solution instead of juice at a Bay Area senior care facility filed a lawsuit accusing Atria Park of San Mateo of elder abuse, negligence and causing a wrongful death. Annie Vainshtein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/24/22

Fake nude photo of captain circulated in LAPD. Here’s why chief says he kept it quiet -- A fake nude photograph purportedly of a female LAPD captain shared by officers may have “smeared” her, but the chief of police said he didn’t send a departmentwide message about it because he feared “it had the potential of becoming viral.” Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/24/22


L.A. community college students can ride Metro for free thanks to $1-million grant -- The Los Angeles Community College District has received a $1-million grant to continue providing free Metro passes for about half a million students through the current academic year, officials said. Alexandra E. Petri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/24/22

Also . . .   

S.F.’s ‘Pink Painted Lady’ is in ‘total disrepair.’ Video shows what it will take to restore it -- The “Pink Painted Lady,” which has been on the market since May for $3.55 million, will require a lot more than that to restore, at least according to Architectural Digest magazine, which offered an inside look at the home’s current state. Danielle Echeverria in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/24/22