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


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Funding for West Coast SEALs and submarines at risk under Trump border plan, Democrats say -- California stands to be among the biggest losers of President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration if he succeeds in using his executive power to redirect funds from military construction projects to build a border wall. Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/20/19

Top California Republican Senate finisher enters 2020 House race against Rouda -- California’s top GOP vote-getter from last year’s U.S. Senate primary election will try to unseat freshman Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda in the 2020 election, becoming the first Republican to formally enter what’s likely to be a competitive and expensive contest. James Bradley, a Laguna Niguel businessman, declared candidacy this month for the 48th Congressional District. Jordan Graham in the Orange County Register -- 2/20/19

Soured Pension Investments Spark Lawsuit Against Ex-Newspaper Owners -- Back in 2012, when California’s Orange County Register was struggling in the aftermath of a pass through bankruptcy, former greeting card executive Aaron Kushner and Eric Spitz, now a leading light of California’s cannabis industry, had a plan for reviving the newspaper. Peg Brickley in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 2/20/19

Butte Strong Hires New Design Firm To Begin Rebuilding Paradise After Camp Fire -- Three months after the Camp Fire burned most of Paradise to the ground, baby steps are being taken to remake the town, including the hiring of a group to ask residents the best way to rebuild. Bob Moffitt Capital Public Radio -- 2/20/19

California wastes most of its rainwater, which simply goes down the drain -- In what has become a source of much concern in a state prone to droughts and water shortages, the vast majority of rainwater in urban areas flows into storm drains and is eventually lost to the Pacific Ocean. Hannah Fry and Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

California’s challenge to Trump’s border wall more likely to win on narrow grounds -- When a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s plan to build a border wall goes before a federal judge in San Francisco, California and 15 other states will argue that the administration’s decision to bypass Congress violates the U.S. Constitution. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Trump prevails as Mexican officials stop caravan at Texas border and ship migrants to other cities -- Last week, a caravan of 1,800 Central American migrants arrived in this isolated Mexican border city, where police ushered them into a makeshift government shelter at a shuttered factory surrounded by chain-link fence. Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Berkeley: Is Amazon too big to boycott? -- Berkeley’s efforts to distance itself from Immigration and Customs Enforcement may have run into a problem: Some tech giants may be too big to boycott. Leonardo Castañeda in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/20/19

Kensington: New records show more cops used confidential database to gather personal information on police board member -- In what a privacy expert called an “extremely egregious” example of police abusing their authority, Kensington officers accessed a highly confidential state law-enforcement database at least nine times to gather information on a now former elected official who was critical of their department. Thomas Peele in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/20/19

Lawsuit says San Diego 9-1-1 dispatchers blew off calls about teen who was shot -- A woman who suffered three gunshot wounds last spring that left her a quadriplegic is suing San Diego for gross negligence, contending that police dispatchers failed to take seriously multiple 9-1-1 calls from her mother. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/20/19

Lawsuit targets Becerra over police secrecy -- State Attorney General. Xavier Becerra, who has filed 40-plus lawsuits against the Trump Administration, has been a darling of many California Democrats. Now he finds himself in a court fight against some of his admirers. Chuck McFadden Capitol Weekly -- 2/20/19

Survey says half of Bay Area residents want to leave California -- Chicago-based public relations firm Edelman released its annual California Trust Barometer, which surveyed 1,500 California residents (including 500 from the Bay Area) about attitudes on technology, the economy, and the state of the state. Adam Brinklow Curbed San Francisco -- 2/20/19

Fox: SoCal Key to Democratic Nomination? -- By moving its primary to March 3, California could become a major player in determining the Democratic presidential nominee. At least, California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris hopes so. Other Democratic candidates wishing to derail Harris’s plans should concentrate their efforts in Southern California. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/20/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Secret records of police misconduct and shootings must be released under new law, L.A. judge rules -- A Los Angeles judge dealt a blow Tuesday to law enforcement unions trying to limit the scope of a landmark transparency law, ruling that records from shootings, use of force and some misconduct by police officers in California are public even if they occurred before the new law took effect this year. Ben Poston and Maya Lau in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Newsom claims ‘retribution’ after Trump administration demands high-speed rail funds back -- The Trump administration, stepping up its fight with California over the state’s struggling high-speed rail project, said Tuesday it plans to rescind a $928 million federal grant. The action could imperil the first phase of the project, connecting the major cities of the San Joaquin Valley, which is dependent on federal funding. Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ Ralph Vartabedian and Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times$ Erin Baldassari in the San Jose Mercury$ Sam Mintz Politico Annie Karni and Jennifer Medina in the New York Times$ -- 2/20/19

Chairman of troubled bullet train project resigns -- The man former Gov. Jerry Brown tapped to rescue the California bullet train in 2011, Dan Richard, resigned Tuesday as chairman of the troubled project. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

L.A. votes to file legal challenge to Trump's emergency declaration -- The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to go to court to challenge President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, either on its own or in conjunction with other government agencies. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Why Trump’s tweets could be used against him in California’s border emergency lawsuit -- The lawsuit filed Monday by officials in California and 15 other states cites a string of Trump’s tweets and public statements dating back to 2014 to argue that the illegal border crossings he wants to address are not a crisis worthy of the powers he’s attempting to seize. Kate Irby in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/20/19

Border wall, bullet train: California vs. Trump escalates -- Disputes over President Donald Trump’s border wall and California’s bullet train are intensifying the feud between the White House and the nation’s most populous state. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 2/20/19

Lopez: Bullet trains? Monorails? An end to speed limits? California’s transportation future is going to be a wild ride -- On Monday, my wife and daughter and I traveled home from Oakland by plane, and on landing in Burbank, my wife immediately did the math. Door to door, our trip would have taken only 90 minutes longer if we had driven, and it would have been much cheaper. Should we have traveled by sedan instead of by Southwest Airlines? Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

California Republicans look into the abyss -- Some see the upcoming election for state party chairman as the last chance to avert a total collapse. Carla Marinucci Politico -- 2/20/19

Walters: Has Newsom become Governor Gaslight? -- “Gaslight” was a 1938 British play, set in the 1880s, about a man who manipulates his wife into believing she is going insane to suppress her suspicions about crimes he is committing. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 2/20/19

Former Starbucks chief Howard Schultz pours a cup of politics on San Francisco -- The barista in chief of the United States came to San Francisco on Tuesday to say that President Trump “needs to be fired,” and that he just might be the fellow to replace him. Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/20/19

LA May Finally Rein In Developers Looking To Influence City Hall -- After a long delay, L.A.'s Ethics Commissioners voted Tuesday to recommend the city council enact significant limits on political contributions. Mary Plummer laist Emily Alpert Reyes and David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$-- 2/20/19

‘Big Gulp ban,’ soda tax coming before California Legislature -- Months after the California Legislature reluctantly voted to ban cities from passing new soda taxes, Democratic lawmakers are taking another stab at a statewide fee and other measures to reduce consumption of sugary drinks. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/20/19

San Francisco’s new public health chief gets a look at street life, sets his priorities -- Dr. Grant Colfax had officially been San Francisco’s new health department director for about three hours Tuesday morning when it was time for his first field trip. Colfax’s boss, Mayor London Breed, had arranged a visit to a homelessness health fair near City Hall. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/20/19

Stephen Curry, Barack Obama discuss trials of their youth at Oakland event -- Asked Tuesday afternoon how he overcame his childhood struggles, former President Barack Obama glanced toward Warriors guard Stephen Curry. “Steph,” Obama said with a smirk, “why don’t you tell them about your ankles?” Connor Letourneau in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Jeff Chiu and Janie Har Associated Press David DeBolt in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/20/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Oakland Raiders, Coliseum close to deal to keep team for another year -- The Raiders appear to be close to wrapping up a deal to keep the team playing at the Oakland Coliseum this year and possibly in 2020. An announcement is expected this week or early next week, according to sources close to the talks. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/20/19

American Airlines offers helicopter rides and private lounges for super VIPs -- American Airlines has just banished two of the most annoying aspects of flying out of Los Angeles International Airport: traffic gridlock and the long security screening line. But it won’t be cheap. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

Federal tax changes could be why California’s budget is more than $2 billion below projections -- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s hopes for a record-setting tax revenue windfall this year could depend on whether California’s wealthiest residents are simply waiting until the last moment to pay up — a reaction to the 2017 federal tax changes championed by President Trump. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

California Lawmakers Toy With Idea Of Replacing Sales Tax With A Carbon Tax -- What if products sold or used in California were taxed based on how much carbon is emitted during their production, not how much they cost? Some California lawmakers want to find out. Ezra David Romero Capital Public Radio -- 2/20/19


Tents are up at new Modesto homeless camp under bridge, people could move in soon -- Crews on Tuesday had erected about 150 tents at a site for a city and county-approved homeless encampment underneath the Ninth Street Bridge along the Tuolumne River in Modesto. Rosalio Ahumada in the Modesto Bee$ -- 2/20/19


LA is losing thousands of affordable apartments for lower-income residents -- Many of LA’s affordable apartments are disappearing, according to a new report from the California Housing Partnership. Elijah Chiland Curbed LA -- 2/20/19

After Huntington Beach lawsuit, Newsom warns cities he'll continue housing law crackdown -- Just weeks after suing Huntington Beach for allegedly failing to comply with state housing laws, Gov. Gavin Newsom met with more than a dozen city and county officials in Long Beach on Tuesday, warning that local concerns would not override his plans to address the state’s housing affordability crisis. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Gov. Newsom talks housing with California mayors, ‘can’t promise’ not to sue another city -- Newsom said after the closed-door meeting that although there are a total of 47 cities who are out of compliance with state laws mandating plans for more affordable housing, he’s hoping to avoid further litigation. Hayley Munguia in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 2/20/19

Could this new bill help solve California’s housing crisis? New study suggests otherwise -- It’s often held up as a key strategy for solving California’s housing crisis: increase the supply of cheaper housing by encouraging more dense construction near transit centers. Maddy Ashmun in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/20/19


Storms cause millions of dollars in damage to California highways -- Recent debris flows and flooding in the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains have caused extensive damage to Southern California roadways, requiring some highways to be closed for months as crews work on repairs that will cost at least $14 million. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

California lawmaker wants to give the state its own high-speed Autobahn -- With the state hitting the brakes on the proposed bullet train project, one lawmaker has offered an alternative to get Californians quickly from north to south: expanding Interstate 5 and Highway 99 to install new lanes without speed limits. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Disability Lawsuit Targets San Diego Over Dockless Scooters -- As the San Diego City Council begins debating regulations for motorized scooters this week, the city is also preparing to respond to a lawsuit claiming the new devices have caused discrimination against people with disabilities. Andrew Bowen KPBS -- 2/20/19


California made $345 million, not predicted $1 billion, on legal cannabis in 2018 -- California took in $345.2 million in tax revenue from legal cannabis during the first year of regulated sales in 2018, according to figures the state released Tuesday. That’s just more than a third of the $1 billion in annual revenue analysts predicted California would see once the state’s regulated cannabis industry was in full gear. Brooke Staggs in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/20/19


School board pressures Supt. Beutner for details of reform plans -- L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner works for the Board of Education, but some board members say they need to know more about where he intends to take the nation’s second-largest school system. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

Report says Oakland Unified can’t afford to pay teachers the 12 percent raise they want to avoid strike -- Teachers here are poised to go on strike Thursday despite the findings of a state-appointed arbitrator that the financially strapped district can’t afford to give them the raise they’re asking for, a dilemma that union leaders say was avoidable. Ali Tadayon in the East Bay Times -- 2/20/19

UC Berkeley suspends prominent professor accused of sexual harassment -- UC Berkeley has suspended a prominent professor in the department of East Asian languages and cultures after finding in 2018 that he sexually harassed a student, told her his sexual preferences, described sex fantasies and created a hostile work environment for her, The Chronicle has learned. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/20/19

California's school funding flaws make it more difficult for districts to meet teacher demands -- Just days before Oakland teachers are expected to go on strike, a fact-finding report required by California law lays out a precise and grim picture of the district’s financial struggles, with sobering implications for other districts attempting to settle labor disputes with their teachers. Louis Freedberg EdSource -- 2/20/19


Anti-vaccine talk is an ‘attack on our nation’s health’ and must end, California lawmaker says -- A California lawmaker and vaccine-advocate has written a letter to the U.S. surgeon general, Vice Adm. Jerome Adams, urging him to make vaccination a public health priority. Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, who also is a pediatrician, has been a champion of vaccination laws, including the 2015 California law mandating that parents vaccinate their school-age children. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/20/19


San Jose mayor wants to video record gun buys, tighten up selling rules -- Mayor Sam Liccardo wants gun retailers in San Jose to video record all firearm purchases, ban home gun sales, and tighten up licensing for handguns, as part of a suite of changes to the city’s gun safety ordinance. The proposed regulations are aimed in large part at thwarting straw purchases, where someone buys a gun for a person barred from having firearms, like felons and most minors. Robert Salonga in the San Jose Mercury$ Peter Jon Shuler KQED -- 2/20/19


Suit demands Navy release records of Treasure Island cleanup -- In a battle over transparency and the fate of a $5 billion redevelopment project, an environmental watchdog group is suing the U.S. Navy for withholding information about radioactive substances on Treasure Island. Jason Fagone and Cynthia Dizikes in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/20/19

Also . . . 

Vallejo officers shot man more than 20 times, attorney John Burris says -- A 20-year-old man shot and killed by six officers on Feb. 9 was struck more than 20 times, an attorney representing his family said. Vallejo police declined to comment Tuesday on the new information released by Oakland attorney John Burris about Willie McCoy’s death outside a Vallejo Taco Bell on the 900 block of Admiral Callaghan Lane. John Glidden, Nate Gartrell in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/20/19

Sacramento Mayor Apologizes For Stephon Clark’s Death As City Awaits Decision On Whether To Charge Officers -- Just blocks away from the home where police shot and killed 22-year-old Stephon Clark last March, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he struggled to find the right words for a still-grieving neighborhood. Sammy Caiola Capital Public Radio -- 2/20/19

L.A. supervisors ban pepper spray in juvenile detention halls after reports of abuse -- Two weeks ago, an independent watchdog told the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that it should consider banning pepper spray at juvenile detention facilities, citing examples of the inappropriate and avoidable use of the spray by officers. It didn’t take long for the board to act. Matt Stiles in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/20/19

POTUS 45  

Intimidation, Pressure and Humiliation: Inside Trump’s Two-Year War on the Investigations Encircling Him -- As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt in the New York Times$ -- 2/20/19


-- Tuesday Updates 

Trump wants California to pay back billions for bullet train -- The Trump administration plans to cancel $929 million in U.S. money for California’s beleaguered high-speed rail project and wants the state to return an additional $2.5 billion it’s already spent. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 2/19/19

18 trillion gallons of rain in California in February — and more on the way -- California has already received an 18-trillion-gallon soaking this month — enough water to fill 27 million Olympic-sized pools — and the state’s wild winter isn’t over yet. Hannah Fry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/19/19

‘A pretty good season.’ What California’s winter rain and snow mean for you in 2019 -- It’s shaping up as a wetter-than-usual winter in California, putting to rest fears of another drought hitting anytime soon. Depending on where you live, though, you will still likely face some limitations on how much you can water your lawn this summer. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/19/19

Suspect Hunters Point shipyard contractor did similar work at Treasure Island -- Corporate managers accused of directing an extensive fraud in the cleanup of San Francisco’s toxic shipyard led similar projects at nearby Treasure Island — work that apparently has never been rechecked since fraud at the shipyard was discovered, even as a $5 billion real estate development on the island speeds ahead. Jason Fagone and Cynthia Dizikes in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/19/19

Under pressure, LAUSD releases confidential contracts for reform consultants -- Outside consultants working on a plan to restructure the Los Angeles Unified School District were asked to develop a performance-based rating system for schools and to shift hiring and purchasing of services from the central district office to local campus networks, according to confidential contracts provided to The Times. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/19/19

With owner’s tweets, an apple farm with a taste for Colonial-era reenactments gets more drama than it bargained for -- A dense fog hung over James Riley’s homestead in this apple-growing community as the platoon of buses, carrying 150 mostly Latino and black fifth-graders, pulled up. Gustavo Arellano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/19/19

Oakland Raiders, Coliseum close to deal to keep team for another year -- The Raiders appear to be close to wrapping up a deal to keep the team playing at the Oakland Coliseum this year and possibly in 2020. An announcement is expected either later this week or early next week, according to sources close to the talks. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/19/19

Can California homes and businesses quit natural gas? Some say yes -- To meet its aggressive goals for fighting climate change, California wants to wean millions of homes and businesses in the state off natural gas. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/19/19

Mayor says Stephon Clark death wounded Sacramento, calls for $200 million community fund -- Saying the death of Stephon Clark last year ripped open old wounds in the city, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg on Tuesday said he will push to invest $200 million in Sacramento’s lower-income neighborhoods in the coming years in an attempt to avoid other such tragic events. Theresa Clift and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/19/19

Trump slams California’s ‘fast train’ as Gavin Newsom leads 16 states suing over border wall -- President Donald Trump hit back Tuesday at California’s latest lawsuit against his administration in his trademark way — through Twitter. Kate Irby in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/19/19

How California Laws Meant to Integrate Immigrants Can Open a Backdoor for ICE -- In several recent arrests by ICE, agents had copies of immigrants’ driver’s licenses or other information they provided to the DMV. The arrests underscore a long-standing concern from immigration advocates that laws intended to bring unauthorized immigrants in California out of the shadows expose them to federal immigration enforcement because of widespread database-sharing among law enforcement agencies. Maya Srikrishnan Voiceofsandiego.org -- 2/19/19