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

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Peak fire season is near and the federal government is short hundreds of firefighters -- Heading into the hottest and driest months of the wildfire season, the Department of the Interior is short hundreds of firefighters, a result of recruitment problems and the longest federal government shutdown in history. Anna M. Phillips in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/23/19

Why hedge funds are fighting for control of PG&E — and what it means for you -- What will PG&E Corp. look like when it emerges from bankruptcy, and who should control the beleaguered company as it tries to rehabilitate itself after causing a series of disasters in the last decade? J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

California DMV leadership overhauled over long lines and poor service -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced a shakeup of the state Department of Motor Vehicles, appointing its third director in a year and backing an overhaul of the agency’s practices in response to widespread public complaints of poor service, including hours-long wait lines and a botched “motor voter” program. “I am not naive about the challenges facing the DMV,” Newsom said. “The technology is Byzantine.” Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19

Heading to the DMV tomorrow? Don’t -- You’ve got to hand it to the marketing department at California’s embattled Department of Motor Vehicles. Just as Californians are about to revolt over those interminably long lines and the paperwork shuffle has reached soul-crushing levels and the whole debacle over Real ID and the not-so-Real ID has everyone confounded, the DMV comes up with a plan called: “Operation Excellence” Good luck with that. Patrick May in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/23/19

As rats overrun California cities, state moves to ban powerful pest-killers -- There were so many earlier this summer outside the CalEPA building in downtown Sacramento officials had to close its outdoor playground out of fear state employees’ kids would catch rodent-borne diseases. Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19

Massive SF recycling project to save 30 million gallons of drinking water per year -- Fifty feet below the platform of the Powell Street BART Station sits the starting point for one of the largest water recycling projects in San Francisco — one that’s transforming dirty groundwater into clean steam heat for hundreds of downtown buildings. In the process, it’s saving tens of millions of gallons of drinking water annually. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

Beaches in L.A. County evacuated over lightning, safety concerns -- Lifeguards on Tuesday cleared beaches from Malibu to Torrance following lightning threats as Southern California braced for the second heat wave of the summer, with an elevated dose of humidity that brought thunderstorms and fire danger. Alexa Díaz in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/23/19

Sacramento companies are cracking the $1 million sales mark at a blistering pace -- Sacramento is already one of the best cities in the United States for startup businesses, and now a new report suggests many of those businesses are doing quite well to boot. Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19

Google settles ‘age-discrimination’ class-action lawsuit with more than 200 workers for $11 million -- Google has settled for $11 million a long-running class-action lawsuit claiming that it discriminated against hundreds of older workers by failing to hire them because of their age. The workers argued in their lawsuit that between 2007 and 2013, Google’s workforce grew to nearly 30,000 people and that the median age of its workers as of 2013 was 29, compared to a median age of 41 for U.S. employees in computer and math fields. Ethan Baron in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/23/19

More taxes, less Social Security: Generation X may have a leaner retirement than Boomers -- Social Security’s financing problems could pose a serious threat to retirement plans of Generation X (1966 to 1975) and Xennial (1976 to 1985) Americans, according to a new report from the Urban Institute. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19

Another California pension fund falls just short of its investment return target -- CalSTRS just missed its target rate for annual investment returns, recording 6.8 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, according to a Tuesday news release. The rate fell short of the $237 billion fund’s annual target of 7 percent, according to the release. Wes Venteicher in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19

Bad news for Gavin Newsom’s housing goals: New home permits are down in California -- California communities are approving residential building permits at a slower rate than they did last year, a sign Gov. Gavin Newsom faces an even bigger hurdle to reach his housing goals than when he took office in January. Kate Irby, Sophia Bollag, and Hannah Wiley in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19

Sexual harassment training ordered for California government secretaries, leaders -- Gov. Gavin Newsom is convening state government executives next month to encourage them to make their offices “more respectful, diverse and equitable,” according to a letter from his administration. Wes Venteicher in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19

Plan to expose all students to physics missing one element — teachers -- As California schools move to implement new science standards, they are under pressure to offer more physics instruction creating a demand for teachers in a subject area where there is already a severe shortage. Diana Lambert EdSource -- 7/23/19

California GOP’s ‘cult of Trump’ keeps quiet about his attacks -- Mike Murphy knows the California Republican Party — he was a top strategist for the gubernatorial campaigns of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman, and he’s helped more than two dozen Republicans nationwide win races for Senate and governor. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

ICE arrests of immigrant families lagged behind hype -- For the first week of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ongoing arrest surge targeting recently arrived migrant families, 35 people were picked up, ICE said. Of those, 18 were arrested as part of family units and 17 were individuals who were picked up because ICE came across them during the operations. Tal Kopan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

Still waiting for ICE raids, Southern California Trump supporters say he has a plan -- In general, Trump’s people in Southern California have got his back. And if the raids didn’t happen last Sunday, that’s OK – as long as they’re coming soon. “I’m not concerned. It will get done. And it needs to get done. We need to get rid of the criminals,” said Tustin resident Betty Robinson, a long-time advocate against illegal immigration. Roxana Kopetman in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 7/23/19

Kamala Harris legislation would decriminalize marijuana nationally, clear convictions -- Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a sweeping marijuana reform bill Tuesday that would decriminalize the drug at the federal level and seek to reverse decades of unequal enforcement. Tal Kopan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

Fox: More and More Tax Revenue, Bigger Surpluses…And Still Not Satisfied -- Tax revenue and government surpluses are up all over California, but that fact doesn’t satisfy advocates for more and more taxes. Tax raising activists could step on each other in the charge for more money. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 7/23/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

As Chevron Gets Ready to Appeal State Order, Kern County Spill Continues to Grow -- The company now says says 974,400 gallons of fluid has flowed to the surface in the Cymric oil field, near the town of McKittrick and about 35 miles west of Bakersfield, since the incident was first detected in May. The new amount is 120,000 gallons more than the company reported Friday. About a third of the fluid mixture — about 325,000 gallons — is believed to be crude petroleum. Ted Goldberg KQED -- 7/23/19

Republicans hoping to win LA-area House seat tread lightly on ‘go back’ controversy -- Republican candidates in Los Angeles County’s hottest congressional race have offered restrained criticism of President Donald Trump’s bigoted blasts at the quartet of Democratic women known as “The Squad.” Kevin Modesti in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 7/23/19

Lawsuit: California should open its presidential primary to independents -- California independent voters can't always vote for the presidential candidate of their choice. Is that merely annoying for nonpartisan voters? Or, as a new lawsuit argues, is it unconstitutional? Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 7/23/19

Panel of national leaders aims for bipartisan justice reform -- A new criminal justice reform group brings together Democratic and Republican governors, a Black Lives Matter organizer and a Koch Industries vice president in an unlikely collaboration aimed at harnessing momentum following a bipartisan overhaul last year. Don Thompson and Adam Beam Associated Press -- 7/23/19

Priest with money bags hurt in crash, allegedly pilfered $95K from Santa Rosa church -- Bishop Robert F. Vasa knew something was amiss as the bags of cash started piling up. First, it was the six security bags — used for collecting parish donations — found in a Santa Rosa priest’s car after the pastor was injured in an accident. Then it was the dozen sacks — both sealed and unsealed — in the same priest’s office, as well as a $10,000 stack of cash found in his desk drawer. Gwendolyn Wu in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Colleen Shalby in the Los Angeles Times$-- 7/23/19

Bold measures fall off SF ballot after supervisors pull back rushed proposals -- San Francisco voters were scheduled to weigh in on several ballot measures this November that supervisors championed as big, bold solutions to the city’s most pressing problems — such as income inequality and the city’s broken mental health care system. Trisha Thadani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

High temps bring challenges for outdoor workers, motorists, backyard pools -- Triple-digit temperatures for the Inland area return this week, along with the chance of thunderstorms in the mountains and deserts. And while many of us escape the worst of it in air-conditioned homes and offices, others have to brave the heat to get their jobs done. Richard K. De Atley in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 7/23/19

Chinese Money in the U.S. Dries Up as Trade War Drags On -- Growing distrust between the United States and China has slowed the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office. Alan Rappeport in the New York Times$ -- 7/23/19

Los Angeles has the third largest pool of tech workers on the West Coast -- Los Angeles has the third largest pool of tech workers on the West Coast, after Seattle and San Francisco, according to a report released last week by commercial real estate firm CBRE. Bianca Barragan Curbed LA -- 7/23/19

Fremont police get 11.5 percent pay raise over two years -- The City Council approved the salary increases for 187 officers and sergeants represented by the Fremont Police Association as well as for the police department’s top brass at its July 16 meeting. As a result, salaries for this fiscal year went up 7.5 percent beginning July 1 and will climb an additional 4 percent on July 1, 2020. Joseph Geha in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/23/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

A day at the beach could get a bit more expensive. L.A. County is voting on fee hikes -- If approved, the proposal would boost parking fees at several popular beaches for the first time in a decade, as well as increase the cost of amenities such as equipment rentals and field trips. The vote would also establish new fees for camper vans and birthday parties — all in an attempt to reduce what officials say is a large deficit for beach services. Sonja Sharp in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/23/19


Oakland homelessness surges 47% — per-capita number now higher than SF and Berkeley -- Oakland’s homeless population rose 47% between 2017 and 2019, one of the biggest two-year increases of any California city, according to a one-night street count released Monday by county officials. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

Nearly entire Bay Area sees homelessness surge -- San Francisco recently released the results of its 2019 point-in-time homeless census conducted in January, and the news appeared nothing less than disastrous, as SF’s homeless headcount increased by the hundreds despite the city’s seemingly ceaseless efforts to provide relief. However, the San Francisco count alone does not provide the whole story. The 2019 homelessness spike in SF came amid a tide of similar baleful results across the Bay Area. Adam Brinklow Curbed San Francisco -- 7/23/19


California housing market officially now ‘weak.’ Is it an early warning of recession? -- The once red-hot California housing sales market is officially now “weak,” state analysts say, but the year-long flattening does not necessarily suggest the state is headed toward an economic downturn. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/23/19


Californians living in wildfire-prone areas losing homeowners insurance following historic blazes -- When Stan Caplan built his retirement home on the ridge of a majestic chaparral-covered hillside in an affluent gated community in Rancho Santa Fe, he wasn’t thinking much about insuring his property against wildfire. Joshua Emerson Smith in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/23/19


County Proposes $12 Million Loan to Embattled Sweetwater -- San Diego’s County of Office of Education is proposing a $12 million loan to help the Sweetwater Union High School District meet its financial obligations. Will Huntsberry Voiceofsandiego.org -- 7/23/19

University of California Battles With Global Publisher Elsevier Over Access To Research -- The University of California and the world's largest publisher of scientific research are locked in a dispute over how information is shared. This struggle could end up reinventing a global system for how academics publish studies and how others access that research. Randol White Capital Public Radio -- 7/23/19


Think Napa Valley, for weed: Bill would tighten rules for claiming a place of origin in cannabis -- Robert Steffano is proud of growing cannabis in southern Humboldt County, near the epicenter of California's famed Emerald Triangle weed country. He says he's been tending his crop there for 30 years. But one day, Steffano, who owns Villa Paradiso Farms, got an email from a soil company he'd never heard of. Their brand name seemed to suggest they were from his corner of the county, too. Amy DiPierro in the Palm Springs Desert Sun -- 7/23/19

Immigration / Border 

Trump Administration to Expand Fast-Tracked Deportations Across the U.S. -- The Trump administration said on Monday that it would speed the deportations of undocumented immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States for more than two years, allowing federal agents to arrest and deport more people without a hearing before a judge. Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Caitlin Dickerson in the New York Times$ -- 7/23/19

More Than 2,000 Migrants Were Targeted in Raids. 35 Were Arrested -- More than 2,000 migrants who were in the United States illegally were targeted in widely publicized raids that unfolded across the country last week. But figures the government provided to The New York Times on Monday show that just 35 people were detained in the operation. Miriam Jordan in the New York Times$ -- 7/23/19


San Diego representatives want $2 billion to help stop cross-border sewage flows -- Four San Diego congressional representatives want to allocate as much as $2 billion for infrastructure projects aimed at stopping the region’s decades-old cross-border sewage problem. Reps. Juan Vargas, Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Mike Levin — all of them Democrats — unveiled the Tijuana Valley Pollution Solution bill package during a press conference in the South Bay Monday morning. Gustavo Solis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/23/19

The largest bird in North America was nearly wiped out. Here’s how it fought its way back -- There aren’t many happy conservation stories these days. Reis Thebault in the Washington Post$ -- 7/23/19

Also . . . 

These police dogs are trained to help survivors. They’re not here for the bad guys -- The most recognizable police dogs are those that can sniff out drugs and bombs, or the tough K-9s that can take down a suspect with their teeth. Scottie, Raider and Meredith are not that kind of dog. Their mission is far different, and their duty lies with survivors of trauma, witnesses of tragedy or anyone in need of comfort. Colleen Shalby in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/23/19

Los Gatos cop resigns amid outcry over violent beating during previous job -- An officer has resigned from the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department amid a controversy over his violent beating of a suspect three years ago while working as a San Jose State University cop. Robert Salonga, Sukey Lewis KQED News in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/23/19

Punch Line secures lease to stay at SF location, gets Legacy Business status -- The Punch Line San Francisco secured a multi-year lease from its new landlord late Monday, July 22, allowing the 40-year-old comedy club to survive at its historic location long after a pending eviction date of Aug. 1. Sam Whiting in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/23/19

Trump administration pursues rule that would remove 3.1 million people from food stamps -- Currently, 43 U.S. states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA. Tom Polansek Reuters Laura Reiley in the Washington Post$ -- 7/23/19

POTUS 45  

Trump met with Nunes to talk intel chief replacements -- President Donald Trump recently spoke to top House Intelligence Republican Devin Nunes about replacements for the country’s intelligence chief — the latest sign that Dan Coats’ tenure may be short-lived. Natasha Bertrand and Eliana Johnson Politico -- 7/23/19

More than half of Americans approve of Trump on the economy. More than half also say they won’t vote for him -- The president is pretty confident that he has a trump card on questions about his 2020 reelection viability: the economy. Philip Bump in the Washington Post$ -- 7/23/19

Top German CEO: Trump becoming 'the face of racism and exclusion' -- The CEO of the German company Siemens said that under President Trump, the U.S. presidency is becoming the "face of racism and exclusion." "It depresses me, that the most important political office in the world is becoming the face of racism and exclusion," CEO Joe Kaeser tweeted Saturday. "I lived for years in the U.S. and experienced a level of tolerance, freedom and openness like never before." Rebecca Klar The Hill -- 7/23/19


Sargent: People privy to the intelligence are convinced another electoral attack is coming -- Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had a conversation with Vox’s Kara Swisher that should worry anyone who thinks our elections should be free from foreign interference. Greg Sargent in the Washington Post$ -- 7/23/19

Kamala Harris Introduces $220 Billion Clean Drinking Water Bill -- Sen. Kamala Harris is introducing legislation designed to ensure all Americans, particularly those in at-risk communities, have access to safe, affordable drinking water, the latest response to burgeoning water crises across the country. Juana Summers Associated Press -- 7/23/19


-- Monday Updates 

FBI raids DWP, L.A. City Hall, serving search warrant -- The FBI conducted a search of the downtown headquarters of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and City Hall, officials said Monday. “There is a search taking place at the DWP building. The affidavit in support of the search warrant is under seal by the court,” said Rukelt Dalberis, an FBI spokesman in Los Angeles. Law enforcement sources said the FBI was also at Los Angeles City Hall. Dakota Smith, David Zahniser, Alene Tchekmedyian, Laura J. Nelson in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/22/19

California seizes $30 million in black market cannabis from illegal pot shops -- California authorities have tripled the number of raids on unlicensed cannabis shops in the last year and seized $30 million in pot products, but legal industry leaders say enforcement is still inadequate to break the dominance of the black market in the state. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/22/19

UC admits largest and most diverse class ever of Californian freshmen -- The University of California opened its doors to the largest and most diverse class of Californians ever for the fall semester of 2019, according to data released Monday. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/22/19

Caltrain maps out big growth and how to pay the $25 billion tab -- Caltrain, the Peninsula commuter rail that started chugging when Abraham Lincoln was president, may look a lot more like BART in the coming years. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Erin Baldassari in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/22/19

San Bruno seeks housing, then rejects it: ‘I don’t know what you can get passed’ -- Over the past three years, developer Mike Ghielmetti did everything he was supposed to do to get a 425-unit housing project approved on El Camino Real in San Bruno. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/22/19

How to see if you’re entitled to part of the Equifax settlement -- Equifax is expected to pay up to $600 million in a settlement for a 2017 data breach that exposed the information of about 147 million people. Up to $425 million of the settlement will go toward restitution for consumers who were affected by the breach, which occurred from mid-May through July 2017 and was revealed in September 2017. Sophia Kunthara in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Levi Sumagaysay in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/22/19

California’s after-school programs still waiting on cannabis tax money -- Supporters of California’s publicly funded After School Education and Safety programs — which educate and care for nearly 500,000 low-income elementary and middle school kids — were encouraged in 2016 when they heard and read the ads that supported the state’s ballot measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Brooke Staggs in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/22/19

Gavin Newsom’s death penalty moratorium isn’t saving California money -- When Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order halting the death penalty in California, he argued the system has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. But without cooperation from prosecutors, there’s no evidence his action is saving the state any money. Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/22/19

Mayor’s affordable housing czar to step down -- Kate Hartley, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development in San Francisco, is stepping down at the end of the week. Hartley was appointed to lead the office charged with building affordable housing in San Francisco in 2017 by then-Mayor Ed Lee. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/22/19

Morals and money: Is conscience-driven investing Silicon Valley’s VC future? -- Successful Silicon Valley venture capital companies have turned Sand Hill Road, a Menlo Park boulevard lined with VC firms, into an icon of wealth, and sprinkled the region with palatial homes and gleaming Maseratis. But there’s a growing movement called “impact investing” that looks beyond financial returns to also deliver positive effects on society, the economy, the environment and corporate governance. Ethan Baron in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/22/19

Trump is cracking down on China. Now UC campuses are paying the price -- UC San Diego professor Shirley Meng’s laboratory is a veritable United Nations of research, with 48 scholars from six different countries exploring how to improve battery storage for electric vehicles, robots and — someday — flying cars. But Meng and her colleagues worry that one country soon will be left out of the lab: China. Teresa Watanabe and Don Lee in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/22/19

How U.S. video game companies are building tools for China’s surveillance state -- Last October, software developers at Riot Games in Santa Monica fielded an unusual request. Like other video game makers, Riot’s success depends on its ability to make games that are compulsively playable, like its global hit “League of Legends.” But Tencent, the Chinese tech giant that owns Riot, needed a way to force some of its most enthusiastic customers to play less. James B. Cutchin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/22/19