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

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California’s statewide rent-cap proposal gets two key changes -- A closely-watched bill that would ban steep rent hikes throughout California has been softened — slightly — in effort to win over skeptics as a legislative deadline looms. Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/20/19

San Francisco District Attorney Gascón questions San Francisco police raid on journalist -- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón on Monday questioned the police raid of a journalist’s home earlier this month, saying he “can’t imagine a situation in which a search warrant would be appropriate.” Evan Sernoffsky in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/19

San Diego police leaders defend use of controversial neck restraint, despite continuing calls for a ban -- An analysis of five years of police data revealed the move was used hundreds of times and disproportionately on black people. Lyndsay Winkley in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/20/19

Assessor asks court to reverse 49ers property tax cut -- Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone is asking a court to reverse a decision made last November by an administrative board to slash property taxes on Levi’s Stadium in half, resulting in a $36 million tax refund to the San Francisco 49ers. Thy Vo in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/20/19

California regulators not taking action against care homes -- Across California, at least 20 companies providing care for the elderly, disabled and mentally ill continue to operate illegally after being cited for failing to pay their workers more than $1.4 million in back wages and penalties. Jennifer Gollan of Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting via AP -- 5/20/19

3 UCSD scientists call for tighter regulation of marijuana advertising -- The federal government should more aggressively regulate the marketing of marijuana, particularly products that feature unsubstantiated health claims, three UC San Diego physicans say in the latest issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Gary Robbins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/20/19

Napa Valley winery sues over $1 million in smoke-tainted grapes -- A Napa Valley vintner has sued its insurer for failing to pay compensation for $1.14 million worth of wine grapes tainted by smoke during the 2017 wildfires in that region. Levensohn Vineyards LLC, of St. Helena, filed suit May 14 In U.S. District Court, Northern California division, against Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. Linda Zavoral in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/20/19

How Legalization Changed Humboldt County Marijuana -- Forced into the open, and facing the very real possibility of economic extinction, the farmers of Humboldt are now trying to convince regulators and buyers that these outlaws who had profited off prohibition were not greedy criminals but people who stood for something: stewardship of the land, the biodiversity of a crop, resistance to corporate consolidation, and a spiritual connection to a psychoactive plant. Emily Witt in The New Yorker -- 5/20/19

Eight parents charged in college admissions scandal to plead guilty this week -- Eight parents accused of hiring a college admissions consultant to rig their children’s entrance exams and slip them into prestigious universities as fake athletic recruits are scheduled to plead guilty this week in federal court in Boston. Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19

San Francisco sets sights on no street fatalities, but reality is far from Vision Zero -- A screech of tires lacerated the air at Howard Street and South Van Ness Avenue. In a split second, 56-year-old Russell Franklin and his bicycle went flying. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/19

Universities saw signs of fraud well before college admissions scandal erupted -- More than a year before the college admissions scandal investigation began, Georgetown University “discovered irregularities” in the athletic credentials of two tennis recruits, initiated a secret investigation and eventually forced coach Gordon Ernst to resign, court records show. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19

California to pay $47 million for state payroll lawsuits filed in Jerry Brown era -- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal requests about $47 million to settle two state payroll disputes he inherited from his predecessor. Wes Venteicher in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/19

Kaiser health workers rally this week in Sacramento region as part of statewide push -- More than 55,000 union-represented health care workers at Kaiser Permanente are holding rallies around the state through mid-June as their labor contract nears its Sept. 30 expiration date. Cathie Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/19

YouTube commenter threatens to kill employees, drives to HQ with a gun, police say -- A 35-year-old Utah man was arrested after authorities said he made online threats against YouTube employees and drove to the company’s San Bruno, Calif., headquarters with a gun. Orem police on Saturday arrested David Swanson on suspicion of making terroristic threats. He was released from Utah County Jail the following day after posting $100,000 bail. Colleen Shalby in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19

Fox: An LA City Council Race Could Influence the Outcome of the LAUSD Parcel Tax -- An interesting political circumstance to consider in the battle to pass Measure EE, the Los Angeles school parcel tax on the June 4 ballot, is that completely inside LAUSD boundaries is a special election to fill the Los Angeles City Council District 12 seat. Could the hotly contested city council race in the more conservative section of Los Angeles influence the outcome of Measure EE? Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 5/20/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Trump threatens to cut millions from fire departments in California after deadly wildfires -- Officials in California are crying foul over a Trump administration plan to slash firefighting assistance payments to the state, which could amount to millions of dollars in lost income for fire departments. The U.S. Forest Service, in turn, is accusing the local fire departments in the state of over-billing the federal government as part of a federal-state partnership, the California Fire Assistance Agreement (CFAA), that was inked in 2015 and expires in 2020. Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/19

Brawl erupts at convention for local-government officials at Indian Wells resort -- A conference of local government officials from across California erupted into violence over the weekend when several attendees began throwing punches, with at least one person apparently knocked unconscious, according to five witnesses to the incident. Adam Elmahrek, Ruben Vives and Anh Do in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19

Gavin Newsom is using the Obamacare playbook to count Californians in the 2020 census -- With millions of dollars in federal funding at stake, California is trying some unusual strategies to encourage hard-to-count populations to participate in the census and exploring ways to link them with other public outreach efforts, including ones aimed at uninsured Californians. Sophia Bollag, Michael Finch II, and Sammy Caiola, the USC Center for Health Journalism Collaborative via in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/19

Thousands raise money in Walk Against Hate event to educate against intolerance -- It was just a coincidence that the Anti-Defamation League’s Walk Against Hate on Sunday — a 5k walk and fundraiser about combating intolerance — took place 22 days after the shooting at Chabad Synagogue in Poway. Kristen Taketa in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/20/19

Industry aims to extinguish bills that would make California first state to ban flavored tobacco -- Despite skyrocketing teen use of e-cigarettes, a proposal to make California the nation’s first state to ban flavored tobacco is struggling in the Legislature—and health advocates blame the political potency of the tobacco industry. With negotiations underway behind-the-scenes, vaping interests hope to at least weaken the legislation, if not turn it in the industry’s favor. Elizabeth Aguilera Calmatters -- 5/20/19

Skelton: Immigrants — many highly educated — are changing California for the better -- Distracted by President Trump and his riled resisters, it’s easy to miss the big picture of foreign migration to California. It’s the old story of not seeing the forest for the trees. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19

Walters: California gets a hollow win in tax battle -- California officials have pursued Gilbert Hyatt for nearly three decades, trying to force him to pay state income taxes on royalties he began receiving in the early 1990s from his groundbreaking technology inventions. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 5/20/19

California cities killed a sweeping housing reform bill. Can Gavin Newsom find another option? -- A handful of remaining bills chip away at local regulations, and a few promise tenant and affordable housing protections. Hannah Wiley in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/20/19

Allegation Against Bakersfield Priest Previously Deemed 'Unsubstantiated' Now Under Review By Fresno Diocese -- More than 20 years after a man first reported he was abused by a Central Valley priest, the Catholic Diocese of Fresno is revisiting the allegation after several other individuals have come forward accusing the same priest. The diocese and Fresno County law enforcement officials had previously said the claim, first raised in 1998, was unsubstantiated. Alexandra Hall KQED -- 5/20/19

New documentary focuses on trauma faced by first-responders -- “Keeping the Peace,” a new documentary that recently premiered at the University of San Diego, brings to light the trauma often faced by first responders and encourages police officers, firefighters and others in the field to seek counseling when dealing with emotional issues. Gary Warth in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 5/20/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

The markets think the trade war stinks. A California garlic grower disagrees -- A lot of people think the trade war with China stinks. But one Bay Area business is breathing easier: Christopher Ranch, the nation’s largest commercial garlic grower, which stands to gain from a 25% tariff the Trump administration imposed on Chinese garlic and other goods this month. Sophia Kunthara in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/19

Price hikes from rising tariffs loom ahead of busy shopping seasons -- Major retailers are sounding the alarm: The U.S.-China trade battle could be coming to a mall near you in the form of higher prices in time for the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons. James F. Peltz in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19


Majority of California voters favor tax increase on millionaires to fund schools, poll finds -- As pressure builds in California to increase funding for public schools, a new poll shows that a majority of likely voters are in favor of raising taxes on wealthy corporations and individuals to boost education funding. Sydney Johnson EdSource -- 5/20/19

Shepard Fairey and 30 other artists turn Maya Angelou school into an outdoor gallery -- School was out for the day at ​Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School, but the campus was bright with activity. More than two dozen enormous murals were going up at the South L.A. ​school, transforming the mostly gray and drab-green buildings into an explosion of color and story. Deborah Vankin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19


Marijuana grow operation catches fire next to Hollywood’s Fonda Theatre -- A passerby first noticed the fire in the 6100 block of Hollywood Boulevard, next to the historic Fonda Theatre, around 8:40 p.m., Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. The blaze was quickly knocked down and no one was hurt, he said. Laura Newberry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/20/19

Also . . . 

Want to park near Cal’s stadium in Berkeley on game days? Bring money -- Heads up, Cal Bears fans, the cost of a football game-day parking ticket in the neighborhoods around Memorial Stadium just shot up to $225. “We were trying to address a few different problems,” Berkeley City Councilwoman Lori Droste said. The biggest concern is drivers parking in front of driveways or blocking access to homes. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/20/19

POTUS 45  

Trump and the Four-Letter Presidency -- His is the profanity presidency, full of four-letter denunciations of his enemies and earthy dismissals of allegations lodged against him. At rallies and in interviews, on Twitter and in formal speeches, he relishes the bad-boy language of a shock jock, just one more way of gleefully provoking the political establishment bothered by his norm-shattering ways. Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 5/20/19

Deutsche Bank Staff Saw Suspicious Activity in Trump and Kushner Accounts -- Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog. David Enrich in the New York Times$ -- 5/20/19

Mediator: Social Media Pollution, a Huge Problem in the Last Election, Could Be Worse in 2020 -- As a candidate, Donald Trump promoted a mystery Twitter account that falsely portrayed a protester as an ISIS terrorist. Nothing stops him from doing it again. Jim Rutenberg in the New York Times$ -- 5/20/19


Buttigieg finds friends on Fox as he calls out ‘grotesque’ Trump attacks --“The tweets are — I don't care,” he said, triggering applause from the audience at Stevens High School in Claremont, N.H. “It's a very effective way to command the attention of the media,” Buttigieg said. “I think that we need to make sure that we're changing the channel from this show that he's created. ... And I get it, look — it's mesmerizing and hard for anyone to look away. Me too. It is the nature of grotesque things that you can't look away.” Daniel Strauss Politico -- 5/20/19

Abortion Fight or Strong Economy? For G.O.P., Cultural Issues Undercut 2020 Message -- The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, companies are adding jobs and the gross domestic product grew by 3.2 percent in the first quarter, undercutting predictions of a coming recession. Yet for all that political upside, Republicans demonstrated repeatedly last week that they were not positioning themselves to wage the 2020 election over the strength of the economy. Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns in the New York Times$ -- 5/20/19


-- Sunday Updates 

Fire danger could force San Francisco blackout, PG&E says -- San Francisco is not at high risk of burning down in a wildfire, but if the weather gets windy and dry enough in the East Bay, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could temporarily cut power to the city and its nearly 900,000 residents anyway. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/19

Will PG&E face criminal charges for California’s Camp Fire? -- The answer may hinge, legal experts say, on whether PG&E was reckless in failing to replace aging or damaged equipment and on whether prosecutors feel they can prove that in court beyond reasonable doubt. Tony Bizjak and Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/19/19

Myers: California's prison parole rules might hinge on quiet fight over ballot measures -- Nothing is more sacrosanct in California politics than the power of the state’s voters to create laws through ballot measures, so much so that judges rarely block a duly qualified initiative from getting its moment on election day. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/19

Drowning in debt from employee benefits and unwilling to reform, LAUSD looks for lifeline in Measure EE -- Los Angeles Unified estimates more than half of its general fund will be needed to pay down pension and health benefit debt by 2031, leaving little for students in a district already struggling against declining enrollment and competition from charter schools. Jason Henry in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 5/19/19

Adachi leak: Mayor Breed shifts stance slightly on raid of journalist -- Mayor London Breed said Sunday she was “not okay with police raids on reporters,” a shift in her stance on the San Francisco Police Department’s seizure of computers and other possessions from a journalist who refused to identify the confidential police source who leaked him an internal report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/19

L.A. County juvenile halls are so chaotic, officers are afraid to come to work -- Inside the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, he found shattered windows, smashed walls and tiles ripped from the ceilings. Phones in common areas were busted and debris lay scattered on the floors. Gang graffiti had been scrawled on the walls. The staff were overwhelmed. Matt Stiles in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/19

For the wealthy, Bay Area housing costs are actually declining -- While housing costs for some of the Bay Area’s poorest residents skyrocketed far beyond the income they gained over the past decade, the region’s wealthiest households saw their housing costs actually drop as their incomes swelled. Leonardo Castañeda in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/19/19

Nanny state or progressive politics? In ‘Ban Francisco,’ the debate rages on -- To San Franciscan Chris Chin, the owner of a vape shop in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, the proposed e-cigarette ban being considered by city officials would be tantamount to becoming the ultimate “nanny city.” Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 5/19/19

Schnur: California can make traffic less of a nightmare. But can we agree on how? -- Every Californian knows the best way to deal with our state’s soul-crushing traffic problems: get everyone else out of their car so I can stay in mine. Dan Schnur in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 5/19/19

Can a Democrat win an L.A. City Council seat long held by Republicans? -- When Ian Carr knocks on doors in neighborhoods like Porter Ranch and West Hills, he is sometimes asked whether his chosen candidate is a Democrat or a Republican. His answer — Democrat — once got a door slammed in his face. Emily Alpert Reyes and Maloy Moore in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 5/19/19

Young love lost, an only son gone, after fatal training accident at Camp Pendleton -- The incident comes as training accidents have spiked and on-duty deaths have exceeded military deaths in combat, a trend that began in 2015. Lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee said that in 2017, for example, nearly four times as many military personnel died in training accidents as were killed in combat. In all, the committee reported, 21 service members died in combat while 80 died as a result of non-combat training-related accidents. Erika I. Ritchie in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 5/19/19