Updating . .   

California granted federal waiver to phase out diesel semi-trucks -- The Biden administration approved a waiver Friday to allow California to set its own emissions standards for semi-trucks, a move that could help accelerate the nationwide movement toward heavy-duty vehicles that don’t run on fossil fuels. Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Ari Plachta in the Sacramento Bee$ Coral Davenport in the New York Times$ Camille von Kaenel and Alex Guillén Politico -- 3/31/23

The California bills on a business ‘kill list’ -- The California Legislature, with its Democratic supermajority, is known for passing first-in-the-nation laws that ramp up labor and consumer protections — often in the face of intense opposition from business groups. Grace Gedye CalMatters -- 3/31/23


This California region is growing fastest, new data shows. Here’s where the people are coming from -- Counties near Sacramento are growing fast. Many of these new residents are coming from the Bay Area. Adriana Rezal in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23

L.A. County continued to lose population even as other areas grew. Will rebound happen? -- Los Angeles County was one of the urban areas that was hit hardest by significant population drops at the beginning of the pandemic. But while some other urban counties began to rebound in 2021-22 with rising population numbers, Los Angeles County continued to lose people, new data show. Terry Castleman, Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

Bay Area drivers spend 97 hours a year in traffic. Why didn’t remote work end commute nightmares? -- There’s a new mystery that thousands of Bay Area commuters are trying to solve. Downtown offices that once buzzed with techies and lawyers are deserted. BART’s ridership is down 60% after many passengers fled the system three years ago and never came back. So why are freeways once again full? Eliyahu Kamisher in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/31/23


End of an era: L.A. County lifts COVID-19 emergency -- Los Angeles County is officially ending its COVID-19 emergency declaration Friday, a milestone that comes as the region’s coronavirus case rate has fallen to its lowest level since summer 2021. Luke Money, Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23


Medi-Cal will soon end some people’s benefits. What this means for you -- Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest, low-income Californians who enrolled in Medi-Cal — California’s version of the government-funded Medicaid health insurance program — have been able to keep their coverage without having to prove every year that they still qualified for it. Jon Healey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23


Virgin Orbit to lay off 85 percent of staff, freeze operations -- Founded by Richard Branson in 2017, the sister company to Virgin Galactic has struggled since it went public two years ago. Aaron Gregg in the Washington Post$ Samantha Masunaga in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23


Twitter’s blue check mark was loved and loathed. Now it’s pay for play -- Twitter verification is ending for people awarded blue checks under an old system, the company says, the latest shift under CEO Elon Musk. Rachel Lerman and Faiz Siddiqui in the Washington Post$ -- 3/31/23


‘Rattled with guilt,’ assistant director David Halls convicted for role in ‘Rust’ shooting -- “Rust” assistant director David Halls was convicted Friday of one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon for his role in the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the low-budget western. Meg James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23


Could California pay $800 billion in reparations? What experts said after estimate made news -- The California Reparations Task Force made headlines around the world this week as economic advisers to the group presented estimates that the state’s African American residents have suffered at least $800 billion in losses as a result of inequities in policing, criminal sentences, housing policies and more. Cathie Anderson, Lindsey Holden in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/31/23


How the LAPD abortion squad went after women and doctors in pre-Roe L.A. -- In a still unsettled post-Roe world, no one knows for sure what enforcement of abortion laws will look like. But L.A. in the 1950s and 1960s offers a hint into at least one possibility. Brittny Mejia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23


Collaboration at center of keeping students in school after juvenile detention -- How this Oakland educator keeps students in school after their release from juvenile hall. Betty Márquez Rosales EdSource -- 3/31/23

Also . .

Sea expedition stumbles upon a 3,300-foot-tall Southwestern-style butte below the waves -- “It’s commonly said that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do the bottom of the ocean,” said Aurora Elmore of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Christian Martinez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23


California Policy and Politics Friday

Ridley-Thomas verdict

A ‘sad day for Los Angeles’: Community leaders speak out on the Ridley-Thomas verdict -- The conviction of Los Angeles City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas on federal corruption charges drew a wide range of reactions on Thursday, with some calling the verdict unjust and others simply expressing sadness over the outcome. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

Ridley-Thomas’ felony convictions dictate his removal from L.A. City Council -- Veteran Los Angeles politician Mark Ridley-Thomas’ felony convictions bring new shock waves to a City Hall that had been settling into relative normalcy after months of upheaval. Julia Wick in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

Smith: Why a guilty verdict for Mark Ridley-Thomas doesn’t feel like justice to Black L.A. -- A jury found the longtime politician guilty in a sprawling federal case involving a quid pro quo with USC. Replacing him won’t be easy for Black L.A. Erika D. Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

Politics & Policy

Newsom launches national campaign to fight ‘authoritarian leaders’ -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday launched a national campaign to counter the GOP agenda and announced that he’s hitting the road to “take the fight to states where freedom is most under attack.” Taryn Luna in the Los Angeles Times$ Sophia Bollag in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23

L.A. D.A. Gascón’s own prosecutors begin lining up to challenge him in 2024-- At least three of Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s potential challengers in next year’s election cycle come from within his own office. James Queally in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

California legislator proposes ‘Ebony Alert’ bill to report missing Black children, young women -- A California legislator proposed a bill to establish an “Ebony Alert” system that would inform people of missing Black children and young women — similar to the Amber Alert. Noah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

San Diego County supervisor to resign after assault lawsuit -- A powerful San Diego County supervisor said he will resign amid accusations that he sexually assaulted a government employee, completing a swift and shocking fall for a decorated Marine combat veteran whose star rose with his Democratic Party’s ascendancy in the nation’s eighth-largest city. Elliot Spagat Associated Press -- 3/31/23


Trump is innocent’: Die-hard California supporters stand by former president despite indictment -- An indictment from a New York City prosecutor won’t pry away Donald Trump’s most fervent California supporters from continuing to back the former president. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23

Litman: Trump’s indictment is a historic first. Here’s why more are likely to follow -- New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg’s investigation is just the beginning of Trump’s legal exposure. Charges in Georgia and from Special Counsel Jack Smith also loom. Harry Litman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

Barabak: Scandal after scandal, Trump has defied political physics. Will this time be different? -- From the moment he blustered his way onto the political stage, Donald Trump defied expectations. Mark Barabak in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

What Trump’s indictment means for his political future — and his party’s -- Donald Trump is the first former president in history to face a criminal indictment. Here’s what his indictment might mean for his political future — and the Republican Party’s. Noah Bierman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

DeSantis, possible Trump rival, says he won’t assist in extradition -- Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible rival to Donald Trump for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said on Twitter that Florida will not work with New York on any extradition requests in case one is necessary for the newly indicted former president. Mariana Alfaro and Hannah Knowles in the Washington Post$ -- 3/31/23

Trump can still run for president in 2024 after being indicted -- Though a former president has never been convicted of a crime, even that wouldn’t bar Trump from running again. And some advisers think the indictment could be a good thing for his campaign. Perry Stein in the Washington Post$ -- 3/31/23

Storm Train

Here’s the science behind the endless storms drenching California this winter -- Multiple factors, in addition to La Niña, contributed to months of rain and snow across the state. Jack Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23


One of Bay Area's biggest gaming companies is laying off hundreds -- Electronic Arts has joined the tech layoffs wave, laying off 6% of its workforce -- around 800 workers. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23


Federal judge's ruling against Affordable Care Act won't affect Californians, state commissioner says -- A federal judge's ruling Thursday against the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurers cover preventive health screenings for cancer, mental illness and other conditions won't affect most Californians because state law mandates that coverage for state-regulated insurers, said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23

Workers in S.F. could be eligible for a share of $104 million. Here's how to get it -- In the use-it-or-lose-it department, tens of thousands of people who work in San Francisco — or used to — have money sitting in a city medical reimbursement fund that they may not know about. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23


‘Just a placebo’: Lawsuit calls fire retardant ineffective and harmful -- One of the most visible weapons used to fight out-of-control wildfires is being challenged in federal court in a case that could have major implications in California. Julie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23

Lake Tahoe’s bears are waking up to lots of snow. What happens next? -- It might not feel like spring in Lake Tahoe — what with seemingly endless snows bombarding the basin — but the region’s resident bears are waking up from hibernation hungry, and state wildlife officials are warning that the historic winter may give way to a season rife with encounters and conflicts. Gregory Thomas in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23


L.A. seeks receivership for Skid Row Housing Trust’s 29 distressed buildings -- In a desperate move to reverse deteriorating conditions for more than 1,500 low-income tenants, the Los Angeles city attorney asked a judge Thursday to appoint a receiver for distressed residential buildings operated by the failing nonprofit Skid Row Housing Trust. Benjamin Oreskes, Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23

‘The city is not an ATM’: S.F. sees homeless claims up to $10,000 spike in battle over encampment sweeps -- San Francisco is fighting off a barrage of claims of up to $10,000 each from homeless residents who accuse the city of illegally confiscating or destroying their belongings during street cleaning operations. St. John Barned-Smith in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/31/23

Also . .

When a 9-year-old girl didn’t want her goat to be slaughtered, county fair officials sent deputies after it -- Jessica Long’s 9-year-old didn’t want her goat, Cedar, to be slaughtered at the county fair. Officials sent deputies with a search warrant to get it back. Salvador Hernandez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/31/23


Thursday Updates  

Grand Jury Votes to Indict Donald Trump in New York -- Mr. Trump will be the first former president to face criminal charges. The precise charges are not yet known, but the case is focused on a hush-money payment to a porn star during his 2016 campaign. Jonah Bromwich in the New York Times$ Shayna Jacobs, Mark Berman, Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey -- in the Washington Post$ Michael R. Sisak, Eric Tucker, Colleen Long and Jennifer Peltz Associated Press Sarah D. Wire, Arit John in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23

Ridley-Thomas found guilty in corruption case -- Mark Ridley-Thomas, one of Los Angeles County’s most prominent politicians, was found guilty Thursday of federal corruption charges related to special benefits his son received at USC. Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23

San Diego County supervisor facing sexual harassment and assault lawsuit to resign -- Nathan Fletcher — the Democratic San Diego County supervisor who abandoned his bid for a California Senate seat he seemed sure to win days before being named in a sexual harassment and assault lawsuit — said late Wednesday that he would resign from the county Board of Supervisors. Jeff Mcdonald San Diego Union-Tribune in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23

Storm Aftermath

Benicia residents ordered to conserve water after hillside collapse damages main pipeline -- The damage happened north of the city near I-680 and Gold Hill Road, authorities said. The incident also caused a temporary closure of the freeway. Joel Umanzor in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/30/23

California lawmakers tell Army Corps of Engineers to speed up Pajaro levee repairs -- It took a major disaster and the prolonged displacement of hundreds of farmworkers, but the small Monterey County community of Pajaro is finally getting the help and attention of federal, state and local lawmakers its residents have sought for decades. Susanne Rust in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23

Policy & Politics

Skelton: Newsom learned with oil bill: Working with lawmakers is key to passing laws -- Gov. Gavin Newsom did something new — for him. He got aggressively engaged behind the scenes, negotiating with legislators. And it paid off. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23


’We’re looking really, really good’: Bay Area water agencies end water restrictions, drought surcharges -- California’s wet winter has shored up water supplies across most of the state and prompted utilities to ease restrictions on customers. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/30/23

Entire Bay Area finally out of drought -- It’s an enormous change from late December, when virtually the entire Bay Area was in severe drought or, in the case of Napa and Solano counties, extreme drought. Kate Galbraith in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/30/23


Tech layoffs widen: Semiconductor maker trims scores of Bay Area jobs -- Marvell Technology, a Bay Area semiconductor company, has decided to cut nearly 100 jobs in Santa Clara, the company reported in an official filing with the state Employment Development Department. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/30/23

Roku to lay off another 200 workers in latest round of cuts -- The San Jose company also said it plans to exit or sublease office space that it’s not currently using. Wendy Lee in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23


How AI like ChatGPT could change the future of work, education and our minds -- Two AI researchers discuss how the emerging generative AI industry could transform our lives for better, or for worse. Chase DiFeliciantonio in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/30/23


Extra pay could lure experienced teachers to poorer schools. Why California won’t do it. -- Throughout the state, schools with the highest rates of low-income students have fewer experienced teachers. Increasing teacher pay is one way to lure more experienced applicants, but teachers unions keep fighting that idea. Joe Hong, Erica Yee CalMatters -- 3/30/23

Super disappointed’: Lawmakers want UC to enroll more Californians sooner -- “Frustrating.” One word, uttered under breath by a California lawmaker, captured a sentiment, at times boiling over into anger, among legislators struggling to get more California students into the University of California. Mikhail Zinshteyn CalMatters -- 3/30/23

Plunging enrollment, financial woes, trustee exodus. Whittier College confronts crisis -- Since 2018, enrollment has plummeted by about 35%, from 1,853 students to about 1,200, according to college figures. Annual revenue has plunged by 29% over roughly the same period, audited financial statements show. Alexis Timko, Shreya Agrawal in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23

Stanford grapples with free speech after protesters disrupt talk by conservative judge -- Stanford Law School has announced its associate dean of diversity is on leave, the latest fallout from an event that brought a Trump-appointed judge — and 100 student protestors — to the university earlier this month. Elissa Miolene in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/30/23


New California housing lawsuits face major obstacles, attorney says -- State courts have ruled for 40 years that charter cities must obey state housing laws. Jeff Collins in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 3/30/23

Doom Loop

Cities are struggling. S.F. could be in for the biggest ‘doom loop’ of all -- Economic forces could doom San Francisco to fiscal calamity. Could it be avoided? Roland Li , Noah Arroyo in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/30/23


No more exodus? S.F., Bay Area population losses slowed in second year of the pandemic -- The Bay Area saw slowing population losses in the second year of the pandemic — a signal that the surge of people moving out may be over, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. Roland Li, Yuri Avila in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/30/23


Chabria: A father shot his daughters. A mom wants to know why her warning was ignored -- David Mora shot and killed his three daughters and a chaperone during a supervised visit last year. The children’s mother warned the courts he was dangerous, but no one listened. Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/30/23

These Bay Area restaurants say crime is worse than any time in memory: ‘It’s like a war zone’ -- When Oakland cafe owner Cortt Dunlap emailed his insurance agent in January, he got some shocking news: His carrier of 15 years was dropping him. Elena Kadvany in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/30/23

Also . . .

Biden Administration Condemns Detention of Wall Street Journal Reporter -- Evan Gershkovich is detained by Russia; Journal denies espionage allegations against him, seeks his immediate release. Daniel Michaels, Vivian Salama in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 3/30/23

Who is the Wall Street Journal reporter arrested in Russia? -- Evan Gershkovich, a 31-year-old U.S. citizen, could face up to 20 years in prison if he’s convicted of espionage charges. Timothy Bella in the Washington Post$ Daniel Victor and Michael M. Grynbaum in the New York Times$ -- 3/30/23

Mark Russell, political satirist with a star-spangled piano, dies at 90 -- With his instrument of choice, he called himself a "political cartoonist for the blind.” Bart Barnes in the Washington Post$ -- 3/30/23