Updating Saturday . .   

COVID  

Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Cartier: How an Irvine man spent PPP loans and went to prison -- Pierre Rogers spent COVID-era loans on a raft of luxury goods including a 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost ($107,780) and a stay at a Ritz-Carlton. Christian Martinez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

California’s COVID-19 student vaccine mandate, on hold since April, is dropped -- California’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate — which has been on hold since April — has been quietly dropped as the state prepares to end emergency pandemic restrictions later this month, public health officials confirmed. Howard Blumen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

L.A. shifts course on vaccine mandates for city workers, will approve exemptions -- The city of L.A.’s Personnel Department sent a memo to department heads ordering them to approve all religious and medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Policy and Politics  

Arellano: A final vigil at Farmer John for pigs that never came -- It was an unexpected end to an unlikely relationship between a pork empire and animal rights activists. Gustavo Arellano in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Democrats shake up presidential primary calendar, demoting Iowa and New Hampshire -- Under the new calendar, proposed based on recommendations from President Biden, candidates would face voters in South Carolina on Feb. 3, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire on Feb. 6, then Georgia and Michigan. Arit John in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Water  

At the heart of Colorado River crisis, the mighty ‘Law of the River’ holds sway -- At the heart of tensions over water allotments from the Colorado River is a complex set of agreements and decrees known as the ‘Law of the River.’ Hayley Smith, Ian James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Oil  

New California oil well ban put on hold for voters to decide -- California’s new law banning new oil and gas wells near homes, schools and other community sites has been put on hold until after voters decide next year whether to throw it out, officials announced Friday. Associated Press -- 2/4/23

Housing 

Two Sacramento-area communities can fast-track affordable housing with new state designation -- Sacramento and Placer counties gained an advantage in securing state funding for affordable housing on Friday when Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced that they received a planning designation intended to speed up those projects. Molly Jarone in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/4/23

Street  

‘The stuff of nightmares’: Killing of O.C. doctor who was riding a bike stuns community -- Dr. Michael John Mammone, 58, was riding his bike when he was hit from behind by a car whose driver got out and stabbed him, Orange County sheriff’s officials said. Summer Lin, Hannah Fry, Eric Licas in the Los Angeles Times$ Erika I. Ritchie, Tony Saavedra in the Orange County Register -- 2/4/23

Mayor Breed is spending millions on S.F. street crisis teams. New data shows how they’re working -- The teams de-escalate and then offer services, or, when legally justified in rare cases, mandate treatment. The goals are to connect people to services, reduce the possibility for police violence and free up officers to tackle crimes. Mallory Moench in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

Suspect used ‘ghost gun’ in killing a Fresno County police officer, officials say -- The suspect accused of killing a police officer this week in a small Fresno County community fired the deadly shots from a “ghost gun,” untraceable firearms that have become increasingly available and concerning, officials said Friday. Grace Toohey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

New police stops data shows stark racial disparities in these wealthy Bay Area enclaves -- Despite large police departments across California ramping up their efforts to stamp out racial profiling, those initiatives have done little — if anything — to close the vast gap between Black and white people who are stopped and searched by officers. Susie Neilson, Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

Climate  

California wants people to switch to all-electric appliances. But what happens when the power goes out? -- Recent storms that knocked out the power to millions of people were a reminder of California’s future conundrum: The state wants to electrify everything from cars to heaters, but sometimes the lights just don’t stay on. Claire Hao in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

Education  

Can the education of L.A. students be saved? About 27,000 mentors are needed to try -- A dozen community groups have signed onto mentoring effort, for which L.A. Unified will provide an organizing hub, including background checks of mentors. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

LA County to offer telehealth therapy to all 1.3 million public school students -- With mental health needs at ‘crisis point,’ county will provide all students access to licensed therapists. Clara Harter in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 2/4/23

Also . . .   

In Big Sur, Living With Nature’s Beauty but Trapped by Its Fury -- The succession of storms last month that left some residents in that treasured region cut off from the rest of California is another reminder of the perils and adventure of Central Coast life. Victoria Kim, Ian C. Bates in the New York Times$ -- 2/4/23

 

 

California Policy and Politics Saturday  

BART oversaw $350,000 Salvation Army program that treated one person, audit finds -- The Bay Area Rapid Transit Agency funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into a homeless outreach program run by the Salvation Army that resulted in just one confirmed unsheltered person receiving its services, according to a inspector general report released Friday. Eliyahu Kamisher, Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/4/23

S.F. hoped to mandate treatment for up to 100 more mentally ill homeless people. Years later, no one is in the program -- New data shows that a program in San Francisco to mandate more homeless people struggling with addiction and mental illness into treatment has largely failed, pointing to the city’s ongoing struggle to help thousands of people suffering on its streets. Mallory Moench in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

State wildlife officials unable to catch mountain lion responsible for ‘vicious’ attack on young boy -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife stated in a tweet on Friday that agency staff he been denied access to private property near the site of the attack, which complicated their efforts to track the mountain lion. Jordan Parker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

Policy and Politics  

Fresno D.A. blamed Newsom after a police officer death. But facts and experts back Newsom’s account -- Fresno’s D.A. blamed Gov. Gavin Newsom for freeing a man now charged with murdering a police officer — but it was a plea agreement by the D.A.’s office that led to his early release. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

California Politics: Obama’s strategist evaluates Newsom -- Highlights from my conversation with David Axelrod. Laurel Rosenhall in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Who Will Replace Dianne Feinstein? -- As it stands, the contest will offer voters a choice between three distinct eras of Democratic thinking: Porter, 49, embodies the pugnacious anti-corporate populism associated with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; Schiff, 62, is a more mainstream liberal, shaped by Clinton-era centrism; and Lee, 76, is an uncompromising leftist and living link to the most confrontational elements of the 1960s social movements. Ronald Brownstein The Atlantic -- 2/4/23

Workplace   

New waves of tech layoffs will wipe out more than 1,200 Bay Area jobs -- Six tech companies, including software and hardware firms, have revealed plans to slash more than 1,200 Bay Area jobs, marking a fresh wave of cutbacks, new state government filings show. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/4/23

Housing 

S.F. real estate is No. 1 in U.S. on this key metric since mortgage rate drop -- The median monthly house payment for people buying homes in the San Francisco metro area has dropped almost 15% since October, when mortgage rates hit their peak — the biggest decline of the 49 most populous U.S. metros, and more than double the national average decline of 7%, according to a new report. Danielle Echeverria in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

The Bay Area’s largest planned housing development is stalled again. Will it ever be completed? -- On paper, the vision for the redevelopment for the 2,225-acre Concord Naval Weapons Station seems to have it all. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

Housing costs trouble Bay Area residents more than elsewhere in California, new poll finds -- The survey by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California, found 80% of Bay Area residents see housing affordability as a big problem in their communities, while 74% identify homelessness as a major concern. Statewide, 70% of people said both were serious issues. Ethan Varian in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/4/23

COVID  

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools -- Children in California won’t have to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major restrictions of the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state. Adam Beam Associated Press -- 2/4/23

Street  

‘Please hurry, please’: 911 call, surveillance video paint harrowing picture of Goshen massacre -- The brutality of the massacre — which included the killing of a 16-year-old girl and her 10-month-old son — shocked people around the country. Noah David Beard, 25, and Angel Uriarte, 35, have each been charged with murder. The item is in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Teen gunman kills security guard at party in San Bernardino County, authorities say -- A 17-year-old boy was arrested Thursday on suspicion of fatally shooting one security guard and injuring another Jan. 28 at a backyard party in San Bernardino County. Christian Martinez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

He was a bystander in a police chase. Deputies beat him when he got out of his car, lawsuit claims -- Deputies were in the middle of a violent pursuit of a man fleeing police, and Adrian Cruz alleges he was attacked and detained when he was suddenly caught in the middle of it. Salvador Hernandez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Half Moon Bay farmworkers processing shooting as jobs resume -- Barely a week after their colleagues were fatally shot, workers were back picking mushrooms at a farm in northern California. They say they have practical and emotional reasons for such a quick return -- they need to earn a living and find strength being with people who have experienced the same trauma. Olga R. Rodriguez Associated Press -- 2/4/23

Fentanyl

The complicated — and dangerous — economics of Mexican fentanyl -- A Times investigation found that some farmacias in Mexican tourist towns are selling prescription drugs laced with fentanyl and methamphetamine. The question is, why? Keri Blakinger, Connor Sheets in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Cannabis  

New Bill Could Bring Amsterdam-Style Cannabis Cafes to California -- Assemblymember Matt Haney thinks he might have a new way to lure visitors to San Francisco and other places in California: cannabis cafes, like the ones that draw thousands of tourists to Amsterdam each year. Scott Shafer KQED -- 2/4/23

Education  

Bay Area college closure devastates a sports community, reveals larger problem -- With athletes comprising about a quarter of Holy Names’ 724-person student body, a school with a modest endowment and steep administrative costs can’t keep its doors open. The announcement of its impending closure shook the Oakland hills campus. Connor Letourneau in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/4/23

Environment  

Monsanto sued again as Contra Costa County and 17 cities seek damages over legacy of toxic PCBs -- Contra Costa County and 17 of its cities are suing Monsanto Co. to force it to clean up pollution from a chemical coolant the former agriculture giant produced for decades that seeped into the bay waters and led state officials to advise against eating striped bass and other types of fish. Shomik Mukherjee in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/4/23

Are the conditions ripe for a ‘superbloom’ in rain-soaked California? Here’s what experts say -- Californians endured a record-breaking rainy season earlier this year and the conditions certainly seem ripe for wildflowers to bloom in the next several weeks from the state’s water-soaked soil. But experts say it’s no guarantee of a superbloom. Nathan Solis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/4/23

Also . . .   

How to build your own spy balloon -- Americans love a good balloon story. Philip Bump in the Washington Post$ -- 2/4/23

 

Friday Updates  

Angry about your gas bill? Spikes follow big raises for California utility executives -- The three top executives at Sempra Energy, the parent company of SoCalGas and SDG&E, made $40 million in 2021, with pension benefits of $60 million awaiting them at retirement. Terry Castleman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23

Two men arrested in ‘cold-blooded’ massacre of 6, including mother and baby, in Tulare County -- After a predawn gun battle and a series of raids across Tulare County, authorities said Friday they had arrested two men accused of killing six people, including a teen mother and her baby, in an execution-style massacre that stunned the Central Valley farm town of Goshen last month. Ruben Vives, Jessica Garrison in the Los Angeles Times$ Joshua Tehee in the Fresno Bee$ -- 2/3/23

Three California congressional seats could soon be vacant. Here’s who is interested -- With three prominent members of congress planning to run for one of California’s coveted U.S. Senate seats in 2024, the list of potential replacements in the House of Representatives is already beginning to stack up. Melanie Mason, Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23

California lawmakers try again to cap insulin costs -- California plans to roll out an ambitious plan to manufacture its own insulin, but in the meantime, legislators are proposing to cap what diabetics pay. Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters -- 2/3/23

Calmes: On the debt-ceiling crisis, take it from moderate Republicans: Be afraid, be very afraid -- We (barely) survived past GOP-induced default crises. This time, the most radical, least-seasoned House Republicans could force a looming economic cataclysm. Jackie Calmes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23

Housing 

California housing politics enters uncharted waters -- For northern California housing politics, judgment day has come. Ben Christopher CalMatters -- 2/3/23

Housing costs trouble Bay Area residents more than elsewhere in California, new poll finds -- The survey by Public Policy Institute of California found 80% of Bay Area residents identify housing affordability as a big problem. Ethan Varian in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/3/23

Workplace   

California farmworkers cope with wildfire smoke, pesticides, roaches and rodents, survey says -- A major UC Merced study and survey detail the harsh conditions many of California’s farmworkers experience at home and work. The issues are under a spotlight following the recent mass shootings at two mushroom farms. Nicole Foy CalMatters -- 2/3/23

Autodesk cuts hundreds of jobs, joining flurry of Bay Area tech layoffs -- Autodesk Inc. is cutting about 250 jobs, the latest technology company to shed workers in a turbulent time for the industry that expanded rapidly over the past few years. Brody Ford | Bloomberg in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/3/23

Water  

At the heart of Colorado River crisis, the mighty ‘Law of the River’ looms large -- At the heart of tensions over water allotments from the Colorado River is a complex set of agreements and decrees known as the ‘Law of the River.’ Hayley Smith, Ian James in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23

Aftermath  

They were at the bull’s-eye of the Bay Area storms. Now, these communities are in economic crisis -- In the wake of historic storms, are Californians recovering? For many on the Central Coast, it depends on finances. Nora Mishanec, Brontë Wittpenn and Santiago Mejia in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/3/23

Recent rains are ‘nowhere near’ what California might see in the future, climate expert says -- The atmospheric rivers that pummeled California are a far cry from what a series of extreme storms could potentially bring, climate scientist Daniel Swain said at a legislative hearing on Wednesday that explored the impacts of the recent storm sequence. Jack Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/3/23

Street  

The feds indicted Tom Girardi. How will his dementia diagnosis play out in his prosecution? -- Tom Girardi, the disgraced attorney, has been indicted in L.A. and Chicago on wire fraud charges for allegedly swindling more than $18 million from clients. Harriet Ryan, Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23

FBI, S.F. police seek man accused of firing round of blanks inside S.F. synagogue, then brandished gun at theater -- The man, whom police are still searching for, first walked into the Schneerson Center and fired a round of blanks in the air, shocking a group of elders and the rabbi. Annie Vainshtein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/3/23

9th Circuit upholds California prison reforms, citing abuse of inmates with disabilities -- The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, citing abuse of California prisonsers with disabilities, upheld a slate of ordered reforms including officer body cameras. Kevin Rector in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23

Twitter  

Elon Musk’s Twitter Tries Super Bowl ‘Fire Sale’ to Win Back Advertisers -- In email touting deal, company offers $250,000 in free ad space to advertisers that spend as much on the platform. Suzanne Vranica and Patience Haggin in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 2/3/23

Education  

Cal swim coach, accused of years of student-athlete abuse, is fired. She plans to sue -- UC Berkeley fired Teri McKeever, women’s swimming and diving coach, after an investigation into “unacceptable behavior” toward student athletes. Christian Martinez in the Los Angeles Times$ Scott Reid in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/3/23

California weighs making flag football a girls’ school sport -- The federated council of the California Interscholastic Federation — the statewide body that governs high school athletics — is expected to vote Friday on the plan at a meeting in Long Beach. Amy Taxin Associated Press -- 2/3/23

Also . . .   

A P-22 postage stamp? Schiff kicks off effort to honor L.A.'s celebrity puma --On the eve of his sold-out memorial at the Greek Theater, famed puma P-22 is being nominated for a more lasting honor: his very own postage stamp. Laura J. Nelson in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23

Hug ‘em hard,’ Dwayne Johnson says after his mom survives an L.A. car accident -- Dwayne Johnson got ‘that 3am call’ about his mom’s L.A. car accident but said she’s OK: ‘a survivor, in ways that make angels and miracles real.’ Nardine Saad in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/3/23