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California Policy & Politics This Morning  

While he was illegally lobbying, former L.A. official was also getting paid by City Hall -- Los Angeles’ planning department was paying its former top executive more than $18,000 a month in consulting fees during the period when he was illegally lobbying managers in that same agency on behalf of real estate developers, documents show. David Zahniser, Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/19

Oakland businessman, partners indicted in aleged $110 million cash-for-visas fraud -- Oakland businessman Tom Henderson, former owner of the iconic Tribune Tower, was indicted Tuesday for defrauding over 200 foreign investors of $110 million under a controversial federal cash-for-visas program. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ David DeBolt in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/21/19

Two more carmakers may dump Trump for CA’s emissions targets, Newsom says -- California is close to bringing two more automakers into its plan to reduce tailpipe emissions below national targets, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, despite what he called the Trump administration’s “pathetic” attempts to pressure the industry not to get involved. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

Republican Party of San Diego County launches ‘news’ website for political purposes -- The San Diego County Republican Party recently launched a new political communications tool that looks like a local news website, albeit a politically right-leaning one. You wouldn’t know that Sandiegonewsdesk.com was a Republican Party product unless you read the fine print at the bottom of the home page. Morgan Cook in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/21/19

Media advocates sue to find out more from SFPD, Breed about search of journalist’s home -- Media advocates sued the San Francisco Police Department and Mayor London Breed on Tuesday, seeking an explanation for the illegal raids on the home and office of a freelance journalist who obtained a police report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Olga R. Rodriguez Associated Press -- 8/21/19

Ghost Ship trial: Dismissed jurors could face contempt proceedings -- The judge presiding over the Ghost Ship criminal trial raised the specter Tuesday of contempt findings against at least two of the three jurors dismissed from the case, and she indicated the offenses involved material or communications outside the scope of deliberations. Megan Cassidy in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

Dolores Huerta is arrested once again, this time during protest to help Fresno home care workers -- Hundreds of demonstrators with the Service Employees International Union, many of whom have gone without a pay increase for more than 10 years, gathered outside the Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting. The SEIU represents home care, skilled nursing facility and assisted living center workers. Colleen Shalby in the Los Angeles Times$ Thaddeus Miller in the Fresno Bee -- 8/21/19

Walters: Deadly force law finally changed -- The record of the 2019 legislative session – Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first – is still a work in progress, but his signature on Assembly Bill 392 this week makes it a success, no matter what else happens. The measure, creating a tighter standard for use of deadly force by police, was long overdue. Officers almost never faced legal consequences for killing suspects. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 8/21/19

Supporters call it a ‘landmark,’ but new law may not significantly change how police use deadly force -- Officers could get more training on how to defuse tense situations and head off potentially deadly encounters under a California law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday that aims to reduce police shootings, according to experts on police tactics. But Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing said he sees little difference between what the new “use-of-force” law requires and the training officers in his department already receive. Nico Savidge in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/21/19

California bill cracking down on youth vaping moves forward -- A California bill that seeks to make it harder for underage teens to buy e-cigarettes advanced Tuesday after legislators rolled back some of the regulations originally proposed in the measure — including a key provision that would have restricted the sale of flavored e-cigarettes like the fruit-, dessert- and candy-flavored vapes popular among teens. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

Dem vs. Dem fight over gay-sex bill brings homophobia accusations -- The race for a state Senate seat in the Central Valley has erupted into battle over allegedly homophobic attacks involving a bill carried by a San Francisco lawmaker. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

Lobster tail and fine wine: How California county fair workers misused taxpayer money -- California county fair employees used their employer’s credit cards to spend tens of thousands of dollars on unauthorized travel, lavish meals and alcohol, according to a newly released report from the State Auditor’s Office. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/21/19

Amid protests, SF board names Chinatown subway station after Rose Pak -- Over the objections of hundreds of Chinatown residents, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency narrowly voted Tuesday night to name the city’s newest Muni station after the late Rose Pak — a heroic role model to supporters, but a “morally corrupt bully” and “liar” to many others. Nanette Asimov and Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

For Low-Income Parents, Most Child Support Goes to the State — Not the Kids -- Lam's case isn't isolated: Some 250,000 families in California only get $50 a month in child support payments because they're receiving government assistance, like welfare or Medi-Cal. The rest of the money — $950 per month in Lam's case at the time — goes to the government to repay the public for those safety net programs that his children's mother received. Marisa Lagos KQED -- 8/21/19

State utility regulators award $58,000 to group that opposed San Onofre settlement -- Public Watchdogs said $5.4 million legal fees to lawyers who negotiated $775 million customer rebate were excessive. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/21/19

Opioid explosion: Stanislaus County residents got 218 million pills in seven years -- In a seven-year span, Stanislaus County pharmacies received over 218 million prescription pain pills — hydrocodone and oxycodone: Enough for 61 pills per person, per year in the county. MacKenzie Shuman in the Modesto Bee -- 8/21/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

New report: California has five times more clean energy jobs than fossil fuel jobs -- More than 512,000 people are employed in jobs related to clean energy — from installing solar panels to building electric cars — making the state home to 1 in 7 such jobs in the United States, the study found. Those numbers are expected to grow further in the coming years, as California further ramps up efforts to address climate change. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/21/19

California Oil Industry Sounds Alarm Over Utilities' Power Shutoff Plans -- The industry group representing oil companies in California says if the state's utilities shut off power to refineries during periods of high fire danger, the facilities could be knocked offline, resulting in major pollution releases and increased gasoline prices. Ted Goldberg KQED -- 8/21/19

350 acres of unincorporated land could be annexed into San Bernardino this week -- An affirmative vote by LAFCO would allow the Spring Trails project to move forward with a housing development in the northern part of town. Brian Whitehead in the San Bernardino Sun$ -- 8/21/19

Bubble Watch: California gets its 1st credit-ratings upgrade in 3 years -- Fitch analyst Karen Krop says this isn’t simply about a powerful statewide economic recovery that, among other things, helped create a huge government budget surplus. She said California gets higher marks for its consistent trend of retooling its fiscal activities to make the state government less vulnerable to future economic downturns. Jonathan Lansner in the Orange County Register -- 8/21/19

More LA firefighters are suing SoCalGas over 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak -- In total, 55 Los Angeles firefighters who helped Porter Ranch residents after the 2015 blowout filed a lawsuit against the utility, alleging the utility knowingly exposed them to hazardous levels of toxins like benzene and formaldehyde, according to a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Olga Grigoryants in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 8/21/19

Housing  

Judge blocks eviction of SF mom and five kids, citing ‘bad faith’ of property manager -- San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Ulmer said in his ruling that the apartment’s property management firm, the John Stewart Co., was unfairly attempting to boot Shantel McClendon and her children from their apartment at Valencia Gardens, a public housing complex. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

San Mateo’s housing crisis response? Barracks for cops commuting two hours each way -- For San Mateo police Officer Jeff Brinton, the 85-mile commute from Oakley was so punishing that he decided to pursue the only reasonably affordable solution he could think of: He now sleeps in a van. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

Education 

Most teachers in SF and San Mateo County cannot afford to rent -- The Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO), a nonprofit group of “26 community-based housing developers and tenant advocates” based in San Francisco, put together a new report on the plight of teachers trying to make ends meet in the Bay Area, alleging that most educators cannot afford the high cost of housing. Adam Brinklow Curbed San Francisco -- 8/21/19

Sketch of suspect released in California campus slaying -- Police on Tuesday released a sketch and surveillance images of a suspect in the stabbing death of a retired college administrator at California State University, Fullerton. Authorities were trying to identify the man a day after Steven Shek Keung Chan, the university’s former budget and finance director, was stabbed numerous times inside his silver Infiniti in a campus parking lot. Amy Taxin Associated Press Alma Fausto in the Orange County Register -- 8/21/19

At UC Merced, a pipeline for more diverse faculty -- The school's research programs prepare non-white and first-generation undergraduates for academic careers. Alumni earn doctorates at rates that tie UCLA and UC San Diego. Felicia Mello Calmatters -- 8/21/19

Racist fliers found at San Jose State University -- Racist and anti-immigrant fliers were recently found posted throughout San Jose State University, officials said. “These items were removed immediately because they violated our time, place and manner regulations,” said SJSU President Dr. Mary A. Papazian in a blog post Tuesday. The same fliers were posted at other colleges across the country, according to Papazian. Jason Green in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/21/19

Mandatory background checks for California charter school teachers under consideration -- California charter school teachers don’t always have a teaching credential or the federal background checks required of teachers in traditional public schools. Diana Lambert EdSource -- 8/21/19

Immigration / Border 

Palantir’s controversial ICE contract renewed -- Despite Palantir’s previous public statement that its technology is used only in criminal investigations, activists have pointed to documents showing that the company’s software is used in detainment and deportations. Activists have objected to what they say is inhumane treatment of migrants and the separation of families, and have tried to shame companies for their work with ICE. Levi Sumagaysay in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/21/19

Feds Eye Inland Empire for Major New Site to House Unaccompanied Migrant Children -- U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz — a Democrat who represents parts of the Inland Empire and sits on the House subcommittee that oversees ORR — said members of Congress who represent the area were not informed before the solicitation was submitted. "That's a big problem," said Ruiz who, along with three other members of Congress from the same region, recently sent a letter to ORR voicing his concerns. Michelle Wiley KQED -- 8/21/19

Environment 

Setting Up Regulatory Fight, Court Rejects CA’s Air Pollution Suit -- A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. today rejected California’s legal challenge to the Trump administration’s plans to ease decades-old air quality regulations for power plants, oil refineries, steel mills, and other large industrial sources of toxic air pollution. But the court’s decision is not a total loss for the state, and California’s attorney general is vowing further challenges to the environmental deregulation. Kevin Stark KQED -- 8/21/19

SFO’s plastic water bottle ban draws mixed reactions on first day -- At San Francisco International Airport, there was water, water, everywhere, but not a Dasani to drink. The airport’s ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles at restaurants, cafes and vending machines took effect on Tuesday, though travelers still had plenty of options to quench their thirst. Melia Russell in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/21/19

Proposal would allow oil companies keep injecting wastewater into Kern County aquifers -- California regulators are negotiating an agreement with two major oil companies that would allow them to keep injecting millions of gallons of wastewater into potential drinking water and irrigation supplies in the Central Valley for three years. Janet Wilson in the Palm Springs Desert Sun -- 8/21/19

Also . . . 

CHP Officer Andre Moye Jr. praised as hero by officers, community -- It can take years for some police officers to earn a spot on their department’s motorcycle unit. But not Andre Moye Jr. Ryan Hagen and Brian Rokos in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 8/21/19

Memorial held for California officer slain by gunman -- Hundreds of law enforcement colleagues joined family and friends Tuesday in mourning a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer who was gunned down during a traffic stop last week. The throng filled Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, where Officer Andre Moye Jr.’s badge was presented to his widow, Sara. Associated Press -- 8/21/19

LAPD won’t violate court order and release Corona Costco shooting video -- Saying it has no intention of violating an order issued by a Riverside County judge, the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners declined Tuesday to release surveillance video of a fatal shooting by an off-duty LAPD officer inside a Costco store in Corona. The item is in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 8/21/19

The New York Times 1619 Project is reshaping the conversation on slavery. Conservatives hate it -- On Sunday, the New York Times Magazine published perhaps its most ambitious work on race and slavery to date. The 1619 Project, which marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of African slaves to Virginia, seeks to reframe the country’s thinking about slavery and how intertwined the practice of slavery has been in shaping the nation. J. Brian Charles Vox -- 8/21/19

For 3 years, we've asked artists to define California desert beauty. These are their stories -- There’s beauty to be found in the California desert. I’ve learned to predict the best sunsets by the number of clouds in the sky. The fewer there are, the less sorbet streaks across the horizon. So, when dusk settles in amid myriad white puffs, I jump in my car with my camera to race the sun to the West. Kristin Scharkey in the Palm Springs Desert Sun -- 8/21/19

Teens hide out as bear helps itself to taco meat and ice cream in house -- Two teenage boys got the scare of a lifetime when a bear sauntered into a vacation home, interrupting their Saturday night TV-watching, to help itself to a meal of taco meat, two pints of ice cream and crackers. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/21/19

POTUS 45  

Trump’s trade war comes for consumers: Tariffs could cost U.S. families up to $1,000 a year, JPMorgan forecasts -- More than a year into the U.S.-China trade war, American consumers are about to find themselves squarely in the crosshairs for the first time, with households estimated to face up to $1,000 in additional costs each year from tariffs, according to research from JPMorgan Chase. Taylor Telford in the Washington Post$ -- 8/21/19

Trump team braces GOP donors for a potential ‘moderate and short’ recession -- At a fundraising luncheon this week in Jackson, Wyo., headlined by both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged the risks to the GOP elite behind closed doors. If the U.S. were to face a recession, it would be “moderate and short,” Mulvaney told roughly 50 donors, according to an attendee. Nancy Cook Politico -- 8/21/19

Trump Says He Can Order Capital Gains Tax Break Without Congress -- President Donald Trump said he can cut taxes by indexing capital gains to inflation without congressional approval, a move the White House has been considering for months that would largely benefit the wealthy. Jordan Fabian and Saleha Mohsin Bloomberg -- 8/21/19

Trump, contradicting aides, says he's 'thinking about' payroll tax cut -- President Donald Trump undercut his aides on Tuesday, saying he has "been thinking about" the prospect of a payroll tax cut, just hours after one of his main spokespeople denied such a move was under consideration. Quint Forgey Politico -- 8/21/19

Trump tells NRA chief that universal background checks are off the table -- President Trump talked Tuesday with National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre and assured him that universal background checks were off the table, according to several people familiar with the call. Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey in the Washington Post$ -- 8/21/19

N.R.A. Gets Results in One Phone Call With the President -- The call ended the way that Mr. LaPierre had hoped it would: with Mr. Trump espousing N.R.A. talking points in the Oval Office and warning of the radical steps he said Democrats wanted to take in violation of the Second Amendment. Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni and Danny Hakim in the New York Times$ -- 8/21/19

Beltway 

The Obamas’ First Big Anti-Trump Statement of 2020 -- The former first couple’s Netflix documentary offers a quiet response to Trump’s promises to reinvigorate the industrial heartland. Ted Johnson Politico -- 8/21/19

 

-- Tuesday Updates 

Insurers dropped nearly 350,000 California homeowners with wildfire risk -- After two disastrous fire seasons, California officials have been besieged by homeowners in fire-prone areas complaining that their insurance premiums are skyrocketing or their plans are suddenly being dropped. Now regulators finally have a better idea of just how bad the problem is. Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/20/19

California Wildfire Season Is Off to Slow Start -- California is off to one of its slowest wildfire seasons in years, giving firefighters and fire-prone communities a much-needed break after last year’s huge and destructive infernos. Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 8/20/19

GOP doubles down on winning back its lost California congressional seats -- If there were any doubts about just how important California is to Republican congressional hopes in 2020, the first round of the GOP’s “Young Guns” program should put them to rest. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/20/19

Cal State Fullerton stabbing: Killer left backpack with wigs, knife and zip ties, police say -- A man suspected of fatally stabbing a Cal State Fullerton employee in a campus parking lot may have been trying to kidnap him based on evidence found in a backpack left at the scene, authorities said Tuesday. Hannah Fry, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Ben Brazil in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/20/19

He was paid to keep kids out of gangs. Now, he’s charged in grisly MS-13 killings -- As a “peace ambassador” for a Los Angeles nonprofit funded with public money, it was Wilfredo Vides’ job to steer young people clear of gangs. For those who’d joined one, his role was to convince them to leave, as he had. Or as he said he had. Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/20/19

Homeless kids, chronic absenteeism, frustrated parents: L.A. Unified is back to school and trying to help -- Nearly half a million Los Angeles children and teenagers are streaming into more than 1,000 public campuses for a new school year Tuesday morning, many carrying burdens from their world outside the schoolyard gates: homelessness, malnutrition, and difficulties at home that lead to chronic absenteeism. Howard Blume, Sonali Kohli in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/20/19

Women-only STEM college programs under attack for male discrimination -- Female-only science programs, launched by many universities to redress gender imbalance in such fields as computer science and engineering, are coming under growing legal attack as sex discrimination against men. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/20/19

California’s legal marijuana will outsell the black market in 5 years, forecast says -- The forecast, from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research, estimates that California’s total cannabis market is expected to earn about $12.8 billion this year, with $8.7 billion going to illicit operators and $3.1 billion to the state-authorized market. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/20/19

Pot Industry Underestimates Old-School Dealers -- Traditional drug dealers are still formidable competitors in U.S. states where cannabis is legal. Governments planning for huge tax windfalls and investors expecting rapid market-share gains have to adjust to a slower burn. Carol Ryan in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 8/20/19

Sea level rise: California’s new reality -- While wildfires have gotten much of the attention in California as consequences of climate change, it’s really rising sea levels that will likely wreak the most damage. With more than 25 million people living near the coast, some $150 billion worth of property is at risk. Lisa Renner Capitol Weekly -- 8/20/19

Scientists finally know how big earthquakes start: With many smaller ones -- The finding offers unprecedented insight into what happens before moderate and large earthquakes — and scientists are finding that the vast majority of them occur after smaller earthquakes start rippling underneath the ground, sometimes days or even weeks before the main shock. Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/20/19

End of an era: One of Hollywood’s last scenic painters can’t quite put down his brush -- In his faded jeans, button-down shirt and sneakers that betray a hint of paint speckles, Mike Denering cut an unassuming figure ambling across the Fox Studios lot in Century City. Stacy Perman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/20/19

California moves to revoke licenses for care homes after residents were left out in sun -- Acting after residents at two care homes for the elderly in Roseville and Chico were left alone in the sun and later died, California regulators are moving to revoke the licenses of both facilities. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/20/19

Fox: Compromise on Use of Deadly Force by Police Almost Complete -- Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 392 by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, which sets new standards in the use of deadly force by law enforcement. It is the first major change in California’s Use of Force policies since 1874. But it didn’t come easily. It took compromise and all the components of that comprise are yet to be completed. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 8/20/19