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Death toll from Northern California fires jumps to 31; names of 10 victims released -- Fire crews began to make slow progress against wildfires that have killed at least 31 people in Northern California’s wine country as officials continued the grim search for more bodies amid the ashes. Sonali Kohli , Louis Sahagun, Paige St. John, Nina Agrawal, Chris Megerian and Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Winds ease, but Wine Country fire death toll rises to 29 -- The relentless march of flames through Northern California created more havoc and heartache Thursday as thousands of people fled their homes in historic mission communities, Wine Country towns and a patchwork of neighborhoods from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, and the grim situation is expected to get even worse. Jill Tucker, Melody Gutierrez, Jenna Lyons and Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Death toll rises to 29 in Northern California wildfires; nearly 3,000 homes destroyed in Santa Rosa -- As firefighters make progress containing one of the largest wildfires burning in Northern California, the death toll on Thursday rose to 29. The deaths in the North Bay fires have surpassed the number of fatalities in the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm, in which 25 people died and approximately 3,000 structures were destroyed. Mark Gomez, David DeBolt and Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/12/17

The staggering toll in Santa Rosa: At least 15 dead, 2,834 homes destroyed in firestorm -- The staggering losses from the fire that swept through Santa Rosa became grimly apparent Thursday. Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey said officials estimate 2,834 destroyed homes in the city alone, and about 400,000 square feet of commercial space. Sonoma County has reported 15 deaths so far, most in the Santa Rosa area. Sonali Kohli, Laura J. Nelson, Nina Agrawal and Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Firefighters battle to keep flames out of Sonoma and its historic downtown -- Sonoma woke up Thursday to find that the flames had paused on the north edge of town and that its historic heart had been spared, at least for now. The wall of fire which had kicked up overnight stopped just before reaching a cluster of high-end homes in the the Mission Highlands area, about a mile north of the historic downtown plaza. Evan Sernoffsky in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Wine Country seniors evacuated with ‘feeling we were saying goodbye’ -- Around 5 a.m. Monday morning, the emergency alarms at Spring Lake Village, one of Santa Rosa’s largest senior living communities, began blaring: “This is not a drill.” Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

List of North Bay nursing homes, assisted living center that have been evacuated -- Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Winery sculpture that fire couldn't kill inspires rallying cry to rebuild -- Fire destroyed Paradise Ridge Winery, but Love refused to die. Mike Moffitt in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Tubbs fire torches house of ex-pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer -- Levi Leipheimer, once California's premier road-racing bicyclist, lost his Santa Rosa house to the Tubbs Fire. Mike Moffitt in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Death toll rises to 26 in Northern California wildfires; 463 remain missing in Sonoma County -- As firefighters make progress containing one of the largest wildfires burning in Northern California, the death toll and number of missing continues to climb. Mark Gomez, David DeBolt and Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/12/17

Mendocino County teen, 14, dies trying to outrun fire -- One of six reported deaths in Mendocino County’s Redwood Valley fire was a teen boy who died when he and his parents and older sister attempted to outrun the blaze, officials said. Kai Logan Shepherd, 14, died as he and his parents and older sister attempted to outrun the Mendocino County’s Redwood Valley fire Monday. His body was found in the driveway, his aunt Mindi Ramos said online. His sister and parents reportedly are hospitalized with severe burns. The item is in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/12/17

Tubbs fire pushing north toward Lake County -- There have been 14 deaths in Sonoma County linked to the Tubbs fire, raising the overall North Coast death toll to 24. Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano Thursday morning said investigators haven’t been able to identify everyone as some of the remains were just “ash and bones.” For some identifications, serial numbers on metal surgical parts found in the remains were used, he said. Randi Rossmann in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/12/17

Sonoma County officials opted not to send mass alert on deadly fire -- As fires that would prove devastating burned across the North Bay late Sunday, Sonoma County considered sending a mass alert to cell phones in the region to warn of the rapidly spreading flames. But county officials decided against it, worried that doing so might create widespread panic and hinder the ability of first responders to combat the blazes. Joaquin Palomino and Kimberly Veklerov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Winds ease, but Wine Country fire death toll rises to 24 -- The thousands of firefighters who have been on the Wine Country fire lines since Sunday caught a bit of a break overnight, as high winds that had been predicted to blow flames into new areas of Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga and Santa Rosa didn’t materialize. Jenna Lyons in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Air tankers circle nonstop between Santa Rosa and Sacramento to fight wildfires -- Every day this week, one of the biggest weapons in the state’s fight against the wine country fires has flown back and forth between Santa Rosa and McClellan airfield in suburban Sacramento. The Boeing 747 supertanker, capable of dropping 18,000 gallons of fire retardant in a single pass, lands at McClellan and takes around 20 minutes to refuel and reload with retardant. Hudson Sangree in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/12/17


State employees caught snoring on the job, riding in limousines, holding illegal raffles -- A University of California, Davis, professor spent $996 for three limousine trips and collected $197 of other improper travel reimbursements during two months in 2015, according to a new state report. Morgan Cook in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/12/17

California Senate leader Kevin de León said to be leaning toward challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein -- California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) is strongly considering challenging Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a fellow Democrat, in her 2018 reelection bid, according to sources close to De León. Seema Mehta and Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

This new super PAC says it's going after all 14 California Republicans in Congress -- As the 2018 midterms approach, most Democrats in California are focused on the seven Republican-held congressional districts where Hillary Clinton won last year. But Flip the 14, a new super PAC, says that's not enough. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

California lawmakers call Trump immigration chief comments on 'sanctuary state' law 'reprehensible' -- Several lawmakers in California's congressional delegation are asking Trump's top immigration official for a meeting, pointing to what they called his "reprehensible" statement on a new so-called sanctuary state law that will limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities. Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Limousine rides, other improper conduct by state employees uncovered through whistleblower hotline -- Whistleblowers led California auditors to discover misconduct by several state employees during the last year, including misuse of money for limousine trips and inaccurate time reporting that cost taxpayers thousands of dollars, according to a report released Thursday. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Brown signs bills to help California women, families -- The nine bills signed by Brown on Thursday outside of a resource center for homeless and low-income women are aimed at improving the lives of California women and families and are backed by the 26-member legislative Women's Caucus. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 10/12/17

Poor students will get free tampons and pads at California schools -- In an effort to keep poor students attending class during their periods, California schools will provide free tampons and pads. Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed Assembly Bill 10, requiring middle and high schools where at least 40 percent of students meet the federal poverty threshold to stock half their campus restrooms with free menstrual products. Alexei Koseff and Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

California extends family leave to millions of small business workers -- Nearly 2.8 million small business workers in California will be eligible to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn without losing their jobs next year. Taryn Luna and Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/12/17

Ex-inmates behind push for California employers to “ban the box” -- Many of the 7 million Californians with a prior arrest or conviction can likely relate to Sandra Johnson’s job hunting experience nearly a decade ago. On every employment application, she checked a box that inquired about criminal history. Lee Romney Calmatters.org -- 10/12/17

No one has ever gone straight from City Hall to the White House. Could L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti end that streak? -- There are many paths to the presidency, most of them a standard climb from one elected office to the next. Mark Z. Barabak in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Jeffe & Jeffe: Electoral Math Favors Feinstein -- For those who have been waiting for a clear-cut example of how California’s top-two primary system could make a difference in the electoral landscape, the case in point is here: Diane Feinstein’s re-election campaign. Sherry Bebitch Jeffe & Doug Jeffe Fox & Hounds -- 10/12/17

Fox: Pensions vs. Split Roll -- I guess I should use the old vaudeville line: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the push to increase commercial property taxes is about government pension costs. Returning to this subject at this time (I wrote on the same subject for the Sacramento Bee last April) is prompted by the coming together of a couple of recent events. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 10/12/17

California files legal challenge to Trump administration's revised travel restrictions -- California joined five other states Thursday in filing a court action seeking to block the Trump administration’s new restrictions on travelers from a handful of countries, arguing it is unconstitutionally motivated by anti-Muslim animus. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Apple, Google, Facebook and Uber urge Supreme Court to take gay workers’ rights case -- Apple, Google, Facebook and Uber have signed onto an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to weigh in on whether businesses can discriminate employees on the basis of their sexual orientation. Seung Lee in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/12/17

Borenstein: Who runs Alameda, city manager … or the fire union? -- In Alameda, an island community with a long history of strong labor influence, the city manager could lose her job because she resisted political pressure to hire a union leader as fire chief. Dan Borenstein in the East Bay Times -- 10/12/17

State Bar recommends 1-year suspension for Orange County prosecutor for withholding evidence -- The State Bar of California has recommended that an Orange County prosecutor be suspended for at least a year, finding that she failed to turn over to defense counsel copies of an inmate’s mail that she secretly collected before trial. Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Trump issues order to deregulate health insurance, promising relief from Obamacare -- Trump released an executive order that aims to open the way for more relatively cheap health plans that potentially offer skimpier coverage than allowed under Obamacare. Noam N. Levey in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Equifax website is apparently hacked -- Equifax Inc. has taken part of its website offline after an independent security analyst reported that the site apparently had been hacked. He said clicking a link on the site redirected him to a malicious URL urging him to download malware. Jim Puzzanghera and Lauren Raab in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

GOP alliances rip over gas tax repeal: Anti-taxers vs. business establishment -- Business groups are threatening to wage a pricey campaign to stop California’s Republican officials from trying to repeal a new state gas tax—warning them not to “create new political adversaries.” But the politicians aren’t flinching. Judy Lin Calmatters.org -- 10/12/17

Tom Steyer says Democrats must tell public where they stand on idea of impeaching President Trump -- Tom Steyer, a San Francisco environmentalist and a major political donor, is calling on all Democrats to support the impeachment of President Trump. In a Tuesday letter to campaign committees and every Democratic member of Congress, Steyer said the president is “not fit for office” and is “engaged in a systematic attack on the future of our children.” Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Steyer takes a shot at Feinstein, ‘very much looking at the Senate seat’ -- Tom Steyer, the liberal California billionaire donor who wants President Donald Trump impeached, took a broadside at U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and may run against her, a close associate said Wednesday. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/12/17

Skelton: Will politics pass by Sen. Dianne Feinstein as both parties veer to extremes? Let's hope not -- Every ambitious politician yearning to replace Democrat Dianne Feinstein in the U.S. Senate missed their best shot. They should have started running hard before she committed to the race. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Will Garcetti run for governor? It’s not an easy question -- If running for governor of California were as obvious a next step for a popular mayor of Los Angeles as some might think, Eric Garcetti could have made an announcement this week. Instead, when asked in an appearance Tuesday at the Sacramento Press Club if he’s running for governor in 2018, Garcetti said: “I’m going to take a little bit more time to think about it.” Kevin Modesti in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 10/12/17

Here's how that looming DACA deadline changes the game for California's vulnerable Republicans -- For years, Orange County Republicans such as Reps. Ed Royce and Mimi Walters have drawn from a familiar GOP playbook on immigration. Walters campaigned saying that people who enter the U.S. illegally “should not be rewarded,” and she has voted at least three times against protections for immigrants who were children when they were brought here illegally. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Walters: What next for California’s sanctuary defiance? -- So California has declared itself to be a sanctuary for those who have entered the nation illegally. Dan Walters Calmatters.org -- 10/12/17

California blames Trump administration for health care price hike -- The 1.4 million people who buy insurance through Covered California will likely want to do some comparison shopping for their 2018 health plans. State regulators announced the most popular plans on the state exchange will include an average 12.4 percent surcharge next year. Michelle Faust KPCC Chad Terhune in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Fed up with Congress, Trump whacks Obamacare with his pen -- An executive order is expected to encourage creation of skimpy, cheaper plans that would take healthier enrollees from Obamacare. Adam Cancryn Politico -- 10/12/17

‘We were forced to hire people.’ Investigation focuses on state tax agency’s hiring -- John Calzada wishes he’d never taken the job that placed him directly in between a California tax agency and one of the politicians who was elected to lead it. Calzada left that job last year when a state investigation found that he’d swayed the agency’s hiring process to favor candidates connected to Board of Equalization member George Runner. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/12/17

State Supreme Court to decide if L.A. County sheriff can give names of problem deputies to prosecutors -- The debate over a secret list of 300 Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies with histories of dishonesty or similar misconduct is now before the California Supreme Court. Maya Lau in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

State utilities commission seeks to close San Onofre proceeding -- Five-plus years after the San Onofre nuclear plant leaked radiation and closed for good, state utility regulators have laid out a schedule for ending their review of what went wrong. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/12/17

Regulators demand answers into status of CPUC criminal probe -- Lawyers for the California Public Utilities Commission say they can’t get a straight answer from the state Attorney General’s Office about a long-running corruption investigation into the regulatory agency. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/12/17

Kamala Harris spurs on Dreamers at UC Irvine, calling for new legal protections -- At a UC Irvine rally for young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday continued her push for a measure to provide them with permanent legal status — a “clean” bill unfettered by stricter immigration enforcement provisions called for by the White House. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 10/12/17

LA is tight on funds and needs to save to avoid service cuts, controller warns -- Los Angeles has had a tough year financially, with the city contending with unexpectedly large legal costs and drawing from its rainy-day fund in order to get by, according to a report released by the city controller Wednesday. Elizabeth Chou in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 10/12/17

Gov. Brown gives judges discretion over when to lengthen prison sentences in gun crimes -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed a bill that allows judges to decide against imposing prison sentencing enhancements of 10 or more years in cases where firearms are used in committing a felony. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Jerry Brown Signs Criminal Justice Reforms, Eases Prison Terms -- Gov. Jerry Brown bucked prosecutors and some other law enforcement groups Wednesday, signing a package of bills, including some that will shorten many prison and jail sentences for both juveniles and adults. Marisa Lagos KQED Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/12/17

Gov. Jerry Brown signs legislation to ease punishment, criminal fines for juvenile offenders -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed nine bills to aid young people facing charges and serving time, a victory for a statewide coalition of criminal justice groups that brought together celebrities and former youth offenders in a push to divert children from a path to prison. Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Violent felonies shown on Facebook Live could receive tougher sentences under a new California law -- Violent incidents videotaped or streamed live on sites such as Facebook by attackers or accomplices could result in tougher punishment in California under a law signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

New refinery safety laws pass, but ban on deadly chemical stalls -- Gov. Jerry Brown signed three new laws this week intended to make local refineries safer for their neighbors. But one big change remains elusive, and that's a ban on refineries using a toxic chemical known as modified hydrofluoric acid. Sharon McNary KPCC -- 10/12/17

Gov. Brown vetoes effort to regulate Blue Apron, other meal delivery services in California -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday put the brakes on an effort to further regulate the burgeoning meal subscription business, in which firms deliver to customers original recipes and proportioned ingredients needed to prepare food at home. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

In wake of scandal, SANDAG overhaul signed by governor -- The legislation, among other things, will establish an independent auditor for the agency and shift the balance of power on its 21-member board of elected officials in favor of larger cities. Joshua Emerson Smith in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ Andrew Bowen KPBS -- 10/12/17

Watching the Watchdog -- Since Brenda Roberts became Oakland city auditor in 2015, productivity has plummeted, and ex-employees say the office has been wracked by a culture of abuse. Gabrielle Canon East Bay Express -- 10/12/17

Lopez: With this crowd, Dianne Feinstein is hardly old enough -- Tuesday was karaoke day at the Culver City Senior Center. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

San Francisco looks to restrict fundraising practice favored by Los Angeles mayor -- The San Francisco Ethics Commission is exploring strict new limits on behested payments, the thorny fundraising practice that politicians use to raise money for pet causes, sometimes approaching individuals and companies that do business with government. Aaron Mendelson KPCC -- 10/12/17

Sanders campaign finally pays National City for 2016 rally bill -- Nearly a year and a half after then presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held a campaign rally in National City, the Vermont senator has paid his bill for event expenses. Allison Sampite-Montecalvo in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/12/17

Autonomous Cars Without Backup Drivers Could Soon Hit The Road -- California could soon allow companies developing autonomous vehicles to test them on public roads without a driver or even a steering wheel. New proposed rules also set a path for driverless cars coming to the public. Daniel Potter Capital Public Radio -- 10/12/17


Deadly and vast California wildfires could gain momentum -- Wildfires already well on their way to becoming the deadliest and most destructive in California history could gain momentum Thursday and erase even the modest gains firefighters have made. Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker Associated Press -- 10/12/17

Wind-driven flames maraud residents across Sonoma County -- Unpredictable wildfires prompted new evacuation orders and advisories Wednesday for thousands of residents in Sonoma and Napa counties as shifting winds frustrated firefighters attempting for a third day to get a handle on deadly blazes, which under windier conditions once again threatened more urban areas. Paul Payne, Randi Rossmann, Mary Cakkahan and Phil Barber in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/12/17

Thousands more evacuated as Wine Country blazes spread and death toll hits 23 -- The ferocious fires in the Wine Country and beyond destroyed new territory on multiple fronts Wednesday, threatening communities untouched by the previous onslaught — including the cities of Sonoma, Napa, Calistoga and Fairfield — and prompting evacuations of thousands more people. Jill Tucker, Jenna Lyons and Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Death toll rises to 23, as fires continue to rage -- The death toll from the historic fires raging across Northern California climbed to 23 on Wednesday as flames continued to outrace fire crews, forcing more evacuations in Wine Country towns, and setting off fears that separate blazes could merge. David DeBolt, Mark Gomez and Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/12/17

Whole towns evacuated as Northern California firestorm grows; at least 23 people are dead, 285 missing -- The death toll rose to 23 on Wednesday night from the rapidly spreading firestorm in California wine country as firefighters were battling the return of dangerous winds that sparked new evacuations. Phil Willon, Paige St. John, Louis Sahagun, Chris Megerian and Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Wine Country fire reaches $18 million Robin Williams estate -- The Nuns Fire has reached the $18 million Napa Valley estate that belonged to actor Robin Williams, authorities said Wednesday night. The 640-acre estate was custom-built for Williams over 10 years ago. The property includes vineyards and a 20,000 square foot mansion with 5 bedrooms and climate controlled wine cellar. Annie Ma in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Evacuations, ash and fear in the Sonoma Valley -- The fires burned across nearly 42 square miles in the lush, rolling landscape, impacting Oakmont south through the Valley of the Moon, to Agua Caliente and Boyes Hot Springs and into Sonoma, estates and vineyards as well as the working class communities, all home to thousands of people, many employed by the prized Sonoma and Napa wine industry. Julie Johnson in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/12/17

Rumors of immigration checks at fire shelters bogus, says Sonoma County sheriff -- As Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano spoke at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, updating the destruction caused by a series of fires, he made a point of clearing up a rumor he said had no merit. Hamed Aleaziz in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Cause of raging Northern California fires remains under investigation, officials say -- A Pacific Gas and Electric spokesman said Wednesday that it’s too early to know if the utility's power lines or transformers sparked any of the fires raging in Sonoma and Napa counties. The utility’s priority right now is restoring electricity, said Jason King, spokesman for the San Francisco-based utility. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Fire refugees flood Sonoma County beaches -- Fleeing Santa Rosa fires early Monday morning, James MacMillan and his wife loaded their two daughters, two dogs, a cat and “as much as we could” into their car and headed for Doran Regional Park where MacMillan is the supervising park ranger for the coastal division of Sonoma County Regional Parks. When they arrived at 5 a.m., the Bodega Bay area already was packed with refugees from the fires and “extremely chaotic,” MacMillan said. Mary Fricker and Mary Callahan in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/12/17

Panoramic aerial view of Coffey Park devastation is ‘striking’ -- Looking down from 7,000 feet, the patchwork of land looked almost like blackened crop fields. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Why many didn't get cellphone warnings before Northern California wildfires swept through -- As fast-moving fires invaded neighborhoods across Northern California this week, residents in Napa and Sonoma counties said they were alerted to the approaching disaster by frantic shouts from neighbors, honking horns, blaring smoke alarms and even the noise of an American flag whipping in the intense winds. Phil Willon, Chris Megerian, Paige St. John and Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

Firefighters tell residents in Napa County to flee, but some refuse -- Shifting winds prompted a new set of evacuations Wednesday as the wildfires across Northern California continued to rage. Louis Sahagun, Javier Panzar and Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

In Sonoma County, some flee, some defy continuing blaze -- As strong winds spread smoke into an ominous haze and threatened to push flames to new ground Wednesday, the people of fire-ravaged Sonoma Valley waited. Some stood at roadblocks sealing off their still-smoking neighborhoods, waiting to see what was left. Others sat inside homes they had drenched with water, waiting to meet the flames head-on, while many more languished at evacuation centers, hoping for good news. Lizzie Johnson, Jill Tucker and Vivian Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Search for mother trapped in fires ends in heartbreak -- Jessica Tunis screamed at her mother to run out of the burning house but Linda Tunis said she was trapped, there was fire everywhere, and the last thing she said to her daughter was that she was going die before the call dropped. Brian Skoloff and Andrew Dalton Associated Press -- 10/12/17

1 in 4 flights delayed, 80 cancelled at SFO due to smoke -- Smoke drifting south from the fires blazing in Wine Country prompted a ground delay program at San Francisco International Airport on Wednesday. Eighty flights were canceled, according to airport spokesman Doug Yakel. Filipa Ioannou and Wendy Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Marin Humane inundated with evacuated animals — including trio of turkeys -- Since offering to board the animals of people fleeing the Wine Country fires, Marin Humane has been inundated with animals. Many are the usual suspects — puppies and rabbits, dogs and cats. But there are also doves, turtles and turkeys, according to Lisa Bloch, a spokeswoman for Marin Humane. Filipa Ioannou in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

Bridge toll boost seen as salve for Bay Area transportation woes -- Although Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill allowing Bay Area voters to raise bridge tolls, no date for an election has been set nor has the amount of the proposed increase or whether it would rise all at once or over a number of years. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Napa and Sonoma fires could be devastating to California wine industry -- The tragedy of lost lives and devastated neighborhoods has made the wildfires in Napa and Sonoma front page news across the country, and those sad stories will remain with us until the fires are contained, which could be days or even weeks from now. Once the smoke has cleared, another story will unfold: the damage to the region’s vital winemaking and tourism industries. Paul Hodgins in the Orange County Register -- 10/12/17

Cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah grapes most threatened by wine country fires -- Fire is tearing through a region that produces some of the world’s priciest wines. The Atlas, Tubbs and other devastating wildfires roaring through parts of Northern California have taken aim at the world-renowned vineyards and wineries of Napa and Sonoma counties, thrusting a multibillion-dollar industry into chaos. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 10/12/17

Grace under pressure: one CEO’s efforts to manage wildfire crisis -- Keysight Technologies CEO Ron Nersesian had just finished a presentation at a conference in Stuttgart, Germany, Monday morning when he received an alarming text message. Thomas Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

High court rejects appeal in trade-secrets conviction -- Despite objections from privacy advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a Bay Area business executive who was convicted of fraud for getting onetime co-workers to download confidential information from the company computer that he then used to start his own firm. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17


California state lawmakers turn attention to homeless youth -- Over 12,000 young people are homeless in California on any given night, and a group of state lawmakers is looking for ways to tackle the growing problem. Rina Palta KPCC -- 10/12/17


Wages rise but rents will still be unaffordable, USC report says -- Southern California wages are rising but a new report from University of Southern California shows that’s not going to make rents more affordable in the long run. Josie Huang KPCC -- 10/12/17


Special education in "deep trouble" and still needs reform, says California ed board president -- Special education in California is in “deep trouble,” exacerbated by outmoded concepts and an extreme shortage of fully-prepared teachers, according to Michael Kirst, president of the California State Board of Education. Louis Freedberg and Theresa Harrington EdSource -- 10/12/17

San Diego Unified takes first steps to later start times -- Trustees in the San Diego Unified School District are open to the idea of starting middle and high school an hour later, but want to bring the issue to the schools. Gary Warth in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 10/12/17

Sacramento State Helps Effort To Boost Teacher Diversity -- Sacramento State's effort to increase diversity among California school teachers is getting a boost. The U.S. Department of Education is giving Sac State more than $2.6 million over the next five years to recruit and train more minority teachers. Steve Milne Capital Public Radio -- 10/12/17


Santa Rosa firestorm tests local health care services -- In his 40 years as a hospital leader, Mike Purvis has never witnessed the forced evacuation of a major hospital, let alone two. Martin Espinoza in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/12/17

Community health centers battle for funding -- It’s been nearly two weeks since a crucial deadline passed to continue funding for community health centers, the nonprofit facilities that deliver care to the poor and uninsured in California and across the country. Now, Congress is still squabbling over the details, advocates are still scrambling to get the funding renewed and the centers are starting to plan for the bottom line. Alex Matthews Capitol Weekly -- 10/12/17

Wine Country fires smoke sickening people nearly 100 miles away -- A series of deadly California wildfires have burned through some 170,000 acres statewide, but heavy smoke from the disaster zones drifted farther still as pesky particles of dust, ash and soot entered the lungs of residents nearly 100 miles away. Amy Graff and Jenna Lyons in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/12/17

Also . . . 

Orange County DA releases first police shooting video under new policy -- Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas for the first time Wednesday released video of an officer-involved shooting as he announced he had declined to file criminal charges against the officer. Rackauckas is now one of only two DA’s in California who release such video. Most prosecutors take advantage of a state law that says there is no obligation to publicly disclose evidence, including video. Frank Stoltze KPCC -- 10/12/17

With shock and anger, Hollywood responds to the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal -- Within a week, Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein’s empire has seemingly crumbled to the ground. Fanned by damning investigations by the New York Times and the New Yorker, allegations that the producer and former Weinstein Co. executive has sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women for decades have piled up. It didn’t take long for several celebrities to weigh in on Weinstein’s downfall. Tara Paniogue in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/12/17

POTUS 45  

Pro sports teams were once reliable patrons of Trump’s hotels. Not anymore. -- Until recently, the Trump SoHo hotel served as a kind of luxe clubhouse for NBA teams visiting New York. Tim Bontemps and David A. Fahrenthold in the Washington Post$ -- 10/12/17

‘He threw a fit’: Trump’s anger over Iran deal forced aides to scramble for a compromise -- President Trump was livid. Why, he asked his advisers in mid-July, should he go along with what he considered the failed Obama-era policy toward Iran and prop up an international nuclear deal he saw as disastrous? Anne Gearan in the Washington Post$ -- 10/12/17

Trump takes tax plan to the public as GOP senators struggle to find agreement -- During a speech to truckers and others here, Trump touted what he alleges are the tax cuts’ benefits for the working and middle classes, making grand-but-disputed claims about the additional dollars workers would see if tax rates were cut for corporations. Damian Paletta and John Wagner in the Washington Post$ -- 10/12/17

Trudeau fights to save NAFTA deal, but Trump offers little hope -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the White House on Wednesday seeking a new “fairer trade” deal among the United States, Canada and Mexico amid growing alarm from business leaders that President Trump is leaning toward jettisoning the North American Free Trade Agreement in favor of bilateral accords. Steven Mufson in the Washington Post$ -- 10/12/17


-- Wednesday Updates 

Live updates: 21 dead in Wine Country Fire; 285 people still missing -- 5:30 p.m. Sheriff clears up immigration rumor: Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano took time out of a press conference to clear up a rumor he wanted dispelled. “There’s a rumor out there that people are checking immigration status in shelters and that is not true,” he said, explaining that shelters were asking for names to identify who was coming in. “Immigration status will never be asked of you.” 5:25 p.m. School closures continue to expand: West Contra Costa Unified School District superintendent Matthew Duffy said all schools in the district would be closed on Thursday due to declining air quality. All classes and after school activities are canceled. Jenna Lyons, Steve Rubenstein, Hamed Aleaziz, Peter Fimrite and Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/11/17

Wine Country fires ‘burning faster than firefighters can run’ -- The fight to save the North Bay from further devastation as the flames from three major fires continue to bear down on communities there is both harrowing and difficult, as firefighters attempt to outflank fast-moving, wind-whipped blazes. “We are at very low containment on most of these,” said Ken Pimlott, the chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire. “These fires are literally burning faster than firefighters can run.” Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco ChronicleDavid DeBolt, Mark Gomez, and Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/11/17

Calistoga a ghost-town after mandatory evacuation order -- Before most of California was awake Wednesday, police and fire officials were doing everything they could to get people out of Calistoga. Marissa Lang in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/11/17

Calistoga evacuations ordered; Sonoma County fire deaths now 21; 5 arrested for suspected looting -- 3:15 p.m. A Cal Fire MANDATORY EVACUATION order has issued for city of Calistoga. All residents must evacuate as the Tubbs fire threatens the city of 5,000. 3:04 p.m. The Sonoma County Sheriff has issued an ADVISORY EVACUATION for most of Boyes Hot Springs and the north side of Sonoma. The item is in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/11/17

Hundreds of missing persons reports amid Sonoma County fires; loved ones go online -- Friends and relatives desperately checked hospitals and shelters and pleaded on social media for help finding loved ones missing amid Sonoma County wildfires, with hundreds of people unaccounted for Wednesday. Brian Skoloff and Janie Har in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/11/17

The worst rumors about the Wine Country fires -- In the confusion surrounding the wildfires devastating Wine Country, rumors are rife. Some areas remain inaccessible and without power and cell phone service, contributing to the spread of misinformation on social media. Here are some of the more notorious rumors that have circulated: Mike Moffitt in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/11/17

Fire danger rises with forecast for high winds in Sonoma and Napa mountains -- An ominous forecast from the National Weather Service calls for strong northerly winds gusting up to 50 mph over the North Bay mountains starting late Wednesday afternoon and continuing overnight. Winds won’t be quite as strong as the 60 mph blasts that propelled the Tubbs fire over the mountains from Napa County into Santa Rosa early Monday, a weather service meteorologist said, but still cause for worry in a region with nerves rubbed raw for three days. Guy Kovner in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/11/17

Lazarus: As California burns, here's what you need to know about fire insurance -- Most homeowners insurance policies cover fire damage. But heads-up: That’s not the whole story. If you live in a high-risk area, such as near a canyon, you may need to pay more for additional coverage. And if, God forbid, a fire has devastated whole communities, such as what we’re seeing now in Northern California, your home-replacement dollars could be stretched thin as costs soar for everything from materials to labor. David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/11/17

Live updates: 560 people missing in Sonoma Co. fires, 21 dead in N. California -- 11:40 a.m. Death toll now at 21 in California fires: The series of deadly wildfires have now claimed 21 lives, according to Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott. Jenna Lyons, Steve Rubenstein, Hamed Aleaziz, Peter Fimrite and Jill Tucker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/11/17

Thousands more evacuated as Wine Country blazes spread and firefighters dig in -- Even as residents in the North Bay and beyond grappled with the horrific toll of a series of historic wildfires, the flames pushed onward Wednesday morning into more communities, prompting thousands of firefighters to scramble to save lives and property in several counties and authorities to evacuate thousands more people from their homes. Jenna Lyons and Demian Bulwa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 10/11/17

As fires burn in Wine County, Sonoma County sheriff fears death toll will continue to rise -- The death toll rose Tuesday to 17 in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Yuba counties while officers in Sonoma County — where 11 of the deaths occurred — searched evacuation centers and homes for 670 people, finding 110 of them as of Tuesday evening. Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said Wednesday he expects the number of people who perished in the fast-moving wildfires to increase. Mark Gomez, David DeBolt, Katy Murphy and Erin Baldassari in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 10/11/17

Preliminary report: Homes burned in Santa Rosa’s Oakmont -- Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said Wednesday that in the wake of overnight evacuation orders in the county, the number of reports of missing people rose to 540. He said 30 deputies are working to locate missing people. None of the 11 fatalities reported to date in Sonoma County were found during searches for missing people, Giordano said. They were found during other law enforcement and rescue operations, he said. The item is in the Santa Rosa Press -- 10/11/17

Desperate calls to save those trapped by fire, but emergency alert system failed many -- The distress calls crackled over the Napa County sheriff’s dispatch radio in a rapid staccato late Sunday as flames sped toward residents on Atlas Peak Road. “Parents trapped in garage,” an officer called in to the central dispatcher. Then: “The fire is moving quickly through here.” Paige St. John, Dakota Smith, Hailey Branson-Potts and Joy Resmovits in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 10/11/17

If you had only 5 minutes to evacuate, what would you take? -- An essential guide to think about BEFORE it happens via in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 10/11/17