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More workers say their bosses are threatening to have them deported -- The deal the worker struck was simple: $150 a day to tile a bathroom and stucco the walls of a home in Arcadia. The pay was to come at the end of each day but never did, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by the California labor commissioner. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18

A guide to figuring out if California will flip the House for Democrats this fall -- Now that the year of the midterm elections has arrived, the battles will start to pick up speed as Democrats try to reclaim control of the House. The path to the 24 seats Democrats need passes through California — and that means they need to win at least a handful of the Republican seats they hope to flip. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18

A renewed brawl over single-payer healthcare in California is on deck for 2018 -- California officials are bracing for healthcare battles in Washington to have a major impact on the state’s budget and programs. Activists and politicians are planning a showdown over whether or not to establish a single-payer healthcare system in the state. And prescription drug manufacturers are the target of a number of bills meant to target the rising costs of medication. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18

As fish disappear, Trump administration seeks to pump more California water south -- The Trump administration is taking steps to pump more water through the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state despite fresh documentation of the estuary’s declining fish populations. Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/2/18

California Supreme Court struggles as vacancy drags on -- When the California Supreme Court voted 4-3 Dec. 21 to give ailing patients broad rights to sue pharmaceutical companies for defective warning labels on generic drugs, the deciding vote was cast by a judge from a lower court. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/2/18

This dispute over candidate endorsements is dividing the California Democratic Party -- It’s up to a few thousand California Democratic Party delegates to decide whether the state party endorses candidates at its February convention in San Diego — a nod that could come with millions of dollars of support. But this month, California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman sent a letter to statewide candidates urging them not to seek the state party endorsement in February, prompting allegations that he was trying to silence dissenting voices. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18

California governor's race is likely to be decided in Los Angeles County -- For the hopefuls in California’s race for governor, the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles County is as mesmerizing as the blanket of lights that glistens every night from the San Gabriel Mountains to the Long Beach coast. The election will be decided here, where 1 in 4 of the state’s voters live. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18

Will Latinos vote in ‘18? + Why John Chiang loves S.F. + KDL starts on DiFi over DACA -- Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. We are officially in an election year with much intrigue. Before turning to the events of the day, here are a few burning questions we have in 2018: Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/2/18

Fox: A Whole Budget, Not a Budget with a Hole -- There will be an increased focus on the governor’s race as the year moves on but for all of 2018 Jerry Brown will be governor and he means to make his presence felt. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/2/18


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

New era opens in California with first sales of recreational marijuana -- It was six hours past midnight, but the crowd inside the Berkeley Patients Group counted down the seconds. “Happy new year,” they yelled at precisely 6 a.m. Monday as a cashier rang up the cost of three joints, a $45.37 purchase representing one of the first recreational marijuana sales in the state. Jill Tucker and David Downs in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/2/18

Crowds swamp San Diego's pot shops on first day of recreational marijuana sales -- San Diego’s legal pot shops were nearly overrun by customers on New Year’s Day as thousands turned out for the historic start of recreational marijuana sales in California. Gary Robbins in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/2/18

California rolls its own recreational pot sales out for 2018 -- From a pot shop in Santa Cruz that hung a banner proclaiming "Prohibition is Over!" to one in San Diego handing out T-shirts showing the first moon landing and declaring a "giant leap for mankind," the Golden State turned a shade greener with its first sales of recreational marijuana. Brian Melley and Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 1/2/18

Quiet start in Humboldt County on first day of legal marijuana sales -- An hour before Ecocann Dispensary in Eureka opened its doors, only one customer was holding down a spot in line outside the three-month-old dispensary that was soon to open as the first permitted recreational shop in Humboldt County. Laura Montagna said she had no idea what she was going to buy when doors opened at noon, but she just wanted to experience the moment. Bill Disbrow in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/2/18

‘Where are all the people?’ Capital crowds modest as California starts selling legal pot -- Shortly after 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Mike Shorrow, a 63-year-old medical marijuana patient from Montana, pulled out a $100 bill and bought 4½ grams of pot, making him the first customer at the first licensed retail cannabis shop in California’s capital. Brad Branan and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/2/18

For moms fighting against drug policies, a new year's resolution -- While some drug laws are changing — witness Monday’s legalization of marijuana across California — attitudes toward habitual drug users are not, argues Gretchen Burns Bergman. Peter Rowe in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/2/18

L.A. could exempt many nonprofits from revealing lobbying -- When Los Angeles lawmakers have weighed hotly contested issues such as whether to hike the minimum wage or how to regulate street vendors, nonprofits have frequently piped up in the debates ringing through City Hall. Now L.A. could exempt many of those groups from revealing whom they lobby in local government and how much they spend to do so. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18

Amid rising gun violence, accidental shooting deaths have plummeted. But why? -- A country music festival in Las Vegas: 58 dead. A Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas: 26 dead. The streets of Baltimore last year: nearly 300 dead. Gun violence has received no shortage of attention. But one bright spot has gotten much less: the number of accidental shooting deaths has steadily declined. Kurtis Lee in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18

Prop. 57 swings pendulum from 'warehousing' to early parole -- One of two men who crafted a $3.3 million investment scam around an innovative medical syringe was sentenced to prison last month for more than 35 years. He could get out in five. That disparity is created by Proposition 57, approved by California voters last year to reduce the state prison population and give nonviolent offenders an early second chance to mend their ways. Pauline Repard in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/2/18

Turning blue to ring in the new with frigid Jan. 1 Ocean Beach plunge -- They were handing out fresh starts Monday at Ocean Beach, but you had to go into the water to get one. Getting a fresh start is what jumping into the ocean on New Year’s Day is all about, and never mind that all the problematic stuff from 2017, including climate and president, is still very much around. Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/2/18

Hundreds take 'polar bear' plunge in La Jolla -- It was ideal sleeping weather when Liz Foster got in her car around 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day. A dense fog covered much of downtown and most of the 33-year-old’s neighbors were sleeping off the previous night’s activities. But Foster and around 300 others were up early to take their first dip of the year in the Pacific Ocean. Phillip Molnar in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/2/18

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

Drive, Walk or Take Transit? These New California Laws Are for You -- A quick rundown of new California laws affecting vehicle owners, drivers, bridge users, parking-ticket payers, pedestrians and transit passengers: Dan Brekke KQED -- 1/2/18


After the flames, allegations of rent-gouging fly in devastated wine country communities -- Kalen Wehagen thought her troubles were over after her apartment survived the wildfires that ripped through California’s wine country. But the sense of relief wouldn’t last long. Within weeks, Wehagen said her family was handed a 60-day eviction notice. She said the property owner informed them that their Santa Rosa apartment would be remodeled and that they could return if they paid an extra $700 a month in rent — after already hiking the rent 10%. Adam Elmahrek in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/2/18


Young, gay and living on the street: LGBT youth face increased odds of homelessness – Among those homeless, one group has it especially tough: Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Carolyn Jones EdSource -- 1/2/18

POTUS 45  

No-name congressmen, mayors and wannabes gun for Trump in 2020 -- The rapidly proliferating group of would-be challengers is driven by one question: If Trump can do it, why not me? Gabriel Debenedetti Politico -- 1/2/18

White House aides already anxious about 2018 -- Senior staff are looking down the pike of a difficult year, from the looming West Wing brain drain and ongoing Russia inquiries to the threat of a Democratic wave in the midterms. Eliana Johnson, Annie Karni and Andrew Restuccia Politico -- 1/2/18