Updating . .   

Former aide to state Sen. Tony Mendoza files discrimination and harassment complaint against him -- A former aide to state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) has filed a written complaint alleging she was discriminated against and harassed by the lawmaker, and that she was improperly fired after she complained to other Senate officials. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

California Senate and Assembly to work together to address sexual harassment in Capitol -- The joint committee, led by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), will look at procedures to better protect victims of misconduct. Critics of the Legislature’s current process have often pointed out that the two houses have their own policies to handle complaints, causing confusion and inconsistencies for people who work in the Capitol. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Lobbyist alleges law firm fired her for signing ‘We Said Enough’ letter -- Alicia Lewis, 33, is one of the leaders of the “We Said Enough” movement that kicked off Oct. 17 when she and more than 140 other women lobbyists, legislators, political consultants and public relations professionals penned the letter drawing attention to their collective experiences with harassment. Taryn Luna in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/3/18

Snow measures just 3 percent of average in first California mountain -- When the chief of California’s snow measurements conducts his manual surveys, he usually does it in style, skimming the snow in cross-country skis as reporters plod behind him in snowshoes. No need this time. The vast meadow around Phillips, a remote spot near Echo Summit, was mostly grass and dirt Wednesday, with pitifully small patches of snow. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/3/18

CalPERS leader will get 18 months of salary to decide what he wants to do next -- Instead of retiring, a two-term CalPERS member will go on vacation, collect his $122,000 salary and get a raise while he figures out what to do next. J.J. Jelincic accumulated 18 months worth of paid time off over his 31-year career at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, he said. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/3/18

State study says California police departments receive few racial profiling complaints -- California police departments receive few formal complaints of racial profiling or other bias and find even fewer of them to be true, according to newly released data from Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Fox: Jerry Brown’s Last Budget—Again -- Governor Jerry Brown and his Finance Department are putting finishing touches on his final budget to be presented soon. This is a second time that Brown has wrapped up two terms as Governor of California offering a final budget. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/3/18

Willie Brown for caretaker mayor? Poll says yes. He says no -- A new poll shows San Francisco voters divided on whether a “caretaker” should occupy the mayor’s office until the June election — but that if a short-timer gets the job, their top pick is former Mayor Willie Brown. “You’re kidding,” Brown said when he stopped laughing at the news. Matier & Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Leno, Breed top the field in first poll of San Francisco mayoral election -- Former state Sen. Mark Leno appears to be the out-of-the-gate favorite in San Francisco’s upcoming mayoral race — but with less than a month on the job, acting Mayor London Breed is hot on his heels, according to the first polling in the race. Matier & Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Many ‘firsts’ in San Francisco mayor’s race — and they all have to do with identity -- Supporters of San Francisco acting Mayor London Breed, who will likely run to fill the rest of Ed Lee’s term in the June election, have brought identity politics to the foreground of a tightly contested race. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Net neutrality fight heads to California capital -- State Sen. Scott Wiener said Wednesday he is taking the fight over net neutrality rules to Sacramento. Wiener, D-San Francisco, plans to use the state legislature’s first business day of the year to introduce California’s own net neutrality laws, a reaction to last month’s controversial decision by the Federal Communications Commission to overturn similar nationwide regulations. Benny Evangelista in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Some homeowners lose insurance coverage as wildfire risks rise -- Two days before Christmas, Oakland hills resident Anil Prasad got a letter in the mail saying his longtime home insurance wouldn’t be renewed, citing his property’s location “in an ineligible brush area.” Essentially, the fire risk was too great. Kimberly Veklerov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Parts of California, West may never look the same after wildfires -- As hotter and bigger fires blaze through the West and yet another year passes with a disastrous toll, America’s wildlands are having a harder time bouncing back. Some spots, from the singed valleys of Wine Country to the steep slopes of the Sierra, may never look the same. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Fed up with inaction, Porter Ranch residents take matters into own hands — and it’s ‘empowering’ -- When Susan Gorman-Chang saw a group of children trick-or-treating in Porter Ranch on Halloween night of 2015, a few days after the biggest gas leak in the U.S. history erupted near her neighborhood, she was stunned. Olga Grigoryants in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 1/3/18

Cabinet Report merges with education non-profit -- In an effort to ensure the continued success of an important source of education news, Cabinet Report has joined the Attendance Institute, one of the nation’s leading advocates for improving student outcomes by eliminating chronic absenteeism. The move, effective January 1st, comes with a new name for the news service, K-12 Daily. Tom Chorneau -- 1/3/18

Trump breaks with Bannon over explosive comments in forthcoming book -- The president, who told White House aides his former strategist is 'not well,' released a statement saying Bannon has nothing to do with his presidency. Andrew Restuccia Politico -- 1/3/18

New Trump book: Bannon’s ‘treasonous’ claim, Ivanka’s presidential ambitions and Melania’s first-lady concerns -- President Trump is a book genre unto himself. There's “Understanding Trump,” by Newt Gingrich, whom Trump considered as a running mate; “Let Trump Be Trump,” by former Trump campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie; “The Swamp,” by former Fox News Channel host Eric Bolling; and a forthcoming book by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer (working title: “The Briefing”). John Wagner and Callum Borchers in the Washington Post$ -- 1/3/18


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Will California outmaneuver a new federal cap on tax deductions? -- California Democrats are toying with a brash scheme to skirt a new federal cap on state and local tax deductions: Instead of paying taxes to the Golden State, Californians would be allowed to donate the money to the state’s coffers — and deduct the entire sum from their federal taxes. Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/3/18

California lawmakers return to Sacramento today. Three resignations have cost Democrats their supermajority -- Both houses of the California Legislature will convene Wednesday afternoon for the formal beginning of an eight-month session to craft a state budget and consider hundreds of proposed laws. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

L.A. prosecutors consider charges against Harvey Weinstein in Beverly Hills sex crimes cases -- In a significant expansion into the criminal investigations of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said it was reviewing two sex crimes cases presented to prosecutors by Beverly Hills police detectives. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Former aide to Tony Mendoza files complaint against California Senate -- A former Capitol employee has filed a discrimination complaint against Sen. Tony Mendoza, the California Senate and two legislative officials, alleging that she was retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment. Taryn Luna in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/3/18

California Senate Knew Of Sexual Misconduct Claim But Left Young Woman In Lawmaker’s Office, Critics Question HR Competency -- The California Senate’s human resources office knew about Sen. Tony Mendoza’s alleged sexual misconduct with a female student Fellow in late September. But instead of immediately placing the lawmaker on leave, or finding a safer place for the young woman — as experts say a properly trained, experienced HR professional might have done — Senate leaders left the Fellow in Mendoza’s office for another six weeks. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 1/3/18

California lawmaker proposes requiring panic buttons for hotel workers in response to widespread sexual harassment -- Alarmed by a survey indicating sexual harassment of hotel housekeepers is widespread, a California state lawmaker on Tuesday proposed requiring employers to provide “panic button” devices to their employees so they can summon help if abused by a guest. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Money, Republican malaise and Tom Steyer: These are the things to watch for in California's 2018 statewide elections -- Get ready, California. What had been a behind-the-scenes dash for cash closely watched by few other than political observers is about to burst into public view. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Walters: Uncle Sam gives school reformers a gift -- A new year brings renewal of hope, it’s said, but it also means renewed political and legal hostilities over the direction of California’s public school system. Dan Walters Calmatters.org -- 1/3/18

Five things you need to know about Travis Allen -- Assemblyman Travis Allen, one of the Assembly’s most outspoken Republicans, is giving up his seat in the Legislature to run for California governor. Here are five things you should know about Allen: Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/3/18

PolitifactCA: Trump’s False claim Dianne Feinstein said ‘there is no collusion’ -- Fact-checkers found President Trump’s recent interview in The New York Times chock-full of false and misleading statements. Trump rattled off falsehoods published in the Dec. 28, 2017 article on everything from how many social media followers he has to what’s known about possible collusion between Russia and his presidential campaign. Chris Nichols PolitifactCA -- 1/3/18

Californians, economics and environmental protection -- Something that isn’t too surprising for legislators or Gov. Brown as California continues to be on the forefront of environmental policies: A major survey shows strong majority (62 percent) of Californians believe air pollution is a problem in their part of California. Nik Bonovich Capitol Weekly -- 1/3/18

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

Petition drive to repeal California gas tax increase temporarily slows down -- Paid signature-gatherers for a ballot measure that would repeal gas tax increases may be hard to find on the streets of California this week. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Southwest, American Airlines will pay $1,000 employee bonuses to mark tax cuts -- Two U.S. airlines — American and Southwest — offered employees $1,000 bonuses to mark the tax overhaul Congress put in place for 2018. American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. announced the bonuses after the close of business Tuesday. Mary Schlangenstein Bloomberg -- 1/3/18

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Travel industry to launch coalition in response to drop in international visits to U.S. -- With international visitation to the U.S. continuing to decline, travel industry leaders say they plan to form a coalition of American businesses to send the message that the country welcomes foreign tourists. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Nobody died in a U.S. commercial jet crash last year — a trend that predates Trump -- The United States racked up another sterling year for airline safety: Zero people died in crashes of commercial jets in 2017, for the eighth year in a row. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18


Last year was a big year for housing in California. Lawmakers aren’t done yet. -- California lawmakers are preparing new housing legislation this week, just months after Democrats in both houses pushed through the biggest legislative package on housing in decades. As the Legislature returns for session, state Sen. Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat, will unveil his 2018 proposals. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/3/18

5 things a Californian should know now about rent control -- One way or another, two words are likely to dominate the complicated politics of California’s housing crisis in 2018: rent control. Next week state lawmakers will hear a proposal from Assemblyman Richard Bloom, Democrat from Santa Monica, that would allow cities to dramatically restrict what landlords can charge tenants year-over-year. The bill couldn’t even get a hearing last year amid intense opposition from landlords. Matt Levin Calmatters.org -- 1/3/18


Trump approves disaster funds for Thomas fire victims -- President Trump on Tuesday declared that a natural disaster exists in California and ordered federal assistance to help local agencies in recovery efforts in areas affected by the Thomas fire, which started Dec. 4 and is still burning. Nicole Santa Cruz in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Sonoma County warns residents of 'fraudulent bills for fire debris removal' -- Mendocino County property owners whose homes were damaged or lost in the fires last October have been receiving bills for the removal of the post-fire debris. The big problem? Some of these bills are fraudulent. Alyssa Pereira in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Homeless Encampments Draw Scrutiny in Aftermath of Destructive L.A. Wildfires -- When December’s Creek Fire ripped across the canyons and foothills near the San Fernando Valley city of Sylmar, it destroyed dozens of homes and scorched 15,000 acres. It also displaced many homeless people who have used the area’s thick brush and steep canyons to carve out a small network of hidden encampments. Steven Cuevas KQED -- 1/3/18


Governor’s Budget Could Fund New Community College Campus — In The Cloud -- Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to release his budget in the coming days, and it could include funds for a brand new community college — one that is fully online. Megan Burks KPBS -- 1/3/18

California education issues to watch in 2018 — and predictions of what will happen -- Ah, 2018. For you, perhaps a time to celebrate over Dungeness crab and Chardonnay. For me, I once again ate crow with a splash of vinegar as I wrote my annual predictions column. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 1/3/18


Get a pencil: California marijuana-tracking system not used -- California's legal pot economy was supposed to operate under the umbrella of a vast computerized system to track marijuana from seed to storefronts, ensuring that plants are followed throughout the supply chain and don't drift into the black market. Michael R. Blood Associated Press -- 1/3/18

Recreational marijuana sales bring long lines to a West Hollywood dispensary -- On the first day of recreational marijuana sales in West Hollywood, the mood was celebratory and the line was long. Michael Livingston in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

State’s First Recreational Pot Licensee Confident Growth Will Continue -- On New Year’s Day, dozens of people stood in line at Buddy’s Cannabis in San Jose to buy marijuana for the first time legally. Tonya Mosley KQED -- 1/3/18

Recreational marijuana is legal. But smoking in public and driving stoned are not, LAPD warns -- As Los Angeles moves toward allowing the sale of recreational marijuana, joining cities across the state in the newly legal enterprise, police here offered a stern word of caution. Kate Mather in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

State pot bureau ready to enforce California's new marijuana laws as license applications flood in -- The state has issued 104 licenses for retail stores to sell marijuana for recreational use in California and 239 other applications for those permits are pending, officials said Tuesday. An official with the state Bureau of Cannabis Control added that the agency is prepared to begin taking enforcement action against pot shops that are not properly licensed. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Yuba County to state of California: You are not protecting us from pot-related pollution -- The day after California launched its first legal sales of recreational marijuana, Yuba County officials gathered on the steps of the state Capitol to criticize the state’s cannabis regulatory system, saying it is not protecting them from destructive illegal grow sites. Brad Branan in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/3/18

Mike Tyson breaks ground on marijuana farm and luxury resort in California -- First, there was the boxing ring. Then came "The Hangover." And now Mike Tyson is going green. Late last month, the former boxing heavyweight champ broke ground on a 40-acre cannabis operation in the quiet desert of California City, a remote town 60 miles south of Death Valley with a population of 15,000. Michelle Robertson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/3/18

Immigration / Border 

Two possible instances of discrimination reported after California issues driver's licenses to immigrants here illegally -- The California Research Bureau on Tuesday released its first report on incidents of discrimination under a 2015 state law that has provided driver’s licenses for hundreds of thousands of immigrants here illegally. Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/3/18

Homeland chief: Wait and see on citizenship for immigrants -- The Trump administration would consider immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people, the U.S. Homeland Security secretary said Tuesday, while emphasizing no decision on that issue has been made and a border wall remains the priority. Elliot Spagat Associated Press -- 1/3/18


Record dry raises fears of drought's return in California -- It's been almost a year since Los Angeles residents felt any real rain, and precious little snow is in the Sierras, but water managers say it's too early for fears that California is sliding back into drought as abruptly as the state fell out of it. Associated Press -- 1/3/18


As hepatitis A outbreak wanes, county turns focus to the flu -- County supervisors voted Tuesday to continue the hepatitis A emergency, though there were just six new cases added to the outbreak total in the last fortnight and the death total has held at 20 for more than two months. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/3/18

Also . . . 

Governor commutes sentence of San Diego man from 70 years to 8, over objections from DA -- A San Diego man who was serving 70 years to life in prison had his sentence cut to eight years by Gov. Jerry Brown, who slashed the term over the objections of local prosecutors. The commutation by Brown was one of 19 the governor handed down Dec. 23, the latest in an annual exercise of the governor’s clemency power. Greg Moran in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/3/18

POTUS 45  

Fusion GPS execs attack ‘fake investigations’ by GOP aimed at punishing it for Trump revelations -- Fusion GPS, the research firm responsible for the “Steele dossier,” defended itself late Tuesday against what it called “mendacious conspiracy theories” spun by Republicans and President Trump, saying its critics were simply “chasing rabbits” to punish it for exposing Trump’s links to Russia. The two founders of the firm, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, made their first extensive public comments on the controversy surrounding the company in a commentary in the New York Times headlined “The Republicans’ Fake Investigations.” Fred Barbash in the Washington Post$ -- 1/3/18

Fusion GPS to Congress: Release our testimony -- The founders of Fusion GPS took to the pages of the New York Times to push back against Republicans who have attacked the firm over a dossier related to the Trump Russia investigation — and to urge that their testimony be released. Politico -- 1/3/18


Challengers call out Nunes for getting money ‘from someone who funded Trump dossier’ -- Andrew Janz, the Fresno County prosecutor and Democrat challenging Rep. Devin Nunes’ re-election bid, has called for the Tulare Republican to once again step away from any investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Rory Appleton in the Fresno Bee -- 1/3/18

Warren positions herself for potential 2020 run -- Elizabeth Warren has spent the past year making a series of below-the-radar moves that would put her in prime position to run for president in 2020 if she decides to. Gabriel Debenedetti Politico -- 1/3/18


-- Tuesday Updates 

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