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Pensions will be ‘on the chopping block’ in next recession, Jerry Brown says -- Gov. Jerry Brown this week predicted that his 2012 pension law will survive union challenges in court and blow a hole in the so-called ‘California rule’ that has restricted changes to public employee retirement plans for half a century. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/12/18

Brown administration working to scale down $17 billion Delta tunnels project -- Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects, a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/12/18

Villaraigosa supporters form super PAC to back his gubernatorial campaign -- Villaraigosa Governor of California 2018 can accept unlimited contributions from donors to support the former Los Angeles mayor’s attempt to catch up with front-runner Gavin Newsom ahead of the June 5 primary. Such independent expenditure committees cannot coordinate with candidates or campaigns. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

Gavin Newsom calls on President Trump to resign over vulgar comment -- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called on President Trump to step down in response to reports that the president used a vulgar phrase when talking about immigrants from Africa, Central America and the Caribbean. “You're a joke and a racist, President Donald J. Trump. Resign,” Newsom wrote on Facebook. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

The same elements that made the Thomas fire such a monster also created deadly debris flows -- The Thomas fire was halted on the steep slopes just above Montecito, sparing the enclave. But the same dramatic landscape that made the Thomas fire so hard to fight propelled rivers of mud and rock on a devastating rampage, toppling houses, tossing cars around like pieces of Legos and carrying 3-foot-wide boulders all the way to the beach. Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

Donald Trump and the porn star: How they met at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament -- News broke Friday that a lawyer for Donald Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to a former porn star one month before the 2016 election, reportedly in an effort to buy her silence about an alleged sexual encounter that occurred at a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament in 2006. Martha Ross in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/12/18

Trump Lawyer Arranged $130,000 Payment for Adult-Film Star’s Silence -- A lawyer for President Donald Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to a former adult-film star a month before the 2016 election as part of an agreement that precluded her from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 1/12/18

Trump’s own words revive debate over whether he’s racist -- To Democrats and some historians, there is little dispute given the president’s own words and actions. His political rise was powered first by his promotion of lies about Barack Obama’s citizenship, then by his allegations that Mexican immigrants to the United States were rapists and murderers. Julie Pace Associated Press -- 1/12/18

Senator Insists Trump Used ‘Vile,’ ‘Racist’ Language -- Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, said that President Trump did use the term “shithole,” repeatedly, during a meeting on immigration — which Mr. Durbin attended. Mr. Trump had offered a vague denial about the language he used in the meeting with lawmakers. Eileen Sullivan in the New York Times$

Trump acknowledges ‘tough’ language but appears to deny ‘shithole’ remark -- President Trump acknowledged Friday that he used “tough” language during a meeting on efforts toward a bipartisan immigration deal but appeared to deny using the term “shithole” to refer to some countries. Anne Gearan and Ed O'Keefe in the Washington Post$ -- 1/12/18


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Up to 43 people still missing in Montecito; dead include four children -- Rescue crews continued to search Thursday for survivors amid the mud and wreckage of Montecito’s massive debris field, but acknowledged that the window to save lives is rapidly closing. Brittny Mejia, Matt Hamilton, Alene Tchekmedyian and Cindy Chang in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

Torrential California mudslide takes lives of elderly, young -- The oldest victim swept away in a California mudslide was Jim Mitchell, who had celebrated his 89th birthday the day before. He died with his wife of more than 50 years, Alice. The youngest, 3-year-old Kailly Benitez, was one of four children killed. Christopher Webber and Brian Melley Associated Press -- 1/12/18

Sex misconduct allegations change tone of Capitol event -- An annual party to kick-off California's new legislative year took a new tone Thursday night in the wake of sexual misconduct revelations at the Capitol. Rather than the traditional remarks from legislative leaders, lobbyist Paula Treat took the microphone to kick off the party at a downtown Sacramento bar with a reminder of changed sensitivity around such events. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 1/12/18

Kamala Harris emerges as voice of immigrant advocates in the Senate -- President Donald Trump hosted more than a dozen senators at the White House this week to discuss a solution for the more than 700,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children known as Dreamers. California Sen. Kamala Harris, however, was not invited. For Harris, one of the most vocal champions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the snub may not necessarily be a bad thing. Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/12/18

Urgent alerts about deadly mudslides came too late for Montecito victims -- A wall of mud and boulders as big as pickup trucks crashed toward Gower’s house, sweeping the couple out the front door. Gower, 69, clung to the door frame. Her boyfriend reached for her hand. Neither could hold on. Her boyfriend, Norm, was pinned against a fence, buried in mud up to his neck. She was swept away and died. Joseph Serna, Hailey Branson-Potts, Ruben Vives and Laura J. Nelson in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

Rep. Duncan Hunter says he's running for reelection -- "I am 100% running for reelection and with continued support from those in my district and the full endorsement of the Republican Party of San Diego County,” Hunter (R-Alpine) said in a statement. “I have run every race with full effort because my constituents deserve no less and this time is no different.” Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

Breed proposes renaming San Francisco’s Portsmouth Square after Ed Lee -- San Francisco acting Mayor London Breed wants to rename Portsmouth Square — one of the oldest and most significant historical sites in the city — after former Mayor Ed Lee, who died of a heart attack last month. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/12/18

GOP candidate for governor Travis Allen says he hopes to tap into California's 'silent supermajority' -- The Huntington Beach assemblyman, spoke Thursday at a candidate event hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California in San Francisco where he talked about his support for expanding oil drilling off the coast, said he supports taxpayer-funded school vouchers, pushed for the repeal of the California’s so-called sanctuary state law and described President Trump as great leader. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/12/18

Garofoli: Three Republicans are running for governor — that’s bad for Republicans -- There are now four major Democrats and three Republicans running for governor. In California, that means there are too many Republicans in the race. Hey, that’s not just my opinion. Ask Jim Brulte, chairman of the California Republican Party. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/12/18

Long Beach, San Leandro mayors join others to challenge Trump administration on marijuana enforcement -- The mayors of 10 cities including Seattle, Long Beach and San Leandro have signed a letter urging U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to reconsider his decision to roll back a federal policy that gave low priority to prosecution of marijuana offenses in states that legalized the use of the drug. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

Exxon pushes back: Oil giant seeks to depose Santa Cruz city, county officials -- In December, the city and county of Santa Cruz joined a wave of coastal California communities suing fossil-fuel companies for climate-change related damages. On Monday, ExxonMobil pushed back against what it called “abusive law enforcement tactics and litigation,” threatening to file its own legal action and accusing the local jurisdictions of hypocritically omitting reference to climate change damages from their own bond disclosures. Nicholas Ibarra in the Santa Cruz Sentinel -- 1/12/18


Tenant activists, landlords clash over rent control bill in Sacramento -- The Assembly bill, which ultimately failed to get the necessary votes to move forward, would have repealed the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a 1995 industry-backed law that limits the rent control rules cities and counties may adopt. Repealing the law would have given local governments the ability to set stricter rent controls. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/12/18


Public Utilities Commission delays California wildfire prevention plan, map of high-risk areas -- The detailed layout was projected before the end of 2017, and due no later than next Sunday, but it became clear to commission staff it would miss hitting that target because of the complexities of taking and applying feedback from multiple stakeholder groups. Kevin Fixler in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/12/18


Appeal filed over ‘appalling, Islamophobic’ teaching material distributed in 7th-grade social studies class -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles chapter filed an appeal this week on behalf of a Ventura County family whose son received instructional material in his seventh-grade social studies class that berated Muslims and which was taken, the group says, from an anti-Muslim website. Deepa Bharath in the Orange County Register -- 1/12/18

Gov. Brown relents amid criticism—proposes making it easier to track funding for needy kids -- Gov. Jerry Brown’s landmark school funding formula would not only win more money under the state budget blueprint he released Wednesday but also be subjected to the sort of transparency and accountability lawmakers and advocates for needy kids have been seeking since its adoption almost five years ago. Jessica Calefati Calmatters -- 1/12/18

How the San Francisco School Lottery Works, And How It Doesn’t -- Laurel Gaddie and Lamont Lucas try to conduct life as locally as possible. They live in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle and don’t own a car. They shop locally and walk, bike or ride public transportation when they need to get around. So when it came to finding a kindergarten for their son, Kelvin, local was a priority. Katrina Schwartz KQED -- 1/12/18

Schools become a 'safe haven' for Salvadoran students in wake of crackdown – California schools are bracing for the impact of the Trump administration’s decision to oust thousands of Salvadoran immigrants, many of whom have been in the U.S. since the early 2000s and whose children are U.S. citizens. Carolyn Jones EdSource -- 1/12/18

Funding, teacher training top educators' wish lists for science education in 2018​ – This year may prove to be a pivotal time for science education in California, as schools enter the final stages of introducing the Next Generation Science Standards — the new K-12 science standards — and prepare for the first fully operational standardized tests in early 2019.​ Carolyn Jones EdSource -- 1/12/18


Study: Legal marijuana could generate more than $132 billion in federal tax revenue and 1 million jobs -- New Frontier Data, a data analytics firm focused on the cannabis industry, forecasts that if legalized on the federal level, the marijuana industry could create an entirely new tax revenue stream for the government, generating millions of dollars in sales tax and payroll deductions. Katie Zezima in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

Cannabis dispensary goes to court over San Francisco’s denial of permit -- In a filing Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, lawyers for PNB Noriega LLC — better known as the Apothecarium — claimed the board had overturned “legally correct land use decisions to favor politically connected groups,” when it went against the City Planning Commission’s vote to approve the dispensary at 2505 Noriega Street. The proposed dispensary is owned by former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and her husband, Floyd Huen. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/12/18

Rat poison from pot farms poisoning owls, study finds -- Rat poison from marijuana farms appears to be sickening and possibly killing owls, fouling wildlife habitat and allowing rodents to spread contamination through large swaths of Northern California’s most famous cannabis-growing region, University of California researchers said in a report published Thursday. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/12/18


California Clinics Fret As Federal Funding Deadline Looms -- The deadline for Congress to reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund is January 19. Nearly 200 California clinics serving low-income and uninsured patients could be affected. Congress did not renew the funding last fall. And while there’s a temporary fix until March, the resolution keeping the program alive long-term expires this month. Sammy Caiola Capital Public Radio -- 1/12/18

San Diego's hepatitis A outbreak hits milestone: No new cases in two weeks -- The latest counts, published by the county Health and Human Services Agency Tuesday, didn’t budge from totals released on Jan. 3: 577 cases, 396 hospitalizations and 20 deaths. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/12/18

Also . . . 

New San Francisco policies bar arrest of sex workers who come forward to report violence -- San Francisco sex workers who come forward to say they’ve been assaulted, raped, robbed or extorted — or that they’ve witnessed such crimes — cannot then be arrested for prostitution or petty drug crimes under policies adopted by city police and prosecutors. Evan Sernoffsky in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/12/18

Letterman and Obama reunite for the debut of the Late Night King's new Netflix show -- Obama, who at 56 appears to have grown younger since he left the White House, spoke in less guarded terms about political divisions among Americans, the role special interests and media play in those divides, the rise in racism and the very real danger of voter suppression. Lorraine Ali in the Los Angeles Times$ Ian Crouch The New Yorker -- 1/12/18

POTUS 45  

Trump's 'shithole' remark is the latest in long string of racial provocations -- From the moment he launched his candidacy by attacking Mexican immigrants as criminals, President Trump has returned time and again to language that is racially charged and, to many, insensitive and highly offensive. Michael Finnegan and Mark Z. Barabak in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18

‘Like throwing gasoline to the fire’: Trump’s explosive remark roils immigration debate -- Immigration talks on Capitol Hill foundered Thursday after the White House and some GOP lawmakers rejected a tentative deal from a bipartisan Senate group. President Trump had already lashed out at the bipartisan group, using incendiary language to ask them why they proposed restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. Ed O'Keefe, Erica Werner and Josh Dawsey in the Washington Post$ -- 1/12/18

Trump rebuffs Dreamers deal reached by senators -- A bipartisan group of six senators has reached a deal that would shield Dreamers from deportation and make other changes to immigration laws and border security — but the framework has yet to win over the White House and other key players on Capitol Hill. Seung Min Kim Politico -- 1/12/18

Trump unites Democrats and Republicans — to oppose his offshore drilling plan -- Members of Congress from both parties and both coasts have intensified their opposition to the Trump administration’s plan to open almost all of America’s outer continental shelf to energy exploration. Keith Schneider in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/12/18


Schiff lays out Republican efforts to block access in Russia probe -- The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday detailed a list of witnesses and documents Democrats say Republicans have kept them from accessing during the panel’s Russia investigation, and blamed the committee’s chairman and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) for attempting to end the probe before it is complete. Karoun Demirjian in the Washington Post$ -- 1/12/18


-- Thursday Updates 

California’s last nuclear plant to close after unanimous vote by regulators -- California’s last nuclear power plant — Diablo Canyon, whose contentious birth helped shape the modern environmental movement — will close in 2025, state utility regulators decided Thursday. David R. Baker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Rob Nikolewski in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/11/18

Rescue efforts continue in Montecito as community reels from deadly mudslide -- Rescue crews continued to search for survivors amid the mud and wreckage of Montecito’s massive debris field on Thursday, but acknowledged that the window to save lives is rapidly closing. Brittny Mejia, Matt Hamilton and Melissa Etehad in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/11/18

Amid rains and mudslides, drought concern remains -- Despite the fierce rains and deadly mudslides that have struck California, water officials are concerned about the possibility of a renewed drought. But they caution that is too early to tell. Jessica Hice Capitol Weekly -- 1/11/18

Trump complains about allowing immigrants from 'shithole' countries -- As he rejected a bipartisan compromise Thursday to resolve the standoff over so-called Dreamers, President Trump asked participants in an Oval Office meeting why the United States should accept immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa, according to two people briefed on the meeting. Lisa Mascaro in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/11/18

White House doesn't deny Trump's 'shithole' immigration remark -- “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House spokesperson Raj Shah said in a statement, adding a list of parameters the president believes should be part of any immigration agreement. Democrats were quick to pounce on the remarks, slamming Trump for what Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) described on Twitter as “abhorrent bigotry.” Seung Min Kim and Matthew Nussbaum Politico -- 1/11/18

Report: Issa considering running in district next door -- Don’t put GOP Rep. Darrell Issa on the retirement list just yet. Issa has been discussing possibly running for another House seat in a neighboring district, The Hill newspaper reported Thursday. Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/11/18

California lawmakers kill rent control bill. The battle could be headed to voters -- California lawmakers killed a bill Thursday that likely would have expanded rent control laws in cities and counties, setting the stage for a protracted statewide battle over how to rein in the state’s soaring housing costs. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 1/11/18

Former Democratic leader predicts ‘big, blue wave’ at election -- Donna Brazile, former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, headlined the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast on Thursday, reminding the audience of California’s important role in creating the day honoring the slain civil rights leader. Billy Kobin in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/11/18

California lawmakers ponder if legal standard for sexual harassment cases is too high -- Is it too difficult for victims of sexual harassment to make their case in court? California legislators wrestled with that question Thursday at a hearing examining the legal threshold for harassment cases under state and federal law. Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/11/18

Opening of BART’s San Jose extension faces probable delay -- Commuters eager to hop on a BART train to or from San Jose will probably have to wait until fall, at least three months later than projected, BART officials said Thursday. It’s not their fault, they said. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/11/18

Fox: Proposition 13 on his Mind -- By my count, Governor Jerry Brown mentioned Proposition 13, the nearly 40-year old property tax reform, three times during his press conference presenting a new state budget. Brown’s discussion of Prop 13 came in the context of the fiscal world California lives in because of the mandates of that tax measure. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/11/18

Borenstein: Brown suffers major setback on pension reform -- Gov. Jerry Brown suffered a significant legal setback this week when a state appeals court dealt a blow to hopes for meaningful pension reform in California. The decision after five years of litigation over pension spiking could undermine key portions of legislation the governor signed in 2012 to end such abuses and help shore up retirement systems across the state. Dan Borenstein in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/11/18

Donald Trump visit to London called off amid fears of mass protests -- President will not now open new US embassy next month, with secretary of state Rex Tillerson likely to take his place. Heather Stewart The Guardian -- 1/11/18