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Frantic parents descend on school after shooting: 'I just want my daughter, I want my daughter' -- Frantic parents rushed to Salvador Castro Middle School in Westlake on Thursday, desperate for word about the safety of their children after a shooting injured two students. Sonali Kohli and Ruben Vives in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Two students shot at Salvador Castro Middle School, one in critical condition. Girl in custody -- Two students were shot in a classroom in Salvador Castro Middle School in Westlake on Thursday morning, and one is in critical condition, authorities said. Police received a report of shots fired about 8:55 a.m. in the 1500 block of West 2nd Street, according to LAPD Officer Drake Madison. Brittny Mejia and Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

California Senate approves staff whistleblower protections -- The California Senate has unanimously approved whistleblower protections for legislative staff after four years of stonewalling the measure. The Senate's passage comes as the Legislature grapples with an ongoing sexual misconduct scandal that's prompted two members to resign and another to take a leave of absence. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 2/1/18

L.A.'s homelessness surged 75% in six years. Here's why the crisis has been decades in the making -- Some of the poorest people in the city spend their days in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall, napping on flattened cardboard boxes. Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Democratic candidates flock to California’s ‘very hostile’ House districts -- Three times more Democrats are running in the 10 Republican-held California House districts this year compared to 2014 and 2016. The latest tally of Democratic candidates, according to Federal Election Commission filings, is now at 63. In 2016, 22 Democrats competed in those districts. In 2014, there were 20. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/1/18

Trump falsely claims his State of the Union audience was 'highest' in history -- Trump’s audience, measured by Nielsen data, is below the 48 million viewers who watched former President Obama's first State of the Union address in 2010. It’s also below 52 million — the number that tuned in to watch President George W. Bush’s first such speech in 2002 and President Clinton’s in 1994. Brian Bennett in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

#MeToo gets perennially stalled state whistle-blower protection bill revived -- In each of the past four years, a Senate committee inexplicably killed a bill to provide whistle-blower protections to legislative employees. Now the revived bill is one of the most popular in the Legislature, with more than half the lawmakers signing on as co-authors as it heads to the full Senate for a critical vote Thursday. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/1/18

California is collecting so much of your money it can’t save it all -- California’s swelling budget reserves are approaching a point where the state by law can’t save any more money ‑ but don’t expect a tax rebate. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/1/18

ICE says it won’t make immigration sweeps at courthouses -- Federal immigration officials, criticized for authorizing arrests at courthouses, say their agents will enter court buildings to seize specific immigrants but will not conduct sweeps in search of anyone else who is undocumented. Bob Egelko and Hamed Aleaziz in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/1/18

State now facing cascade of litigation over Oroville Dam -- More than 40 farmers and business owners in the Oroville area sued the state Wednesday over the effects of the Oroville Dam crisis, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/1/18

California taxpayers could foot the bill to shutter old oil rigs in the Pacific -- It’s been nearly three years since an oil pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara County, coating seven miles of beaches with crude oil and killing dolphins, birds and sea lions. Area parks and fisheries have since re-opened. The pipeline has not, and the company that owns it is under criminal indictment. But the financial impacts of the 2015 Refugio oil spill continue to wash up in California. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters -- 2/1/18

Skelton: Democrats and Republicans in Sacramento have found something to agree on: An audit of the bullet train -- Democratic legislators have heard enough. They've decided to take a closer look at Gov. Jerry Brown's deeply troubled bullet train. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Walters: Bullet train finances need a vigorous test -- Gov. Jerry Brown reappointed Elaine Howle as the state auditor last week. It was a wise move. Howle has served in that vital, if little known, position longer than anyone with fierce independence and dogged determination to bore deeply into state and local government operations. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 2/1/18

Gavin Newsom has more cash on hand than all his rivals for governor combined -- Gavin Newsom remains the dominant front-runner in fundraising in the California gubernatorial campaign, reporting nearly $16.7 million in cash on hand as the year started, according to disclosure documents filed with the state on Wednesday. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Antonio Villaraigosa reports having almost $6 million socked away in bid for governor -- Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had more than $5.9 million in the bank at the beginning of the year for his gubernatorial bid, lagging far behind top Democratic rival Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Can this candidate for governor fix Silicon Valley’s housing ‘disaster’? -- Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday had a message sure to resonate with Bay Area residents struggling to live here — if he’s elected, he’ll pour resources into solving the region’s affordable housing shortage. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/1/18

John Chiang spent nearly every dollar he raised for governor’s race in final six months of 2017 -- Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Chiang spent nearly every dollar he raised during the last six months of 2017, according to a campaign financial disclosure statement filed with the California secretary of state’s office on Wednesday. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

GOP candidate for California governor John Cox starts 2018 with nearly $2 million in the bank -- Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox has nearly $2 million on hand as he tries to win one of the top two spots in the June primary, according to a fundraising disclosure report he filed with the California secretary of state’s office on Wednesday. Seema Mehta in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Feinstein leads de Leon in the money race – with help from a $5 million check of her own -- State Senate President Kevin de León was always going to face an uphill climb in his race to unseat five-term Sen. Dianne Feinstein. But the scale of the challenge came into sharp relief on Wednesday. Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/1/18

Republican in strong GOP district raised less money than Democrats -- Rep. Tom McClintock, the Northern California Republican whose district was recently added to Democrats’ list of vulnerable California seats, was outraised by two Democratic challengers last quarter. Sarah D. Wire and Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Rohrabacher challengers reveal differences at forum -- The large field of Democratic challengers to GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher raises the possibility that none will end up on the November ballot — that they will split the June vote, allowing two Republicans to advance out of the state’s top-two open primary. Martin Wisckol in the Orange County Register -- 2/1/18

More than half of states have been governed by a woman—why not California? -- Texas has done it. So have Kansas, Alabama, Oklahoma and North and South Carolina. Arizona has done it four times. All told, more than half of all states have had at least one female governor, and 24 have elected them. But California? See if you can spot the pattern. Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 2/1/18

LAPD analysis shows homicide victims are overwhelmingly young, nonwhite and poor -- For years, homicide detectives have known all too well which groups of Los Angeles residents are most likely to end up the victims of a violent death in the city. Cindy Chang in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

With his dad’s lawyer controlling the money, terror suspect couldn’t get a fair trial, witness says -- Hamid Hayat, a Muslim cherry picker from Lodi who has spent 12 years in prison after allegedly attending a terrorist camp in Pakistan, couldn’t get a fair trial because his father’s lawyer had a conflict of interest, a defense witness testified in Sacramento federal court Wednesday. Stephen Magagnini in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/1/18

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

New California legislation would make it easier to build projects that meet climate goals. But environmentalists don't like it -- A Bay Area lawmaker wants to knock down what he believes is a key barrier to California meeting its ambitious climate change goals: one of the state's most prominent environmental laws. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Wine Lovers: Relax, Study Suggests Calif. Grapevines Can Weather Searing Drought -- The drought could be crippling but the wine will be good. That is the happy conclusion of a study published today in the journal, Science. It turns out that the grapevine is hardier than anyone thought. Amel Ahmed KQED -- 2/1/18

Santa Barbara tourism officials wrestle with promoting the region after disaster -- When the state's biggest wildfire ignited in Ventura County and was followed by horrific mudslides in Montecito, tourism leaders in the region were forced to delay and retool efforts to promote the picturesque communities. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Search for missing Quiksilver CEO called off a day after his boat washed ashore empty -- French authorities on Wednesday called off a two-day search and rescue operation for the chief executive of the California-based surfwear company Quiksilver after his motorboat washed up empty on a beach near Hossegor, north of the coastal resort of Biarritz, the previous day. Kim Willsher in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18


As car ownership increases among the poor, transit ridership falls -- Public transit ridership is falling in Southern California as more low-income residents purchase cars, according to a report released Wednesday by the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. Joshua Emerson Smith in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/1/18


Video raises questions about deputies' encounter with homeless man in San Pedro -- Responding to questions about whether two deputies had "dumped" a homeless man in San Pedro, a Sheriff's Department official said Wednesday they were "performing an act of compassionate service" by taking the man to a bus stop at his request. Dakota Smith, Maya Lau and Kate Mather in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18


High school juniors could get relief from test fatigue under bill to offer SAT for 11th-grade test -- Undeterred by past opposition of the state superintendent and State Board of Education, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell is trying again to give high schools the option to swap the Smarter Balanced 11th-grade English language arts and math tests for either the SAT or the ACT. He said he has broad support of superintendents and school principals behind him. John Fensterwald Edsource -- 2/1/18

System of positive rewards to reduce student discipline takes off in California – Ten-year-old Ja’Vonie Morris sat in her school principal’s office on a recent day — not for the misbehavior that got her in so much trouble back in 3rd grade, but to show off her accomplishments under a schoolwide strategy that used positive reinforcement to help her turn things around. Lee Romney EdSource -- 2/1/18


After months of preparation, the selection of Oakland's cannabis dispensary owners came down to ... ping pong balls -- The rattling spheres inside a bingo cage in City Hall’s council chambers Wednesday determined which 32 individuals would have their dreams crushed and which lucky four would get the chance to open a lucrative cannabis shop this year. Kimberly Veklerov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/1/18

Marijuana advocate Dennis Peron had strong Sonoma County ties -- An unrelenting advocate for marijuana’s decriminalization, Dennis Peron was pushing a wheelchair for a woman with multiple sclerosis on a dirt road at his Lake County pot farm sometime about 1998 when the sound of a helicopter had them look to the sky. Julie Johnson in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat -- 2/1/18

Immigration / Border 

Santa Rosa man in immigration spotlight will be tried for murder -- An undocumented Guatemalan man who was thrust into the national immigration debate when he was charged with killing his Santa Rosa girlfriend after avoiding deportation can be tried on murder charges, a judge ruled Wednesday. Paul Payne in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat -- 2/1/18


Covered California expects to work through Friday on last-minute applications -- If you started an application for health insurance Wednesday with Covered California but didn’t quite get it completed, don’t despair. The leader of Covered California pledged to work through Friday to help residents make final coverage selections for 2018. Cathie Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/1/18


For first time in 60 years, spring-run Chinook salmon reproduce in San Joaquin River -- As work to restore the San Joaquin River continues, scientists are seeing promising signs that salmon can thrive in the river as hatchery fish reach new milestones. Brianna Calix in the Fresno Bee -- 2/1/18

How A Skeptical Rancher In Rural California Embraced Green-Friendly Farming — With Help From A Popular Outdoors Brand -- Lani Estill’s family ranches on thousands of acres in Modoc County on the border of Nevada and California. Her operation, Bare Ranch, sits in a place called Surprise Valley. It’s a beautiful almost forgotten place “Where the West still lives” — that’s the county’s motto. Ezra David Romero Capital Public Radio -- 2/1/18

Also . . . 

FBI raids Lodi Parachute Center, confiscates waivers, receipts and video footage -- Federal agents executed a search warrant this week on the Lodi Parachute Center, the site of multiple skydiving fatalities in recent years. Brad Branan in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/1/18

Orange County criminal defense attorney charged with sexual battery, officials say -- Prosecutors are looking for more possible victims of a criminal defense attorney who has been accused of sexual misconduct, Orange County officials said. The allegations against Adam Rudnick Stull stem from an incident reported in November, according to the district attorney's office. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Jail sentences for North Coast abalone poachers highlighted as state braces for closure of fishery -- A Bay Area man who required a cliff rescue amid his crime and a Fort Bragg restaurateur are among about 200 people prosecuted for illegal harvest or trade of abalone caught off the Mendocino Coast last year, authorities said. Mary Callahan in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat -- 2/1/18

POTUS 45  

Mueller Zeros In on Story Put Together About Trump Tower Meeting -- Aboard Air Force One on a flight home from Europe last July, President Trump and his advisers raced to cobble together a news release about a mysterious meeting at Trump Tower the previous summer between Russians and top Trump campaign officials. Jo Decker, Nark Mazzetti, Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman in the New York Times$ -- 2/1/18


Schiff accuses Nunes of making secret changes to classified memo before White House review -- Rep. Devin Nunes “secretly altered” a classified and controversial memo about secret surveillance during the 2016 presidential campaign before he sent it to the White House for review, Rep. Adam Schiff said on Wednesday night. Chris Megerian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/1/18

Republican National Committee has huge financial edge heading into 2018 midterms -- President Trump’s robust small-donor base helped the Republican National Committee vastly outraise its Democratic counterpart in 2017 as the two parties geared up for a crucial midterm campaign season, new Federal Election Commission filings show. Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Anu Narayanswamy in the Washington Post$ -- 2/1/18

About 25% of Trump’s Re-election Spending Continues to Go to Lawyers -- President Trump’s re-election campaign raised $15.2 million in the last three months of last year, and spent $1.2 million on legal fees — with much of the cash going to law firms responding to investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election — according to campaign finance reports. Kenneth P. Vogel and Rachel Shorey in the New York Times$ -- 2/1/18

Republicans see hope for midterms, despite Trump's unpopularity -- House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told Senate and House Republicans here that the midterm elections were beginning to tilt the GOP’s way after bottoming out in December, and that the House is not lost, according to a half-dozen attendees during a rare joint House and Senate GOP session at the party’s bicameral retreat. Burgess Everett and Rachael Bade Politico -- 2/1/18


-- Wednesday Updates 

ICE formalizes plans for courthouse arrests -- Federal immigration authorities formalized a policy Wednesday to send deportation agents to federal, state and local courthouses to make arrests, dismissing complaints from judges and advocacy groups that it instills fear among crime victims, witnesses and family members. Elliot Spagat Associated Press -- 1/31/18

California Could See the Return of $4 Gasoline by May -- Gasoline, which is currently averaging $3.30 a gallon in California, may reach $4 by Memorial Day, the traditional start of the demand-heavy summer driving season, according to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at Boston-based GasBuddy, which monitors fuel prices across the U.S. It would be the first time the state has seen $4 gasoline since July 2014. Milana Vinn Bloomberg -- 1/31/18

In race for governor, Antonio Villaraigosa makes big promises for Bay Area housing -- Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday had a message sure to resonate with many Bay Area residents struggling to live here — if he’s elected, he’ll pour resources into solving the region’s affordable housing shortage. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/31/18

Mark Farrell says brief tenure as San Francisco mayor will end his political career -- Serving as San Francisco’s mayor for the next few months will be the epilogue of Mark Farrell’s political career, as the former supervisor and venture capitalist pledged Wednesday to step away from elected office once his successor takes office in June. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 1/31/18

Fertilizer on farm fields is a major source of California smog, researchers say -- Think of California’s smog problem and you probably think of tailpipes and smokestacks. A startling new study led by UC Davis, however, says the fertilizer in farm soils is a major contributor to smog in California. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/31/18

Democratic candidate for governor Delaine Eastin raised less than $660,000 in 2017, putting her at major disadvantage -- The other major Democrats in the race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang, have raised millions. Newsom leads the pack, with a haul expected to exceed $20 million. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/31/18

Insurance claims from California wildfires near $12 billion -- Insurance claims from last year's deadly California wildfires have reached $11.8 billion, making it the most expensive series of wildfires in state history, an official said Wednesday. The staggering number exceeds the total insurance claims from the top 10 previously most costly wildfires in California. Jonathan J. Cooper Associated Press -- 1/31/18

San Francisco will wipe thousands of marijuana convictions off the books -- San Francisco will retroactively apply California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases, District Attorney George Gascón said Wednesday — expunging or reducing misdemeanor and felony convictions going back decades. Evan Sernoffsky in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Sarah Parvini, Rong-Gong Lin II and Cindy Chang in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/31/18

Napolitano would have ‘intervened’ if she had known about UC audit interference -- Is the frosty relationship between the University of California and the Legislature starting to thaw? Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/31/18

Thousands of stolen laptops, tablets recovered in massive Bay Area car burglary scheme -- Bay Area authorities have broken up what they describe as a massive laptop computer theft ring responsible for hundreds of car burglaries in the region, built on an alliance between a notorious street gang and fencers who swiftly moved the contraband to Vietnam. Robert Salonga in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 1/31/18

Californians with severe mental illness could be banned for life from owning firearms under new proposal -- A state lawmaker wants to mandate a lifetime ban on possessing firearms by some Californians suffering from severe mental health issues, saying it may help reduce the number of suicides. A bill by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) would apply to some of those judged by the courts to be a risk to themselves and others who are approved for an involuntary 5150 hold for mental health treatment. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/31/18

Cal State trustees pick UC Davis campus diversity leader to be San Diego State's new president -- California State University's Board of Trustees has appointed Adela de la Torre the new president of San Diego State, continuing a trend at the nation's largest public university system in diversifying its top campus leaders. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/31/18

Democrats running for California governor play nice during debate focused on abortion rights -- Anyone expecting fireworks at Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate in San Francisco must have been sorely disappointed. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/31/18

What difference? Democrats for governor again try to disagree -- On Tuesday night, the four Democrats running to be governor of California met in San Francisco to spell out exactly where they stand on abortion, birth control access, and other matters of reproductive health. It turns out they all pretty much stand in the same place. Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 1/31/18

Former Schwarzenegger adviser arrested in Citrus Heights prostitution sting -- The Citrus Heights Police Department arrested four suspected “johns” as part of a statewide prostitution sting last week, including a former adviser to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dan Pellissier, 57, was arrested on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute’s services, according to a news release the police department distributed Tuesday. Benjy Egel in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 1/31/18

Rep. Duncan Hunter spent more than three times as much on legal defense as he raised last quarter -- The campaign for Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, spent more than three times as much on legal fees as the total amount it raised in the last three months of 2017, amid an ongoing federal criminal investigation into his political spending, according to a report filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. Morgan Cook in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 1/31/18

Nurses — backed by Newsom — ramp up fight for universal health care -- The California Nurses Association is still committed to pushing through its controversial universal health care bill despite stiff opposition from the Democratic Assembly Speaker and medical professional organizations. Lisa Renner Capitol Weekly -- 1/31/18

Will San Francisco Mayor’s Race Reopen Old Wounds? -- The unexpected death of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee seven weeks ago has set off a ferocious power struggle in the city. With the June election approaching, the campaign backdrop is an economic boom that some fear is threatening what makes the city special. Scott Shafer KQED -- 1/31/18

Oakland Police Spent $6 Million on a Computer System to Track Officer Misconduct, and It Doesn't Work -- Now, the city might have to scrap the Microsoft-built system, putting the department's compliance with court-ordered reforms in jeopardy. Darwin BondGraham East Bay Express -- 1/31/18

Fox: High Speed Rail Just Became a Big Issue in the Governor’s Race -- No avoiding the high-speed rail issue in the governor’s race now that the California State Auditor has been authorized to take a deep dive into the troubled project. The audit will take six to nine months according to the auditor. Assuming the more likely longer time frame the auditor’s report will come down in October right as the governor’s race hits the home stretch. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/31/18