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On anniversary of Oroville Dam crisis, California lawmakers pass bill increasing inspections -- California lawmakers unanimously passed new legislation Monday to inspect most dams and reservoirs annually, one year after state officials ordered emergency evacuations for hundreds of thousands of residents living below the Oroville Dam. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

State earns first royalty check after investing billions in stem cell research -- California, which has poured billions of public dollars into studying stem cells over the past decade, recently received its first royalty check for the investment — a development that will feed into a debate over whether to spend more taxpayer funds on such research in the coming years. Joaquin Palomino in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

Opioid epidemic rages, but California drug database lags -- As the opioid crisis rages across the country and in rural California, the California Department of Justice has not yet certified a database designed to prevent doctors from overprescribing the drugs, angering consumer and law enforcement groups that say it hurts efforts to prevent opioid abuse. Billy Kobin in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/12/18

California police chiefs back Antonio Villaraigosa for governor -- The California Police Chiefs Assn. on Monday endorsed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for California governor, the second major law enforcement organization to back the Democratic candidate. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

Why cops like Antonio Villaraigosa and not Gavin Newsom -- California organizations representing both police chiefs and rank-and-file officers put their law enforcement muscle behind Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign for governor on Monday, contending that his Democratic rival, Gavin Newsom, supported criminal justice and public safety measures that are anathema to their priorities. Christopher Cadelago in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/12/18

Ad portrays Newsom as trailblazer on same-sex marriage -- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom launched his first digital ad in the governor’s race on Monday, timed to the 14-year anniversary of when San Francisco issued the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Seema Mehta in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

Los Angeles tenant groups oppose bill that could lead to a development boom near transit -- Senate Bill 827 from Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would eliminate most local zoning restrictions within half a mile of rail and major bus stops across the state, allowing for new buildings that would be a minimum of four to eight stories tall. He argues that the bill is needed to address both the state’s housing shortage and environmental goals. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

L.A. considers cutting through red tape to get homeless people housed faster -- One measure would allow permanent supportive housing projects to avoid a review process that can drag out a year or more and expose the projects to public battles with opponents. Emily Alpert Reyes and Doug Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

Getting homeless people off California streets is tough. One lawmaker has an idea -- Chiu is making a major push this year for legislation and funding to address homelessness by fast-tracking housing, measuring public dollars spent by cities and counties to combat it and collecting data on services used such as emergency room visits and shelter stays. Angela Hart in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/12/18

As break-ins soar, Palo Alto startup starts selling security camera for cars -- Ben Smith is all too familiar with car break-ins, especially from his time in San Francisco’s Mission District. Last month, he tried a new type of dashboard camera that made him, at least temporarily, feel a little more secure. Benny Evangelista in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

Dark Caltrans signs on I-80 really do work -- The signs are part of an $80 million project to make I-80 the Bay Area’s first “smart” highway on a 20-mile stretch between the Carquinez and Bay bridges. They only get turned on, however, when there’s a serious collision, breakdown or other incident that blocks at least one lane. As soon as the wreckage is cleared and the lanes reopened, the signs are switched off. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

BART’s big fences keep homeless out, but Berkeley thinks they’re too ugly -- BART’s decision to install 7-foot-tall, spiked metal fences to keep homeless people from camping near its tracks in Berkeley is drawing criticism from a city councilman and a number of neighbors — including some who wanted the campers booted in the first place. Matier & Ross in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

Home care subsidy helps San Francisco’s middle-income seniors -- The Cherrys are among the beneficiaries of a pilot program, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, that provides financial assistance to middle-income people — mostly seniors and some younger adults with disabilities — to help pay for home care. In San Francisco, one of the nation’s most expensive cities, the need is critical. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

Report: 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas Fault could displace more than 200,000 people -- If an earthquake similar to the one in 1906 shook the San Francisco Bay Area, nearly 69,000 houses would likely be uninhabitable and more than 200,000 people could be displaced, according to a new report. Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

California Could Get Tougher Penalties For Handling Phones While Driving Under New Bill -- California drivers who talk, text or in any way operate a hand-held device would be charged with a moving violation under a bill proposed at the state Capitol this week. Chris Nichols Capital Public Radio -- 2/12/18

California has a plan to skirt the GOP tax law. IRS veterans say it is likely doomed -- Two former Treasury officials and five former IRS officials — including a former IRS commissioner, an attorney who served in the IRS chief counsel's office, and a director of the IRS's nonprofit division — have told The Washington Post that the agency could view the charitable contributions as an attempt to get around the Republican tax law, and issue guidance saying that it will view these payments as taxes subject to the cap. That could throw the issue to the courts. Jeff Stein in the Washington Post$ -- 2/12/18

Fox: Trying to Make Sense of CA Tax Strategy -- In reaction to federal tax changes, the state of California’s message seems to be that the feds shouldn’t gain tax revenue from the well-off and businesses—that’s the state’s job. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/12/18

Trump’s budget hits poor Americans the hardest -- President Trump proposed a budget Monday that hits the poorest Americans the hardest, slashing billions of dollars in food stamps, health insurance and federal housing subsidies while pushing legislation to institute broad work requirements for families receiving housing vouchers, expanding on moves by some states to require recipients of Medicaid and food stamps to work. Tracy Jan, Caitlin Dewey and Jeff Stein in the Washington Post$ -- 2/12/18


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

How will the #MeToo movement shape California's race for governor? Voters are starting to find out -- When Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa entered the governor's race, it was widely assumed that their past extramarital affairs were behind them. The details about their relationships when they served as mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, had been aired more than a decade ago, both men had settled down and established families and voters seemed uninterested in politicians' peccadilloes. Seema Mehta and Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

State lawmakers want to restore an urban renewal and affordable housing program. But it's complicated -- Seven years ago, at the depth of the state's budget crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated an urban renewal program that provided billions of dollars annually for economic development and low-income housing. Ever since, lawmakers have tried and failed to bring it back. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

Skelton: Californians voted to spend billions on more water storage. But state government keeps sitting on the cash -- We could be headed into another drought. There's little Sierra snow and valleys are dry. Is California ready this time? Not really. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

GOP candidate for California governor Travis Allen courts Trump voters at campaign rally on Capitol steps -- Calling himself the only “true conservative” in California’s race for governor, Republican Travis Allen revived up a crowd of supporters at the state Capitol Sunday with praise for President Trump and calls for cutting taxes and securing the border. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

California Department of Insurance opens investigation into Aetna -- The California Department of Insurance opened an investigation into Aetna after a doctor formerly employed by the insurer made an admission under oath: He never looked at patients’ records before deciding to approve or deny care as a medical director. Trisha Thadani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

Walters: Politicians can’t have it both ways on climate change -- Suing oil companies for causing climate change has become a popular exercise in California’s coastal communities. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 2/12/18

In unaccustomed turn, White House infrastructure plan praises California funding measure -- The Trump administration and California officials — particularly local leaders in Los Angeles — have consistently clashed on crucial policy issues from immigration to health care. But now comes an unusual twist. Laura King in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

Mariah and the Toy Box -- Authorities returned a three-year-old Oakland girl to her foster family after she had ingested meth. It was a death sentence. Matthias Gafni and David DeBolt in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/12/18

Santa Barbara authorities on edge with light rain expected across Southern California -- Still recovering from January's deadly mudslides, Santa Barbara County authorities are monitoring a storm system that is expected to dump light rain beginning Monday over the barren hills charred by last year's Thomas Fire. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

San Francisco moves to build water system to fight fires when the worst hits -- San Francisco officials have reached an important milestone in a long-running effort to build a high-pressure water network needed to bring vital firefighting capabilities to the Richmond and Sunset districts — two neighborhoods that have historically lacked direct access to such a system. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/12/18

American Jamie Anderson overcomes wild winds to defend her slopestyle title -- The snowboarding sensation from South Lake Tahoe survived the brutal conditions Monday to defend her Olympic gold medal in the event. Nathan Fenno in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

When do CalPERS rates become ‘unsustainable’? -- The use of the word “unsustainable” had a distant echo this month as the League of California Cities issued a study of CalPERS rates, a move to get stronger local options for controlling rising pension costs. Over the next seven years, the study found, city CalPERS costs will increase more than 50 percent. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 2/12/18

With Qualcomm in Play, San Diego Fears Losing ‘Our Flag’ -- The world’s No. 1 maker of smartphone chips is the area’s biggest employer and benefactor, a role threatened by Broadcom’s $121 billion takeover bid. Conor Doughterty in the New York Times$ -- 2/12/18


Here’s the ‘artful’ way Sacramento is covering bad paint jobs on light rail trains -- Sacramento Regional Transit has found an artful way of covering the peeling paint on some of its older light rail trains: two are now rolling public art pieces. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/12/18


Food pantries, loaned textbooks and child care: California's community colleges help needy students -- More than 100 community colleges are beefing up their services for students who lack adequate food or shelter. Mikhail Zinshteyn EdSource -- 2/12/18

El Camino Real Charter High School wins L.A. Academic Decathlon -- In something of an upset, El Camino Real Charter High School has won the 2018 Academic Decathlon for the Los Angeles Unified School District, officials announced Sunday. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18


Are Pot-Themed Weddings Soon to be in High Demand? -- From cannabis cake decorations to custom joint tins, discerning brides and grooms can now infuse their weddings with pot. Bianca Hernandez and Alyssa Jeong Perry KQED -- 2/12/18

Immigration / Border 

Trump takes ‘shackles’ off ICE, which is slapping them on immigrants who thought they were safe -- But as ICE officers get wider latitude to determine whom they detain, the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions. Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti in the Washington Post$ -- 2/12/18


Sewage-contaminated runoff forces beach closures near U.S.-Mexico border -- The shoreline from the border to the northern boundary of the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge was closed after testing showed unsafe water quality, according to the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health. The item is in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

Also . . . 

How San Diego Helped Name the Golden State Warriors -- The Golden State Warriors have been Oakland’s team for decades. In everything but name. Even though the team has played almost all of its games in the East Bay since the 1970s, they’re known as the Golden State Warriors. This doesn’t sit right with Oakland resident and lifelong Warriors fan Alan Chazaro. Ryan Levi KQED -- 2/12/18

Truck carrying hydrogen catches fire, triggering evacuations in Diamond Bar -- A semi-truck carrying compressed hydrogen caught fire in Diamond Bar on Sunday afternoon, forcing hundreds of people in the area to evacuate, officials said. The fire broke out about 1:20 p.m., when one or more of the 25 hydrogen cylinders on the truck began leaking, said Art Marrujo, a dispatch supervisor with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18

POTUS 45  

The mysterious oppo researcher working in the White House lawyer's office -- Michael Roman, best known as a shadowy operative who oversaw a research unit for the Koch network, now occupies an unusual and undefined role in the Trump administration. Nancy Cook Politico -- 2/12/18

Trump shifts meaning of 'Drain the Swamp' -- Rather than kill the catchphrase he didn't love to begin with, Trump has done something more subversive: drained it of its meaning. Noah Bierman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/12/18


Nancy Pelosi Wants to Take Back the House. But She Faces a More Urgent Test -- As Congress barreled toward a government shutdown Thursday evening, Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Californian who has led House Democrats for 15 years, gathered her troops to urge them to vote no on a spending bill that would keep the government open. Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times$ -- 2/12/18


-- Sunday Updates 

Remember $4-a-gallon gas? Get ready to say ‘ouch’ -- Remember $4-a-gallon gasoline? It could be coming to a gas station near you, perhaps as soon as Memorial Day weekend. At the close of January, national gas price tracker GasBuddy.com said average gasoline prices across most of California were at their highest levels in more than 850 days. Mark Glover in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/11/18

How a battle over same-sex marriage 14 years ago sparked Gavin Newsom’s political rise -- Gavin Newsom was a fresh-faced mayor a week into his job when he walked into the House of Representatives chamber for the State of the Union address in January 2004. While he watched from the balcony, President George W. Bush declared his support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions — inspiring a political gamble that would change lives and transform Newsom’s career. Casey Tolan in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/11/18

Devin Nunes creates his own alternative news site -- House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a relentless critic of the media, has found a way around the often unflattering coverage of his role in the Trump-Russia investigation — by operating his own partisan news outlet. David Siders Politico -- 2/11/18

Racially charged science project prompts review of Sacramento’s elite academic programs -- Sacramento City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar vowed to diversity the district’s academically elite programs Saturday after a C.K. McClatchy High School student’s science fair project questioned whether certain races were smart enough to compete. Diana Lambert in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/11/18

Bay Area residents want more housing, but … Fed up with soaring prices that are increasingly putting home ownership, or even a decent rental, out of reach, Bay Area residents overwhelmingly say they want more housing built, according to a new poll. But it better not make their commutes worse. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/11/18

Oroville crisis drives harder look at aging US dams -- One year after the worst structural failures at a major U.S. dam in a generation, federal regulators who oversee California's half-century-old, towering Oroville Dam say they are looking hard at how they overlooked its built-in weaknesses for decades. Ellen Knickmeyer Associated Press -- 2/11/18

Disneyland resort raises prices as much as 18% -- The Disneyland resort raised prices over the weekend, several months before the park plans to unveil a remake of its boardwalk-themed area at the California Adventure Park. The prices rose the highest for annual pass holders, up as much as 18%. Daily tickets rose nearly 9%. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ Tamara Lush Associated Press -- 2/11/18

The road to building a border wall will be long and difficult, and go through the courts -- It's not long — just two pages — but a notice recently issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a reminder of the challenges, legal and otherwise, facing President Trump's promised border wall. Jaclyn Cosgrove in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/11/18

Bretón: Spotlight dims for one of the city’s most colorful – and confrontational – characters -- If there is one person from Sacramento in the past 40 years whose outlandish, outspoken and outsized life could be the subject of a movie, it would be Leonard Padilla. Marcos Bretón in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/11/18