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After transbay fare hike, it can be cheaper to drive than ride AC Transit -- The cost to take an AC Transit bus across the Bay Bridge jumped to $5.50 Tuesday, which means that at some times of day, bus passengers will pay more than people who drive. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/19

Tolls on Bay Area bridges rise for first time since 2010, so ‘traffic can go down’ -- Tolls will go up $1 on seven Bay Area bridges Jan.1, raising the cost of crossing the Bay Bridge to $7 during peak hours, as other spans jump to $6. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/19

In 2019, California workers gain on pay and working conditions. Employers say it will be costly -- For minimum-wage earners, port truckers, farm laborers, sexual harassment victims, nursing mothers, high-powered female executives and workers injured on the job, 2019 offers reason to celebrate. Margot Roosevelt in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19

Numerous PG&E employees saw flames soon after Camp Fire started -- Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said in a federal filing on Monday that numerous employees spotted and reported flames shortly after the Camp Fire started on Nov. 8. The company also provided new details on equipment inspections and damage in response to a federal judge’s request for information. Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/19

Federal prosecutors: PG&E could be in violation of San Bruno probation -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. may have violated a condition of its probation if its reckless power line maintenance caused recent deadly wildfires, which would expose the utility to a broad range of new court-imposed consequences, federal prosecutors said Monday. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/19

PG&E offers new details on Tubbs Fire’s suspected origin -- Evidence collected by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. suggests that the deadly Tubbs Fire may have started with equipment on private property in Calistoga that was not overseen by the utility and had been maintained by a caretaker with no electrical experience, according to a PG&E filing Monday. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/1/19

As Gov. Jerry Brown leaves office, he seems unlikely to retire from the only profession he's ever known -- Deep in the recesses of Jerry Brown’s mind, there seems to be an anecdote or a philosopher’s teaching for most every quandary faced by an elected official. Which explains why on a chilly December morning, after fussing with the fireplace in his rural Colusa County ranch home, a discussion of his historic tenure as governor turned to his Yale Law School studies in the early 1960s. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19

California Politics Podcast: A Governor Like None Other -- This week: A conversation with Gov. Jerry Brown, California's longest-serving governor, who exits the political stage on Jan. 7. Hear excerpts of a conversation recorded at his Colusa County ranch just before Christmas with John Myers of the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19

In California's red counties, sheriffs decry sanctuary laws after crime spree, cop killing -- Before releasing the name of the suspect in the death of Newman Police Officer Ronil Singh, authorities released his legal status. Brittny Mejia in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19

In the home of the Dream Act, young immigrants came out in force on a personal quest to flip control of the House -- Gabriela Cruz, who was brought to the U.S. illegally when she was 1, couldn’t vote, but in the final hours before the Nov. 6 election, she was making one last run to get people to the polls. Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19

Newsom Promises 'Bold' Leadership as Governor, But Can He Deliver? -- Depending how you interpreted Gavin Newsom's campaign slogan "Courage For a Change," he either has more courage than Jerry Brown (his campaign says that's not what they meant) or that Newsom has the courage needed to bring about big changes. Scott Shafer KQED -- 1/1/19

New state law allows some mentally-ill offenders to get treatment before trial — and possibly have their charges dropped -- Just after 3 a.m. on April 7, Matthew Gioia pressed the accelerator in his white Hyundai Elantra, leading Carlsbad police on a one-mile pursuit on Cannon Road that reached speeds of 80 miles per hour before the car crashed. Greg Moran in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/1/19

Amid government shutdown, Joshua Tree campgrounds will close as toilets near capacity -- The fun is over at Joshua Tree National Park. Blame feces. Campgrounds at the park will close at noon Wednesday, park officials said, citing health and safety concerns over the park’s vault toilets, which are near capacity. Javier Panzar and Mary Forgione in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19

National Parks Dealing With Vandals, Human Waste In Shutdown -- Human feces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other damaging behavior in fragile areas were beginning to overwhelm some of the West's iconic national parks on Monday, as a partial government shutdown left the areas open to visitors but with little staff on duty. Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker Associated Press -- 1/1/19

Want A Straw In Your Drink At A California Diner? You'll Have To Ask For One Starting Jan. 1 -- It's not an outright ban, nor does it stop fast-food restaurants, delis or coffee-shops from serving drinks with plastic straws. Dine-in restaurants will still be able to use plastic straws, but diners will have to ask for them specifically. Ezra David Romero Capital Public Radio -- 1/1/19

New California law mandates in-car breathalyzers for repeat drunk drivers -- Under a new law on Jan. 1, more people convicted of a DUI will be able to keep their full driving privileges, but only because they will be required to install an ignition interlock device, commonly known as a breathalyzer, in their cars. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/1/19

No stranger to challenges, former Costa Mesa police captain joins new ethics office at USC -- A longtime member of the Costa Mesa Police Department has exchanged his uniform for an iconic cardinal-and-gold “SC” baseball cap, which is visible in his new office at the University of Southern California. The former captain for field operations plans to call on his experiences at the CMPD, which underwent a protracted conflict with previous city leaders, in order to help USC weather a series of serious storms. Julia Sclafani in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19

‘You gotta get creative’ when tossing shaving-cream tortillas -- The throwing of corn tortillas with shaving cream is a constant New Year’s Eve tradition along the Rose Parade route, and it’s what keeps Manuel Estrada, 32, coming back. Melissa Gomez in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/1/19


‘Toxic-laden stuff.’ Will anyone take the Camp Fire debris from Paradise? -- For the second time in two weeks, FEMA and state officials have run into local opposition over plans to open a large but temporary scrapyard to sort and process truckloads of concrete and metal rubble from burned-out Paradise. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/31/18

Winter is shrinking, Scripps study finds, posing new fire, water risks -- Across the mountains of the West, the landscape of winter is changing. Deep snowpacks that held fast through winter, then melted in a torrent each spring, are instead seeping away earlier in the year. The period of winter weather is shrinking, too, with autumn lasting longer and spring starting earlier. Deborah Sullivan Brennan in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/31/18

New Year, New Laws: Changes Coming to Labor, Transportation and Wildfire Rules in 2019 -- On Jan. 1, hundreds of new laws will take effect in California, changing rules in restaurants, workplaces and roadways. Here's a rundown of some noteworthy new laws: Guy Marzorati KQED -- 12/31/18

Alameda County giving anti-overdose drug to exiting inmates -- Alameda County jail officials have started offering at-risk inmates a potentially lifesaving parting gift upon their release, handing out the overdose-reversing drug naloxone to those prone to opioid abuse. Megan Cassidy and Gwendolyn Wu in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/31/18

Trump claims there’s a 10-foot wall around the Obamas' D.C. home. Neighbors say there’s not -- Trump’s assertion came as a surprise to two of the Obamas' neighbors Monday, who told The Washington Post that there is no such wall. The 8,200-square-foot structure, despite several security features, is completely visible from the street. Michael Brice-Saddler in the Washington Post -- 12/31/18

Visitors stream into Joshua Tree National Park despite federal shutdown -- Park officials left the main gate open, and traffic streamed past the shuttered kiosk where an attendant normally charges $30 per vehicle. The park’s visitor center and restrooms remained closed, however, and some services have been disrupted, including trash collection. Joe Mozingo in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/31/18

Brown leaves again with pension reform pending -- Gov. Brown leaves office next week with a smaller cost-cutting pension reform than he wanted. But after he’s gone, union challenges to minor parts of his reform pending in the state Supreme Court may open the door to big changes. Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 12/31/18

California pet stores banned from selling non-rescue animals -- A new California law will go into effect this week banning pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits from mass-breeding operations. Avery Anapol The Hill -- 12/31/18

Walters: 2019 shapes up as another big political year -- While 2018 has been a pivotal year in California’s political history – particularly the Republican Party’s losing half of its congressional seats – 2019 may be even more significant. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 12/31/18

California Women’s March rally canceled over concerns that it would be ‘overwhelmingly white’ -- The decision comes amid division and tension in the broader Women’s March movement, which has unified millions of women and men in protest in the past two years. Organizers of the 2019 Eureka Women’s March, originally scheduled for Jan. 19, said in a statement that the decision came after numerous conversations with leading local activists and supporters of the march. Michael Brice-Saddler in the Washington Post -- 12/31/18

Obamacare, Ruled Invalid by Federal Judge, Will Remain in Effect During Appeal -- The federal judge in Texas, who ruled this month that the entire Affordable Care Act was invalid, issued a stay in the case on Sunday, meaning that the law will remain in effect while the ruling is appealed. Sarah Mervosh in the New York Times -- 12/31/18


Here's how Paradise ignored warnings and became a deathtrap -- The fate of Paradise was cast long before a windstorm last month fueled the deadliest fire in California history. The ridge settlement was doomed by its proximity to a crack in the mighty wall of the Sierra Nevada, a deep canyon that bellowed gale-force winds. Paige St. John, Joseph Serna and Rong-Gong Lin in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/30/18

Year 1 a mixed bag for businesses in California’s pot market -- It was supposed to be a great year for marijuana entrepreneur Brian Blatz. When California broadly legalized pot on Jan. 1, the lawyer with a background in banking and health care had been working for a year to set up a trucking company that would whisk fragrant marijuana buds, infused juices and other products from fields and production plants to store shelves. Michael R. Blood Associated Press -- 12/30/18

The Sonoma County Experience Offers Canna Tourism Paired with Wine or Beer -- Sonoma County definitely has a knack for cultivating, brewing, producing, and making three agricultural products extremely well that also happen to pack their own special buzz: wine, craft beer, and cannabis. Marcia Gagliardi KQED -- 12/30/18

Jerry Brown Will Leave Lasting Impact on Criminal Justice in California -- During his first stint as California governor 40 years ago, Jerry Brown appointed a slew of diverse — sometimes controversial — judges and signed a sentencing law that fundamentally changed how the state approached punishment. In some ways, things weren’t so different during Brown’s second go-around in the governor’s office. Marisa Lagos KQED -- 12/30/18

Jerry Brown's 'Two Legacies' on Housing -- Even as Gov. Jerry Brown took his most decisive action to address California's crisis of housing affordability, he did so with a declaration of weariness. Guy Marzorati KQED -- 12/30/18

Advocates are still struggling to shelter asylum seekers once they arrive in San Diego -- The federal government plans to release 174 asylum-seeking migrants from a detention center to San Diego but volunteers don’t have enough beds for them, according to emergency shelter operators. Gustavo Solis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/30/18

More members of Central American caravan enter U.S. through port of entry in San Ysidro -- After more than a month of waiting in Tijuana, more members of the Central American migrant caravan are being admitted into the U.S. through the San Ysidro port of entry to claim asylum. Gustavo Solis in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/30/18

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland grows her young campus -- UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland presides over the University of California’s newest, smallest and most diverse campus. More than half of her 8,000 students are low-income and underrepresented minorities; nearly three-fourths are the first in their families to attend college. This year, in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of public universities, those students helped the campus climb 18 spots, to No. 2, for surpassing expected graduation rates. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/30/18

Crime is down in Los Angeles for the first time in five years -- For the first time in five years, violent crime was down in Los Angeles in 2018, with the number of homicides on track to be among the lowest in more than 50 years. Cindy Chang in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/30/18

Malware attack disrupts delivery of L.A. Times and Tribune papers across the U.S. -- What first arose as a server outage was identified Saturday as a malware attack, which appears to have originated from outside the United States and hobbled computer systems and delayed weekend deliveries of the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers across the country. Tony Barboza, Meg James and Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/30/18

Walters: Newsom may not be so lucky on the economy -- Outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown offered a pithy observation about the nature of politics during a wide-ranging interview before the Sacramento Press Club this month, to wit: “A lot of politics is timing, circumstances and luck.” Dan Walters Calmatters -- 12/30/18


California prosecutors: PG&E could face manslaughter charges — in theory -- Manslaughter and murder are among the crimes Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could have committed under California law if its reckless operation of power lines is found to have sparked any recent deadly wildfire, according to the state’s top prosecutor. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/29/18

California officer’s killing reignites sanctuary law fight -- The shooting death of a California police officer has reignited the debate over sanctuary laws, with a sheriff all but blaming the statewide immigration policy for the killing as he announced the arrest of a man living in the U.S. illegally. Olga R. Rodriguez and Jocelyn Gecker Associated Press -- 12/29/18

Willie Brown: Gov. Brown leaving office, but not political life -- Brown still has more than $15 million in his political war chest that he can spend on whatever causes and initiatives he chooses. He exits his final term in office as one of the state’s most popular politicians. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/29/18

In their fight for broad disclosure of police shooting records, media groups battle sheriff's union in court -- The Los Angeles Times and three other organizations have filed a motion with the California Supreme Court opposing a law enforcement union’s last-minute bid to limit the scope of a new law requiring broader disclosure of government records in cases of police shootings and misconduct. Paul Pringle in the Los Angeles Times Alex Emslie, Sukey Lewis KQED -- 12/29/18

New police profiling law requires officers to record people's sexual orientation, among other data points, without asking -- For months, San Diego Police Department and other large law enforcement agencies have been quietly making assumptions about sexual orientation, gender, age and other characteristics of the people they stop as part of a state-wide, legally-mandated data collection effort to understand and curb racial and identity profiling. Morgan Cook in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/29/18

Veterans protest the gutting of West L.A. PTSD therapy groups -- Through weekly sessions on the West Los Angeles veterans campus, Simens, 75, a member of the military’s secretive Phoenix interrogation and assassination program in Vietnam, was able to marry, have children and buy a house in Sherman Oaks, he said. Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/29/18

California’s droughts hurt fight against climate change. Study tells us why -- A new study out of Stanford University finds that 10 percent of the total carbon dioxide spewed from California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho for power generation this century is the result of states turning to fossil fuels when water was too sparse to spin electrical turbines at dams. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/29/18

Letter suggesting furloughed workers do chores to cover rent was posted by accident, OPM says -- The agency that oversees the government’s civilian workforce is facing scrutiny after suggesting federal employees affected by the partial government shutdown barter with their landlords if they can’t make rent payments, advice that it later said was posted “inadvertently.” Michael Brice-Saddler in the Washington Post -- 12/29/18


Potential KTLA-Channel 5 blackout looms for Charter Spectrum customers, threatening Rose Parade viewing tradition -- Charter Communications’ Spectrum customers could miss out on a holiday tradition: watching KTLA Channel 5’s television coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Meg James in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/28/18

Major charter organization says it will sit out March primary for L.A. school board seat -- Recent races for the Los Angeles Board of Education have been the most expensive school board contests in the nation’s history — and charter school supporters spent millions more than anyone else. But a key charter group announced Friday it will sit out a March special election to fill an empty and potentially pivotal seat. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/28/18

Court rejects Jerry Brown’s clemency orders for 3 more California killers -- The California Supreme Court this week rejected three more of Gov. Jerry Brown’s recommendations to commute sentences of longtime prison inmates who he believed had reformed behind bars, including a Sacramento man who beat a man to death in 1997. Michael McGough in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/28/18

‘Death by a thousand cuts:’ California’s first year of legalized pot is no smooth trip -- The legal marijuana market, so long a twinkle in the eye of the cannabis cognoscenti, has hit hard times in California, where high prices, red tape and competition from the black market have cast a pall over what was supposed to be a triumphant first year of recreational sales. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/28/18

A California-backed Marijuana Bank? State Study Says Unlikely -- California would likely lose money and face insurmountable federal hurdles if it tried to create a state-backed bank for the marijuana industry, according to a report by the state treasurer. KQED -- 12/28/18

California’s Jerry Brown caps 5 decades on political scene -- It was a matter of life and death in 2015 when California Gov. Jerry Brown pondered an assisted suicide bill granting terminally ill people the right to choose when they die. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 12/28/18

Suspected Newman cop-killer arrested in Bakersfield, officials say -- The suspect has not been named, but Stanislaus County sheriff’s officials said he was in the country illegally when he fatally shot Newman police Officer Ronil Singh during a DUI stop early Wednesdy morning. Singh, a 33-year-old husband and father of a 5-month-old boy, was working the nightshift on Christmas when he was killed. Evan Sernoffsky in the San Francisco Chronicle Erin Tracy and Kevin Valine in the Fresno Bee -- 12/28/18

10 years since Oscar Grant’s death: What happened at Fruitvale Station? -- Ten years after BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle killed Oscar Grant, and six years after the shooting was depicted in the film “Fruitvale Station,” the incident is recalled by many observers as the most seismic moment for police accountability since the 1991 beating of Rodney King, which also was caught on video. Demian Bulwa and Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/28/18

LeBron James’ move to Lakers could cost him $20 million in taxes -- Tales of the rich supposedly fleeing the state’s high income taxes are hardy perennials, but California still leads the nation in billionaires, and recent studies have found that, among higher earners, California has experienced a net gain. Judy Lin Calmatters -- 12/28/18

Cal State L.A. students fight off extra fees for housing over break. But cost could rise next winter -- Some of the students who live in apartments at Cal State Los Angeles don’t go home for the holidays. They have jobs near the El Sereno campus and families who live far away. They would have to scrounge to find a bed or couch surf if they went elsewhere for the five-week break. Sonali Kohli in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/28/18

These California beaches have long been off-limits. But public outrage is changing the tide -- Behind the exclusive gates of Hollister Ranch are some of California’s most-coveted beaches and surf breaks. Few have had the chance to visit them. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/28/18

KTLA anchor Chris Burrous, 43, found dead in motel -- Chris Burrous, an anchor on KTLA Channel 5’s “Morning News,” died Thursday after Glendale police found him unresponsive in a motel room, authorities said. He was 43. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/28/18

Attorney seeks federal criminal investigation into Edison's handling of nuclear waste at San Onofre -- San Diego lawyer Michael Aguirre is asking the FBI to determine whether performance errors in the handling of radioactive waste by a Southern California Edison contractor at the San Onofre nuclear plant were more than a regulatory violation. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/28/18

Where to watch New Year’s Eve fireworks in San Francisco -- The semi-regular illumination of the fog might not happen come Monday night. Instead, the National Weather Service calls for clears skies, which means that the fireworks for New Year’s Eve at the Embarcadero will actually be seen above the Bay. We’re talking 1080p at 60 fps visuals, folks. Clarity shall ensue. Brock Keeling Curbed San Francisco -- 12/28/18


Another, bigger migrant caravan is set to leave from Honduras next month -- Another migrant caravan — with estimates of as many as 15,000 participants — is preparing to leave Honduras on January 15, according to migrant rights advocates and Spanish-language media. Wendy Fry in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/27/18

Proposition 13 is no longer off-limits in California -- Proposition 13 is untouchable. That’s been the thinking for 40 years in California. Politicians have feared for their careers if they dared suggest changes to the measure that capped property taxes, took a scythe to government spending and spawned antitax initiatives across the country. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/27/18

California Republicans fear even bigger trouble ahead for their wounded party -- California’s Republican Party is in deep trouble, and in interviews with both outgoing and returning state House Republicans, none could offer a specific message or path forward. Kate Irby in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/27/18

California Moves Up Primary, Wants Bigger Impact In 2020 Vote -- Early voting in California's primary will overlap with the traditional early nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. That could force the sprawling field of Democrats to navigate those states as well as California's notoriously complex landscape, where campaigning is done through paid political ads. Nicholas Riccardi Associated Press -- 12/27/18

'Time Is Up': Employee Unrest Grows at Silicon Valley Companies -- This fall, something unprecedented happened at Google: An estimated 20,000 workers at company campuses around the world walked out in protest. Sam Harnett KQED -- 12/27/18

If teachers strike at Los Angeles Unified School District, don’t expect it to stay in L.A. -- The nation’s second largest school district is about to ring in 2019 with a teacher strike that is already reverberating in public schools across California, and could be felt by taxpayers and communities throughout the state. Ricardo Cano Calmatters -- 12/27/18

One year of legal pot sales and California doesn’t have the bustling industry it expected -- Retailers and growers say they’ve been stunted by complex regulations, high taxes and decisions by most cities to ban cannabis shops. At the same time, many residents are going to city halls and courts to fight pot businesses they see as nuisances, and police chiefs are raising concerns about crime triggered by the marijuana trade. Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/27/18

Plans for a state-backed pot bank aren't feasible, a study says -- Hopes that California might create a public bank to serve the state’s legal marijuana industry are nothing but a pipe dream, the authors of a new feasibility study told state officials Thursday. Sam Dean in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/27/18

Could California succeed where Wall Street fails? Five things to know about a state-run bank -- Once an idea batted around mostly in Occupy Wall Street circles, public banking is attracting a surge of interest among policymakers in several states, including California. “We must break Wall Street’s chokehold on state finance and develop our own state bank,” Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom said on the campaign trail. Felicia Mello and Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 12/27/18

Barbara Yaroslavsky, community leader and wife of former L.A. County supervisor, dies at 71 -- Barbara Edelston Yaroslavsky, a longtime community leader and the wife of former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, died Wednesday. She was 71. Yaroslavsky was recovering from a severe West Nile virus infection when she collapsed during a therapy session. She was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/27/18

California cop killed in line of duty was always there for his small town: 'It was in his blood -- Cpl. Ronil Singh spent time with his wife and 5-month-old son on Christmas Day before heading out to work an overnight shift. In the predawn hours of the next morning, the 33-year-old radioed that he was pulling over a vehicle in Newman, where he had worked for the Police Department for seven years. A few minutes later, he called over the radio: “Shots fired!” Brittny Mejia in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/27/18

‘Build the Wall!’ Trump tweets about immigration status of California officer’s alleged murderer -- President Donald Trump on Thursday argued that the man accused of killing a Stanislaus County police officer was further proof Congress needed to build his border wall. Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/27/18

Trump’s arguments about the wall are mostly exaggerated or false -- President Trump’s sales pitch for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico hasn’t really changed much since he first launched his presidential campaign in 2015. He summarized it in a tweet Thursday meant to pressure Democrats into acquiescing to his demand for billions in dollars of funding for its construction. Philip Bump in the Washington Post -- 12/27/18

To reduce fire risk, San Diego is airlifting palm trees out of one suburb -- Crews, with help from the city of San Diego, began cutting down the palm trees on Dec. 10. This week, they will move the trees by helicopter to the Sycamore Landfill each morning until they finish, probably on Friday. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/27/18


Government shutdown: a look at what’s open and closed -- The full impact of the U.S. government shutdown was expected to materialize this week as federal workers returned to their jobs after Christmas — or didn’t. Even before the partial shutdown began Friday, most employees had not been scheduled to work the four days that followed, through Christmas. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/26/18

From plastic straws to pet CPR: How new California laws could change your life in 2019 -- The beginning of a new year is a time for tradition: Revelry late into the night. Resolutions for self-improvement. Hundreds of laws taking effect in California. Here are some of the new policies – the useful, the controversial, and the downright quirky – that could change your life starting Jan. 1, 2019. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/26/18

How to become a farmer in California? Get a mentor -- Kristyn Leach drives a tractor up and down the length of her field, towing a disc that breaks up remnants of last season’s crops so they can mix back into the soil. Julia Mitric, Capital Public Radio via Calmatters -- 12/26/18

Did a Queens Podiatrist Help Donald Trump Avoid Vietnam? -- In the fall of 1968, Donald J. Trump received a timely diagnosis of bone spurs in his heels that led to his medical exemption from the military during Vietnam. For 50 years, the details of how the exemption came about, and who made the diagnosis, have remained a mystery, with Mr. Trump himself saying during the presidential campaign that he could not recall who had signed off on the medical documentation. Steve Eder in the New York Times -- 12/26/18


L.A. County's new sheriff celebrates Christmas Mass with inmates at Men's Central Jail -- On Christmas Day, the front pew of the jail chapel was empty — reserved for Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and his entourage. But when Villanueva arrived, he chose a spot near the back. The VIP pew eventually was filled by some of the nearly 200 inmates who had gathered to celebrate Mass with the archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose H. Gomez, at Men’s Central Jail. Cindy Chang in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/25/18

Couple, facing huge losses in the Camp fire, get separate pardons from Gov. Brown -- Heather Steels Burnett doesn’t remember the name of the official-sounding man who called from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office. Only that his message brought tears to her eyes. The day before Christmas, the Chico resident received a full and unconditional pardon from California’s governor, erasing a 20-year-old drug offense from another, very different chapter in her life. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/25/18

Scripps scientists study tide pools, sea cliffs, with ocean protection grants -- Four researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography earned state grants to study how climate change is shifting conditions on the Pacific Coast, from crumbling cliffs to vibrant tide pools. Deborah Sullivan Brennan in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/25/18

Drive, walk, ride a bike or a scooter? New California traffic laws might affect your ride -- California drivers and bicyclists, get ready. There are a host of new rules of the road going into effect in California on Jan. 1. Here’s a sampling of laws set to go into effect in the new year. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/25/18

Private woodlands lost to California wildfire — and may not be replaced -- Tens of thousands of acres of private woodlands in California are being gobbled up by wildfires as the state gets warmer, winters get shorter and fuel gets drier — and these dense stands of burned trees, crucial in the fight against global warming, are often lost forever. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/25/18


Gov. Jerry Brown orders new tests in quadruple-murder case of death row inmate Kevin Cooper -- Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday ordered new tests of physical evidence in the case of Kevin Cooper, whose high-profile quadruple-murder conviction three decades ago has come into question in recent years. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times Sophia Bollag and Amy Chance in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/24/18

Jerry Brown—most forgiving governor in modern California history -- In keeping with eight years of holiday tradition, Gov. Jerry Brown issued 143 pardons this week. The display of Christmas spirit from the former Jesuit seminarian will be his last as governor of California, capping off a record-breaking eight years that make Brown the most forgiving governor in modern California history. Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 12/24/18

Gov. Brown turns down San Francisco Mayor Breed’s effort to free brother -- Mayor London Breed’s plea for mercy for her brother, who is serving a 44-year prison sentence in the death of his girlfriend, was spurned Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/24/18

Court puts limits on Jerry Brown’s powers, denies clemency to 6 California killers -- The California Supreme Court rejected one of Gov. Jerry Brown’s attempted commutations Monday, the seventh time the court has rejected a clemency request from the outgoing governor in recent weeks. Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/24/18

Government shutdowns actually cost taxpayers money. Here’s why -- Museums and parks can’t collect entry fees or sell souvenirs, the Internal Revenue Service collects less tax revenue, and it costs money for federal workers to stop and restart operations. Plus, hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers are likely, ultimately, to get back pay — for not working. Ari Natter Bloomberg via in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/24/18

Trump's 'poor me' Christmas Eve tweet draws mockery as 800,000 federal workers go without pay -- Marooned in the White House on a gray Christmas Eve, unable to fly off to his beach resort in Florida to play golf, President Trump unleashed a morose tweet Monday bemoaning his fate in the world’s most famous gilded prison. “I am all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security,” he began. Laura King in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/24/18

Google searches for ‘recession’ are the highest they’ve been since November 2009 -- Recent market turmoil, driven in part by the chaos in President Trump’s White House, has many analysts wondering whether another recession is on the horizon. Christopher Ingraham in the Washington Post -- 12/24/18


San Francisco’s homicide count may sink to level not seen in 50 years -- Violent crime dropped sharply this year in San Francisco, with killings in 2018 approaching the lowest number in more than 50 years to continue a decade-long trend of declining violence around the region. Evan Sernoffsky in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/24/18

Fire-scarred Wine Country critical of planned PG&E blackouts -- Just before Pacific Gas and Electric Co. intentionally turned off power to prevent fires for the first time ever two months ago, one sheriff learned the utility had potentially life-saving information. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/24/18

In a town of unanswered questions, Paradise tries to imagine its future -- Rain was falling as evacuees returned to their beloved town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Traffic slowed as drivers beheld the devastation. Thomas Curwen in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/24/18

Migrant caravans stall on border with no leaders and little hope -- The migrant caravans are stuck. Thousands of Central Americans who traveled north to the U.S. border in the fall, drawing dire warnings from President Trump, have settled into an uneasy existence in Tijuana, facing a backlash on both sides of the border. Gustavo Solis and Molly O'Toole in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/24/18

California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Gov. Jerry Brown sets record for pardons, commutations in California -- When Jerry Brown was governor from 1975 to 1983, he pardoned 404 convicted criminals, removing the convictions from their records, and granted one commutation, shortening a prisoner’s sentence. But during his past eight years in office, he has granted 1,189 pardons and 152 commutations, far more than any other governor in modern California history. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/23/18

Skelton: It's an easy A for Jerry Brown in his final two terms as governor of California -- It’s time to grade Gov. Jerry Brown, who’s packing his thousands of books and leaving the Capitol campus for good. No need to think twice. He earned an A for his final two terms as governor. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/24/18

Brown Redux, Part 1,2,3,4: The son also rises -- Editor’s note: Jerry Brown and Dan Walters arrived in Sacramento at the same time in 1975. Brown was a new governor and Walters was a reporter at the Sacramento Union. More than any other journalist, Walters has followed Brown’s career ever since. This four-part series is his inside look at the politician he has watched so closely for so long. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 12/23/18

Inglewood mayor defends destruction of police records as routine; activists continue to voice concerns --Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. on Sunday defended his city’s decision this month to allow the destruction of years of investigative records involving police shootings. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/23/18

Lines Drawn in Fight Over Historic Unsealing of Police Records -- When a landmark police transparency law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, civil liberties groups and advocates hailed the victory, citing a history of previous failed attempts to bring light to California's entrenched secrecy around police misconduct and use of force. Alex Emslie, Sukey Lewis, Ted Goldberg and Marisa Lagos KQED -- 12/23/18

Lopez: At 19, he's still searching for the home he's never had -- He was born in prison, to the best of his knowledge. He is 19, and found out a few years ago that he has biological siblings, but no blood relative is a part of his life. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/23/18

Smolens: Can San Diego Republicans keep from falling further? -- Some Republican leaders like to say that political trends always shift. One even noted that during his lifetime, Democrats once dominated in Southern states and Republicans controlled much of the Northeast. The reverse is true now, but that change took a while. Michael Smolens in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/23/18


Camp fire survivors trickle back into Paradise and surrounding communities. Some never left -- For more than a month after the wildfire, Matt Miller and his wife slept on an air mattress at a friend’s house in the small town of Durham, west of Paradise. The evacuees shared the home with their displaced elderly neighbors, who also fled the Camp fire’s flames on Nov. 8. Nicole Santa Cruz in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/23/18


Recall deals blow to California’s marijuana industry -- The recall of tens of thousands of pounds of marijuana and other products after a Sacramento laboratory was caught faking pesticide test results has jolted a cannabis industry that has struggled for legitimacy in its first year facing a full-slate of state regulations. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/23/18

Immigration, Border, Deportation 

L.A. 'Faith Caravan' delivers medical care, food and supplies to migrants in Tijuana -- Three-year-old Carlos’ stuffy nose has led to some difficulty breathing in the last week while staying at the El Barretal shelter in Tijuana. Rob Nikolewski in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/23/18

Just as migrants are settling into life at El Barretal, plans are to soon shut down -- Huddled in a tent inside a Tijuana migrant shelter, two friends struggled to come up with a name for their soccer team. The shelter, El Barretal, is hosting a Christmas Eve soccer tournament and the pair are putting together a makeshift squad. They just need an appropriate name. Gustavo Solis in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 12/23/18


Sac City Unified at risk of government takeover. Here’s what might happen -- The possibility of a state government takeover looms over Sacramento City Unified School District following a despairing Dec. 12 financial report that warned of severe interventions if the district cannot solve its budget problems. Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/23/18


Laura Ingraham taunted David Hogg over college rejections. He just said he got into Harvard -- In mid-December, Harvard’s early-entry candidates began logging on to the application status portal to learn whether they’d been accepted to one of the world’s most prestigious universities. But for one particularly famous member of the class of 2023, entry into Harvard brought a bit more than congratulations. For David Hogg, it was the last laugh. Cleve R. Wootson Jr in the Washington Post -- 12/23/18


-- Saturday Updates 

California’s bullet train is pumping billions into the Valley economy. So why is it so unpopular? -- Vicente Ward had trouble finding work after leaving the Air Force — until California’s bullet-train project came along. Now he’s helping build a bridge that some day will carry rail passengers across the San Joaquin River between Madera and Fresno. Dale Kasler, Ryan Lillis, and Tim Sheehan in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/23/18

California's next governor and lawmakers enter a new power dynamic in Sacramento -- Single-payer healthcare. Universal preschool. Tuition-free community college. The California Legislature and the state's next governor share a wish list of progressive policies. The big question is: Who takes the lead? Taryn Luna and Melanie Mason in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/23/18

Rocked by scandal, USC must heal its divisions and repair a broken culture -- On a rainy day in late November, the billionaire chairman of USC’s board of trustees sat in the front row of a classroom as one female student after another described how the university had failed women. Harriet Ryan and Matt Hamilton in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/23/18

Three major banks suspend lending for shipyard home purchases -- The banks, Wells Fargo, Chase and Citi, all confirmed to The Chronicle that they are not providing loans to any buyers at the San Francisco Shipyard development at the moment. They cited reasons related to unresolved questions about the safety of the land where mega-developer Lennar Corp. has built about 450 homes and is planning thousands more. Jason Fagone and Cynthia Dizikes in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/23/18

Report says price tag for ending Alameda County homelessness is $334M a year -- Every person sleeping on the streets of Alameda County could be placed into housing or shelters if the county more than triples its spending on key programs, a new report says. Kimberly Veklerov in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/23/18

Weeks after the Thousand Oaks shooting, country bar's regulars reunite for a two-step and that old Borderline warmth -- Borderline Bar and Grill was a place you could go to dance away your worries. Even after what happened there last month, regulars still wanted to do that together — so they met up and danced in parking lots, in backyards, in a barn, at the mall. Esmeralda Bermudez in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/23/18

California teachers can pin students face down. Does the danger outweigh the benefit? -- It’s a scenario that sounds more likely in jails than schools: Arms pulled behind their back, a person is forced into a “prone restraint,” pinned face down on the floor with limbs held immobile by at least two people. Sawsan Morrar and Phillip Reese in the Sacramento Bee -- 12/23/18

Inglewood to destroy more than 100 police shooting records that could otherwise become public under new California law -- The decision, made at a City Council meeting earlier this month, has troubled civil liberties advocates who were behind the state legislation, Senate Bill 1421, which takes effect Jan. 1. The law opens to the public internal investigations of officer shootings and other major uses of force, along with confirmed cases of sexual assault and lying while on duty. Liam Dillon and Jack Dolan in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/22/18

A sagging economy could doom a 2020 ballot measure to raise commercial property taxes, Gov. Jerry Brown says -- An effort to remove commercial property in California from the tax limits imposed by the landmark Proposition 13 could be felled by an economic slowdown, Gov. Jerry Brown said. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times -- 12/23/18

Morain: What Jerry Brown fixed and couldn’t fix -- With his time in office down to 17 days, Gov. Jerry Brown spoke of things he fixed, tried to fix and fears can never be fixed. He sat in the main room of the home he and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, have built on land his great-grandfather, August Schuckman, bought for $1 an acre in the 1850s. He wore a jacket, a fire blazed in the fireplace, and his corgi, Colusa, barked. Dan Morain Calmatters -- 12/22/18

How Jerry Brown fits in among California’s greatest governors -- He was California’s youngest governor in a century, its oldest governor in history, and will remain its longest-serving governor for the foreseeable future. Casey Tolan in the San Jose Mercury -- 12/23/18

Willie Brown: Everything Kamala Harris is doing says she’s running for president -- Sen. Kamala Harris is making all the early moves for a 2020 presidential run. The California Democrat is booking speeches in early primary states while stepping back from the Sunday morning talks shows, which provide forums for verbal missteps. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 12/22/18

Ancient California redwood grove damaged by selfie-seeking visitors to get $3.5 million rescue plan -- Raised walkway, restored vegetation, parking lot and restrooms planned near Grove of the Titans, now marred by litter, illegal trails and erosion. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury -- 12/23/18