Aaron Read
Capitol Web Works
Olson Hagel
CA Leg Analyst
Capitol Weekly


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Furloughed government workers hold rally in San Francisco to demand end to shutdown -- Four dozen federal workers who aren’t working screamed and hollered in downtown San Francisco, demanding an end to the federal shutdown that is forcing them to shop at dollar stores and eat macaroni and cheese for dinner. Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19

‘You can’t make that up’: Newsom blasts DMV for not accepting credit cards at its offices -- Gov. Gavin Newsom chastised California’s Department of Motor Vehicles at a budget unveiling on Thursday. He mocked them for not accepting customers’ credit cards at field offices and promised to make a change. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

Gavin Newsom budget calls for drinking water tax to help poor communities -- Newsom’s plan for a “safe and affordable drinking water fund,” included in the new governor’s first budget proposal to the Legislature, attempts to revive an idea that died in the Legislature last year. Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

Gavin Newsom’s first California budget has $8 billion increase over Jerry Brown’s last one -- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget includes a $144 billion general fund, marking a 4 percent increase over the $138 billion spending plan former Gov. Jerry Brown signed in June. His total budget — including money earmarked for special purpose funds — tops $209 billion. That’s about $8 billion more than the Brown’s final budget. Sophia Bollag and Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee John Myers in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget: More money for education, navigation centers -- Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a $209 billion state budget Thursday, a 4 percent increase over the previous year that includes more spending for education and navigation-center homeless shelters and an increase in California’s rainy day reserve. Joe Garofoli and John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19

Free community college and a boost for Cal Grants: What Newsom wants to do for higher ed -- The California Community Colleges System fared well under Newsom’s proposed budget, with $402 million going toward cost-of-living allowances, enrollment growth, legal services for undocumented students and their families and providing a second year of free tuition. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

California governor offers $144B budget, sees big surplus -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a $144 billion general fund budget on Thursday that’s up 4 percent from the current year and predicts a $21.4 billion surplus from robust tax collections and slower growth of state health care costs. Jonathan J. Cooper Associated Press -- 1/10/19

San Francisco sues state over potentially drastic water reductions -- The city of San Francisco is not standing down in California’s latest water war, joining a lawsuit Thursday against the state for ordering more of the Sierra’s cool, crisp flows to go to fish instead of people. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19

Judge rules that LAUSD teachers' strike can begin on Monday -- At issue was whether the union, United Teachers Los Angeles, gave a legally required 10-day notice to the school district that its members would no longer work under terms of the previous contract. This notice provision is included in the contract between the union and the L.A. Unified School District. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

‘Struggling’ with LAUSD teachers’ strike means starkly different things depending on your income -- In a good month, Jose Velasco, a painter, and his wife Maribel Cruz, a baker, make about $1,000. They have little left after they pay the rent on their El Sereno apartment. The thought of possibly having to hire someone to watch their 9-year-old son during a teachers’ strike upsets and overwhelms them. Esmeralda Bermudez and Ruben Vives in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

Unvaccinated 4-year-old dies of flu in Riverside County -- The child — whose identity, gender and city of residence are not being released — had not been vaccinated for the flu, according to the public health department of the Riverside University Health System. The child was from southwest Riverside County. Anh Do in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

‘We are throwaways’ -- For Laura and John Kasten, a homeless couple forced from an Orange County riverbed into temporary motel living — the road ahead looms empty, filled with hunger, loneliness, drugs. Anh Do in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

New air pollution scandal: Fiat Chrysler settles with California and U.S. for $800 million -- Call it Dieselgate II. In a settlement announced Thursday by state and federal officials, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agreed to pay $800 million over charges that the global carmaker used “defeat device software” in thousands of diesel vehicles to cheat on air pollution tests. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

California set a goal of 100% clean energy, and now other states may follow its lead -- It’s been less than four months since California committed to getting all of its electricity from climate-friendly sources by 2045. But the idea is already catching on in other states. Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

EPA backs down from plan that could have allowed youth farmworkers to handle pesticides -- The Environmental Protection Agency has abandoned plans to roll back a set of protections for farmworkers, including a proposal to ease Obama-era regulations requiring anyone working with dangerous pesticides to be at least 18 years old. Anna M. Phillips in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

Quinn: The Trump Factor in California’s Republican Disaster -- California Republicans remain in denial about the role of President Trump in their worst shellacking in history. Tony Quinn Fox & Hounds -- 1/10/19

Trump claims he never said Mexico would cut a check for the wall. Let’s go to the tape -- Back in April 2015 — an era so distant in American history that it barely shimmers in and out of view, cloaked in the haze of everything that’s happened since — Donald John Trump promised the United States that he would build a wall on the border with Mexico and that Mexico would cover the cost. Philip Bump in the Washington Post -- 1/10/19

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds -- A new analysis, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that the oceans are heating up 40 percent faster on average than a United Nations panel estimated five years ago. The researchers also concluded that ocean temperatures have broken records for several straight years. Kendra Pierre-Louis in the New York Times -- 1/10/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

California Regulators Break Out Calculators for PG&E Liabilities -- The California Public Utilities Commission is set to open proceedings Thursday to develop a so-called stress test for utilities’ wildfire costs. The goal is to see how big a financial blow companies like PG&E could withstand and still remain viable. Mark Chediak Bloomberg -- 1/10/19

Judge could force PG&E to inspect all 106,000 miles of electric grid before wildfire season -- U.S. District Judge William Alsup, citing PG&E’s “history of falsification of inspection reports,” said he plans to order PG&E to “re-inspect all of its electrical grid and remove or trim all trees that could fall onto its power lines, poles or equipment in high-wind conditions.” He also said the utility might be required to “fix any other condition anywhere in its grid similar to any condition that contributed to any previous wildfires.” Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee Dan Brekke KQED -- 1/10/19

PG&E: Feds allege utility violated terms of its criminal probation in the San Bruno explosion, judge sets hearing -- In another blow to embattled PG&E, federal officials say the utility may have violated the terms of its probation imposed after the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion by failing to reveal that it was being investigated for causing a fire and settling a lawsuit over that and two other blazes. Thomas Peel, Matthias Gafni in the San Jose Mercury -- 1/10/19

Trump, California spar over money for wildfire relief funds -- President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to withhold money to help California cope with wildfires, a day after new Gov. Gavin Newsom asked him to double the federal investment in forest management. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 1/10/19

Fact Check: Can Trump withhold FEMA money from California? -- President Donald Trump Tuesday tweeted a threat to cut off funding to help victims of California wildfires. Can Trump do it? The answer is complicated. Kate Irby in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

Politifact CA: Trump repeats overly simplistic, False claim on California’s wildfires -- President Trump blamed a lack of "proper Forest Management" for California’s deadly wildfires in a tweet on Tuesday, repeating his overly simplistic claim about the cause of the infernos that have ravaged the state in recent years. Eighty-six people were killed and 14,000 homes destroyed in November when the Camp Fire tore through Northern California’s Butte County, making it the most deadly and destructive fire in state history. Chris Nichols Politifact CA -- 1/10/19

Suspect shipyard contractor gets huge state deal for Camp Fire cleanup -- The state agency in charge of wildfire cleanup has awarded a contract worth as much as $250 million to the company at the center of San Francisco’s Superfund scandal — an environmental engineering firm that was caught falsifying soil tests and is being sued by the U.S. Justice Department, whistle-blowers and homeowners. Jason Fagone, Cynthia Dizikes and Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19

Newsom’s got an idea even Trump likes—will it lower California’s drug prices? -- In one of his first official actions, Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed that state agencies, including the one that oversees Medi-Cal, negotiate as a block to demand prescription drug makers lower their prices. The move will make California the nation’s largest negotiator against pharmaceutical companies, and could become a model for other states—if it works. Elizabeth Aguilera Calmatters -- 1/10/19

Gov. Gavin Newsom hints at a more hopeful budget for the state -- Gov. Gavin Newsom will unveil a lengthy blueprint for California government spending on Thursday, with promised money for healthcare, low-income housing and education riding on whether he sees boom or bust times on the horizon. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

Newsom’s first California budget aims to balance promises -- Gov. Gavin Newsom has made two big promises that are seemingly at odds: Advancing bold and expensive new initiatives while maintaining the robust savings that California will desperately need in the next recession. Jonathan J. Cooper Associated Press Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 1/10/19

Newsom's budget proposes $3 million for Alzheimer's research, brain task force -- Gov. Gavin Newsom will call for the creation of a brain health task force and dedicate $3 million annually from the state’s general fund to Alzheimer’s disease research in the budget proposal he will release Thursday, a source close to the administration said. Melody Gutierrez in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19

Skelton: When it comes to style, Brown and Newsom couldn't be more different -- Although they’re both Democrats, the leadership styles of Govs. Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown are utterly different. That has quickly become evident. Newsom swings for the fences. Predecessor Brown played a cautious game, working the percentages. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

Walters: Dr. Newsom wants to cure state’s tech disease -- One of the great mysteries of California politics is why, in a state that boasts of its digital innovation, its government has such a miserable record on using technology. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 1/10/19

California’s top lawyer offers look inside Trump offensive -- When President Donald Trump revoked protections for young immigrants known as “Dreamers,” California’s top prosecutor, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, turned to a member of his office’s civil rights section to craft the state’s legal response. Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press -- 1/10/19

California pays $350,000 to settle state Senate complaint -- California’s state Senate has agreed to a $350,000 settlement with a former employee who says the Senate failed to accommodate her needs and later fired her after she said an Assembly employee raped her, officials said Wednesday. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 1/10/19

’It was like a ton of bricks crushed me’: California grapples with historic clemency rejections -- The move stunned observers of the California Supreme Court, which under the state constitution must review clemency requests for anyone convicted of felony more than once, and has left them grasping for answers about how to proceed. The court approved 86 other applications over the past eight years. Alexei Koseff in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

He raised $9 million to challenge Devin Nunes. Now he’s out to protect voter rights -- Andrew Janz, the Fresno Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Devin Nunes in one of the country’s most contentious congressional races of 2018, announced the launch of a new political organization Wednesday that he says will work nationwide to protect voting rights, combat voter suppression and target “bad actors” who are on the wrong side of either issue. Rory Appleton in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

US officials declare end to outbreak from romaine lettuce -- U.S. health officials are declaring an end to a food poisoning outbreak blamed on romaine lettuce from California. From October to December, the E. coli outbreak sickened 62 people in 16 states. No one died, but 25 people were hospitalized. Illnesses were also reported in Canada. Mike Stobbe Associated Press -- 1/10/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Delayed surgeries and bologna sandwiches: US workers’ family budgets hit the wall -- Samantha Strack, a correctional officer at the federal prison in Dublin, is eating bologna sandwiches. Her fellow officer Sue Canales can’t afford to get her daughter’s wisdom teeth pulled. And Bethany Dreyfus, a lawyer with the Environmental Protection Agency, doesn’t know how she’s going to pay for her daughter’s day care. Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19


Government Shutdown Having Major Impact On Wildfire Prevention Efforts In California, Officials Say -- Every winter, forest managers in places like California take a step back, analyze their budgets and plan on how to deal with the next fire season. But the government shutdown has shuttered a lot of those efforts, because federal lands like the U.S. Forest Service— which has been furloughed since December 22 — plays a huge role. Ezra David Romero Capital Public Radio -- 1/10/19


No breakthrough to prevent LAUSD teachers' strike after more talks -- Ongoing talks to avert a teachers’ strike ended Wednesday without a deal between United Teachers Los Angeles and the L.A. Unified School District. The two sides will meet again on Friday. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

District pulling students as Guiding Hands loses state certification after teen’s death -- The California Department of Education has pulled the certification of the El Dorado Hills school where a student with autism was placed in a face-down restraint and later died. Sawsan Morra in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/10/19

Gavin Newsom wants more bathrooms for kindergartners -- Before Gavin Newsom can reach his audacious goal of universal preschool, California will first have to get to full-day kindergarten. And full-day kindergarten means having to build a lot more classrooms with little adjacent toilets to meet all those 5-year-olds’ bladder needs. Judy Lin Calmatters -- 1/10/19

New state grants for community colleges to help formerly incarcerated students -- College administrators say taking college classes is one of the best ways to keep a person from returning to prison, but many formerly incarcerated students who enroll in college face psychological, academic and financial roadblocks. Adolfo Guzman-Lopez KPCC -- 1/10/19

School districts will be required to verify they’re fixing California’s lowest-performing schools -- By the end of January, the state will publish the initial list of hundreds of low-performing California schools that must receive intensive help under the Every Student Succeeds Act, which Congress passed in late 2015. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 1/10/19


Joshua Tree National Park won't be closing after all -- Joshua Tree National Park will avoid a temporary closure set for Thursday and will reopen areas of the park that were closed because of the partial government shutdown, a park statement said Wednesday. Mary Forgione in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

Amid closure at Joshua Tree National Park, volunteers struggle to clean up after unruly visitors -- In this high desert enclave, Rand Abbott is a well-known man of action. He’s a paraplegic rock climber; a vocal lightning rod at town hall meetings; and a tireless promoter for the desert landscape and its resident creatures. Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/10/19

Marin County to pay to solve shutdown-induced poop crisis at Point Reyes -- The government shutdown and consequent lack of funding for the National Park Service has created a bit of a fecal crisis at Point Reyes and, at a loss for alternatives, Marin County officials are now preparing to dip into the county's own coffers to clean up the mess — at least for the next few weeks. Filipa Ioannou in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19

POTUS 45  

Trump walks out of shutdown negotiations after Democrats reject wall money, calls meeting ‘total waste of time’ -- Talks between President Trump and congressional Democrats aimed at ending the partial government shutdown collapsed in acrimony and disarray Wednesday, with the president walking out of the White House meeting and calling it “a total waste of time” after Democrats rejected his demand for border-wall funding. Erica Werner, Sean Sullivan, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim in the Washington Post -- 1/10/19

‘He’s a gut politician’: Trump’s go-to negotiating tactics aren’t working in shutdown standoff -- President Trump has long said that keeping opponents off balance is the best way to win a negotiation. But nearly three weeks into a partial government shutdown, his usual playbook doesn’t seem to be working. David Nakamura and Seung Min Kim in the Washington Post -- 1/10/19

Poll: President Trump's speech failed to build support for border wall among California voters -- Of the 614 registered voters surveyed across the state who saw the address, more than half said they oppose construction of a wall across the U.S. border with Mexico. A little more than one-third of the respondents, 34 percent, said they support this plan. Peter Rowe in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/10/19

Trump’s base would applaud an emergency. But Democrats could win, too -- After President Trump walked out on a negotiation session with Democrats on Wednesday over the government shutdown, his best chance to secure funding for a border wall might be declaring a national emergency on the southern border. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/10/19


-- Wednesday Updates 

Gavin Newsom deploys strike team to fix ‘chronically mismanaged’ California DMV -- California’s new governor signaled on Wednesday he is making the state’s “chronically mismanaged” Department of Motor Vehicles a major priority, announcing the creation of a new team to improve services. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/9/19

‘This Twitter war ... is not helpful:’ California leaders blast Trump’s FEMA threat -- California’s top politicians condemned President Donald Trump Wednesday after he threatened to withhold federal disaster relief money from the thousands of Northern California families looking to rebuild in the wake of devastating wildfires. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/9/19

Trump threatens to cut off disaster funding for California fires -- President Trump, in a tweet, said early Wednesday that he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency not to send more disaster funding to fire-ravaged California “unless they get their act together, which is unlikely.” Sarah D. Wire in the Los Angeles Times Dale Kasler and Kate Irby in the Sacramento Bee Tal Kopan in the San Francisco Chronicle John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press Matthew Choi Politico -- 1/9/19

Federal shutdown has halted some preparations for wildfires, and it could get worse -- Training has been halted for thousands of western firefighters. The U.S. Forest Service can’t let contracts for needed equipment. In forests across the West, no federal employees are doing work to reduce dry “fuel” that feeds catastrophic blazes. Stuart Leavenworth McClatchyDC -- 1/9/19

‘Another low’: Democrats blast Trump for threatening to cut wildfire aid to California -- It is unclear, based on the tweet’s wording, if Trump already directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withhold funds or if he would be doing so. FEMA representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning. An email sent to them generated this automated reply: “Due to the federal funding hiatus, we are not able to respond to general press queries.” Amy B Wang and Katie Mettler in the Washington Post -- 1/9/19

Tom Steyer, Billionaire Impeachment Activist, Won’t Run Against Trump -- Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who has crusaded for President Trump’s impeachment, said on Wednesday that he would not join the pack of Democrats running for president in 2020 and would instead redouble his efforts to topple Mr. Trump before the election. Alexander Burns in the New York Times -- 1/9/19

Some GOP lawmakers eye emergency declaration by Trump as way out of government shutdown -- Republicans on Capitol Hill increasingly view an emergency national security declaration by President Trump as a way to end the 19-day partial government shutdown, which was triggered by his demand to use taxpayer funds to build a southern border wall. Jennifer Haberkorn and Noah Bierman in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/9/19

Trump Storms Out of White House Meeting with Democrats on Shutdown -- President Trump slammed his hand on a table and stormed out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday after Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said she would not fund a wall along the southern border, dramatically escalating the confrontation over the government shutdown. Nicholas Fandos and Michael Tackett in the New York Times Haley Britzky Axios -- 1/9/19

Kamala Harris reportedly ready to jump into 2020 race, lining up East Coast headquarters -- Word is California Sen. Kamala Harris will announce she’s running for president either on or shortly after the upcoming Martin Luther King weekend. The exact date is still being worked out, but sources tell us it’s going to be sometime this month — the MLK holiday is Jan. 21. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/9/19

L.A. teachers union to postpone strike until Monday -- The Los Angeles teachers union is expected to postpone the start of its strike until Monday because of uncertainty over whether a judge could order the union to wait. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/9/19

What’s driving these LAUSD teachers to strike -- In Los Angeles schools, when there are no nurses, teachers help kids with broken bones and fevers. Psychologists talk children down from hurting themselves or others. Many students arrive at school knowing little English. Interventionists step in and give them an extra hand. All are members of the teachers union, who work at schools at least eight hours a day and then often go home to take calls from parents, grade papers and write reports. Sonali Kohli in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/9/19

LAUSD teachers’ strike could disrupt a delicate life balance for some families -- On his first day back from winter break, 11-year-old Merwinn Rojas got a taste of how his life could change during a teachers’ strike. The after-school robotics league he participates in three days a week at Foshay Learning Center, about five miles south of downtown Los Angeles, was canceled Monday, so he walked home with his mom in near silence. Andrea Castillo in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/9/19

Lopez: As teachers’ strike looms, L.A. schools aren’t failing us. We’re failing them -- On the eve of a massively disruptive strike that would hit families at more than 900 schools, Los Angeles Unified teachers say they deserve a better deal on pay and working conditions. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/9/19

Gov. Newsom Wants Free Community College; San Diego Colleges Want To Make It Truly Free -- Local college administrators are applauding the move, and they say they’ll cover textbooks and other costs to make an associate’s degree truly free in San Diego County if Newsom’s plan goes through. Megan Burks KPBS -- 1/9/19

Smolens: Feds dump asylum-seekers in San Diego — a new wall won't help that -- There’s a border emergency in San Diego, but it’s not what the president is talking about and it won’t be alleviated by his extended wall. Michael Smolens in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 1/9/19

Fox: It’s the Picket Line Versus the Bottom Line in the Coming LA School Strike -- Barring a last minute deal or court decision, there will be a teacher’s strike tomorrow in Los Angeles. Each side has their own view of the school district’s fiscal health and its ability to raise salaries and hire new teachers, nurses and counselors. But the teachers have the upper hand in an effort to rally citizen and parent support. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/9/19

Rosenstein, a frequent Trump target, will leave Justice Dept -- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s wrath for appointing special counsel Robert Mueller and defending his Russia probe, is expected to leave his position soon after Trump’s nominee for attorney general is confirmed. Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo Associated Press -- 1/9/19