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


Updating . .   

Newsom asks PG&E bankruptcy judge to include customers, employees -- In a letter to the federal trustee overseeing the bankruptcy, an attorney for the Newsom administration urged that “these constituencies have a strong voice from the very outset” through the creation of one or more committees for unsecured creditors. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19

Dozens of CHP officers suspected of faking overtime are temporarily relieved of duty -- Dozens of California Highway Patrol officers are being temporarily relieved of duty amid an investigation into whether they fraudulently received hundreds of hours of overtime pay while working out of the East Los Angeles station, officials said Friday. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19

Southern California Gas fined $3.3 million, accused of putting money ahead of safety -- California’s biggest natural-gas utility was slapped with a $3.3-million fine on Friday, with state regulators accusing the company of putting its financial bottom line ahead of public safety by refusing to fully investigate a 2017 explosion that injured one person. Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19

With Colorado River water shortages looming, feds will intervene on drought plan -- The federal government Friday moved closer to imposing water delivery cuts along the drought-depleted Colorado River after California and Arizona failed to meet a deadline for inking a broad agreement on how the seven states that depend on the river would cope with shortages. Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19

Union pressured Mayor Garcetti’s office to oust top fire official, court records show -- Los Angeles Fire Marshal John Vidovich was at the peak of his career in 2015. He ran the city’s Fire Prevention Bureau, oversaw more than 150 employees and won awards from Mayor Eric Garcetti for his department’s work inspecting buildings for fire safety. Dakota Smith in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/1/19

Gavin Newsom raised $50 million running for governor. He still has $15 million left over -- Gavin Newsom raised more than $50 million for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign and has $15 million left over for his next statewide run, according to campaign money disclosures filed Thursday night. Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/1/19

US appeals court tosses prisoner suits over airborne fungus -- A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that state prison officials could not be sued over Valley Fever because they were acting under the guidance of a federal monitor. The panel also said the officials could have reasonably concluded that the threat to inmates was not grave. Associated Press -- 2/1/19

Insured San Francisco General patients on the hook for pending bills despite new policy -- Brandt left the hospital two days later with the pain — and his appendix — gone. But despite having health insurance through his employer, he now personally owes the hospital $92,470. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19

PG&E gets approval for $1.5 billion loan in bankruptcy -- PG&E Corp. won a judge’s approval Thursday for a $1.5 billion bank loan to fund the utility’s operations for the first four weeks of bankruptcy proceedings, despite questions from a federal trustee on whether the company needs the money. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19

What you need to know about Clean Power Alliance, SoCal’s newest electric company -- Southern California Edison has been the region’s dominant electric utility for more than a century. But for nearly 1 million homes across the Southland, the days of Edison’s monopoly are ending. Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19

How badly did the government shutdown harm wildfire prep? -- In the wake of a deadly fire season, California lawmakers want to know how much the 35-day government shutdown hindered the U.S. Forest Service’s preparation for the next big wildfire. Kate Irby in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/1/19

Transbay Transit Center to remain shuttered until at least June -- The damaged Transbay Transit Center — already shut down more than four months — won’t welcome back buses, passengers and parkgoers until at least June, officials told The Chronicle. Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19

San Francisco’s Soda Health Warning Found Unconstitutional -- A federal appeals court ruled a San Francisco ordinance requiring health warnings on advertising for sugary drinks violates the First Amendment, in a victory for national beverage makers whose products have come under increasing government scrutiny. Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 2/1/19

Multiple Fairfield police officers disciplined for sexual advances, records show -- Three Fairfield police officers engaged in sexual misconduct with members of the public. Four others had sustained findings of dishonesty — they withheld evidence, committed forgery or falsified reports. And several other officers used a level of force that broke bones, required surgeries and killed two people. These are the findings of more than two decades of internal investigations recently unsealed by the Fairfield Police Department. Megan Cassidy in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19

Bretón: ‘We serve everybody.’ At this Mexican restaurant, bigots should just eat their words -- It was a publicity stunt: Some alt-right wing nuts and other assorted bigots were trying to do what bigots do. They descended on the governor’s mansion, wearing stereotypical Mexican garb, and then a Mexican restaurant across the street from City Hall. Marcos Bretón in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/1/19

Booker hires Gavin Newsom's 2018 campaign manager to run 2020 bid -- Local news affiliate KTLA reports that Booker has hired Addisu Demissie, who previously worked as Newsom's 2018 campaign manager, to run his presidential campaign which officially launched Friday morning. John Bowden The Hill -- 2/1/19

McClatchy to slash staff, offering buyouts to employees -- The McClatchy Company offered buyouts to roughly 10 percent of its employees at the 29 newspapers it owns across the U.S. Friday, the Miami New Times reported. The buyouts are reportedly voluntary. Chris Mills Rodrigo The Hill -- 2/1/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

PG&E Gets OK to Pay Employees, But Not Executive Bonuses or Perks -- A bankruptcy judge approved a slew of interim motions Thursday that will allow PG&E to continue operating normally as its bankruptcy protection case proceeds, including allowing the company to secure emergency financing and to keep paying its employees. Marisa Lagos KQED -- 2/1/19

PG&E wildfire victims implore judge for voice in bankruptcy case -- PG&E fire victims repeatedly implored a judge on Thursday to remember people who were killed or harmed as a result of a series of catastrophic and lethal infernos that scorched Northern California in recent years, as the embattled utility’s bankruptcy case trudges ahead. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/1/19

Audit: California inmate behavior programs didn’t cut crime -- Increased efforts by California to change the behavior of prison inmates have not reduced the rate at which ex-convicts commit new crimes, state auditors reported Thursday. The assessment relied on five-year-old data, prompting state corrections officials to say auditors may be drawing conclusions too soon. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 2/1/19

Howard Schultz is coming to San Francisco. He’s got some explaining to do -- Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s presidential exploratory campaign limps into San Francisco on Friday after a choppy first week of what was supposed to be his cheery introduction to America as a potential independent candidate. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19

20 charged in Chinese birth tourism crackdown -- Dongyuan Li’s business was called “You Win USA,” and authorities say she coached pregnant Chinese women on how to get into the United States to deliver babies who would automatically enjoy all the benefits of American citizenship. Amy Taxin Associated Press Brittny Mejia and Joel Rubin in the Los Angeles Times Miriam Jordan in the New York Times Roxana Kopetman, Scott Schwebke in the Orange County Register -- 2/1/19

California governor pushes for fund to help asylum seekers -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom praised San Diego County for providing a shelter for asylum seekers and said Thursday he wants the state to set up an emergency fund of $25 million to address what he has called an humanitarian crisis created by the federal government. Julie Watson Associated Press Charles T. Clark and Taryn Luna in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/1/19

Can a new law reduce police shootings? California lawmakers will soon put that question to the test -- Jamilia Land walked out of a meeting in the state Capitol feeling optimistic that 2019 may be the year California changes the law to try to reduce the number of people killed by police. It’s personal for her. Land is a family friend of Stephon Clark, the unarmed man Sacramento police shot dead last year in his grandmother’s backyard. Officers thought he was holding a gun, but it turned out to be a cell phone. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters -- 2/1/19

Author of California police transparency law says it was meant to open up past records -- Weighing in on a statewide legal battle over law enforcement records, the author of California’s landmark police transparency law formally notified the state Senate on Thursday that her bill was intended to open up records from the past as well as those going forward. Ben Poston in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19

‘You are allowed to film the police’: Vallejo police tackle, detain man who filmed them, internal affairs investigation launched -- The city’s police department opened an internal-affairs investigation into one of its officers after a video posted to social media showed him tackling and handcuffing a man who filmed the officer from his porch. Nate Gartrell, John Glidden, George Kelly in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/1/19

You can pay $25 to have someone book your DMV appointment, unless this bill becomes law -- An Oakland company that advertises itself as a tool to help Californians navigate government could face financial penalties if the Legislature adopts a bill that would outlaw a DMV appointment service it offers. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/1/19

California Could Insure Many More People — But It Will Come At A Price -- State lawmakers are expected to receive a first look Friday at the costs tied to an ambitious plan to provide health insurance for more California residents. Michael Finch II and Sammy Caiola, The USC Center for Health Journalism Collaborative via Capital Public Radio -- 2/1/19

Congressman Duncan Hunter turns up pressure on Navy in SEAL war crimes case -- Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, recently stepped up his advocacy for a Navy SEAL on trial for war crimes, including contacting military leaders with administrative and supervisory roles in the trial. Andrew Dyer in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/1/19

Hate crimes in L.A. highest in 10 years, with LGBTQ and African Americans most targeted -- Last year, L.A. tallied 289 hate crimes, compared with 256 in 2017, according to LAPD statistics gathered by researchers at Cal State San Bernardino. Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19

Inland Empire was dumping ground for abusive priests, law firm claims as it releases exhaustive list of clergy -- A Minnesota-based law firm specializing in sex abuse cases released a 76-page report Thursday listing all clergy accused and/or convicted of sexual abuse in San Bernardino and Riverside County parishes dating back to 1950. Joe Nelson in the San Bernardino Sun$ Laura Newberry in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19


Bay Area housing market cools, but it’s still nuts -- The Bay Area real estate market went into 2018 with a bang and out with a whimper. In the first half of the year, the median price rose almost 17 percent to an all-time high of $875,000 in June. In the second half, it fell 10.3 percent from that peak, ending at $785,000 in December. Kathleen Pender in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19


California’s peak fire season is shifting toward December, study shows -- Wind-whipped wildfires like those that have ravaged California in recent years may crop up later and later into the year, says a team of scientists that has found that climate change is causing wind and dry weather to converge on December. Kurtis Alexander in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19

Immigration, Border, Deportation 

Confusion erupts as dozens show up for fake court date at San Francisco immigration court -- Dozens of people reported Thursday to hearings previously scheduled by the Department of Homeland Security at the federal San Francisco Immigration Court, only to find the appointments didn’t exist. Immigration attorneys described similar scenes in Chicago, Atlanta, Virginia, Miami and Texas, where long lines snaked around courthouses for hours. Tatiana Sanchez in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/1/19


Sac City Unified schools downgraded to near rock-bottom bond ratings amid budget crisis -- The rare low ratings from the Standard & Poor’s agency come weeks after the district announced it expects to run out of money by November 2019, after months of financial crisis. Sawsan Morrar in the Sacramento Bee Nick Miller Capital Public Radio -- 2/1/19

A new solution to the student housing crisis: retiree roommates? -- Finding housing was one of the first challenges Alyssa Mathiowetz faced as a new graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. She landed a room in a shared house near campus, but it came with a steep price tag: $1,500 a month. Felicia Mello Calmatters -- 2/1/19

Chronic absenteeism in California schools up slightly, new data show -- It is the most obvious and important contributor to student success and yet something many California school districts are not doing well: getting students to show up for school. David Washburn EdSource -- 2/1/19


Typhus Epidemic Worsens in Los Angeles -- A veteran Los Angeles City Hall official is one of the latest victims of an epidemic of the infectious disease typhus that continues to worsen across LA County. For months, LA County public health officials have said typhus is mainly hitting the homeless population. But Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood, a veteran prosecutor, tells NBC4 she was diagnosed with typhus in November, after experiencing high fevers and excruciating headaches. Joel Grover and Amy Corral NBCLA -- 2/1/19


How California got tough on guns -- The modern American gun debate began on May 2, 1967, when 30 protesting members of the Black Panther Party marched into the California Capitol with loaded handguns, shotguns and rifles. Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 2/1/19


Sierra snowpack doubles after January storms blanket California -- A series of January storms that brought record rains to the state and massive amounts of snow to the mountains helped double the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, experts with the state Department of Water Resources said Thursday. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/1/19

Imperial Irrigation District wants $200M for Salton Sea in exchange for Colorado River drought plan OK -- California's Imperial Irrigation District will get the last word on the seven-state Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans. And IID could end up with $200 million to restore the badly polluted and fast-drying Salton Sea. Janet Wilson in the Palm Springs Desert Sun -- 2/1/19

Also . . . 

Police unions sue over release of misconduct, shooting records -- A group of eight labor unions representing police officers from San Diego to Oceanside filed a lawsuit against their departments seeking to halt the release of internal records of police shootings and officer misconduct that can now be made public under a new state law. Greg Moran in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/1/19

Supervisors warned that Riverside County is ‘bleeding’ from $136M in recent legal payouts -- The biggest Riverside County payouts – about $85 million – came in the area of public safety, Angulo’s figures show. The Sheriff’s Department frequently gets sued by families of those shot by deputies; in November, for example, a jury awarded $2.5 million to the mother of a mentally ill man shot and killed by deputies in Moreno Valley in 2015. Jeff Horseman in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 2/1/19

Cheer for the Rams, but in California high schools, even football powerhouses are losing kids -- If the Golden State has a rooting interest in the Super Bowl on Sunday, it won’t just be because the Los Angeles Rams will be on the field. Roughly one player in six on the Rams’ and New England Patriots’ active rosters is a product of California high schools. Ricardo Cano Calmatters -- 2/1/19

KQED Political Breakdown: Pramila Jayapal -- Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal joins Scott and Marisa to share the story of her move to America at 16, going from Wall Street to immigration advocacy, negotiating with Nancy Pelosi, how Democrats should approach the issue of single-payer healthcare, and what she wants to see in the 2020 primary. Link here -- 2/1/19

3 men granted French citizenship for thwarting train attack -- Three California men have been granted French citizenship for their role in thwarting a terror attack on a French train in 2015. Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler were naturalized Thursday at a ceremony in Sacramento. They were honored by Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, consul general of France in San Francisco, and Guy Michelier, honorary consul of France in Sacramento. Associated Press -- 2/1/19

Was C.T.E. Stealing His Mind? A Gunshot Provided the Answer -- Jason Hairston played briefly in the N.F.L., hunted with Donald Trump Jr. and owned a wildly successful hunting gear and apparel company. But he increasingly worried about a degenerative brain disease. John Branch in the New York Times -- 2/1/19

POTUS 45  

Trump, in Interview, Calls Wall Talks ‘Waste of Time’ and Dismisses Investigations -- A defiant President Trump declared on Thursday that he has all but given up on negotiating with Congress over his border wall and will build it on his own even as he dismissed any suggestions of wrongdoing in the investigations that have ensnared his associates. Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman in the New York Times -- 2/1/19

Trump claims his intelligence chiefs said they were ‘totally misquoted.’ They spoke in public -- President Trump said Wednesday that he knows more about the state of key U.S. intelligence than his own top intelligence officials. But he doesn’t even appear to know that those intelligence officials spoke publicly when they contradicted him. Aaron Blake in the Washington Post -- 2/1/19


‘Everything stays on the table’: 2020 Dems weigh killing the filibuster -- White House contenders are debating whether to change Senate rules in order to enact their sweeping agenda. Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine Politico -- 2/1/19


-- Thursday Updates 

Local leaders find that supporting Bay Area housing plan spurs anger at home -- In Rohnert Park, hometown of Sonoma State University, the Graton Casino and strip malls packed against Highway 101, the regional housing battle has become personal. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/31/19

$2 billion cleanup of Camp Fire begins — a first step toward rebuilding Paradise -- After weeks of soil testing and other preliminary work, crews embarked Wednesday on the largest phase of what is believed to be the costliest disaster cleanup in California history: the $2 billion scraping of 14,000 properties burned in November’s deadly Camp Fire. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/31/19

For wildfire victims, PG&E bankruptcy likely means smaller payouts -- The claims will be rerouted from local courts to a federal bankruptcy court in San Francisco, where the victims will stand in line with other creditors, wait a year or longer, and, if the company’s plan is approved, probably wind up with less than they lost. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/31/19

Good news for California’s water supply: Big Sierra Nevada snow pack boost over past month -- Sometimes being average is really good news. California’s statewide Sierra Nevada snow pack was exactly 100 percent of its historical average on Thursday — precisely normal for this date, with roughly two months left in the winter snow season. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle Michael McGough in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/31/19

Talks to avoid a messy legal fight over California's emissions rules appear stalled -- Talks between the Trump administration and California over rules requiring automakers to steadily decrease car emissions are no closer to reaching a deal than when they began months ago, setting the stage for a protracted legal battle. Anna M. Phillips in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/31/19

‘A statewide problem.’ How PG&E’s bankruptcy could soil California’s green-energy movement -- It was a milestone worthy of a global stage: At an international climate change conference in New York exactly one year ago Thursday, PG&E Chief Executive Geisha Williams announced that 33 percent of the utility’s electricity in 2017 came from solar, wind and other renewable sources, beating California’s aggressive green-energy mandates by a full three years. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/31/19

Kamala Harris, front-runner? Slow down -- Sen. Kamala Harris has been running for president for less than two weeks, and Fox News is already crowning her the “Democratic front-runner.” Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s tap the brakes, people. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/31/19

Climate change should tamp down California's wildfire-fanning Santa Ana winds, study finds -- Scientists have warned that California should brace for more wildfire as global warming drives longer bouts of hot and dry weather. Now researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography have found a positive trend when it comes to Southern California’s battle against destructive blazes. Joshua Emerson Smith in the Los Angeles Times -- 1/31/19

Clusterfest plans to bring back the laughs to San Francisco for third year -- No comedians have been named — Clusterfest officials said lineups will be announced in March, at which point ticket sales will begin — but the festival is scheduled for June 21-23, with performances again taking place on an outdoor stage in Civic Center Plaza in front of San Francisco City Hall and inside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 1/31/19

Group in ‘Build the Wall’ gear argues with La Cosecha management, calls restaurant ‘anti-American’ -- A day on the town Wednesday in Sacramento for a band of alt-right activists started with what they called a “fiesta” on the grounds of the governor’s mansion protesting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s immigration stance, continued with a confrontation at a downtown Mexican restaurant and ended with a swarm of angry comments from acolytes on the eatery’s social media pages. Michael McGough in the Sacramento Bee -- 1/31/19

Fox: Changing Prop. 13 Could Worsen Housing Crisis -- For four decades, Proposition 13, the property tax reform that passed in 1978, has been blamed for many of the ills that have befallen California. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 1/31/19