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


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Richmond-San Rafael Bridge expected to reopen by 6 p.m., Caltrans says -- Falling concrete drew traffic to a halt on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Thursday, the latest incident for a span with a long history of developing holes and cracks. Ashley McBride, Michael Cabanatuan and Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Frank Robinson, former San Francisco Giants manager and baseball trailblazer, dies -- Frank Robinson, who grew up in Oakland, enjoyed a Hall of Fame career playing baseball and became the game’s first African American manager, died Thursday. He was 83. Robinson died in Los Angeles after a battle with bone cancer. John Shea in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Critics ask what took PG&E so long on wildfire safety effort -- Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. is promising to spend more than $2 billion this year to improve wildfire prevention after its equipment was blamed for causing more than 1,500 Northern California wildfires since 2014. Lawyers, industry watchdogs and a federal judge alike wonder: What took so long? Paul Elias Associated Press -- 2/7/19

L.A. city attorney drops charges against prominent Black Lives Matter leader amid public outcry -- Los Angeles officials on Thursday agreed to drop all criminal charges against one of the city’s most visible Black Lives Matter organizers as part of a negotiated arrangement, after hundreds of activists filed petitions, filled courtrooms and led rallies in recent weeks accusing prosecutors and police of using the charges to silence a critical voice. James Queally in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

Bay Area housing prices push low-income minorities farther out, study finds -- Researchers at UC Berkeley and the California Housing Partnership studied census tract-level data from 2000 to 2015 in each of the nine Bay Area counties. They found that a 30 percent increase in median rent corresponded with a 28 percent decrease in low-income minority households but no significant change in the number of white families. Kimberly Veklerov in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Downtown L.A. developer donated $50,000 before pivotal vote involving high-rise project, records show -- A real estate company seeking to raze a portion of the former Los Angeles Times headquarters and replace it with two high-rise towers gave $50,000 to a campaign committee with ties to Councilman Jose Huizar two months before a crucial vote on the property, according to recently filed contribution records. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

PG&E customers should have formal bankruptcy court status, consumer groups demand -- PG&E customers should be granted formal status in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court case through which the embattled utility hopes to shed debts, including potentially billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities, a consumer group said Thursday. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury -- 2/7/19

California quietly publishes list of 781 lowest-performing schools -- Under a federal education law that requires states to identify the lowest performing schools, districts with these schools will get a modicum of federal aid — about $150,000 per school per year — along with the obligation to figure out how to make the schools better. Only this time there will be fewer dictates from Washington and less interference from Sacramento. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 2/7/19

Database: California's lowest-performing schools. Daniel J. Willis EdSource -- 2/7/19

L.A. City Hall, overrun with rats, might remove all carpets amid typhus fears -- L.A. City Hall has a problem with rats — and leaders, fed up with the problem, are calling for an investigation. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

In Style And Substance, Gavin Newsom Goes His Own Way -- One month ago today, Gavin Newsom succeeded Jerry Brown as California governor. And anyone doubting the start of a new era in the California governor’s office need only watch Newsom’s January state budget presentation. Ben Adler Capital Public Radio -- 2/7/19

Huey Lewis battles through a hearing loss nightmare -- The first thing Huey Lewis does when he wakes up each morning is reach one arm away from his body and scratch the sheet with a fingernail. Can he hear a sound? Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Army invades L.A.’s space: Black helicopters, loud booms, simulated gunfire are all part of the drill -- Don’t worry, those low-flying dark helicopters buzzing around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this week belong to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

Fire causes Wells Fargo customers to lose access to accounts -- Wells Fargo customers are experiencing issues with accessing online or mobile banking as well as other banking services, after a fire happened at one of the bank’s data centers. Associated Press -- 2/7/19

Fox: PPIC Poll: What do Voters Know? -- An annual ritual around this time each year accompanies the Public Policy Institute of California poll release. PPIC asks voters how the state budget prioritizes spending and I point out that the poll respondents continually get the order wrong. Which begs the question: How much weight to put in the other responses recorded by the poll on state spending issues? Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/7/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

PG&E expands power shut-off plan: All electric customers could be impacted -- Any of Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s more than 5 million electric customers could have their power shut off during dangerously dry and windy weather as part of an expanded wildfire prevention program the utility outlined Wednesday. J.D. Morris and Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee Katherine Blunt in the Wall Street Journal$ Paul Elias Associated Press -- 2/7/19

PG&E safety record in dispute in probation case -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s self-portrait as a safety-first company was sharply disputed Wednesday by lawyers for wildfire victims, who told a federal judge that the utility’s own records and state investigations have shown PG&E ignored dangerous conditions and gave priority to its public image and finances. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Southern California Edison unveils plan to prevent wildfires -- California’s second-largest power company plans to cut down tens of thousands of trees in high-risk areas, inspect thousands of miles of power lines and consider the use of preemptive power shutoffs this year, part of a $582-million plan to reduce the risk of fires sparked by the utility’s infrastructure. Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

When should police be allowed to shoot? Fight returns to California Capitol -- A fight over when police officers should be allowed to open fire on suspects has returned to the state Capitol after negotiations between civil liberties advocates and law enforcement groups hit an impasse. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle Hannah Wiley in the Sacramento Bee Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

California cities taking cue from attorney general’s decision not to disclose police disciplinary files -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will not release disciplinary records for his investigators under the state’s new transparency law until the courts rule on whether the statute is retroactive, saying that for now disclosure would invade the officers’ rights. Tony Saavedra in the Orange County Register -- 2/7/19

Trump says Gov. Gavin Newsom ‘agrees with me’ on California forest problems -- President Trump asserted Wednesday that Gov. Gavin Newsom agrees with his belief that California has not done enough to prevent severe wildfires. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Poll: Californians Strongly Support Newsom's Budget Priorities -- California voters give overwhelming approval to the policy priorities outlined by Gov. Gavin Newsom in his first state budget, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. Scott Shafer KQED Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 2/7/19

California voters optimistic about state’s direction, but not America’s -- Two-thirds of likely voters surveyed say the country is on the wrong track, 47 percent say race relations in the U.S. are worse than they were a year ago and only 18 percent believe the new Congress and President Trump “will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year” — the lowest level the institute has recorded on that question in 12 years of polling. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Skelton: California voters don't know much about government. But they do have common sense -- Voters can be weird. They’re often dead wrong on public policy details, but still instinctively arrive at a sensible conclusion. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

Walters: Will the one-percenters flee California’s high taxes? -- Reality – a new reality – is hitting home as Californians work on their 2018 federal income tax returns. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 2/7/19

More errors at the DMV: Thousands of customers can’t get licenses after paying early -- Bogged down by long customer wait times, California’s Department of Motor last fall tried to ease the pressure in its offices by sending license renewal notices much earlier than usual. It backfired. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/7/19

San Francisco officials undaunted by Trump administration move to stop safe-injection site in Philadelphia -- The Trump administration is going to court to stop a safe-injection site from opening in Philadelphia, saying it would violate federal drug laws — the same action it has threatened to take against San Francisco, which plans to open one or more spaces offering clean needles, syringes, medical care and counseling to drug users. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Single-payer health care isn’t popular in California -- One of the most persistent ideas of Democratic politics in California — the push for single-payer health insurance — is favored by only 41 percent of voters statewide, while 46 percent would not swap their private insurance for a government-backed system, according to a poll released Wednesday, Feb. 6 by Quinnipiac University. Andre Mouchard in the Orange County Register -- 2/7/19

Gov. Gavin Newsom pays off Super Bowl bet with community service -- Reluctantly sporting a Tom Brady New England Patriots jersey, Gov. Gavin Newsom spent lunch Wednesday helping feed the homeless at a Sacramento shelter to pay off a bet with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Tesla details Bay Area layoffs, with sales and service taking hit -- The electric carmaker will terminate more than a thousand positions from its workforce in Northern California, as part of an announced round of layoffs affecting more than 3,200 full-time employees. Melia Russell in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

Trump ‘open to talking about’ a change in tax law that is costing Californians $12 billion -- Until last year, taxpayers could deduct their state and local tax payments from their federal income taxes if they itemized their deductions. Republicans’ 2017 tax overhaul, however, capped the deduction at $10,000, which primarily affected wealthy individuals in high tax states like California, New York and New Jersey. Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/7/19

Immigration, Border, Deportation 

Authorities arrest Customs and Border Protection officer suspected of selling guns without license -- A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer has been charged with selling guns without a license and using his status as a law enforcement officer to buy and then transfer handguns not available to the general public, according to federal authorities. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19


Oakland school district braces for up to 150 layoffs in administration, services --District officials are looking to slash nearly $22 million in spending next year, with more than half of the cuts expected to come from the district’s central office. The rest of the plan calls for reduction in schools’ discretionary spending, contracts and operational spending. Ashley McBride in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Do charter schools harm traditional public schools? Gov. Newsom wants to find out -- In the wake of the Los Angeles teachers’ strike, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has joined a push for a review of how charter schools could be causing financial problems for traditional school systems. He has asked state Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to convene an expert panel, with a report due by July 1. Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

California’s new online community college taps tech entrepreneur for top job -- California’s community college system has chosen an entrepreneur with a background in technology and philanthropy to lead its controversial new online college, as system leaders push to meet a fall deadline to have the school up and running. Felicia Mello Calmatters -- 2/7/19

Textbooks with LGBT history-makers coming to Elk Grove classrooms after tense debate -- More than 150 parents, teachers and community members filled the board meeting to support or oppose the new K-8 social science curriculum, which brings the district in line with recent state standards. Sawsan Morrar in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/7/19


State finds no dangerous radiation in Hunters Point neighborhood -- San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII) says that a state inspection has ruled a key section of the Hunters Point Shipyard “free from any radiological health and safety hazards.” Adam Brinklow Curbed San Francisco -- 2/7/19

Court gives Trump administration another chance to argue against pesticide ban -- A federal appeals court in San Francisco granted the Trump administration’s request Wednesday to reconsider its ruling that ordered a ban on the widely used farm pesticide chlorpyrifos, a chemical that, according to recent studies, can cause brain damage in children. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19


Lawsuits from Central Valley, Bay Area keep state ‘water grab’ tied up in courts -- An assortment of groups, from a leading farming organization to a water supplier for Silicon Valley, joined the legal fray in courts over the State Water Board decision in December to reduce water diversions for farms and cities from the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers. Ken Carlson in the Merced Sun Star -- 2/7/19

Also . . . 

Gas line explosion in San Francisco sends people running for lives -- A gas line explosion at a busy San Francisco intersection shot flames 40 feet into the air, sent people running for their lives and set five buildings on fire Wednesday afternoon. Gwendolyn Wu, Lauren Hernández and Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/7/19

Garcetti orders LAPD to scale back vehicle stops amid concerns over black drivers being targeted -- Mayor Eric Garcetti has ordered Los Angeles police to scale back on vehicle stops in response to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times showing that an elite unit was pulling over a disproportionate number of African Americans. Cindy Chang and Ben Poston in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

L.A. County supervisors to consider phasing out pepper spray in juvenile halls -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to weigh a plan next week to “phase out” the use of pepper spray in its juvenile detention facilities, following recent scrutiny about its excessive use. Matt Stiles in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/7/19

POTUS 45  

Inaugural probe puts spotlight on prolific Democratic donor who rapidly remade himself into a major Trump booster -- On Election Day 2016, Los Angeles venture capitalist and Democratic donor Imaad Zuberi took to Facebook to tout his proximity to the person he thought would be ascending to the White House. Rosalind S. Helderman, Michael Kranish and Tom Hamburger in the Washington Post -- 2/7/19


2020 Democrats storm California for cash -- A political Gold Rush is starting up in California, well before the field settles in the Democratic presidential contest. Christopher Cadelago Politico -- 2/7/19


-- Wednesday Updates 

Poll: California voters divided on Kamala Harris as president -- Forty percent of voters in overwhelmingly Democratic California say the first-term senator would make a good president, and 38 percent say she would not, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Carla Marinucci Politico Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle Ben Christopher Calmatters Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/6/19

Campaign for Rep. Duncan Hunter spends at amusement park, disputes drone charges -- In the last five weeks of 2018, Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign reported spending hundreds of dollars at a local amusement park and made $2,000 in charges — now disputed — to a technology company that flies drones. Morgan Cook in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/6/19

California National Guard to transgender troops: ‘Nobody’s going to kick you out’ -- One of the highest-ranking officers in the California National Guard told lawmakers on Tuesday that the state is not removing transgender soldiers and airmen from its ranks despite efforts by the Trump administration to bar transgender people from the Armed Forces. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/6/19

Sutter-Anthem contract dispute means 20,000 patients must find new doctors -- Anthem Blue Cross and Sutter Health are still trying to resolve their Medi-Cal contract disagreement, representatives of the companies told The Sacramento Bee this week, but as of Feb. 1, roughly 20,000 patients around Northern California have had to seek new doctors. Cathie Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/6/19

California gets a rare wet winter, with lots of rain and impressive snow levels -- Snowcapped mountains are pretty typical in California — just not the peaks that got dusted this week. Javier Panzar and Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/6/19

BART, Amtrak assess building new shared transbay crossing -- BART and Amtrak are teaming up on assessing the possibility of building a second Bay Area crossing, one that would give passengers a “one-seat” ride on the Capitol Corridor train from downtown San Francisco to Sacramento. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/6/19

As social networks tighten up, they’re taking your data hostage -- You can delete your Facebook account, of course, though as many have pointed out, that’s an act of privilege that ignores how critical the social network is to organizers and activists around the world. And, as Zuckerberg has insistently pointed out, you can download your data. But what does that mean, when there’s nowhere to take it? Owen Thomas in the San Francisco Chronicle -- 2/6/19

Sacramento City teachers ask state schools chief to investigate district, superintendent -- The teachers union in the financially troubled Sacramento City Unified School District on Tuesday sent a letter to California’s schools chief requesting an investigation of the district and its superintendent, alleging misuse of district resources and conflict of interest. Sawsan Morrar and Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/6/19

College athletes could soon get paid in California, but not from the NCAA -- A proposal introduced by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would allow players to get compensated for sponsorship opportunities. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/6/19

Diverging bills aim to curb police shootings: Tougher legal standards vs. better training and policies -- Negotiations have broken down between law enforcement and civil rights advocates on legislation to curb police shootings, with each side proposing their own bill meant to reduce the number of Californians killed by police—a development that indicates the Capitol’s dominant Democrats will likely be divided as the emotional issue of police shootings takes center stage this spring. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters -- 2/6/19

It’s a crime to refuse to help the police in California. This bill could change that -- A California law straight out of the Wild West could soon be no more. A state lawmaker is calling for the repeal of a law that makes it a crime to refuse to help the police. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/6/19