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


Updating . .   

Site of gas line explosion in San Francisco was properly marked, PG&E says -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. adequately marked its underground infrastructure at the site of a gas explosion that burned five buildings and sent people running for their lives in San Francisco’s Jordan Park neighborhood, the company said Thursday. J.D. Morris, Sarah Ravani and Gwendolyn Wu in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/8/19

Cal Fire says PG&E doesn’t have to remove all trees above its lines -- State fire officials have told the federal judge overseeing Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s criminal probation that California law requires the utility to remove all tree limbs that may topple onto a power line during times of high fire danger — but does not mandate removal of all overhanging trees or limbs, as the judge contended. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/8/19

Snowbound Sierra Nevada lodge guests freed -- More than 120 visitors and staff who became snowbound in a Sierra Nevada resort due to recent storms have been freed. The U.S. Forest Service says snow trapped the guests and staff at a lodge at Montecito Lake in Kings Canyon National Park. Associated Press -- 2/8/19

Wells Fargo banking outage stretches into second day -- Some Wells Fargo customers continued to experience problems with accessing their accounts Friday morning after the bank experienced its second outage in a week on Thursday. Sophia Kunthara in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Levi Sumagaysay in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/8/19

How Democrats hope to protect California flood money if Trump declares a national emergency -- With another potential government shutdown on the horizon, President Donald Trump remains coy about whether he’ll declare a national emergency to fund the border wall he promised during his 2016 campaign. Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/8/19

BART testing to San Jose picks up; Nov. 1 opening tentatively set -- Don’t blink in disbelief. Testing of BART trains on the often-delayed extension from Fremont to the Berryessa area of San Jose begins in earnest next week , although the opening of the $2.3 billion, 10-mile line has been pushed back to Nov. 1. Gary Richards in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/8/19

Meth deaths and ER visits climb sharply in San Francisco, as leaders look for solutions -- Methamphetamine overdose deaths doubled over the past decade, even as opioid fatalities stabilized; more people die from methamphetamine use than heroin in San Francisco. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/8/19

Huntington Beach legislator: Newsom housing lawsuit “seemed like selective prosecution” -- A conservative Huntington Beach legislator called a state lawsuit aimed at compelling the Orange County city to build more housing a “literal cannonball” from Gov. Gavin Newsom—adding that it “seemed like selective prosecution” when dozens of other California cities could be blamed for not doing their share to alleviate California’s housing shortage. Matt Levin Calmatters -- 2/8/19

By detailing the horrific events of her gang rape, one woman fights to end sexual violence on college campuses -- The buzz of the lights. That is all you can hear in this big gymnasium, the buzz of the lights overhead and the sound of Brenda Tracy’s voice, which remains steady even as she begins to cry. David Wharton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/8/19

Black market poachers coming for California’s coastal succulents -- Along California’s coast, poachers are snatching up a natural resource and shipping it to black markets in China and South Korea. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has been battling the poaching of wild succulents for overseas markets since 2017 with the help of concerned community members. Bailey Bedford in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/8/19

10-year-old boy shot in the head by driver on 15 Freeway -- The boy was in the back of a BMW that was traveling north on the 15 Freeway south of Hesperia when someone in another car shot at the BMW about 9 p.m., the California Highway Patrol said. One round went through the car’s small rear window, striking the boy in the head. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/8/19

A homeless man died outside in Sacramento. Why are warming centers still not open? -- A homeless man was found dead outdoors in downtown Sacramento on Tuesday as temperatures dropped to the low 30s, and activists want to know why officials have not opened warming centers. Theresa Clift in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/8/19

The crazy cost of driving and parking tickets in San Francisco -- Hundreds of millions of dollars in driving and parking fines are written up every year in the Bay Area. In San Francisco alone, parking tickets fines alone add up to $124 million dollars per year. David Curran in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/8/19

Fox: Do Early Polls on Split Roll Tell Us Anything? -- The split roll initiative qualified for the November 2020 ballot is already getting attention in the polls more than a year-and-a-half before the election. But do these early polls tell us anything about that controversial and certain to be hotly contested issue? Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 2/8/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Lawsuit claims corruption, racism, sexual harassment contributed to Oroville Dam crisis -- Workers were patching Oroville Dam’s weathered concrete spillway, nearly four years before a massive crater would tear it open. Michael Hopkins, an employee at the Department of Water Resources, alleges he saw something he would never forget. Ryan Sabalow and Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/8/19

LAPD chief defends Metro division after controversy over stops of black drivers -- Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore defended his elite Metropolitan Division officers at a law enforcement conference Thursday, saying they were not engaged in racial profiling despite a Times investigation showing that they pulled over a disproportionate number of black drivers. Cindy Chang, Ben Poston and Joel Rubin in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/8/19

SDG&E turns in its wildfire plan for 2019 — and it's different than other power companies in California -- But while the state’s other two investor-owned utilities — Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric — turned in wildfire mitigation plans that called for dramatic changes this year in the way they combat the growing danger of deadly blazes, the SDG&E plan did not. Rob Nikolewski in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/8/19

California made it hard to avoid vaccinating kids. Medical waivers have tripled. Now what? -- Three years after California stopped allowing families to easily opt out of childhood vaccines, the number of kids getting medical waivers has tripled—the result, critics say, of some doctors loosely issuing exemptions to help families get around the law. Elizabeth Aguilera Calmatters -- 2/8/19

Not-so-free college: The limits of California’s Promise program -- As student government president for the California Community Colleges, Iiyshaa Youngblood represents millions of people who scrape to pay for, and complete, even a two-year degree program. So you might expect the Inland Empire psychology major to be excited about a proposal to offer Californians two years of community college tuition-free. You’d be wrong Felicia Mello Calmatters -- 2/8/19

Can't live with Trump, can't live without him: California Republicans' challenging future -- Still smarting from historic losses in the November “blue wave,” Orange County Republicans gathered last month to consider a new leader and direction for the state party. Though President Trump wasn’t the topic of discussion in the Costa Mesa hotel ballroom where they met, he was likely not far from anyone’s mind. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/8/19

Sick of robocalls? This California bill would force phone companies to crack down on them -- A California lawmaker has submitted a bill that would require telecommunications companies to crack down on “neighbor spoofing” robocalls that are designed to appear as a local caller. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/8/19

Cyber-Sabotage, Wildfires, Weather — A Web Of Threats To The Power Supply Could Leave Californians In The Dark -- Experts say energy grids are the new front in cyber-terrorism. Although the wildfires that periodically dominate the news are a serious threat to California’s power supply, cyber-invaders are an around-the clock danger, trying to penetrate grid security every minute of every day. Julie Cart, CALmatters via Capital Public Radio -- 2/8/19

Politifact CA: There are holes in President Trump’s claim about the San Diego border wall -- In his State of the Union Address this week, President Donald Trump pointed to San Diego’s border fence with Mexico as an example of where "walls work and walls save lives." Chris Nichols Politifact CA -- 2/8/19

US officials to investigate San Francisco gas explosion -- The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate a natural gas explosion in San Francisco that sent flames into the sky for hours and damaged five buildings, an official said Thursday. Olga R. Rodriguez Associated Press -- 2/8/19

Deputy LA City Attorney in San Pedro goes public with typhus bout, prompting City Hall to take notice -- Two months after she came down with typhus and called on City Hall for action, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Elizabeth Greenwood must feel she’s finally being heard. Donna Littlejohn in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 2/8/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Where does a tip to an Amazon driver go? In some cases, toward the driver's base pay -- Amazon at times dips into the tips earned by contracted delivery drivers to cover their promised pay, a Times review of emails and receipts reveals. Johana Bhuiyan in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/8/19

California’s biggest utilities are losing their monopolies. Is that a good thing? -- California’s three big investor-owned utilities — Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric are the other two — are losing a growing number of customers to government-run power providers called community choice aggregators, or CCAs. Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/8/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

Californians with bad water ask for help while opposition mounts to Newsom’s proposed tax -- Californians with unhealthy drinking water pleaded for help from lawmakers this week but opposition quickly developed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to pay for system improvements with a new fee. Maddy Ashmun in the Sacramento Bee -- 2/8/19


27 Metro Stations Are Now Offering To Rent You A Stranger's Car -- If the only thing preventing you from taking public transportation is that it's just too dang far from your house or office, you might be in luck. On Thursday, Metro Los Angeles unveiled a partnership with Getaround, a car-sharing service that will let you rent other people's cars — in this case, to get to and from Metro stations. Jessica P. Ogilvie laist -- 2/8/19


Marijuana production faces 'war' from Asian American communities in San Gabriel Valley -- The men and women collecting petition signatures outside Metro Super Market in Temple City warned of a marijuana takeover and greedy politicians eager to speed it along. They accused Andre Quintero, the mayor of El Monte, of wanting to make the San Gabriel Valley famous as a cannabis hub. Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/8/19


Sacramento City Teachers Union Requests State Investigation Into District Superintendent -- The Sacramento City Teachers Association sent a letter of request to the department on Wednesday detailing a list of concerns about potential conflicts of interest and misallocations of district resources by Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. Randol White Capital Public Radio -- 2/8/19


Why California is so strict on guns -- Tragedy strikes, California responds. Tragedy strikes, California responds. That’s the state’s history when it comes to gun laws. But how did a state once the epitome of the gun-slinging wild, wild west wind up with more gun control laws than another state in the country? This video breaks it down: Byrhonda Lyons Calmatters -- 2/8/19


Beaches look like trash dumps after multiple storms in Southern California -- Trash from the San Gabriel River flowed to an opening near Seal Beach, creating a half-mile-long berm of detritus 20 feet wide and nearly 3 feet high. The Santa Ana River has deposited garbage at both Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times -- 2/8/19

Drought concerns lessen in wake of latest rain, but experts still cautious -- Recent storms have drenched Southern California enough that areas have almost twice their average rainfall totals. Even drought status has been pushed away for all but the southwest and north edges of the state. Richard K. De Atley, Nikie Johnson in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 2/8/19

Rainy weather washes away drought conditions in LA -- A week of rain—and snow at higher elevations—have nearly washed away drought conditions across California, according to report released today by U.S. Drought Monitor. Elijah Chiland Curbed LA -- 2/8/19

Do California Cement Factories Pollute More Than Those In China Or India? Study Suggests Time To Further Reduce Carbon Emissions -- California's cement industry could be overhauled if Sierra Club California and a Bay Area Assembly member get their way. A new Sierra Club study says cement production is responsible for 5 percent of carbon pollution globally. Ezra David Romero Capital Public Radio -- 2/8/19

Also . . . 

‘Where do we start?’ Modesto CHP posts an eyebrow-raising, head scratcher of a photo -- An eyebrow-raising photo posted by the Modesto-area CHP on its Facebook page raised some questions and fueled a lot of corny comments. It shows a box truck pulled to the side of Highway 99, with a Dodge Ram pickup squeezed into it tighterthanthis. The Highway Patrol captioned it, “Where do we start?” Deke Farrow in the Fresno Bee$ -- 2/8/19

Attorney says mental evaluation violated rights of man accused of killing Newman cop -- Paulo Virgen Mendoza, who is accused of killing Newman Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, participated in a mental health evaluation to determine his mental competency. But his attorney says the evaluation and its subsequent report violated his client’s due process rights. Rosalio Ahumada in the Modesto Bee$ -- 2/8/19

POTUS 45  

Trump cornered on border wall -- The president doesn’t have GOP support to go through another shutdown or declare a national emergency — pressuring him to back whatever deal Congress makes. Eliana Johnson, Burgess Everett and Gabby Orr Politico -- 2/8/19


Harris unveils California endorsements in home state show of force -- Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign has scored endorsements from a major roster of legislators in California in a bid to cement an early advantage in her delegate-rich home state. Carla Marinucci Politico -- 2/7/19

-- Updates 

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