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


Updating . .   

What you need to know about the Transbay Tube seismic retrofit -- Engineers have feared for years that BART’s Transbay Tube would leak — perhaps even flood — during a major earthquake, with water pouring in faster than people could get out. On Monday, BART will begin a $313 million retrofit. Rachel Swan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/9/19

Lopez: L.A. City Hall’s real rat problem: Corruption -- On the south side of Los Angeles City Hall, several floors above Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office and the homeless people who nap on the lawn, a quote from the Roman statesman Cicero is chiseled into the face of the building. “He that violates his oath,” it says, “profanes the divinity of faith itself.” Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

Willie Brown: Democrats have a 2020 problem: Trump is good at elections -- Make no mistake, President Trump’s State of the Union address was the kickoff for his 2020 re-election campaign, and so far I’ve yet to see a Democrat who can beat him. Willie Brown in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/9/19

Trump administration waives environmental review to replace more San Diego border fencing -- Describing San Diego’s border with Mexico as “an area of high illegal entry,” the Trump administration announced this week it is waiving environmental reviews to speed up replacement of 12.4 miles of the secondary border fence. Peter Rowe in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/9/19

Snowbound California guests freed after 5 days at lodge -- More than 120 visitors and staff who were snowbound in a Sierra Nevada resort for five days have been freed, authorities said Friday. Up to 7 feet of snow trapped the guests and staff at Montecito Sequoia Lodge in Sequoia National Forest starting Sunday following a storm, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Alicia Embrey said. Amanda Lee Myers Associated Press -- 2/9/19

Female scientists’ contributions overlooked in research papers, new study finds -- In years past, learned men have advanced humanity’s understanding of how genes adapt and change over time, a field called population genetics. Now, a new study sheds light on a previously unknown fact: many of those scientists were learned women. Nanette Asimov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/9/19

Suits, overruns slow condo projects by Chinese developers in San Francisco -- In 2014 and 2015, Chinese real estate development company Z&L Properties jumped into the California real estate market with a splash, going on a buying spree that would eventually include 12 housing sites in the Bay Area and Los Angeles that, when built out, would yield 3,400 condos. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/9/19

These grandparents sold gay porn for decades and almost went to prison. Now, they are calling it quits -- Over the years, Circus of Books has survived an FBI raid, federal obscenity charges and complaints from law enforcement who said the store attracted prostitution and other criminal elements. It remained open during the AIDS crisis, when numerous employees died. But it could not survive Amazon. Hailey Branson-Potts in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

All too often, California’s default mental institutions are now jails and prisons -- Jeffrey Jurgens stood in a cage in an orange jumpsuit, screaming that he was Jesus Christ. From her seat in the Sacramento courtroom, his mother watched through tears. Jocelyn Wiener Calmatters -- 2/9/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Universal health care in California: $17 billion a year, says one estimate -- Universal health care in California could cost $17.3 billion a year, under one plan proposed Friday by UC Berkeley health policy researchers. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/9/19

Contra Costa County judge rejects police unions’ attempt to keep misconduct records sealed -- A new California law requiring cities to unseal police misconduct records applies to past records as well as new ones, a judge decided Friday in denying injunction requests from several police unions fighting to prevent the release of pre-2019 records. Megan Cassidy in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/9/19

Getting Your Hands On California Campaign Finance Records Could Get Easier -- Californians can already access campaign finance records online for state and federal candidates. But those same records aren’t as easy to find for candidates in city and county races. A bill proposed at the state Capitol this week would change that. Chris Nichols Capital Public Radio -- 2/9/19

Finding Kyle -- How one teen's suicide led to his family's ongoing fight to push San Francisco to install a suicide barrier under the Golden Gate Bridge. Lizzie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/9/19

Pilot had been disciplined for dangerous flying years before Yorba Linda crash -- Years before his plane plunged into an Orange County suburb, killing him and four others on the ground, Antonio Pastini was disciplined twice by federal regulators for flying in dangerous conditions and lying about his credentials, records show. Matthew Ormseth and Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

L.A. will pay $6.1 million to motorcyclist who hit potholes and crashed -- The Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to spend $6.1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a motorcyclist who suffered a severe brain injury when he crashed after hitting several potholes on a San Pedro street in 2015. The city reached a settlement with Philip Ramon Alvarez in December. Javier Panzar in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

Text and drive in California and you could get a point on your license -- Texting and driving is a bad idea. Not only can it result in accidents ― the National Safety Council estimates that texting contributed to 341,000 vehicle crashes in 2013 ― but it’s illegal as well, an infraction punishable by fines of up to $50. But existing law doesn’t go far enough to deter distracted drivers, according to Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/9/19

Atmospheric river possible next week for California, raising flood concerns -- Computer models are showing a growing likelihood of an atmospheric river storm hitting California late next week, raising concerns that if a warm “Pineapple Express” barrels in with enough force, it could melt parts of the state’s big Sierra Nevada snow pack and increase flood risk. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/9/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Snow levels rise at California ski resorts, and so do lift prices -- When they get there, skiers and snowboarders will find that daily lift tickets cost an average of 12% more, while the online price is up 15% on average compared with last season, according to an analysis by Liftopia, a website that sells lift tickets and passes for ski resorts throughout North America. Hugo Martin in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

Trump border wall could split SpaceX’s Texas launchpad in two -- Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a big stake in the battle over border security being waged in Congress. A launchpad on the U.S.-Mexico border, which it plans to use for rockets carrying humans around the world and eventually to Mars, could be split in two by the Trump administration’s planned wall. Erik Wasson Bloomberg via in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

Storms displace estimated 150 Yosemite employees. Some tell of dire conditions -- An estimated 150 concessions workers in Yosemite National Park have been displaced from their employee housing due to damage from heavy snows in recent storms, the park reported Friday. Rory Appleton in the Fresno Bee -- 2/9/


Caltrans Insists Richmond-San Rafael Span Is Safe, Outlines Repair Plans -- Caltrans says work will begin next week to replace a damaged expansion joint on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the source of falling concrete chunks that shut down the span and led to monstrous traffic tie-ups Thursday. Dan Brekke, Ryan Levi KQED -- 2/9/19


Three Months Later, FEMA Is Still Scrambling to House Thousands of Camp Fire Survivors -- It's been three months since the deadly Camp Fire ravaged the town of Paradise and surrounding areas, and thousands of survivors are still waiting for secure housing. In its most recent estimate, the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week said about 13,000 people were still in need of stable housing. KQED -- 2/9/19

Immigration, Border, Deportation 

It took awhile, but L.A. formally declares itself a 'city of sanctuary' -- It took nearly a year and a half, but officials voted Friday to declare Los Angeles a “city of sanctuary,” long after other left-leaning cities took a similar stand against the Trump administration’s policies toward immigrants who lack legal status. Dakota Smith and Matthew Ormseth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

US To Waive Environmental Reviews For San Diego Border Wall -- The Trump administration on Friday waived environmental reviews to replace a 14-mile (22.5 kilometer) stretch of border barrier in San Diego, shielding itself from potentially crippling delays. Associated Press -- 2/9/19


Anonymous video accuses Sacramento State fraternity of binding, gagging member -- A video sent to The Sacramento Bee on Friday shows a purported member of Sacramento State’s Delta Chi fraternity, which is currently under school investigation for an alleged hazing incident, bound to a wood table and gagged with a white cloth. Benjy Egel in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/9/19

These Sacramento-area schools are low performers. Here’s why state kept list’s release low-key -- More than 50 schools in the Sacramento region landed on the California Department of Education’s list of the state’s 781 poorest performing schools – published quietly last week for the first time in four years. Sawsan Morrar in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/9/19

'Not Just a Teacher Issue': Oakland Students Stage Sickout Over School Woes -- Hundreds of Oakland students from high schools across the city skipped class Friday morning to march from Oakland Technical High School to the school district's downtown headquarters in a spirited show of support for their teachers, who are threatening to strike amid tense contract negotiations. Monica Lam, Matthew Green KQED -- 2/9/19


Study: Pesticide Mixture the Culprit in Almond Grove Bee Die-Offs -- A new study has found that a mix of insecticides and fungicides could be the culprit in massive die-offs of honeybees at almond groves in California’s Central Valley. KQED -- 2/9/19

Heavy snow wallops Yosemite National Park, causing damage and closures -- Heavy snowfall this week at Yosemite National Park has toppled trees, knocked out power and damaged campgrounds, and some roads and facilities including the ski area remained closed Friday, officials said. Kim Christensen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

Also . . . 

What Jeff Bezos’ intimate-message breach teaches us about digital security -- Last month, the National Enquirer shared the intimate texts that Jeff Bezos — Amazon founder, Washington Post owner and richest man in the world — had sent to Lauren Sanchez, a former television host, over the course of their months-long extramarital affair. Sam Dean in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/9/19

POTUS 45  

Trump, not especially vigilant on diet, declared 'in very good health' -- President Donald Trump was declared “in very good health” by the White House physician on Friday after four hours of examinations in what amounted to a test of whether his doctor’s order that he follow a healthier diet has paid dividends. Steve Holland Reuters -- 2/9/19

‘My whole town practically lived there’: From Costa Rica to New Jersey, a pipeline of illegal workers for Trump goes back years -- At his home on the misty slope of Costa Rica’s tallest mountain, Dario Angulo keeps a set of photographs from the years he tended the rolling fairways and clipped greens of a faraway American golf resort. Joshua Partlow, Nick Miroff and David A. Fahrenthold in the Washington Post$ -- 2/9/19

Trump once advocated a ‘huge financial penalty’ for those employing undocumented immigrants -- During the recent government shutdown, a number of people who worked for Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y., were summoned to the facility — then closed for the season — for a meeting with their bosses. There, they were fired, some after years of service, because they were in the country illegally. The terminations followed a similar action at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., last year. Philip Bump in the Washington Post$ -- 2/9/19


-- Friday Updates 

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