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


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Heavy snowfall, whiteout conditions close main routes to Lake Tahoe -- Weekend snow sport enthusiasts hoping to head back to the Bay Area on Sunday night may be out of luck as whiteout conditions prompted the California Highway Patrol to shut stretches of both Interstate 80 and Highway 50. J.K. Dineen in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19

PG&E response to pipeline fires a past problem, investigators say -- Federal officials investigating the pipeline explosion that burned five buildings in San Francisco last week say it’s not the first time that crews at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. waited several hours to cut off gas lines feeding large fires. Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19

California’s strict wildfire liability rule hangs over bankrupt PG&E -- While bankruptcy will help Pacific Gas and Electric Co. address its immediate financial challenges, it may do little to alleviate longer-term headwinds posed by California’s relentlessly devastating wildfires and the strict liability the state imposes on utilities whose power lines cause them. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19

Who urinated in her boots? A mystery at a California military base has led to claims of a cover-up -- For Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pineda, a 15-year veteran of the California Air National Guard, the military was a family calling. She followed her older sister and brother-in-law into the guard, where she now holds an administrative position at the elite 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno. Alene Tchekmedyian and Paul Pringle in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/10/19

California law could be Congress’ model for data privacy. Or it could be erased -- Lawmakers of both parties, advocates and business and tech industry lobbies all say this session of Congress may be the best chance in years to pass meaningful data privacy legislation. That still might not be giving it the greatest odds. Tal Kopan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19

Left on patio in wheelchair, retired Marine died of heat stroke at Roseville care facility, lawsuit says -- Gene Rogers lived a large life before dementia began to chip away at it. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$

Poor, elderly and too frail to escape: Paradise fire killed the most vulnerable residents -- Experts say the incineration of Paradise, a sleepy town of 27,000 nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, is a case study in what can go wrong when a landscape that’s prone to wildfire is disproportionately populated by those who are least likely to escape. Laura Newberry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/10/19

Here’s who invested in Gavin Newsom – and what they want him to do -- While campaigning for governor last year, Gavin Newsom said he wouldn’t be swayed by political donations. Just because an organization supports you, he said, you’re not necessarily “an apologist for their point of view.” That doesn’t mean donors aren’t trying. Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/10/19

The one-day, $1-billion California budget gimmick that has lasted for almost a decade -- Ten years ago this week, California lawmakers stared into the deepest fiscal abyss the state had ever faced and lived to tell the tale — in part by pretending part of the hole didn’t really exist. Now, the current crop of state leaders must decide whether they’ll finally stop telling themselves the state spends almost $1 billion less every year just by putting off that spending for a single day. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/10/19

They were deported as kids. Now the Rubio sisters are California lawmakers -- They spent their childhood on both sides of the Mexican border, on both sides of U.S. immigration laws. Dad was a factory worker, mom a housekeeper. The family spoke little English. Kevin Modesti in the San Bernardino Sun$ -- 2/10/19

NTSB investigating how long it took PG&E to turn off gas after San Francisco blast -- Federal officials investigating this week’s San Francisco pipeline explosion are looking into why Pacific Gas and Electric Co. took more than two hours to shut off the gas as flames raged in the city’s Jordan Park neighborhood. J.D. Morris and Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19

Walters: School districts set poor example for students -- There’s bitter irony in the loud complaints from California school officials and unions – particularly in large urban districts – about not having enough money. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 2/10/19

‘There’s going to be a fight here to weaken it’: Inside the lobbying war over California’s landmark privacy law -- A landmark law adopted in California last year to rein in the data-collection practices of Facebook, Google and other tech giants has touched off a lobbying blitz that could water it down, potentially undermining new protections that might apply to Internet users across the country. Tony Romm in the Washington Post$ -- 2/10/19

National Republicans will take aim at 7 CA House seats lost to Democrats last year -- The seven districts – five of which are in Southern California – are a significant portion of the 55 Democrat-held congressional seats Republicans are targeting nationally in an effort to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a list released Friday by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Jordan Graham in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 2/10/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Orthodox Jewish ambulance service faces fight from L.A. fire department, and a powerful fire union -- But Hatzolah, as the organization is sometimes alternatively spelled, has long struggled to gain traction in Los Angeles, where the city fire department is the exclusive provider of emergency ambulance services. Leila Miller in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/10/19

Strip clubs and Big Tech find common cause in California labor fight -- Technology companies and strip clubs have something in common: they’re both trying to shape California’s approach to the future of work. A California Supreme Court ruling last year expanding the ranks of workers who should be considered employees — rather than independent contractors — has launched one of the state’s premier policy disputes. Jeremy B. White Politico -- 2/10/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

AQMD considers seeking a one-half cent sales tax in four counties for clean-air programs -- The South Coast Air Quality Management District is pursuing a one-half cent sales tax measure that would raise about $1.4 billion each year to pay for clean-air projects such as zero-emission cars, trucks, trains and cargo equipment. Steve Scauzillo in the Orange County Register -- 2/10/19


Federal dollars — $75 million – sought to ease 91 Freeway crunch in Corona -- Inland commuters could get a little relief if a transportation agency persuades the federal government to put up $75 million to improve the notoriously congested 91 Freeway in Corona. David Downey in the Orange County Register -- 2/10/19


Report Criticizes Cal Fire, Forest Service Cooperation in Mendocino Complex Fire -- An unusual staffing structure, poor communication and an interagency rivalry led a group of firefighters to get trapped and burned while fighting the Mendocino Complex Fire in August 2018, according to a new report out from the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire and the Los Angeles Fire Department. Sonja Hutson KQED -- 2/10/19

New tools, renewed hope for dozens of Paradise businesses -- More than 30 small businesses burned out by the Camp Fire got back to work Friday as an international charity bought $20,000 worth of tools and items on their wish lists at a Home Depot in Chico. Robin Epley in the Chico Enterprise-Record -- 2/10/19

Immigration, Border, Deportation 

Will the Central American caravans continue? -- One caravan of more than 1,800 migrants has been camped out by the Texas border in Piedras Negras. A second caravan numbering 2,000 has been moving this week through southern Mexico. Several hundred other migrants remained at a stadium in Mexico City earlier this week, preparing for the next step of their journey. Sandra Dibble in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 2/10/19


Sac State orders fraternity to cease all activities after second hazing allegation in three weeks -- Sacramento State’s Delta Chi fraternity, which is currently under school investigation for alleged hazing incidents, was ordered Friday to cease and desist all activity, according to a statement from the university. Cassie Dickman in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 2/10/19

L.A. Community College District acted properly in selecting bond program manager, judge rules -- The Los Angeles Community College District acted properly in selecting a manager for its multibillion-dollar construction bond program, a judge has ruled, dismissing allegations of unfair treatment by the losing bidder. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 2/10/19

Bill would give Californians a $10,000 tax deduction for college savings -- California may be the most-populous state, but its 529 college savings plan is dwarfed by those offered by six states including Nevada, Utah, Maine and New Hampshire. Kathleen Pender in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19

Taylor: Oakland students provide lesson on power of protest -- Lauren Kahn was a sophomore at Oakland Technical High School in November 2016 when she watched students stand up and walk out of class to protest the election of our president. That was the first Lauren had heard of a walkout. Otis R. Taylor Jr. in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19


Shortage of shingles vaccine Shingrix frustrates patients -- Months into a nationwide Shingrix shortage, pharmacies and doctors’ offices around the state are no closer to knowing when they will be able to meet patients’ demand for the vaccine, which is more than 90 percent effective in preventing the painful and debilitating rash caused by shingles. Pharmacies have waiting lists of hundreds of patients. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 2/10/19

State commission calls for $3 billion to avert health care worker crisis -- Like many other health care providers in the North Bay, Santa Rosa Community Health has the funding, the facilities and the patient demand to bring on new staff. What it doesn’t have are candidates to fill those positions. Martin Espinoza in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat$ -- 2/10/19


‘Pit of Infection’: A Border Town’s Crisis Has Nothing to Do With Migrants -- For generations, residents of the Southern California border town of Calexico watched with trepidation as their river turned into a cesspool, contaminated by the booming human and industrial development on the other side of the border in Mexico. Jose A. Del Real in the New York Times$ -- 2/10/19

EPA, California Consider Regulation of Chemicals Found in Ski Gloves and Frying Pans Also Showing Up in US Waterways -- Politicians and environmentalists are ratcheting up the pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to take the first step in regulating drinking water contaminated with a toxic, long-lasting family of chemicals called PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The agency has not yet announced what steps it will take. Hannah Hagemann KQED -- 2/10/19

Also . . . 

Is it really America’s worst city? Mendota leaders dispute report’s labeling -- From its problems with the notorious street gang MS-13 to its deep levels of poverty, Mendota now has another negative tagged to its reputation. The Fresno County agricultural town of 11,396 this week ranked at the top of a list of the 50 worst cities to live in the country — a conclusion disputed Friday by city leaders. Yesenia Amaro in the Fresno Bee -- 2/10/19

Bay Area bargain: Free walking tours -- Before smart phones came along, not having money to burn on a tour guide meant lugging around a clunky guide book and squinting at the relatively small maps to figure out if you were on the right street. Now, we have so many better free options, from walking tour apps to meetup groups to freebies led by a human guide. Tracey Kaplan in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 2/10/19

POTUS 45  

Beto O’Rourke to join anti-wall march in El Paso as Trump holds a rally for it a mile away -- President Trump will hold his first campaign rally of the year Monday at the El Paso County Coliseum, a Texas arena within a stone’s throw of the U.S.-Mexico border. It won’t be the only high-profile event in El Paso that night. Amy B Wang in the Washington Post$ -- 2/10/19


-- Sauturday Updates 

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