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


Updating . .   

L.A. settles pivotal homeless rights case, likely limiting the city's ability to clear streets of camps -- The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday agreed to settle a pivotal and contentious case on the property rights of homeless people — a decision that is likely to limit the seizure and destruction of encampments on skid row. Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

PG&E “unsafe” actions, “dismal” prevention, caused wildfires, but judge decides PG&E’s main focus will primarily be tree-trimming -- PG&E’s “unsafe conduct” caused a gas explosion in San Bruno and several fatal Northern California wildfires, but a federal judge will allow PG&E to primarily focus on tree-trimming rather than be forced to launch a complete inspection of its power grid. George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19

US judge eases wildfire safety plan for California utility -- A U.S. judge in San Francisco overseeing a criminal case against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is scaling back his proposals to prevent the utility’s equipment from causing more wildfires. Judge William Alsup said in an order late Tuesday that he’s now considering making PG&E comply with targets in a wildfire mitigation plan that the company submitted to California regulators. Associated Press -- 3/6/19

An ICE jail in California may close soon. What will happen to its 400 detainees? -- In the 15 months since he was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Christian Villatoro has been transferred to detention facilities in Elk Grove (Sacramento County), Richmond and, most recently, Bakersfield — each time farther from his wife, Areli Lopez, and their teenage son. Tatiana Sanchez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19

In their own words: Sacramento officers who shot Stephon Clark give their side of the story -- When Terrence Mercadal came around a corner and into that dark Meadowview backyard last March 18, he was stunned to see a suspect he’d been chasing pointing his hands at him like he was ready to shoot him. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/6/19

Second US judge calls citizenship question on census illegal -- The Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census “threatens the very foundation of our democratic system” because it would cause a significant undercount of immigrants and Latinos that could distort the distribution of congressional seats, a U.S. judge said Wednesday. Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press -- 3/6/19

Court delays settling dispute between county, Sheriff Villanueva over fired deputy -- A judge on Wednesday declined to overturn Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s reinstatement of a deputy fired amid allegations of domestic violence, prolonging a stalemate with the Board of Supervisors over the decision. Matt Stiles and Maya Lau in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

LAPD detective accuses fellow officer of sexual assault, violence and blackmail in civil suit -- A Los Angeles police detective said she was sexually assaulted by a fellow officer and that her supervisors ignored her reports of physical abuse and blackmail threats, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. James Queally in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

Jumping BART’s fare gates rarely results in any consequences — tickets go unpaid -- BART fare evaders are hopping, jumping and skipping away from paying their fines — more than nine out of 10 of the 6,799 violators ticketed by BART last year have yet to pay up. And with little or no consequences. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19

Raiders’ new Coliseum deal hits last-minute snag -- McKibben declined to say what the snag was, however sources say it involves the finances and taxes of the Raiders’ headquarters and training facility in nearby Alameda. The team currently pays $525,000 annual rent for the training facility. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ David DeBolt, Jon Becker in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

Why Fairmont can’t bar homeless — or anyone else — from its San Jose hotel -- When San Jose subsidized development of the downtown Fairmont Hotel, the money came with an unusual catch: The luxury high-rise in the heart of Silicon Valley couldn’t stop anyone from visiting the lobby, restaurants and ground-floor public restrooms. Even the homeless. John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

Nonprofits won’t have to abide by city’s minimum wage law, Fremont council decides -- The Fremont City Council, which voted in January to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 for large employers and by 2021 for small ones, decided Tuesday to exempt nonprofits from having to pay any of their employees that much. Joseph Geha in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

California national parks to expand under sweeping new bill -- In the largest land conservation bill passed by Congress in 10 years, vast areas of California’s desert are headed for new protections that would prohibit mining, roads and off-highway vehicles, and enlarge two national parks, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

Lopez: Is Sacramento’s war on Big Gulps a nanny state move? Or good public policy? -- Pop quiz: Which one has more sugar, a 16-ounce Monster Energy Drink or a cola of the same size? The Monster has 55 grams of sugar; the cola has 48. Which has more calories, a 30-oz. 7-Eleven Big Gulp cola or a 10-ounce bag of Lay’s potato chips? The Big Gulp has about 350 calories (or fewer depending on the amount of ice); the chips have 1,600. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

Lack of diversity in tech: House hearing explores harms, solutions -- U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-California, recounted an anecdote from a female computer engineer who told him she overheard one of her co-workers say “women and people of color dilute the talent pool at tech companies.” Levi Sumagaysay in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

Kamala Harris has a crowd-pleasing cause. It could cost trillions -- Even at this early stage in the presidential race, California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris has hit upon a crowd-pleasing proposal: Give a $500 monthly tax credit to families earning less than $100,000. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19

Fox: Where’s Gavin? -- The title of this piece is not meant to disclose the whereabouts of Gov. Gavin Newsom or where he might pop up without telling the press as he has a want to do; neither is it asking where the governor stands on any particular issue, there is plenty of time to use the “Where’s Gavin” question in that regard. I want to know where Gavin is in the Washington Post’s weekly power rankings designed to determine the strongest challengers in the 2020 presidential election. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/6/19

Trump works to maintain illusions of progress, as his main promises go unfulfilled -- President Trump, now in the third year of his term, is struggling to maintain the illusion of accomplishment as some of his biggest promises remain unfulfilled. Eli Stokols in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

Summer skiing in California: Squaw Valley open until July 7 -- While the rest of America will be enjoying barbecues and pool parties, this summer Sierra skiers will be carving turns through pockets of lingering snow. On Wednesday, Squaw Valley announced it will operate lifts until Sunday, July 7, weather and conditions permitting. While weekday skiing will close after Memorial Day, May 27, it will be open on weekends. Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

A dying man wished to talk to President Trump. A Democrat helped make it happen -- Bridgette Hoskie felt overwhelmed. Her younger brother, Jay Barrett, had recently come home with her to begin palliative care after a lifetime battling cystic fibrosis. During his latest hospital stay, Barrett had written a “bucket list” and given it to her. Amy B Wang in the Washington Post$ -- 3/6/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Federal agents to probe Stephon Clark shooting after state declines to charge police -- Federal authorities announced Tuesday they will conduct a civil rights review of the police shooting of an unarmed black man in California’s capital last March, a killing that triggered a year of racial upheaval in Sacramento and has become the focus of legislation to curb the use of deadly force. Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

Stephon Clark’s death didn’t produce criminal charges. But it could change California law -- Although the officers who killed Stephon Clark won’t face charges, his death could lead to a new use-of-force standard for police in California. Top lawmakers and the governor say the law should change, although most haven’t endorsed specific proposals. Hannah Wiley and Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/6/19

Chaos erupts at City Council meeting; police chief not ready to answer questions -- At a raucous meeting Tuesday night, the Sacramento City Council heard from residents who were enraged by the police’s reaction to a protest Monday night. Police ended a Stephon Clark march in East Sacramento by arresting protesters on a bridge over Highway 50. Police arrested 84 people Monday night, including 78 on the bridge. Ryan Sabalow, Vincent Moleski, Theresa Clift, Tony Bizjak, and Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks in the Sacramento Bee$ Sammy Caiola, Kacey Gardner Capital Public Radio -- 3/6/19

Would changes to California law alter how police use deadly force? -- The attorney general’s decision Tuesday not to charge Sacramento officers in the fatal shooting last year of an unarmed black man added fuel to angry protests that extended into a third day over what Stephon Clark’s family, friends and supporters believe was his unnecessary killing. John Woolfolk and Nico Savidge in the East Bay Times -- 3/6/19

KQED Sues Attorney General, Seeking Access to Police Misconduct and Shooting Records -- KQED joined in a lawsuit against the California Department of Justice and Attorney General Xavier Becerra Tuesday, seeking to compel the release of serious police misconduct and use-of-force records unsealed by a new state law. Alex Emslie KQED -- 3/6/19

Quentin Kopp Resigns From San Francisco Ethics Commission He Calls 'Amateurish' -- Quentin Kopp, a former county supervisor and state senator, is stepping down as a member of the San Francisco Ethics Commission. Kopp announced at a City Hall press conference Tuesday that he is resigning from the panel that he described as weak and slow, around 30 months after being appointed to the post. Ted Goldberg KQED Trisha Thadani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19

California GOP Moderates Call For Focus On People Over Partisanship -- A group of moderate Republicans, including former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, called Tuesday on elected GOP leaders in California to focus less on ideology and more on getting things done to restore their shrinking numbers in the state. Chris Nichols Capital Public Radio -- 3/6/19

Feds take-back of billions for California high-speed rail would be ‘disastrous,’ state says to feds -- Losing billions of dollars the federal government has already given to California for its high speed rail project would be “disastrous,” and set a “troubling precedent” that could undermine future such projects nationwide, the state’s high-speed rail director said Tuesday in letters to the federal government. Erin Baldassari in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

Credit cards, payment plans, shorter lines: California lawmakers move to fix DMV -- California lawmakers are moving to address some of the biggest problems at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. A number of proposals aimed at reducing wait times and improving service have recently been introduced. Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/6/19

Walters: State Supreme Court ducks key pension issue -- The state Supreme Court could have addressed a fundamental issue in California’s public employee pension crisis – whether the so-called “California rule” makes it impossible to reduce benefits. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 3/6/19

Powerful storm bears down on Santa Barbara County, prompting evacuations in burn areas -- Thousands of Santa Barbara County residents were ordered to evacuate Tuesday in preparation for a strong atmospheric river-fueled storm that officials worry could trigger debris flows in neighborhoods below hillsides scarred by wildfires. Hannah Fry in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Catering workers at LAX reach labor agreement with management, avoiding a potential strike -- Nearly 700 Los Angeles International Airport catering workers who voted last month to authorize a strike in the face of failed labor negotiations have forged a new agreement with employer Flying Food Group. Kevin Smith in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 3/6/19

Tesla cutting more jobs at Fremont factory -- Tesla will cut 81 more jobs at its Fremont plant, bringing the total layoffs this month at its main factory to 883. The additional job cuts, revealed in an updated filing with California’s Employment Development Department dated March 1, mostly target service technicians and tech support specialists. Levi Sumagaysay in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

Tesla’s Model 3 drives growth in California’s electric car sales -- The CNCDA said that among electric cars, 51,293 new Tesla Model 3s were registered in California last year. To put that number in perspective, 92,447 total electric cars were registered in the state in 2018 — and the number of Model 3s sold last year surpassed the entirety of the 51,176 electric cars registered in 2017. Rex Crum in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19


Revitalization Projects Reawaken Downtown Los Angeles -- Cranes dot the skyline and construction projects divert traffic as the neighborhood known as DTLA undergoes the biggest development boom since the Roaring Twenties. Vivian Marino in the New York Times$ -- 3/6/19

LA mortgages are the nation’s third least affordable -- With nearly record-high home prices and wages that haven’t kept up with costs, Los Angeles is among the least affordable housing markets in the United States, according to a new report from Zillow. Elijah Chiland Cured LA -- 3/6/19


Cal Fire Report Urges Quick Action to Protect High-Risk Towns From Wildfire Threats -- The Cal Fire recommendations call on state agencies to act quickly on a number of fronts, including launching projects to reduce fuels around dozens of the state's most wildfire-vulnerable communities and streamlining regulations so that needed vegetation management happens more rapidly. Dan Brekke KQED Sudhin Thanawala Associated Press Matthias Gafni in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19


New California law holds charter schools to same transparency laws as other public schools -- Charter schools are public schools and generally are subject to the same laws as other public schools, but a new California bill erases any doubt about whether charter schools must adhere to the state’s open meeting, conflict of interest and financial disclosure laws. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill Tuesday, March 5. Beau Yarbrough in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ Louis Freedberg and Diana Lambert EdSource -- 3/6/19

LAUSD School Board: Jackie Goldberg Jumps Out To Huge Early Lead In Special Election -- Last August, Jackie Goldberg lobbied hard to be re-appointed to a gig she last held 27 years ago: L.A. Unified School Board member. At the time, the veteran of local politics in L.A. said she'd be willing to serve in the role temporarily, at least until voters elected a permanent replacement for Ref Rodriguez. Rodriguez had recently resigned his LAUSD board seat amid a campaign finance scandal. Kyle Stokes laist -- 3/6/19

Student at Orange County Catholic school in makeshift swastika photos 'now a former student' -- Administrators at JSerra Catholic High School told parents in a letter Tuesday that the student, who was not named, no longer attends the school. It’s unclear if the student was expelled or withdrew from the school of about 1,200 students. Alene Tchekmedyian in the Los Angeles Times$-- 3/6/19

Rosemead High School coach sexually abused student for years, prosecutors say -- A Rosemead High School track coach has been charged with unlawful sexual intercourse and other felonies after authorities said he had a long-term sexual relationship with an underage student at the school. Alejandra Reyes-Velarde in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19

California gets boost from federal government to expand early learning -- Though California has been at odds with the federal government on many fronts, the state is getting a boost from the Trump administration to lay the groundwork for expanding preschool and child care programs. Zaidee Stavely EdSource -- 3/6/19


Pay-to-play and political favoritism allegations persist in San Bernardino’s cannabis license approval process -- Before he operated two pharmaceutical research and development labs in Redlands, Majid Seraj worked as a senior pharmacist at Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he managed the hospital pharmacy, enforced its narcotics policies and helped shape new ones. Joe Nelson in the San Bernardino Sun$ -- 3/6/19

Immigration / Border 

San Francisco judge orders Trump administration to restart young migrant refugee program -- Nearly 3,000 Central Americans may reunite with their families in the United States after a San Francisco judge ordered the Trump administration to revive a program for young migrants it had quietly ended more than two years ago. Tatiana Sanchez in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19


Bill Aimed at Preventing Another Hep A Crisis Has Drawn the Ire of Vaccine Opponents -- A bill written by Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez aimed at preventing a replay of San Diego’s sluggish response to a deadly hepatitis A outbreak doesn’t mention vaccines at all. But it’s facing unexpected backlash from vaccine opponents who believe the bill could compel vaccinations. Lisa Halverstadt voiceofsandiego.org -- 3/6/19

CA insurer gives $2 million for Paradise health services after fire -- The health insurer Blue Shield of California has donated $2 million to one of the largest medical groups in the town of Paradise to help restore health care services to residents affected by November’s Camp Fire. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/6/19

Mental Health Treatment Denied to Customers by Giant Insurer’s Policies, Judge Rules -- In a scathing decision released Tuesday, a federal judge in Northern California ruled that a unit of UnitedHealth Group, the giant health insurer, had created internal policies aimed at effectively discriminating against patients with mental health and substance abuse disorders to save money. Reed Abelson in the New York Times$ -- 3/6/19


What toxins are being emitted from LA County’s abandoned oil wells? A lawmaker wants to find out -- For the last 150 years, oil made California rich. Near Newhall, the site of the first oil gusher in 1876, followed by fields in Huntington Beach, Long Beach, northeast Los Angeles, Montebello, Santa Fe Springs/Whittier and Inglewood, the black crude brought jobs, prosperity and growth to Southern California. Steve Scauzillo in the Long Beach Press Telegram$ -- 3/6/19

Also . . . 

San Jose man impersonating DEA agent pulls over a real federal agent, gets arrested, police say -- A San Jose man is facing federal charges after he impersonated a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in at least two incidents where he pulled over motorists in the Bay Area, authorities said Tuesday. Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Jason Green in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/6/19

Santa Anita cancels weekend horse racing after 21st death during meet -- Santa Anita, after its 21st horse fatality and continued outcry from animal-rights activists, canceled racing at least through the weekend Tuesday and Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer of the track’s parent company, The Stronach Group, said there is no timetable for when racing will resume. Art Wilson in the Riverside Press Enterprise$ -- 3/6/19

POTUS 45  

‘The silence is deafening’: Major brands avoid Trump even as he promotes them from the White House -- In a scene probably worth millions of dollars in free advertising, President Trump displayed a spread of burgers from some of the country’s biggest fast-food chains inside the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday as hungry football players looked on. Toluse Olorunnipa in the Washington Post$ -- 3/6/19

‘Grab that record’: How Trump’s high school transcript was hidden -- In 2011, days after Donald Trump challenged President Barack Obama to “show his records” to prove that he hadn’t been a “terrible student,” the headmaster at New York Military Academy got an order from his boss: Find Trump’s academic records and help bury them. Marc Fisher in the Washington Post$ -- 3/6/19


Tom Steyer targets key House Republicans on impeachment -- Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is setting his sights on two of President Donald Trump’s fiercest defenders in Congress: Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina. Laura Barrón-López Politico -- 3/6/19

Julian Castro’s run for president banks on Latinos, but it’s a steep climb to White House -- With more than a dozen Democrats now vying for president, Julian Castro is charting a path unlike any of the others, as his visit to California on Monday made clear. Michael Finnegan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/6/19


-- Tuesday Updates 

Stephon Clark: No charges to be filed against police officers by California attorney general -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Tuesday that he will not file criminal charges against the officers who shot Stephon Clark a year ago, setting the stage for even more unrest and protests in Sacramento. Sam Stanton, Darrell Smith, and Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ Don Thompson Associated Press Megan Cassidy in the San Francisco Chronicle$ John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/5/19

Sacramento mayor wants answers from police after mass arrests at Stephon Clark protest -- A spokeswoman for Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the mayor wants to have an airing of police tactics used during a street protest Monday in East Sacramento that ended in 84 arrests and prompted complaints from activists that they had been tricked and trapped by police as they were trying to get to their cars to go home. Tony Bizjak and Ryan Sabalow in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/19

Police end Stephon Clark protest in East Sacramento with arrest of 84 people -- What began as a relatively mellow Stephon Clark protest outside a Trader Joe’s supermarket in East Sacramento turned into a spectacle as more than 100 riot police arrested 84 protesters and detained a Sacramento Bee reporter Monday night. Benjy Egel, Dale Kasler, Sam Stanton, Ryan Sabalow, and Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ Ezra David Romero, Andrew Nixon, Chris Hagan, Nick Miller Capital Public Radio -- 3/5/19

Reporter Dale Kasler: ‘It dawned on me...I could get detained as well.’ -- Dozens of us, effectively penned in by a phalanx of police officers by a police cordon at the edge of the Highway 50 overpass, had nowhere to go. Then the arrests started. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/19

Bretón: Arrests Monday night mean honeymoon is over for Hahn -- Right about the time my colleague Dale Kasler, covering a Monday night demonstration fueled by discontent in Sacramento’s less affluent neighborhoods, was handcuffed and detained, the self image of the state capital as a progressive and diverse community was exposed as a fanciful exaggeration. Sacramento is not nearly as cool as it thinks it is. By Marcos Bretón in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/5/19

Abcarian: Teen party with Nazi salutes all too real for victims of ‘Jew jokes’ and casual anti-Semitism -- On Saturday night, Michael Maietta Weinberg, a Tustin high school senior, was visiting his cousin, Rachel Weinberg, at her home in Newport Beach. It was around 9 p.m. Rachel, a high school junior, was baking a cake with ube, a purple yam, when her social media feeds started pinging with photos that would soon make national news. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/19

L.A. to pay nearly $2 million in suit over sexual assault by LAPD officers -- Los Angeles will pay nearly $2 million to settle a lawsuit from a woman who was sexually assaulted by a pair of LAPD officers, the fourth such assault case L.A. has settled in recent years. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/19

California lawmakers accepted $810,000 in gifts and overseas trips in 2018 -- California lawmakers were showered with more than $810,000 in gifts last year, many from powerful interest groups lobbying the state who handed out concert and professional sports tickets, spa treatments, gourmet dinners and trips to a dozen countries, new state reports show. Patrick McGreevy and Taryn Luna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/19

With a whopping 2,628 bills pending, here’s the one most popular among California legislators -- Nobody can say California lawmakers haven’t kept busy. Between their December swearing-in and a late-February cutoff, they introduced an average of more than 32 bills a day. Now they face a June deadline to decide which of those 2,628 ideas will advance out of either the Assembly or state Senate. Ben Christopher Calmatters -- 3/5/19

California lawmakers target cities’ ability to block new housing -- The spirit of housing construction has imbued the state Capitol with renewed fervor this year as Gov. Gavin Newsom and coastal lawmakers push for policies to spur what they say is badly needed development to get soaring rents and home prices under control. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/5/19

Post-Hurricane Harvey, NASA tried to fly a pollution-spotting plane over Houston. The EPA said no -- In the weeks after Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic sweep through the Houston area — which resulted in chemical spills, fires, flooded storage tanks and damaged industrial plants — rescue crews and residents complained of burning throats, nausea and dizziness. Susanne Rust and Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/5/19