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

Updating . .   

California is drought-free for the first time in nearly 8 years -- California has fully emerged from drought conditions for the first time since December 2011, and just 7 percent of the state remains abnormally dry, scientists said Thursday. Kimberly Veklerov in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

Trump may send volunteer force to border -- The idea of sending an emergency response team to the border is in an exploratory phase. Ted Hesson Politico -- 3/14/19

California GOP’s vanishing act gets worse with latest voter numbers -- When Jessica Millan Patterson was chosen to run the California Republican Party last month, she promised to bring the moribund group back to political life by attracting more people to the GOP. California’s latest voter registration figures show just how difficult that task is likely to be. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

Rep. Maxine Waters calls for firing of Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan after news of his pay raise -- Rep. Maxine Waters on Thursday called for the firing of Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Tim Sloan after the bank reported his pay increased last year by nearly $1 million despite continued consumer scandals. Jim Puzzanghera in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Santa Anita Bans Drugs and Whips After Spate of Horse Deaths -- One of horse racing’s most celebrated tracks, Santa Anita Park in Southern California, said on Thursday that it would ban the use of drugs and whips on racing days after another horse died there, the 22nd since Dec. 26, an unusual spate that has puzzled investigators. Joe Drape in the New York Times$ -- 3/14/19

After ballot failure, there’s a new bid to control what California landlords can charge tenants -- In the wake of a failed bid to expand rent control at the ballot box, California Democratic lawmakers are introducing a host of new measures that aim to increase protections for tenants. Liam Dillon in the Los Angeles Times$ Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

Rent costs in Los Angeles, Orange counties rising at fastest pace in 11 years -- CPI data shows L.A.-O.C. rents up at a 5.5 percent annual pace in February — biggest jump since January 2008. Jonathan Lansner in the Orange County Register -- 3/14/19


ACLU report provides damning review of Orange County temporary homeless shelters: ‘Jail is better’ -- A year-long investigation found three of Orange County’s emergency homeless shelters riddled with problems including reports of physical and sexual abuse, neglect of residents with disabilities and mental illnesses, and filthy conditions, according to a report released Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Jaclyn Cosgrove in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Taylor: Rights groups seek resignation of Contra Costa County sheriff -- Jeff Landau listed the reasons he believes it’s time for Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston to resign. At the top is last month’s report by the state attorney general’s office that found federal immigration detainees were mistreated at the West County Detention Facility, a jail the Sheriff’s Office operates in Richmond. Otis R. Taylor Jr. in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

New PAC aims to boost political fortunes of Asian American candidates -- John Chiang had hoped to be California’s first Asian American governor. But after coming up short in a distant fifth place finish in last year’s primary, the 56-year-old Democrat took some time away from politics. Now, he says, he’s ready to help other candidates of his background win more contested seats and increase their political clout nationwide. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Kamala Harris refunds campaign donations from lobbyist and speechwriter for foreign governments -- Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign said Wednesday that it had refunded two donations that violated the senator’s pledge not to accept money from lobbyists or agents of foreign governments. Casey Tolan in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

Lawsuit takes aim at tech firm’s ‘bro culture’ and alleged man-splaining -- A Bay Area high-tech camera firm has been accused of creating a hostile “bro culture” in a lawsuit by a former employee that contains a laundry list of allegations that women point to as causes of gender disparity in Silicon Valley’s tech industry. Ethan Baron in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

Round 2 begins over cannabis banking -- Closely watched by California’s cannabis industry, a new effort is underway to allow the creation of basic banking services for marijuana growers, distributors, sellers and others. Julia Lindbloom Capitol Weekly -- 3/14/19

Fox: Halting a Bad Precedent -- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call for withholding state funds—in this instance transportation money– from cities for not meeting their housing goals was wrong from the beginning. Newsom has now pulled back on that dictate opting for a carrot rather than a stick solution, at least temporarily. But it would be a terrible precedent, one that has been suggested before. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/14/19

Who Deserves PG&E’s Assets? Fire Victims Face a New Ordeal -- Employees, suppliers and bondholders all have claims against the utility in bankruptcy court, along with those counting on payouts over blazes started by the company’s equipment. Peter Eavis and Ivan Penn in the New York Times$ -- 3/14/19


College bribery scheme: Two lawsuits target schools, affluent parents -- A second lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court is seeking $500 billion in damages on behalf of Jennifer Kay Toy, a former teacher with the Oakland Unified School District, and her son, Joshua Toy. Ashley McBride in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

Stanford students sue over admissions scandal, claim it devalues their degrees -- They didn’t get into Yale and USC, now two Stanford students are suing on behalf of themselves and others like them they say were cheated in the national college admissions bribery scandal. John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

11 lies uncovered in the college admissions scam: a phony coxswain, made-up learning disabilities and fictional athletes -- Typically, only the very best teen athletes make their way into the sports programs at elite universities. But federal prosecutors alleged this week that, when it came to the kids of dozens of very rich parents, those rules didn’t apply. Benjamin Oreskes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Will Hallmark fire Lori Loughlin? Will she and Felicity Huffman still have careers? -- Up until Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman became the faces of the national college admissions bribery scandal, both actresses had a busy 2019 mapped out. Martha Ross in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

Will children at center of college admissions scandal pay a price along with their parents? -- Their parents face criminal charges, with federal prosecutors alleging massive fraud to get them into some of America’s most elite schools. But it’s still unclear what is going to happen to the children who were the beneficiaries of what prosecutors called the largest college admissions scam ever uncovered. Alene Tchekmedyian in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 3/14/19

From High School Basketball Coach to Ringleader of the Nation’s Largest College-Admissions Scam -- The slight 58-year-old man at the center of the far-reaching college-admissions scandal that has caught up Hollywood stars and Wall Street executives started out as a high school basketball coach in California. Douglas Belkin and Melanie Grayce West in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 3/14/19

Elk Grove Unified to pay $1.1 million to families of girls molested by campus volunteer -- The families said the district and their children’s Prairie Elementary School did not properly supervise volunteer reading aide Eric Ernest Echols, failed to report the abuse happening in the classroom where he volunteered and missed numerous red flags pointing to the illegal contact with the students, then ages 7 and 8. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19


California’s Newsom says death penalty is applied unevenly -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom was about 10 years old when he met a man wrongfully convicted of murder, an encounter that educated him about injustice and laid the groundwork for his decision to place a moratorium on executions this week. Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 3/14/19

How a 1937 mafia hit led to the wrongful conviction that inspired Gov. Gavin Newsom to end the death penalty in California -- The story begins in a smoke-filled beer parlor in October 1937, when a woman stood up to put a coin in the jukebox half past midnight. That was the moment two gangsters stormed the Roost Cafe in Los Angeles and riddled a local gambling boss with more than a dozen bullets. Meagan Flynn in the Washington Post$ -- 3/14/19

Support the death penalty in California? Oppose it? You soon could get to vote on it -- While Gov. Gavin Newsom has suspended the death penalty, California lawmakers — and then voters — could get the chance to weigh in on ending it permanently. Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, has introduced a constitutional amendment that would overturn past voter-approved initiatives allowing capital punishment. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19

What families of murder victims have to say about Gavin Newsom’s death penalty ban -- Cindy Rael was home Wednesday morning watching television when the news turned personal — Gov. Gavin Newsom was halting executions in California, including for the man who killed her daughter Brandi eight years ago, shooting her and lighting her body on fire in front of her children. Jazmine Ulloa and Anita Chabria in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19



California Policy & Politics This Morning  

PG&E Bankruptcy Financing Stumbles on Worries About More Fires -- The judge presiding over the bankruptcy of PG&E Corp. is worried that another year of wildfires could upend the utility’s efforts to pull out of massive financial and legal trouble. Peg Brickley in the Wall Street Journal$ George Avalos in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

Utilities pushed toward fire prevention as Edison is blamed for Thomas Fire -- Pressure mounted on California utilities Wednesday to shift priorities to fire prevention, as investigators determined that Southern California Edison power lines sparked a major 2017 blaze that later resulted in a deadly mudflow. Judy Lin Calmatters Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Walters: Sales tax bite looms for Internet consumers -- There’s nothing new about ordering merchandise from the comfort of one’s home and having it delivered to the doorstep. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 3/14/19


Politicians don’t normally overrule voters. On the death penalty, Gavin Newsom just did -- Gov. Gavin Newsom insisted on Wednesday that he possessed both the legal authority and moral responsibility to impose a moratorium on executions in California, rejecting the idea that he was defying the will of voters who refused to abolish capital punishment just two years ago. Phil Willon and Patrick McGreevy in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Gavin Newsom halted the death penalty, but voters could end it -- Gov. Gavin Newsom has wielded his executive authority to temporarily halt executions in California, but voters still hold the key to capital punishment’s fate. Jeremy B. White Politico -- 3/14/19

Execution ban spares some inmates who’ve been on California’s death row up to 40 years -- When Douglas Stankewitz arrived on California’s death row in October 1978, Jimmy Carter would still be president for two more years. Stankewitz, 60, has been awaiting execution for 40 years. And he’s not alone — several other death row inhabitants have been at San Quentin State Prison for nearly as long. Don Sweeney in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19

Newsom can grant reprieves, but other steps might face legal challenges, experts say -- Gov. Gavin Newsom has full legal authority to spare the lives of death row inmates during his term in office, but he could be challenged for discarding the state’s death penalty protocol and shuttering the execution chamber, legal analysts said Wednesday. Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Death penalty moratorium: How much did Gov. Newsom get right in his reasoning? -- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty in California and his condemnation of capital punishment as unfair and wasteful are likely to be among the most controversial actions of his administration. Political and moral arguments aside, Newsom offered an abundance of statistics to support his decision — and that data is backed up by published research. Bob Egelko in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

Death row reprieve by Newsom praised, panned and could face legal challenges ahead -- The decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom to grant a sweeping reprieve from execution for all 737 inmates on the state’s death row, shutter the execution chamber and discard the state’s capital punishment protocol reverberated through San Diego’s legal community Wednesday. Greg Moran and Teri Figueroa in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 3/14/19

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s death penalty moratorium lauded and lambasted -- As workers dismantled California’s apple-green execution chamber Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s death penalty moratorium was criticized as a slap in the face to voters and praised as a strike for humanity. Tony Saavedra in the Orange County Register -- 3/14/19

Not guilty: Five California inmates who were freed from death row -- Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order suspending capital punishment cites the possibility that an innocent person could be sentenced to death as one reason to close the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison. Since 1978, when California voters reinstated the death penalty, at least five men on death row have been exonerated, according to the capital punishment tracker Death Penalty Information Center. Andrew Sheeler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19

List of San Diego's death row inmates includes county's most notorious killers -- There are 38 names on the list of 737 inmates on death row sent by San Diego County. Some were convicted in the region’s most notorious cases, including the serial killing deaths of six San Diego women in 1990. Cleophus Prince was convicted in that case. Teri Figueroa in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 3/14/19

Fresno law enforcement calls Newsom’s decision halting death penalty an insult to victims -- Calling it an insult to the families of murder victims, Fresno area law enforcement leaders on Wednesday roundly criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to suspend the death penalty. Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp reacted strongly to the Governor’s executive action. Robert Rodriguez and Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado in the Fresno Bee -- 3/14/19

How Scott Peterson’s sister-in-law, law enforcement feel about death penalty moratorium -- Janey Peterson was glad to hear that Gov. Gavin Newsom granted reprieves to all 737 condemned inmates awaiting executions in California prisons. Her brother-in-law, former Modesto resident Scott Peterson, has been on death row for nearly 14 years for murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, and their unborn son. Rosalio Ahumada in the Modesto Bee -- 3/14/19

Wife of slain Merced police officer questions death penalty ban. ‘I felt justice was in place’ -- Michelle Gray felt she had to have a talk with her children on Tuesday night. She wanted to give them a heads up that Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was putting a stop to the death penalty in California. Shawn Jansen in the Merced Sun-Star -- 3/14/19

Polifact CA: It's still True: California has ‘largest death row in the Western Hemisphere’ -- Moments after signing an executive order suspending California’s death penalty, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state’s massive death row doesn’t square with its more recent efforts to reform the criminal justice system. Chris Nichols Polifact CA -- 3/14/19

Skelton: Give Newsom credit for halting the death penalty in California. Brown and Harris dodged the issue -- Give Gov. Gavin Newsom credit: He had the guts to act on his convictions and declare a moratorium on the death penalty in California. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Bretón:Remember the victims. Death row is filled with killers, not martyrs -- The death penalty is effectively dead in California thanks to an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, and progressives across the nation are cheering. Marcos Bretón in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19


Judge urges settlement in Stephon Clark family’s suit against city, Sacramento officers -- A no-nonsense U.S. District Court Judge John A. Mendez ordered the city’s and Clark’s attorneys to arrange a sit-down with U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman by April 12 to begin to form a plan, calling Newman “probably one of the best settlement judges we have” in California’s Eastern District. Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19

Irvine Mayor Don Wagner declares victory in Orange County supervisor special election -- Republican Irvine Mayor Don Wagner declared victory Wednesday night in a special election to fill a vacant seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, believing he has defeated former congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and denied Democrats a second seat on the five-member board. Jordan Graham in the Orange County Register -- 3/14/19

California Republicans Hoping a Fresh Face Means a Fresh Start -- The new chair of the California Republican Party doesn’t resemble any of the past party leaders. Jessica Patterson is a woman, a millennial and a Latina. And party leaders are hoping she’s the person who can bring it back from the brink of extinction. Katie Orr KQED -- 3/14/19

California jury awards $29 million to woman with cancer who used J&J talc -- The verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, marks the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. J&J said it would appeal, citing “serious procedural and evidentiary errors” in the course of the trial, saying lawyers for the woman had fundamentally failed to show its baby powder contains asbestos. Tina Bellon Reuters -- 3/14/19

Stanford scientist joins call for moratorium on gene-edited babies -- Stanford Nobel Prize winner Paul Berg and many of the world’s leading CRISPR scientists and bioethicists on Wednesday called for a global moratorium on genetically modified babies. Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Facebook’s Data Deals Are Under Criminal Investigation -- Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, intensifying scrutiny of the social media giant’s business practices as it seeks to rebound from a year of scandal and setbacks. Michael LaForgia, Matthew Rosenberg and Gabriel J.X. Dance in the New York Times$ -- 3/14/19

The Brewers Who Make Iconic Anchor Steam Beer in San Francisco Join Union -- Brewery workers at the iconic Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco voted on Wednesday to unionize, saying one of the reasons they needed to organize was due to high living costs in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. Miranda Leitsinger KQED Shwanika Narayan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

Taxes, Fees, Rates, Tolls, Bonds 

‘We’ll pay until we die’: California wants back taxes from retailers who sold on Amazon -- California is attempting to collect years of back taxes from e-commerce businesses that sold products on Amazon and at least temporarily housed their merchandise in the state. Adam Ashton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19


Southern California Edison power lines sparked deadly Thomas fire, investigators find -- Investigators have determined that Southern California Edison power lines ignited the 2017 Thomas fire, a massive blaze in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties that killed two people and later gave rise to a massive mudflow that resulted in at least 21 deaths. Joseph Serna in the Los Angeles Times$ Scott Schwebke in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 3/14/19

Trump says his budget has more money than ever for wildfire prevention. It doesn’t -- President Donald Trump says in his budget that he’s asking for the highest amount ever for certain wildfire prevention programs. His proposal actually contains less money for wildfire prevention efforts than the current federal spending plan. It’s a small difference, just $6 million out of about $1.4 billion for wildfire prevention programs managed by the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But, it would be a cut if Congress approves it. Kate Irby and Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19


USC’s central role in college admissions scandal brings anger and dismay -- Professor Homayoun Zadeh was an institution at USC’s dental school, rising over a four-decade academic career from student to lab director to the chair of the periodontology department. But when it came time for his own daughter to apply to USC, Zadeh allegedly turned to an off-campus connection to make sure she got in. Matt Hamilton and Harriet Ryan in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

UC investigates university involvement in college admissions scandal -- University of California President Janet Napolitano has ordered an internal investigation into any UC involvement in the nationwide college admissions scandal. Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

College admissions scandal: ‘Charity’ claimed to help needy kids but bribed coaches, cheated on tests -- On paper, the educational nonprofit looked to be donating millions of dollars to help disadvantaged youths. Jill Tucker and Matthias Gafni in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

Two Sage Hill School board of trustees members among those indicted for bribery in college admissions scandal -- Doug Hodge and Michelle Merage-Janavs are alleged to have bribed USC to accept children with falsified achievements. Scott M. Reid in the Orange County Register -- 3/14/19

Their parents paid to cheat them into elite colleges. What happens to them now? -- Officials at many of the universities targeted by the fraud said Wednesday they were reviewing students cases individually, and at least one school, the University of Southern California, said it would deny any current applicants tied to the scheme. John Woolfolk in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

Abcarian: The college admissions scandal: How money and privilege make parents stupid and dishonest -- A new definition of “chutzpah”: Bribing a coach to get your unathletic child into an elite university and paying astronomical sums of money to have someone else take your kid’s college entrance exam, then declaring the bribes charitable contributions. Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Are California Schools Undercounting Homeless Students? -- You can measure Cheryl Camany’s success identifying homeless students by the stacks of pink paper piled around her office. Each slip of paper is a residency questionnaire parents fill out for their children at the beginning of the school year, and each offers a clue to just how many students in the Salinas City Elementary School District don't have stable living conditions. Vanessa Rancano, KQED via Capital Public Radio -- 3/14/19

Sacramento school district, city set to pay $12.5 million to girl molested by aide -- The city of Sacramento and Sacramento City Unified School District will pay $12.5 million to a girl who was repeatedly molested by an after-school aide at Mark Twain Elementary in 2015, according to Roger A. Dreyer, the victim’s attorney. Theresa Clift and Darrell Smith in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19

Why Trump Jr. mocked the parents caught up in the college admissions scandal -- The Trumps have always tried to paint themselves as outsiders, even as they benefit from tremendous privilege. Eugene Scott in the Washington Post$ -- 3/14/19

Immigration / Border 

County officials say ICE, not their policy, to blame for releasing homicide suspect -- Santa Clara County officials are firing back at critics who say their policy of not notifying immigration authorities when undocumented immigrants are released from their jails led to the release of a homicide suspect who had nine detention orders issued against him. Thy Vo and Nico Savidge in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/14/19

ICE is tracking immigrants with the help of California sanctuary cities, court records show -- Civil rights groups in California want police and sheriff’s departments to stop sending license plate scanner information to a national private database, saying new public documents show federal immigration agents are using the system in breach of sanctuary state and city laws. Jazmine Ulloa in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Mexico launching search for migrants pulled off bus by gunmen near the U.S. border -- The migrants were kidnapped in broad daylight. At least 19 men believed to be from Central America were traveling on a bus in northern Mexico last week when masked gunmen stormed aboard, forced the migrants onto pickup trucks, then sped away, Mexican officials said. Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19


Dick’s to halt sales of rifles, ammo at 125 of its stores -- Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. said on Tuesday that it will stop selling hunting rifles and ammunition at 125 of its stores, replacing the gear with merchandise it believes will sell better at those locations. CEO Edward Stack said the move comes after the sporting goods retailer replaced hunting merchandise in 10 of its stores in last year’s third quarter. Those stores posted strong sales and profit margin numbers in the fourth quarter, he said. Associated Press -- 3/14/19


Water wars: Imperial Valley is being cut out of western US drought plan -- The Imperial Irrigation District is being written out of a massive, multi-state Colorado River drought plan at the eleventh hour. IID could sue to try to stop the revised plan from proceeding, and its board president called the latest development a violation of California environmental law. Janet Wilson in the Palm Springs Desert Sun -- 3/14/19


Sea Level Rise in Bay Area is Going to Be Much More Destructive Than We Think, Says USGS Study -- The ocean is rocked by storms and its tides ebb with the moon. Waves eat away at its edges, rearranging the sand and bringing cliff-side structures crashing into the surf. It doesn't behave like water in a bathtub. Raquel Maria Dillon KQED -- 3/14/19

Destruction from sea level rise in California could exceed worst wildfires and earthquakes, new research shows -- In the most extensive study to date on sea level rise in California, researchers say damage by the end of the century could be far more devastating than the worst earthquakes and wildfires in state history. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Restaurants sue to block San Diego ban on polystyrene foam -- Meanwhile, city officials continue to move toward full enforcement of the ban on May 24, including implementing bilingual outreach efforts and handling claims from businesses small enough to qualify for temporary exemptions from the ban. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 3/14/19

Officials say some wells can’t be operated at disputed South L.A. oil site -- Los Angeles city leaders announced Wednesday that at least a handful of oil wells on a shuttered South Los Angeles drilling site can no longer be operated after the expiration of a city agreement with the company. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/14/19

Also . . . 

Oakland Police Officers Who Shot and Killed Homeless Man Placed on Leave -- Four Oakland police officers involved in the fatal shooting last year of a homeless man they said pointed a gun at them were placed on administrative leave Tuesday. Sources speaking on condition of anonymity said the officers face termination proceedings. George Kelly, Thomas Peele and David DeBolt Bay Area News Group via KQED -- 3/14/19

Jordan Cunningham bill targets police who abuse their authority to gain sexual favors -- A Central Coast legislator has introduced a bill he says will close a legal “loophole” that may have helped a Paso Robles police sergeant under investigation for sexual assault dodge criminal charges and quietly resign. Matt Fountain in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/14/19

Mayor London Breed names Jeanine Nicholson as San Francisco’s new fire chief -- Nicholson, a 25-year veteran of the Fire Department who had been serving as deputy chief of administration, becomes the second woman to hold the position and the department’s first openly gay leader. Dominic Fracassa in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/14/19

A California company says it’s building a flying motorcycle powered by jet engines -- The $380,000 vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, called the “Speeder,” will be able to reach at least 150 mph, have a 45-mile range and fly as high as 15,000 feet when it debuts next year, according to David Mayman, chief executive of JetPack Aviation, a company that creates and sells personal jet packs. Peter Holley in the Washington Post$


Beto O'Rourke to seek Democratic U.S. presidential nomination: source -- Beto O’Rourke, the Texan who gained a national following with his long-shot election battle against U.S. Senator Ted Cruz last year, will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, a source close to the campaign said on Wednesday. Julio-Cesar Chavez and James Oliphant Reuters Billy House and Jennifer Epstein Bloomberg -- 3/14/19

O’Rourke tells Texas TV station he’s running for president -- The former Texas congressman sent a text message to KTSM Wednesday afternoon confirming the news that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination. Associated Press -- 3/14/19

Senate rebukes Trump with vote ordering U.S. military to end support for Saudi-led war in Yemen -- The Senate voted Wednesday to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, its latest rebuke of the Trump administration’s continued embrace of the Saudi monarchy despite growing frustration among lawmakers with its actions on the world stage. Karoun Demirjian in the Washington Post$ -- 3/14/19


-- Wednesday Updates 

Bay Area flights canceled or delayed after Trump grounds Boeing 737 Max jets -- Some Bay Area flights were canceled Wednesday after both Canada and the United States banned flights of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 planes. Air Canada canceled three flights departing from San Francisco International Airport as a result, according to an airport spokesman. Melia Russell and Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/13/19

Southwest, American ground troublesome 737s. Here’s how it affects Sacramento fliers -- Southwest has not released details on how it plans to back fill for the Max, but the company said they will use “every available aircraft in our fleet to meet our customers’ expectations during the busy spring travel season.” The airline said customers on canceled Max 8 flights can rebook on other flights without additional fees or fare differences within two weeks of their planned date of travel. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/13/19

Caltrans worker Mel Riffel, 30, among dead in Ethiopian Airlines crash -- Melvin “Mel” Riffel, 30, of Redding was traveling with his brother, Bennett, according to an email Caltrans sent employees Wednesday. The District 2 maintenance worker leaves behind his wife, who is expecting the couple’s first child, according to the email. Wes Venteicher in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/13/19


Death-penalty halt could hurt California Democrats who flipped GOP seats -- Gov. Gavin Newsom isn’t running much of a political risk personally in halting death-penalty enforcement in California. He’s still coasting through his honeymoon period in office. Democrats largely support his stance, and state Republicans are too frail to mount a recall effort over this. Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 3/13/19

Newsom says his death penalty opposition was 'crystal clear' when voters elected him -- Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed back Wednesday against criticism that he is defying the will of voters by halting executions, saying he was "crystal clear" about his strong moral opposition to the death penalty before his landslide win in November. Carla Marinucci Politico -- 3/13/19

Appalling, disgusting, horrific: Families speak out against death penalty reprieve -- Law enforcement leaders and family members waiting to see their loved ones’ killers put to death reacted with these sentiments and others Wednesday to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he was effectively scrapping California’s death penalty and granting reprieves to more than 700 death row inmates. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/13/19

Newsom dismisses criticism over his moratorium on California death row executions -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday defended his decision to ban all California death row executions, saying he had to act because the state was on the verge of approving a new method of lethal injection that likely would have led to dozens of executions. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/13/19

Newsom’s death penalty moratorium met with praise and rage -- The day before Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was putting California’s death penalty on hold, he invited family members of some death row inmates’ victims to Sacramento to share the news about his decision. “When he told me that, a little bit of me died,” said Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was murdered in Petaluma in 1993. “It’s Trumpian, to me, that you can disregard the will of the people and the law of the land and make some kind of executive decision based on your own personal philosophy.” Casey Tolan and Katy Murphy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/13/19

Kamala Harris praises California governor: Halting death penalty 'an important day for justice' -- Harris, who is running for president in 2020, said in a statement that Newsom’s decision was “an important day for justice and for the state of California.” “As a career law enforcement official, I have opposed the death penalty because it is immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars,” Harris said. Avery Anapol The Hill -- 3/13/19


Don Wagner likely to win Orange County supervisor seat with 3,000-vote lead over Loretta Sanchez -- With nearly 87 percent of the votes counted, Wagner led former Democrat congresswoman Loretta Sanchez by 2,980 votes as of noon Wednesday. Though there are 9,233 ballots received so far that are left to be counted — and some late mail ballots expected between now and Friday — Wagner’s lead suggests he’ll win the inland 3rd District seat. Jordan Graham in the Orange County Register -- 3/13/19

Deadly Thomas fire of 2017 sparked by So. California Edison power lines -fire department -- The devastating Thomas Fire that killed two people and destroyed more than 1,000 structures northwest of Los Angeles in December 2017 was sparked by power lines owned by Southern California Edison Co , the Ventura County Fire Department said on Tuesday. Reuters -- 3/13/19

He’s the Hollywood mogul helping lead Sacramento’s Major League Soccer bid in ‘crunch time’ -- After several years of coming up short, Sacramento has hit a make or break moment in its effort to become a Major League Soccer city. Tony Bizjak in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/13/19

Destruction from sea level rise in California could exceed worst wildfires and earthquakes, new research shows -- A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded that even a modest amount of sea level rise — often dismissed as a creeping, slow-moving disaster — could overwhelm communities when a storm hits at the same time. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times$ Michael McGough in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/13/19

Is ICE watching you? Police around California are sharing license plate info with agents, says ACLU -- Dozens of law enforcement agencies nationwide — including some Valley agencies — are sharing license plate information with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as part of an operation targeting undocumented immigrants, according to documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union. Yesenia Amaro in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/13/19

6 years after overcharging fiasco, DWP's lawyer accused of double-dealing -- The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's reputation hit a low six years ago when the agency’s new billing system sent out wildly inaccurate bills, overcharging hundreds of thousands of customers. Dakota Smith and Kim Christensen in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 3/13/19

Controversial 9th Circuit nominee on track to be confirmed over Feinstein and Harris objections -- A key Republican senator expressed “confidence” in Kenneth Lee’s nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California, despite the Los Angeles-based lawyer’s controversial past writing on race, gender and affirmative action. Emma Dumain and Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 3/13/19

Fox: A Government of Newsom, by Newsom -- Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a law approved by the people. He will sign an executive order putting a moratorium on the death penalty while he is governor despite voters expressing support for the death penalty in passing Proposition 66 in 2016 while a second initiative on that ballot to abolish the death penalty was defeated. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 3/13/19

Trump 'not thrilled' about California governor's death penalty moratorium -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to issue a moratorium on executions in the state. Katie Galioto Politico -- 3/13/19

Schiff says impeachment still possible even if Russia probe clears Trump -- House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Wednesday that even if a report from special counsel Robert Mueller exonerates President Donald Trump, impeachment talk might remain on the table. Caitlin Oprysko Politico -- 3/13/19

Yosemite openings delayed by snow, storm damage -- Fierce winter storms have delayed the opening of some popular Yosemite National Park destinations, park officials announced on Wednesday. Neither Glacier Point Road nor Tioga Road, the park’s routes to the east, will be open before Memorial Day. Lisa M. Krieger in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 3/13/19