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

Updating . .   

California farmers are planting solar panels as water supplies dry up -- Solar energy projects could replace some of the jobs and tax revenues that may be lost as constrained water supplies force California’s agriculture industry to scale back. In the San Joaquin Valley alone, farmers may need to take more than half a million acres out of production to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which will ultimately put restrictions on pumping. Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/31/19

Gavin Newsom adds hundreds more firefighters amid fears of ‘large and damaging’ fire season -- The long rainy season promoted heavy growth of grass and other underbrush in which fires can start and spread once the vegetation dries out. Cal Fire and the state firefighter union have said the state needs more firefighters to face the escalating threat. Wes Venteicher and Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/31/19

‘End this now.’ Hamid Hayat’s family begs for his freedom after terror conviction tossed -- The family of Lodi terror suspect Hamid Hayat made a tearful plea Wednesday for the federal government to show mercy and release him from prison in the wake of a federal judge’s order vacating his 14-year-old conviction. Sam Stanton in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/31/19

Contract deal gives 10 percent raise or more to state safety and law enforcement employees -- Pay for dispatchers, security officers, inspectors and other public safety and law enforcement employees at the state will go up at least 10 percent over the next four years in a tentative agreement their union reached with the state. Wes Venteicher in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/31/19

Half of California workers have no retirement savings, says UC Berkeley report -- Many Californians may sink into downward mobility in their golden years because of a lack of retirement savings, says a new report by Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education. Karen D’Souza in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/31/19

Chinese billionaire faces charges in $1.8-billion scheme to smuggle aluminum through L.A. -- A Chinese billionaire and the company he founded were accused of hatching a scheme to avoid paying $1.8 billion in tariffs by disguising “huge amounts” of aluminum as pallets and smuggling the material into the United States, according to a federal indictment unsealed late Tuesday. Alex Wigglesworth in the Los Angeles Times$ Brian Melley Associated Press -- 7/31/19

Clues to Gilroy shooting found in remote Nevada town: Ammo, gas mask, extremist writings -- Santino William Legan lived for most of his life in Gilroy, Calif. But for at least the last few months, the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter was staying in this remote town in Nevada. David Montero in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/31/19

Gilroy shooter meticulously planned attack, was armed for battle -- In the hours before the Gilroy Garlic Festival attack, Santino William Legan went shopping alone at several big-box stores in the area. It’s unclear what he bought, but sometime in the afternoon, authorities say, he drove to the festival to carry out a rampage. Alene Tchekmedyian, David Montero, Richard Winton, Ruben Vives in the Los Angeles Times$ Kathleen Ronayne Associated Press -- 7/31/19

The World’s Most Littered Item Comes Under Fire -- Cigarette butts, the most littered items in the world, are posing an intractable trash problem for regulators and tobacco companies: Throwing them on the ground is a firmly entrenched habit for many smokers. Saabira Chaudhuri in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 7/31/19

More bad news for renters in SF's already insane market, report says -- Has San Francisco's rent finally convinced you that renting a one-bedroom alone isn't economically feasible? According to a new report, sharing a two-bedroom might not be cheaper for long. Anna Marie Erwert in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Are BART's extra-tall fare gates stopping jumpers? We saw 56 people skip paying in 1 hour -- There are many styles of BART fare evasion. There's the tailgater, someone who tags closely behind a paying rider and slips through the gates. There are the people who just walk through the swinging emergency exit doors, which at many stations don't set off any kind of alarm. And then there are the jumpers, who foist themselves over BART's waist-high gates in order to avoid paying. Alix Martichoux and and Drew Costley in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Lopez: The city has a growing mountain of possessions confiscated from homeless people -- Even if you’re living on the streets, your stuff is your stuff. You prize it, you guard it, you try to hold onto it. But it doesn’t always work out the way you’d like. Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/31/19

Fox: Newsom Signs Law that Invites Political Mischief -- SB 27 signed yesterday by Gov. Gavin Newsom requiring the release of five years of tax returns for any candidate wanting to run in California’s primaries for president or governor exists because of President Trump. While Trump is the target of obvious political harassment by California’s Democrats, could non-Trump Republicans see an opportunity to also cause pain to the president by attempting to grab a hoard of national convention delegates? Political mischief is now possible on both the left and right. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 7/31/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Search of Gilroy gunman’s home finds items suggesting massive attack, white supremacy materials -- Investigators who searched the Nevada home of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter found the makings of a massive attack, including a gas mask, bulletproof vest and empty boxes of ammunition, along with reading material on white supremacy and radical Islam, federal law enforcement sources said Tuesday. Matthias Gafni, Dustin Gardiner, Tatiana Sanchez and Karen de Sá in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Richard Winton, Laura J. Nelson, Hannah Fry, Hailey Branson-Potts, Jaclyn Cosgrove in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/31/19

Gilroy shooter lived quietly, almost unnoticed, in small Nevada town -- To neighbors, he was the young man who occasionally said “hello” as he walked down to the lake in the evening. Beyond that, residents of Cliff House Road knew nothing about 19-year-old Santino William Legan, their short-term neighbor and the man police say killed three people and injured 12 others when he went on a shooting rampage at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday. Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Gilroy residents say they will stand strong, plan to support next year’s festival -- Everyone plans to attend next year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival. That’s what dozens of Gilroy residents who attended a vigil Tuesday night said as they passed around a microphone to talk about how they felt about the violence that ripped into the city’s annual food festival that draws hundreds of families. Lauren Hernández in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting puts other Bay Area food, music events on high alert -- As a gunman opened fire on a cheerful Sunday afternoon crowd at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, organizers of the Watsonville Strawberry Festival watched social media feeds in horror. Then they rushed to re-evaluate their own security plans for this weekend’s fruit-filled event, which is expected to draw more than 40,000 people to the city almost 20 miles from the site of the country’s latest mass shooting. Gwendolyn Wu in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Scott Adams, Dilbert Creator, Has One Regret About Mass Shooting Tweet -- After a gunman killed three people in Gilroy, Calif., Mr. Adams said witnesses could “set your price” on an app he invented. The cartoonist, no stranger to controversy, had found another. Heather Murphy in the New York Times$ -- 7/31/19


Sacramento judge vacates conviction in 13-year-old Lodi terror case of Hamid Hayat -- In a stunning move, the federal judge in Sacramento who oversaw the trial and conviction of accused Lodi terror suspect Hamid Hayat 13 years ago has ordered the conviction and sentence vacated. The order issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. essentially means Hayat’s appellate attorneys can seek his immediate release from a federal prison in Phoenix, where he had been serving his 24-year sentence. Sam Stanton and Sawsan Morrar in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/31/19

Knight: Why are more mentally ill people wandering SF streets? Report gives answers -- We see them every day — the lost souls wandering into traffic, ranting into the air or sleeping in their own waste. And we wonder why there seems to be so much more untreated mental illness on the streets of San Francisco these days, and why City Hall doesn’t seem to be doing much about it. Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Ghost Ship trial: Defense attorneys close with examples of reasonable doubt -- Firefighters and police descending on the Ghost Ship warehouse fire the night of Dec. 2, 2016, had their scapegoat as soon as they arrived on the scene, defendant Max Harris’ attorney, Curtis Briggs, told jurors on Tuesday. Megan Cassidy in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

In Closing Arguments, Ghost Ship Defense Attorneys Say Arson Was Cause of Deadly Blaze -- Defense attorneys representing two men each charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the deadly 2016 Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire wrapped up their closing arguments Tuesday. Don Clyde KQED -- 7/31/19

Trump lawyer to California: See you in court -- President Donald Trump’s lawyers immediately signaled today they will challenge a California law requiring Trump to disclose his tax returns if he wants to appear on primary ballots in the state. Jeremy B. White Politico -- 7/31/19

On Trump’s tax returns and maybe more, Newsom’s agenda isn’t Jerry Brown’s -- Lawmakers stymied by Jerry Brown’s vetoes have introduced a raft of repeats — testing how much Gov. Newsom will depart from his predecessor. Laurel Rosenhall Calmatters -- 7/31/19

Walters: A game of political chicken -- California and its governor, Gavin Newsom, scored a tactical win last week in the war with President Donald Trump over just about everything. Newsom announced that four major automakers had agreed to adhere to tight – albeit slightly loosened – mileage standards aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 7/31/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Opening a small business is about to get easier in San Francisco -- The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a plan Tuesday to streamline the lengthy, complex permitting process for small businesses amid the rise of empty storefronts in the city. The ordinance, first introduced in December by Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown, eases zoning codes, eliminates duplicative inspections and standardizes local laws to match state regulations. Shwanika Narayan and Roland Li in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Study: El Niño has outsize economic effect on California -- Damage during El Niño events is 10 times that of La Niña. One percent of flood events have caused more than two-thirds of total losses in recent decades Mike Branom in the Washington Post$ -- 7/31/19

Over 80,000 Kaiser Permanente workers begin vote to authorize a strike -- The employees — ranging from registered nurses and X-ray technicians to phone operators and janitors –are seeking higher wages that can support middle-class families, preservation of existing healthcare benefits and an assurance of adequate staffing. Kevin Smith in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/31/19


L.A. City Council votes to reimpose limits on living in vehicles -- Sleeping overnight in cars, vans and RVs will be prohibited again in many parts of Los Angeles, after the City Council voted Tuesday to reinstate rules that limit where people can live in their vehicles. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/31/19

Can California Force Homeless People Into Shelters? Civil Rights Groups Call Plan Legally Questionable -- Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who lead a state homlessness task force, recently proposed a way to do just that. Their “right to shelter” plan would first boost the supply of shelter space statewide — requiring cities and counties to build more beds — and then legally obligate homeless people to accept one if offered. Chris Nichols Capital Public Radio -- 7/31/19

Homeless survey shows racial imbalance in the struggle to find housing in Orange County -- The homeless population in Orange County is majority white, but people of color are vastly over represented when compared with the general population. That’s one of several key findings revealed in the 149-page final report from Orange County’s 2019 homeless Point In Time count released Tuesday, July 30, to the Board of Supervisors. Theresa Walker in the Orange County Register -- 7/31/19


Huge SF housing project adds senior housing to win over Laurel Heights -- A massive project proposed for the UCSF Laurel Heights campus would transform the quiet neighborhood with 744 homes, many of them affordable, and bring desperately needed new housing to a part of the city that’s seen little development in recent years. Trisha Thadani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Downtown skyscraper will have killer views — and cheap rent for 20% of renters -- The former courthouse in San Diego’s civic core will be demolished and replaced with a 37-story luxury apartment and office complex. And, because of the developer’s preferred financing method, low-income earners will get to partake in the building’s sweeping views and fancy amenities. Jennifer Van Grove in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/31/19

San Diego City Council Narrowly Approves Update To Affordable Housing Policy -- The San Diego City Council on Tuesday narrowly approved a change to the city's affordable housing policy that requires developers to pay a larger share of the costs to build homes for low-income people. Andrew Bowen KPBS -- 7/31/19

Homeownership in Los Angeles, Orange counties 2nd worst in the U.S., falling to near a 3-year low -- This year’s reversal in mortgage rates — following last year’s sharp increases — apparently did not help house hunters in Los Angeles and Orange counties looking to switch from renter to owner. At the same time, rising ownership in the Inland Empire suggests bargains to the east — lower home prices on top of cheaper mortgages— may have been more appealing. Jonathan Lansner in the Orange County Register -- 7/31/19


500,000 Children Could Lose Free School Meals Under Trump Administration Proposal -- More than 500,000 children would lose automatic eligibility for free school meals under a rule proposed last week by the Agriculture Department intended to tighten access to food stamps. Lola Fadulu in the New York Times$ -- 7/31/19

At a summer camp where community comes first, STEM education thrives -- Sometimes engaging students in math and science means hands-on experiments and projects. Other times, it simply means asking how they’re doing that day. Sydney Johnson EdSource -- 7/31/19

Remembering Glen Thomas, who helped shape California's academic standards -- In the last column that he wrote for EdSource, in January, Glen Thomas listed the 10 elements that would be in his Marshall Plan for underperforming schools that he was proposing. John Fensterwald EdSource -- 7/31/19

Immigration / Border 

Trump administration has separated 900 migrant children despite order to stop practice -- The Trump administration has separated 911 migrant children from their parents at the border since a San Diego federal judge last summer ordered an end to the systemic practice, the American Civil Liberties Union reported to the court Tuesday. The continuing separations are largely blamed on parental criminal history — an exception that U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw has carved out in the ongoing litigation. Kristina Davis in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/31/19

Also . . . 

Suspect in Rome police killing had punched a fellow student in San Francisco, causing severe brain injury, sources say -- Before he was accused of fatally stabbing a Rome police officer late last week, a former San Francisco high school student punched a fellow student at a 2016 late-night party in Stern Grove and left the victim with a severe brain injury, sources familiar with the matter told The Chronicle. Evan Sernoffsky in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

POTUS 45  

Attorneys fail to reach agreement in dispute over Trump's New York tax returns -- They had been ordered by District Judge Carl Nichols on Monday to figure out among themselves how to proceed in the case, in which Trump is demanding a temporary restraining order to prevent Democrats from taking advantage of a newly passed New York law designed to give them access to the president’s state tax filings. Brian Faler Politico -- 7/31/19

As Trump tells reporters how not-racist he is, a poll comes out showing that most Americans disagree -- It wasn’t the best timing — but, then, there probably isn’t a great moment for President Trump to declare that he is the “least racist person there is anywhere in the world.” Philip Bump in the Washington Post$ -- 7/31/19

Majority of Trump’s Trade Aid Went to Biggest Farms, Study Finds -- More than half of the Trump administration’s trade-war aid for farmers went to just one-tenth of the recipients in the program, according to an analysis of payments by an environmental organization. Mike Dorning Bloomberg -- 7/31/19


Winners and losers from Night 1 of the second Democratic debate -- The candidates seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination began their second debate on Tuesday night, with the first 10 contenders facing off in Detroit. Aaron Blake in the Washington Post$ -- 7/31/19

Democratic Debate Turns Ferocious Over Health Care -- It took only one question — the very first — in Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate to make it clear that the issue that united the party in last year’s congressional elections in many ways now divides it. Abby Goodnough in the New York Times$ -- 7/31/19

‘Moscow Mitch’ Tag Enrages McConnell and Squeezes G.O.P. on Election Security -- Senator Mitch McConnell is usually impervious to criticism, even celebrating the nasty nicknames critics bestow on him. But Mr. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is incensed by the name “Moscow Mitch,” and even more miffed that he has been called a “Russian asset” by critics who accuse him of single-handedly blocking stronger election security measures after Russia’s interference in 2016. Carl Hulse in the New York Times$ -- 7/31/19


-- Tuesday Updates 

Trump’s tax returns required under new California election law -- President Trump will be ineligible for California’s primary ballot next year unless he discloses his tax returns under a state law that immediately took effect Tuesday, an unprecedented mandate that is almost certain to spark a high-profile court fight and might encourage other states to adopt their own unconventional rules for presidential candidates. John Myers in the Los Angeles Times$ Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Casey Tolan in the San Jose Mercury$ Kathleen Ronayne and Adam Beam Associated Press Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 7/30/19

In a blow to the bullet train, California might shift billions to L.A. and Bay Area projects -- Key California lawmakers have devised a plan to shift billions of dollars from the Central Valley bullet train to rail projects in Southern California and the Bay Area, a strategy that could crush the dreams of high-speed rail purists. Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 7/30/19

Investigation into Gilroy shootings enters its third day -- The morning after an emotion-filled memorial to the three people killed in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, investigators from multiple federal, state and local agencies began a third day of investigation into a tragedy that stunned the community and left countless questions about the killer and his motives. Patrick May in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/30/19

Dilbert creator Scott Adams denounced for using Gilroy shooting to push app -- In the hours after a gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday, Scott Adams, the famous Dilbert cartoonist and Pleasanton tech entrepreneur, invited witnesses to sign up for an app he helped create. “If you were a witness to the #GilroyGarlicFestivalshooting please sign on to Interface by WhenHub (free app) and you can set your price to take calls. Use keyword Gilroy,” Adams tweeted. Melia Russell and Sophia Kunthara in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/30/19

One year after new law, few getting mental health diversion -- Three of every four defendants seeking treatment are getting denied, and the DA is opposing nearly every request under the groundbreaking law. Greg Moran in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/30/19

UC files lawsuits against five major retailers -- Five major retailers, including Amazon.com Inc and Walmart Inc, were targeted in lawsuits filed on Tuesday by the University of California over what it called the “existential threat” posed by foreign manufacturers that infringe schools’ patents. Reuters via the San Jose Mercury$ -- 7/30/19

San Diego loosens zoning to encourage neighborhoods combining housing with jobs -- The San Diego City Council approved new zoning policies Monday allowing developers to more quickly and cheaply build large “mixed-use” projects featuring dense housing blended with commercial and industrial uses. David Garrick in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 7/30/19

Fox: PPIC CA Poll Shows Tight Race for Popular Vote Among Democrats, but Who is Going to Get the Delegates? -- How many delegates will the Democratic presidential candidates win in California’s March primary? It’s difficult to tell with early polling because the Democrats have a complex formula for securing delegates to their national convention and statewide poll numbers are more general in nature. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 7/30/19