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

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Bay Area’s new homeless epicenter? -- Oakland has surpassed San Francisco in per-capita homelessness. The city has a multi-pronged approach to attacking the problem, but advocates say officials aren’t doing enough. Sarah Ravani and Joaquin Palomino in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

Sean Hannity endorses in a California swing district -- Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity is taking sides in a California congressional race, giving his support to Republican Robert “Buzz” Patterson, a retired Air Force officer challenging Democratic Rep. Ami Bera in a suburban Sacramento district. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

Eric Swalwell dodges fight for his East Bay congressional seat -- The Hayward City Council will be home for now for Aisha Wahab, who has suspended her campaign for Dublin Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell’s seat after he dropped out of the presidential race and fired up his re-election effort. John Wildermuth in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

Quentin Kopp harrumphs again, says he’ll run against state Sen. Scott Wiener -- Kopp’s decision to challenge Wiener was triggered in part by the senator’s call to replace the Cow Palace’s board of directors with local politicians, a move Kopp called a the first step in a “land grab” by developers who have been eyeing the 65-acre site on the San Francisco-Daly City line. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

Five takeaways from the Democrats’ policy brawls -- This week’s Democratic presidential debates showed that nobody will have an easy road to the nomination. Progressives and moderates will brawl until the convention over the best way to deliver health care. Tal Kopan and Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

Chinese billionaire used L.A. as base for audacious aluminum scam that cost U.S. $1.8 billion, feds say -- A Chinese billionaire and his company had a problem, federal prosecutors allege: They wanted to import massive amounts of aluminum into the United States without paying tariffs. So they came up with an audacious plan. Alex Wigglesworth in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19

Trump imposes new 10% tariff on Chinese goods as trade talks stall -- In the minutes after the president’s tweets, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 300 points. The trade war with China has been going for a year and a half. In May, Trump hiked tariffs from 10% to 25% on $250 billion in Chinese goods. Eli Stokols in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19

California’s largest teachers union spent $1 million a month to restrict charter schools -- The state’s biggest teachers union spent more than $1 million a month since April to influence lawmakers as it pushed bills aimed at cracking down on charter schools, financial disclosure forms filed ahead of a Wednesday deadline show. Hannah Wiley and Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/19

A not-so-high-speed train in the Central Valley could be a boon for the Bay Area -- Caltrain could see faster, more frequent service sooner rather than later under a proposal that would shift billions of dollars from the Central Valley segment of the state’s bullet train project and distribute it to other parts of the state. Erin Baldassari in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/1/19

Fox: Poll Finds Voters Behind CA Confronting Global Warming, but are They Willing to Pay? -- Public Policy Institute of California’s extensive polling on the environment turned up solid support from likely voters for the state to take a leading roll in confronting climate change. But when asked if they were willing to pay, the answers were mixed. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 8/1/19

Bankrupt PG&E makes deal to cut solar power prices. Won’t abandon CA’s clean energy goals -- PG&E Corp., scrambling to save money, has been hinting for months it might scrap some of its expensive contracts to buy solar and wind energy — a move that would seriously undermine California’s efforts to turn its electricity grid green. Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/19

Endangered plants bulldozed in Topanga State Park -- Crews for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recently bulldozed hundreds of federally endangered plants in Topanga State Park, and both state and city authorities have launched investigations into DWP’s actions, part of a wildfire prevention project aimed at replacing wooden power poles with steel ones. Louis Sahagun in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19

SoCalGas Admits Funding 'Front' Group in Fight for Its Future -- Right now, regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission are weighing exactly how and when to wean the state away from natural gas. That means Southern California Gas is fighting for its future, and the Public Advocates Office, an independent watchdog within the CPUC, says the utility’s not fighting fairly, lying to regulators and violating ethics and other rules in the process. Molly Peterson KQED -- 8/1/19

Castle Rock State Park: Grand new $8.7 million entrance opens to public -- For years, Castle Rock State Park on the Santa Clara-Santa Cruz county line has been known for breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, honeycombed sandstone rock formations and adventure-seeking rock climbers. It’s also been notorious for its cramped gravel parking lot, malodorous pit toilets and motorists who park perilously close to the side of Skyline Boulevard. Paul Rogers in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/1/19

For Colleen Bell, California’s new Film Commission director, wooing runaway productions back to LA area will be among top priorities -- The California Film Commission has its first new director in 15 years. She’s Colleen Bell and she arrives with, among other things, experience as a producer of the daytime drama “The Bold and the Beautiful” and as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 8/1/19

Luxury grocer Dean & DeLuca leaves behind debts, say employees and vendors -- Dean & DeLuca, known for introducing ultra-fancy food to the masses, apparently can’t afford to pay its recently laid-off workers. Janelle Bitker in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

Column One: He’d been kept alive with tubes for nearly 17 years. Who is he, and is it possible he’s conscious? -- It was his 34th birthday and the icing from the cake was his first taste of food in almost 17 years. He didn’t react when the dollop of chocolate settled onto his tongue. Maybe his taste buds had stopped working. Or maybe he had just forgotten what real food was like. Joanne Faryon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

Trump revived the Cadiz water project. Now California has added a new hurdle -- A controversial Mojave Desert water project, which has emerged as a major environmental flashpoint between California and the Trump administration, cannot go forward without approval by the State Lands Commission under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19

Judge overturns IRS rule that shielded political donors’ identities -- The ruling upends a change the IRS made last year that permitted so-called Section 501(c)4 groups, known as “social welfare” organizations, to keep their donor lists private. A federal judge said the IRS didn’t follow proper procedure in writing the rule and needs to let the public weigh in on the change before altering the tax code. Laura Davison Bloomberg -- 8/1/19

PG&E pushes back on Wall Street Journal investigation -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. defended itself to a federal judge Wednesday amid scrutiny of its aging high-voltage power line system and corporate spending habits, arguing it was not dangerously neglectful of its infrastructure and had allocated its money wisely. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

PG&E says repair delays didn’t trigger fatal Butte County inferno -- PG&E said that it “strongly disagrees” with claims in a recent report that the company deliberately put off upgrades and repairs on equipment that caused a fatal inferno in Butte County in 2018, according to a court filing from the utility on Wednesday. George Avalos in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

The Gilroy killer’s mind: FBI follows digital trail in quest for answers -- FBI investigators have recovered digital conversations, social media and other communications by the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter and are studying them to try to determine a motive or ideology behind Santino Legan’s carnage, the agent in charge of the investigation said Wednesday. “We’re looking at multiple threads of conversations that he’s had,” said John Bennett, special agent in charge John Bennett. “However, we’re still not comfortable in saying it’s an ideology one way or another.” Matthias Gafni in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 8/1/19

Insurance Commissioner accepted, returned more cash from insurers than previously known -- California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara accepted tens of thousands of dollars in additional political contributions from insurers than was previously known, according to a state-mandated campaign disclosure released Wednesday. Jeff McDonald in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/1/19

Walters: Ricardo Lara’s long, hot summer -- This has been a long, hot summer for Ricardo Lara, a former state legislator from Los Angeles who was elected as California’s insurance commissioner nine months ago. He’s been hammered by a series of journalistic revelations, mostly in the San Diego Union-Tribune, about how he has indirectly reneged on a campaign promise not to accept campaign contributions from insurance industry sources. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 8/1/19

Body of missing McFarland city manager found in Kern River -- The body of missing McFarland City Manager John Wooner was found this week inside a vehicle submerged in the Kern River, authorities confirmed Wednesday. Wooner, 57, was last seen alive May 14 at Hillcrest Memorial Park, a cemetery in Bakersfield. Jaclyn Cosgrove in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19

L.A. hit with another legal claim in DWP case, with claims of ‘wrongful acts and omissions’ -- A onetime Department of Water and Power customer whose lawsuit over his inaccurate bill triggered a FBI investigation at City Hall has filed a new claim against the city. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19

California law to limit youth football practices -- California’s governor has signed a law limiting full-contact practices for youth football teams to reduce brain injuries. State law already limits full-contact practices for middle and high school football teams to no more than 90 minutes per day, twice per week. Adam Beam Associated Press -- 8/1/19

Gavin Newsom says he talked with Trump the day he signed tax-returns bill -- President Trump has yet to weigh in on a new California law designed to force him to release his tax returns — and if Gov. Gavin Newsom knows how the president really feels, he’s not sharing. Alexei Koseff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ Colby Bermel Politico -- 8/1/19

California governor defends wildfire efforts, jabs at feds -- Gov. Gavin Newsom defended California’s wildfire prevention efforts Wednesday while criticizing the federal government for not doing enough to help protect the state as it enters the height of fire season after two deadly, disastrous years. Don Thompson Associated Press -- 8/1/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Bubble Watch: California economy goes from national leader to subpar -- California's GDP grew at a 2.7% annual pace in the first quarter, ranking 29th among the states. Jonathan Lansner in the Orange County Register -- 8/1/19

“We’re not going to be able to survive:” Why Californians could bear the brunt of Trump food stamp cuts -- A Trump administration proposal would cut food stamps to 3.1 million Americans—largely working families with high housing, childcare and medical costs. That could hit hard in California, a state where both the cost of living and the minimum wage are on the rise. Jackie Botts CalMatters -- 8/1/19


A Sepulveda Basin encampment fire left dozens of homeless people displaced, but service providers have little to offer them -- Without interim housing homeless individuals will likely stay in the Basin, where firefighters warn of continued high fire risk. Ariella Plachta and Elizabeth Chou in the Los Angeles Daily News$ -- 8/1/19


California Teachers Association loses thousands of members after faculty association decides to “disaffiliate” -- Ending a decades-long connection, the association representing California State University faculty has severed its ties with the California Teachers Association, resulting in a significant loss in membership for the state’s largest teachers union. Louis Freedberg EdSource -- 8/1/19

CSU adds $10 million to boost math and science teacher preparation in California --To address a persistent teacher shortage in math and science, California State University is pumping $10 million into its Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative over the next four years. Sydney Johnson EdSource -- 8/1/19


California 1st state to require notification of toxic 'forever' chemicals in water -- California on Wednesday became the first state in the nation to require water suppliers who monitor a broad class of toxic "forever chemicals" to notify customers if they're present in drinking water. That could include sites from Los Angeles International Airport to military bases across the desert to refineries and other industry in low income neighborhoods. Janet Wilson in the Palm Springs Desert Sun Sophia Bollag and Tara Copp in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/19


E. coli test results show no clear source of deadly county fair outbreak -- An update from San Diego’s public health department says that no samples analyzed from the fair tested positive for the specific type of E. coli bacteria that caused the outbreak. Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/1/19

Postpartum mental illness: The health crisis no expectant mother expects -- California has become a national model for maternal health improvement. But less attention has been paid to new mothers' postpartum mental health. Barbara Harvey Calmatters -- 8/1/19


$50 billion worth of Bay Area homes at risk of rising seas by 2050, says report -- Tens of thousands of Bay Area homes worth about $50 billion are at grave risk of chronic coastal flooding by 2050, according to a new analysis by Zillow and Climate Central. Karen D’Souza in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/1/19

Great white sharks attacking sea lions at increased rate off Southern California coast -- An 800-pound sea lion with a two-foot-long gaping wound across its back caught Tom Southern’s attention as he passed by the red buoy close to the entry to Dana Point Harbor. Erika I. Ritchie in the Orange County Register -- 8/1/19

Also . . . 

Two ballot measures proposing changes to police oversight group move forward -- Two measures that would make changes to San Diego’s police oversight board may appear side-by-side on next year’s ballot. Lyndsay Winkley in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 8/1/19

Reagan called President Nixon to slur Africans as ‘monkeys.’ Of course there are tapes -- It was October 1971, and the United Nations had just voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China. Then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan was infuriated that delegations from Africa did not align themselves with the U.S. position — that the U.N. should recognize Taiwan as an independent state — and wanted to get President Richard Nixon on the phone. Morgan Krakow and Morgan Krakow in the Washington Post$ -- 8/1/19

How an unassuming window in San Jose fills a crucial need for the homeless -- But their lack of a permanent address presents an additional conundrum that’s all too familiar to a growing number of people in the Bay Area: To become stable, they need to find housing, yet without an address, they can’t get mail updating them about their spot on waiting lists for affordable housing. Erica Hellerstein Calmatters -- 8/1/19

POTUS 45  

7 medals and 3 commendations given to prosecutors after Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher trial revoked by Navy secretary following president’s tweet -- Seven Navy and Marine Achievement medals and three commendations issued to prosecutors involved in the court-martial against Navy SEAL Edward “Eddie” Gallagher were rescinded by order of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer late Wednesday, military officials confirmed hours after President Donald Trump tweeted he had directed they be withdrawn. Erika I. Ritchie in the Orange County Register -- 8/1/19

Fueled by wealthy donors, pro-Trump groups collected nearly $18 million in the first half of the year -- The super PAC backing President Trump collected nearly $9 million in the first half of the year, with the vast majority of its funds coming from just 10 wealthy donors who gave six- and seven-figure sums, according to information released by the group Wednesday. Tom Hamburger and Anu Narayanswamy in the Washington Post$ -- 8/1/19


Five takeaways from the Democrats’ policy brawls -- Progressives and moderates will brawl until the convention over the best way to deliver health care. Former Vice President Joe Biden tops the polls, but he’s going to have to defend decisions made over five decades in politics — including some that have not aged well. Tal Kopan and Joe Garofoli in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 7/31/19

Joe Biden takes fire from all sides in Democratic debate -- The attacks on front-runner Joe Biden were unrelenting and, at times, personal in a contentious Democratic debate Wednesday night during which the former vice president delivered pointed retorts as he sought to convince voters that he is not an Obama-era relic, but the politician to revive the party. Evan Halper, Seema Mehta, Tyrone Beason in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 8/1/19

AP Fact Check: Dems gloss over econ, migrant complexities -- Several persisted in their distorted depiction of caged migrant children as a singular cruelty of President Donald Trump. Others glossed over the intricacies of complex issues, at times dismissing pointed questions as a “Republican talking point” — and not answering. Calvin Woodward and Hope Yen Associated Press -- 8/1/19

Fact check: Would middle class taxes go up under Kamala Harris’ healthcare plan? -- Former Vice President Joe Biden warned at Wednesday night’s debate in Detroit that middle class taxes will go up under the healthcare plan California Sen. Kamala Harris has proposed. Emily Cadei in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/19

Kamala Harris Goes After Joe Biden, Finds Herself on Defensive in Second Debate -- U.S. Senator Kamala Harris walked onstage Wednesday night for her second presidential debate with a lot of pressure and high expectations hanging over her head — and she mostly delivered. Marisa Lagos KQED -- 8/1/19

Fact check: Did Kamala Harris block evidence that would have freed death row inmates? -- During Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard went after California Sen. Kamala Harris over her record as the state’s attorney general and San Francisco’s district attorney. Emily Cadei and Bryan Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 8/1/19

Giants fan Kamala Harris wears Dodgers cap in Dem debate prep -- We live in divided times. Americans from New York City to California demonize those they see on the opposite side of an argument, shouting each other down on social media and in the real world. The rift between Giants and Dodgers fans may be too tough for even the most aisle-reaching of politicians, but it appears Kamala Harris is trying her hand. Michael Nowels in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 8/1/19

‘Go to Joe 30330’: Biden Sends Supporters on a Digital Wild Goose Chase -- It’s among the most routine parts of modern presidential campaigning: a closing plug to visit a campaign website to donate or “find out more.” Nick Corasaniti in the New York Times$ -- 8/1/19


-- Wednesday Updates 

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