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

Updating . .  

Vaccine bill critics swarm Sacramento as effort to scrutinize child exemptions moves forward -- The California Assembly passed changes on Monday to a contentious bill that would crack down on school vaccine exemptions, taking action as protesters spent hours loudly chanting outside the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom and blocking key entrances to the state Capitol. Melody Gutierrez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

USC athletic director Lynn Swann resigns -- USC athletic director Lynn Swann has resigned after three tumultuous years atop one of the nation’s most prestigious athletic departments. Ryan Kartje in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

California boat fire: Criminal probe launched with focus on possible safety lapses, sources say -- Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the Southern California boat fire last week that killed 34 people, with a focus on whether the operation violated maritime safety regulations, two law enforcement sources told The Times on Monday. Richard Winton, Matthew Ormseth, Mark Puente in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

High-stakes legal battle looms in California boat fire that killed 34 -- Owners of boats in which people are hurt or killed succeed about half the time in winning court rulings that protect them from huge damage awards, according to a maritime legal expert. Maura Dolan and Richard Winton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

Tethered to Trump, California’s GOP hopes for a comeback in a solidly blue state -- After crushing losses and a steep slide in voter registration, California Republicans gathered this weekend in the desert, hoping to plot a path back to relevancy in a state where shifting demographics and President Trump’s low approval numbers are continual challenges. Christine Mai-Duc in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19 

Commerce Chief Threatened Firings at NOAA After Trump’s Hurricane Tweets, Sources Say -- The Secretary of Commerce threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama, according to three people familiar with the discussion. Christopher Flavelle, Lisa Friedman and Peter Baker in the New York Times$ -- 9/9/19

As erratic winds whip flames, Plumas County wildfire swells to 44,000 acres -- At 68 square miles, the Walker Fire is currently the largest wildfire in California and the biggest of the 2019 wildfire season so far. Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/9/19

After mass shootings, gun advocates in Texas worry about a political shift -- The state’s demographics are changing as transplants arrive from California and other places where guns are more scarce and gun laws stricter. Newcomers are electing more Democrats in Houston and Dallas — and in their suburbs. A poll conducted by the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tribune in February found 49% of Texans said gun control laws should be more strict; 46% strongly supported “red flag” laws. Molly Hennessy-Fiske in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

Americans of both parties overwhelmingly support ‘red flag’ laws, expanded background checks for gun buyers, Washington Post-ABC News poll finds -- More Americans say they trust congressional Democrats over Trump to handle the nation’s gun laws, 51 percent to 36 percent, with independents siding with Democrats by a 17-point margin — a divide that could have political ramifications for the 2020 presidential and congressional elections. Mike DeBonis and Emily Guskin in the Washington Post$ -- 9/9/19

57 cases of lung illness linked to vaping reported in California, 1 death -- Some cases involve people who vaped cannabis products purchased from unlicensed sources, though the agency has not provided a specific number. Amy Graff in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/9/19

Uber, Lyft couldn’t beat California employment rules, but these industries did -- On Friday, lawmakers submitted what the author’s office describes as the final round of amendments. Dozens of professions, from real estate agents to dog groomers, secured carve-outs that will let those workers continue to work as independent contractors. Others including gig economy drivers and newspaper carriers weren’t given exemptions. Sophia Bollag in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/9/19

Amazon Has 30,000 Open Jobs. Yes, You Read That Right -- Engineers in the Bay Area. Advertising managers in Chicago. Freight specialists in Arizona. At Amazon, the job listings keep piling up, reflecting a company growing in many directions amid one of the tightest labor markets in memory. Karen Weise in the New York Times$ -- 9/9/19

Many of L.A.’s sidewalks would be off-limits for homeless people to sleep if plan passes -- Under existing rules in Los Angeles, homeless people who bed down on the streets for the night are supposed to stay away from doorways and driveways. Now a plan under consideration at City Hall could make it harder to find a spot by imposing rules that would bar people from resting on streets and sidewalks in at least 26% of the city, a Times analysis has found. Emily Alpert Reyes, Matt Stiles, Ryan Menezes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

Locked out of L.A.'s white neighborhoods, they built a black suburb. Now they’re homeless -- Duane Pierfax grew up after World War II in Pacoima, one of the few Los Angeles suburbs that offered the American dream of home ownership to African Americans who had been locked out of other neighborhoods by racial covenants. Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

San Francisco is surviving the global recycling crisis. But it’s not easy -- Some 90% of Recology’s plastics used to go to China. Now they go to Malaysia and Indonesia in addition to places in the Bay Area and across California. Other recyclers send plastics to Thailand and Vietnam as well. But some Southeast Asian countries, unprepared to handle the volume, have started rejecting plastic waste, too. Elena Shao in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/9/19

Fox: Like Ending a TV Drama, the Legislature needs to tie up Loose Ends before Shutting Down -- One might look at the last week of the legislative session like the last episode of a TV series. The job of the performers, writers and producers is to tie up loose ends in many of the story lines, and there are many story lines under the Capitol dome that beg for an ending. Joel Fox Fox & Hounds -- 9/9/19


California Policy & Politics This Morning  

For Conception crew, surviving the fire is just the first step in a long healing process -- In July, Ann Crawley led a group of teenagers and children on a successful diving trip aboard the 75-foot Conception. Last week, she woke up to a flood of messages from friends and family informing her that the diving boat had gone up in flames off the coast of Santa Barbara, killing 33 passengers and a crew member who were asleep below deck. Emily DeRuy in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/9/19

After Conception burned, police divers rushed to help. Hazards and stress awaited -- When calls went out for police divers on Labor Day morning, law enforcement teams hurried to Santa Barbara. They rushed to tackle the daunting task of locating 34 people who had been trapped below deck when the Conception dive boat, anchored off Santa Cruz Island, caught fire. Mark Puente in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

Skelton: Lawmakers and lobbyists scramble as California’s legislative session draws to a close -- For several hours last week, big trucks circled the state Capitol bumper-to-bumper, blaring their horns and clogging traffic. George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/9/19

Walters: Dems ignore voters’ decisions -- In politics, as in sports, rules of the game often influence, or even dictate, who wins and who loses. Dan Walters Calmatters -- 9/9/19

California Bill Puts Recycling Onus on Plastic Manufacturers. They’re Not Happy About It -- As soon as this week, California lawmakers could vote on legislation aimed at dramatically reducing plastic pollution from common manufactured goods like utensils, packaging and beverage lids. Kevin Stark KQED -- 9/9/19

Parkland shooting survivors share songs of hope -- Three teens who survived the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida last year that killed 17 raised their voices against violence through musical performances at a San Diego conference Sunday. Deborah Sullivan Brennan in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/9/19

Vandalism at Chula Vista church being investigated as a hate crime -- Pastoral staff at the South Bay Pentecostal Church reported the vandalism Sunday morning. Officers who responded found several spray-painted messages on the walls of the D Street church including the word “Lucifer,” an apparent pentagram and other vulgarities, Chula Vista police Lt. John English said. Lyndsay Winkley in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/9/19

CDC Says Number Of Possible Cases Of Vaping-Related Lung Illness Has Doubled -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the number of possible cases of severe respiratory illnesses among people who vaped nicotine or cannabis-related products has more than doubled, to 450 in 33 states. Joe Neel KQED -- 9/9/19

Economy, Employers, Jobs, Unions, Pensions  

Golden Handshake: pension ‘air time’ lives on -- Until a pension reform six years ago, CalPERS and CalSTRS members could boost their pensions by buying credit for up to five years of service without doing the work, thus the name “air time.” Ed Mendel Calpensions.com -- 9/9/19

Businesses Across the Board Scramble to Comply With California Data-Privacy Law -- Starting next year, all California residents will have the right to ask retailers, restaurants, airlines, banks and many other companies to provide them with any personal information they may have, including individual contact information, purchases and loyalty-program history. Consumers also can ask that businesses delete their information, or opt out of letting it be sold. Patience Haggin in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 9/9/19

Young dairy farmers continue Marin-Sonoma ranching tradition, stick to organic milk -- Louis Silva says he doesn’t need Saturdays and Sundays off. He loves taking care of the 125 dairy cows he and his wife, Marissa Silva, keep on her family’s ranch in the Marin County town of Tomales. It’s what he’s wanted to do since he was little, when his dad and uncle and grandfather had a dairy operation in Elk Grove (Sacramento County). Tara Duggan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/9/19

Apple Bets More Cameras Can Keep iPhone Humming -- On Tuesday, Apple plans to reveal a trio of new iPhones with additional rear cameras and enhanced capabilities for low-light photos, according to people familiar with the plans. Analysts expect the phones to also feature faster processors, new exterior colors such as green and purple, and wireless charging for other devices such as AirPods wireless earbuds. Tripp Mickle in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 9/9/19


Plumas County blaze burns 38,000 acres, California’s largest of year -- Firefighters continued to battle blazes across Northern California forests Sunday, with the largest mostly uncontrolled and growing. The Walker Fire had expanded to 38,049 acres and was 7% contained Sunday night, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It is burning in the Plumas National Forest, about 11 miles east of Taylorsville (Plumas County), and is California’s largest wildfire of the year so far. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/9/19

Red Bank Fire on brink of heaven, hell for wildlife -- The Red Bank Fire in Tehama County is teetering between redemption and calamity, says a wildlife manager who helped convert a barren landscape in the region to a wildlife paradise. Tom Stienstra in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/9/19


How should California approach teaching ethnic studies in public school? Influencers weigh in -- Should California public schools teach ethnic studies? If so, how should they approach such a sensitive topic with the most diverse student population in human history? Dan Schnur in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/9/19

Second rope found near Oakland elementary school -- The city’s school district plans several actions in the wake of Friday’s discovery of a second rope near an elementary school campus, authorities said Sunday. George Kelly in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/9/19


Artifacts alter timeline for Native Americans in California -- On a rugged coastal bluff overlooking Tomales Bay is the site of a former Coast Miwok village that tells a remarkable story about Native American resilience in the face of oppression. There, amid the biting winds and foggy mists at Toms Point in Marin County, are buried obsidian and chert cutting tools, animal remains, and other signs of indigenous life long after the Spanish missions closed down and the American frontier was settled. Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/9/19

Also . . . 

San Jose: New police portal lets residents quietly report suspected ‘johns’ -- Looking to drive down prostitution and human trafficking in the city’s “most vulnerable neighborhoods,” the San Jose Police Department has launched an online portal that lets residents quietly report people they suspect of soliciting sex work near their homes and businesses. Robert Salonga in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/9/19

The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy -- Human brains aren’t built for self-rule, says Shawn Rosenberg. That’s more evident than ever. Rick Shenkman Politico -- 9/9/19

POTUS 45  

How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart -- On the Friday before Labor Day, President Trump gathered top advisers in the Situation Room to consider what could be among the profound decisions of his presidency — a peace plan with the Taliban after 18 years of grinding, bloody war in Afghanistan. Peter Baker, Mujib Mashal and Michael Crowley in the New York Times$ -- 9/9/19

Air Force leaders order probe of Trump resort stays -- Stopovers at Scotland airport have tripled since 2015 and overnight stays in the area are up five-fold. Bryan Bender and Natasha Bertrand Politico -- 9/9/19


Democrats Plan Vote to Formalize Procedures for Impeachment Investigation -- The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote this week to formalize procedures for a growing impeachment inquiry, clarifying its investigative authorities and granting President Trump new due process, a draft resolution shows. Nicholas Fandos in the New York Times$ -- 9/9/19

Inside Democrats' 2020 Trump war room -- The DNC research team has mined thousands of lawsuits from nearly 50 states as part of a massive new trove on President Trump that will be weaponized through pols and reporters in key battlegrounds. This new plan shows what Democrats think Trump's biggest vulnerabilities will be. And unlike in 2016, Trump now has a policy record. Alexi McCammond Axios -- 9/9/19

How Elizabeth Warren Raised Big Money Before She Denounced Big Money -- On the highest floor of the tallest building in Boston, Senator Elizabeth Warren was busy collecting big checks from some of the city’s politically connected insiders. It was April 2018 and Ms. Warren, up for re-election, was at a breakfast fund-raiser hosted for her by John M. Connors Jr., one of the old-guard power brokers of Massachusetts. Shane Goldmacher in the New York Times$ -- 9/9/19

Tom Steyer Qualifies for October Debates After Earlier Falling Short -- Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said he’s met the criteria to qualify for the October presidential debate in Ohio after falling just short for this week’s Democratic showdown in Houston. Ari Natter Bloomberg -- 9/9/19


-- Sunday Updates 

San Francisco makes $2.5 billion offer for PG&E electric system -- Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera included that price in a Friday letter to PG&E, reviewed by The Chronicle, which outlines the city’s offer for the embattled utility’s electric assets. San Francisco officials have been closely considering such a purchase since PG&E decided to file for bankruptcy protection in January, and the offer letter is their most significant step to date. J.D. Morris in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/8/19

Without state bond, PG&E needs money — and hedge funds await CA’s largest utility -- PG&E is back where it started — searching for a way forward amid tens of billions of dollars in damages from past wildfires. Wall Street awaits. Judy Lin Calmatters -- 9/8/19

California boat fire: Investigators serve search warrants on Conception owner -- Federal investigators served search warrants Sunday at the company that operated the Conception dive boat, on which 34 people were killed in a fire that swept through the vessel while it was anchored off Santa Cruz Island on Labor Day. Richard Winton, Matt Stiles in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/8/19

Walker Fire burning in Plumas National Forest makes ‘significant run,’ evacuations remain -- The Walker Fire, a large wildfire burning in the Plumas National Forest near Quincy in Northern California, grew to 38,049 acres, swelling overnight as strong winds whipped up the flames. The wildfire, now at 5 percent containment, started Wednesday about 11 miles east of Taylorsville and was reported at 2,000 acres by Friday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Vincent Moleski in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/8/19

Grocery strike may be averted: Supermarkets and union reach tentative deal -- Two major Southern California supermarket operators reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract that could avert a strike at more than 500 grocery stores by the chains’ 47,000 workers. James F. Peltz, Lori Weisberg in the Los Angeles Times$ Jack Katzanek in the Orange County Register -- 9/8/19

Sweet deal: Some retired public employees’ pensions bigger than their salaries were -- When San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White retired after 15 years leading the department, she joined the ranks of a growing financial elite — the 139 former city workers collecting pensions of more than $200,000 a year. Phil Matier in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/8/19

Thousands of migrants taking free U.S.-government funded trips home may not be able to re-enter Mexico -- Asylum-seeking migrants who return to Central America under a controversial U.S. State Department-funded program may not be allowed to legally re-enter Mexico to return to the border for their U.S. immigration hearings, according to Mexican immigration officials. Wendy Fry in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/8/19

California GOP opens alternative pathway for 2020 delegates -- California Republicans have approved a rule change intended to ensure the party can send delegates to the GOP’s national convention next summer, even if President Donald Trump is kept off the state’s 2020 primary ballot. Michael R. Blood Associated Press -- 9/8/19

In Wine Country, the debate over pot farming rages on -- Currently, Napa County bans outdoor cultivation in unincorporated areas. But a moratorium on commercial marijuana growing expires in December — and what happens next has been the subject of a twist-and-turn saga. Shwanika Narayan in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/8/19

Major shortcomings in organ transplant network flagged in UCSF, Columbia studies -- Patients with public insurance were far more likely than those with private insurance to die or get too sick for a transplant while waiting for an organ to become available. Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/8/19

An L.A. politician wants homeless housing on an Echo Park lot. His colleague calls it ‘Trumpian’ -- Battles over where to build housing or shelters for homeless people are nothing new at Los Angeles City Hall, which has witnessed an uproar over such plans from Koreatown to Venice. Emily Alpert Reyes in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/8/19

Can Mission Valley handle 50,000 more residents? -- City planners are making room for 28,000 additional housing units in a new community plan that also refocuses the region around walking, biking and the San Diego River. Jennifer Van Grove in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/8/19

‘Just saying hola isn’t enough.’ How do Latino voters feel when candidates speak Spanish? -- Latino voters could be a major force in 2020, when they are expected to surpass African Americans to become the largest minority voting bloc, according to the Pew Research Center; an estimated 32 million Hispanic voters, a Pew category that includes Latinos and some non-Latinos, will account for more than 13% of all Americans eligible to cast a ballot. Melissa Gomez in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/8/19

As Rep. Susan Davis departs, San Diego loses its longest serving member and ‘true public servant’ -- On Saturday Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, hosted her first public event since announcing she intended to end her congressional career. Charles T. Clark in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/8/19

Ex-SC Gov. Sanford adds name to GOP long shots against Trump -- Sanford, the former South Carolina governor and congressman, joined the Republican race against President Donald Trump on Sunday, aiming to put his Appalachian trail travails behind him for good as he pursues an admittedly remote path to the presidency. Meg Kinnard Associated Press -- 9/8/19