Trump admin OKs leasing for new oil drilling in California -- again
The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER: "The Trump administration on Thursday gave the go-ahead to new oil-drilling leases on federal land in California, mostly around petroleum-rich Bakersfield but also in less-obvious spots in the Sierra foothills, such as near Yosemite National Park."
"The move, which covers eight counties in Central California, comes as President Trump pushes ahead with an agenda of increased fossil fuel development and follows a decision in October to open up parts of the Bay Area and Central Coast to potential drilling."
"Under the plan advanced Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will offer new oil and gas leases across more than 1 million acres between Bakersfield and Santa Barbara. The leases will be the first made available on federal land in the region in five years. A lawsuit filed by environmental groups had halted leasing until the impacts of fracking could be better studied."
Sweeping safety rules proposed in wake of Conception boat fire that killed 34 people
LA TImes's RICHARD WINTON/MARK PUENTE: "California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Salud Carbajal and Julia Brownley on Thursday proposed sweeping boat safety legislation in the wake of the Conception dive boat fire that killed 34 people on Labor Day."
"The legislation would require small passenger vessels to have at least two escape exits, strengthen standards for fire alarm systems and create mandatory safety rules for the handling and storage of phones, cameras and other electronic devices with lithium-ion batteries."
"The proposal comes amid growing scrutiny over how the Coast Guard has regulated passenger vessels. A Times review of Coast Guard records over 20 years found the agency repeatedly rejected some recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board for tougher safety rules."
Sacramento County roads are so bad, 'potholes are the best part,' this leader says
Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "Sacramento County officials will be debating an $8 billion transportation sales tax for the next few months. But one county leader has already unleashed the best quote."
"During an argument over the measure Thursday, Supervisor Don Nottoli, who lives on a rural road in Wilton, vehemently lamented that the county’s heavily traveled southeast roads are a shambles."
"The potholes are the best part of the roads in areas I represent,” Nottoli said."
PG&E responds to fired lineman who claims utility ignored safety warnings
The Chronicle's MATTHIAS GAFNI: "Pacific Gas and Electric Co. fired a lineman for time-card fraud and other “serious misconduct,” not in retaliation for concerns he aired about electrical equipment he felt made the utility’s power lines more vulnerable to starting dangerous fires, the company said Thursday in court papers."
"The utility said former lineman Todd Hearn was fired last January along with four other colleagues who all worked out of the Napa yard after an investigation into “timecard fraud and misrepresenting of work activities.” The company said it has addressed concerns Hearn raised about a certain kind of device designed to automatically restart a power line after it turns off."
"PG&E’s filing Thursday came in response to a motion Hearn made last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California. He asked the judge to allow him to file a $7.6 million civil lawsuit against PG&E. The 50-year-old Napa resident claims he was placed on leave and terminated by the company after complaining about electrical equipment that could lead to fires. All civil lawsuits against the company have been frozen since the company filed for bankruptcy protection in January."
Climate change could affect pregnancies and newborns' health, California study shows
Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "A new study that rising temperatures brought on by climate change could be shortening pregnancies by as many as two weeks suggests worrisome implications for babies’ health and children’s later development."
"The study by University of California, Los Angeles, found that births on hot days 90 degrees and higher were happening much earlier than expected – as many as 14 days sooner. Pregnancies generally last 40 weeks."
"“That’s enough to take somebody from what’s considered to be a pretty healthy pregnancy into a ‘we are somewhat worried’ pregnancy,” the study’s lead author, UCLA professor and environmental economist Alan Barreca, said in a story on the findings this month for the UC system."
GOP candidate for Congress stalked ex-girlfriend in SF, prosecutors say
The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "A Republican House candidate who gained notoriety from his repeated failed bids against Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, stalked his ex-girlfriend for months, threatening to kill her and send “antifa” after her family before following her from Southern California to San Francisco, prosecutors said Thursday."
"But an attorney for Omar Navarro — who was remanded into the sheriff’s custody Thursday and held in San Francisco jail without bail — said his client’s enemies are likely posing as him and attacking his ex-girlfriend in a bid to doom his political career. Navarro’s attempts at office have gained him support from right-wing groups on social media as well as an endorsement from disgraced former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn."
"Navarro’s attorney, Kenneth Lewis, said the ex-girlfriend, DeAnna Lorraine Tesoriero, who’s running her own long-shot right-wing campaign against Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco, set up Navarro by inviting him to meet her before calling the police on him."
Sanders endorses a Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women
LA TImes's MICHAEL FINNEGAN: "Bernie Sanders endorsed a California congressional candidate Thursday with a long history of making crude and degrading comments about women and provocative statements about Jews, Muslims and other groups."
"The Democratic presidential candidate said Cenk Uygur, founder and co-host of “The Young Turks” online talk show, is “a voice that we desperately need in Congress” to fill the seat of former Rep. Katie Hill of Santa Clarita."
"In one episode in 2013, Uygur ranked women on a scale of 1 to 10 on how likely men would be to let them perform oral sex on them."
Biden and Warren spar over how to handle Republicans
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Thursday as unwilling to work with Republicans, a sign of how the Democratic presidential candidates are more directly confronting each other as the polls tighten."
"I read a speech by one of my — good person — one of my opponents, saying that ‘you know, Biden says we’re going to have to work with Republicans to get stuff passed,’” Biden said at a fundraiser in Palo Alto. “I thought, ‘Well, OK — how are you going to do it, by executive order?"
"Without citing Warren by name, Biden continued, “This particular person said, ‘He thinks he can actually unify the country. You can’t unify the country.’ Well, guys, if we can’t unify the country you all ought to go home now, because nothing’s going to happen except by executive order."
WH delays new tariffs on China
LA TImes's ELI STOKOLS/DON LEE: "President Trump will not impose new tariffs on an additional $160 billion of Chinese imports that were scheduled to take effect this weekend, after tentatively signing off Thursday on a so-called phase-one trade agreement with Beijing, according to an administration official close to the process."
"Trump’s promise of a deal overhauling trade with China has languished for most of his presidency, as he toggled between negotiating an “epic” deal and punishing Beijing with tariffs."
"While the substance of the phase-one deal — which Trump first announced in early October — remained unclear, it does not come close to a comprehensive resolution of U.S. complaints related to China’s subsidies of its state businesses and its forced technology transfers by U.S. corporations in the country. Those complaints were the basis for Trump’s tariffs and larger trade war in the first place.
Correctional officers investigating second inmate slaying in 3 weeks at California prison
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "California State Prison, Sacramento officials are investigating the suspected homicide of an inmate Thursday morning, marking the second deadly attack in three weeks there."
"Luis Giovanny Aguilar was in a prison day room when two other inmates, Anthony Rodriguez and Cody Taylor, allegedly attacked him, according to a statement from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation."
"Corrections officers used foam baton rounds “to quell the incident” after Rodriguez and Vasquez ignored commands to get down on the ground, according to the statement."
LAPD officer accused of fondling dead woman's breasts is arrested and charged
LA Times's RICHARD WINTON: "A Los Angeles Police Department officer accused of fondling a dead woman’s breasts was arrested Thursday and charged, officials said."
"David Rojas was taken into custody by the Internal Affairs Division after the district attorney’s office charged the Central Division officer with a felony violation of the state safety codes covering sexual actions with human remains."
"Rojas and his partner responded to a call about a possible dead woman in a residential unit, sources said. Once the two officers determined the woman was dead, Rojas’ partner returned to the patrol car to retrieve something. During that time, Rojas turned off his body-worn camera and allegedly fondled the woman’s breasts, LAPD officials said."
Lockdowns lifted after teen with gun ran from authorities at South Sacramento High School
Sacramento Bee's NOEL HARRIS/MITCHEL BOBO: "Authorities issued an “all clear” more than two hours after searching for a teen believed to be armed with a semi-automatic weapon, which triggered lockdowns at south Sacramento schools."
"The incident started when a Sacramento County Probation Department officer saw a boy fall off a bike at Center Parkway and Ehrhardt Avenue in front of Valley High School, according to Lynsey Semon, the agency’s supervising probation officer. At the same time, a dog started charging toward the teen, who officials said pulled out what looked like a semi-automatic handgun."
"The teen then started running after being commanded to drop the weapon, Semon said. The boy then jumped a fence onto the campus of Valley High School during the busy lunch hour, where he got lost in the crowd, prompting the lockdown around 11:40 a.m."
Bitterly divided House panel on brink of approving impeachment articles
LA Times's SARAH D WIRE/CHRIS MEGERIAN: "
After 14 hours of withering debate Thursday that reflected the nation’s political divide, the House Judiciary Committee was poised to approve articles of impeachment against President Trump on Friday."
"In a surprise last-minute move, committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) abruptly concluded the hearing after 11 p.m. Eastern time and delayed a vote until the morning."
"It is now very late at night,” Nadler said, urging members “to search their consciences before we cast our final vote."
Millions in military aid at center of impeachment hasn't reached Ukraine
LA TImes's MOLLY O'TOOLE/SARAH D WIRE: "More than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn’t reached Ukraine."
"The continued delay undermines a key argument against impeachment from President Trump’s Republican allies and a new legal memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget."
"Initially, Trump directed officials to withhold roughly $400 million in assistance to Ukraine as he and aides pressured its new government under President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into Trump’s political rivals. The White House released the hold on the aid in September, but not before sparking a whistleblower complaint that led to the impeachment inquiry."