Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna among 9 dead in helicopter crash; feds search for cause
LA Times's RICHARD WINTON/DAN WOIKE/SONALI KOHLI/TANIA GANGULI/BEN POSTON: "Kobe Bryant, 41, the legendary basketball star who spent 20 years with the Lakers, was killed Sunday morning when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed amid foggy conditions and burst into flames in the hills above Calabasas."
"His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board, NBA authorities confirmed."
"Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people were on the copter — a pilot and eight passengers. He would not confirm who had died until all the next of kin have been notified, he said. The L.A. County coroner’s office said Sunday night that the recovery effort is expected to take several days because of the condition of the crash site and its remote location. Officials have shut down roads leading to the site because of a throng of visitors trying to get there."
READ MORE related to RIP Kobe: Kobe was LA -- our dreams, our sweat and the drive that unites a far-flung city -- LA Times's STEVE LOPEZ; Video shows path of helicopter before it crashed, killing Bryant and four others -- FLIGHTRADAR24
California's first two coronavirus cases confirmed in LA, Orange counties
Sac Bee's ALEX WIGGLESWORTH/RONG-GONG LIN II/SONALI KOHLI: "Health officials have confirmed the first two cases of the new strain of coronavirus in Los Angeles and Orange counties, brought by travelers who came from the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China."
"In both counties, the virus infecting the two individuals was the same strain as the one that has spread to more than 2,700 people in 14 countries and territories and caused 80 deaths since it was discovered late last month in central China. Three other cases have been diagnosed in the U.S., one each in Arizona, Washington state and Chicago."
"The risk of local transmission remains low,” officials said."
‘Normal winter’ expected to fill state’s lakes
TOM STIENSTRA, Chronicle: "A “normal winter” is forecast into spring, predicted the Bay Area’s weather wizard, Michael Pechner of Golden West Meteorology.'
'On the heels of last year’s milestone rain and snow totals for much of Northern California and with residual high lake levels going into fall, a normal winter would fill most recreation lakes for summer camping, boating and fishing and provide good winter conditions for snow sports into April.'
'A review of the state’s reservoir system last week with the Department of Water Resources showed that 154 significant reservoirs are 114% of average for the date.'
Column: Kevin Faulconer is the GOP’s best and only hope to regain ground in California
From the LAT's GEORGE SKELTON: "The only Republican politician with a credible chance of winning major office in California is moving into position to possibly challenge Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2022."
"He’s San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, 53, a rare Republican moderate who has been elected twice to lead a heavily Democratic city."
"Faulconer isn’t saying he’ll run against Newsom when the Democrat is up for reelection. The termed-out mayor probably hasn’t decided. But he is talking to people about it — consultants, potential donors, disheartened GOP pols."
'We'll happily reimburse' Trump for any abortions he paid for in California, top Democrat says
Sac Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins extended a tongue-in-cheek offer on Friday to reimburse President Donald Trump for abortions he’s paid for in the Golden State after his administration demanded California roll back abortion protections."
"If Donald Trump is dissatisfied with the abortion services California provides,” Atkins said in a statement, “we will happily reimburse him for any and all abortions he has paid for in California, immediately upon receipt of legal documents freeing the potential women involved from any non-disclosure agreements they may have been compelled to enter into."
"The San Diego Democrat was responding to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “notice of violation” alleging California was illegally mandating abortion coverage in private health insurance plans."
Mixed results for California’s experiment with community colleges offering bachelor’s degrees
ASHLEY A. SMITH, EdSource:"California’s experiment of allowing community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees shows promise of benefiting students but partnering with universities may be a better alternative."
"That’s the conclusion of a state Legislative Analyst’s Office report that says there may be other more effective options to meeting students’ needs and improving the state’s workforce than the colleges awarding bachelor’s degrees."
"We found little evidence that graduates from these pilot programs were better prepared to fill these positions compared to those with other bachelor’s degrees or that pilot program graduates were helping employers fill hard-to-staff positions,” according to the report released Friday by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, known as the LAO. “The most common benefit of the pilot cited by students was the relatively low cost of attending the community college bachelor’s degree programs.”
Will the state allow Malibu to ban overnight parking on Pacific Coast Highway?
LA Times's SONJA SHARP: "Nidia Greiss pulled her Dodgers cap low over her eyes, squinting at a pair of tourists posed atop the lifeguard tower at Malibu’s Las Tunas Beach — the consummate #California shot."
"Her husband, an Army veteran with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, perched on the bumper of their spotless Jeep Renegade, watching traffic on Pacific Coast Highway. Las Tunas is less a beach than a backdrop. They’ve been here since August, living just out of frame."
"We were used to a comfortable life,” Greiss said. “We lived in Santa Monica for four years, but our apartment had mold and we broke ties with our landlord. It was too quick to find another place."
SF vape shops scramble with ban taking effect: ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do’
Chronicle's CATHERINE HO: "San Francisco’s first-in-the-nation ban on e-cigarette sales, scheduled to take effect this week, is weighing heavily on Asad Sharifi, who owns Cheaper Cigarettes in the city’s Sunset District."
"Sharifi worries he may have to close his business, which sells cigarettes, cigars, pipes and vapes, because it’s poised to lose 40% of its profits."
“I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do,” said Sharifi, who estimates he’ll lose $12,000 this year from vaping items he won’t be able to sell. “I doubt I’d be able to pay rent out here.”
Harris wants some fries, but says Dems should 'have faith' in impeachment trial
Sac Bee's DAVID LIGHTMAN: "California Sen. Kamala Harris is frustrated as the impeachment trial proceeds. She says the Trump camp is telling lies, and she can’t enjoy her favorite snack."
"Unfortunately, I can’t take french fries in,” she said with a big laugh, since senators can’t bring food into the Senate chamber during the trial."
"Harris, who Friday spoke in an interview with McClatchy, is one of 47 Senate Democrat caucus members sitting in judgment of President Donald Trump, a group that’s stuck together in seeking witnesses and more evidence."
Bolton says Trump tied Ukraine funds to Biden inquiry, according to report
AP: "President Trump told his national security advisor he wanted to maintain a freeze on military assistance to Ukraine until it launched political investigations into his Democratic rivals, according to John Bolton’s description of their exchange in drafts of his forthcoming book, the New York Times reported Sunday."
"The revelation challenges the defense offered by Trump and his attorneys in his Senate impeachment trial and raises the stakes as the chamber decided this week whether to seek sworn testimony from Bolton and other witnesses. Bolton, who acrimoniously left the White House a day before Trump ultimately released the Ukraine aid on Sept. 11, has already told lawmakers that he is willing to testify, despite the president’s order barring aides from cooperating in the investigation."
"Democrats need at least four Republicans to vote with them to seek witness testimony. Those prospects looked unlikely in recent days and it’s unclear if the new revelations about Bolton’s book will sway any GOP senators."
Trump's impeachment counteroffensive undercut by Bolton report bolstering call for witnesses
LA Times's MOLLY O'TOOLE: "President Trump’s defense lawyers said their opening foray this weekend in the impeachment trial was only a “sneak preview” to Monday’s main event — but that was before revelations that Trump told John Bolton he wouldn’t lift a hold on military aid to Ukraine until it investigated his political rivals, according to the president’s former national security advisor."
"That exchange, described in a draft of Bolton’s book and first reported by the New York Times,severely undercuts the defense that Trump’s counsel sought to showcase this week, and bolsters Democrats’ calls for witnesses in the trial. The Times could not immediately independently confirm the account."
"There can be no doubt now that Mr. Bolton directly contradicts the heart of the President’s defense and therefore must be called as a witness,” the House managers responded Sunday night in a statement. “During our impeachment inquiry, the President blocked our request for Mr. Bolton’s testimony. Now we see why."