Prosecutors finishing PG&E case

Jul 22, 2016

The trial against PG&E begins to wrap-up as federal prosecutors rest their case against the utilities giant. 


The Chronicle's Libby Rainey reports: "Federal prosecutors rested their case against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Thursday after five weeks of testimony in the company’s criminal trial alleging pipeline-safety violations."


"The prosecution’s final witness testified under cross-examination Thursday that PG&E breached the investigation of the September 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes by “pre-interviewing” witnesses in at least two instances. It was behavior that made him consider eliminating PG&E as a party to the investigation altogether, said Ravi Chhatre, the National Transportation Safety Board’s lead investigator in the San Bruno case."


"Chhatre, who repeatedly called the company’s actions a “no-no,” said he asked for the removal of Robert Fassett, PG&E’s liaison to the investigation, after the utility’s attorneys interviewed a retired worker just before the employee was scheduled to speak with investigators. The worker had helped to install the failed portion of the San Bruno pipeline years before."


Meanwhile, back East, Donald Trump gave a dark speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland yesterday, promising to restore law and order to a nation in conflict


Matthew Artz with Mercury News reports: "After a convention filled with more infighting and drama than his reality television show, Donald Trump offered himself to the nation as an enforcer-in-chief determined to restore order American streets and protect citizens from foreign enemies."


"Like many speakers at this week's Republican National Convention, Trump portrayed America as a nation imperiled and in need of "law and order."


"While Trump softened some of the rhetoric that has made him the least popular presidential nominee in modern American history, he often finished his lines with a scowl and didn't shy away from attacking his favorite targets: Bill and Hillary Clinton, big business, Chinese currency manipulators and anyone who would make Americans feel unsafe."


SEE MORE related to RNC: Donald Trump promised the truth. We checked the facts. -- Michael D. Shear and Nick Corasaniti with New York Times; FACT CHECK: Trump resurfaces debunked claims in speech -- Calvin Woodward and Michael Biesecker with Associated Press.


'Shadow lobbying' sees a recently approved FPPC oversight threatening its livelihood.


Sac Bee's Taryn Luna reports: "California’s political watchdog approved a regulatory change Thursday aimed at encouraging shadow lobbyists to disclose their efforts to influence legislation."


"Lobbyists are required to file quarterly reports with the state that outline their attempts to sway officials. But the Fair Political Practices Commission is concerned that consultants are lobbying officials without registering with the state, which keeps the public in the dark about the forces behind laws and regulations."


"Shadow lobbying has been talked about for a number of years and we’ve got to start figuring out a way to address it,” said Jodi Remke, chair of the FPPC. “This is the first step. This is putting out the alert that you need to be more careful and you need to be monitoring. That’s the law.”


Recently deceased state Sen. Sharon Runner will be memorialized in California's Senate next month.


Alexei Koseff with Sacramento Bee writes: "Late state Sen. Sharon Runner will be honored in her home district and at the Capitol in the coming weeks."


"The Lancaster Republican died last week at the age of 62, following respiratory complications from a double lung transplant. First elected to the Assembly in 2002, she is best known for sponsoring Jessica’s Law, the successful 2006 initiative that tightened restrictions on sex offenders."


"A public memorial service for Runner will be held on July 29 at 1 p.m. at the Grace Chapel in Lancaster, followed by a reception at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds."


Jimmy Camp, long time G.O.P campaign strategist, has publicly announced his retirement from his political party while in the same breath chastising and blaming Donald Trump.


Martin Wisckol in the Daily News writes: "Political consultant Jimmy Camp, who has worked on high-profile Republican campaigns up and down California for 30 years, announced Thursday that he was leaving the GOP because of the party’s presidential nominee."


"Donald Trump is a narcissistic, self-centered, unprincipled, miserable example of a human being,” Camp said in a prepared statement. “I cannot support this man nor can I be a member of a party that would choose him as their nominee."


"Camp has served as the state GOP’s director of operations and was an appointee in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration."

Marijuana and the San Diego Chargers aren't two things one would expect to find intertwined at the heart of a legal issue, but that is exactly what is happening in southern California


Lisa Marquez with Daily Bulletin: "A ballot measure which could decide the fate of the San Diego Chargers may go up in smoke — and it all depends on the outcome of a legal battle involving medical marijuana in Upland."


"San Diego’s city attorney is asking the California Supreme Court to expedite its decision in a case a pro-marijuana group has filed against the city of Upland, saying the outcome could affect two measures on the November ballot, one directly related to the San Diego Chargers’ effort to stay in town."


"The first, backed by the team itself, would raise the hotel occupancy tax to fund a new stadium downtown. A second, called the citizens’ plan, would raise the hotel tax to guide tourism in the area and includes dedicating the Qualcomm Stadium property for educational use and parkland. It also would require voter approval for any public funds spent on building a new downtown stadium."


And while things move forward at a lightning pace in the technology world, the archaic system of Cal-Access continues to be a problem


Cosmo Garvin writing for Capitol Weekly reports: "When California introduced its Cal-Access campaign finance website, “There was nothing like it in the country,” said Rob Lapsley, who was under-Secretary of State in 2000, the year the campaign disclosure tool made its debut."


"Before Cal-Access, anyone curious about who was giving money to politicians had to make a trip to the Secretary of State’s office to dig through the paper contribution reports by hand."


"That’s okay for reporters with time on their hands, no good for anyone with a real job. Cal-Access presented the first opportunity for ordinary citizens to hop online and access finance records electronically, to find out who was trying to influence their elected representatives with campaign cash. California was the first state to provide that kind of access."


"Fast forward 15 years: What was once cutting edge is now obsolete."


And for the person who had the Worst Week in California, #WorstWeekCA, we picked former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, who will be facing a new hearing and the possibility that his six-month jail sentence will be extended.





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