A possible terror plot to blow up the Metro Red Line on Monday in Los Angeles County has been thwarted due to a tip from a foreign government hotline, and now federal agents are on high alert.
RICHARD WINTON, KATE MATHER and JAMES QUEALLY with L.A. Times: "An overseas tip about an imminent bombing of the Metro Red Line’s Universal City station has forced federal and local law enforcement in Los Angeles to swiftly ramp up security across its sprawling transit system, authorities said Monday."
"An anonymous man warned of a potential attack on Tuesday and provided the information on a tip line abroad, according to Deidre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's office in Los Angeles."
"The tip line was run by an unidentified foreign government, which relayed the information Monday morning to an FBI terrorism task force. Fike declined to specify from which country the tip originated but said it was delivered in English."
Gov. Brown says that the United States' position as a leader in combatting global man-made climate change will be difficult to shift, regardless of who the president is.
CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO and JEREMY B. WHITE with Sacramento Bee: "Gov. Jerry Brown, in his most extensive remarks since the election last month, took a measured approach to President-elect Donald Trump on Monday, breaking with fellow California Democrats by avoiding partisan rejoinders while pledging not to retreat from the state’s progressive policy approaches on issues from immigration to health care."
"Brown said he will continue to press his signature issue of addressing climate change, contending it will be difficult for the U.S. to “go rogue” on the topic regardless of who is president, particularly with China and European leaders bolstering their responses."
"The science is clear and the consequences are dire. So, based on those two facts, I think Washington will come around,” Brown told reporters in his office. “To the extent they don’t, we are going to be pushing as hard as we can from California."
The scene of Oakland's tragic 'Ghost Ship' warehouse fire has been the epicenter of legal/tenant drama well before the blaze that claimed at least 36 lives tore through the building this past weekend.
PAIGE ST. JOHN, JACK DOLAN, PHIL WILLON and ANNA M. PHILLIPS with L.A. Times: "For more than two years, the gray converted warehouse — where a massive fire killed at least 36 people Friday night — had been on Oakland officials’ radar."
"Neighbors had complained about piles of trash and illegal construction. A steady stream of young artists came and went, giving every indication that the building was their home, yet the property’s owner had only a permit for a warehouse, not a residence. Officials had opened an investigation into possible code violations and an inspector had visited the warehouse but never went inside. "
“The administration has to tell us, well, what happened to the code inspector. Why did he just knock on the door and not pursue?” said City Councilman Noel Gallo, whose council district includes the Fruitvale neighborhood, where the warehouse was located. “This thing has been going on for 2 1/2 years.”
READ MORE related to 'Ghost Ship' Warehouse Fire: Oakland fire victims included performers and educators -- CHRISTINE HAUSER with NYT; Oakland officials fielded multiple complaints about warehouse before deadly fire -- PHIL WILLON, PAIGE ST. JOHN and SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA with L.A. Times
Voir Dire (jury selection) in the Lee Baca obstruction-of-justice trial has begun.
VICTORIA KIM with L.A. Times: "As jury selection got underway in the trial of former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca on Monday, the federal judge overseeing the obstruction-of-justice case kept the public and the media out of his courtroom for several hours even though such proceedings are typically held in open court."
"The closed proceedings included “voir dire” questioning, when jurors are asked about potential biases and can be excused from the upcoming trial, in which Baca is charged with conspiring to impede federal investigators in a civil rights investigation into his jails."
A look into Donald Trump's recent cabinet appointments provides insight into the political leanings of his administration.
EVAN HALPER with L.A. Times: "Donald Trump expressed fondness during the presidential campaign for some of the big federal programs that serve the country’s most vulnerable, but whatever warmth he may feel does not seem to be shared by the people he is choosing to run them."
"Monday’s selection of Ben Carson, the former pediatric neurosurgeon and Republican presidential hopeful, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development was the latest move to fit the pattern of stocking the Cabinet with social conservatives deeply skeptical of the government agencies they will be asked to oversee."
"Trump chose Carson despite the physician’s protest last month that he lacked the credentials needed to run a federal agency. As a child, Carson lived in what he has described as a housing project in Detroit. Since becoming a doctor, however, he has had little other direct experience with urban policy or housing issues."
READ MORE related to National News: Supreme Court appears in favor of ruling against racial gerrymandering in GOP-controlled states -- DAVID G. SAVAGE with L.A. Times; House G.O.P. signals break with Trump over tariff threat -- JENNIFER STEINHAUER with NYT; As Trump vows to stop flow of jobs overseas, U.S. plans to make fighter jets in India -- ANNIE GOWEN with WaPo; How China could react to Trump's taunts, from the best to the worst-case scenario -- HEATHER TiMMONS and ZHEPING HUANG with Quartz
A new study intentionally buried by the Pentagon reveals a massive waste of taxpayer money due to bureacracy -- $125 billion, to be exact.
CRAIG WHITLOCK and BOB WOODWARD with WaPo: "The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post."
"Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results."
"The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology."
SEIU Local 1000 is working out contract negotiations amid a called-off strike that had been scheduled for last week.
ADAM ASHTON with Sacramento Bee: "The state workers whose union called off a strike last week will have to wait until next summer for a raise under a tentative contract their leaders approved, but they’ll get a $2,500 bonus if they accept the deal."
"Those are some of the details in a contract outline that SEIU Local 1000 distributed to its members Monday morning."
"The value of the contract appears to be similar to the one Gov. Jerry Brown initially offered to the union, although it delays and reduces the impact of a new retiree health care contribution that will come out of employee paychecks in coming years."
It's been nearly a month, and the most asked question since November 8th's presidential election has been: "How did that happen?"
PAUL MITCHELL with Capitol Weekly: "From neighbors to family members to local coffee shop baristas, the number one question I’ve received since Nov. 8 is, “How did that happen?"
"Donald Trump’s come-from-behind win shocked about everyone in the political world. Even his own political team."
"Some had it right, but these were generally commentators without credibility who, like a broken clock, were bound to get one right eventually."
Contra Costa County DA Mark Peterson finds himself embroiled in a scandal over campaign funding misuse.
MELODY GUTIERREZ with The Chronicle: "Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson has agreed to pay a $45,000 fine levied by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission over allegations he used his political campaign account for personal expenses."
"Over a four-year period, Peterson spent more than $66,000 in campaign funds on himself, according to a settlement agreement with the commission that was made public Monday."
"Peterson submitted a cashier’s check to pay the fine, according to the settlement agreement, but the watchdog’s board has to approve the settlement at its next board meeting Dec. 15. State law requires the fine to be paid from Peterson’s private funds, not his campaign accounts. The fine would go into the state’s general fund if the commission’s board approves of the settlement."