Constitutional fight, Part Deux

Jul 18, 2018

Judge lifts controversial order requiring the LA Times to alter article about an ex-Glendale cop


LA Times's VICTORIA KIM: "A federal judge Tuesday lifted a controversial order requiring the Los Angeles Times to remove information in an article about a former Glendale police detective accused of working with the Mexican Mafia."


"U.S. District Judge John F. Walter had issued the order Saturday after The Times published information on its website about a plea agreement between prosecutors and the former detective. The agreement had been sealed by the court but was placed in a court database of documents accessible to the public."


‘Putin’s Favorite Congressman’ now engulfed in NRA spy case


From the Daily Beast's JACKIE KUCINICH and  SPENCER ACKERMAN: "Pro-Kremlin GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher met with a Putin ally in Russia in August 2015, The Daily Beast has confirmed, matching an account in Monday’s blockbuster FBI affidavit against accused Russian spy Maria Butina."


"Butina was part of “discussions about the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL’s plans to meet with a U.S. Congressman during a Congressional Delegation trip to Moscow in August 2015,” FBI Agent Kevin Helson’s affidavit swears. “In that conversation, BUTINA noted she has the RUSSIAN OFFICIAL’s diplomatic passport and can purchase a plane ticket for him from St. Petersburg to Moscow.”

"The official is widely believed to be Alexander Torshin, an influential former Russian politician from Vladimir Putin’s party who established trans-continental ties to the National Rifle Association."


READ MORE related to Rohrabacher: Orange County Congressman Rohrabacher met with accused Russian agent in St. Petersburg -- OC Register's JORDAN GRAHAM.


Pro-PG&E wildfire bill written by lawmaker whose son works at PG&E


The Chronicle's DAVID R BAKER: "The East Bay assemblyman who wrote a bill that would make Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers cover the costs of settling lawsuits from last year’s wildfires has a son who works at the utility, The Chronicle has learned."


"Both PG&E and the office of the assemblyman — Democrat Bill Quirk of Hayward — confirmed Tuesday that his son, Ian, works for the company, whose equipment state investigators have blamed for starting 16 wildfires across Northern California in October."


"Both PG&E and Quirk’s office say that the personal connection has nothing to do with the legislation, though the bill would greatly benefit the company. The bill, AB33, would let PG&E issue state-authorized bonds and use the proceeds to pay for settling the more than 200 lawsuits sparked by the fires. The company’s customers would pay back the bonds over time."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: 10 signs of California water progress -- Water Deeply's SEAN BOTHWELL


Assault weapon registrations in California are up 43% under new law


LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY: "Assault weapons registered in California have increased by 43% under a new law that expanded the types of firearms gun owners must log with the state."


"Californians have applied to register 68,848 additional assault weapons in the last 11 months to comply with a state law enacted following the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino."


"Revenue from the tax, estimated to amount to $300 million annually, would fund the construction, operation and maintenance of projects that collect, clean and conserve storm water. The average tax for a single-family house would be $83."


Undocumented immigrant in SF dubbed 'Rideshare Rapist' denied bail


The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "A former Lyft driver accused of a series of violent rapes he allegedly committed in San Francisco while living in the U.S. illegally — prompting a scathing reproach of the city’s sanctuary policy from federal immigration officials — was ordered to be held without bail Tuesday."


"The disturbing case of Orlando Vilchez Lazo, the 37-year-old suspect police have dubbed the “Rideshare Rapist,” provoked condemnation from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after it was revealed that he is an undocumented immigrant from Peru who had been working for a ride-hailing service."


"On Tuesday, he spoke quietly as he stood before Judge Braden Woods in San Francisco Superior Court to face charges of rape by force or violence, sexual penetration by a foreign object, kidnapping and kidnapping to commit another crime."


One in three parents fear for their children's safety at school, survey finds


EdSource's DAVID WASHBURN: "A third of parents surveyed nationally say they fear for their children’s safety at school, but a significant majority — 63 percent — do not support the idea of arming teachers as a way to make schools safer, according to a new poll on attitudes toward public schools."


"The poll, released Tuesday by Arlington, Va-based Phi Delta Kappa International, also found that while a high percentage of parents supported armed officers in schools, the public overwhelmingly prefers spending money on mental health services in schools over armed officers — 76 percent to 23 percent."


"However, where people live — along with their incomes and their political party affiliation — heavily influence their opinions on these and other issues relating to school safety, the poll found."


LA County votes to put new property tax before voters to clean storm water


LA Times's NINA AGRAWAL: "Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to place a property tax before voters in November to raise money for projects to capture and clean storm water."


"The measure would allow the county to levy a tax of 2.5 cents per square foot of “impermeable space” on private property. Government buildings, public schools and nonprofit organizations would be exempt."


First of Garcetti-backed homeless shelters nears opening, with a $700K deck


LA Times's DAKOTA SMITH: "Several dozen homeless people selected by outreach workers will move into a cluster of new trailers near downtown’s historic El Pueblo next month, the first step toward getting them into permanent housing."


"For Mayor Eric Garcetti, the move-ins also mark a first step."


READ MORE related to Homelessness & Housing: Sanctuary amid housing crisis -- The Chronicle's WENDY LEE


Fed Reserve chair calls decline in workers' share of profits 'very troubling'


LA Times's JEFF STEIN: "The fall in the percentage of economic growth flowing to workers is "very troubling," a worrisome sign in an otherwise bright American economy, Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell told a Senate panel Tuesday."


"Testifying in front of the Senate Banking Committee, Powell expressed concern that the share of profits going to American labor had fallen "precipitously" for more than a decade and was not reversing course."


The tiny town of Mariposa lines up to salute as hero firefighter's body passes by


The Chronicle's LIZZIE JOHNSON: "Braden Varney was coming home, but not in the way anyone expected."


"His body was going to be carried through his hometown in the back of a white SUV. Its destination: the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office."


"The Varney family has lived in Mariposa for decades, longer than anyone could remember, although no one could say exactly how long."


Rapper's 110 Freeway antics may have financial consequences


LA Times's BENJAMIN ORESKES: "It turns out that shutting down the 110 Freeway for a publicity stunt may not be a fiscally prudent idea."


"In late June, underwear-clad rapper Alexander Dunn — whose stage name is Dephree — climbed up a downtown Los Angeles freeway sign with several large banners and a vape pen. He refused to come down, and instead rapped about the environment and engaged in an hours-long standoff with law enforcement officers."


READ MORE related to Transportation: Highway 1 along Big Sur coast to reopen Wednesday -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER


Facing heavy criticism, Trump now says he misspoke over Putin-friendly remarks


LA Times's NOAH BIERMAN: "President Trump, seeking to stanch a national furor, said on Tuesday that he misspoke at his Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin, and meant to say that he does in fact see Russia as the culprit that interfered in the 2016 election, just as U.S. intelligence agencies have found."


"The president's new version was unlikely to satisfy many critics. It is undercut by his full, widely watched remarks on Monday, which gave weight to Putin's denials while criticizing the United States."



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