Trump to visit California wildfire victims as death toll rises
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "President Donald Trump will visit California on Saturday to visit with individuals affected by California fires."
"Details on the time and place have yet to be determined, according to a White House press pool report."
"The president will travel to California this Saturday to meet with individuals impacted by the wildfires,” said Lindsay Walters, Trump’s deputy press secretary. “We will keep you updated on details as they are available."
READ MORE related to California Burnin': Camp Fire missing persons list now tops 630, with 63 dead and more bodies being found -- Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON/RYAN LILLIS/ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS; Power lines keep sparking wildfires. Why don't California utility companies bury them? -- Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK/SOPHIA BOLLAG/DALE KASLER; Paradise vows to rebuild even as death toll and number of missing rises -- LA TImes's ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN;NICOLE SANTA CRUZ/JAVIER PANZAR; Off the beaten track, some thought they'd found refuge -- uintil a fire found them in its path -- LA Times's SONALI KOHLI/ANDREA CASTILLO/COLLEEN SHALBY/ESMERALDA BERMUDEZ; What to expect from FEMA -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE; How to protect yourself against wildfire smoke -- The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO
Democrat leads in last undecided House race
AP: "The Latest on U.S. House races in California (all times local):"
"Democrat Gil Cisneros has grabbed a narrow lead for the first time in the last undecided U.S. House contest in California."
Republicans sour on the election outcome, poll shows, while Trump cl aims illegal voting
LA Times's DAVID LAUTER: "The day after the Nov. 6 election, President Trump claimed the results represented a “tremendous success,” but most of his supporters aren't buying that, a new postelection survey shows, and the president also has significantly soured on the outcome."
"While votes are still being counted — or recounted — in several states or districts, Democrats retook the majority in the House of Representatives, recaptured at least seven governorships and broadened their presence in numerous state legislatures. Republicans kept control of the Senate and are likely to add to their majority."
California's gene therapy effort is nation's first
DAVID JENSEN in Capitol Weekly: "California today became the first state in the nation to launch itself into the sizzling field of gene therapy, backed by tens of millions of dollars and with the hope of creating treatments that could permanently cure afflictions ranging from hemophilia to cancer."
"The move came today as the board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency opened its doors to funding gene therapy research that has reached the most advanced stage, clinical trials. The agency said that gene therapy — minus stem cells — is “valuable and worthy of pursuit."
"This is where the science is going,” said Jeff Sheehy, chairman of the CIRM board’s Science Subcommittee, at hearing earlier this month,"
Rushed construction cost high-speed rail $600 million and delays mount, audit finds
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "Begin construction in the Central Valley without securing land and before it had completed key plans, according to a report published on Thursday by State Auditor Elaine Howle."
"Howle’s office estimated that the rushed construction contributed to $600 million in cost overruns just for segments in the Central Valley. They may require as much as $1.6 billion more."
"The auditor wrote that the project’s finances could worsen if it fails to accelerate its progress. It may have to repay as much as $3.5 billion to the federal government if it does not complete its Central Valley legs by 2022."
Sacramento's free respiratior masks can't protect yourself if you don't know this
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "With the smell of wildfire smoke pervading into structures around the Sacramento region, city officials and others have been handing out free respirator masks to residents to help them reduce the pollutants they’re breathing into their lungs."
"The respirators, however, are completely ineffective — even harmful — if users don’t take the time to learn how to use them properly or to understand their limitations, say Cal-OSHA regulators and others who train people to use them properly. That’s because users might be tempted to stay outdoors longer because they think they’re protected."
“There could be a real false sense of security if somebody puts one on and they’re not wearing them properly,” said David T. Dyjack, a certified industrial hygienist who leads the National Environmental Health Association. “That’s why I always say: If you can, stay indoors. If you can’t, of course wear a respirator, but of course, understand the use and limitations."
Justice Department says president can deny asylum to those who entered US at wrong places
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "Federal law allows undocumented immigrants in the United States to apply for political asylum no matter where they entered the country. But government lawyers told a federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday that President Trump has the power to deny asylum to the thousands who crossed the southern border at the wrong places — anywhere besides the designated, overcrowded ports of entry."
"The law “carefully distinguishes between an alien’s ability to apply for asylum and the executive’s authority to deny asylum,” Justice Department lawyers argued in defense of the proclamation Trump issued last Friday, in which he barred asylum for anyone crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without stopping at a port of entry. The president is seeking to “regain control of the border,” they said, and his new rules “aim to save lives by discouraging asylum-seekers from making dangerous, unlawful border crossings.”
"Asylum allows immigrants to remain in the U.S. if they can show a “well-founded fear of persecution” in their homeland for reasons such as race, religion, political views, or, under recent rulings, sexual orientation. Hours after Trump delivered his proclamation, the American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of asylum support groups, saying the president was violating federal law."
READ MORE related to Immigration: San Diego judge OKs family separation settlement; new asylum interviews already underway -- LA Times's STAFF
As economy booms, schools, community colleges can expect modest increase in Newsom's first budget
EdSource's JOHN FENSTERWALD/MIKHAIL ZINSHTEYN: "Incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom will have an advantage that Jerry Brown didn’t have in his first year in office nearly eight years ago: more, not less, money for K-12 schools and community colleges."
"In its first look at the fiscal year starting July 1, 2019, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is forecasting a $2.4 billion funding increase under Proposition 98, the formula that determines the minimum amount of state revenue for K-14 education."
"Together with current one-time spending that will be freed up, community colleges and schools will have $2.8 billion more to spend next year. This 3.1 percent increase — less than they received for several years, when they were repaid for underfunding during the economic recession — will limit school districts’ and community colleges’ ability to expand or add programs."
Alleged member of white supremacist fight club signs plea agreement
LA Timess BRITTNY MEJIA: "An alleged member of a Southern California white supremacist group who participated in a violent political rally in Orange County is expected to plead guilty to a federal charge next week."
"Tyler Laube, 22, signed a plea agreement Tuesday in which he agreed to plead guilty to a count of conspiracy, according to court documents. He is expected to formally enter his plea in Los Angeles federal court court next week."sssssss
"He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, according to court documents."
Thousands gather to pay tribute to Sgt. Ron Helus, deputy killed trying to save others in Thousand Oaks shooting
LA Times's SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA: "Thousands of people made their way to a Ventura County church on Thursday to pay tribute to sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, who died just over a week ago trying to save the lives of others after a gunman stormed a bar in Thousand Oaks."
"The service offered a moment of peace in what has been a devastating month for California, with the mass shooting followed in quick succession by wildfires still ravaging the state."
Gun control vs. mental health care: Debate after mass shootings obscures murky reality
California Healthline's ROB WATERS: "After the recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in which 11 people were killed at a country music bar, President Donald Trump struck a familiar refrain: “It’s a mental health problem,” he said of the gunman, Ian David Long. “He was a very sick puppy."
"Similarly, after a school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff members in February, Trump tweeted that there were “so many signs that the shooter was mentally disturbed."
"Public health and mental health experts counter that blaming the violence on the mentally ill is unfair and inaccurate, pointing instead to lax gun laws. “Most violence is not committed by people who are mentally ill,” said Dr. Renée Binder, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California-San Francisco and a past president of the American Psychiatric Association. “Even if you took everyone who had any kind of mental illness and locked them up and gave them meds, it would hardly make a dent on the problem of violence."