Rail crossing

Sep 25, 2018

Gas-tax repeal backers to launch new campaign to halt California's high-speed rail project


LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY: "Backers of a November initiative to repeal the gas-tax increase said Monday they will also ask voters to approve a measure in 2020 that would provide funds to fix roads without charging Californians more at the pump, and would halt the state’s $77-billion high-speed rail project."


"The ballot measure was announced on the same day the campaign against Proposition 6 launched television ads saying the repeal will jeopardize funds needed to make California roads and bridges safe."


"Supporters of the new initiative to be filed Tuesday say it addresses a criticism of Proposition 6 by Gov. Jerry Brown and others who warn that elimination of the higher gas tax and vehicle fees approved last year will leave the state billions of dollars short of what is needed to repair its deteriorating transportation network."

Long road still ahead to fund new California water storaged projects


Water Deeply's JAY LUND: "THE CALIFORNIA WATER Commission recently allocated $2.7 billion from Proposition 1 bonds for eight water storage projects. Proposition 1 was passed in 2014 to fund a range of projects, including the “public purposes” of water storage projects, such as for ecosystem support, flood risk reduction, water quality, recreation and emergency response. Among its many funding provisions, both surface and underground water storage projects were eligible, nonstorage projects were not eligible and Proposition 1 could fund no more than 50 percent of storage project costs."


"Proposition 1’s storage provisions were driven by the still common notion that expanding surface storage is the major way to end water problems. This idea has long myth-directed policy and public discussions. The competition for Proposition 1 funds indicates that few large surface water storage expansions are cost-effective in California."


"Completing all the storage projects funded by Proposition 1 would increase total surface water storage capacity in California by less than 8 percent, and increase water deliveries by perhaps 1-2 percent, because most of the expanded capacity would refill infrequently. New storage capacity will be useful, but usually has a low and decreasing incremental value for water users and other beneficiaries. The Proposition 1 water storage program could easily be the last hurrah for major expanded surface water storage in California."


Think your commute is bad? These Central Valley residents have it worse than almost anyone in the US


Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS: "It’s more than two hours before the sun will fill the Central Valley with hazy light and this once sleepy farming town is already alive."


"Cars quickly back out of driveways, filling dimly-lit side streets with traffic. Anxious drivers jostle for position on Pacheco Boulevard – the city’s main commercial street - as they head for the highway. The line for the drive-thru window at McDonald’s on the edge of town is backing up."


"And Bruce Simmons, as he does most weekday mornings, is checking a Caltrans traffic app on his phone to see if trouble awaits on his commute over Highway 152 and into the Bay Area."


PPIC: Federal money, California and the census


PPIC's PATRICK MURPHY/CAROLINE DANIELSON in Capitol Weekly: "Most of California’s federal funding has ties to the census."


"In the most recent year for which an estimate is available (2015), California received about $77 billion in census-related funding—more than 80% of the total federal funds the state received that year. A number of federal programs draw on population estimates derived from the 2010 Census to calculate the share of federal funding for each state. The 2020 Census will soon update these estimates. Federal dollars account for more than one-third of all state spending (including the state General Fund, special funds, and bonds)—more than $100 billion in 2018."


"(SOURCE: California Department of Finance historical data, Chart C-1. NOTES: Amounts adjusted to constant 2017 dollars. Total spending includes expenditures from all state and federal funds.)"


Ask Big Daddy: Season of the Witch


Capitol Weekly's BIG DADDY: "Dear Nervous,"


"With Sacramento hunkered down for Jerry Brown’s final bill signing, the political mind drifts to Washington where it is always the Season of the Witch."


"The politics of the time casts its pall across all three branches, with partisan control over the levers of government hanging in the balance. The Executive remains mired in the web of an independent counsel investigation, while the Legislative must decide the future of the highest court in the land for the generation to come."


Longtime California official Cliff Allenby dead at 82


Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "He began his career in public service in 1963 as an administrative trainee with the Department of Finance when Pat Brown was governor. Over the following decades, he worked his way through the governorships of Republicans Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrats Gray Davis and the younger and older Jerry Brown."


"He retired and unretired three times, more than once accepting the call to oversee struggling or orphaned departments. His final return came in 2011 after he agreed to fill in for a few months at the Department of Mental Health. He ended up filling in for a few years, leading what later became the California Department of State Hospitals."


"Cliff Allenby, one of Sacramento’s most renown and tenured state public servants, died in hospice care in Elk Grove Friday night after a battle with melanoma. He was 82."


Herrera wants court to confirm SF tax measure needs only simple majority


The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA/TRISHA THADANI: "San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is seeking a court order to help shield a ballot measure passed by voters in June against potential legal challenges."


"In paperwork filed Friday, Herrera asked San Francisco Superior Court to validate the city’s use of a simple-majority vote to pass Proposition  G."


"The filing comes after another successful June ballot measure, Prop. C, became the target of a lawsuit that could block its implementation and, by extension, that of Prop. G."


Berkeley confronts 1A concerns after police tweets


The Chronicle's ASHLEY MCBRIDE/MICHAEL CABANATUAN: "The battles between far-right activists and their opponents that have roiled Berkeley in the past two years have been organized on social media. They’ve been debated on social media. And they’ve often played out live on social media."


"The question now is whether Berkeley police should be using social media to expose people they arrest in the sometimes violent clashes. The City Council will consider Tuesday whether to ban police from posting names, mug shots and hometowns of people taken into custody “unless they pose an imminent threat to public safety."


"The proposed policy stems from an Aug. 5 protest planned by two far-right-wing groups — one dubbed the Proud Boys, which didn’t show up. Still, the day drew about 400 counterprotesters who called themselves anti-fascist, or antifa."


Gaps in California law requiring schools to test for lead could leave children at risk


EdSource's NICO SAVIDGE/DANIEL J WILLIS: "Gaps in a new California law requiring schools to test their drinking water for lead could leave children vulnerable to the toxic metal."


"The law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last October, puts California among only seven states and the District of Columbia nationwide that require schools to test their drinking water for lead."


"Thousands of schools across the state have already tested the water flowing from their drinking fountains, sinks and other sources."


SF restaurant bill surcharges still give some diners heartburn


The Chronicle's JONATHAN KAUFFMAN: "Cy Manis, a concierge at the Hilton Hotel in Union Square, says travelers come up to her desk once a week to ask about this “S.F. mandate” surcharge they see on their restaurant bills."


"Manis, who waited tables for many years, is no fan of the surcharge — she wonders why restaurants wouldn’t just raise their menu prices like other businesses — but explains to guests that the restaurant used the funds to cover its workers’ health care costs. “They’re usually pretty empathetic and say, oh, that’s good that the employees are taken care of,” she said."


"San Francisco’s innovative Health Care Security Ordinance, which went into effect in January 2008, requires businesses with more than 20 employees to contribute a certain amount per worker per hour toward their health care. A decade later, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of local restaurants still attempt to pass along the costs through a surcharge, now as high as 6 percent."


'Known abuser' Kavanaugh cannot be confirmed, #MeToo supporters say at California Capitol


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "As the U.S. Senate debates how to proceed with the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanuagh, about 80 women — and a handful of men — from California’s Capitol community gathered Monday to support two women who have publicly accusedKavanaugh of sexual misconduct."


"This is not someone we can allow to be elevated to the highest court in the land, who is a known abuser,” said lobbyist Samantha Corbin, who organized the photo. She is one of the founders of We Said Enough, the campaign against sexual harassment and abuse in California politics that launched last fall amid the broader #MeToo movement."


"A week ago, Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor in Palo Alto, put her name to a previously anonymous complaint that Kavanaugh had held her down on a bed, attempted to remove her clothes and covered her mouth as she tried to scream during a house party when they were both in high school. She has been in contentious negotiations over when and under what conditions she might testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has yet to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination."


READ MORE related to SCOTUS: WH open to public testimony from second Kavanaugh accuser, press secretary Sanders says -- LA Times's JOHN WAGNER


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