More immigrants than Americans resettle in California, report shows
Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER: "The Golden State is still a magnet for immigrants who want to build a life in the United States, but it’s a less attractive destination for other Americans."
"A new report from Governing Magazine shows that California is unlike other western states in that most of its newcomers arrive from foreign destinations instead of other American states."
"West Coast neighbors Oregon, Washington and Nevada, by contrast, continue to lure migrants from other parts of America. Washington State, for instance, tends to collect a lot of Californians, according to state records."
Imperial Irrigation District sues to block Colorado River drought plan
From the LAT's BETTINA BOXALL: "Just as a long-negotiated agreement for how California and six other Western states will deal with drought on the Colorado River was about to cross the finish line, the river’s biggest user put up a roadblock."
"The Imperial Irrigation District in southeast California filed a lawsuit Tuesday asking a state court to block the plan until more analysis is done on the accord’s environmental impacts."
"The filing is the district’s latest attempt to put the brakes on the drought pact until the federal government provides $200 million for restoration of the shrinking Salton Sea."
PG&E’s Path to Bankruptcy Was Paved With $100 Million Worth of Advice
From PEG BRICKLEY in the Wall Street Journal: ""Before it entered bankruptcy, PG&E Corp. paid more than $100 million for professional advice on how to fend off blame for years of deadly wildfires and, when that failed, how to take cover in chapter 11, new court papers show."
"Filings late Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco give the most complete view yet of how PG&E deployed its legal budget as criticism mounted over its safety practices."
PG&E equipment tested as part of Camp Fire criminal investigation
The Chronicle's J.D. MORRIS: "Butte County prosecutors have collected equipment from several additional towers along the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power line suspected of starting last year’s deadly Camp Fire, a sign that the county’s criminal investigation into the historic disaster is progressing."
"An attorney for PG&E told lawyers representing wildfire victims and others on Monday that the company had “recently assisted” local prosecutors in their collection of parts from four towers along the hig h-voltage Caribou-Palermo transmission line."
"He said the Butte County district attorney’s office wanted to get testing done on cross-arm sections and suspension hooks from those towers — which appears to be the same kind of equipment that malfunctioned on another Caribou-Palermo tower right at the origin point of the Camp Fire."
Newsom's bid to negotiate lower drug prices gets boost from LA County
The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Gov. Gavin Newsom’s effort to lower prescription drug prices for Californians got its first outside participant Wednesday, as Los Angeles County said it would join the collective drug-purchasing systemthat Newsom is developing for state agencies."
"Newsom traveled to a county-run rehabilitation center in Downey to make the announcement in recognition of his first 100 days in office, a milestone he hit this week."
"Newsom signed an executive order the day he took office to establish a single purchaser of prescription drugs by 2021 for the 13 million recipients of Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for the poor, as well as other agencies that buy drugs for state employees, retirees, hospitals and inmates."
In a first, L.A. sues unlicensed cannabis dispensary, seeking millions
From the LAT's JAMES QUEALLY: "The city of Los Angeles is seeking millions in civil penalties from an unlicensed South L.A. cannabis dispensary accused of selling marijuana contaminated with pesticides, a move officials said Wednesday is intended to crack down on widespread illegal pot sales."
"The dispensary, Kush Club 20, was selling cannabis tainted with paclobutrazol, a fungicide frequently used to make golf turf more dense and verdant, which is classified as a Type II toxic chemical by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is not approved for use on cannabis in California, a lawsuit filed Monday by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office said."
“Customers patronize illegal shops at their peril, and undermine businesses who play by the rules — and whose product is tested to protect buyers’ health,” City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement."
Advocates prepare legal battle against order denying bail to asylum seekers
The Chronicle's TATIANA SANCHEZ: "A new government order that would prohibit some asylum seekers from posting bail as they await a decision in their cases has infuriated immigration advocates throughout the country who claim it’s a violation of the immigrants’ constitutional rights."
"The policy, announced Tuesday by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, would keep asylum seekers with credible fear claims in ICE detention for months or even years, until their cases are resolved."
"Advocates say the order could impact more than 15,000 asylum seekers, though exact numbers aren’t clear."
Former Grand Canyon leader to head Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The Chronicle's STEVE RUBENSTEIN: "The former embattled superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park has been named to head the nonprofit organization that supports and provides funds to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area."
"Christine Lehnertz will become president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, effective May 13, the group announced on Wednesday."
"I am excited to lead the tremendous work of the Conservancy,” Lehnertz said in a statement. “I have long supported its unwavering commitment to these treasured park lands. I hope we can help instill a sense of joy, stewardship and community.”
Union representing 10,000 workers weighs strike after UC imposes contract terms
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "The union representing 10,000 research and technical workers at the University of California on Wednesday denounced the UC’s decision to unilaterally impose wage increases of 3 percent annually over the next four years."
"UPTE-CWA 9119 leaders said in a news release that they are weighing their options, up to and including a strike. Members of the union have joined in four strikes over the past 12 months."
"The union has been bargaining for new labor contracts with the UC for about two years, and contracts for all the employees it represents have expired. The union’s research and technical units reached an impasse in negotiations in mid-February, meaning that the UC could implement its own terms."
CalPERS bill for state worker pensions set to reach $7 billion next year
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "California state government’s bill for public employee pensions is set to rise by $676 million."
"CalPERS on Tuesday advanced a scheduled increase in employer contribution rates, bringing the state’s total bill for the 2019-2020 budget year to about $7 billion. That money comes out of taxes and fees collected by the state and is part of the compensation promised to state workers."
"The state’s pension bill will go up July 1 based on CalPERS’ review of the fiscal year ending June 30. Actuaries provided estimates ahead of Tuesday’s meeting. Most local governments’ pension payments also will go up next year."
'Dixie' no more: San Rafael school district rebrands itself
Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "The names for years had adorned schools, parks, monuments and trails across Northern California: Boalt in Berkeley, Burnett in San Jose; a park and school that once carried the name Goethe in the Sacramento area."
"The men, their views and their place in California’s – and Sacramento’s – rich and complicated history were intertwined."
"But leaders, scholars and community members had agitated to pry them apart: that Goethe Park – named for local banker and philanthropist Charles M. Goethe, whose writings on eugenics revealed him to be a white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer – was renamed River Bend Park, is a ready example."
Second suit filed against Caltrans in woman's death. Husband says he's 'rightful heir'
Sacramento Bee's ERIN TRACY: "A second family member is suing Caltrans over the death of Shannon Bigley at a homeless encampment along Highway 99 last summer."
"Her father, Maurice Bigley, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Stanislaus County Superior Court against Caltrans the month after her August death. In February, Shannon’s husband, Ernest Gray, filed a similar lawsuit."
"The attorney for Maurice Bigley anticipates the cases will be consolidated. Gray said he is Shannon Bigley’s “rightful heir.” If an agreement is not made on consolidation a judge might have to decide."
Muni Metro T line turns away from switchbacks to serve lower-income outer locales better
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "For years, Muni Metro’s 23rd Street rail stop, toward the end of the gentrifying Dogpatch neighborhood, served as a symbolic border: T-Third trains would go out of service there, leaving passengers stranded partway through the route to the neglected southeast corner of San Francisco."
"The transit agency ended the practice on that line this month and is looking to eliminate it on others, following a spirited campaign by Supervisor Shamann Walton and Mayor London Breed. And riders are starting to see the difference."
"I noticed something, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it,” said Joshua Charles, a Bayview resident who often got marooned halfway home. Like other commuters, he’d sometimes opt to walk, rather than stand on the platform for 20 minutes."
Restaurants experiment with servers sharing their tips. Is it a fair way to pay chefs?
Sacramento Bee's BENJY EGEL: "At the end of each shift, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. server Neill Little turns his tips into his manager. When he gets the money back the next day, it’ll have been split between all other front-of-house employees – plus the cooks and dishwashers sweating over the plates in the kitchen."
"That’s a contrast from Little’s other job at Camden Spit & Larder, where servers keep every thank-you dollar they earn. Both models have their strengths, but Hook & Ladder’s approach makes the staff more cohesive than at a typical restaurant, he said."
"I enjoy knowing how much I’m earning, working for and seeing the fruit of my labors. At the same time, just cause you’re the best player doesn’t mean your team is good,” Little said. “If you help out the kitchen, who really is the engine of all restaurants ... a better product will come out, which then increase tips."
UC Davis to study whether virtual reality can help kids with ADHD navigate reality
Sacramento Bee's MILA JASPER: "Virtual reality promises to immerse users in whole new worlds with just a smartphone and a headset. But forget playing video games and watching movies – UC Davis researchers say it could help kids with ADHD navigate the real world."
"A study by the UC Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute will test whether VR technology can help kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder reduce their sensitivity to distractions, according to a Tuesday press release."
"I was talking to a parent who told me when she was in law school studying for the bar she was studying in noisy cafes,” Dr. Julie Schweitzer, the MIND Institute researcher leading the study, said. “Eventually, she learned to block out everything around her. But now she wishes her son could learn to do the same."
Vallejo police chief backs away from plan to retire and serve in interim role
The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI: "Vallejo Police Chief Andrew Bidou, who had been set to retire at the end of the month and serve as interim chief while a replacement was sought, has agreed to postpone his retirement for two months, the city said Wednesday."
"Bidou’s arrangement would have allowed him to collect a pension of $19,000 a month and pay of $20,000 a month for the interim job. Now, Bidou will stay in the position until June 30."
"I recognize that there will likely be a gap between July 1 and when a new chief will begin employment,” said City Manager Greg Nyhoff. “I will make an announcement as we get closer to June 30 regarding any interim plans. I appreciate Chief Bidou’s dedication to the Vallejo Police Department and for continuing to work with us through this process."
Bacteria that killed inmate found to be widespread in Stockton prison
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "Water tests discovered legionella throughout a state prison in Stockton, showing the bacteria found in a dead inmate last month is more widespread than was previously known, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation email sent to staff Tuesday."
"The inmate, whom the department hasn’t identified, died the first week of March after being transported to an outside hospital from California Health Care Facility. The department reported March 26 that a second inmate had tested positive for the bacteria, which can cause a severe and sometimes deadly form of pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease."
"The prison took precautions in specific areas following the outbreak, including installing shower filters in one unit and providing bottled water. A nearby youth correctional facility also took precautions."
Kaiser patients, supported by unions, demand meeting with the HMO's CEO
The Chronicle's SOPHIA KUNTHARA: "Kaiser Permanente patients assembled outside the health care provider’s Oakland headquarters Wednesday, calling for shorter wait times for mental health appointments and demanding a meeting with the CEO."
"The event was attended by officials of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents some Kaiser employees and is in contract negotiations with the company. The union mounted a five-day strike in December."
"Among those who spoke were Santa Rosa’s Seong and David Brown, whose daughter Elizabeth committed suicide last year at age 19."
Mueller report: How much will we see?
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "The long-awaited Mueller report into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and President Trump’s possible links to those efforts was set for Thursday morning release. What we don’t know is how much of that report we’ll see."
"Attorney General William Barr has already said parts of the report — grand jury testimony, classified material, details of ongoing cases and information about “peripheral third parties” — would be redacted, leaving the possibility that large chunks of the nearly 400-page document will remain hidden."
"In Congress, even Democrats and Republicans who have fought over almost every aspect of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation joined forces to try to keep that from happening."
SF city attorney's office writes the book on how governments can take on Trump
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office has helped to literally write the book on how local governments can take on the Trump administration in court."
"On Wednesday, Herrera, along with Yale Law School and social justice organizations, released a 32-page primer that argues municipal law offices should take a more proactive approach to protecting their communities’ legal rights."
"The guidebook offers suggestions about how local governments can marshal resources to take on the federal government and corporations to uphold civil rights, protect consumer safety and safeguard the environment."