Red flag

Sep 23, 2019

Red flag warning issued across much of NorCal as PG&E eyes shutoffs


Sacramento Bee's VINCENT MOLESKI: "The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for much of Northern California, including part of Sacramento County, as high winds are set to increase fire danger Monday through Wednesday."


"Forecasters predicted high winds in the region, with gusts reaching 40 miles per hour in the Sacramento Valley and along the North Coast, while those in the Sierra Nevada foothills could reach 50 miles per hour."


"Building high pressure will result in gusty north to east wind developing Monday and persisting into early Wednesday,” the weather service said in its red flag warning. “Combined with warming temperatures and lowering humidity, this will result in critical fire weather conditions across portions of Interior Northern California."


Sacramento has the worst drivers in the state, and these streets are the most dangerous.


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "Are Sacramento’s streets the most dangerous of any big city in California? The answer may well be yes."


"A review of eight recent years of automobile crashes involving injuries and fatalities shows Sacramento typically ranks poorly among large cities in several categories, notably crashes involving alcohol, where the capital city’s crash rate was highest in four of the eight years."


"Sacramento also ranked first in five out of eight years on a composite index of crashes that included a mix of alcohol, speed, night-driving and hit-and-runs, according to the data from the California Office of Traffic Safety."


READ MORE related to TransportationHe drives 60 hours a week for Uber. He's still homeless -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN SAID


The hidden battle over California's new vaccine law


LA Times's MELODY GUTIERREZ/TARYN LUNA/JOHN MYERS: " Most everyone who heard Gov. Gavin Newsom’s words had the same reaction: He’s finally on board."


"After two frenetic weeks spent rewriting a high-profile plan requiring more California schoolchildren to be vaccinated, making changes to Newsom’s specifications, legislators and advocacy groups breathed a sigh of relief on June 18 when reporters asked the governor about his support for the proposal."


"All those amendments, if they’re made, stamp of approval,” Newsom said."


To fight climate change, car-loving California must overhaul transportation. Can it?


The Chronicle's JD MORRIS/RACHEL SWAN: "California’s crusade against planet-warming emissions seems at times disconnected from the reality of its gridlocked freeways. But that hasn’t stopped a push for change."


"State officials want new cars to burn less gasoline for each mile they travel, and to use cleaner fuel. They are making electric cars easier to buy and adding bike lanes along major thoroughfares. Cities and counties have ripped apart streets to build new rail lines and bus corridors."


"But California will have to do far more if it wants to meet a crucial 2030 climate change goal. Then, state greenhouse gases must fall roughly 40% from what they are now. It’s a steep, unprecedented drop — and whether California can transform transportation will determine whether it can meet those goals."


AG Becerra to challenge Sutter Health's pricing practices as antitrust trial begins Monday


Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "Sutter Health and the California Department of Justice will begin what’s expected to be a months-long antitrust trial on Monday in San Francisco as state attorneys attempt to prove that Sutter is using its market dominance to drive up health care prices in Northern California."


"We’re in this lawsuit ... to make sure no provider, including Sutter Health systems, offers care in a way that doesn’t provide the lowest and best price and the highest quality,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said during a media briefing last week. The “bottom line is we’re alleging that Sutter Health systems is offering care at a higher price and perhaps even undermining quality by the way it goes about doing its business."


"In statements issued after Becerra’s Wednesday briefing, leaders of Sutter Health called the allegations misguided and said they would vigorously defend the health care giant’s coordinated, patient-friendly health-care system."


READ MORE related to Health: Hope, frustration mark new era of sickle cell disease -- The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY


Need help registering to vote? Tuesday's a good day to do it. Here's why


The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "Bay Area libraries and shopping areas will transform into election centers Tuesday as the nation marks the eighth annual National Voter Registration Day."


"At thousands of sites across the country, volunteers will gather to help people register to vote for the first time or update their registrations so that they can cast a ballot in the March 3 presidential primary election."


"A lot of people don’t even know if they’re registered to vote,” said Patrick Sweeney, political director for EveryLibrary, a political consulting organization that supports libraries and is a partner in the effort. National Voter Registration Day “provides people with a chance to check their voter registration and a reminder to vote."


Dem presidential hopeful Buttigieg to stump in Sacramento this weekend


Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL FINCH II: "Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic presidential hopeful, will hold his first public appearance in Sacramento next weekend, according to a campaign website."


"The ticketed event is described as a “grassroots picnic” with prices for students starting at $5 and as much as $250 for “sponsors.” The campaign event will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29. The location will be disclosed to those who RSVP."


"Buttigieg, 37, is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and is one of the 19 candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. He will be the second candidate to swing through the capital region for a public appearance, following a visit by Bernie Sanders last month."


Prosecutors in college admissions scandal double down on requests for prison time


LA Times's JOEL RUBIN/MATTHEW ORMSETH: "Shortly before she sentenced Felicity Huffman this month to two weeks in prison for her role in the college admissions scandal, a judge settled a lingering legal dispute."


"Prison sentences for parents who admitted to taking part in the scheme would not be based on how much money they paid to take part in the scam, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ruled."


"The ruling didn’t impact Huffman because the $15,000 she paid to rig her daughter’s college entrance exams was far less than what others shelled out. But starting this week, Talwani will sentence 10 more parents, and her decision dealt a blow to prosecutors, who tried to convince her that higher payments should mean longer sentences."


A tiny Marin County district got California's first school desegregation order in 50 years


LA Times's JAMES RAINEY: "The hillside school with the dreamy view of San Francisco Bay seems to practically shout e pluribus unum. A racially diverse group of children play an afternoon game of capture the flag. Teachers and parents proclaim their inclusivity with lapel buttons: “All cultures. All faiths. All races. All abilities. All gender identities ... The future is welcome at Willow Creek Academy."


"The kindergarten-through-eighth-grade campus in Sausalito, which opened in 2001, has won fierce commitment from parents and staff. It has been recognized as one of California’s top charter schools."


"But now Willow Creek is at the center of an emotional battle that has brought fresh attention to long-festering racial inequities in liberal Marin County. Last month, the tiny Sausalito Marin City School District was hit with the state’s first school desegregation order in half a century."


Oakland learns to live with its homeless camps, even providing services


The Chronicle's PHIL MATIER: "Two years ago, as a stopgap measure, Oakland set up toilets, washstands and garbage cans at two of the city’s biggest homeless camps. It was supposed to be the first step toward getting people off the streets and into housing."


"Today, the city services 22 sanctioned campsites."


"And more are on the way, as Oakland continues to grapple with the estimated 90 homeless camps scattered throughout the city. That’s more than one camp per square mile."


Trump's takeover of GOP forces many House Republicans to head for the exits


WaPo's RACHAEL BADE: "Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell’s surprise retirement began with a President Trump tweet."


"Moments after Trump’s July 14 missive telling four U.S. congresswomen of color to “go back” to their countries of origin, the congressman from Michigan phoned a fellow House GOP leader and asked him to get Trump to stop. “It’s the wrong thing for a leader to say,” he told the leader, whom he declined to name. “It’s politically damaging to the party, to the country."


"Three days later, Mitchell was awaiting a prime-time CNN appearance when he saw footage of Trump rallygoers chanting “send her back,” aimed at one of the congresswomen, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Stunned, Mitchell said he scribbled question marks on a notepad to silently ask an aide: “How do I even respond to this on TV?"


Whistleblower controversy intensifies over Biden revelation


LA Times's LAURA KING: "Fueling a political firestorm, President Trump appeared to acknowledge Sunday that he discussed political rival Joe Biden with the president of Ukraine during a July 25 phone call, at the same time renewing his attacks on a whistleblower from within the intelligence community who sounded the alarm about the conversation."


"The complaint, according to multiple news reports, raises concerns that Trump abused his powers by pressuring the government of the former Soviet republic to investigate Hunter Biden — the former vice president’s son who did business there — in order to harm the elder Biden’s 2020 presidential prospects."


"Senior Trump aides defended the administration’s refusal to turn over the whistleblower complaint to Congress, as is generally required by statute if it is deemed urgent and credible by the intelligence community’s inspector general, as this one was."


Youth activists raised the UN climate summit's profile. Will it leave them disappointed?


LA Times's TONY BARBOZA: "As the U.N. Climate Action Summit kicks off Monday in New York, young environmental activists who swarmed the streets in protest are already looking beyond the official gathering, a recognition that it will take sustained pressure to force governments, many of them allied with the fossil fuel industry, to take meaningful action."


"This is only the beginning,” 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg told the crowd of protesters Friday in New York."


"We are doing this to wake the leaders up, we are doing this to get them to act,” said Thunberg, the most prominent face of the youth climate movement since she began school strikes last year to demand government action. “We deserve a safe future and we demand a safe future. Is that really too much to ask?"

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