While conspiracy lawsuits unfold, Nunes keeps collecting campaign cash -- $7 million of it
Sacramento Bee's KATE IRBY: "Rep. Devin Nunes has the most cash on hand of any House member this cycle, sitting at a cool $7 million."
"That gives him a huge advantage as he prepares a 2020 reelection campaign in which the Democratic Party has pledged to make him one of its top targets."
"Nunes’ robust fundraising operation has only sped up since he began filing lawsuits early this year accusing Twitter, news organizations and Democratic activists of conspiring against him when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one of President Donald Trump’s top defenders in Congress."
Lawmakers, Advocacy Groups Explore Replacement For California Channel After Cable Industry Shuts It Down
From BEN ADLER, Capital Public Radio: "California’s version of C-SPAN has gone dark after 25 years of televising the Legislature’s floor sessions and committee hearings."
"The California Channel’s board, comprised of the cable industry companies that funded it, voted earlier this year to shut it down effective Wednesday — in part because voter-approved Proposition 54 now requires the Senate and Assembly to live-stream and archive their meetings online."
“The passage of this initiative eliminated the need for The California Channel,” the California Cable and Telecommunications Association said in a statement."
Called 'greedy' by Newsom and others, PG&E defends mass shutoff as 'right call'
Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "Pacific Gas and Electric is continuing to defend last week’s massive, three-phase blackout that cut power over four days to more than 730,000 customers, a coverage area servicing an estimated two million or more Californians across 35 counties, declaring in statements this week that the shutoff was the “right call."
"The utility on Tuesday gave updated estimates regarding equipment damage suffered during the critical fire weather conditions, saying that inspectors have discovered more than 100 confirmed cases of damage or hazards to power lines, double the estimate given Saturday evening."
"Those numbers are still preliminary as PG&E continues to review reports from the engineered event, according to a Tuesday evening news release. Crews worked to visually inspect about 25,000 miles of distribution lines and 2,500 miles of transmission lines in the affected areas before restoring power, PG&E said."
READ MORE related to Energy & Blackouts: SoCal Edison considers power shut-offs ahead of high winds -- LA Times's HANNAH FRY; Edison transmission line under scrutiny as possible cause of Saddleridge fire -- LA Times's HANNAH FRY
California AG and Sutter Health announce settlement of antitrust complaints, averting trial
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "The California Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it had reached a settlement agreement with Sutter Health over alleged anti-competitive practices in Northern California, abruptly ending a much-anticipated legal trial unfolding in San Francisco."
"A spokesperson for the California DOJ said: “We cannot comment further until the final agreement is approved by the court."
"In a meeting with reporters ahead of the trial, Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his goal was to end to a number of Sacramento-based Sutter practices, including a contract provision that prevented insurers from paying incentives to doctors to steer patients toward providers offering services that were less expensive but equal to or better in quality."
READ MORE related to Health: Kaiser's biggest union, representing 57,000 California workers, ratifies four-year contract -- Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON
Starting Thursday, California will send earthquake warning alerts to cell phones
The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER: "On the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, California plans to introduce an early-warning earthquake system with the ambitious agenda of buzzing the cell phones of anyone in a danger zone."
"The first-in-the-nation program, to begin Thursday, taps an emerging network of motion sensors across the state to identify a major quake before people feel any movement. Then, it sends out a text-message notice in the affected areas, similar to an Amber Alert, as much as 20 seconds before serious shaking begins."
"Scientists have long dreamed of having the technology to provide advance earthquake notice, even if it’s just a few precious moments, so people can step out of an elevator, stop a surgery or duck under a desk. While state officials say the new warning system is still a work in progress, they say it’s evolved to the point where it can save lives."
READ MORE related to Environment: 10-second warning. What do you do? -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE
Here's how Newsom is doing on 10 campaign promises after his first year of lawmaking
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "From phasing out private prisons to signing a new cap on rent increases, Gov. Gavin Newsom used his first year in office to make progress on many of the promises he made while campaigning for the job."
"He’s still far from achieving many of his long-term goals, like building 3.5 million new homes and creating half a million apprenticeships to boost California’s workforce. And he’s backtracked on some of his promises, like appointing a cabinet secretary to focus on homelessness."
"Now that he’s wrapped up his first year of work with the Legislature, here’s an update on his progress toward the 10 campaign promises The Bee is tracking. Click each topic to learn more."
New California law bans 'no-rehire' clauses after worker lawsuits
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "California workers who sue their employer and then settle their case no longer may be barred from future work with the employer as part of the settlement, according to a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom."
"No rehire” clauses have become common in settlement agreements in both the public and private sectors, including to resolve cases of harassment and discrimination, said supporters of the new law. The ban on them goes into effect in January."
"Supporters said the new law would help protect victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation from being treated worse than the people who harass, discriminate and retaliate, who sometimes continue their careers without repercussions."
How a handful of vetoes disappointed Newsom's liberal California backers
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "From fighting President Donald Trump’s agenda to signing first-in-the nation laws that expand access to health care and regulate the gig economy, California Gov. Gavin Newsom earned no small amount of praise from liberals since he took office in January."
"But not everybody on the left is happy with the governor’s job performance."
"A set of bills Newsom vetoed last week earned him criticism the left. Here’s a look at the vetoes that disappointed some of Newsom’s constituents."
Caltrans says it saved $233M of your tax dollars
The Chronicle's STAFF: "The California Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it had met its statutory mandate of spending money wisely, issuing a report that documented $233 million of savings in the latest budget year."
"The report, required under a 2017 transportation funding bill, lays out numerous “efficiencies” implemented by Caltrans, including “innovative tools” like starting construction projects before the fixes become too expensive and embracing new technology like longer-lasting light bulbs."
"The report also highlighted “process improvements.” For example, workers are completing environmental reviews more quickly."
California Muslim students are bullied at nearly twice the national average, report shows
Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR: "A new report shows that 40 percent of Muslim students in California reported being bullied because of their faith, more than twice the national average for bullying in school for all students."
"The report, released Wednesday by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is a statewide survey conducted by CAIR’s four California offices, that surveyed more than 1,500 students in California between ages 11 and 18, asking how they feel at their public and private school campuses. About 240 students surveyed were from the Sacramento area."
"The findings point to “minimal improvement in school environments for Muslim students,” according to CAIR officials."
Juul agrees to stop advertising to youth in settlement with Oakland nonprofit
The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO: "Juul has agreed to restrict advertising to youth as part of a settlement to resolve legal complaints brought by the Center for Environmental Health, an Oakland nonprofit that works to protect public health by testing consumer products for potentially harmful materials."
"As part of the settlement, which was finalized last week, Juul has agreed to limit its advertising to media where at least 85% of the audience is at least 21 years old, the legal age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in California; not advertise on social media; not sponsor or advertise at sports events or concerts unless they are restricted to people over 21; not permit Juul employees to go to schools or youth-oriented events in their professional capacity; and not advertise within 1,000 feet of schools or playgrounds — except for inside retail stores that do not have ads on the exterior of the store."
"Juul will also pay the Center for Environmental Health $5.5 million, which go toward anti-vaping advertising and education campaigns, said Mark Todzo, an attorney for the organization."
After the rescue
The Chronicle's SAM WHITING: "Many people who’ve faced a life-threatening situation promise themselves they’ll mend their ways if they survive. That’s a vow often forgotten. But Gerry Shannon’s life took a different direction."
"It wasn’t the two hours that San Francisco firefighter Gerry Shannon spent working a chain saw under a collapsed Marina district building that got to him. It was the five minutes he spent lying there while a colleague replaced his blade."
"Shannon was on his back in the claustrophobic crawl space, no more than 2 feet high. He could see the glow of approaching fire. He pictured the fire chief ringing the doorbell of his home to inform his wife, Deidre, that her husband had died while trying to rescue a woman trapped in her apartment after the Loma Prieta earthquake. He pictured Deidre giving the news to their three kids."
This 2,200-bed student housing project in Davis just overcame a major legal hurdle
Sacramento Bee's ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS: "A 2,200-bed housing project primarily for UC Davis students prevailed in a lawsuit last week, paving the way for the $250 million apartment campus to begin construction after being tied up in political controversy for years."
"Davis voters approved Nishi Gateway Project in June 2018, allowing developers to transform the agricultural land sandwiched between I-80 and the Union Pacific railroad track into the 700-apartment Nishi Gateway Project. When the project was placed on the local ballot, a group called the Davis Coalition for Sensible Planning filed a lawsuit arguing that the city had violated local and state rules when it greenlit the campus, and that its environmental review was insufficient."
"But Yolo Superior Court Judge Peter Williams found that the project “provides the amount of affordable housing as required by the City’s affordable housing ordinance” and that the “Petitioner has not provided new information indicating that the project would cause an exacerbation of existing environmental hazards or conditions."
Oakland's homeless vehicle dwellers exploding: up %131 to 1,430
The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI: "The number of people living in their vehicles in Oakland has more than doubled over two years, newly released data show, prompting the city to tackle its homeless crisis by designating parking areas specifically for RVs that now crowd the streets."
"The results of Oakland’s citywide homeless count — a one-day survey conducted every two years — showed 1,430 people living in a vehicle of some kind on Jan. 30, the day of the count. The number of vehicle dwellers skyrocketed from two years earlier, when 618 people were living in their cars, a 131% increase."
"Roughly half of them live in cars and vans: 727, up from 314 two years earlier. Another half live in recreational vehicles, or RVs: 703, up from 304 in 2017."
Rep. Elijah Cummings dead at 68
WaPo's JENNA PORTNOY/ANTONIA NOORI FARZAN: "Elijah E. Cummings, a Democratic congressman from Maryland who gained national attention for his principled stands on politically charged issues in the House, his calming effect on anti-police riots in Baltimore, and his forceful opposition to the presidency of Donald Trump, died early Thursday morning at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate in Baltimore. He was 68."
"After undergoing an unspecified medical procedure, the Democratic leader did not return to his office this week, the Baltimore Sun reported. A statement from his office said that he had passed away due to “complications concerning longstanding health challenges."
"Born to a family of Southern sharecroppers and Baptist preachers, Mr. Cummings grew up in the racially fractured Baltimore of the 1950s and 1960s. At 11, he helped integrate a local swimming pool while being attacked with bottles and rocks. “Perry Mason,” the popular TV series about a fictional defense lawyer, inspired him to enter the legal profession."
UK and EU reach Brexit deal; still needs ratification
AP: "Britain and the European Union said Thursday that they have struck an outline Brexit deal after days of intense seesaw negotiations — though it must still be formally approved by the bloc and ratified by the European and U.K. Parliaments."
"Hours before a summit of all 28 EU national leaders, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted: “We have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions."
"British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a “great new deal” and urged U.K. lawmakers to ratify it in a special session on Saturday"