Unprecedented movement detected on California earthquake fault capable of 8.0 temblor
LA Times's RONG-GONG LIN II: "A major California fault capable of producing a magnitude 8.0 earthquake has begun moving for the first time on record, a result of this year's Ridgecrest earthquake sequence destabilizing nearby faults, California Institute of Technology scientists say in a new study released in the journal Science on Thursday."
"In the modern historical record, the 160-mile-long Garlock fault on the northern edge of the Mojave Desert has never been observed to produce either a strong earthquake or even to creep."
"But new satellite radar images now show that the fault has started to move, causing a bulging of land that can be viewed from space."
California likely to see a dry winter, a federal report warns. But nothing's certain
The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER: "The coming winter is likely to be dry in California, and drought conditions may begin to emerge in the central part of the state, federal climate experts warned Thursday."
"But forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also said weather patterns are fickle this year, and there’s no clear sign that another prolonged drought like the one that squeezed California earlier this decade will settle in."
"It’s something to keep an eye out on and see how the winter progresses,” said David Miskus, a meteorologist at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md. “By February and March, it might become wet again."
Dignity Health lays off health care workers from Sacramento to Mt. Shasta, citing budget woes
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "Dignity Health announced layoffs this week to employees from Sacramento northward to Mount Shasta, saying that the health care company is not meeting its financial projections."
"There are a number of reasons we have not performed well in the greater Sacramento region, including payer mix changes, reimbursement rates, lower patient volumes and a significant shift from in-patient to outpatient procedures,” said Laurie Harting, president and chief executive officer of Dignity’s Greater Sacramento Division, in a video message to her team."
"As such, facilities throughout our division have made extremely difficult decisions to reduce positions across a variety of departments to help the organization secure its future."
DMV awards multi-million dollar contract to Comcast for major tech upgrade
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to Comcast to overhaul its technology network, according to documents obtained through a Public Records Act request."
"The agreement, reached in August and launched in September, will allow Comcast to swap out the DMV’s computer network. It aims to improve the speed at which the department can use the Internet and process customer transactions."
"While several details about the contract with Comcast were omitted in the released documents, the contract says the DMV will have to pay nearly $400,000 in monthly recurring charges for five years — a total of $24 million. Comcast will make an investment of about $6.2 million “in good faith partnership with the DMV,” according to the contract."
James Ramos: CA's first Native American state lawmaker
Capitol Weekly's CHUCK MCFADDEN: "For California’s Native Americans, times change — but sometimes very slowly."
"One big change: the historic election of James C. Ramos, 52 to the state Assembly’s 40th District in the Inland Empire."
"First, some background:"
Counties say PG&E failed them in outages
The Chronicle's J.D. MORRIS: "Pacific Gas and Electric Co. failed to provide essential information to counties and cities during last week’s mass power outages, botching an unprecedented fire-prevention measure that could have killed many people if it lasted longer, five local governments said this week."
"In a blistering critique filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, local officials accused PG&E of keeping them at arm’s length, fumbling efforts to communicate behind the scenes and intentionally overstating the areas likely to lose power, among other missteps."
"PG&E was not ready for obvious consequences of cutting power to so many people even though the utility had repeatedly told the public it was willing to put any of its electric customers in the dark in order to stop another fire, said the filing from Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the city of Santa Rosa."
Blazes continue across California while firefighters make progress toward containment
Sacramento Bee's MITCHEL BOBO: "Firefighters are continuing to battle fires that have killed three people and burned more than 18,000 acres since last week."
"According to Cal Fire, firefighters are trying to contain the Saddle Ridge Fire in Riverside County, which began Oct. 10 and has damaged 88 structures while destroying 19 others across more than 8,000 acres."
"According to a news release, the fire was at 43 percent containment Monday, but has increased to 56 percent as of Thursday morning. More than 850 personnel are working to contain the fire and its cause remains under investigation. A containment date has yet to be determined."
READ MORE related to Fire: Crews fighting NuStar blaze found locked gates, inactive fire suppression, officials say -- The Chronicle's MATTHIAS GAFNI
Bay Area mother, detained by ICE for months despite winning asylum, released
The Chronicle's TATIANA SANCHEZ: "A San Bruno mother kept in ICE detention and denied bail for several months, even after winning her asylum case this spring, was freed Wednesday — though her case remains in limbo."
"Aida Andrade Amaya left the Yuba County Jail on $3,000 bond. Her lawyer, Jehan Laner Romero of Pangea Legal Services in San Francisco, sued the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Oct. 10, arguing her prolonged detention was unjust and illegal."
"Days later, immigration authorities told Romero that Andrade Amaya was eligible for bond, her team said."
Outrage among new pharmacists after cheating scandal upends licensing exam results
LA Times's SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA: "Cheating, protests and outrage have upended the otherwise buttoned-up world of pharmacy in California."
"California officials have invalidated more than 1,000 pharmacists’ test scores because of cheating on a state exam, a move that has caused an uproar among pharmacists who say they have lost wages and job opportunities as a result."
"Layla Mina, 28, of Anaheim said her job offer to be a pharmacist at CVS was rescinded because she could not become licensed without her exam scores."
From the Editor: Your role in uncovering Ukrainian-owned pot shops and breaking MLS news in Sacramento
Sacramento Bee's LAUREN GUSTUS: "The Bee newsroom came alive over the weekend when reporters Theresa Clift, Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow worked to bring you an exclusive story about one of the most prominent cannabis dispensary owners in Sacramento."
"Their detailed report showed clear links between Sacramento cannabis shops and a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen who has been indicted on campaign finance charges along with associates of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney.""
That businessman co-owns a retail cannabis shop in Sacramento with a man who controls nearly a third of the pot storefronts in the city, and who has donated to local politicians, including Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento."
Ex-CEO of Pimco to plead guilty in college admissions scandal
LA Times's MATTHEW ORMSETH: "Douglas Hodge, the former chief executive of investment giant Pimco, is expected to plead guilty to an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering, federal prosecutors in Boston said Thursday."
"The expected plea is a sign some of the parents who have so far maintained their innocence in the college admissions scandal may be caving after months of legal wrangling and public scorn. Hodge, a resident of Laguna Beach, was accused of paying a total of $525,000 to have his daughter and son admitted to USC as phony soccer and football recruits."
"Hodge’s forthcoming guilty plea, scheduled for Oct. 21, is significant. He is the first to signal an intention to plead guilty among a group of parents who, after balking at an early deal from prosecutors to plead to a single fraud conspiracy charge, were indicted on an additional charge of money laundering. That group of 19 parents includes actress Lori Loughlin and her husband J. Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer."
SCUSD's revised budget rejected once again as reserves 'fall short'
Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR: "Sacramento City Unified School District’s revised 2019-20 budget has been disapproved by the county Office of Education, district officials said Wednesday – the latest in a long string of such rejections."
"County schools officials last month disapproved Sacramento City Unified’s adopted budget because the district — although making “considerable progress towards stabilizing the budget” — fell short of meeting its minimum reserve requirement by $27 million in 2021-22."
"The county asked the district to revise and resubmit its spending plan by Oct 8. But the revised budget did not pass muster, according to an Oct. 10 letter from county schools Superintendent David Gordon."
Trump says photo shows a Pelosi meltdown. She's wearing the picture with pride
The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN: "President Trump called it a “meltdown.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it her cover photo."
"Trump tweeted a picture of the San Francisco Democrat standing up in a White House meeting Wednesday, sternly pointing at him as she says something. She was one of a delegation of lawmakers from both parties who were invited to the White House to discuss the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Turkey’s invasion of the country."
"By all accounts, the meeting devolved quickly. Democrats said the president walked in angry and disrespectful, and called Pelosi a “third-grade politician” after she pointed to a House vote earlier in the day disapproving of Trump’s pullout. The speaker, No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer soon left."
READ MORE related to POTUS/KremlinGate: Mulvaney says Trump delayed aid to prod Ukraine to investigate Democrats -- LA Times's MOLLY O'TOOLE/JENNIFER HABERKORN/SARAH D WIRE
Mexican government captures El Chapo's son -- and then releases him
LA Times's KATE LINTHICUM/CECILIA SANCHEZ: "Heavily armed criminals laid siege to the northern Mexican city of Culiacan on Thursday after the government captured Ovidio Guzman Lopez, a leader of the powerful Sinaloa cartel and the son of notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman."
"Masked men with high-powered weapons faced off with soldiers and took control of major streets as gunmen blocked entrances to the city with burning vehicles."
"It was not clear whether authorities managed to keep Guzman in custody. Two major Mexican newspapers reported late Thursday that officials had released him to placate his armed defenders."