Push to make PG&E a co-op gets more support and 'operating principles'
The Chronicle's J.D. MORRIS: "If Pacific Gas and Electric Co. becomes a customer-owned nonprofit cooperative, it will not splinter the geographic area currently served by the utility and will operate as if it were a public agency, supporters say."
"Advocates of transforming the investor-owned PG&E into a co-op, led by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, made that statement Thursday as they outlined a list of “operating principles” to which the new entity would adhere."
"The co-op supporters also said their idea is now endorsed by more than 100 elected leaders who represent more than 8 million people in 58 cities and 10 counties. Originally, more than 20 mayors and county supervisors signed on to a letter supporting the notion of making PG&E a nonprofit co-op similar to a credit union. PG&E currently provides natural gas and electricity to 16 million people."
SCOTUS confronts homeless crisis and whether there's a right to sleep on the sidewalk
LA Times's DAVID G. SAVAGE: "The Supreme Court meets Friday to consider for the first time whether the Constitution gives homeless people a right to sleep on the sidewalk."
"The justices are weighing an appeal of a much-disputed ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that held last year that it was cruel and unusual punishment to enforce criminal laws against homeless people who are living on the street if a city doesn’t offer enough shelters as an alternative."
"The appeals court’s opinion quoted Anatole France’s famous comment that “the law, in all its majestic equality, forbids the rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges,” and from there, it announced a principle of human rights to strike down city laws that “criminalize the simple act of sleeping outside on public property."
Former lawmaker admits laundering money in BART coffee shop scheme
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "Attorney and former California Assemblyman Terrence “Terry” Goggin pleaded guilty in federal court this week to defrauding investors in his plan to build several coffee shops along Bay Area Rapid Transit lines."
"Goggin, 78, entered a guilty plea in San Francisco to one count of money laundering. He faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and a restitution order of at least $685,000."
"Goggin served in the Legislature as a Democrat from 1974 to 1985.
Another California GOP lawmaker is leaving the Republican party. Here's why
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "California’s Republican Party is getting even smaller."
"The super-minority in the Legislature has lost another state lawmaker, as former Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley has decided to run for re-election in 2020 with no party preference."
"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we’ve got, we focused on winning elections,” Mayes said. “For me, I’m at the point in my life where I’m done with gamesmanship."
Hit by fires and droughts, California voters call climate change their top priority
From the LAT's DAVID LAUTER: "Pummeled by fires, drought and floods, California’s Democratic primary voters put fighting climate change at the top of their list of issues for the next president to tackle."
"Nearly half of likely Democratic primary voters call the issue the No. 1 priority for the next president, according to a new statewide poll conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies for the Los Angeles Times."
"By contrast, fewer California primary voters — about 1 in 3 — called healthcare the highest priority, even though differing healthcare proposals have dominated the debate among Democratic presidential candidates for months."
State govt failed residents trapped by wildfire, auditor says
Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW/DALE KASLER: "California’s auditor slammed state and county emergency management officials Thursday for inadequate disaster and evacuation planning, and called for changes in state law to protect vulnerable residents, after a series of fast-moving wildfires left many people trapped on clogged roadways with little time to escape."
"The auditor criticized disaster planning in Butte, Sonoma and Ventura counties, home to deadly and destructive wildfires in 2017 and 2018. The report also went after the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, saying it was lax in helping counties prepare for disasters."
"The most destructive wildfires in state history burned thousands and homes and claimed more than 120 lives. In the aftermath of each fire, residents recounted horrifying stories of not receiving evacuation alerts, massive traffic jams and shelters overrun with people. In the Camp Fire in Paradise, several people burned to death trapped in their vehicles on roads choked with gridlock."
As California homeowners lose insurance due to wildfire risk, the state is stepping in
The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "The California Insurance Department on Thursday implemented a new state law that prohibits state-regulated insurance companies from not renewing policies for homeowners living in ZIP codes in or adjacent to wildfires for one year from the date the area was declared a disaster."
"Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara also called on all regulated insurers to voluntarily halt nonrenewals based on wildfire risk for all business and residential customers statewide for one year, until Dec. 4, 2020."
"The moves come at a time when homeowners in areas at high risk of wildfires are finding it harder to get and keep insurance. Lara made the announcement at the home of Sean Coffey of Montclair, whose home in the Oakland hills has been dropped three times, by three different insurers, since 2015."
Newsom's 100-day homeless challenge will give cities a chance at more housing money
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG/THERESA CLIFT: "California cities and counties will have a shot at more housing money if they meet goals designed to help homeless people off the streets through a “100-day challenge” Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday."
"Local governments will set their own goals, such as getting 100 veterans off the streets or building 100 housing units, Newsom said. If they meet them, they’ll have a shot at a piece of $35 million in additional state housing money."
"As part of the challenge, Sacramento is pledging to secure land to build up to 100 housing units for homeless people, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said."
Marin makes progress in permanent housing for homeless, but shelters come up short
The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN: "With nasty weather finally pounding the Bay Area, all of the counties have opened up extra winter shelter beds — except for Marin County. The recent storms haven’t been cold or wet enough to meet the county’s standards for adding shelter space, but tell that to homeless folks shivering on the sidewalks of San Rafael."
"They’re not happy. But many of them begrudgingly understand the reason why — the extra beds haven’t opened up because Marin is trying hard to put people into permanent housing instead of temporary shelter cots."
"That housing effort has made big progress, reducing the number of chronically homeless people in the streets by 28% in the past two years when virtually every other area along the West Coast has seen its numbers skyrocket."
California bans insurers from dropping customers in 2019 wildfire zones
Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW: "California’s insurance commissioner, responding to a crisis that’s hit much of rural California, issued a one-year moratorium Thursday banning carriers from canceling homeowners’ coverage in areas struck by the 2019 wildfires."
"The declaration by Commissioner Ricardo Lara affects about 800,000 homeowners living in and around the zones affected by 16 major fire emergencies this year, including the massive Kincade Fire in Sonoma County in October."
"The moratorium, which ends Dec. 5, 2020, “gives people time to plan, shop around,” Lara said in announcing the action at an event in Oakland. While the moratorium only covers homeowners who live in the vicinity of the 2019 fires, Lara also asked insurers to voluntarily refrain from canceling any homeowner who lives in a fire-prone area. The voluntary halt would also last a year."
Castro warns all-white Democratic lineup would be 'deflating'
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Latinos are likely to be the largest racial or ethnic group eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election. It will be the first time that’s happened in U.S. history."
"But former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, the only Latino in the race, is a long shot to qualify for the Dec. 19 Democratic debate in Los Angeles, let alone to win the nomination. It is a sign of a growing problem for Democrats."
"With Sen. Kamala Harris having ended her campaign this week, the party’s next debate could feature an all-white cast of candidates, including three over age 70 and a fourth, Tom Steyer, who is one of the richest people in the country. “There are more billionaires than Black people who’ve made the December debate stage—that’s a problem,” tweeted New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, the only African American left in the race."
Pension fund financing its $281M riverfront tower with green bonds
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "California’s teacher pension fund wants to pay for a $300 million office tower on the Sacramento River with green bonds, a type of investment used to finance projects that meet environmental sustainability standards."
"CalSTRS is issuing $281 million worth of the bonds to finance the expansion of its West Sacramento headquarters, according to bond documents."
"The $246 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System is adding a 10-story tower next to its 17-story headquarters on Fourth Street. The fund’s board approved spending up to $300 million on the project in November 2018 to accommodate future growth in its workforce."
SF revives fight over controversial state bill that pushes housing near transit
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "San Francisco officials are poised to oppose for the second time this year a contentious state bill that would allow for denser housing near public transit and job centers."
"The city’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee voted unanimously Thursday on a largely ceremonial resolution reiterating San Francisco’s objection to SB50, a bill authored by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. The resolution called for amendments to preserve community input in the planning process and require developers to pay larger concessions."
"Though SB50 was shelved in May by the state Senate Appropriations Committee, Wiener is expected to revive SB50 in 2020."
Oakland city leader chastises council members for remaining silent during 'personal attack' on staffer
The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI: "Oakland City Administrator Sabrina Landreth on Thursday accused City Council members of being “complicit” in the personal attack of a city employee by audience members at a public meeting because the elected leaders remained silent during the incident."
"Landreth is imploring the council to issue a formal apology to the staff and make a statement regarding the council code of conduct and rules of procedure for the public at the next meeting."
"The interaction occurred during a special committee meeting held Wednesday on homelessness. Joe Devries, an assistant to the city administrator, was scheduled to give an informational report on the city’s encampment management policy."
Inside the $47M plan to redevelop the Old Sacramento waterfront
Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "West Sacramento scored a riverfront success recently when it opened the Barn, an elegant indoor-outdoor venue that attracts hundreds nightly for pizza, beer, music and conviviality."
"That success wasn’t lost on leaders across the river in downtown Sacramento, notably Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who had promised when running for mayor that he would enliven the waterfront on his side of the river."
"On Tuesday, after more than a year of work, the Sacramento mayor and his team will show the City Council and the public its own concept for redefining a key section of the city’s riverfront, a series of venues in Old Sacramento that will borrow a bit from the Barn’s vibe, but amp it up several notches."
Uber reports 3,000 sexual assault claims last year in new safety report
BLOOMBERG: "Uber Technologies Inc. found more than 3,000 allegations of sexual assaults involving drivers or passengers on its platform in the U.S. last year, part of an extensive and long-awaited review in response to public safety concerns."
"The ride-hailing company released an 84-page safety report Thursday, seeking to quantify the misconduct and deaths that occur on its system and to argue that its service is safer than alternatives."
"U.S. customers took about 1.3 billion trips last year, Uber said. About 50 people died in Uber collisions in each of the last two years, at a rate about half the national average for automotive fatalities, according to the company. Nine people were killed in physical assaults last year, Uber said."
A secretive corporation won’t let Pete Buttigieg talk about three years of his life
From the LAT's MATT PEARCE: "By presidential campaign standards, Pete Buttigieg has been pretty much an open book — but with one chapter missing."
"The Democratic South Bend, Ind., mayor has let reporters sit on his campaign bus and pelt him with questions until they get tired; he’s spoken at length about his personal experience coming out as a gay man; he’s shown a willingness to face some of his most withering critics."
"But Buttigieg won’t talk about his three years of work for McKinsey & Co., the famous, secretive — and lately, notorious — management consulting firm."