California's presidential primary hinges on big voting changes in Los Angeles
LA Times's JOHN MYERS/MATT STILES: "When Los Angeles County set out to build a new voting system from scratch more than a decade ago, election officials knew the challenges in serving an electorate larger than those found in any of 39 states.
But what they didn’t know was that their efforts were on a collision course with a series of statewide election changes and the most consequential presidential primary in modern California history. Should Angelenos not understand what to do or where to go, the effects could be felt both statewide and — in terms of the Democratic presidential race — across the country.
“There’s a lot riding on this,” said Rick Hasen, an election law professor at UC Irvine. “Any time you’re making so many changes at once, people can lose confidence in the system."
Following the money -- in cash
RICH EISEN in Capitol Weekly: "When Steve Swanson decided to stop accepting cash at his longtime chain of Sacramento area dry cleaning stores, it seemed to make all the sense in the world. "
"Cash was such a small portion of our operation,” he says. “Some days we might have only a few dollars for a whole day."
"But soon he might not have a choice."
State's new labor law is a work in progress. Here's how lawmakers could change it
Sac Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "The California Legislature is considering nearly three dozen bills to clean up or repeal the landmark gig economy law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom just months ago.
Assembly Bill 5 limits employers’ ability to label employees as independent contractors, and requires businesses to give benefits like sick pay and overtime to workers.
Newsom signed the high-profile legislation in September, granting what proponents say is much-needed relief to low-wage workers who take on more than one job to manage an increasingly expensive California. Others have criticized the requirement for stripping people of workplace and scheduling flexibility."
Musicians say AB5 strikes sour note with gig-driven profession
The Chronicle's CAROLYN SAID: "Most musicians make their livings through gigs — a word coined by jazz musicians in the 1920s to describe their freelance engagements.
Now that California is clamping down on gig work through AB5, the new law that took effect Jan. 1, musicians have assembled to say that it could have “a devastating and catastrophic impact” on them, in the words of a petition signed by more than 180,000.
“We are the originators of the gig economy,” said Jordan Bromley, a music industry lawyer who is a board member of the new Music Artists Coalition, backed by industry figures Dave Matthews, Don Henley, Anderson .Paak, Maren Morris, Meghan Trainor, Shane McAnally and others. The group has joined with the Recording Industry Association of America, American Association of Independent Music, the Recording Academy, Independent Music Professionals United and others to negotiate with labor on a way to make AB5 work for the industry."
Most California cities refuse to retreat from rising seas. One town wants to show how it's done
LA TImes's ROSANNA XIA: "Ten miles north of Monterey and a world away from Santa Cruz, Bruce Delgado gazed up a towering sand dune. Careful not to step on the beach buckwheat that protects rare butterflies or the sea lettuce that survives only in stable habitats, he wound his way toward the ocean.
At the top, slightly out of breath, he marveled at the sandy beach that stretched for miles along the bay. Big surf broke into rhythmic cusps by the shore. A red-tailed hawk soared over his town of Marina, where despite its name, no dock or pier exists to interrupt this view.
Not much of the California coast feels like this anymore, with no pavement or harbors or parking lots right up to high tide. Home to sharks and coyotes, shorebirds and butterflies, this little town not far from Silicon Valley is a reminder that the beach itself used to be wild."
Freewheeling, outspoken, and not always on message: The risky role of Bernie Sanders' surrogates
LA TImes's EVAN HALPER: "When Bernie Sanders takes the stage or gets behind a microphone, he seldom surprises — the presidential candidate’s policy-heavy script is so familiar that crowds at his rallies often know what line is coming next.
Not so with his eclectic troop of surrogates.
“No, no, I’ll boo,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan declared from an Iowa stage a few weeks ago as a moderator tried to discourage booing when the name “Hillary Clinton” came up."
Isleton wants more fire tax revenue even though it struggles to manage the amount it currently has
Sac Bee's ALEXEANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS: "For more than three years, the city of Isleton has been collecting thousands of dollars in sales tax money through Measure B, a half-cent tax approved by voters to fund the city’s beleaguered volunteer fire department.
But despite recent efforts in the tiny Delta town to move past decades of fiscal mismanagement, a review of city documents reveals a familiar pattern that raises questions about Isleton’s ability to govern itself and its roughly $1.7 million annual budget.
Isleton officials struggle to provide basic information about how much revenue the special sales tax raises annually, and what it’s being spent on. Receipts for spending are often vague, or nonexistent.
Trump's new tough-love homelessness czar might surprise skeptics
The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN: "President Trump’s newly appointed national homelessness czar, Robert Marbut, slipped into his boss’ enemy territory, otherwise known as the Bay Area, last week for a quiet visit. And in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, he laid out a surprising agenda — because in some ways, it sounded like what local program leaders are promoting.
Marbut said he likes supportive housing. He’s big on drug and mental health rehabilitation, streamlined rules for building shelters and housing, and tracking systems that help tailor services better to street people. All of these are core to homelessness strategies in San Francisco and around California. The fact that Marbut was propounding them was all the more striking for the tone he set. It didn’t sound like Trump’s.
The president has famously ripped into local and state leaders over California’s skyrocketing street population, spouting inflammatory tweets about how San Francisco has become “worse than a slum” with needles “pouring into the ocean.” He’s threatened to step in with heavy-handed federal action if they can’t clean up the homelessness crisis."
Those who test positive for coronavirus at Travis AFB told they must go. But where?
BANG's LISA M KRIEGER: "Coronavirus patients can’t stay at Travis Air Force Base, the federal government has announced.
But so far there’s nowhere else for them to go.
On Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers that everyone who tests positive for the virus must be moved from the Fairfield quarantine, even if they’re not sick."
Judge blocks transfer of suspected coronavirus patients from Travis to Orange County
The Chronicle's STEVEN RUBENSTEIN: "A federal judge has granted a request to block temporarily the transfer of several dozen people who probably are infected with the new coronavirus from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, where they have been under quarantine, to a closed facility in Orange County.
The judge agreed Friday with the city of Costa Mesa, which sought to stop about 50 people — recently evacuated passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan — from moving to the former Fairview Developmental Center.
In its request to the court, the city said it was never notified of the “11th-hour plan ... to introduce people with a deadly and highly communicable disease” to Fairview. The city described the facility as a “dilapidated complex surrounded by residential neighborhoods ... with no security measures to keep quarantined individuals from the residents of Costa Mesa."
Ex-Public Works chief Nuru sings to city attorney to soften possible sentence
The Chronicle's PHIL MATIER: "Within days of his arrest on federal corruption charges, former San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru began a series of interviews with investigators from the city attorney’s office.
“He spent two days telling all,” said one source familiar with the investigation.
Nuru’s interviews, combined with information the investigators had already dug up, led to 10 subpoenas being issued a few days later."
Swarm of 40,000 bees attack California public safety workers, officials say
Sac Bee's DON SWEENEY: "A swarm of 40,000 “very aggressive” bees attacked police and firefighters Friday afternoon, forcing the closure of a street in Pasadena, California, CNN reports.
A police officer and two firefighters were among five people sent to the hospital with multiple stings following the 4 p.m. incident, in which swarming bees filled an entire block on Colorado Boulevard, KTTV reported.
“We have firefighters who have been working here for many, many years, and they said this is by far the most bees they’ve seen at one location,” said Lisa Derderian, spokesperson for the Pasadena Fire Department, the Los Angeles Times reported."
Daredevil flat-Earth booster dies in homemade rocket crash, California officials say
Sac Bee's DON SWEENEY: "Daredevil and flat-Earth promoter “Mad” Mike Hughes died Saturday when his homemade rocket crashed near Barstow, California, NBC News reports.
A steam-powered rocket, which Hughes had hoped would reach an altitude of 5,000 feet, plunged back to Earth and crashed following the launch, CBS News reported.
“Everyone was stunned. They didn’t know what to do,” said Justin Chapman, the Los Angeles Times reported. “He landed about a half a mile away from the launch pad."
Trump gambles on plan to bring home some US troops from Afghanistan before election
LA Times's TRACY WILKINSON/DAVID S CLOUD: "President Trump has a lot riding on a precarious agreement with Taliban militants to end America’s longest war. But the process, which began over the weekend, is fraught with obstacles that could lengthen the conflict rather than conclude it.
The first step in the deal agreed to by the U.S. and the Taliban is a seven-day period of “reduced violence” in which neither side attacks. The period began Saturday and includes a moratorium on the roadside explosive devices, rockets and suicide bombers that have been the Taliban trademark and continued as recently as last month.
It falls short of a cease-fire, which the Taliban consistently refused to consider. But if the weeklong pause is declared a success, U.S. and Taliban leaders will sign a deal in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 29 that begins the drawdown of American troops in exchange for Taliban vows to fight terrorism and stop attacks against the United States."
Trump arrives in India, revels in huge crowd and Modi's praise
LA Times's ELI STOKOLS: "President Trump addressed the largest crowd of his political career Monday, celebrating the relationship between the world’s oldest and largest democracies during a speech to a stadium crowd of more than 100,000.
Speaking in 86-degree heat in Ahmedabad, Trump avoided the more charged, controversial rhetoric that typically marks his rally speeches back home, but there was no absence of hyperbole as he and his host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lavished praise on one another and offered unbridled optimism about a growing partnership and increased cooperation between the two nations.
“India’s rise as a prosperous and independent nation is an example to every nation in the world and one of the most outstanding achievements of our century,” Trump said. “It’s all the more inspiring because you have done it as a democratic country. You have done it as a peaceful country. You have done it as a tolerant country."