Wrestling with the Wall

Sep 21, 2017

California sues Trump administration to prevent border wall


AP: "California’s attorney general has sued the Trump administration over its plan to construct a wall along the country’s border with Mexico."

"The suit filed Wednesday by Attorney General Xavier Becerra makes arguments similar to those in a lawsuit filed by advocacy groups last week arguing the federal government is overstepping its authority by waiving environmental reviews and other laws."

Both lawsuits aim to stop the design, planning and construction of the wall."


Speaking of Trump, POTUS45 faces turmoil in the Alabama Senate race.


LA Times' LISA MASCARO: "President Trump will swoop into Alabama on Friday to bolster the campaign of Sen. Luther Strange, a soft-spoken former state attorney general now in danger of losing the seat he was tapped to fill just months ago after Jeff Sessions joined the administration."

"But in this conservative state that overwhelmingly supported Trump and prides itself as the heart of Old Dixie, some think the president is backing the wrong man. And they’re not sure his visit will help."

"Voter enthusiasm instead runs high for the more Trump-like candidate, Roy Moore, the state’s polarizing former chief justice. His far-right, Bible-quoting views twice resulted in him being forced off the bench for defying higher court decisions, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage. Die-hard supporters have no doubt he will be just as unwavering if they send him to Washington."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/Beltway: With timing tight for GOP's health-law repeal effort, opponents rush to mobilize -- WSJ's STEPHANIE ARMOUR; Republicans tweak Sanders over health care, but Cassidy-Graham could open a path for Sanders' bill -- WaPo's DAVID WEIGEL


OP-ED: California needs a quake warning system:


The LAT: "California can’t offer the same protection, at least for now. This tech-savvy, wealthy state has studied and experimented with a similar system, but it’s stalled at the testing stage due to money. A pending federal budget proposed by the Trump administration may cut the next allotment of $10 million to speed deployment but California representiatives from both parties want the funds restored."

"That would be the right outcome. The alert system, already tapped by BART to slow or stop trains, would be a life saver given this region’s tall odds of a major quake. Even a few seconds would give people a chance to flee buildings or huddle under a sturdy desk away from windows. Along with Mexico, Japan and Taiwan have rolled out programs that pick up tremors and shoot updates to public agencies, the media and smartphones."


 "Mexico’s second deadly earthquake in as many weeks comes with a modest consolation. The nation’s system of quake sensors dotting the shifting landscape gave a minute or two warning to residents to flee buildings before the shaking began."


Ro Khanna discusses ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, H-1B visas at town hall meeting 


East Bay Times' JOSEPH GEHA: "About 150 people turned out Wednesday evening at a town hall hosted by U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna at Ohlone College’s Jackson Theatre in Fremont. Audience members lobbed questions at the District 17 congressman about local and international issues alike."

"A topic that garnered a lot of attention was the killings and conflict taking place in Myanmar, which has led to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh. The issue has been called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, earlier this month."

"The first-term Democratic congressman said the ethnic cleansing needs to stop, and he has signed onto a letter by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, calling for Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to help put an end to the conflict."


Mueller seeks White House documents related to Trump's actions as president


The Chronicle's MICHAEL S. SCHMDT:"Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Donald Trump's most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and FBI director, according to White House officials.

Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the FBI director had relieved "great pressure" on him.

The document requests provide the most details to date about the breadth of Mueller's investigation, and show that several aspects of his inquiry are focused squarely on Trump's behavior in the White House.


READ MORE related to KremlinGate: Manafort working on Kurdish referendum opposed by US -- NYT's KENNETH P VOGEL/JO BECKERManafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign -- WaPo's TOM HAMBURGER/ROSALIND S HELDERMAN?CAROL D LEONNIG/ADAM ENTOUS; Mueller looks at what White House knew about probe of Mike Flynn -- WSJ's ARUNA VISWANATHA/REBECCA BALLHAUS/DEL QUENTIN WILBER


Here's how to help victims of Mexico City earthquake


The Chronicle's ANNIE MA :"Bay Area residents seeking to help in the recovery from a devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico City on Tuesday can do so either by donating or volunteering with a number of local and global organizations.


READ MORE related to World: Here's how to help victims of Mexico City earthquake -- The Chronicle's ANNIE MAMexico City residents whose buildings survived the 1985 quake thought they'd be safe in the next big one. They were wrong. -- LA Times' LAURA TILLMAN/RONG-GONG LIN II; S&P cuts China credit rating, citing debt -- AP; LA County rescue team deploys to Mexico to aid in earthquake recovery efforts -- Daily News' WES WOODS


After Hurricane Maria, 'Puerto Rico isn't going to be the same' 


LA Times' MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE/KURTIS LEE: "Hurricane Maria left a historic trail of destruction across Puerto Rico on Wednesday, its powerful winds carving holes in the walls of 300-year-old homes, flooding neighborhoods, sucking metal roofs off buildings, downing 100-year-old trees and leaving the entire island without power."


"In the capital of San Juan, volunteers sprang into action, assisting stranded drivers, cutting and removing downed limbs to clear the roads. Looters also took advantage of the chaos following the storm to break into furniture stores and gas stations, running past a San Juan police car with sofas and chairs. The police car did not appear to stop."

"Maria made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane packing 155-mph winds — just 2 mph short of Category 5 status — near the southern city of Yabucoa. But by Wednesday afternoon, the storm had been downgraded to a Category 2, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was continuing its westward march toward the Dominican Republic."


READ MORE related to Hurricane Season: 'We will find our island destroyed.' Hurricane Maria's rampage slams Puerto Rico -- AP


Here's why Gov. Brown should junk the presidential election bills on his desk


LA Times' GEORGE SKELTON:  "Presidential election bills are on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, sent to him by the Democratic Legislature. Both should be tossed in the trash."

"No doubt I’m in the minority on this. These bills do offer some fun, even if they’re flawed."

"One has strong pluses that are outweighed by unacceptable minuses."


Burbank Mayor Will Rogers diagnosed with liver cancer, will continue to serve


Daily News' OLGA GRIGORYANTS: "Burbank Mayor Will Rogers announced Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer."

"I don’t know if I have another week to live or another five weeks,” he told reporters at a press conference outside Burbank City Hall."


UC system will chip in at least $300,000 to help Berkeley pay security costs for controversial speakers


LA Times' TERESA WATANABE: "The University of California will chip in at least $300,000 to help UC Berkeley pay security costs for controversial speakers, an unprecedented step as criticism mounts over the financial toll the events are taking on the campus."

"Free speech is not free, it turns out,” UC President Janet Napolitano told the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau on Wednesday. She said UC would underwrite security costs through “Free Speech Week” — which begins Sunday and will feature right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and others — but that such support may not continue."

"The question, or the rock and the hard place that Berkeley is in, and other university campuses, is the value put on free speech and the safety and security issues that are implicated,” Napolitano said."


READ MORE related to Education: UC Davis ranked as one of the nation's 'greenest' colleges -- Sacramento Bee; Silicon Valley and its colleges, universities 'mismatched' and out of sync -- EdSource's JOHN FENSTERWALD


Bay Area housing report: More starter homes are coming -- OK, but who will be able to afford them? 


East Bay Times' RICHARD SCHEININ: "With the housing supply shrinking and prices climbing around the Bay Area, potential first-time homebuyers are likely to grumble, “Fuggedaboutit.” The very idea of buying a starter home in a region where the median price of a single-family house often tops $1 million seems like an antiquated concept."

"But a new study by Trulia of 100 U.S. markets asserts that the San Jose metropolitan area is where the supply of starter homes tends to kick in more than anywhere else in the nation during the autumn off-peak season."

"In reality, the increase — even in San Jose — only registers as an uptick because supply levels are “so very, very low to begin with,” said Cheryl Young, senior economist for Trulia. “So any swing you see is definitely relative to how low it already is."


Stone Mountain: The ugly past -- and fraught future -- of the biggest Confederate monument


WaPo's STEVE HENDRIX: "Of all the Confederate monuments under fire, few are more figuratively weighted — and literally fixed — than the 1,700-foot high outcropping of granite outside Atlanta with carvings of Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Jefferson Davis."

"Covering more than 17,000 square feet of mountain and 40 feet deep in the crannies, the carving is reportedly the largest flat relief sculpture in the world. Looming over a popular public park like a stone-age billboard, it was conceived by Southern Confederate groups a century ago at the birthplace of the modern Ku Klux Klan and remains an icon for white supremacists."

"Now, calls to remove what may be the planet’s largest Confederate monument have roiled Georgia’s gubernatorial election and sparked what could be the most complex of the hot-button Rebel memorial fights erupting across the country."