Power cut looms

Oct 22, 2019

PG&E plans another big blackout. Here's how many Californians could lose power


Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/MACK ERVIN III: "Get ready for another major blackout, courtesy of PG&E Corp."


"The troubled utility warned Monday that it could shut power Wednesday night to as many as 209,000 households and businesses to safeguard portions of its grid from gusting winds and the threat of a major wildfire."


"Just ten days ago, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. finished restoring power to the last of 738,000 customers after an unprecedented mass blackout that affected portions of 35 counties. The outage left an estimated 1.5 million Northern and Central Californians without power."


READ MORE related to Energy & Blackouts: Frustrated with PG&E, San Jose proposes forming own utility -- Sacramento Bee's MALLORY MOENCH; Are you on PG&E's power outage list? These cities can go dark starting Wednesday -- The Chronicle's STAFF


How Sacramento failed to monitor its cannabis storefronts, as the FBI steps in


Sacramento Bee's THERESA CLIFT/RYAN SABALOW/DALE KASLER: "Sacramento’s legal marijuana business began as a loose-knit group of independently managed, nonprofit collectives dedicated to dispensing cannabis to patients with medical needs. Sacramento had a green future."


"A decade later, the pot industry has transformed into a corporate affair dominated by a handful of investors, including a Ukrainian-born businessman indicted this month on campaign finance charges along with two close associates of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer."


"Last week, the city learned that the FBI is investigating whether pot business owners in Sacramento have bribed local officials in exchange for favorable treatment. And Mayor Darrell Steinberg has called for an audit into cannabis licensing in Sacramento. The state of California is doing its own review."


CA120: Local redistricting comes into the daylight


From PAUL MITCHELL in Capitol Weekly: "California has become a model for non-partisan, transparent, open and fair redistricting."


"The state commission’s focus on legitimate redistricting practices — like enforcing the federal Voting Rights Act, preserving communities of interest, reducing any splitting of cities and counties, even drawing lines without regard to partisanship or incumbency — have earned praise among policymakers and researchers around the country."

"The transparency, public engagement, outreach to communities of interest, dissemination of mapping options and clear communication of rationale has forever changed redistricting and the public’s view of their place in the process."


Court in SF upholds secret reasons for putting people on federal no-fly list


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the government’s largely secret criteria for its no-fly list, which since 2001 has prevented tens of thousands of people from boarding commercial aircraft flying to, from or over the United States."


"The list consists of individuals who, in the judgment of the Transportation Safety Administration, present a “reasonable suspicion” that they will commit terrorist acts. It contained 81,000 names as of June 2016 and has been plagued by false positives — the names of children and several members of Congress, including Sens. Ted Kennedy and Ted Stevens."


"The agency kept virtually all aspects of the operation secret until 2015, when the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said people barred from flying were entitled to learn whether they were on the list and to receive a summary of the reasons, without revealing classified information."


California Independents can cast ballots for Democrats -- but not Trump -- in March primary


LA Times's JOHN MEYERS: "California voters who are unaffiliated with a political party will be able to participate in the Democratic presidential primary next year, but they will be prohibited from casting ballots for President Trump or any possible Republican challenger, according to information released Monday by state elections officials."


"Those rules are made by the individual political parties, not the state. And while the split decision by Democrats and Republicans isn’t new — the same conclusion was reached in elections past — it’s a reminder of the somewhat confusing rules that cover primaries in the nation’s largest voting state."


"As we enter the fifth election cycle under the ‘top-two primary’ system, California voters have become increasingly accustomed to voting for the candidates of their choice regardless of political party preference,” said Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a written statement. “The presidential primary, however, remains the exception."


Californians pay too much for gas, and Newsom wants an investigation


Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "Gov. Gavin Newsom called for an investigation into high fuel prices after the California Energy Commission released a report Monday detailing unexplained cost increases at name-brand gas stations."


"The report showed Californians pay as much as 30 cents more per gallon of gas than people in other states for unclear reasons."


"The commission found that even though name-brand stations have raised their prices, they have not lost market share to stations charging less, and the energy commission wasn’t able to determine why. It identified Chevron, Shell, Exxon, 76, Valero, Costco, and ARCO as brands that advertise higher quality gasoline."


CalPERS pulls millions of dollars out of immigrant detention companies


Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "CalPERS has sold its stock in two private prison companies that operate detention facilities at the southern U.S. border for the federal government."


"While the sale pleased advocates who have called for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to divest from the companies, the $380 pension billion fund isn’t calling it divestment."


"It was an investment decision based on what is best for the fund,” CalPERS spokesman Wayne Davis said."


Want to vote Republican for president in California? You can't be registered 'decline to state'


Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "California 5.6 million “no party preference” voters won’t get to vote in the Republican presidential primary election next year."


"The California Secretary of State’s Office announced Monday that three parties will have primaries open to those who listed their political affiliation as “no party preference:” the Democratic Party, the Libertarian Party and the American Independent Party."


"The Republican Party, the Green Party and the Peace and Freedom Party require voters to be registered with their party in order to vote in their primaries. They do not allow so-called cross-over voting."


Ruth Ginsburg visits UC Berkeley, recounts her fights for women's rights


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "In 1996, the Virginia Military Institute was defending its all-male enrollment. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recalled that moment on Monday by asking, rhetorically, “What woman would want to go there?"


"Ginsburg, who had devoted much of her legal career to equal rights for women — as an advocate in landmark sex-discrimination cases, and, in 1993, as the second woman ever appointed to the high court — had an answer."


"Regardless of how the military institute’s “unique educational benefit … serves the state’s sons, it makes no provision whatsoever for her daughters,” she wrote in a 7-1 ruling that opened the doors of one of the nation’s last all-male universities to women. She visited the school recently, Ginsburg said, and female students told her “they like the same rigorous training” as their male classmates."


Ex-Silicon Valley venture capitalist, wife plead guilty in admissions scandal


The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "The former head of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm and his wife pleaded guilty Monday to their role in the sweeping college admissions scandal, admitting to shelling out $450,000 for cheating on their daughters’ entrance exams and a phony recruitment to the Georgetown University tennis team."


"Manuel Henriquez, the former CEO and chairman of Hercules Capital, and his wife, Elizabeth Henriquez, both of Atherton, entered their pleas a few hours apart in federal court in Boston. Manuel Henriquez stepped down from his role at Hercules after the scandal broke earlier this year."


"The couple are among the latest parents to admit guilt in the case that federal authorities called “Operation Varsity Blues.” It ensnared actors, business moguls and entrepreneurs, including a handful of Bay Area residents."


Blatantly racist billboard attacking SF Mayor London Breed slammed by local leaders


The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN/DOMINIC FRACASSA: "A group of elected San Francisco leaders rallied Monday to protest a billboard they say is racist and unfairly attacks Mayor London Breed."


"The billboard, at the corner of Dore and Howard streets between Ninth and 10th streets, features a mural-like cartoon depicting Breed in a red dress, barefoot with her feet on a desk, smoking a cigar and counting a stack of cash, as a thought bubble suggests she’s thinking of homeless people standing in line and wearing numbered tags."


"The billboard also features a man with cash in his hand carrying away a young girl, along with the words, “Stop slavery and human trafficing (sic) in SF."


Black mold is festering in California prisons, but the feds won't test it


Sacramento Bee's KATE IRBY: "Hundreds of correctional officers across the U.S. are working in prisons – including two in California – with mold growing in areas constantly populated by both officers and inmates."


"Prison leaders have allowed the mold to fester for years in some cases, refusing to test it. That’s due to Bureau of Prisons policy, not bureaucratic incompetence."


"Top union officials for correctional officers said prison leaders have balked at exterminating mold – making promises they never keep and refusing to hire contractors who can adequately eliminate it."


Panhandling ban gets nod from BART lawyers, but debate rages among directors 


The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "A ban on panhandling in BART trains wouldn’t violate the First Amendment, the agency’s staff said in a new legal analysis that rattled an already tense debate among board directors."


"It’s the latest development in a fight that keeps flaring up, as officials weigh the rights of people to entertain and ask for money against the rights of riders to be left alone. Supporters of panhandling restrictions say the practice intimidates and aggravates commuters. Opponents fear such a law would penalize poor people and street artists, including some who create a vibrant atmosphere at BART."


"Transit agencies in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago and Seattle already prohibit panhandling in their paid areas. They permit busking and other forms of artistic expression in designated spaces within the transit system, though in Atlanta, any such activity must be approved by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority."


"You people with this phony Emoluments Clause': Cabinet meeting turns into 71 minutes of Trump grievances


LA Times's ELI STOKOLS/ALEXA DIAZ: "President Trump, trying to dig out from political holes of his own making, held forth for 71 minutes Monday during what was ostensibly a Cabinet meeting, but ended up being a familiar torrent of grievance, defensiveness and expansive statements about his view of his own powers."


"However familiar Trump’s brash hyperbole has become, his statements to a room filled with Cabinet members, aides and reporters were still eye-catching: Trump asserted his selective regard for the Constitution to which he’d sworn an oath and casually dismissed a clause he appeared to violate in trying to award next year’s Group of 7 summit to his own Doral, Fla., golf resort."


"You people with this phony Emoluments Clause,” Trump said, rhetorically dispatching the portion of the Constitution that bars federal officials from taking emoluments, or forms of payment or profit, from any “king, prince or foreign state."