Suit by 22 state attorneys general seeks to block FCC's net neutrality repeal
LA Times' JIM PUZZANGHERA: "A group of 22 Democratic state attorneys general, including those from California and New York, filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of tough net neutrality rules for online traffic."
"The suit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, argues that the vote last month along party lines by the Republican-controlled FCC was an “arbitrary and capricious” change to regulations enacted by Democrats in 2015."
"Those rules were designed to ensure the uninhibited flow of online content. They prohibited AT&T Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and other broadband and wireless internet service providers from selling faster delivery of certain data, slowing speeds for specific video streams and other content, and blocking or otherwise discriminating against any legal online material."
Trump's revenge on California: The Census
Politico's DAVID SIDERS: "Fear is rising among Democrats over the prospect that President Donald Trump’s hard line on immigration might ultimately cost California a seat in Congress during the upcoming round of reapportionment."
"Top Democrats here are increasingly worried the administration’s restrictive policies — and the potential inclusion of a question about citizenship on the next U.S. census — could scare whole swaths of California’s large immigrant population away from participating in the decennial count, resulting in an undercount that could cost the state billions of dollars in federal funding over the next decade and, perhaps, the loss of one of its 53 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives."
"The fears are well-founded: According to the population formula used by Congress to distribute House seats every 10 years, California is currently on the bubble in 2020, on the verge of losing a seat for the first time in its history."
CA120: North versus South in 2018 primary
Capitol Weekly's PAUL MITCHELL: "With five months to the 2018 gubernatorial primary election, there is a natural tendency to try and find the single major factor that will determine the outcome."
"Will it be Donald Trump, absentee voters, young people, the gas tax, racially polarized voting, the open primary, North versus South, the growing number of independent voters, the new registrants since President Trump was elected, or 25% of the electorate who registered to vote in 2016?"
"The fact is, it will be all of these things."
LAO: A summary of the governor's 2018-19 budget
LEGISLATIVE ANALYST'S OFFICE: "The Governor’s 2018‑19 proposed budget places a high priority on building reserves. To that end, the Governor proposes a total reserve balance of nearly $16 billion, including an optional $3.5 billion deposit into the state’s rainy day fund. We believe the Governor’s continued focus on building more reserves is prudent in light of economic and federal budget uncertainty. In considering the Governor’s proposal, we advise the Legislature to first set its own optimal level of reserves in preparation for a future recession."
"Under the administration’s estimates, there are sizeable resources available to allocate within the constitutionally required funding guarantee for schools and community colleges. The governor makes a few major decisions in allocating these funding amounts. These include: (1) fully funding the implementation of the K‑12 Local Control Funding Formula, (2) increasing community college apportionments and implementing a new allocation formula, and (3) creating a new high school career technical education program."
"After setting aside reserves and fulfilling constitutionally required spending, the governor uses some discretionary funds for a variety of new infrastructure projects. While these proposals have merit, the Legislature may wish to consider whether it has a different set of priorities for infrastructure spending. Moreover, while many of the infrastructure proposals in the governor’s budget include relatively small spending amounts for 2018‑19, some carry growing and significant costs in later years."
If the government shuts down Friday, how will it affect you?
SGV Tribune's JOHN WOOLFOLK: "The federal government has shut down more than a dozen times in the last four decades, and the next could begin Friday at 9 p.m. California time if lawmakers hung up on immigration differences cannot reach an agreement on a spending plan."
"What will that mean? No, Uncle Sam doesn’t close up shop completely in a shutdown. Social Security and Medicare payments continue, food stamps still get distributed, and activities related to national security, such as the military, air traffic control and air passenger screening, go on. However, although soldiers are expected to show up for duty, their pay could be interrupted and Congress would have to approve paying them retroactively, as it did the last time the government shut down."
"The ax tends to fall on federal functions deemed non-essential, even if they are high-profile. National parks like Yosemite close, putting a crimp not only on vacationers’ plans but on local businesses dependent on the tourism they generate. The Smithsonian museums go dark. And passport processing grinds to a halt."
California bullet train cost surges by $2.8B: 'Worst-case scenario has happened'
LA Times' RALPH VARTABEDIAN: "The estimated cost of building 119 miles of bullet train track in the Central Valley has jumped to $10.6 billion, an increase of $2.8 billion from the current budget and up from about $6 billion originally."
"The new calculation takes into account a number of intractable problems encountered by the state rail agency. It raises profoundly difficult questions about how the state will complete what is considered the nation’s largest infrastructure project with the existing funding sources."
"The new estimate was presented Tuesday by Roy Hill, who leads the main consulting firm on the project, WSP (formerly Parson Brinckerhoff). Hill said the cost increases were mainly driven by problems including higher costs for land acquisition, issues in relocating utility systems, the need for safety barriers where the bullet trains would operate near freight lines and demands by stakeholders for the mitigation of myriad issues."
With Ed Royce retiring, Mt. SAC trustee Jay Chen says he'll run for Congress
SGV Tribune's STEVE SCAUZILLO: "Democrat Jay Chen, a Mount San Antonio College board member and Hacienda Heights resident, has announced he is running for the open seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton."
"Chen, 39, a businessman and real estate investor, joins six other Democrats vying for the hotly contested 39th Congressional District seat held by the Republican lawmaker for 26 years."
"The college trustee is the only candidate in the race so far to have run against Royce. Chen ran a vigorous campaign in 2012 but lost by 15 percentage points."
'New California' campaign aims to separate rural counties from coastal cities
SFGate's ALYSSA PEREIRA: "Two men frustrated with what they call an "ungovernable" California have launched a new campaign to divide the rural areas of the state from its coastal cities."
"Founders of the "New California" movement, Robert Paul Preston and Tom Reed, write on the campaign's website that California is "a failed state" and that "citizens of California are living under a tyrannical form of government that does not follow the California and U.S. Constitutions."
"The campaign cites high taxes, and a decline in housing, health care, prisons, state parks, education, and "business climate," among other things, in both high-density and rural areas as reasons for a division."
As Montecito cleanup continues, a search for where to dump thousands of tons of mud
LA Times' ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN/MELISSA ETEHAD/JAVIER PANZAR: "For days, crews have filled dozens of dump trucks with tangled metal, tire tread, mud and tree branches they cleared from the mudslide wreckage in Montecito."
"This week they discarded at least 3,500 tons — or about 7 million pounds — of the muck at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, where it will be stored temporarily until crews can sort through it."
"But with the total haul increasing by the hour, officials are facing a daunting challenge: where to dump thousands of tons of debris."
READ MORE related to Environment: South LA commission backs stiff new rules for oil site near USC -- LA Times' EMILY ALPERT REYES; Deeply Talks: Water outlook 2018 -- Water Deeply's IAN EVANS; Seven ideas for fixing water in the United States -- Water Deeply's IAN EVANS; Weather extremes shaking up fouling communities in urban estuaries -- Environmental Monitor's KARLA LANT; Three fresh storms aimed at Sacramento, Sierra -- Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER; What does California's future look like? Scientists asked trees -- Massive Science's DANIEL ACKERMAN; Central Valley irrigation districts team up to boost water levels -- Western FarmPress's TODD FITCHETTE; State inches closer to downsizing Delta tunnels project -- Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW; Suit targets California over deadly mudslides -- AP's CHRISTOPHER WEBER
LA Sheriff's deputy who taught criminal reform program allegedly ran drugs with student
Pasadena Star News' JASON HENRY: "A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who taught life skills to the formerly incarcerated through a county program is now suspected of working with a former student to transport 45 pounds of cocaine and 13 pounds of methamphetamine from Pasadena to Las Vegas."
"Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Collins, of Chino, and three others allegedly agreed to take $250,000 from an undercover FBI agent in exchange for providing security for the caravan, according to the Department of Justice. Their arrest near the Rose Bowl on Tuesday followed two other faked drug transports that were part of the same sting, according to the indictment filed in federal court last week."
"We’re cops,” Collins allegedly told the agent. “All of our transports make it through."
READING MORE related to Public Safety: Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones changes mind, is running for re-election -- CapRadio's BOB MOFFITT
Sentencing delayed for supplier of weapons in San Bernardino terrorist attack
The Press-Enterprise's GAIL WESSON: "The sentencing of Enrique Marquez Jr. on a conviction that includes supplying rifles to those responsible for the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack, has been delayed about three months until April, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday, Jan. 16."
"The sentencing had been set for Feb. 26, but Marquez’ attorney, Young J. Kim, a deputy federal public defender, sought a delay to allow a terrorism expert hired by the defense more time to prepare for a presentation at the sentencing, according to a defense motion."
"The motion was filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside and opposed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which said it’s the defense’s third request for a postponement. Government attorneys expressed concern that a delay “takes an emotional and logistical toll on the victims” of the attack, their loved ones and the public."
Five SF supervisors seek commercial property tax hike to pay for more housing
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "Five San Francisco supervisors joined forces Tuesday to put a measure on the June 5 ballot that would raise about $100 million a year to pay for 10,000 low- and middle-income housing units and shelter accommodations for the city’s homeless population over the next decade."
"The ballot measure, dubbed “Housing for All,” asks voters to raise the tax levied on commercial property owners to 2 percent, a 1.7 percent increase. There would be some exemptions for spaces rented to nonprofits and retailers, including an offset for property owners bringing in less than $1 million per year in rent payments."
"The initiative — signed by Supervisors Ahsha Safaí, Jeff Sheehy, Malia Cohen, Katy Tang and Mark Farrell — would need the approval of two-thirds of voters to pass. City law allows for ballot measures to be introduced if four or more supervisors agree to be sponsors. The measure, which was also supported by acting Mayor London Breed, had been championed by Ed Lee until his unexpected death last month."
READ MORE related to Housing & Homelessness: US vs. Brea home values: How do they compare? -- OC Register's JONATHAN LANSNER
Maxine Waters (and who else?) will boycott Trump's State of the Union
Daily News' KEVIN MODESTI: "When President Trump delivers his State of the Union Address later this month, Rep. Maxine Waters plans to make her absence felt."
"Waters, a Democrat and persistent Trump antagonist who represents part of the Los Angeles area and South Bay, said she’ll register her disgust with the president by boycotting his Jan. 30 speech to a joint session of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate."
"Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar, to someone who lies in the face of facts, to someone who can change their tune day in and day out?” Waters said Friday in an interview on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes."
Reagan Ranch has transformed into a spawning ground for young conservatives
LA Times' PHIL WILLON: "One by one, chatty teenagers in jeans walked across the stone patio that Ronald Reagan built by hand to ring the bell at the former president’s coastal mountain ranch. Nancy Reagan tugged on that same rope decades ago to call her husband home for lunch when he was out horseback riding or working in the stable."
"On a bright fall day, the Virginia-based Young America’s Foundation shuttled in nearly 100 teenagers from 46 different states for a three-day conference at Rancho del Cielo, hoping to summon Reagan’s spirit. There the budding young conservatives spent half a day touring the ranch, and the rest of the time listening to a long lineup of right-wing speakers at the Reagan Ranch conference center in Santa Barbara."
WaPo's KAROUN DEMIRJIAN/CAROL D LEONNIG/ROSALIND S HELDERMAN: "Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has subpoenaed former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to appear before a grand jury, a move that indicates his broad investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 campaign is far from wrapping up."
"The subpoena was issued last week, according to a person familiar with the situation, who said that Bannon expects to be able to persuade the special counsel's office to accept a voluntary interview of Bannon by prosecutors in place of a grand jury appearance."
"The news of Mueller's action, which was first reported by the New York Times, came on the same day that the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to Bannon for refusing to answer a range of questions from investigators during a combative closed-door interview, frustrating members of both parties who are probing the Trump campaign's alleged Russia ties."
READ MORE related to KremlinGate/POTUS45: Trump campaigned to remove the GOP's 'shackles.' Instead, he's often wearing them -- LA Times' NOAH BIERMAN; White House doctor says Trump scored perfect marks on cognitive test, needs to lose weight -- LA Times' NOAH BIERMAN
Volkswagen sells record 10.74 million vehicles in 2017
AP: "German automaker Volkswagen had record sales of 10.74 million vehicles last year, but saw its bid to keep the title of world's largest carmaker reportedly disputed by the rival Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance."
"Volkswagen sales rose 4.3 percent from 10.30 million in 2016, when Volkswagen passed Japanese rival Toyota to become the globe's largest auto producer for that year."
"The figures show the Wolfsburg-based company continuing its effort to move past a scandal that broke in September 2015 over cars it had rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests. Sales last year were boosted by a strong December, when sales rose 8.5 percent. For the year, the company saw big jumps in Russia and Brazil, and significant gains in China and the United States."
In Perris, a house of horrors hidden in plain sight
LA Times' PALOMA ESQUIVEL/HAILEY BRANSON-POTTS/ANNA M. PHILLIPS: "It was usually after midnight when Mike Clifford spotted the children from the house across the street."
"Some nights, he’d see about six children — none of whom looked older than 15 — getting into a passenger van with their father and wonder where they could possibly be going at such an hour. Other nights, he’d see them through a second-story window in the Murrieta house, walking in circles for long periods of time."
"Clifford, an aerospace machinist who works late shifts, tried to make sense of what he saw. Maybe the children had special needs. Maybe the repetitive circling was therapeutic. Maybe it was just their routine."
READ MORE related to House of Horrors: Physical, psychological recovery for Perris children expected to be long-term -- SGV Tribune's BRIAN ROKOS; Family members of couple accused of torturing 13 children learned of allegations from reporters -- Daily News' ROXANA KOPETMAN
Blaze Bernstein's parents say killing could be hate crime; suspect used gay slur
OC Register's TONY SAAVEDRA/KELLY PUENTE: "The parents of Blaze Bernstein, a pre-med student who was stabbed repeatedly and dumped in a shallow grave in Lake Forest, say his death might be a hate crime."
"If the death is prosecuted as a hate crime, it could bring a stricter sentence."
"Documents show the suspect, Samuel Lincoln Woodward, used a gay slur to describe their son while talking to Orange County Sheriff’s investigators."
READ MORE related to Blaze Bernstein Tragedy: Blaze Bernstein stabbed at least 20 times in possible act of rage -- OC Register's TONY SAAVEDRA/KELLY PUENTE
More actors expressing regret about working with Woody Allen
AP's JAKE COYLE: "A growing number of actors are distancing themselves from Woody Allen and his next film, heightening questions about the future of the prolific 82-year-old filmmaker in a Hollywood newly sensitive to allegations of sexual misconduct."
"Timothee Chalamet on Tuesday said he will donate his salary for an upcoming Woody Allen film to three charities fighting sexual harassment and abuse: Time's Up, the LGBT Center in New York and RAINN. The breakout star of "Call Me By Your Name" announced on Instagram that he didn't want to profit from his work on Allen's "A Rainy Day in New York," which wrapped shooting in the fall."
"I want to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the brave artists who are fighting for all people to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve," said Chalamet."
READ MORE related to #MeToo/Boy's Club: She wanted to go slow; he wanted to go fast. She told the world. Is Aziz Ansari a victim or a perpetrator? -- LA Times' ROBIN ABCARIAN
Charles Manson's grandson ramps up fight for serial killer's remains, estate
SGV Tribune's OLGA GRIGORYANTS: "The grandson of Charles Manson is asking a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to grant him the right to claim the mass murderer’s body and his estate."
"Jason Freeman, the son of the late Charles Manson Jr. and the grandson of Manson and his first wife, Rosalie Willis, filed documents with the probate court Friday, seeking control of his grandfather’s estate, his attorney Alan Davis said."
"Freeman’s claim comes as a legal battle begins over what to do with Manson’s remains and who has rights to what he’s left behind."