Brown delivers his final State of the State Address
From the SacBee's CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO: "When Jerry Brown reclaimed the governorship seven years ago, his aides took pains to stress that he had no legislative agenda, focusing instead on calming the financial upheaval that fed multibillion-dollar state budget deficits."
“Let’s not forget that Job No. 1 – make no mistake about it – is fixing our state budget and getting our spending in line with our revenue,” Brown said in his 2011 inaugural address. “Once we do that, the rest will be easy – at least easier because we will have learned to work together and earned back the respect and trust of the people we serve.”
"As the Democratic governor prepares Thursday to deliver his 16th and final State of the State – a speech generally used to chart a course for the coming year – he’ll have a another chance to shape how he’s remembered."
California sues Trump administration over fracking rules
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "California and environmental and tribal groups sued the Trump administration in San Francisco federal court Wednesday seeking to enforce Obama administration regulations of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas wells on hundreds of millions of acres of federally managed lands."
"Fracking sends blasts of water, sand and chemicals into wells to crack underground rocks and release oil and natural gas. It has greatly increased well production but also poses a risk of water and air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions."
"Rules announced by the Obama administration’s Interior Department in 2015, after five years of review, would require operators to disclose chemicals used in fracking on federal and tribal lands and would set standards for well construction, water protection and waste storage."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Bay Area reservoirs yet to 'panic' over January's last expected storm -- The Chronicle's SOPHIE HAIGNEY; Yosemite National Park gets new superintendent in Trump shuffle -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER; Exobiological searches could get a boost from biosignatures -- LA Times' AMINA KHAN; Bears burned in Southern California wildfires treated holistically, and are now back home in the wild -- AP; Once in a blue supermoon, a total lunar eclipse occurs -- Chico ER's MARISA STOLLER; Oroville Dam: Man gets nearly 10 years in evacuations case -- Chico ER's ANDRE BYIK; New lawsuit in California vs. Trump seeks to tighten rules on fracking -- Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART
Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar sentenced to 40 to 175 years for sexual assault; already faces 60 years for child pornography
LA Times' DAVID WHARTON: "In a sexual abuse scandal that has reverberated across the American sports scene, former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young gymnasts and other athletes."
"The punishment was handed down in a Michigan courtroom where Judge Rosemarie Aquilina had spent days listening to impassioned, angry statements from about 150 women — including Olympic champions — who had been victimized by Nassar."
Under pressure, UC regents delay vote to raise tuition and fees
LA Times' TERESA WATANABE: "They circulated petitions, shared their stories of hardship and pressed the University of California regents to delay a controversial vote to raise their tuition and fees."
"In the end, UC students pulled off a stunning victory when the regents voted Wednesday to put off a decision until May in order to allow time to step up pressure on the Legislature to increase state funding for the public university system."
Track the California races that could flip the House
LA Times' CHRISTINA BELLANTONI/JULIE WESTFALL/ALLISON WISK: "The stakes are high in the this year's midterm elections: control of the U.S. House. For Democrats to reclaim power, they must forge a path through California, home to 39 Democratic-held seats and 14 Republican-held ones. The party considers 10 districts here to be battlegrounds and can't win the House without winning at least a few of them."
"Retirements in Southern California have created two open-seat races that could make that task a bit easier. On the other hand, Republicans could recruit strong and experienced candidates who might fare better against a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls, many of whom are seeking office for the first time."
"Taking multiple factors into account, The Times’ California politics editors have ranked the hottest races by the intensity of the fight ahead. We’ll be updating our rankings, and subscribers to the Essential Politics newsletterwill be the first to learn what’s changed."
READ MORE related to State Politics: Will California lose a seat in Congress after the next census? You can bet Trump hopes so -- LA Times' GEORGE SKELTON; From dystopia to dogs, memorable lines from all of Gov. Jerry Brown's State of the State speeches -- LA Times' JOHN MYERS; State superintendent candidate Marshall Tuck returns donation from anti-LGBT funder -- EdSource's JOHN FENSTERWALD; 'We'll be doing a hell of a lot in the eighth year,' Brown says before last state address -- Sacramento Bee's CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO
Gov. Brown joins demand for Congress to get moving on billions in disaster aid
The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD: "California Gov. Jerry Brown joined the governors of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico on Wednesday in a letter directed to House and Senate leaders of both parties demanding action on an $81 billion disaster bill that has languished in the Senate since December."
"The governors said that while the wildfires and hurricanes that struck last fall are “no longer front page news in Washington, D.C.,” the funding is “critical to the recovery of our residents, businesses and local governments. Its continued delay only exacerbates ongoing uncertainty in devastated areas."
"The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco."
Supervisors' cunning move out of left field made Mark Farrell SF's interim mayor
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "It seemed like a bizarre move for San Francisco’s progressive supervisors: remove a self-made African American woman from City Hall’s top job and replace her with an affluent white man, the goal being to prevent rich white men from shaping city politics."
"But behind the vote to replace acting Mayor London Breed with a caretaker was a carefully orchestrated play by the board’s progressives to regain their majority and increase the chances that a candidate of their stripe wins the mayoral election on June 5."
"They courted Supervisor Mark Farrell for weeks, weaving a canny but risky plan that could have fallen apart at the last minute."
READ MORE related to Local Politics: Pomona mayor calls for review of contract with firm providing city attorney services -- Daily Bulletin's MONICA RODRIGUEZ
Trump says he'll propose a path to citizenship for 'Dreamers,' along with immigration limits, border wall
LA Times' BRIAN BENNETT: "President Trump said for the first time Wednesday that he will call for a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, many of whom now face deportation as a consequence of his past action."
"Trump told reporters that he wanted a law that would give the mostly young immigrants legal status and ultimately a way to achieve full citizenship in 10 to 12 years. The change would be part of a package, however, including new limits on legal immigration and money for his proposed southern border wall. White House officials said they would send the proposal to Congress on Monday."
Trump says he would speak to Mueller under oath in Russia investigation
The Chronicle's JOSH DAWSEY/DAVID NAKAMURA/DEVLIN BARRETT: "President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is "looking forward" to testifying under oath to Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election while also mounting a preemptive defense of potential obstruction accusations."
"I would love to do it, and I would like to do it as soon as possible," Trump told reporters at the White House. "I would do it under oath, absolutely."
"The president suggested he could be investigated for obstruction of justice as part of the Russia investigation because he was "fighting back" and reiterated there was "no collusion" between his campaign and Moscow."
US ready for 'attractive' trade deal with UK
AP: "The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):"
50 years later, captured US spy ship Pueblo serves as North Korean propaganda prize
AP: "Fifty years after it was seized by North Korea, the U.S. spy ship Pueblo is the only U.S. Navy ship held captive by a foreign government. And though mostly forgotten in the United States, the "Pueblo incident" for North Korea remains a potent symbol of military success."
"The spy ship, attacked and captured 50 years ago this week, sits in the frozen Potong River on the edge of the sprawling "Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum" complex in central Pyongyang, where thousands of North Koreans are brought each day to hear the North's version of how their country, against all odds, defeated the Americans in the 1950-53 Korean War and has been fighting off the hostile Goliath ever since."
"Amid an escalating flow of rhetorical attacks on Washington for allegedly trying to sour North-South relations ahead of next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, North Korea's state-run media have played up the anniversary as a milestone in the country's continuing struggle against the United States, now over leader Kim Jong Un's development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles."
Metro subway rider had her foot on a seat, and contentious LAPD arrest that follows is caught on video
San Gabriel Valley Tribune's STEVE SCAUZILLO: "A video showing a Los Angeles Police Department officer dragging a rider off a Metro subway train has gained millions of views on Facebook since Monday, prompting a use-of-force investigation by the department."
"In the video, an officer confronts a female rider on the subway and asks her to remove her foot from her seat, saying she was violating Metro’s conduct code."
"She vehemently resists, replying that she doesn’t have to remove her foot. The officer can be heard saying that since she disobeyed his command, she must leave the train at the next stop. In the video, the officer is seen grabbing her arm and forcefully dragging her off the train."
READ MORE related to Public Safety: No charges filed against LAPD officer who fired gun during scuffle with Anaheim teens -- Daily News' SEAN EMERY; Butte County sheriff's record unit closed Friday for training -- Chico ER; 'F--- you, judge.' Cop killer suspect tossed from court for good over latest outburst -- Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON