Return of the drought?

Jan 30, 2018

Specter of drought looms as California's weather turns dry again


Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW: "The storms have passed and California’s dry winter has returned, raising the specter that the state could be entering another drought less than a year after the last one officially ended."


"After a brief spell of rain and snow improved California’s water conditions last week, the National Weather Service said Monday it’s forecasting at least two weeks of dry weather."


"A strong high-pressure ridge has settled over the Pacific Ocean. The ridge will block any storms from reaching the state, and “is going to stick around for a while,” said Michelle Mead, a weather service meteorologist in Sacramento."


READ MORE related to Energy & EnvironmentYou have a good seat on West Coast for viewing super blue blood moon -- Sacramento Bee's DAVID CARACCIOMidwinter looks like spring for eagles, trout, elk -- The Chronicle's TOM STIENSTRADrought deju vu: California snowpack at 30 percent of normal -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDERLake Forest hottest spot in US as January heat wave breaks records, broils SoCal -- LA Times' MELISSA ETEHAD/BRITTNY MEJIALook up! Tonight's total lunar eclipse is special in at least three ways -- LA Times' DEBORAH NETBURNAmid record heat and dry conditions, fears of another drought in California -- LA Times' RONG-GONG LIN IIThis land is Your land -- The Guardian's ALASTAIR GEECalifornia says weed-killer used in LA River is carcinogenic, Rep. Adam Schiff calls for ban -- SGV Tribune's STEVE SCAUZILLONearly 100 homes evacuated in Glendora after gas main ruptures -- SGV Tribune's CHRISTOPHER YEE


California Senate OKs bill to protect immigrants at state buildings


The Chronicle's ANNIE MA: "The California Senate approved a bill Monday that addresses concerns of federal immigration agents targeting schools and courthouses as part of enforcement practices."


"SB183, introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens (Los Angeles County), would require immigration enforcement agents to obtain a federal warrant before detaining, questioning or surveilling an individual in a state building."


"Senate Bill 183 guarantees a safe environment so students can attend classes, parents can pick up their children from school, and people can report crimes or go to court without the terror of being targeted by federal agents based on their immigration status,” Lara said."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Federal immigration agents would need warrants to enter schools and courthouses under this state bill -- LA Times' JAZMINE ULLOA; US to resume refugee admissions from 11 countries Trump deemed 'high risk' -- The Guardian's AMANDA HOLPUCH


Why $1.4 million payouts top annual pension list


CalPensions' ED MENDEL: "A half-dozen Los Angeles police and firefighters received pension payouts of $1 million or more in 2016 — two reaching $1.4 million, according to Transparent California, a watchdog database listing individual state and local government employee salaries and pensions."


"The big payout is from collecting both pay and pensions for up to five years before retirement. During that period, the pension payments go into a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP) account that earns a guaranteed 5 percent a year."


"Then at retirement the pension payments received while still on the job, and their investment earnings, can be collected as a lump sum, a roll-over retirement account, or a combination of the two."


Two LAUSD administrators out in midst of sexual harrassment accusations, report says


CITY NEWS SERVICE: "Citing confidentiality of personnel matters, Los Angeles Unified School District declined to comment Monday on a report that two administrators in its procurement division had resigned for allegedly tolerating a climate of sexual harassment."


"The Los Angeles Times reported on its website that George Silva, chief procurement officer, and Quinton Dean, deputy chief procurement officer had resigned, Dean on Jan. 11 and Silva on Jan. 12."


"Citing unnamed district sources, The Times reported that Silva and Dean were both given the option of resigning or being fired. The Times obtained a copy of an email Silva sent to his staff announcing his departure. In it, he characterized his departure as a retirement after 35 years with the district."


READ MORE related to Me Too/Boy's Club: Encino Catholic priest under investigation for alleged 'inappropriate contact' with underage girl -- Daily News' BRENDA GAZZAR; In sexual-assault cases, believing is seeing -- The Chronicle's ANN KILLION; Judge allows Arroyo High student's lawsuit vs. El Monte district after sex with science teacher -- City News Service


Californians are buying fewer guns since Trump took office


Sacramento Bee's PHILLIP REESE: "California gun sales dropped to their lowest point in five years during 2017 as potential buyers felt less anxiety about gun control measures."


"About 870,000 guns were sold in California during 2017, down by 450,000, or 35 percent, from 2016, according to a Bee review of new FBI instant background check data. In 2016, gun buyers raced to buy rifles equipped with “bullet buttons.” Those rifles, which are easier to reload, were banned at the start of 2017."


"Gun sales often rise when buyers anticipate new gun control measures following mass shootings."


Analysis: White-Collar unionization is good for everybody


The Nation's ALEX PRESS: "In a recent Atlantic article, Alana Semuels asks: “Why have high-profile organizing campaigns succeeded for white-collar workers and failed for blue-collar workers?” Semuels presents new BLS data that demonstrates the growth of white-collar unions: Union membership in professional and technical jobs grew by nearly 90,000 last year, and several white-collar occupations saw an uptick in union density, which grew from 4 percent in 2010 to 7 percent in 2017. Contrasting this with recent defeats of blue-collar unionization drives, Semuels argues that there is a growing “class divide” within organized labor. This, she argues,"


"is yet another dynamic of an increasingly bifurcated American economy. As jobs for educated workers continue to proliferate in this economy, educated workers feel secure, sure that they’ll be able to find more work if they lose their jobs. In some cases, that security may mean they feel they can advocate for a union, or stand up to employer threats to shut the workplace down if a union forms."


"But this is where Semuels’s argument reveals its flaw: White-collar workers aren’t organizing because they feel secure, but because they have more in common with precarious blue-collar workers than ever."


The unexpected role librarians are playing in Sacramento's homeless crisis


Sacramento Bee's CYNTHIA HUBERT: "For many of Sacramento’s homeless men and women, the public library is a haven from harsh weather, a primary source for bathroom facilities, a place to rest from the stress of the streets."


"Sacramento library director Rivkah Sass welcomes them all, she said, as long as their behavior is not disruptive to staff members and other patrons."


"But as the homeless crisis deepens in the capital city and around the country, libraries increasingly are seeing people with untreated mental illnesses that cause them to act oddly, or put themselves or others in danger."


READ MORE related to Housing & Homelessness: It's unclear if homeowners' insurance covers mudslide damage -- LA Times' DAVID LAZARUS; Abdul El-Sayed, the first potential Muslim-American governor in US history, aims to fix Michigan's brutal housing policies -- The Nation's DAVID DAYEN; In spite of delays, Pomona continues working towards creation of homeless shelter -- Daily Bulletin's MONICA RODRIGUEZ; San Jose neighborhoods top the nation's 'hottest' list -- Mercury news' KATY MURPHY


Help sought in identifying patient at LA County-USC Medical Center


Daily News' SUSAN ABRAM: "County health officials are asking the public for help in identifying a patient who has been hospitalized for more than five months."


"The unidentified man has been a patient at LAC+USC Medical Center since Aug. 19, when he was found by paramedics near 6th and Alvarado streets in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles."


"The man is awake “but unable to communicate his identity and carrying no ID cards,” officials from the county’s Department of Health Services said in a statement on Monday."


READ MORE related to Health & Health Care: Amazon, JPMorgan, Berkshire creating new healthcare company -- AP; America's opioid epidemic is driven by supply -- The Economist's C.K.


FAA denies an official blocked cockpit recorder review in plane mishap


Mercury News' MATTHIAS GAFNI: "The Federal Aviation Administration issued a strong denial Monday to a report that the agency’s head of flight standards, John Duncan, ordered investigators to not listen to the cockpit voice recorder from a commercial airplane that mistakenly landed on a Pullman, Washington, taxiway last month."


"A federal official familiar with the investigation made the allegation to this news organization last week. The source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation, amended the claim Monday to say the directive came from Duncan’s office in Washington, D.C."


"Mr. Duncan provided no guidance direct or indirect on whether to listen to the cockpit voice recorders in this incident,” said Greg Martin, FAA assistant administrator for communications. “Rather, we respect the statute and longstanding aviation safety protocols that govern the use of cockpit voice recorders."


'Hamid didn't want to go.' Lawyers say FBI coerced terror defendant to falsely confess


Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON/STEPHEN MAGAGNINI: "Launching an assault on the 2006 terror conviction of Lodi cherry picker Hamid Hayat, defense attorneys began playing video snippets of his recorded FBI interrogation in court Monday in a bid to show that Hayat was led into a false confession that sent him to prison for 24 years."


"The video clips show Hayat, then 22, sitting in a windowless room as FBI interrogators make suggestions to him about what his “marching orders” were when he allegedly went to a Pakistani terror training camp in 2003, and suggesting to him how he would be contacted for instructions on launching an attack."


"There’s clearly weapons training, there’s explosives training,” an agent tells Hayat in one of the videos."


READ MORE related to Public Safety & Terrorism: Court to decide whether Lodi man was wrongly convicted of terrorism -- The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ; Los Angeles's Police Chief says 'it's the right time' to retire -- NYT's MATT STEVENS


El Rancho High School teacher Gregory Salcido put on administrative leave following anti-military tirade


SGV Tribune's SANDRA T. MOLINA/HAYLEY MUNGUIA: "The El Rancho Unified School District on Monday put El Rancho High teacher and Pico Rivera Councilman Gregory Salcido on administrative leave as it moves forward with its investigation into a recording of him disparaging the military."


"The firestorm over expletive-laced remarks against the military made by Salcido continued as security was stepped up at City Hall and the school, and phones rang off the hook at both sites with callers demanding he resign both posts."


"Superintendent Karling Aguilera-Fort, school board President Aurora Villon and member Jose Lara, along with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Pat Valdez, met with school faculty to discuss safety issues in light of the controversy and how to move forward teaching students."


READ MORE related to Education: With few budget solutions in sight, Cal State administrators say another tuition increase is possible -- LA Times' ROSANNA XIA; Veterans on Twitter offer to educate Pico Rivera councilman Gregory Salcido after his anti-military rant -- SGV Tribune's SAMANTHA BUSH; Oldest child of abused 13 California sibling went to college, didn't seek help -- AP


Trump to herald economic progress in State of the Union


AP's JULIE PACE: "President Donald Trump will herald a robust economy and push for bipartisan congressional action on immigration in Tuesday's State of the Union address, as he seeks to rally a deeply divided nation and boost his own sagging standing with Americans."


"The speech marks the ceremonial kickoff of Trump's second year in office and is traditionally a president's biggest platform to speak to the nation. However, Trump has redefined presidential communications with his high-octane, filter-free Twitter account and there's no guarantee that the carefully crafted speech will resonate beyond his next tweet."


"Still, White House officials are hopeful the president can use the prime-time address to Congress and millions of Americans watching at home to take credit for a soaring economy. Though the trajectory of lower unemployment and higher growth began under his predecessor, Trump argues that the tax overhaul he signed into law late last year has boosted business confidence and will lead companies to reinvest in the United States."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: FBI's McCabe, a frequent Trump target, abruptly leaves post -- AP's ERIC TUCKER/SADIE GURMAN; House intel committee votes to release classified memo -- AP's MARY CLARE JALONICK/CHAD DAY/JONATHAN LEMIRE; Democrats to attend State of the Union with 'real people' at their sides -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD; US issues 'Putin list' of Russian politicians, oligarchs -- AP; From silent dispatch to televised spectacle -- how the State of the Union has evolved -- LA Times' MARK Z. BARABAK; With Trump under investigation, Republicans crank up heat on the investigators, vote to release controversial memo -- LA Times' CHRIS MEGERIAN/JOSEPH TANFANI; California shows how to beat Trump -- The Nation's PETER SCHRAG; Melania Trump, out of sight since report of husband's infidelity, to attend State of the Union -- NYT's KATIE ROGERS/MAGGIE HABERMAN; Some supporters fear Trump will lose hard edge in State of the Union speech -- NYT's MICHAEL D. SHEAR/JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS; There's no way Mueller will indict Trump -- The Atlantic's PAUL ROSENZWEIG; What Robert Mueller might want to ask Steve Bannon -- Vox's ANDREW PROKOP; Chris Christie to White House: Don't let Trump meet with Robert Mueller -- Washington Examiner's PETE KASPEROWICZ; Trump's first year: the ominous signs ahead -- National Review's DAN MCLAUGHLIN; Rod Rosenstein is shirking his duty to supervise Robert Mueller -- National Review's ANDREW MCCARTHY; I think Mueller's days are numbered -- Esquire's CHARLES P. PIERCE; Trump's push to fire Mueller heightens political, not legal, risk -- Bloomberg's ANDREW M. HARRIS/CHRIS STROHM; Republicans in Congress divided over protecting Mueller from being ousted by Trump -- WaPo's SEAN SULLIVAN


The Roundup is compiled by Associate Editor Geoff Howard. Comments? Complaints? Questions? Email Geoff at

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