Sayonara, senator

Feb 23, 2018

California Sen. Tony Mendoza abruptly resigns, was facing expulsion after sexual harassment investigation


LA Times' JOHN MYERS/MELANIE MASON: "Tony Mendoza, a former East Los Angeles elementary school teacher who moved swiftly from local to state government elected offices, resigned from the California Senate on Thursday just moments before his colleagues sought to formally expel him after a series of sexual misconduct accusations."


"The resignation was the culmination of an almost three-month saga that saw the Artesia Democrat stridently deny any improper conduct while accusing his fellow legislators of unfair treatment. He becomes the third state legislator to resign in the wake of allegations that have shaken the state Capitol community."


"Mendoza's resignation was announced minutes before senators were poised to consider a debate on either expelling him or suspending him without pay for the rest of the year."

Sen. Mendoza has no shame but he has plenty of campaign cash

DAN MORAIN in ther Sacramento Bee: "Sen. Tony Mendoza did not get indicted, unlike some of his predecessors."


"But he did resign on Thursday, sparing the Senate the spectacle of having to vote on whether to expel him, and himself the disgrace of being kicked out of office, something that had not occurred in the California Senate since 1905."


"Earlier, Senate investigators delivered a confidential 47-page report detailing Mendoza’s proclivities to senators. A sanitized four-page public version says he acted inappropriately by, for example, plying an under-age staffer with alcohol and trying to lure other young women staffers to his hotel room or home."

READ MORE related to Me Too: Doctor at County-USC hospital says she was sexually assaulted by a fellow physician, prompting sheriff's inquiry -- LA Times' MATT HAMILTON/SARAH PARVINI


FCC publishes net neutrality repeal, but debate goes on


The Chronicle's BENNY EVANGELISTA: "The Federal Communications Commission published its final order Thursday reversing net neutrality regulations, but there’s nothing final about the debate."


"With the repeal set to go into effect April 23, the clock now starts ticking on more rounds of a highly political debate in Congress, the courts and statehouses. While individual states, especially California, could ultimately hold the keys to replacing net neutrality provisions, the wrangling could continue for years."


"We should be prepared for a state of uncertainty in the near future over what rules will govern broadband Internet, and that is the same as it’s been mostly for the past decade,” said telecommunications attorney Travis LeBlanc, a former FCC enforcement chief."


Five officials charged with misusing public funds, burying hazardous waste at Central Valley water district


LA Times' ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN: "It started a year ago when state investigators uncovered 86 drums holding thousands of gallons of hazardous waste illegally buried in a rural Central Valley water district yard."


"Their probe quickly widened to include allegations of misconduct that were revealed in a state audit. Soon, authorities said, they discovered that officials running the Panoche Water District misused more than $100,000 in public funds on various personal items and expenses, including slot machines, concert tickets, home improvements and Porsche upgrades."


"Now, five current and former water district officials — including former General Manager Dennis Falaschi — are facing felony charges in the corruption probe, according to the California attorney general's office."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: California AG launches environmental justice unit focused on poorer communities -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE; Case closed: Oldest known cave art proves Neanderthals were just as sophisticated as humans -- LA Times' DEBORAH NETBURN; Deadline is Friday to appeal state's assessment of Proposition 1 water storage proposals -- Chico ER's STEVE SCHOONOVER; How cap-and-trade could help water districts meet conservation goals -- Water Deeply's IAN EVANS; Message in a bottle: Procter & Gamble's push to recycle ocean plastic -- Oceans Deeply's LARA SETRAKIAN/TODD WOODY


GOP candidate for state AG accused of judicial misconduct


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "The state’s judicial disciplinary agency has accused Steven Bailey, a former judge now running for California attorney general, of multiple acts of misconduct, including accepting improper gifts, steering court business to his son and using his judicial title to promote his candidacy."


"Bailey engaged in “willful misconduct in office” and conduct that “brings the judicial office into disrepute,” the Commission on Judicial Performance said Wednesday in a detailed statement of formal proceedings against the now-retired judge."


"Since Bailey has left the bench, the commission could no longer impose its most severe penalty, removal from office. But it could censure him if a panel of hearing officers upholds the charges."


READ MORE related to State Politics: Democrats fight among themselves as they work to replace Tom McClintock -- McClatchy DC's EMILY CADEI


Trump accuses California police of being soft on street gangs, and cops fire back


LA Times' KATE MATHER/CINDY CHANG/CHRISTI PARSONS: "President Trump on Thursday accused California law enforcement of being soft on street gangs and suggested he might pull immigration agents out of the state, prompting a strong rebuke from local officials who said the president doesn't understand their war on gangs."


"Trump's remarks are an escalation of a yearlong battle between his administration and California on a variety of topics including illegal immigration and law enforcement. Trump has criticized California for being a "sanctuary" for those here illegally, and federal officials have vowed immigration crackdowns in the state."


"On Thursday, Trump stepped up the war, predicting that gang members would wreak havoc if federal authorities withdrew from Los Angeles and other parts of the state."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Latest Trump tirade is threat to pull immigration officials out of California -- The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY


'Good guy with a gun': An armed deputy was outside Florida school when rampage took place but chose not to confront the shooter


LA Times' KURTIS LEE: "An armed sheriff's deputy tasked with protecting students at a Florida high school waited outside during last week's shooting massacre that killed 17 people inside, law enforcement officials said Thursday."


"Scot Peterson, who was assigned to the school as a resource officer, did not enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting, but instead decided to take position outside the school as the gunman walked the halls, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference."


"He never went in," Israel said."


READ MORE related to Gun Violence Pandemic: OP-ED: Actually, there is a clear link between mass shootings and mental illness -- LA Times' GRANT DUWE/MICHAEL ROCQUE; As gun debate roils on, teachers in this Texas school are already armed -- LA Times' MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE; Training Trump's army of gun-toting teachers wouldn't be simple or cheap -- The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN; Gun activists go on offensive at major conservative conference -- The Hill's SCOTT WONG/BEN KAMISAR; Poll: Just one-third approve of Trump's handling of Florida shooting -- The Hill's BRANDON CARTER; Trump hits CNN as 'fake news' over Florida student's claim network gave him scripted question -- The Hill's JACQUELINE THOMSEN; 'We're going to take action': Inside Trump's shifting stance on gun rights -- WaPo's ASHLEY PARKER/PHILIP RUCKER; Trump and Sacramento's sheriff are wrong about giving guns to teachers. Here's why -- Sacramento Bee's MARCOS BRETON; Trump denies break with NRA, says lobby group 'wants to do what's right' -- McClatchy DC's FRANCO ORDOÑEZ; The gun-control debate could break America -- National Review's DAVID FRENCH; An epidemic of dishonesty on the right -- National Review's KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON; The child soldiers of the gun-control war -- National Review's JONAH GOLDBERG


CCSF yet to receive any money from city to pay for Free City program


The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "More than a year after San Francisco and City College rolled out a plan to provide free tuition to all city residents, CCSF has yet to receive a single dollar to pay for the program, leaving the college short $4.1 million."


"Despite reporting a much-needed enrollment boost, attributed largely to the free-tuition promise, city officials have yet to receive any suitable invoices from CCSF that clearly satisfy all the conditions it agreed to when the free-tuition program was announced last year."


"Maria Su, director of San Francisco’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, which is responsible for cutting reimbursement checks for the Free City program, said her office has so far sent back two invoices, one of which she characterized as an “estimate.” Both times, the city returned the invoices with requests for additional details about how CCSF is implementing the program. The DCYF received a third invoice on Feb. 15, and Su said her office is reviewing it."


READ MORE related to Education: Single state agency needed to coordinate California's 'patchwork' of early childhood education programs, new report urges -- EdSource's ASHLEY HOPKINSON; Chico State students speak out against possible tuition, fee increases -- Chico ER's DANI ANGUIANO


'Hundreds of thousands of pills.' Opioid prescriptions send Granite Bay cardiologist to prison


Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON: "Nicholas J. Capos Jr. was a 1977 graduate of the Northwestern School of Medicine and a successful cardiologist with offices in Grass Valley and Yuba City."


"But he had a side business: prescribing thousands of narcotic pain pills to patients."


"In one case, Capos prescribed 2,640 hydrocodone pills to a patient over 28 days, meaning the patient would have taken 94 pills a day. In another, he prescribed 2,100 oxycodone pills to a patient over a 50-day period, which would have meant the patient was taking 42 pills a day."


READ MORE related to Health & Health Care: Ding dong! The Obamacare tax penalty is(n't) dead -- CHL's EMILY BAZAR; Evaluations of medicaid experiments by states, CMS are weak, GAO says -- CHL's PHIL GALEWITZ; Ten ERs in Colorado tried to curtail opioids and did better than expected -- CPR's JOHN DALEY


Tiny homes for Sacramento homeless could get $200M in subsidies and vacant city land


Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS: "Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg took a big step Thursday toward his plan to tackle homelessness with tiny homes."


"The mayor and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) announced Thursday they had released a request for information from local developers who could build 1,000 “efficiency homes” to help shelter the city’s growing homeless population."


"Steinberg and housing officials are offering more than $200 million in rental subsidies to developers. Those subsidies would be in the form of Section 8 housing vouchers that would provide guaranteed rental income for tiny home projects and help developers attain financing."


A's aren't giving up hope for a new Oakland ballpark


The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS: "Despite repeated setbacks and one outright rejection, the A’s aren’t giving up on any of the three potential stadium sites they’ve been working on in Oakland."


"That’s the word from team President Dave Kaval, who tells us he’s still aiming for the A’s to have a deal for a new ballpark — somewhere — by year’s end."


"“That’s kind of our deadline,” Kaval said when we reached him at the A’s spring training camp in Arizona."


Accidental 911 calls traced to Apple's Elk Grove phone repair facility


Sacramento Bee's CATHY LOCKE: "Apple's iPhone repair and refurbishing center has been identified as the source of apparently inadvertent 911 calls received by Elk Grove police and Sacramento County sheriff's dispatch centers over the past five months."


"Since October, the Elk Grove Police Department's dispatch center has been receiving about 20 non-subscriber initialized 911 calls per day, said Officer Jason Jimenez, police spokesman. The calls show no service provider for the phone, but the dispatch center has traced them to a cell tower near the Apple campus and determined that they are coming from the phone repair facility, he said."


"When the line is open, there's no sound of a struggle or an emergency," he said."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: Drinking at Cal Fire academy brings down 14 more firefighters -- Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON


Survivor to recount WWII internment


Chico ER: "Jim Tanimoto, 94-years-old, will kick off Chico Museum’s spring lecture series with his stories and stories of other Japanese-American citizens’ internment during World War II starting at 10 am. Saturday at the museum, 141 Salem St."


"The stories will be centered around camps such as Tule Lake in California. A donation of $5 is requested."


"Following the presentation, Tanimoto will lead a walk to the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology on the Chico State campus to view the exhibit, “Imprisoned at Home,” about Japanese internment during WWII."


Michelle Obama returns to Bay Area for Oracle Arena event in March


The Chronicle's ANNIE MA: "Michelle Obama returns to the Bay Area next month for an event expected to be a hot ticket."


"The former first lady will appear at Oracle Arena for a moderated conversation at 8 p.m. March 28, according to an announcement Thursday."


"Advance access to tickets sales begins at 10 a.m. Friday on Ticketmaster, and the general public will have a chance to snag seats starting 10 a.m. Monday. Prices range from $93.50 for general admission to $524 for a VIP package."


The rise and possible fall of Eric Greitens, the GOP star whose career is crumbling amid scandal


WaPo's ELI ROSENBERG: "The indictment of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday marked a stunning low point in a political career that had previously followed a sharply upward trajectory."


"The Republican governor was booked in a St. Louis jail on charges that he photographed his former hairstylist nude and attempted to blackmail the woman, with whom he was having an extramarital affair."


"Though Greitens has so far resisted resigning, the career of the man many considered to be a rising star in the GOP is on life support. His national ambitions are likely vanquished."


Mueller more than doubles criminal charges against Manafort and Gates


LA Times' CHRIS MEGERIAN/JOSEPH TANFANI: "For years, Ukraine was a lucrative source of income for Paul Manafort and Richard Gates, two high-powered American political consultants who made tens of millions of dollars wielding their talents on behalf of the pro-Moscow government in Kiev."


"But the cash dried up when political unrest forced their patron, President Viktor Yanukovych, to flee to Russia in 2014. So, according to a 32-count federal indictment filed Thursday by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Manafort and Gates turned to fraud."


"The indictment dramatically expands the legal jeopardy that Manafort, President Trump's former campaign manager, and Gates, Manafort's longtime business partner and Trump's former deputy campaign manager, now face in court. They were previously charged with 12 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering on Oct. 30, and they pleaded not guilty."


Russian approval lead to attack on US troops in Syria


WaPo's ELLEN NAKASHIMA/KAREN DEYOUNG/LIZ SLY: "A Russian oligarch believed to control the Russian mercenaries who attacked U.S. troops and their allies in Syria this month was in close touch with Kremlin and Syrian officials in the days and weeks before and after the assault, according to U.S. intelligence reports."


"In intercepted communications in late January, the oligarch, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, told a senior Syrian official that he had "secured permission" from an unspecified Russian minister to move forward with a "fast and strong" initiative that would take place in early February."


"Prigozhin made front-page headlines last week when he was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of bankrolling and guiding a long-running Russian scheme to conduct "information warfare" during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Why Richard Gates is a key player in the Mueller probe -- The Hill's MORGAN CHALFANT/OLIVIA BEAVERS; Rubio at pivotal moment on guns -- The Hill's JORDAIN CARNEY; Kelly, McMaster could soon resign over friction with Trump: Reuters -- The Hill's BROOKE SEIPEL; Mueller and Trump: Born to wealth, raised to lead. Then, sharply different choices. -- WaPo's MARC FISHER/SARI HORWITZ; Rick Gates, Trump Campaign aide, to plead guilty in Mueller inquiry and cooperate -- NYT's MARK MAZZETTI/MAGGIE HABERMAN; Sources: Mueller probe stymies kushner security clearance -- CNN's SHIMON PROKUPECZ/JEREMY DIAMOND/DANA BASH; An 'unwitting' standout of the Mueller indictment -- WSJ's BEN ZIMMER

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