Oral arguments

Feb 27, 2018

Key justice is silent as Supreme Court argues case critical to CTA, other public employee unions


EdSource's JOHN FENSTERWALD: "Many eyes were on the U.S. Supreme Court’s newest member, Neil Gorsuch, on Monday as they looked for signs of how he will vote on a closely watched case that may determine whether unions like the California Teachers Association will continue to amass the members and the money that are the source of their power and influence."


"Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s first nominee to the court, offered no clues. Reports on the oral arguments (see herehere and here) said that he rested his chin in his hands and took notes but didn’t open his mouth. He and his ever-silent colleague, Clarence Thomas, were the only two justices not to speak during the hour-long hearing."


"The issue before the court: Does it violate employees’ 1st Amendment rights to make them pay compulsory fees to public employee unions, as they must do in two dozen states, including California?"


Schwarzenegger, Kasich to team up in LA for group seeking to reform California GOP


LA Times' SEEMA MEHTA: "Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will headline an event to debut a new group seeking to reform the California Republican Party."


"The pair will deliver speeches and participate in panels on March 21 in Los Angeles at an event for New Way California, a group formed by Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley)."


"They will be focused on reminding the Republican Party we need them to be successful, but in order to be successful, they need to choose policies and messaging that helps them grow rather than continue to shrink,” said Daniel Ketchell, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger."


READ MORE related to State Politics: California Democrats ask: Where's the money? -- The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS; Republican Ose quits governor's race, GOP chair wishes 1 more would -- The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI; Focus on Devin Nunes prompts group to spend money in his district -- LA Times' SARAH D. WIRE


In California, electric vehicles are heading to the fast lane


LISA RENNER in Capitol Weekly: "By the time today’s infants are in their early 30s, gasoline-powered cars that aren’t hybrids could be a rarity in California."


"That’s the goal of California policy makers who are doing their best to phase those cars out by 2050 and replace them with zero-emissions vehicles like electric cars, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles."


"Toward that end, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order in January calling for 5 million zero-emissions vehicles on the road by 2030 – a giant increase from the 350,000 on the road today."


READ MORE related to Energy & EnvironmentStudy finds 'rock moisture' spared California forest from drought -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER'Game of Floods' teaches tough climate change choices for Marin County -- The Chronicle's SOPHIE HAIGNEY; Man who went missing 6 nights in Yosemite shares survival tips on Facebook -- The Chronicle's ANNIE MA; Bay Area gets long overdue rainfall, more showers expected -- The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI; Jerry Brown signs dam inspection bill prompted by Oroville scare -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW; Rain, snow and hail pound Northern California at end of bone-dry February -- Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/BENJY EGEL; A thunderstorm dumped so much hail on Sacramento that people were building snowmen -- LA Times' ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN; Malibu bans restaurants from giving out plastic straws, stirrers and utensils -- LA Times' ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN; Seals, large percentage of deep-sea fish contaminated by microplastics -- Oceans Deeply's ERICA CIRINO; Californians are struggling to pay for rising water rates -- Water Deeply's ALASTAIR BLAND


California green-lights cars without drivers


The Chronicle's CAROLYN SAID: "California on Monday gave a green light to allowing robot cars with no drivers on state roads within weeks."


"This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California,” Jean Shiomoto, director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, said in a statement. “Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California."


"The DMV spent close to a year drafting regulations and seeking public input before submitting the rules to a legal-compliance agency, the state Office of Administrative Law, which approved them on Monday. Companies now can apply to the DMV for permits to test the driverless cars, with the first permits possible by April 2."


READ MORE related to TransportationDriverless cars are expected on California streets in April. What does it mean for you? -- Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK


Immigration authorities make arrests in Sacramento over the weekend


Sacramento Bee's ANITA CHABRIA: "Federal immigration agents detained at least four people in Sacramento on Sunday during what local activists are describing as a Northern California deportation crackdown. But ICE officials are refusing to give details."


"ICE spokesman James Schwab said the agency would not offer any comments about the detentions or any current immigration operations in the area. Instead, he provided a general statement."


"ICE focuses its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately. However, ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement," the statement read."'


READ MORE related to Immigration: OP-ED: Schaaf's ICE alert came with great risks -- The Chronicle's EDITORIAL BOARD; ICE won't confirm reported California arrests; says sanctuary cities 'not immune' -- The Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV; High court's DACA decision changes dynamics of Congress' immigration debate -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN LOCHHEAD; Supreme Court declines to decide fate of 'Dreamers' just yet -- AP's JESSICA GRESKO; Trump expected to visit California to view border wall prototypes -- WaPo; A mother and child fled Congo fearing death. ICE has held them separately for months, lawsuit says -- WaPo's DEREK HAWKINS


Trump urges lawmakers to buck NRA every once in a while


AP's LISA MASCARO/MATTHEW DALY: "President Donald Trump declared he's willing to take on the National Rifle Association over gun legislation, but Republicans who control Congress aren't so sure. They prefer to consider only modest changes to firearms limits in response to the mass shooting at a Florida high school."


"Congress returned to work Monday without following Trump's lead on any of the major initiatives he has tossed into the debate since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Despite public calls for stricter gun laws, Republican leaders have largely kept quiet after the shooting which left 17 dead and ushered in another phase in the gun debate, prompted in large part by the activism of the young survivors. Some students visited with lawmakers Monday."


"Over the weekend, Trump spent time talking to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and the White House is inviting lawmakers from both parties for meetings this week. But Trump's ideas to arm many teachers, lift the minimum age for purchasing assault rifles to 21 and impose stricter background checks were falling flat."


READ MORE related to Gun Violence Pandemic: Delta tried to find a middle ground on gun control -- only to discover there wasn't one -- LA Times' MATT PEARCE; Trump gets a seminar on federalism as governors push back on arming teachers -- WaPo's JAMES HOHMANN; Florida sheriff faces intensifying political scrutiny, calls to resign in wake of school shooting -- WaPo's MICHAEL SCHERER/AARON C. DAVIS/MARK BERMAN; Trump said he would charge a gunman. Here's what he's actually done in the face of danger. -- WaPo's ELI ROSENBERG


More California students graduate from high school, but far fewer graduate from college


EdSource's LOUIS FREEDBERG/MIKHAIL ZINSHTEYN: "California’s high school graduation rates have increased significantly in recent years, but the percentage of those students who complete their college education continues to lag, with long-term implications for the state’s future."


"That is the stark conclusion of a new report by California Competes, a policy and advocacy organization focusing on the state’s system of higher education."


“High school graduation rates are improving steadily, but college completion rates are not following suit,” the report states."


The stupidity of Trumpcare: Government will spend $33 billion more to cover 8.9 million fewer Americans, as premiums soar


LA Times' MICHAEL HILTZIK: "Those fiscal geniuses in the White House and Republican-controlled Congress have managed to do the impossible: Their sabotage of the Affordable Care Act will lead to 6.4 million fewer Americans with health insurance, while the federal bill for coverage rises by some $33 billion per year."


"Also, by the way, premiums in the individual market will rise by an average of more than 18%."


"Heck of a job."


READ MORE related to Health & Health Care: Obamacare insurance premiums to rise 18 percent next year, analysis finds -- The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO; When a Medicare drug plan formulary changes, you can appeal for an exception -- CHL's MICHELLE ANDREWS; At some California hospitals, fewer than half of workers get the flu shot -- CHL's JOCELYN WIENER


OP-ED: Two red flags that California's economy isn't as healthy as we think


SENATOR JOHN MOORLACH in a Special to the Bee: "Two recent financial tremors should caution California and its municipalities that they had better get their financial houses in order. The first came from Controller Betty Yee in her update on the state’s retiree health care liabilities."


"On January 31, she reported “the state’s cost for retiree health and dental benefits” has grown to $92 billion, up from last year’s $77 billion."


"This is only the second year she has issued this report, following the standards issued by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. But it was a $15 billion increase."


READ MORE related to Economy: Sacramento sues Wells Fargo, says bank discriminated against black and Latino borrowers -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS; Trump Organization says it has donated foreign profits to US Treasury, but declines to share details -- WaPo's DAVID A. FAHRENTHOLD/JONATHAN O'CONNELL


Oakland councilwoman, families challenge police homicide clearance rate


The Chronicle's JENNA LYONS: "Fewer people are getting away with murder in Oakland."


"That’s according to data published by federal law enforcement, which show that the city’s Police Department in one year went from one of the country’s worst agencies at clearing homicide cases to above the national average."


"In 2008, Oakland detectives solved 24 percent of homicides, according to the U.S. Justice Department. From 2011 to 2015, the city averaged a 40 percent clearance rate — still well below the U.S. big city average of 60 percent. But in an unprecedented improvement, Oakland’s clearance rate surged to 71 percent in 2016, well above the national average."


READ MORE related to Public Safety & Prisons: State Supreme Court limits length of prison time for youth offenders -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO


OP-ED: Don't let NIMBYs -- or weak-kneed politicians -- stand in the way of homeless housing


LA Times EDITORIAL BOARD: "“Homes end homelessness.” That was the simple and ultimately persuasive slogan of the Proposition HHH campaign in 2016. In November of that year, an overwhelming 77% of Los Angeles city voters opted to raise their own property taxes to pay for $1.2 billion in homeless housing — 10,000 units to be built over a decade. Politicians exulted in the win and vowed that after years of short-lived strategies and half-hearted measures, they would finally address the crisis with the resolve and the resources needed to bring it under control."


"Never in this city has so much money been available for housing the homeless. Yet the hard part is just beginning. Despite the overwhelming support for Proposition HHH, virtually everyone involved in the process now agrees that fierce NIMBY resistance to homeless housing in some communities and the lack of political will by elected officials in the face of that resistance are the biggest potential impediments to the rollout of housing on the scale and timeline needed to stem the increase in homelessness. There are more than 34,000 homeless people in the city of Los Angeles."


"We did the glitzy part, but now we have to get the work done, brick by brick, block by block” says Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents South Los Angeles. “I predict we’ll hit a wall — that we’ll get stuck."


For Asian Americans, the 2018 Winter Olympics brought unexpected joy and familiar anger


LA Times' FRANK SHYONG: "For any Asian American person who faces the constant, clumsy question of "Where are you really from?," the just-completed Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, offered us a few days of relief."


"The iconography answered the question for us: the American flag stitched on snowboarder Chloe Kim's coat and wrapped around her before the gold medal was placed around her neck. At figure skating, the announcer's voice boomed: "Mirai Nagasu from Arcadia, California!" During the commercial breaks, figure skater Nathan Chen's teeth were as white as any Coke-sponsored athletes' have ever been."


"These Olympics felt like a watershed moment because this time Asian Americans were not just members but the face of the team and among its best performers. But the joy I felt those two weeks was repeatedly interrupted by disappointment and anger at the way their stories were told."


OP-ED: The Nunes memo continues to backfire


WaPo's EDITORIAL BOARD: "REPUBLICANS HAVE conducted a campaign of misdirection and innuendo in a partisan effort to help President Trump discredit the Justice Department and the FBI. There was already ample evidence of this before Saturday. After the House Intelligence Committee finally released a Democratic responseto the notorious Nunes memo, the astonishing reality is even clearer."


"The Republicans’ central charge, embodied in the Nunes memo, was this: Federal investigators failed to fully inform judges that information in a secret surveillance warrant application against former Trump adviser Carter Page came from a biased source, a dossier containing wide-ranging allegations against Mr. Trump and his circle that former British spy Christopher Steele compiled on behalf of Democrats. The president has used these findings to argue that the Russia investigation is a politically motivated witch hunt."


"The Democrats’ response memo reveals that judges were, in fact, told that the dossier came from a source the FBI considered politically biased. Republicans shoot back that the disclosure was buried in a footnote and did not specifically name the Hillary Clinton campaign or the Democratic National Committee. How careless do they believe federal judges are? Any of the four judges (each of whom, incidentally, was appointed by a Republican) who reviewed the Page warrant could have demanded more information on the dossier’s provenance."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Bizarre legal brawl intensifies at Trump hotel in Panama -- WaPo's JOSHUA PARTLOW/DAVID A. FAHRENTHOLD; House Russia probe investigators set to question Hope Hicks, but will she answer? -- WaPo's KAROUN DEMIRJIAN; Trump's Russia outbursts steer clear of Mueller -- Politico's DARREN SAMUELSOHN; Mueller risk index warns of market declines as probe continues -- Bloomberg's SHANNON PETTYPIECE


The Roundup is compiled by Associate Editor Geoff Howard. Complaints? Comments? Suggestions? Email him at geoff@capitolweekly.net

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