Cleaning out coal

Mar 9, 2018

Despite Trump, renewable power pushing out coal


FairWarning's PAUL FELDMAN in Capitol Weekly: "Despite the Trump Administration’s ardent support of coal over renewable energy, the percentage of U.S. electricity from renewable sources continued its gradual rise in 2017."


"Wind, solar and hydroelectric energy accounted for 16 percent of power production during President Trump’s first year in office, up from 13 percent in 2016 and nearly double the level when Barack Obama became president in 2009, according to a Natural Resources Defense Council analysis."


"California ranks first among the 50 states in its capacity of solar energy, and ties for first with Nevada in the percentage its in-state, solar power generation, while ranking fourth in wind power. Texas, meanwhile, leads the nation in wind power production."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: What scientists found trapped in a diamond: a type of ice not known on earth -- LA Times's DEBORAH NETBURNAmid rains, drought fears loom -- Capitol Weekly's JESSICA HICE; These Chinook almost went extinct during California's drought. Can this $100 million plan save them? -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW; Tom Stienstra's favorite winter hikes in California -- The Chronicle's TOM STIENSTRA; Hatchery-raised salmon released into Sierra creek to save endangered species -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE; California fish experts: Delta Tunnels could help save native species -- Water Deeply's ALASTAIR BLAND; Sunk costs: debt-for-ocean a new tool for marine conservaation -- Oceans Deeply's IAN EVANS


It's the U.S. vs. California -- who's got the winning case?


Sacramento Bee's STEPHEN MAGAGNINI/ANITA CHABRIA: "In the case of the United States versus California, who will win?"


"The fight over how undocumented immigrants in California are treated is now a matter for federal courts to decide after the Trump administration this week sued the state to invalidate a trio of "sanctuary" laws."


"The state argues it can’t be forced to act as a federal immigration enforcer and that its laws are necessary to protect its estimated 2.6 million undocumented residents, maintain community trust and shield its economy."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Trump calls Oakland mayor's immigration warning 'a disgrace' -- The Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV; Video of woman being pulled away from her daughters in immigration arrest sparks anger -- LA Times's ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN; As Trump visits models in California for his proposed border wall, a town recalls its own history with fences -- LA Times's CINDY CARCAMO


Hugging banned for California lawmaker after harassment investigation


Sacramento Bee's TARYN LUNA/ALEXEI KOSEFF: "The California Senate has reprimanded Sen. Bob Hertzberg and told him to stop initiating his trademark hugs after an investigation determined that his behavior made two female legislators and a male sergeant-at-arms uncomfortable."


"You cannot solve the problem by asking someone if a hug is unwelcome or welcome because a person may not feel comfortable telling you it is unwelcome," the Senate Rules Committee wrote to Hertzberg in a letter released Thursday. "Any further similar behavior will result in the Rules Committee recommending more severe discipline."


"The Senate launched an investigation into Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat, after former Assemblywoman Linda Halderman alleged in mid-December that he pinned her in his arms and thrust his groin into her, describing the encounter in a Capitol hallway shortly after she was elected in 2010 as an assault. Two sitting lawmakers came forward and said Hertzberg's hugs crossed a line for them, too."


Stronger rent control supported by just one major candidate for California governor


Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART: "Delaine Eastin is the only major candidate for California governor to unequivocally support a potential November ballot measure that would allow stronger local rent control laws across the state."


"Eastin, a Democrat and former state schools chief, said she supports the outright repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents rent control ordinances from applying to housing built after 1995, as well as single-family homes, duplexes and condos."


"It hasn't worked and it's time to repeal it," Eastin said at a candidate forum Thursday hosted by the advocacy nonprofit Housing California. Proponents of repeal, financed in part by Los Angeles activist Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, have gathered more than 250,000 of the 365,880 signatures they need to qualify by next month."


READ MORE related to State PoliticsHere are the most liberal spots in California -- Sacramento Bee's PHILLIP REESE; Here are the most conservative spots in California -- Sacramento Bee's PHILLIP REESE


Why veteran Yolo County supervisor isn't running for re-election


Sacramento Bee's BENJY EGEL: "Matt Rexroad will not run for re-election this June after serving 12 years on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, he announced via Twitter on Wednesday."


"Rexroad hadn't made up his mind until Wednesday morning, he said, when he sat down with his wife, Jenn, and talked about the upcoming race against Woodland resident Meg Stallard."


"Ideological differences between the two ensured a bitter campaign, he said, and "life is too short for that stuff."


READ MORE related to Local Politics: He has support from local Democrats. Does he stand a chance against Sheriff Scott Jones -- Sacramento Bee's NASHELLY CHAVEZ; Who's who in the District 8 race -- Sheehy, Mandelman impersonate each other -- The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN


With Supreme Court challenge, tech billionaire could dismantle beach access rights -- and a landmark coastal law


LA Times's ROSANNA XIA: "The California Coastal Act for decades has scaled back mega-hotels, protected wetlands and, above all, declared that access to the beach was a fundamental right guaranteed to everyone."


"But that very principle could be dismantled in the latest chapter of an all-out legal battle that began as a local dispute over a locked gate."


"On one side, property owner and Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla wants Martins Beach, a secluded crescent-shaped stretch of sand and bluffs, to himself. On the other, generations of beachgoers demand continued access to a path long used by the public. The squabble has spurred a spate of lawsuitsthat now focus on whether Khosla needs state permission to gate off the road — and a string of California courts has said he does."


The economy added 313,000 jobs in February, beating expectations


WaPo's DANIELLE PAQUETTE: "The U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs in February, smashing expectations, according to Friday’s employment reportfrom the Bureau of Labor Statistics."


"The unemployment rate held steady for the fifth straight month at 4.1 percent, an 18-year low. Average hourly pay, meanwhile, grew by 2.6 percent from this time last year, a slight drop from January's year-over-year improvement of 2.9 percent."


"In the coming months, however, “we should expect longer-term wage growth with the unemployment rate as low as it is,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at, a financial services firm in New York. “We also keep adding a healthy number of jobs on a monthly basis, and that doesn’t look like it will end any time soon."


Trump tariffs bump up costs for California businesses 


The Chronicle's DAVID R. BAKER: "Most of the aluminum Claudia Wentworth’s company uses to make rooftop solar panel racks in Walnut Creek comes from the United States."


"It is precisely the kind of American product that President Trump’s new tariffs on imported aluminum and steel are designed to protect."


"But while the tariffs, imposed by orders that Trump signed Thursday, may benefit domestic metal producers, they will raise costs for Wentworth’s company, Quick Mount PV. Aluminum prices, she said, are already rising."


Berkeley 4th Street developer plans to use new housing law to bypass review


The Chronicle's JK DINEEN: "The battle over a proposed housing project on a parking lot across the street from Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto restaurant in West Berkeley escalated Thursday when the builder became the first in California to invoke a new state law that allows residential developers to bypass local environmental review processes in exchange for providing more affordable units."


"On Thursday, developer Blake Griggs Properties of Danville, after five years of contentious debate and political squabbling, said it would invoke Senate Bill 35 at 1900 Fourth St.. American Indian groups, as well as North Berkeley antidevelopment forces, have long opposed building on the 2.2-acre parcel, contending it is the site of an Ohlone burial ground."


"The new state law, authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco, allows an over-the-counter approval process for zoning-compliant projects that provide certain levels of affordable housing. In Berkeley — as well as in San Francisco and Oakland — a development must be at least 50 percent affordable to take advantage of the law."


READ MORE related to Housing & Homelessness: Affordable housing projects are threatened as tax cuts undermine a source of funding -- LA Times's ANDREW KHOURI


SF woman settles lawsuit for 2014 arrest after police deny her a translator


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "Advocates for victims of domestic violence and police translation services announced a $50,000 settlement Thursday for a San Francisco woman who said she was sexually assaulted by her ex-partner, and was then arrested by officers who wouldn’t provide her an interpreter."


"I had to stand up” and “demand that language access is a right for all of us,” Dora Mejia, 40, said through a Spanish-speaking interpreter at a rally celebrating the resolution of her case. “Liberty does not have a price."


"In her lawsuit against the city and its Police Department, Mejia said her ex-partner attacked her in her Mission District apartment in May 2014, and he then called police to falsely accuse her of attacking him. When officers arrived, the ex-partner had left."


North Korea asks for direct nuclear talks, and Trump agrees


NYT's MARK LANDLER: "North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has invited President Trump to meet for negotiations over its nuclear program, an audacious diplomatic overture that would bring together two strong-willed, idiosyncratic leaders who have traded threats of war."


"The White House said that Mr. Trump had accepted the invitation, and Chung Eui-yong, a South Korean official who conveyed it, told reporters that the president would meet with Mr. Kim within two months."


"He expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible,” Mr. Chung said at the White House on Thursday evening after meeting the president. Mr. Trump, he said, agreed to “meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Lawmaker seeks to question businessman in Mueller probe -- AP's MARY CLARE JALONICK/ERIC TUCKERHow Russian trolls crept into the Trump campaign's Facebook messages -- NYT's KENNETH P. VOGEL; Woman named in Stormy Daniels' 'hush agreement' is another porn star accusing Trump of sexual assault -- NY Daily News's CHRIS SOMMERFELDT; Manafort pleads not guilty, faces protester with Russian flag -- NBC News's TRACY CONNOR/PETE WILLIAMS; An operative with Trump ties was once indicted on an obscenity charge -- The Atlantic's NATASHA BERTRAND


How we identified burned villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo


NYT's CHRISTOPH KOETTL: "In mid-February a source in the human rights community told me that villages in a remote region of the Democratic Republic of Congo were being burned amid a renewal of communal fighting. People fleeing the violence told aid workers of arson attacks."


"The clashes between the Hema and Lendu communities — on the eastern side of the Ituri province, bordering Uganda — started in December and escalated in early February."


"Historically, these distant conflicts have been difficult to analyze. But new technologies allow us to investigate them in close to real time."


READ MORE related to World: Russia's greatest problem in Syria: Its ally, President Assad -- NYT's NEIL MACFARQUHAR; Renewed violence as Red Cross delivers aid to Syria's Ghouta -- AP's ZEINA KARAM

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