Dana Rohrabacher's downturn?

Apr 5, 2018

In an already tough election year, Dana Rohrabacher is struggling with his own party


LA Times's CHRISTINE MAI-DUC: "Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was already having a tough election year."


"The Orange County Republican has drawn more than a half-dozen Democratic challengers, some of whom have raised more cash than the 15-term congressman."


"Election handicappers declared his race a toss-up, protesters have shown up at his home and district office, and Rohrabacher's name has frequently come up during the investigation into Russian election meddling because of his connections to key figures in the inquiry."


READ MORE related to Local Politics: Election results: Gabriel, 19-year-old Clark head to runoff in west San Fernando Valley Assembly race -- Daily News's KEVIN MODESTIKamlager wins race for state Assembly in LA, Culver City, Inglewood -- Daily News's KEVIN MODESTIRivas, Benitez go to runoff for Assembly in northeast San Fernando Valley -- Daily News's KEVIN MODESTI 


US seizes pot-growing houses tied to China-based criminals


AP's DON THOMPSON: 'Hundreds of federal and local law enforcement agents have seized roughly 100 Northern California houses purchased with money wired to the United States by a Chinese-based crime organization and used to grow massive amounts of marijuana illegally, authorities said Wednesday."


"The raids culminated a monthslong investigation focusing on dozens of Chinese nationals who bought homes in seven counties. Most of the buyers were in the country legally and were not arrested as authorities investigate if they were indebted to the gang and forced into the work, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said."


"Much of the pot was shipped to Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania through Atlanta, Chicago and New York City, he said. The drug is legal in California but requires permits to grow and can't be sent across state lines. It is still banned by the U.S. government."


READ MORE related to CannabisChinese crime syndicate's alleged pot grows lead to seizure of 100 homes in Sacramento area -- Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON/DALE KASLERCannabis sales forecast suggests it may surpass soda by 2030 -- Bloomberg's JENNIFER KAPLAN


Earthquakes: The fight to protect infrastructure


From Capitol Weekly's JESSICA HICE: "The images of California’s powerful earthquakes over the years have been vivid — the shattered buildings, the collapsed bridges, the buckled highways."


"A Los Angeles lawmaker is proposing updated earthquake legislation geared toward saving infrastructure, noting that modern building codes are designed to save lives but not necessarily preserve the physical structures."


“We deserve a stronger, safer California that can bounce back quickly after the ‘big one’ hits,” Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian said in a written statement. “We are already dealing with a severe housing crisis,” he added.  Nazarian, D-North Hollywood, contends his Assembly Bills 1857 and 2681 will help communities after they are affected by earthquakes."


California lawmakers want to roll back some criminal sentencing laws, keep young offenders out of adult court


LA Times's JAZMINE ULLOA: "In a legislative hearing packed with criminal justice experts and former youth offenders, California lawmakers pushed forward a bill this week to keep minors who commit crimes out of adult courts."


"The proposal, one of several in a package of bills introduced by Sens. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), is part of an ongoing effort to divert young people from a path to prison and create parity in state punishment laws. Other bills would roll back mandatory sentencing rules that research shows disproportionally affect black and Latino defendants."


"At a news conference on Tuesday, Mitchell pointed to the fatal Sacramento shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed, 22-year-old black man shot by police in his grandparents' backyard, challenging lawmakers and advocates to redefine the definition of public safety so that it applies to everyone."


READ MORE related to Stephon Clark Shooting: Jerry Brown quiet on Stephon Clark killing, but candidates running for his job call for change -- Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HART; Clark shooting raises more questions, Sacramento councilman says -- Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS


California driver's license program for those here illegally surpasses 1 million drivers


LA Times's ANDREA CASTILLO: "More than 1 million immigrants in the country illegally have obtained special California driver's licenses since the state first began issuing them a little more than three years ago, the state Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday as officials hailed the number as a major milestone."


"Assembly Bill 60, which took effect in January 2015, requires the DMV to issue driver's licenses if applicants can prove their identity and California residency, as well as meet all testing requirements, regardless of whether they can show they are in the country lawfully. As of March 30, about 1,001,000 immigrants have obtained the licenses, which are renewable after five years."


"Supporters of the law argued that it would make roadways safer by requiring a driving test and providing less motivation for drivers afraid of being deported to flee the scene of a traffic accident."


READ MORE related to Immigration: A dream displaced, Part IIII: How one LA father's arrest put an entire neighborhood on edge -- LA Times's ANDREA CASTILLO; Send National Guard to border? California is undecided. -- McClatchy DC's EMILY CADEI/ANITA KUMAR; 'All it takes is one mistake': Worries over plan to send National Guard to border -- NYT's HELENE COOPER


SoCal regulators have a chance to rein in freight pollution. Will they take it?

: "Over and over in their decades-long war on smog, Southern California regulators have failed to use a powerful tool against ports, warehouses and other freight and logistics hubs that are magnets for air pollution."


"Now, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is considering a proposal to regulate warehouses, rail yards and large development projects as indirect sources of pollution due to the droves of diesel trucks, locomotives and construction equipment they attract."


"But the district's governing board again appears poised to reject much of its staff's proposal at a public meeting Friday."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: SoCal family gets $1.6 million after 3-year-old was scarred by bedbugs -- The Chronicle's CHRISTINA CARON; California's nearly dismal snow year a harbinger of things to come -- Water Deeply's TARA LOHAN; In Napa, Watershed and woodlands initiative clashes with wineries -- Water Deeply's ROBIN MEADOWS; Tensions high as nations meet to set climate plan for global shipping -- Oceans Deeply's JESSICA LEBER; LA plugs in giant solar array on roof of Convention Center, ranks No. 1 for solar power cities in America -- SGV Tribune's STEVE SCAUZILLO; Top EPA ethics official says he lacked key facts about Pruitt's condo rental -- WaPo's JULIET EILPERIN/BRADY DENNIS


In surprise move, CFPB appeals judgment against CashCall slashed by judge


LA Times's JAMES RUFUS KOREN: "When President Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney took over as interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in November, he pledged to use a light hand, saying the bureau works for lenders just as much as it works for consumers."


"Since then, the bureau has dropped a lawsuit against lenders affiliated with a Northern California Native American tribe, sought to roll back rules reining in payday lenders and, most recently, asked Congress to curb the bureau's power to make new rules."


"And yet the bureau took steps last week to continue legal action against high-cost Orange County lender CashCall Inc., a move that consumer finance attorneys called surprising and seemingly out of keeping with Mulvaney's marching orders."


READ MORE related to Development & Economy: A nervous, frustrated Washington braces for a US-China trade war -- McClatchy DC's LINDSAY WISE/LESLEY CLARK; Sweeping California housing bill attacked on author's home turf -- BANG's KATY MURPHY 


YouTube shooting: Family of nasim Najafi Aghfdam says it warned cops


The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE/KEVIN FAGAN: "Anguished relatives of the disgruntled YouTube video maker who drove from Southern California to shoot three people and kill herself at the company’s San Bruno headquarters said Wednesday they warned police the woman could be dangerous — but Bay Area law enforcement officials said they had no idea violence could erupt."


"A woman who came to the family home of shooter Nasim Najafi Aghdam on Wednesday said the video maker and animal-rights advocate “was angry” at the company, and that the family had warned police to “be careful."


READ MORE related to Youtube Shooting: Police tape taken down, autopsy done, probe continues -- Mercury News's ROBERT SALONGAWomen shooters a rare breed -- The Chronicle's JASON FAGONE; Growing voice against gun violence: trauma surgeons -- The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY; Employees return to work day after chaos -- The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI/SOPHIE HAIGNEY; Nasim Aghdam raged at YouTube, but her family is stunned it ended in gunfire -- LA Times's PALOMA ESQUIVEL/JAMES QUEALLY/SARAH PARVINI/RICHARD WINTON; Dark consequences of search for social media celebrity -- Mercury News's KAREN D'SOUZA; What if YouTube shooter had an assault rifle? -- Mercury News's PATRICK MAY; How YouTube shooter turned from defiant to deadly -- BANG's JULIA PRODIS SULEK/SCOTT SCHWEBKE/STEPHANIE SCHULTE


Capitol Weekly Podcast: Kevin Eckery


Capitol Weekly STAFF: "Twenty two years ago this week, federal authorities arrested Ted Kaczynski — known as the Unabomber — in his remote cabin near Lincoln, Montana, ending a 17-year reign of terror."


"While the Unabomber had no strong ties to the Sacramento region, both his first and final murders occurred here. It was in 1995 that Kaczynski, a Harvard-trained mathematician and forest recluse, claimed his final victim, Sacramento timber lobbyist Gil Murray. Murray was killed by a powerful bomb that tore through the California Forestry Association offices on I Street."


Report links UC Riverside chancellor to Michigan State sexual assault scandal


LA Times's TERESA WATANABE: "UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox, while serving as Michigan State University provost in 2010, allowed a dean accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women to continue in his post, the Detroit News reported."


"William Strampel, then dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, was arrested this week on charges of harassing, propositioning, sexually assaulting and soliciting pornographic videos of female students."


"The arrest came as part of a broader probe into MSU’s handling of complaints against former sports doctor Larry Nassar, whom Strampel supervised. Nassar was sentenced in January to up to 175 years in prison after more than 150 girls and young women — some of them Olympic gymnasts —  testified he sexually assaulted them under the guise of medical treatment over two decades."


Chemical attack at UC Berkeley leaves female employee with burns


The Chronicle's SOPHIE HAIGNEY: "A man entered a building on UC Berkeley’s campus early Wednesday morning and assaulted a female school employee in a chemical attack, authorities said."


"At approximately 1:35 a.m., the woman entered a restroom in Wheeler Hall, a building on campus that houses the school’s English department. She encountered a man and told him to leave because the building was closed, according to the UC Berkeley Police Department."


Tuition hikes drive budget fight between Jerry Brown and California universities


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Under intense pressure not to raise tuition for the second consecutive year, California's public university systems have delayed votes to increase student fees and turned their attention back to the Capitol to lobby the state for more money."


"Hundreds of California State University students and faculty, joined by Chancellor Timothy White, rallied in Sacramento on Wednesday, calling on Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers to cover the cost of an anticipated 4 percent tuition hike in the forthcoming state budget. University of California students, facing a possible fee increase of nearly 3 percent next year, visited the Capitol last week."


"Legislative leaders are supportive of their efforts. Both Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon spoke at Wednesday's rally."


READ MORE related to Education: Facing unprepared kindergartners, a rural school district restores preschool for all -- EdSource's ASHLEY HOPKINSON; Student activist from Oakland appointed to California's Board of Education -- EdSource's THERESA HARRINGTON; LAUSD board member Ref Rodriguez taken into custody for suspected public drunkenness -- Daily News


Timeline: Despite GOP's failure to repeal Obamacare, the ACA has changed


CHL's JULIE ROVNER: "Congress in 2017 failed to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. But the health law has been changed in many other ways over the past year and a half. Some changes were made by Congress, some by President Donald Trump and his administration and some by state officials. Here is a timeline of the most consequential events that have shaped the health law:"


"Jan. 20, 2017:"


"On his first day in office, Trump issues an executive order to “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the health law. It includes instructions to agencies to “exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden.”


READ MORE related to Health & Health Care: Older Americans are hooked on vitamins despite scarce evidence they workc -- CHL's LIZ SZABO; 'Scary' lung disease now afflicts more women than men in US -- CHL's ANNA GORMAN


Facebook says Cambridge Analytica harvested data of up to 87 million users


NYT's CECILIA KANG/SHEERA FRENKEL: "Facebook on Wednesday said that the data of up to 87 million users may have been improperly shared with a political consulting firm connected to President Trump during the 2016 election — a figure far higher than the estimate of 50 million that had been widely cited since the leak was reported last month."


"Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive, also announced that Facebook would offer all of its users the same tools and controls required under European privacy rules. The European rules, which go into effect next month, give people more control over how companies use their digital data."


"Facebook had not previously disclosed how many accounts had been harvested by Cambridge Analytica, the firm connected to the Trump campaign. It has also been reluctant to disclose how it was used by Russian-backed actors to influence the 2016 presidential election."



Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announces new fellows -- and pays tribute to grantees from California


LA Times's CAROLINA A. MIRANDA: "During a career that’s spanned almost five decades, artist Anthony Hernandez has applied for a Guggenheim Fellowship roughly half a dozen times."


"I always got the letter saying, ‘I’m sorry to inform you that...’” he says."


"Last year, when the application period rolled around, Hernandez says he wasn’t planning on applying again. But his wife, novelist Judith Freeman, who was the recipient of a Guggenheim grant in 1997, urged him to give it another shot."


President going with his gut leaves allies feeling queasy


WaPo's MICHAEL SCHERER/JOSH DAWSEY/PHILIP RUCKER: "An emboldened President Donald Trump is discovering that the policies he once described as easy fixes for the nation are a lot more complicated in reality - creating backlash among allies, frustrating supporters and threatening the pocketbooks of many farming communities that helped get him elected."


"Freed from the caution of former advisers, Trump has spent recent weeks returning to the gut-level basics that got him elected: tough talk on China, a promise of an immigration crackdown and an isolationist approach to national security."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Trump's easy campaign promises run into the difficulties of reality -- WaPo's MICHAEL SCHERER/JOSH DAWSEY/PHILIP RUCKER; Ohio workers love Trump's tariffs, and that's making trouble for the GOP -- WaPo's ERICA WERNER; White House tries to tamp down trade war fears as China retaliates -- NYT's ANA SWANSON/KEITH BRADSHER; For Mueller, a feared weakness becomes a strength -- NYT's CHARLIE SAVAGE; Mueller's team questioning Russian oligarchs -- CNN's KARA SCANNELL/SHIMON PROKUPECZ; Mueller's Russia probe shows it pays to cooperate -- AP; Mueller assurance on Trump means less than it looks -- CNN's STEPHEN COLLINSON

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