Dianne Feinstein, switching gears and running for reelection, now opposes the death penalty.
From the LAT's SARAH D. WIRE: "Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she now opposes the death penalty, a surprising reversal from her long-standing support for capital punishment — a stance that helped catapault her to the U.S. Senate 25 years ago."
"Several years ago I changed my view of the death penalty. It became crystal clear to me that the risk of unequal application is high and its effect on deterrence is low," she said in a statement to The Times."
"The shift is the latest example of Feinstein — who built her career as a moderate Democrat — embracing more liberal positions as she faces reelection in November in a state that has become increasingly progressive. She also recently softened her position on federal enforcement actions against recreational use of marijuana."
Walker wins, but election sweeps in new leaders at SEIU 1000
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "The leader of California state government's largest union won re-election, but three of her top deputies were unseated by challengers in an election for Service Employees Union International Union Local 1000."
"Yvonne Walker, president of the union since 2008, will get another term leading the union that represents 96,000 state workers, according to election results the union released on Tuesday."
"She'll be joined by three vice presidents who were allied with one of Walker's challengers, Sophia Perkins."
Independent governance eyed for State Water Project
TESS TOWNSEND in Capitol Weekly: "The Legislature created the Department of Water Resources in 1956 for the purpose of managing the State Water Project, then in its early stages of planning. That project now comprises 700 miles of tunnels, pipelines, aqueducts and siphons that transport water from California’s north to its more arid south, serving 26 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland along the way."
"It’s a huge project with a lot of infrastructure, and it’s most of what DWR does. But more than 60 years later, there is a move under way to take control of the project out of the hands of DWR and place it in an independent commission."
Pro-Villaraigosa ad touting Barack Obama's support leaves false impressions
Sacramento Bee's ANGELA HARTS: "An independent campaign committee, backed by wealthy charter school advocates, is behind a television advertisement and mailed brochure seeking to boost former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's campaign for governor. Both show him with former President Barack Obama."
"The mailer reads, "One of the finest leaders we have in this country," attributing the quote to Obama. The TV ad starts out with a video clip of Obama."
"The committee producing the ads has raised $17.4 million to boost Villaraigosa's name recognition and highlight his record as mayor of Los Angeles, as he struggles to close in on second place. He is behind frontrunner Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, and Republicans John Cox and Travis Allen in public opinion polls. Only the top two candidates, regardless of party, advance to the November runoff."
Santa Clara City Council votes to appoint someone to Dominic Caserta's former seat
BANG's EMILY DERUY: "In the final minutes of Tuesday night, the Santa Clara City Council voted to appoint someone to Dominic Caserta’s former seat rather than wait for an election."
"It’s well within our purview here to appoint to the City Council,” said Mayor Lisa Gillmor, who was herself appointed in 2011."
"But the decision sparked opposition from two of the six current council members — Patty Mahan and Pat Kolstad — as well as several members of the audience, who had pushed for the other option outlined by City Attorney Brian Doyle: leaving the seat empty until the November election."
This California agency has so many new employees that it's installing smaller cubicles
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "California can’t fit all of its environmental regulators in its 25-story Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, and it doesn't want to shell out tens of millions of dollars to find them new digs, either."
"Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration found a solution that will sound familiar to any longtime traveler squeezing his knees into tight airplane seats: His agency wants to slash the size of standard cubicles in the EPA headquarters."
OP-ED: Campaigns try to fool California voters
CALmatters' DAN WALTERS: "Politics – the means by which we govern ourselves – can be a positive, even uplifting human enterprise."
"Too often, however, political tactics are based on the cynical assumption that voters can be easily fooled and the current election season is, unfortunately, rife."
"Take, for example, the television ads that Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the leading candidate for governor, has been airing about John Cox, a San Diego businessman and the leading Republican."
San Jose Principal becomes US citizen in front of her students
The Chronicle's SOPHIE HAIGNEY: "In the crowded gymnasium of San Jose High School, beneath the painted bulldog mascot and vintage pennants touting volleyball and wrestling championships, principal Gloria Marchant turned and faced the American flag. She smiled and waited for her name to be called, and when it was time the gym erupted. People cheered, clapped and stomped their feet on the bleacher seats for the principal and new U.S. citizen."
“I don’t think I can hold back my tears,” said Marchant, speaking in front of more than 100 students, teachers, family and community members who had filed into the gymnasium for a naturalization ceremony. “Becoming an American citizen has been one of my goals since I decided to make a life here in San Jose.”
"Marchant, 44, was born in Chile and came to the U.S. from Canada. On Tuesday, she stood alongside eight other immigrants as they took the Oath of Allegiance, sang the national anthem and officially became American citizens. Others who were naturalized in the small ceremony came from Mexico, India and the Philippines."
SF, PG&E come to loose agreement on moving city projects forward
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "San Francisco officials and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. have reached a temporary truce in a long-running spat over how power gets delivered to city-owned facilities, a dispute that’s caused significant delays and cost overruns to more than a dozen municipal projects."
"Years of friction between the city and the utility peaked in March, when the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission outlined 16 projects — including affordable-housing developments, recreation spaces and public-safety facilities — that were being hampered by what the agency called arbitrary technical requirements imposed by PG&E."
Folsom mailer on proposed water-rate hike surprises residents -- and city council
Sacramento Bee's KELLEN BROWNING: "Folsom residents were taken by surprise Monday by a city pamphlet notifying them of a proposal to increase water and sewer rates – and they weren't the only ones."
"Members of the City Council were also caught off-guard by the proposed rate increase, Vice Mayor Ernie Sheldon said. Normally, the City Council is briefed on such matters and discusses the pros and cons before information is made public, he said, but Sheldon first learned of the proposal in the mail like everyone else."
"There was a mistake," Sheldon said. "That’s absolutely inappropriate.""
Could kneeling for the US flag produce a penalty flag? NFL weighing on it, report says
Sacramento Bee's NOEL HARRIS: "Kneeling during the honoring of the flag could get NFL players a flag under a new rule that is being weighed."
"Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that NFL owners discussed the possibility during the spring meeting held in Atlanta."
California could cut your high sales tax if it taxed business services. Why that won't happen--yet
CALmatters' ANTOINETTE SU: "Consider these two scenarios: A family spends Saturday afternoon at the local shopping center, buying a new washing machine, summer sandals, children’s books, and and dog food. With every purchase, the state takes its cut, courtesy of California’s 7.25 percent sales tax."
"Then consider a mid-sized advertising firm across town. It contracts with an accountant, a software developer, a lawyer and a cleaning service. Every time the company pays for these services, the state of California collects absolutely nothing."
"But what if the state started getting a piece of that action?"
Little-known accounting policy could fuel green infrastructure surge
Water Deeply's TARA LOHAN: "IN THE YEARS to come, we’re likely to see a lot more “green” and distributed infrastructure projects from water utilities, like permeable pavement, rainwater capture and efficiency rebates. That’s because coming up with the money needed to scale these projects just got a lot easier."
"In the water world, most big infrastructure projects like treatment facilities and pipelines are usually financed by water agencies selling bonds, which can help them raise millions of dollars for a project that only needs to be paid off a little bit at a time over many years. That’s because these projects are owned by the agencies and are considered an asset on which they can capitalize."
"But turf removal programs, green roofs and other localized water projects that can have significant impact on water consumption – often referred to as “distributed infrastructure” – weren’t typically considered an asset because they weren’t actually owned by an agency. Instead rebates for these kinds of projects were funded from operating budgets, which often isn’t enough to really scale such efforts."
Five-term sheriff's lead narrows in latest poll as new jail report released
BANG's ROBERT SALONGA: "As the June 5 primary approaches, former Santa Clara County Undersheriff John Hirokawa shows a modest gain of support in his bid to replace five-term Sheriff Laurie Smith, particularly among voters who already turned in their ballots, according to a new KPIX/SurveyUSA poll."
"The poll released this week comes amid a new county civil grand jury report on the state of the jails that found chronic low morale among jail deputies since the 2015 murder of mentally ill inmate Michael Tyree by three of their colleagues. Even so, the grand jury recommended that the full operations of the beleaguered jail system be transferred to the sheriff."
"Currently, the Sheriff’s Office oversees custody operations — jail deputies and correctional officers — while a county-run Department of Correction handles administrative and logistic functions like food and laundry services. The civil grand jury described the arrangement as needlessly confusing."
Berkeley school may be renamed for Latina in desegregation case
The Chronicle's ANNIE MA: "She was the 8-year-old girl at the center of a California lawsuit that made the state the first to desegregate its schools and public spaces, laying the groundwork that challenged the idea of “separate but equal.”
"Now, Sylvia Mendez’s name may grace a Berkeley elementary school and replace that of Joseph LeConte, a prominent conservationist and co-founder of the Sierra Club who was also a slave owner and supporter of the Confederacy."
Oakland hills residents urged to prepare for fire season
The Chronicle's KEVIN FAGAN: "Firefighting commanders from a dozen agencies throughout the East Bay huddled in the chilly fog at the top of the Oakland hills Tuesday to deliver a sober, and increasingly familiar, message about the approaching fire season: Get ready, because trouble is on the way."
"Coming off California’s most destructive fire season ever, with the Wine Country blazes alone killing 41 people, tensions were already high heading into the summer. But as they stood at the edge of one of last year’s biggest blazes in the East Bay’s fire-prone slopes, even the most hardened of the firefighters looked a little worried as they surveyed the lush overgrowth all around them."