California agency is exposing millions of people to identy theft, audit finds
LA Times's MELODY GUTIERREZ: "The California agency tasked with distributing unemployment, disability and parental leave benefits routinely puts recipients at risk for identity theft by including their full Social Security numbers and other personal information on millions of documents mailed each year, according to a state audit released Thursday."
"And while the Employment Development Department agrees that it should immediately stop printing Social Security numbers on so many documents, it will be two years before the agency could do so because of its aged computer system."
"State lawmakers ordered the audit last year after learning that the department had not stopped printing full Social Security numbers on many of the most commonly used forms sent in the mail, despite lawmakers and consumers raising questions about the practice in 2015. When auditors began their investigation last year, they found that the department still did not have a plan for removing Social Security numbers from many mailed documents. Instead, the agency said it planned to wait until upgrading its computer system in 2024."
Lawmakers propose sweeping reforms in response to Operation Varsity Blues
LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY: "Outraged by widespread allegations of cheating in the college admissions process, California lawmakers on Thursday proposed a sweeping package of bills aimed at closing loopholes that officials said gave the children of wealthy parents a side door into elite universities."
"The six measures would bar special admissions without approval of three college administrators, regulate private admission consultants, audit the University of California admissions process, and deny state tax write-offs for donations made by parents as part of the cheating scheme."
Newsom rips PG&E's new profiteering plan
Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER: "Gov. Gavin Newsom accused PG&E Corp.’s top executive Thursday of paying lip service to public safety, saying the troubled utility is planning to stock its board of directors with hedge-fund managers and others interested only in “prioritizing quick profits."
"In a blistering letter to interim Chief Executive Officer John Simon, the governor belittled PG&E’s plan to overhaul its board of directors and said the company is ignoring candidates with experience in wildfire safety."
"I am troubled to learn that PG&E is primed to reconstitute its board with hedge fund financiers, out-of-state executives and others with little or no experience in California and inadequate expertise in utility operations, regulation and safety,” Newsom wrote."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Trump administration sues California to block water plan for fish -- Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW; US sues California over river flow standards -- LA Times's BETTINA BOXALL
California Gov. Newsom will head to El Salvador on a fact-finding mission
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "Gov. Gavin Newsom will travel to El Salvador for his first international trip to learn about what drives people to migrate from Central America to the United States."
"Newsom announced the trip during a Thursday event in Los Angeles where he met with lawmakers and community leaders to discuss immigration from Central America."
"Next month, he’ll fly to El Salvador’s capital San Salvador to meet with leaders from the region, according to his office."
Jerry Brown's days are filled with grazing cows and drawing well water at his Colusa ranch
The Chronicle's LAUREN HERNANDEZ: "Former Gov. Jerry Brown’s days are now filled with drawing water from a well on his rural Colusa County ranch and watching his neighbor’s cows grazing on the sprawling land."
"How different is his new life from that of constant security details and the luxuries of the governor’s mansion?"
DMV auditors found simple ways to give you a better visit: credit cards, tablets and texts
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "The California Department of Motor Vehicles will spend the next two months working to resolve a number issues uncovered in a Finance Department audit that castigated the department for a “reactive culture that has adversely impacted the field office customer experience."
"The 67-page report is full of recommendations, some of which might resonate with anyone who has spent an afternoon waiting for a DMV appointment."
"Here are five ways the audit says the DMV can create a better experience for its customers:"
READ MORE related to Transportation: Caltrans must pay $3M after losing appeal in worker's perfume allergy lawsuit -- Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER; Pay $4 to drive to the Westside? Congestion pricing could cut traffic gridlock, report says -- LA Times's LAURA J. NELSON
Pete Buttigieg draws a crowd in SF
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "When Pete Buttigieg’s Democratic presidential campaign passed through San Francisco in February, he was greeted by a throng that consisted of pretty much me. Plus a radio outfit, a handful of donors and some techies curious about what he would say at the headquarters of the on-demand delivery company, Postmates."
The two most pressing questions then for the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., were: “Who is this guy?” And, “How do you pronounce Buttigieg?” (It’s BOOT-edge-edge.)"
Tale of two Californias: Hard times away from coast a problem for politicians
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "The state’s latest employment figures are chock full of good news for the Bay Area and Southern California, but bring more of the same dismal message to the Central Valley."
"That could be worrisome for a pair of Democrats who swept into Congress in November on the nationwide blue wave and now have to show voters they can provide the local help that’s desperately needed."
"Rep. T.J. Cox of Bakersfield finds his district at very bottom of the state’s jobs well, with an 11 percent unemployment rate in February that was the highest of any of California’s 53 congressional districts. Rep. Josh Harder’s Modesto-area district is also hurting, at 6.8 percent. Both are much higher than California’s overall 4.2 percent."
Families rally at Capitol against sex education and LGBT curriculum
Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR: "More than 200 protesters rallied Thursday outside of the state Capitol to protest the state’s push for comprehensive sex education and lessons on gender fluidity in California public schools."
"The rally, organized by Informed Parents of California, called for a rejection of California Board of Education’s proposed Health Education Framework, which they said teaches students too much information and too soon."
"The State Board of Education will vote to adopt the Health Education Framework in May, which provides guidance for teachers and administrators on how to teach health education."
In Butte County, officials struggle to identify remains of last 11 Fire Camp victims
The Chronicle's SUZANNE ESPINOSA SOLIS: "Four months after California’s worst wildfire swept through Butte County, authorities there have positively identified 74 of the 85 people killed — and are still working to get the last 11 victims identified."
"Due to the state of the remains, extracting a viable DNA sample on these cases is proving to be very difficult,” Jen Celentano, a sheriff’s Investigative Assistant, said Thursday."
"The Camp Fire was the state’s most deadly and destructive wildfire. It burned 153,336 acres and destroyed 18,804 buildings. The fire began on Nov. 8 and was fully contained on Nov. 25."
Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan steps down as bank struggles to get past scandals
LA Times's JIM PUZZANGHERA: "Wells Fargo & Co.’s embattled chief executive, Tim Sloan — who has struggled to get the giant San Francisco bank past a seemingly endless series of customer abuse scandals — retired suddenly Thursday."
"He stepped down as CEO, president and board member effective immediately, with his retirement taking effect June 30, Wells Fargo said."
"His interim replacement will be C. Allen Parker, who has served as the company’s general counsel since March 2017 after joining the bank from an outside law firm. Wells Fargo said a permanent chief executive would be hired from outside the bank."
Chilling video of brutal inmate beating is released in $1.4M Auburn Jail settlement
Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON: "Two years after abuse allegations at the Auburn Main Jail led to the firings of three officials and a revamp of how deputies use force against inmates, a federal judge in Sacramento gave his final approval Thursday to a $1.4 million class action settlement in the case."
"And, with the legal battles in the case finalized, comes the release of videos and photographs of the incidents that Placer County officials have fought to keep from public view."
"One of the videos, of a cell extraction on May 14, 2017, involving mentally ill inmate Beau Bangert, shows four Placer sheriff’s officials rushing into Bangert’s tiny suicide-watch cell, smashing him into a wall with a plastic body shield, then alternately punching and Tasing him before removing him from the cell."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: SF Sheriff Vicki Hennessy to retire at end of 2019 -- The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY; Reinstated LA deputy admitted to having secret society tattoo -- LA Times's MAYA LAU/MATT STILES
BLM activists cited for protesting DA Schubert inside Sacramento restaurant
Sacramento Bee's THERESA CLIFT: "Six activists protesting inside a downtown restaurant where Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert was scheduled to speak at a luncheon Thursday were ordered to leave, and two were issued citations."
"Schubert was scheduled to speak at the luncheon, organized by Women Lawyers of Sacramento, at Lucca’s private dining room at noon Thursday."
"When the luncheon began, four women stood at the front of the room holding large cloth banners that read, “30 CASES NO CONVICTIONS,” and “DA SCHUBERT YOUR HANDS ARE BLOODY TOO,” covered in red hand prints, according to a video posted to Black Lives Matter Sacramento’s Facebook page."
Bay Area home prices edge up as IPO anticipation builds
The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "Bay Area home prices edged up in February and sales slowed as buyers and sellers wait to see what impact an onslaught of initial public offerings will have on the real estate market."
"Everyone I talk to is aware they have a window before the IPOs come to pass,” said Cooper Gaines, a Zephyr agent in San Francisco. “Sometimes it’s almost tangible, their sense of urgency."
READ MORE related to Development, Homelessness & Housing: Renaming of LA Memorial Coliseum criticized -- AP