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Jul 1, 2019

California gas tax rises nearly 6 cents a gallon on Monday


AP's DON THOMPSON: "California's nation-leading gas prices are set to climb even higher Monday, when the state gas tax increases another 5.6 cents a gallon."


"It's the latest increase from a 2017 law designed to raise about $5 billion a year for road and mass transit programs."


"A 12 cent-per-gallon boost came that November, and voters last year rejected a Republican-led effort to repeal the law. But Southern California voters did recall one Democratic lawmaker who helped pass the measure."


California vaccination rate drops as doctors grant more exemptions. Is there a link?


LA Times's SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA/MELODY GUTIERREZ: "California’s kindergarten vaccination rate dropped again in the most recent school year as more parents sought permission from doctors to not immunize their children, according to new state data."


"The troubling trend comes amid a national measles outbreak as well as intense debate over whether California should strengthen its school immunization laws."


"California already has one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country, preventing children from skipping their shots unless a doctor says they have a medical reason to be exempt. Some health advocates fear that parents are obtaining exemptions for their children without valid medical reasons. Those advocates are now pushing lawmakers to clamp down on fraudulent exemptions."


California budget spends $280M to make college more affordable, from savings to grants


Sacramento Bee's KYUNG MI LEE: "California’s new state budget has almost $280 million earmarked for programs that would help people pay from college, from opening savings accounts for infants to offering new grants to parents pursuing degrees."


"The average graduate from a four-year university in the Golden State owed $22,785 in 2017, according to the Institute for College Access and Success."


"Here’s a look at the ways Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget tries to cap college costs."


READ MORE related to Budget: Newsom vetoes funding for El Dorado County courthouse in $215B state budget -- Sacramento Bee's ELIZABETH SHWE


Worried about retiring? California will help you save money


LA Times's MARGOT ROOSEVELT: "Are you a worker worried you won’t have enough money to retire?"


"Are you an employer who doesn’t offer either a pension or a 401(k) to your workers?"


"If so, CalSavers is aimed at you."


Harris probably won the California primary in the first debate


LA Times's GEORGE SKELTON: "One of the biggest losers in the Democratic debates was probably the California primary. Sen. Kamala Harris’ breakthrough performance may have made it a non-contest."


"That means the real losers are California’s Democratic voters. If it weren’t for Harris’ strong debate showing — clearly outshining most of her 19 rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination — many of those other candidates may have waged vigorous campaigns out here."


"California voters would have been courted and crucial state issues addressed — problems such as water shortages, affordable housing, homelessness, highway repairs and damaging agriculture tariffs. State interests might have wrested some promises out of a future president."


Trump official joins Democrats to hear California farmers' problems


The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "In a rare show of bipartisanship, Democratic and Republican congressmen lined up Friday with Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s agriculture secretary, to hear the concerns of Central Valley farmers and ranchers."


"There are very few areas left where partisanship takes a backseat, but agriculture is one of them,” said Democratic Rep. Josh Harder of Turlock (Stanislaus County). “We’re all dealing with the same problems — trade, immigration and water —and the Central Valley has a lot of common ground."


Administrators applaud delay of 'conscience' health care rule


The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "The Justice Department signaled Friday that the Trump administration would delay implementing a controversial rule that protects health care workers who refuse to provide services they object to on religious or moral grounds."


"The decision by federal officials marks a win for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who sued the administration over the proposed rule in May, saying it would be discriminatory and endanger people seeking access to services such as reproductive care, HIV treatment or contraception. Santa Clara County and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra are also suing the administration over the rule."


"The rule, proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services, would withhold federal funding from institutions that don’t allow workers — including doctors, nurses and a host of administrative staff, like appointment schedulers — to exempt themselves from administering care for personal 


The war on SoCal smog is slipping. Fixing it is a $14B problem


LA Times's TONY BARBOZA/RAHUL MUKHERJEE: "The war on smog has been called one of America’s greatest environmental successes. Decades of emissions-cutting regulations under a bipartisan law — the 1970 Clean Air Act — have eased the choking pollution that once shrouded U.S. cities. Cleaner air has saved lives and strengthened the lungs of Los Angeles children."


"But now, air quality is slipping once again."


"Bad air days are ticking up across the nation, and emissions reductions are slowing. The most notable setback has been with ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog that builds up in warm, sunny weather and triggers asthma attacks and other health problems that can be deadly."


Migrants contemplate dangerous crossings despite border deaths and detention conditions


LA Times's MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE: "Some migrant families this weekend contemplated crossing the swirling Rio Grande from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. despite several recent drowning deaths."


"Cuban migrant Viviana Martinez was considering the dangerous crossing with her husband and 1-year-old son. She’s five months pregnant and has been in the northeast border city of Matamoros waiting to cross the border legally into Texas for more than two weeks."


"Martinez, 30, worried about her family’s health and safety. There were 160 other asylum seekers on the waiting list to cross the border, and only a handful had been allowed across since she arrived. Some families had waited two months."


This bizarre prehistoric fish may be the key to preserving Yurok culture in California


Sacramento Bee's CANDICE WANG: "When Yurok citizen and biologist Keith Parker was a child, he fished for Pacific lamprey with his grandfather."


"Late at night, the two crept down to the mouth of the Klamath River on California’s northern coast, their hand-carved wooden eel hooks in tow. Braving the lethally fast river, cold darkness and pouring rain, Parker speared lamprey out of the water as the fish swam near the edge of the shore."


"For the Yurok tribe, fishing isn’t a recreational weekend activity to be paired with a cold beer. It’s a way of subsistence, a way of life."


Oakland councilman wants to close street near Home Depot where RV dwellers live


The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI: "An Oakland City Council member is proposing to temporarily close a street near Home Depot in the Fruitvale neighborhood where people are living in recreational vehicles, to deal with what city and store officials say is a wave of crime because of the rising homeless population."


"For months, Councilman Noel Gallo has said safety at the Home Depot at 4000 Alameda Ave. has declined so dramatically that the hardware store may shutter unless the city clears the tents and RVs from the area. Home Depot has said it doesn’t have any plans to close but is paying for two Oakland Police Department squad cars, staffed by off-duty officers at $100 an hour each, to patrol the site."


"Gallo has called for immediate action, but response from the city hasn’t come quickly enough, so he said he’s taking matters into his own hands. A resolution he is drafting would close down the street behind the store from the 600 block to the 700 block of 37th Avenue. The closure would last at least 18 months."


At the Pride Parade, a festival of rainbows -- and resistance


The Chronicle's NANETTE ASIMOV/ASHLEY MCBRIDE: "Tens of thousands descended on downtown San Francisco on Sunday, adorned in rainbow flags, feather boas and beads to celebrate LGBT pride. There were first-timers, old-timers, politicians and protesters."


"And there were people from out of town who had never seen a Pride Parade before. Larraine and Peter Browne, visiting from Australia, thought they could easily walk up Market Street to San Francisco’s famous attraction, the cable cars. But they ran into a different attraction."


“We didn’t know this was happening today,” Larraine, 69, said as she and Peter gazed at the rainbow spectacular before them."


READ MORE related to Pride Parade 2019: Anti-police demonstrators lying in street shut down Gay Pride Parade -- The Chronicle's ASHLEY MCBRIDE


School busing in Berkeley during Kamala Harris' childhood was both voluntary and volatile


LA Times's MICHAEL FINNEGAN/SEEMA MEHTA/MELANIE MASON: "The school bus ride was less than three miles from one side of Berkeley to the other, but from 1969 to 1973 it transported Carole Porter to an entirely different world."


"Like her neighbor and friend Kamala Harris, Porter was one of thousands of black children bused into predominantly white neighborhoods to learn. It was part of Berkeley’s bold experiment in desegregation."


"But even in a city that had become a worldwide symbol of 1960s counterculture revolt, systemic racial prejudice in education and housing remained deeply entrenched."


When your school is a health center. How clinics offer lifeline for uninsured kids


USCHJC's MICHAEL FINC H II/YESENIA AMARO: "Dental hygienist Bruce Fang sat waiting in blue scrubs for the day’s patients before a few students ambled into the room, one at a time, ready for their appointments. Some were chatty once in the chair, others squirmed. But 7-year-old Stephanie Rojas sat still."


"Do you remember when you lost that tooth right there?” Fang asks. Silence falls over the room. “A long time ago,” Rojas says in a mumbled reply."


"Fang notes nothing new in the outlook — just the one tooth that’s missing. He puts her down for a visit with a specialist to further assess her dental needs. Rojas is back in class in less than 30 minutes."


Google wants to build 20,000 homes. It may need more than $14B


The Chronicle's ROLAND LI/MELIA RUSSELL: "Google has committed to a $1 billion plan that would help build 20,000 homes in the Bay Area over the next decade. But that round number represents the smallest of down payments on what has become the region’s thorniest problem."


"A new apartment in the Bay Area costs about $700,000 to build, including land and fees, said Cynthia Parker, CEO of Bridge Housing, a major nonprofit developer in San Francisco. The price tag on 20,000 units could be more than $14 billion."


"That would be a major chunk of Google’s cash on hand. Parent company Alphabet had $136.8 billion in revenue last year and reported $109.1 billion in reserves."

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