Department of Mismanaged Vehicles

Jan 10, 2019

Newsom deploys strike team to fix 'chronically mismanaged' DMV


Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "California’s new governor signaled on Wednesday he is making the state’s “chronically mismanaged” Department of Motor Vehicles a major priority, announcing the creation of a new team to improve services."


“By any metric, California DMV has been chronically mismanaged and failed in its fundamental mission to the state customers it serves and the state workers it employs,” Newsom said in a statement. “It’s time for a reinvention.”


"Newsom said California Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer will lead the “DMV Reinvention Strike Team” for six months. Among many responsibilities, Batjer will be tasked with offering recommendations for “new long-term leadership and reform at the DMV.”


READ MORE related to Gubernatorial: Newsoms starts his California budget balancing act -- The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH

Trump threatens to cut off disaster funding for California fire victims


LA Times's SARAH D WIRE/NOAH BIERMAN: "President Trump injected new uncertainty into California’s wildfire recovery efforts, tweeting early Wednesday that he has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency not to send more disaster funding to state officials “unless they get their act together, which is unlikely."


"Neither the White House nor FEMA provided clarification, in response to emails and calls, about whether Trump’s threat was bluster like other tweets he has sent making false assertions while criticizing the state’s fire management, or if he has actually ordered a funding cutoff to thousands of Californians trying to rebuild after the devastating fires late last year."


READ MORE related to California Burnin'Judge proposes ordering PG&E to shut off power for wildfires -- APJudge could force PG&E to inspect all 106,000 miles of electric grid before wildfire season -- Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/TONY BIZJAKSuspect shipyard contractor gets huge state deal for Camp Fire cleanup -- The Chronicle's JASON FAGONE/CYNTHIA DIZIKES/KURTIS ALEXANDERTrump threat to cut off California fire relief draws bipartisan rebukes -- The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN

California Senate paid $350,000 to former staffer who says she was fired after reporting rape


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "The California Senate last November agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a lawsuit by a former employee who alleged that she was fired for asking for accommodation after she reported being raped by a colleague."


"The settlement, which the Senate did not provide to The Bee, was first reported by the Los Angeles Times. It included $280,000 in lost wages and damages, $50,000 to cover law school debt and $20,000 for medical assistance and career counseling, according to the Times. The plaintiff, who is referred to only as “Jane Doe” in the lawsuit to protect her privacy, agreed to drop her complaint."


"The resolution of this case is a huge step forward for all employees at the Capitol who’ve experienced discrimination and harassment,” said Micha Star Liberty, the attorney for the plaintiff, who filed suit last May. “Our sincere hope is that in the future, the Legislature takes seriously and makes an effort to fully compensate any workers whose rights have been violated.”


Steyer to put more millions into impeachment, not a campaign


AP's THOMAS BEAUMONT/JUANA SUMMERS: "Billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer said Wednesday that he will not run for the White House in 2020 and will instead focus on calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment."


"Steyer, who has spent $50 million on his Need to Impeach campaign and announced plans to spend $40 million more this year, said at an event in Des Moines that "the impeachment question has reached an inflection point," given that Democrats have taken majority control of the House."


"I said last year that I'm willing to do whatever I can to protect our country from this reckless, lawless and dangerous president," Steyer said. "Therefore, I will be dedicating 100 percent of my time, effort and resources working for Mr. Trump's impeachment and removal from office. I am not running for president at this time."


'It was like a ton of bricks crushed me': California grapples with historic clemency rejections


Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Joe Hernandez found out that the California Supreme Court had rejected his commutation request late last month during a phone call with his wife, when she checked the online docket for his case."


"The two talk daily while Hernandez, 47, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, plus another 46 years to life, for two murders he committed in 1993. As a young gangster in El Monte, Hernandez killed a rival gang member one night, then shot two other men whom he mistakenly believed were part of a rival gang. One survived."


"During more than 25 years in prison, Hernandez said he has come to terms with how “self-centered” his behavior was and begun using his “tragedies to help people,” including founding a youth diversion program and training service dogs."


These policy changes will impact legal immigrants in the US in 2019


Sacramento Bee's DANIEL SHOER ROTH: "In 2018, the Trump administration pushed to cut down on legal immigration and strengthen the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to enforce immigration laws."


"Among the changes were U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations and procedures that affect immigrants who entered legally the United States — particularly pertaining to deportations. However, not all of the new rules are punitive. Some help foreign citizens obtain immigration benefits such as green cards or permanent residence."


“Each year, immigration benefits are attainable for many law-abiding individuals legitimately seeking greater opportunity, prosperity, and security as newly entrusted members of society,” USCIS spokesman Michael Bars said in a statement. The immigration agency, “is committed to rule-of-law and merit-based immigration reforms that benefit U.S. workers, the American people, and our society to the greatest extent possible.”


Amid closure at Joshua Tree National Park, volunteers struggle to clean up after unruly visitors


LA Times' LOUIS SAHAGUN: "In this high desert enclave, Rand Abbott is a well-known man of action. He’s a paraplegic rock climber; a vocal lightning rod at town hall meetings; and a tireless promoter for the desert landscape and its resident creatures."


"So it came as little surprise to friends two weeks ago when he volunteered to clean restrooms and remove trash that was littering Joshua Tree National Park due to a partial government shutdown over funding for President Trump’s border wall."


"Unfortunately, the park was in far more disarray than a one-man army could handle."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: California Democrats made plastic straws hard to get. Are paper receipts next? -- Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON

LA teachers union postpones strike until Monday


LA Times's HOWARD BLUME/MELODY GUTIERREZ: "Thousands of signs were ready, along with thousands of teachers to hold them. Nothing, it seemed, could stop a Los Angeles teachers’ strike from starting Thursday."


"Then, the day before, came a midday announcement from the teachers union: The strike would have to wait until Monday."


"United Teachers Los Angeles didn’t make the decision Wednesday because of progress in contract talks. A deal still seemed beyond reach for the time being. Instead, the delay was due to a legal technicality."

Kamala Harris reportedly ready to jump into 2020 race, lining up East Coast headquarters


The Chronicle's PHIL MATIER: "Word is California Sen. Kamala Harris will announce she’s running for president either on or shortly after the upcoming Martin Luther King weekend."


"The exact date is still being worked out, but sources tell us it’s going to be sometime this month — the MLK holiday is Jan. 21."


"Right now, she is on a book tour, which to me looks like an unconventional run-up to an announcement,” said former political consultant Bob Shrum, who is now director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. As part of that tour for her new book, “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” Harris will appear at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco Saturday."



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