Who's next?

Apr 12, 2019
Sacramento Bee's PHILLIP REESE/DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW: "Impoverished towns in the shadow of Mount Shasta. Rustic Gold Rush cities in the Sierra Nevada foothills. High-dollar resort communities on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Ritzy Los Angeles County suburbs."


"They all could be the next Paradise."


"A McClatchy analysis reveals more than 350,000 Californians live in towns and cities that exist almost entirely within “very high fire hazard severity zones” — Cal Fire’s designation for places highly vulnerable to devastating wildfires. These designations have proven eerily predictive about some of the state’s most destructive wildfires in recent years, including the Camp Fire, the worst in state history."


California's straw law draws attention


MONET MUSCAT in Capitol Weekly: "When former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in September curbing the distribution of plastic straws in dine-in restaurants, it received wide – and largely favorable — attention."


"But to some, there was a surprise: The new law continues to allow fast-food restaurants to use plastic straws. Many people believe that the state should make all eateries use biodegradable straws, especially fast-food restaurants, which are the largest consumers of plastic straws. The new California law bars the use of plastic straws, unless the customer asks for it."


"California’s law, AB 1884 by Assemblymember Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, is the first of its kind in the country and it has drawn attention from other states."


San Francisco passes New York to become world's costliest place to build


The Chronicle's ROLAND LI: "San Francisco is now the world’s most expensive place to build."


"The city’s construction costs rose 5% last year, and it’s now more pricey than New York, according to a report released Thursday by consulting company Turner & Townsend."


"Costs rose amid demand for new buildings from the booming tech sector, plus a severe construction labor shortage and a spike in steel prices attributed to U.S. and China tariffs. Rising costs are stalling and killing much-needed San Francisco housing projects, exacerbating the shortage, according to developers."


At Nipsey Hussle Funeral, Music and Tears as Rapper Is ‘Sent Off Like a King’


From the NYT's JENNIFER MEDINA, JOSE A. DEL REAL and TIM ARANGO: "The coffin, adorned with white and violet flowers, sat center stage. Three large photographs of the slain rapper were projected overhead on giant television panels, rendered in hues of pink and blue. A thick wall of flowers, a piano, and a harp on stage softened the atmosphere of the cavernous sports arena."


"Choking back tears as they danced, family, fans and hip-hop luminaries gathered on Thursday in Los Angeles to honor Nipsey Hussle, the rapper who was gunned down in South Los Angeles last month. The bittersweet memorial to a local hero melded deeply emotional tributes with arena-filling musical interludes from his debut album."


“This is a celebration. The marathon continues,” shouted DJ Battlecat over the loudspeaker before the beginning of the service at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, which included Hussle’s family along with prominent figures like Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and YG."


California Gov. Gavin Newsom pushes for low-income housing on state property


From the LAT's LIAM DILLON: "In an effort to kick-start low-income housing construction, Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to solicit bids from developers by the end of this year to build homes on at least three state-owned properties."


"The proposal, announced Thursday, follows a January executive order to survey state lands to determine where housing could be constructed. State officials culled a list of nearly 45,000 state-owned parcels, finding 1,300 that could be viable for new homes."


“My administration is using every tool at our disposal to combat the housing affordability crisis our families face,” Newsom said in a statement."


Early look at tax data shows average bill dropped in 2018


The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "With tax season drawing to a close, H&R Block reports that its average customer paid $1,200, or 25 percent, less in federal tax in 2018 than 2017, providing one of the first pieces of hard data on how the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is affecting people in the real world."


"People in the high-tax states of New Jersey, Massachusetts and California got the biggest tax cuts, even though many lost some or all of their federal deduction for state and local taxes."


"This data is based on tax returns filed through March 31. It could change somewhat as more tax returns come in, and averages can be misleading, but experts expect the final data to show similar savings."


Californians favor life without parole over executions, poll says


The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "California voters favor keeping the worst criminals in jail for life instead of putting them to death, although there’s a sharp partisan divide on the issue, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University."


"Among all voters, 48% prefer a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, versus 41% who support capital punishment, according to the poll released Thursday. Majorities of respondents in the Bay Area, Los Angeles County and coastal California oppose the death penalty."


"But there’s a chasm between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the issue. Two-thirds of GOP voters back the death penalty, while an almost identical percentage of Democrats favor life without parole."


High-capacity magazines flooded into California after judge struck down gun control law


Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "A federal judge’s decision to legalize the purchase of high-capacity firearm magazines in California touched off a massive buying frenzy, with hundreds of thousands of the magazines entering the state over a one-week period, according to a Second Amendment advocacy group."


"The California Rifle and Pistol Association called that window “Freedom Week."


"It unfolded between March 29, when U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez overturned the state’s ban on the possession of gun magazines that carry more than 10 rounds, and April 5, when Benitez granted the state’s request to delay the implementation of his ruling."


$35,000 in cash? California cannabis taxes still make growers -- and tax collectors -- nervous


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON/ANDREW SHEELER: "On tax days, it’s not hard to spot marijuana growers waiting to exhale in downtown Eureka."


"They haul cash in grocery bags and boxes, making their way to a state office where they can pay their taxes."


"One grower “holds his breath as he walks into the building,” said Terra Carver, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. The distance is “no more than 20 yards, but the fact that he was holding $350,000 (makes it) ... a public safety issue."


"One of the clients, Geoffrey Ernest Johnson, was a mentally ill paraplegic on disability who won a $4-million settlement of a suit against Los Angeles County. The money was wired to Avenatti in January 2015, but he hid it from Johnson for years, according to the indictment."


Avenatti indicted on 36 federal charges


LA Times's MICHAEL FINNEGAN: "In a sweeping expansion of the criminal charges against Michael Avenatti, a federal grand jury has indicted the Los Angeles lawyer on 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement and other financial crimes."


"Avenatti stole millions of dollars from five clients and used a tangled web of shell companies and bank accounts to cover up the theft, the Santa Ana grand jury alleged in an indictment that prosecutors made public Thursday."


"One of the clients, Geoffrey Ernest Johnson, was a mentally ill paraplegic on disability who won a $4-million settlement of a suit against Los Angeles County. The money was wired to Avenatti in January 2015, but he hid it from Johnson for years, according to the indictment."


Can House Dems keep health care reform alive? Nancy Pelosi is going to try.


Sacramento Bee's DAVID LIGHTMAN: "The Democratic-run House plans to vote on ways to lower prescription drug prices and force insurers to provide stronger protection for people with pre-existing conditions, marking the next big step in a strategy to make health care part of its 2020 election fight."


"Democrats are wrapping up their first 100 days in charge of the House this week, and they’ve been sending the same message over and over: We care deeply about more affordable, accessible health care."


"“This is about a value system in our country,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California of the Democrats’ health care push, “about understanding that health care is a right for all Americans, not just a privilege."


If white men aren't the answer for Democrats in 2020, this organizer has a plan


The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Aimee Allison has one wish for the Democrats’ 2020 presidential pairing: “We cannot have an all-white ticket."


"Not when the Democratic Party’s most loyal voters are women of color, said Allison, an Oakland resident and founder of She the People. The group works to advance women of color in politics, and will host the first presidential forum focused on their issues April 24 in Houston."


"To win in 2020, Democrats must turn out the same coalition of people of color, young voters and white progressives that helped elect Barack Obama twice, Allison said. And women of color, she said, “are the cornerstone."


McClatchy's EMILY CADEI: "A new crop of Democrats is sizing up a challenge to Republican Rep. Tom McClintock in California’s 4th Congressional District after McClintock’s 2018 opponent, Jessica Morse, decided to forgo a rematch."


"Sean Frame, a Placerville Union School Board member and local businessman, declared his candidacy in November 2018. And at least one other Democrat is also considering jumping in."


"Brynne Kennedy, founder of a San Francisco-based human resources management software company, is having conversations with local organizers about the race, several Democratic activists in the district confirmed. Kennedy stepped down as CEO of her company, Topia, in February and now lives in Roseville, according to her LinkedIn profile."


Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR: "More than 2,000 teachers across the Sacramento City Unified School District walked picket lines Thursday morning for the first time in 30 years, staging a one-day strike alleging unfair labor practices by the district."


"As the strike concluded, school board President Jessie Ryan called for a “cease-fire” – changing course from the district’s original plan to file its own unfair labor practices claim with the state, according to a district statement."


"“Teachers are the heartbeat of our schools and we need them back in the classroom,” Ryan said in the statement. “We hear their message that without a solution more disagreement and unrest is likely. While we hear them, we also need them to hear us so that together we can solve this fiscal crisis and unite to save our schools with smart solutions."


READ MORE related to Education: Teachers from around California rally with Sacramento educators -- Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR


Proposal would require every SF district to open a Navigation Center


The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "Everyone has heard all the excuses that San Francisco supervisors have for keeping homeless Navigation Centers out of their districts — too hard to find the right site, costs too much, not enough need in their neighborhoods."


"But those excuses would no longer be tolerated under a proposal by District Six Supervisor Matt Haney. The legislation Haney plans to introduce at next week’s board meeting would force each district that doesn’t already have a Navigation Center to open one in the next 30 months — no matter what."


"It is critical that we step up and say we are going to all be part of the solution,” Haney said. “This is not just talk. This is action. This is commitment."


READ MORE related to Transportation: Rough ride just got bumpier. GM's exit from BART comes as challenges mount -- The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN; Uber files for massive Wall Street debut -- 'the Godzilla of IPOs' -- The Chronicle's CAROLYN SAID; Four women now allege pregnancy discrimination at AC Transit -- The Chronicle's ASHLEY MCBRIDE; Boeing has called its 737 Max 8 'not suitable' for certain airports -- LA Times's ANITA SHARPE


LA developer of celebrity real estate arrested in alleged $1.3B Ponzi scam


LA Times's SUHAUNA HUSSAIN: "The head of a Sherman Oaks firm accused of bilking thousands of investors in a $1.3-billion Ponzi scheme was arrested Thursday along with two associates on federal criminal charges."


"Robert Shapiro, 61, the owner of the Woodbridge Group of Cos., and two other company executives were accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and other violations of federal law in an indictment unsealed in the Southern District of Florida."


"Shapiro, of Sherman Oaks, Dane R. Roseman, 35, of Encino and Ivan Acevedo, 42, of Chatsworth were arrested in California and pleaded not guilty in federal court in Los Angeles. Roseman and Acevedo were released on bond, while Shapiro remained in custody. (Shapiro should not be confused with L.A. celebrity attorney Robert L. Shapiro."

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