Two more California cities consider bills banning e-cigarettes, modeled after SF law
The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO: "Officials in the Bay Area cities of Richmond and Livermore are considering bills that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes — following in the footsteps of San Francisco city officials, who on Tuesday approved legislation prohibiting the sale of vaping products in the city."
"Richmond Mayor Tom Butt is preparing to introduce a similar measure by July 16, said Alex Knox, the mayor’s chief of staff. The proposal, which will be modeled closely after San Francisco’s legislation, would affect 68 tobacco retailers in the city. City staff are still weighing whether the ban would also apply to the online sale of e-cigarettes, as is the case in San Francisco, where the legislation would block the delivery of the products to San Francisco addresses."
"The mayor recognizes the many reasons that e-cigarettes are harmful products, especially for our youth,” Knox said. “The city has already taken a clear stance on prohibiting tobacco products that similarly are designed to be easily consumed and have an increased appeal among youth. Prohibiting e-cigarettes is a natural follow-up to the flavored tobacco and pack-size restrictions that we put in place last year."
READ MORE related to Anti-Vaping Measures: Why a California lawmaker wants to ban cigarette filters and disposable vapes -- CALmatters' RACHEL BECKER
Claiming to be Cherokee, contractors with white ancestry got $300M
LA Times's ADAM ELMAHREK/PAUL PRINGLE: "Two years ago, when the mayor’s office in St. Louis announced a $311,000 contract to tear down an old shoe factory, it made a point of identifying the demolition company as minority owned."
"That was welcome news. The Missouri city was still grappling with racial tensions from the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, in nearby Ferguson. After angry protests, elected officials had pledged to set aside more government work for minority-owned firms."
"There was only one problem."
Rep. Duncan Hunter paid for affairs with campaign cash
AP's MICHAEL R BLOOD: "U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter of California illegally used campaign money to finance romantic flings with lobbyists and congressional aides, spending thousands of dollars on meals, cocktails and vacations, federal prosecutors say."
"A government court filing late Monday detailed allegations about the married Republican congressman's affairs with five women following an indictment last year charging Hunter and his wife with misspending more than $200,000 in campaign funds on trips and other personal expenses."
"Margaret Hunter, who served as the six-term congressman's campaign chairwoman, pleaded guilty this month to one count of corruption and agreed to testify against her husband."
What to watch for in the Democrats' speed-dating presidential debates
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "The thing to remember about a debate involving 10 presidential candidates is that it isn’t a debate."
"It is better to think of the back-to-back Democratic presidential debates Wednesday and Thursday as speed dating, where there’s only a fleeting moment to make a good impression."
“The problem is one of math,” said Alan Schroeder, author of “Presidential Debates: Fifty Years of High-Risk TV.” Between the introductions, moderator chatter and commercial breaks, he said, each candidate “will probably only speak for around five to 10 minutes” during the two-hour throw downs."
READ MORE related to Democratic Debate: As Dems debate, Biden's crime bill likely to provoke attacks -- LA Times's MARK Z BARABAK
California ends its last out-of-state private prison contract
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "California has ended its reliance on out-of-state private prisons, the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced on Tuesday."
"Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the department, said the final 33 inmates were transferred out of a private prison in Arizona, after hundreds more were redirected to California facilities during the last several months."
"At its peak, the La Palma Correctional Facility housed 3,100 inmates who were sentences for crimes in California, Waters said. California at one point had contracts with five other out-of-state detention centers."
How much does your ISP spend on lobbying?
Comparitech's PAUL BISCHOFF in Capitol Weekly: "Internet service providers in the United States have spent more than $1.2 billion on lobbying since 1998, and 2018 was the biggest year so far with a total spend of more than $80 million."
"Comparitech researchers compiled and analyzed 51 ISPs’ lobbying expenses from the US Senate’s Lobbying Disclosure Act database, which dates back to 1998."
Newsom dodges taking a stand on California's gig-worker bill
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Don’t look for the typically loquacious Gov. Gavin Newsom to take a position yet on AB5, the state legislation would turn Uber and Lyft drivers and other gig workers into employees. But he offered a few hints during his recent appearance on The Chronicle’s “It’s All Political” podcast."
"One reason for Newsom’s rare reticence is that the legislation squeezes him between two of his favored constituencies. On one side are the disruptive tech leaders who have long had his ear, appeal to his entrepreneurial business instincts and have supported his campaigns since he was San Francisco’s mayor. On the other is organized labor, which has endorsed him and contributed millions to his campaign for governor."
"Newsom also is treading lightly because negotiations are — as he puts it, “quite literally, not figuratively” — going on between labor and representatives of gig economy companies. Here’s what he responded when asked if he thought Uber and Lyft and other gig employees should be classified like workers:"
No Real ID needed for ammo purchases? California justice department contradicts Newsom
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG/BRYAN ANDERSON: "While touting California’s gun control policies, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that residents would need Real IDs or equivalent documents to buy ammunition next month."
"Minutes later, the California Department of Justice contradicted him, clarifying that there would be no Real ID requirement as part of new firearm and ammunition regulations taking effect July 1."
"The mixed messages are adding to the confusion and frustration California gun owners and advocacy groups have expressed in recent weeks as they try to navigate new regulations they first learned about earlier this month."
California lawmaker targets fake candidate videos after doctored Pelosi footage
The Chronicle's DUSTIN GARDINER: "Citing fears that doctored videos of political candidates could be used to manipulate voters in 2020, a California lawmaker has proposed legislation to ban the release of so-called deepfake images before an election."
"Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, introduced AB730, which would prohibit a person from knowingly distributing a video or photo 60 days before an election with the intent of misleading voters with an image that has been deceptively edited to make it look like a true depiction of the candidate’s words or behavior."
"Berman unveiled the legislation Monday, saying that the proliferation of deepfake technology — fictitious images created using artificial intelligence that appear realistic — could be weaponized on a mass scale."
OP-ED: Loan rate-cap bill would harm consumers
KERRY JACKSON in Capitol Weekly: "The California Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday (June 26) on a bill that caps consumer loan rates and threatens to sever a vital credit lifeline for many. Oddly, three commercial lenders who offer the kind of loans subject to this regulation support it."
"Assembly Bill 539 would cap the interest rate at 36% plus the federal funds rate on loans of more than $2,500 but less than $10,000. Lawmakers are targeting lenders that make what they believe are “unaffordable” personal loans and are doing so in the name of “consumer protection."
"But the bill will create more harm than it would prevent, should it become law."
Garcetti faces heat for supporting US Embassy move to Jerusalem. What did he meam?
LA Times's SONJA SHARP/DAKOTA SMITH: "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ignited a firestorm of controversy last month when he said during a trip to Israel that he supported moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a political triumph of the Trump administration."
"He quickly backpedaled, offering several clarifications and a video apology to the city’s Muslim community."
"But weeks later, questions remain about why Garcetti chose to weigh in on the issue and about his handling of the ensuing backlash. Leaders of Los Angeles’ diverse Jewish community remain divided over his comments — and the broader, political ramifications for the mayor are unclear."
New California rent control initiative allows homeowner exemptions, affects fewer units
Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "Rent control could be back on the ballot again come November 2020."
"The “Rental Affordability Act” was cleared on Tuesday by the California Department of Justice and the Secretary of State’s Office to start collecting signatures, the necessary step to qualify a proposal for a vote."
"The effort is a revived rent control initiative sponsored by Michael Weinstein, the president and CEO of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, who last year poured more than $20 million into a campaign to pass Proposition 10. Voters rejected that measure in the November 2018 election, but the failure didn’t curb Weinstein’s ambition to amend rent control laws."
House passes emergency funding bill for migrant care crisis
AP: "It took last-minute changes and a full-court press by top Democratic leaders, but the House passed with relative ease Tuesday a $4.5 billion emergency border aid package to care for thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border."
"The bill passed along party lines after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quelled a mini-revolt by progressives and Hispanic lawmakers who sought significant changes to the legislation. New provisions added to the bill Tuesday were more modest than what those lawmakers had sought, but the urgent need for the funding — to prevent the humanitarian emergency on the border from turning into a debacle — appeared to outweigh any lingering concerns."
"The 230-195 vote sets up a showdown with the Republican-led Senate, which may try instead to force Democrats to send Trump a different, and broadly bipartisan, companion measure in coming days as the chambers race to wrap up the must-do legislation by the end of the week."
Fire-ravaged Paradise water agency faces state ultimatum
Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK/DALE KASLER: "Just months after California’s deadliest wildfire laid waste to the town of Paradise, hillside residents face yet another costly and potentially dangerous problem."
"State safety officials have downgraded the Magalia Dam on the hill above town to “poor” condition, and have ordered the dam’s owner to make interim repairs by November on the cracked spillway."
"It’s the latest in problem for the Paradise Irrigation District, which lost most of its revenue base in the Camp Fire and is still struggling to deliver potable water to its remaining customers. The fire tainted the district’s water supply with the chemical compound benzene, forcing almost all of the few thousand people who’ve returned to Paradise to drink bottled water."
READ MORE related to Wildfire Epidemic: California wildfires spark creativity in horror writers -- The Chronicle Datebook's JEFF ROUNER; Power shutoffs creating 'disastrous' situation for livestock -- Chico ER's BRODY FERNANDEZ
SF school board votes to destroy controversial Washington High mural
The Chronicle's JILL TUCKER: "The San Francisco school board unanimously voted Tuesday to destroy a controversial school mural featuring slaves and a dead Native American, saying the removal equates to necessary reparations for historic wrongs."
"The board voted to paint over the mural at Washington High School but added a caveat, leaving the door open to the possibility of obscuring the mural with panels if painting it results in long delays from legal challenges or other issues."
"The preference, however, is to destroy it, board members said."
Former CHP officers in cannabis business reclaim $257K from federal govt
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "Two former California Highway Patrol officers who went into the marijuana business after leaving the department have reclaimed $257,733 in cash that was seized from them during a traffic stop on Interstate 5 last year, their attorney said."
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection returned the money to former CHP officers Rick Barry and Brian Clemann after they sued the state to contest their September 2018 arrest."
"Barry and Clemann own Wild Rivers Transport, a Eureka-based cannabis-delivery company. They opened the Humboldt County business to move product and cash for licensed California recreational and medical marijuana companies.."
How Sacramento sheriff stood by while 'Jailbirds' amped up the drama
Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW/MOLLY SULLIVAN: "During filming of the Netflix show “Jailbirds,” Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies watched fights break out, allowed inmates to incriminate themselves without their attorneys present and demanded editorial control of the reality series, even as the show’s producers amped up the drama in the name of entertainment."
"A Sacramento Bee review of sheriff’s department documents and multiple interviews with inmates who appear in “Jailbirds” raise questions about the role the department had in allowing violence to boil over during the production inside its jail. At least four inmates who appeared on the show told The Bee that deputies closely watched the producers film their scenes."
"One inmate said a scene in the show was staged for dramatic effect. Another said producers told her she would not get punished for violations caught on camera. Yet another said a fight scene was “damn near staged."
BART's fare-evasion collection tally: One 95% payment on 6,000-plus tickets
The Chronicle's PHIL MATIER: "If BART had a motto for its fare-evasion ticket collection program, it might be, “No pay — no problem."
"Out of the more than 6,000 unpaid and delinquent proof-of-payment tickets issued in 2018, BART has managed to collect on only one so far."
"For $95,” said spokesman Daniel Tahara of the state Franchise Tax Board, the agency that is supposed to do the collecting."
READ MORE related to Transportation: Violent crime on BART more than doubles in four years -- The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN
Robert Mueller to testify publicly before Congress on July 17
LA Times's CHRIS MEGERIAN/JENNIFER HABERKORN: "Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who spent nearly two years leading the Russia investigation, has agreed to testify publicly before Congress on July 17, setting the stage for what will probably be the most anticipated day on Capitol Hill in recent memory."
"The announcement was made Tuesday evening by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), chair of the House Intelligence Committee. They said the agreement was reached after they issued Mueller a subpoena."
"Americans have demanded to hear directly from the special counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates' obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” they said in a statement."