Triumph as rare red-legged frogs return to Yosemite
From LISA KRIEGER, Mercury News: "With no parting glance at their devoted human caretakers, 142 rare red-legged frogs swam to freedom on Friday — one small jump for the frogs but a giant leap for the threatened species."
"Our official state amphibian, the frogs vanished from these pristine mountain meadows 50 years ago."
"This new generation, raised from tadpoles at the San Francisco Zoo and rushed to the Sierra in boxes in the back of an air-conditioned SUV, represents a second chance for the beleaguered creatures."
March for Science draws presidential candidate, anti-vaxx counter-protesters
Sacramento Bee's BENJY EGEL/BRYAN ANDERSON: "The topics du jour at Sacramento’s March for Science on Saturday were both modern and ancient: climate change being accelerated through modern human today, and vaccines to treat formerly eradicated diseases that have started to come back."
"A week after introducing a bill to mandate all California children be vaccinated unless exempted by the state, Dr. Richard Pan was standing at the steps of River Walk Park in West Sacramento imploring anyone who would listen to take immunizations seriously. The state senator, who represents Sacramento, spoke about the recent measles outbreak in Southern California, which he said was spurred by some people’s increased reluctance to vaccinate their children."
"Science allows us to understand how the world works, how the universe works, and then to be able to to anticipate what’s going to happen,” Pan said in an interview following his speech. “But then we have to have the will to address it."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: PG&E shut-off plan to prevent fires troubles vulnerable customers -- The Chronicle's JD MORRIS; Reclaiming Paradise -- The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER; Volunteers give 720,000 salmon a head start on life -- The Chronicle's TOM STIENSTRA
AG Becerra launches statewide Catholic diocese sex abuse review
Sacramento Bee's CLAIRE MORGAN/ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS/DARRELL SMITH: "California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will audit all 12 of California’s Roman Catholic dioceses – including the Diocese of Sacramento – on their reporting procedures in sex abuse cases."
"The AG’s chief question: Did church officials follow California law and report allegations of sexual misconduct to law enforcement?"
"Becerra’s sent letters to each of California’s dioceses Thursday asking for church officials to preserve files and records of clergy sex abuse and mandatory reporting to his office, according to Sacramento diocese spokesman Kevin Eckery."
Democrats said they want to unseat Devin Nunes. They don’t have a candidate
From the Fresno Bee's KATE IRBY: "Democrats and Republicans have made it clear where the congressional battlegrounds are in California for 2020, and nearly all nine contested seats have multiple declared challengers trying to unseat incumbents."
"Just two targeted districts — the ones held by Reps. TJ Cox, D-Fresno, and Devin Nunes, R-Tulare — still don’t have a single public challenger."
"It may feel like the 2018 midterm election just ended, but a late start for 2020 could make it difficult for the opposing party to unseat either congressman, especially during a presidential election year when voters’ attention and political fundraising dollars will be fixed at the top of the ticket."
California lawmakers again protect the loophole of unlimited political cash
From the LAT's JOHN MYERS: "This isn’t meant to be a trick question: Are there limits to the size of campaign contributions that a California lawmaker can accept?"
"Yes, there are — unless the money is given to a political committee that’s supposed to either support or oppose a ballot measure. Then the answer is no; the politician can collect in donations of all sizes. And it’s been that way for almost two decades."
"It is time to close the loophole, so that candidates and elected officials cannot use money intended for promoting or opposing ballot measures to instead promote themselves and their campaigns,” state Sen. Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) told a Senate committee last month.
Political power should be decided in elections — not rigged census surveys
GEORGE SKELTON, LAT: "Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Democrats are determined to beat President Trump next year — not only on the ballot, but also in the census count."
Overdoses in California prisons up 113% in three years -- nearly 1,000 incidents in 2018
The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "Nearly 1,000 men and women in California prisons overdosed last year and required emergency medical attention in what officials acknowledge is part of an alarming spike in opioid use by those behind bars, according to records obtained by The Chronicle."
"The number of inmates treated for drug or alcohol overdoses jumped from 469 to 997 from 2015 to 2018 — a 113% increase. While many of the prisoners survived, the most recent data available show drug-related inmate deaths are on the rise, too — from 17 in 2006 to 40 in 2017."
"The rise in overdoses comes despite the state pouring millions into technologies designed to block contraband at prison entry points. But as powerful opioids such as fentanyl require smaller doses and become easier to smuggle, these efforts have proved futile in stopping the flow of drugs via visitors, prison employees, the mail and even drones."
Where's California's middle class? Influencers say income disparity must be addressed
DAN SCHNUR in the SacBee: "We used to have a middle class in California."
"But years of economic and technological upheaval have created an unmet demand for new job skills required for high-paying jobs, which has led to tremendous growth in income disparity among state workers. The challenge now is to figure out how to avoid becoming home for only the very rich and the very poor."
"California is the fifth-largest economy in the world … But we face significant headwinds when it comes to economic mobility,” said Lenny Mendonca, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief economic and business adviser. “Our workers can’t be expected to bear the burden of this transition alone, nor the associated costs."
Biden calls Trump a 'clown' while decrying president's nicknames
Bloomberg News's JENNIFER EPSTEIN: "Joe Biden said he doesn’t intend to try to match Donald Trump in the nickname game but nonetheless offered one for the president while speaking to donors on Saturday."
"There are so many nicknames that I’m inclined to give this guy. We could just start with clown,” Biden told about three dozen supporters at a $1,000-to-$2,800 per person fundraiser in Columbia, S.C. “When he says these ridiculous things he says, I mean this, I put my hand up and say, ‘everybody knows who you are’ because they do know."
"Trump regularly assigns derogatory nicknames to political foes. He calls Biden “Sleepy Joe” on Twitter and has tagged many of the other top Democratic contenders."