How California's big plans to address housing affordability crashed
LA Times's LIAM DILLON: "Just over two weeks ago, California lawmakers were planning to advance some of the most aggressive policies in the nation to combat rising housing costs. They were pushing to open up most neighborhoods zoned only for single-family homes to apartment construction and to prevent millions of renters from facing double-digit rent increases each year."
"Then it all fell apart."
"In a series of dramatic committee hearings and last-minute decisions in Sacramento, three major housing bills were blocked or whittled to a husk. Their demise came at the hands of engaged homeowner activists from predominantly suburban communities, real estate lobbies and after a lack of intervention from Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leadership to keep the bills alive."
Pete Buttigieg tries to diversify his campaign’s support by visiting Fresno
From the Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Pete Buttigieg is a breakout star in the presidential race in California, but his support emanates largely from coastal white liberals. Among California Latinos, however, he’s polling at 2%, which would doom his candidacy in the nation’s most diverse state."
"And that assessment comes from none other than Buttigieg."
“We realize that we’re going to have to broaden our support,” Buttigieg told The Chronicle in an interview. “The challenge for us is to do it quickly. We don’t have the years to spend to allow people to get to know us, and it is harder when you’re not from one of those communities.”
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California governor won't free Manson follower Van Houten
AP's DON THOMPSON: "California Gov. Gavin Newsom overruled a parole board's decision to free Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten on Monday, marking the third time a governor has stopped the release of the youngest member of Manson's murderous cult."
"Van Houten, 69, is still a threat, Newsom said, though she has spent nearly half a century behind bars and received reports of good behavior and testimonials about her rehabilitation."
"While I commend Ms. Van Houten for her efforts at rehabilitation and acknowledge her youth at the time of the crimes, I am concerned about her role in these killings and her potential for future violence," he wrote in his decision. "Ms. Van Houten was an eager participant in the killing of the LaBiancas and played a significant role."
Cal Fire discipline program gets new funding in Newsom's budget
Sac Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "A professional standards program created two years ago to impose discipline at Cal Fire after a series of scandals will remain in place under a new administration, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget."
"Former Gov. Jerry Brown launched the program to improve the culture at the 7,600-member department following a series of scandals that came to light after a Cal Fire academy battalion chief murdered his girlfriend in 2014."
"Brown in 2016 created a 14-member unit with a $4 million budget to investigate employee misconduct, impose discipline and educate staff about the department’s expectations. Newsom’s budget sets aside the same amount of money for the same number of positions. The Legislature supports the spending, according to a Budget Conference committee report."
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SF supervisors strike deal to expand forced treatment of mentally ill
The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "San Francisco supervisors struck a deal Monday to support a controversial law that would expand the city’s ability to force seriously mentally ill people into care — but the plan will likely help only about five people."
"The Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the legislation on Tuesday, following months of debate over how the city should deal with severely mentally ill people on the streets. The supervisors battled for months over the proposal. But even the legislation’s most ardent supporters say it isn’t the answer to the city’s broken behavioral health care system."
"The proposal expands the definition of who is eligible for conservatorship, which is court-ordered mental health treatment. If it passes, the city can impose in-patient treatment on someone if they are severely mentally ill, addicted to drugs and have been taken to an emergency crisis unit — known as a 5150 hold — at least eight times in a year."
Sac City schools could save millions on teachers' health care. Will union play ball?
Sac Bee's MICHAEL FINCH II/SAWSAN MORRAR: "The Sacramento City Unified School District wants to shave millions in health care spending to ease pressure on its budget, a move that will likely lead to further conflict and pushback from its most powerful employee group: the teachers union."
"If that sounds familiar, it’s because district leaders have broached the topic with union officials many times before. Both the district and union hoped to lower the amount spent on health insurance coverage. But the Sacramento City Teachers Association wants to divert that money to boost staffing, which would cut into the district’s bottom line."
"Negotiating the details has not been successful."
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Headed to Stanford, SF immigrant teen found American dream on steroids
The Chronicle's JILL TUCKER: "Jiayu Mai walked off an airplane four years and six days ago to start a new life in San Francisco."
"He was 15, spoke little English and bore emotional and physical scars from his abusive father. The abuse was so severe that he fled China with his mother and stepfather, his family abandoning financial security and their home to keep him safe."
"Like many young Chinese students, he adopted an Anglicized name, one with an initial sound similar to his given name, but easier for English speakers to pronounce. He could have picked Greg or Gabriel, or Glenn."
LAPD officer was the 'immigrant dream' before his life changed at a Border Patrol checkpoint
LA Times's JAMES QUEALLY: "When proponents of tougher enforcement talk about people coming to the U.S. “the right way,” they often describe immigrants like Mambasse Patara."
"The 53-year-old Fontana resident entered the U.S. legally from Togo in 1999, then earned his citizenship by fighting in the Iraq war as a Marine. He has spent the last 12 years as a patrolman and traffic investigator for the Los Angeles Police Department."
"But after nearly two decades of lawful contacts with immigration authorities, Patara found himself at odds with the U.S. Border Patrol last year when he was stopped at a checkpoint in Pine Valley, some 50 miles east of San Diego."
Sacramento water company warns customers of scammers offering 'free' water testing
Sac Bee's MEGHAN BOBROWSKY: "A Sacramento water utility company warned customers Friday to beware of individuals posing as contractors and offering “free” water testing."
"The company, California American Water (CalAm), said in a Facebook post that they received reports of people pretending to be them, offering the “free” water testing and and selling water purification devices and services."
"CalAm does not sell any products or services in addition to its utility service, and never conducts door-to-door sales, according to the Facebook post."
Crusade for riders or risky gambit? BART director pushes to delay fare increase
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "A member of BART’s board wants to roll back fare increases that have already been approved, insisting that higher ticket prices will chase more riders away from the transit system."
"Director Debora Allen of central Contra Costa County is lining up support to stall a 5.4% hike planned for January, which would add about 40 cents to a long trip from Antioch Station to Embarcadero — producing $25 million a year for the struggling agency."
“If I’m a private business and I’m not serving my customers to their satisfaction, I can’t raise my prices because people will look for other alternatives,” Allen said."
Michelin releases 2019 California guide: Angler and Sorrel get stars, Saison loses a star
The Chronicle's JUSTIN PHILLIPS: "Michelin Guide’s first-ever California edition has turned a global spotlight on Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, Orange County and Santa Barbara, but the Bay Area, with all seven Michelin three-star restaurants listed in the guide hailing from the region, remains the state’s fine dining mecca."
"That isn’t to say interesting things didn’t unfold in other restaurant markets. Sacramento got its long-awaited star and a handful of Southern California restaurants with cult followings also jumped onto the one and two-star lists."
"The Michelin stars were announced Monday evening during a live event orchestrated by the Visit California Tourism Bureau in Huntington Beach. Overall, the guide consists of 69 one-star restaurants, 14 two-stars and seven three-star restaurants."
Wildfire relief bill on its way to Trump's desk despite Republican 'no' votes
Sacramento Bee's KATE IRBY: "A long-awaited disaster relief package is finally on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk, meaning billions of dollars in potential assistance could soon be available to California wildfire victims."
"The House of Representatives on Monday by a 354-58 vote approved a final version of the bill, providing $19.1 billion in aid to states affected by disasters, including wildfires and hurricanes."
"Only Republicans opposed the bill, including two from California. Reps. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, and Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, voted against the measure."