Northern California river floods 2,000 buildings
From the AP's HAVEN R. DALEY and OLGA RODRIGUEZ: "A Northern California river flooded 2,000 homes, businesses and other buildings and left two communities virtual islands after days of stormy weather, officials said Wednesday."
"The towns of Guerneville and Monte Rio were hardest hit by water pouring from the Russian River, which topped 46 feet (13 meters) late Wednesday night, said Briana Khan, a Sonoma County spokeswoman."
"The river frequently floods in rainy weather but it hadn’t reached that level for 25 years and wasn’t expected to recede again until late Thursday night."
READ MORE on flooding: An estimated 2,000 buildings along the Russian River have flooded. Guerneville is a virtual island -- HANNAH FRY, LIAM DILLON and ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN; Russian River flooding swamps two dozen towns -- JULIA PRODIS SOLEK, LISA KRIEGER and MARK GOMEZ
With ‘atmospheric river’ winding down, flooding risk peaks and snow removal proves tricky
From HANNAH DARDEN, Sacramento Bee: "Northern California has been pounded by rain and snow over the past three days as the latest atmospheric river storm set rainfall records Tuesday in Sacramento, flooded roads and towns, and shut down Interstate 80 in the Sierra."
"Sacramento saw just over a half-inch of rain Wednesday, a stark departure from the record-shattering 2.52 inches recorded Tuesday. It didn’t set any records, but the half-inch is still about .4 inches above the average for Feb. 27, according to the NWS."
"National Weather Service forecaster Johnnie Powell said this storm is generally winding down, with winds slowing and rain letting up across the Valley on Thursday and Friday; another system is expected to bring more rain over the weekend."
With heavy rain and snow, will California get a break from wildfires? The science is tricky
MATTHIAS GAFNI, SF Chronicle: "As Bay Area residents ride canoes through neighborhoods to cope with flooded rivers, and as the Sierra sets records for snowfall, historical data show the wet winter could bode well for a state desperate for a mild fire season after two years of catastrophic damage."
Amtrak service unlikely to resume soon due to Sierra storm
AP's SCOTT SONNER: "Amtrak passenger train service between Reno and Sacramento, California, is unlikely to resume until at least Friday because of a lingering winter storm that sent an avalanche across the Union Pacific tracks in the Sierra Nevada, railway officials said Wednesday."
"Service on Amtrak’s California Zephyr was suspended Tuesday after an avalanche in the mountains west of Truckee, California, where more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) of snow has fallen over the last two days, with winds gusting up to 114 mph (183 kph)."
"A 70-mile (112-kilometers) stretch of U.S. Interstate 80 also remained closed Wednesday from the California-Nevada line near Reno to Colfax, California. The area around Lake Tahoe was under a winter storm warning until 4 a.m. Thursday."
California’s housing supply law fails to spur enough construction, study says
From LIAM DILLON, LA Times: "California’s housing supply law has failed in its goal of spurring enough new home building to meet demand, especially for low-income residents, according to a new report from public policy think tank Next 10."
"The law, which requires cities and counties to plan for development, is the state’s primary policy for encouraging growth. But the report concludes that the law fails to ensure enough land is set aside for new homes statewide, doesn’t force cities with booming employment to accept sufficient home building to accommodate population increases and doesn’t facilitate construction."
"For example, under the law local governments must zone enough land for low-income housing to meet projected demand over an eight-year period. But actual progress on building low-income homes is far behind."
LA-area lawmaker proposes lower blood limit for drunk driving; will face opposition
From KEVIN MOIDESTI, Riverside Press-Enterprise: "Since the last major change to the state’s drunk-driving standard, in 1990, many Californians have developed at least a foggy sense of how much alcohol they can consume without risking a DUI — or worse."
"If a new bill is approved, drinkers might have to change their habits."
"That’s the hope, anyway, of Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Marina del Rey. This week, she introduced a bill that would lower the threshold for driving under the influence to .05 percent blood-alcohol content from the current .08 percent."
Saying no to the nurses: California Democrats aren’t pushing government-run health care this year
SOPHIA BOLLAG, Sacramento Bee: "Many California Democrats say they support single-payer health care, but none introduced a new version of the state’s landmark single-payer bill before a key deadline last week."
"Stephanie Roberson, a lobbyist for the California Nurses Association, said the union was in talks with Sen. Mike McGuire about running a bill this year, but those discussions fell through."
“Senator McGuire’s admission that he could not get enough political consensus to move a bill around this issue is troubling,” Roberson said in a statement. “To not have a comprehensive solution on the table in the first year of a two-year session in the most progressive legislature in the country is baffling.”
With DA’s Stephon Clark decision looming, Sacramento Kings appeal to black community
From the SacBee's DALE KASLER: "With Sacramento bracing for a decision on the fate of the police officers who killed Stephon Clark last spring, the Sacramento Kings reached out to the black community again Wednesday with a renewed pledge to work for social justice."
"A diverse group of speakers, from Kings Chairman Vivek Ranadive to Police Chief Daniel Hahn, spoke at a forum the team hosted at Golden 1 Center on economic opportunity, inner-city policing and other topics. Golden 1 became an epicenter of protests over the Clark shooting last March, with demonstrators preventing thousands of fans from attending two home games."
"Clark’s death loomed over the proceedings throughout the day Wednesday. Hahn, asked by a moderator about preventing future shootings, said, “There’s no perfect solutions. We have to find them together.”
The San Fernando Valley’s economy is roaring, but the 818’s middle class is thinning, and that’s worrisome, new report says
OLGA GRIGORYANTS, LA Daily News: "Despite robust economic growth, the San Fernando Valley’s middle class is shrinking — a “cautionary note” to an otherwise optimistic economic forecast on the region released Wednesday."
"The Valley’s share of the population with incomes between $15,000 and $100,000 has declined since 2010 while the population with annual incomes greater than $100,000 has been growing substantially, according to the forecast, released by California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting."
“Many hundreds of thousands of employees in retail trade, leisure & hospitality and education & health services are finding it increasingly difficult to live in the Valley,” according to the report."