Render unto California

Apr 1, 2019

Sales tax increasing in 51 California cities starting Monday
Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "If you’ve been considering buying furniture, a giant TV or any other big-ticket item, it might be a good idea to pull the trigger this weekend."

"Sacramento, West Sacramento and Roseville area are among 51 California cities in which sales tax will increase starting Monday."


"Taxes in Roseville and Sacramento each are going up a half-percent (Roseville to 7.75 percent, Sacramento to 8.75 percent). West Sacramento is jumping from 8 percent to 8.25 percent."


Judge strikes down California gun control law Gov. Newsom championed


Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "A judge in Southern California struck down a California gun control law Friday that Gov. Gavin Newsom championed three years ago, ruling that the ban on high-capacity magazines is unconstitutional."


"In response to “a few mad men with guns and ammunition,” California’s law “turns millions of responsible, law-abiding people trying to protect themselves into criminals,” U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez wrote in his decision on Duncan v. Becerra."


"Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” Benitez wrote."


Newsom promised to empty private prisons. Can he do it?

The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "A movement to abolish prisons run by private companies has grown over the past decade from a fringe position to a rallying cry for liberal presidential candidates — and now, California Gov. Gavin Newsom."


"Activists argue that corporations motivated by profit have a perverse incentive to support policies leading to more prison time for more people and to skimp on the services they provide to inmates."


"Newsom joined those critics last year when he declared on hiscampaign website that for-profit prisons “contribute to over-incarceration.” In his January inaugural address, he promised to “end the outrage that is private prisons in the state of California once and for all."


Intelligence report appeared to endorse view of leftwing protesters as 'terrorists'

The Guardian's JASON WILSON: "An intelligence report produced for law enforcement agencies in the months before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, in which a neo-Nazi killed one protester by driving a car into a crowd, appeared to endorse a view that leftist demonstrators were “terrorists” and at least equally as responsible for street violence as white nationalists, the Guardian can reveal."


"The report, Antifa/Anti-antifa: Violence in the Streets, was produced by the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (ROCIC) in May 2017. It was obtained with a Foia request from the not-for-profit transparency group Property of the People. Antifa is the name given to groups of leftwing protests who confront white nationalists, often violently."


"Experts say the report mischaracterizes the dynamics of the street violence that was emerging at that time, and is mistaken in characterizing white nationalist groups as “anti-antifa”, suggesting they act in opposition to leftwing groups or out of a sense of anarchism rather than having their own political and violent agenda."


Oroville Dam spillway to be used Tuesday. The state says it's ready


Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER: "Oroville Dam’s massive flood-control spillway will be deployed Tuesday for the first time since it was rebuilt for $1.1 billion after a near-catastrophe forced the evacuation of 188,000 people in 2017."


"In a brief statement Sunday, the California Department of Water Resources’ deputy director Joel Ledesma said the agency has “restored full functionality to the Oroville main spillway and is operating the reservoir to ensure public safety of those downstream. The Oroville main spillway was designed and constructed using 21st century engineering practices and under the oversight and guidance from state and federal regulators and independent experts."


"The state has been hinting for weeks that the spillway could be reused soon as a wet winter starts to give way to the spring snowmelt season in the Sierra. The lake level, deliberately kept low as repairs wound down, has risen to 853 feet, or about 50 feet from the top."


California DMV dysfunction prompts Newsom to ask for millions for new workers

The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "Gov. Gavin Newsom is seeking $168 million to hire more than 1,100 new employees at the California Department of Motor Vehicles and make other changes to reduce long wait times at DMV offices."


"The request, made by his administration Friday to the chairs of the legislative budget committees, came two days after a state audit concluded that a “reactive culture” at the DMV was to blame for poor customer service and the faulty rollout of a new identification card last year."


"H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the governor’s Finance Department, said the funding proposal was developed in consultation with staffers who conducted the audit and members of the “strike team” Newsom assembled in January to fix the DMV."


Former SFPUC president subject of financial conflict investigation involving $1.25 million

The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "The former president of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission improperly voted to award two contracts worth a combined $1.25 million that benefited labor organizations with which he was affiliated, a city investigation has found."


"Vince Courtney Jr. resigned from the commission in February, ostensibly topursue his work as a political fundraiser for Progress San Francisco, a prominent independent expenditure committee that donates to business-friendly causes and candidates."


"But it’s his role as a paid political captain for Laborers’ Local 261, a construction trades union, that created a conflict of interest with his job as a commissioner, according to documents reviewed by The Chronicle and interviews with three people familiar with the city attorney’s investigation."


Sacramento's 'community of victims' fight law shortening sentences for young killers

Sacramento Bee's DARRELL SMITH: "They are a community now, sharing a bond known only by those whose lives have been ravaged by violent crime."

"Nicole Clavo lost a young son, killed by a gunshot three years ago as he sat at a north Sacramento intersection in a car full of his high school football teammates. The alleged gunman was 15."


"Victoria Hurd’s mother and her mother’s husband were attacked as they sleptin 2013, murdered, then mutilated in the bedroom of their Davis condominium. Their killer was 15."


The bizarre story of the LA dad who exposed the college admissions scandal

LA Times's JOEL RUBIN/MATTHEW ORMSETH/SUHAUNA HUSSAIN/RICHARD WINTON: "Morrie Tobin was in Boston to cut the deal of his life."


"It was early April last year. A few weeks before, federal agents had descended on the multimillion-dollar home Tobin shares with his wife and some of their six children in Hancock Park, a moneyed Los Angeles enclave."


"Warrant in hand, the agents searched the French chateau-style mansion for financial records and other evidence to nail Tobin, the suspected ringleader of a stock scam that defrauded investors of millions of dollars."


READ MORE related to Education: How a couple worked charter school regulations to make millions -- LA Times's ANNA M PHILLIPS


Oakland hills residents break an axle over city's $100 million pothole plan

The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Oakland finally has money to take care of a problem that residents complain about, whether they live in the hills of Montclair or the flatlands below Interstate 580: the city’s potholed, axle-breaking, hubcap-liberating roads."


"But Oakland’s three-year proposal to pave its tattered roadways is already facing resistance. That’s because officials plan to shift a larger portion of the city’s infrastructure bond money to low-income neighborhoods such as Fruitvale and deep East Oakland, where residents have long felt ignored by City Hall. The wealthier, less populous hills would get a smaller share."


"Some hills residents are furious."


Biden defending interaction with women after complaint

AP's JULIE PACE/THOMAS BEAUMONT: "Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday defended his interactions with women, saying he doesn't believe he's ever acted inappropriately. But a Nevada politician's assertion that Biden's kiss on the back of her head made her feel uncomfortable prompted some Democrats to question whether the 76-year-old is too out of step with his own party to run a successful 2020 presidential campaign."


"The episode, recounted by Democrat Lucy Flores, highlighted an aspect of Biden's persona that has been publicly known for years: the affectionate whispers, hugs and shoulder squeezes he has long doled out to women, often on camera and at high-profile public events. In a moment of national reckoning over sexual harassment and the treatment of women by powerful men, some Democrats said Biden's actions have taken on a new light."


"It looks different in 2019," said Maria Cardona, a Democratic strategist. Cardona said that while Biden's behavior is not automatically disqualifying for the presidency, "it all depends on how he continues to respond to this. He has to acknowledge that his behavior made some women uncomfortable."

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