High tension

May 13, 2019

California may go dark this summer, and most aren't ready


From Bloomberg's MARK CHEDIAK and BRIAN ECKHOUSE: "A plan by California’s biggest utility to cut power on high-wind days during the onrushing wildfire season could plunge millions of residents into darkness. And the vast majority isn’t ready."

"The plan by PG&E Corp. comes after the bankrupt utility said a transmission line that snapped in windy weather probably started last year’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history. While the plan may end one problem, it creates another as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days and days of blackouts."

"Some residents are turning to other power sources, a boon for home battery systems marketed by Sunrun Inc.Tesla Inc. and Vivint Solar Inc. But the numbers of those systems in use are relatively small when compared with PG&E’s 5.4 million customers. Meanwhile, Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s budgeting $75 million to help communities deal with the threat."

California had a wet winter. But a satellite photo shows the state is drying out fast

From the Union-Tribune's GARY ROBBINS: "NASA released a satellite image over the weekend that showed what a large swath of California look like during the winter, when the Sierra Nevada was heavily covered with snow..."

"Reservoir conditions are good throughout virtually all of California. In April, the snow level in the Sierra was 162 percent of average. The reservoirs will be well stocked for a long period of time."

"But we’ll have to monitor temperature and wind conditions between now and late fall. If they’re abnormally high, it could mean that wild land areas will dry out very quickly, creating dangerous wildfire conditions -- even though the state’s main reservoirs will still be well stocked."

Newsom alters plan to divert public health dollars to cover unauthorized immigrants


CHL's SAMANTHA YOUNG: "Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration Friday reversed course on his plan to divert public health dollars from several California counties to help provide health coverage to young adults who are in the country illegally."


"The administration heeded the alarm sounded by Sacramento, Placer, Santa Barbara and Stanislaus counties, which had warned that the governor’s plan would compromise their ability to cope with surging rates of sexually transmitted diseases and, in some cases, measles outbreaks."


"The Administration has subsequently reevaluated this proposal due to the potential negative impacts to public health activities in these counties,” Vivek Viswanathan, chief deputy director of the state Department of Finance, wrote in a letter Friday to the chairs of the state Assembly and Senate Budget Committees."


READ MORE related to Health: Talking about fertility in the office is no longer taboo -- The Chronicle's MELIA RUSSELL


Only one California Republican defied Trump on disaster bill. He represents Paradise


McClatchy's EMILY CADEI: "Rep. Doug La Malfa of Oroville was the only California Republican to defy President Donald Trump and vote for House Democrats’ disaster aid bill on Friday."


"The legislation would provide $19.1 billion in disaster relief funds for victims of California’s deadly 2018 wildfires as well as for flooding in the Midwest and hurricanes in the Southeast and Puerto Rico."


"The money would go to a range of federal programs, including infrastructure repairs, assistance for farmers and rural communities, and housing, health care, and other social services in disaster areas."


READ MORE related to Energy & EnvironmentGray whales starving, washing up dead in startling numbers along SF coast -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE


When a reporter would not betray his source, police came to his home with guns and a sledgehammer


From the LAT's MATT HAMILTON: "The banging jolted Bryan Carmody awake. Outside his San Francisco home Friday morning, the longtime journalist saw a throng of police officers with a sledgehammer, trying to break down his front gate."


"Carmody told the eight to 10 officers he would only let them in with a search warrant. Police confirmed a judge signed off on their barging into his home. Then the officers drew their guns and scoured his residence. When police left, they carted away his notebooks, computers, cameras, phones and even his fiancee’s iPod from her college days."


“I knew what they wanted,” Carmody told The Times. “They wanted the name.”


Some guys have all the luck. Just ask California Gov. Gavin Newsom


From the LAT's GEORGE SKELTON: "Winning politics often turns on luck. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you’re already ahead of the game. That’s where lucky Gov. Gavin Newsom is now."


"No California governor in 44 years has begun presiding over the state at a better time."


"There was ample evidence of this last week when Newsom sent the Legislature a revised state budget proposal of nearly $214 billion for the fiscal year beginning July 1."


With a mom in charge, Newsom is building a playground in the gov's office


Sac Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "As Gavin Newsom’s team prepared for him to take office last fall, Ann O’Leary brought her two children with her to work. The governor’s new chief of staff put 12-year-old Violet in charge and stepped into a meeting."


"Soon, Violet knocked on the door with news about her 9-year old brother."


"Mommy, Emmett’s sick, and he lost his retainer in the toilet,’” O’Leary recalls her daughter saying. “Luckily, everyone in the meeting was very nice about it. I did what only a mother would do and saved the retainer."


Spare us the subpoena soap opera, but we'd love to see Trump's taxes


The Chronicle's WILLIE BROWN: "I found myself in front of my closet the other day, asking, “What does one wear to a constitutional crisis?"


"When I was mayor I learned how to suit up for various crises: garbage strike, jeans and a windbreaker. Muni meltdown, flak jacket and running shoes."


LGBT voters in California have two favorites: Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg


The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Estevan Montemayor couldn’t even pronounce Pete Buttigieg’s name before he attended the Democrat’s presidential campaign fundraiser at a West Hollywood bar in March. By the time it was over, he was so “mesmerized” that he promptly cut a donation check."


"But that doesn’t mean that Montemayor, leader of the organization that produces the annual LGBT Pride event in Los Angeles, is sold on the mayor of South Bend, Ind., whose name is pronounced BOOT-edge-edge. Montemayor has also given money to California Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign."


"Such split loyalties are found in many corners of California’s LGBT community, where voters are torn between supporting a native Californian who has long been a champion for their issues and an openly gay candidate who kisses his husband on the campaign trail."


Villanueva's moves draw concern from some cities that pay for L.A. Sheriff's patrols


From the LAT's  MAYA LAU and MATT STILES: "Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva runs the nation’s largest jail system and patrols 4,000 square miles of the country’s most populous county."


"He’s also head of the police force for dozens of individual cities throughout the county that contract with his agency for law enforcement services. The cities collectively paid $310 million to the Sheriff’s Department this past year and have long been seen as a key source of political power."


"But as Villanueva faces a crisis over his decision to hire back troubled deputies and his challenging of some policing reforms, he is getting pushback from some city leaders."


Get the daily Roundup
free in your e-mail

The Roundup is a daily look at the news from the editors of Capitol Weekly and AroundTheCapitol.com.
Privacy Policy