'Sticker shock' for California wildfire areas: Insurance rates doubled, policies dropped
Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW/PHILLIP REESE: "Jennifer Burt knows she lives in a fire-prone community. That’s why she’s done everything she can to fire-proof her home in Meadow Vista, in the bushy, densely wooded Placer County foothills, even installing a sprinkler system on the roof."
"Yet a few weeks ago, her insurance carrier — Lloyd’s of London, known for insuring high-risk properties — told her it was declining to renew her homeowners’ policy. Lloyd’s also dropped coverage on two rental properties Burt owns in Graeagle, a heavily forested community northwest of Truckee."
"Burt was already paying a lot for insurance — $6,300 a year for the three homes — and now fears that her premiums could double or triple as she shops for replacement coverage. Rising premiums are also hurting her livelihood as a real state agent: Burt lost a sale in Colfax recently because the buyers couldn’t find insurance for less than $6,900, and their lender backed out of the deal."
California could get $1.8B in food stamp funding. It just needs people to sign up
Sacramento Bee's JACKIE BOTTS: "California, a state with the nation’s highest poverty rate, consistently ranks near the bottom when it comes to enrolling low-income people in CalFresh, the state’s name for the federal food stamp program."
"That translates to a lot of federal money that California forsakes each year. Low-income Californians would have received an additional $1.8 billion in 2016 in federal funding if CalFresh reached every eligible person, estimates California Food Policy Advocates, a non-profit that promotes greater access to food for low-income people."
"It’s outrageous that so many Californians struggle to put food on the table,” said Senator Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat. “We’re leaving money on the table and people aren’t getting the food that they need. It’s time to kick into gear, streamline the system, get people signed up and stop with the excuses."
Temps suffer higher injury rates than permanent workers
FairWarning's ELI WOLFE in Capitol Weekly: "Last October, Erick Solis, a 19-year-old temp worker at a Los Angeles food company, lost two fingers when his hand got caught in an unguarded dough-rolling machine."
"Cal/OSHA, the state job safety agency, cited the company, JSL Foods Inc., for willful violations because an almost identical accident had happened before."
"As it had also done previously, Cal/OSHA citedPriorityWorkforce Inc., the staffing agency that sent Solis to the food plant, for failing to provide adequate safety training."
Court tells California to use mortgage settlement money to help homeowners
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "The state Supreme Court turned down arguments by two California governors Wednesday and left intact a ruling requiring the state to use $331 million, obtained from a nationwide bank settlement, to help homeowners who were victimized by foreclosures during the last recession."
"The money was part of California’s share of a settlement in 2012 with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and GMAC — that had been accused of abusive lending practices. The settlement also included more than $20 billion in direct aid to homeowners nationwide who had been harmed by a wave of foreclosures that started in the recession of 2008-09."
"Sen. Kamala Harris, who was state attorney general at the time, negotiated terms for California that directed $331 million to programs such as hot lines to help foreclosed homeowners, legal aid, consumer education and efforts to combat financial fraud. Legislators also passed a law in 2012 directing the settlement funds to programs directly helping the homeowners."
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'The Big One' doesn't scare Californians. Residents won't move due to recent earthquakes
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "The Big One might be coming, but most Californians aren’t going anywhere."
"A new poll from Quinnipiac University found that 92 percent of Californians have no plans to relocate from the Golden State due to recent earthquake activity."
"Staying despite the earthquakes and being prepared for the next big temblor are two different things."
Daly City will investigate arrest of undocumented immigrant turned over to ICE
The Chronicle's TATIANA SANCHEZ: "Daly City officials on Wednesday said they will investigate a police officer’s arrest of Jose Armando Escobar-Lopez, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who was taken into custody during a routine traffic stop and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
"The announcement follows a Chronicle report Wednesday detailing the arrest of Escobar-Lopez, who was placed in deportation proceedings."
"Although this is an isolated incident, the city is nonetheless conducting a thorough investigation into all aspects of what led to Mr. Escobar-Lopez’s arrest and eventual transfer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the city said in a statement. “If the investigation uncovers a violation of law or city policy, the city will take appropriate action."
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Sacramento mayor says California must require cities to provide shelter space for homeless
Sacramento Bee's THERESA CLIFT: "Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is calling for an enforceable statewide “right to shelter” mandate that would require communities to have enough shelter space or other housing to accommodate their homeless populations, a strategy modeled after a decades-long program in New York City."
"We have sort of tacitly accepted as a society it’s okay for people to live under bridges or on the river bank while we fix the problem,” Steinberg said Wednesday during a Sacramento Bee livestream conversation on homelessness. “We cannot wait for the long-term housing strategy in the state of California to take effect and to get people inside."
"The “right to shelter” mandate would also establish a new legal requirement that homeless people accept shelter that’s available. The mandate could be created by a court action, like in New York, or more likely would be the result of a state bill in the legislature or executive action by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Steinberg said."
Doctor finds Nia Wilson's alleged killer at BART station fit to stand trial
The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "A doctor has found the alleged killer of 18-year-old Nia Wilson competent to stand trial, prompting a judge on Wednesday to reinstate John Lee Cowell’s criminal proceedings."
"Cowell, 29, will enter a plea Aug. 2. He faces one count of murder and one count of attempted murder for Wilson’s death and the nonfatal stabbing of her sister, Letifah Wilson."
"The recent doctor’s report on Cowell follows two other examinations from earlier this year. While one doctor found Cowell incompetent to stand trial, a second was unable to reach a conclusion."
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MS-13 gang's bloody reign of terror in San Fernando Valley leaves residents horrified
LA Times's RUBEN VIVES/JAMES QUEALLY/MATTHEW ORMSETH/NICOLE SANTA CRUZ: "Brayan Andino wasn’t the type to go somewhere without telling his mother."
"So when the 16-year-old didn’t come home from school one day in October 2017, Doris Andino immediately searched her son’s computer. She found messages arranging a meeting with a girl at Lake Balboa Park, but by the time she drove there, her son was nowhere to be found."
"By midnight, she’d reported Brayan missing to the police. The next morning, she drove to Panorama High School, hoping the surveillance cameras there might offer a clue. But the devices were broken."
Cannabis, politics and a brawl give city of Commerce one bad high
LA Times's RUBEN VIVES: "The Commerce City Council meeting had started when Councilman Leonard Mendoza stepped onto the dais and sat a seat away from Mayor Pro Tem Ivan Altamirano, the man he accused of sucker-punching him."
"A month earlier, a brawl involving four Commerce officials at a government convention in Indian Wells brought out the police and generated national headlines."
"There were no physical clashes at this council meeting. But there were arguments over an issue that had divided this working-class industrial town southeast of downtown L.A. for some time — cannabis. Many believe this was part of the reason for the fight at Indian Wells, and officials clashed again at the meeting over how much the city should embrace cannabis businesses. It got so heated that a councilwoman had to apologize to a high school girls water polo team sitting in the audience."
Banned words: Berkeley drops gendered language from city codes
The Chronicle's ASHLEY MCBRIDE: "In an effort to be more inclusive, the Berkeley City Council adopted an ordinance Tuesday to replace gendered language in the city’s municipal code with neutral terms."
"Personal pronouns like “she,” “he,” “her” and “him” will change to “they” and “them."
“Fireman” or “firewoman” will become “firefighter.”
Sheriff's chief says she quit over 'highly unethical' demand to rehire deputy fired for abuse
LA Times's MAYA LAU: "A top official in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said she left the agency after 34 years rather than carry out what she said was a “highly unethical” and “unheard of” directive from Sheriff Alex Villanueva to reinstate a fired deputy and alter his disciplinary record, court papers reviewed by The Times show."
"Alicia Ault, who served as chief of the department’s professional standards and training division before her resignation last year, said she was told by the incoming sheriff’s chief of staff that it was Villanueva’s “No. 1 priority” to reinstate Caren Carl Mandoyanbefore Villanueva took office so it would appear to have been done by the administration of former Sheriff Jim McDonnell, according to a deposition she gave in the county’s lawsuit over the reinstatement, which was filed in court Wednesday."
"Ault’s deposition is part of the county’s unusual legal action against Villanueva, Mandoyan and the Sheriff’s Department. County supervisors and watchdogs, including the county inspector general,have criticized the sheriff for rehiring Mandoyan after he was fired in 2016 for domestic violence and for lying about his actions."
LA Times' Investigation: Trump administration has gutted programs aimed at detecting weapons of mass destruction
LA Times's DAVID WILLMAN: "The Trump administration has quietly dismantled or cut back multiple programs that were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to help detect and prevent terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction, a Times investigation has found."
"The retreat has taken place over the last two years at the Department of Homeland Security, which has primary domestic responsibility for helping authorities identify and block potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats."
"The changes, not previously reported, were made without rigorous review of potential security vulnerabilities, The Times found, undermining government-wide efforts aimed at countering terrorist attacks involving unconventional weapons, known as WMD."
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