Wealthy parents in admissions scandal under intense pressure to make deals. Here's why
LA Times's RICHARD WINTON/HANNAH FRY: "The wealthy parents accused in the sweeping college admissions cheating scandal have been pilloried, and some have lost jobs."
"They face prison time if convicted in the massive fraud scheme."
"Now, sources say some of them are under pressure to cooperate with federal prosecutors, who are looking to expand the case. Prosecutors got the cooperation of the alleged mastermind of the scheme, who in turn provided evidence about dozens of parents. One source said some of the parents are being given a short window to consider a deal or potentially face additional charges."
California goes all in for the census
From Capitol Weekly's LISA RENNER: "As the country prepares for the important 2020 census, California is throwing more resources than ever into making sure its population is properly counted."
"The state already has set aside $100 million for the event, far more than either the $2.3 million in today’s dollars it committed in 2010 or the $28.8 million in today’s dollars it did in 2000, according to the state legislative analyst’s office report."
"The $100 million in two budget years under former Gov. Jerry Brown is also well above what any other state is allocating for the effort, and roughly a fourth of the $400 million set aside across the country for the census, according to earlier estimates by California census officials. Gov. Newsom’s proposed 2019-20 state budget includes another $50 million for the census."
If Trump wants to get on California’s 2020 ballot, he might need to release his tax returns
From BRYAN ANDERSON, Sacramento Bee: "For the second time in three years, a California Democrat is trying to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns."
"Under Senate Bill 27, presidential candidates from all parties would need to publicly disclose the last five years of their tax returns if they want to have their name on the state’s primary ballot."
"Former Gov. Jerry Brown – who didn’t release his own tax returns – vetoed the same proposal in 2017, warning it “may not be constitutional” and could set a “slippery slope” precedent."
Workers hit picket line at UC Davis Medical Center as strike unfolds at campuses statewide
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "The clamorous honks of vuvuzelas, a staple of South African soccer matches, disrupted the usual stillness of the UC Davis Medical Center on Wednesday as unionized workers called attention to their strike over stalled contract negotiations with the University of California."
"Samrrah Raouf, a 10-year employee of UC Davis Health, and other workers said they’re concerned not only about UC executives making as much as 10 times what many pickets earn in a year but also about how outsourcing is affecting the security of middle-wage jobs."
"Employees in some union-represented positions work long hours because staffing is insufficient to manage the workload, Raouf said – and that’s because the current pay and benefits aren’t attracting enough job candidates."
READ MORE related to Education: UC Berkeley in spotlight as Trump is expected to issue campus free-speech order -- The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN; UCSF opens 'skin of color' dermatology clinic to address disparity in care -- The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY; USC has lost its way. Here's how the new president can put it back on track -- LA Times's STEVE LOPEZ
Devin Nunes' cow goes viral
The Chronicle's TRAPPER BYRNE/JK DINEEN: "Central Valley Rep. Devin Nunes’ lawsuit against Twitter, claiming that the San Francisco company allowed “abusive, hateful and defamatory” tweets attacking the Republican politician, has resulted in one unintended side-effect: It’s drawing tens of thousands of Twitter followers to one of the parody accounts Nunes targeted."
"Before Nunes filed his complaint Tuesday in Virginia state court, seeking more than $250 million in damages, @DevinCow — a.k.a. Devin Nunes’ cow — had 1,000-plus followers. By Tuesday evening the total topped 214,000, still short of the congressman’s 393,000 followers, but closing in."
Newsom has a $500M plan for homelessness. Steinberg, other CA mayors want more
Sacramento Bee's THERESA CLIFT: "Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and a dozen other California mayors asked Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday to allocate more state money for homelessness than what the governor has proposed."
"Newsom’s proposed budget includes $500 million for homelessness — the same amount that was included in the state’s 2018-19 budget. The mayors did not say how much more money they’re requesting."
"We deliberately did not put a number in there because it’s a different relationship with this governor. He’s made housing a priority,” said Steinberg, who chairs the Big City Mayors group that met with Newsom at the Capitol. “He’s already said, and it’s backed up by his budget, that housing and homelessness is a priority. Of course we want to bump the number up ... but we’re going to do it with him."
READ MORE related to Development, Housing & Homelessness: Bay Area leads change on fixing housing crisis. Will it work for the rest of California? -- LA Times's LIAM DILLON
California students may be banned from using cellphones at school under new bill'
LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY: "California students could be restricted or banned from using smartphones at school under a bill by a state lawmaker who says the devices can interfere with classroom learning."
"The measure by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) would require school boards to adopt policies that limit or prohibit the use of cellphones on school grounds, leaving it up to them what their rules would do."
"To the extent that smartphones are becoming too much of a distraction in the classroom, I think every school community needs to have that conversation as to when is too much of a good thing getting in the way of educational and social development,” Muratsuchi said Wednesday after introducing the bill."
California businesses hold billions in forgotten funds -- and they're not telling the state
Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "When employees forget to cash their checks, or bank accounts go untouched for years, California businesses are supposed to let the state know."
"But because so few comply with a state law to report the “forgotten funds,” there’s an estimated $24 billion in unclaimed property sprinkled across the state that the controller’s office is trying to put back in Californians’ pockets."
"The California Unclaimed Property Law requires insurance companies, multinational corporations, banks, real estate agencies and other businesses to transfer unclaimed funds to the state controller, usually after three years of inactivity."
"We'd love to help," Pence tells California. Here's how a top Democrat replied
The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "What’s a California Democrat to do when he gets a letter from Vice President Mike Pence?"
"Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, for one, didn’t take too kindly to a recent message from the Trump administration wishing the state “a productive and successful legislative session."
"We value the opportunity to work with you to build on our successes in the year ahead,” Pence wrote in the Feb. 28 letter. “We recognize that when California succeeds, America succeeds."
RIOT button in elevator of California office building alarms state workers
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "The Department of General Services is removing new elevator buttons with the word “RIOT” on them from a downtown office building after employees expressed alarm."
"The change follows a KOVR TV report Tuesday night that included interviews with employees at the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, where the buttons appeared. The employees told the station they hadn’t been warned before seeing the buttons, whose function is to prevent elevators from reaching buildings’ first floors in emergencies."
"The language used on this indicator light was included in error and we are in the process of replacing it,” a Department of General Services spokeswoman said in an email. “All tenants and visitors deserve to feel safe and secure in state-owned buildings and we apologize to anyone who may have been distressed."
California is in the midst of another 'super bloom.' Here's when Daffodil Hill will open
Sacramento Bee's VINCENT MOLESKI: "Although the winter deluge has ushered in a ‘super bloom’ among California wildflowers, it has also stalled out the annual opening of the Amador County tourist destination Daffodil Hill."
"Daffodil Hill, located in tiny Volcano, announced Sunday on Facebook that the flowers from which it takes its name had yet to bloom, postponing its opening."
"The McLaughlin family, who owns the Gold Rush-era ranch, estimated Daffodil Hill may be ready to open by early April."
Oakland police lose ground on reforms in court monitor's new report
The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "A court monitor has found Oakland police are losing ground in their 16-year struggle to comply with dozens of reforms, dealing a major setback to the department’s goal of finally emerging from federal oversight."
"Robert Warshaw released his findings Wednesday in a quarterly report to U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick, confirming what sources had previously told The Chronicle and signaling the court-appointed monitor intends to pick apart more of the department’s hard-fought gains."
Oakland's plan to improve roads stuck in a rut
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Oakland’s new Department of Transportation, backed by bond proceeds that voters approved in 2016, promised a renaissance in a city of potholes and rutted roads. And in the two years since the department’s genesis, it has unleashed a flurry of plans and ideas."
"Protected bike lanes on 14th Street, from Lake Merritt to the edge of Interstate 980. Better crosswalks on 35th Avenue and High Street in long-neglected neighborhoods of East Oakland. New guardrails on winding roads in the hills, and traffic signals along International Boulevard."
Veterans to Trump: Enough already with the attacks on late Sen. John McCain
LA Times's STEVE LOPEZ: "Jack LeGros, a helicopter door gunner during the Vietnam War, was on his way into the Veterans Affairs Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center on Tuesday afternoon when I asked him what he thought about President Trump’s continued attacks on late Sen. John McCain of Arizona."
"I think he’s an…"
"I can’t complete that sentence in a family newspaper, but I’m sure you can hazard a pretty good guess as to how LeGros finished his thought."
Pentagon to investigate whether Shanahan used office to help Boeing
AP: "The Pentagon’s inspector general has formally opened an investigation into a watchdog group’s allegations that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has used his office to promote his former employer, Boeing Co."
"Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint with the Pentagon’s inspector general a week ago, alleging that Shanahan has appeared to make statements promoting Boeing and disparaging competitors, such as Lockheed Martin."
"Shanahan, who was traveling with President Trump to Ohio on Wednesday, spent more than 30 years at Boeing, leading programs for commercial planes and missile defense systems. He has been serving as acting Pentagon chief since the beginning of the year, after James Mattis stepped down."
Ronald Reagan's daughter isn't happy with Trump's copycat 'MAGA' slogan
Sacramento Bee's DON SWEENEY: "Ronald Reagan may have been the first to popularize “Make America Great Again,” but former first daughter Patti Davis says he’d be “horrified” by what President Donald Trump has done with the slogan, Yahoo News reports."
"I think it’s taken on, obviously, a completely different meaning because what it seems to mean now is ‘let’s make America white again and racist again and small-minded again,’ ” says Davis in a “Through Her Eyes” interview released Tuesday."
"Trump trademarked “Make America Great Again” in 2012, but it was first coined by Reagan, CNN reported."
As Washington awaits Mueller's report, here's what we know about the investigation
LA Times's DEL QUENTIN WILBER/CHRIS MEGERIAN: "Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III appears close to turning in his final report after a historic investigation that initially sought to determine if President Trump or his advisors had illegal dealings with Russia during the 2016 campaign, but ultimately expanded far beyond that."
"Whether or not the report reveals new bombshells, the former FBI director already has produced an extraordinary public record of misdeeds, one that is sweeping in scope and momentous in its implications for American democracy."
"Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing, but hundreds of pages of indictments, court filings and testimony have tarnished his administration and led to new investigations in Congress and in other jurisdictions that could lead to new charges."