Sea level rise: California’s new reality
From Capitol Weekly's LISA RENNER: "While wildfires have gotten much of the attention in California as consequences of climate change, it’s really rising sea levels that will likely wreak the most damage."
"With more than 25 million people living near the coast, some $150 billion worth of property is at risk."
“This is really an existential threat,” said Half Moon Bay Mayor Harvey Rarback. “We have to be provident and prepare for it and it’s going to be expensive. Literally putting your head in the sand is not going to work."
Use of force law propelled by Stephon Clark killing signed by Newsom
Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed what it is believed to be one of the toughest laws in the country regulating when police officers can use use deadly force."
"The signing of Assembly Bill 392 concludes a legislative battle between law enforcement lobbyists and civil rights groups who, until May, could not agree on how strict the state’s deadly force law should be."
"It was shaped by a string of deadly encounters between law enforcement officers and unarmed black men, including the March 2018 shooting of Stephon Clark by Sacramento police. Clark’s death shook the city, with a protest shutting down Interstate 5 one evening and another march leading to mass arrests in East Sacramento this spring."
Trump supporter facing voter fraud trial in Sacramento
Sacramento Bee's SAM STANTON: "For years, President Trump has claimed that millions of noncitizens voted in the 2016 presidential election, unfairly skewing his vote as Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College."
"On Monday in federal court in Sacramento, a man accused of coming to the United States from Mexico and voting illegally in elections for the past 20 years went on trial on charges of aggravated identity theft, voting by an alien and making a false statement on a passport application."
"But there’s a twist."
Ghost Ship trial: Three jurors booted; deliberations restarted with alternate jurors
The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "An Alameda County Superior Court judge removed three jurors from the Ghost Ship criminal trial Monday on what would have been the 10th day of deliberations in the case, replacing them with alternates and ordering deliberations to begin anew."
"The prolonged trial may lead to the replacement of a fourth juror who has an upcoming scheduling conflict, Judge Trina Thompson said Monday. She said there is a “high probability” that the only remaining alternate juror will soon be seated on the panel, which heard opening statements in the case on April 30."
"The jury is deliberating the fate of defendants Derick Almena, 49, and Max Harris, 29, who face 36 counts each of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the Dec. 2, 2016, inferno at a warehouse in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood that killed 36 people. Each defendant faces up to 39 years in prison if convicted of all the charges."
Wildfire acreage way down in California this year -- so far
AP: "California is not burning. At least not as much as it has in recent years."
"Acreage burned through Sunday is down 90% compared to the average over the past five years and down 95% from last year, according to statistics from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection."
"The stats are good news for a state that has seen terrifyingly destructive and deadly blazes the past two years, but the worst of those fires occurred in the fall."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Is recycling collapsing in California? Advocates call on lawmakers to rescue it -- Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER; Coastal Commission frowns on trenching idea for rail tracks atop oceanfront bluffs -- LA Times's PHIL DIEHL; Bay Area cities poised to follow Berkeley's natural gas ban -- The Chronicle's ELENA SHAO
States must be careful with marijuana revenue -- or see money go up in smoke, report finds
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "Sin tax” revenue is notoriously unpredictable, and cannabis — now legal in California, Washington and eight other states — is no exception to the rule, according to a newly released report from Pew Charitable Trust."
"The report, titled “Forecasts hazy for state marijuana revenue,” was published Monday."
"It warns that states should be cautious with how they spend cannabis revenue until the market has enough time to stabilize."
Union proposal rejected by Newsom administration
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has rejected a proposal from SEIU Local 1000 to boost state workers’ pay in expensive cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, according to the union."
"Local 1000, the largest union in California state government, urged members last week to send their stories of living in high-cost areas to a union email and to post them on social media, suggesting the union will keep pressing for geographic pay incentives."
"The union and the California Department of Human Resources each declined to comment on contract negotiations."
Billionaire Tom Steyer pushes anti-corporate message in SF talk
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Billionaire former San Francisco hedge fund manager Tom Steyer pushed back against accusations Monday from his presidential campaign rivals that he’s “buying” a seat on the Democratic debate stage."
"Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who has struggled to get attention for his campaign, recently said the Democratic National Committee’s rules have enabled Steyer to “buy a spot on the debate stage” — an allusion to how Steyer has nearly reached the requirements to qualify for the debate Sept. 12-13 in Houston."
"I think there’s a very simple challenge for everybody who wants to be the Democratic nominee — and that’s to have something to say that people want to hear,” Steyer said, speaking before 200 people at a climate-focused onstage interview Monday at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. “If I’m saying something that touches people and they believe I’m a credible messenger, then they will respond. And if they don’t, they absolutely won’t."
Breed 2018 campaign probed for possible campaign finance violations
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "San Francisco Ethics Commission investigators are probing London Breed’s 2018 mayoral bid for possible campaign finance violations, according to documents obtained by The Chronicle."
"The alleged violations are tied to a cluster of small campaign donations made by nine people from January to May 2018. Each of the donors was employed by — and had varying degrees of leadership at — companies that secured city contracts that Breed had a role in approving months earlier, in some cases as president of the Board of Supervisors and in others as acting mayor, after the death of Ed Lee."
"To prevent “pay-to-play” politics, San Francisco officials are not allowed to accept donations from high-ranking people doing business with the city for a year, even if the official had a perfunctory role in approving the contract. The one-year ban, however, took effect this year. The blackout period was shorter — just six months — when Breed was running for mayor last year, the standard her 2018 campaign had to follow."
Sweeping change is coming for LA County voters. If things go wrong, he'll get blamed
LA Times's MATT STILES: "Long before Dean Logan was the elections chief for the most populous county in California, he was an administrator for the most populous county in Washington state — and he was dealing with a crisis."
"It was the fall of 2004, four years after the contested Bush-versus-Gore presidential election, and voters had just produced one of the closest gubernatorial contests in American history. Fewer than 300 votes separated the candidates."
"Then things got worse."
'Red flag' gun laws can help prevent mass shootings, UC Davis study says
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "Researchers from the University of California, Davis, have found that, in the three years since California implemented the nation’s first law allowing guns to be taken from individuals who pose an extreme risk, the so-called red flag orders have prevented at least 21 mass shootings."
"If somebody were asking, ‘The next time this situation comes up, should we use one of these orders if they’re available to us,’ I would say, ‘Absolutely.’” said Dr. Garen Wintemute, director of the violence prevention research program at UC Davis Medical Center."
"Red flag orders are more formally known as gun violence restraining orders in California and extreme risk protection orders elsewhere in the country. They give law enforcement a chance to remove guns from people who threaten to injure or kill themselves or someone else, Wintemute said, and they’re useful either in cases where no crime has been committed and consequently no one can be arrested, or in cases where mental illness is not involved and consequently a psychiatric evaluation can’t be done."
Planned Parenthood to stop taking Title X funds rather than comply with 'gag rule'
LA Times's JENNIFER HABERKORN: "Planned Parenthood said Monday it will withdraw from the federal Title X program that helps low-income people access contraception rather than comply with what it calls a new Trump administration “gag rule” that prohibits it from providing abortion referrals to those patients."
"The announcement comes amid a protracted legal battle with the White House over changes to the nearly 50-year-old Title X program, which annually provides $286 million to healthcare providers to fund family planning services such as birth control. The administration required grantees to explain by Monday how they would comply with the new rule."
"All seven Planned Parenthood facilities that are direct grantees in the program and hundreds of “sub” grantees that received funding through a third party will withdraw from Title X, said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood currently serves 1.5 million low-income people under the program."
Immigrant advocates ask judge for nationwide policy for asylum-seekers
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "Immigrant advocates implored a federal judge in San Francisco on Monday to restore his nationwide order allowing migrants fleeing Central America to seek asylum in the United States, days after an appeals court let the Trump administration enforce a ban on virtually all such applicants in much of the United States."
"The administration’s policy, which took effect July 16, barred asylum for anyone who had passed through another country on the way to the United States without first seeking asylum there. Exempting only victims of human trafficking, the new rules effectively excluded applicants from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, nations with some of the world’s highest homicide rates."
"U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar blocked the policy on July 24, saying U.S. immigration law allows immigrants to apply for asylum regardless of the route they traveled, unless they first entered a country that is shown to be a safe haven for refugees."
CSU consultant killed in campus stabbing
AP's AMY TAXIN: "A retired administrator working as a consultant to California State University, Fullerton was fatally stabbed Monday in a campus parking lot on the first day of the school year in what police called a targeted attack, though they were not sure of a motive."
"Steven Shek Keung Chan, 57, of Hacienda Heights was found inside a silver Infiniti. He had been stabbed many times, police said."
"From 2009 to 2017, Chan was the university's director of budget and finance and student services for university extended education, the university said."
Downtown Oakland businesses strain under weight of apartment building boom
The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI: "A slab of steak sizzled on the grill at Molcajete, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Oakland, as Manuel Torres grabbed tortilla mix from the refrigerator. The rumble of construction outside drowned out the clanking of pots and pans and laughter from the staff."
"Signs on the front door reading “Construction Worker Specials” were barely visible on Webster Street from across sidewalk barricades — and weren’t drawing many hard hats into the nearly empty restaurant."
"The construction is a big problem,” Torres said. “There is no sidewalk. The last three years, it hasn’t been very good. It’s very slow. Maybe when it’s finished, it will be better. ... A lot of people are coming soon."
Judge overturns Sheriff Villanueva's rehiring of a fired LA County deputy
LA Times's MATT STILES/MAYA LAU: "A judge on Monday overturned Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s controversial decision to reinstate a deputy who had been fired for violating department policies on domestic violence and lying — a dispute that sparked a rare legal battle among some of L.A. County’s most powerful elected officials."
"Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff issued a preliminary injunction that says Villanueva must remove the deputy, Caren Carl Mandoyan, from his job. Mandoyan also must return county property, including his gun and badge."
"The sheriff’s decision to overturn Mandoyan’s discharge substantially erodes public trust and confidence in the county’s law enforcement agency,” the judge wrote in a 14-page order explaining his decision. “It also undermines the county’s employment and discipline systems and creates confusion with employees and the public."
Video showing Orange County teens giving Nazi salute sparks outrage
LA Times's HANNAH FRY: "A video showing a group of Orange County teenagers giving a Nazi salute as a German World War II-era song plays in the background surfaced Monday and quickly sparked outrage."
"The video shows about 10 boys from Pacifica High School in Garden Grove standing in what appears to be a banquet room giving the stiff-armed salute used in Nazi Germany. A song, written by German composer Herms Niel during Hitler’s ascent to power in Germany, plays in the background. At least one of the boys begins singing as others laugh."
"The video, taken prior to the start of an athletics banquet that was held off-campus in November 2018, was originally shared among a small group of students on Snapchat. High school administrators learned of the video four months later, the Garden Grove Unified School District wrote in a statement posted to its website Monday."
K. Connie Kang, pioneering Korean American journalist, dead at 76
LA Times's LAURA NEWBERRY: "When riots broke out in Los Angeles in the spring of 1992, few local reporters covering the historical unrest were able to interview the Koreans whose neighborhoods were suddenly besieged by violence. They couldn’t speak the language."
"In the eyes of the Korean American Journalists Assn., that was a huge problem. So, on the heels of the riots, the organization implored the Los Angeles Times to hire a Korean-speaking reporter who would cover the community with thought and fairness."
"That is how K. Connie Kang, who is thought to be the first Korean woman reporter in the United States, came to work at The Times in the fall of 1992."