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Jul 24, 2019

California's redistricting panel flooded with applications


JOAQUIN ROMERO in Capitol Weekly: "More than 7,100 people have applied to be on California’s independent redistricting commission, the 14-member panel that will draw new political boundaries based on population counts from the 2020 census."


"State Auditor Elaine Howle’s office said Tuesday that of the large applicant pool, about 6,000 were tentatively eligible. The voter-created commission will draw 120 districts for the Legislature, 53 districts for California’s congressional delegation and the four districts of the state Board of Equalization."


"According to the auditor’s demographic data, about 50% of the applicants were Democrats, 29% were Republicans, 60% were male and 39% were female. Some 68% were white and 40% were from the southern coastal region of California."

Now it's a three-way fight for PG&E. The latest in battle for bankrupt utility


Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER: "A third group emerged Tuesday with a plan to take over PG&E Corp., pay its wildfire liabilities and other debts, and pull the troubled utility out of bankruptcy."d


"A group of insurance companies that say they’re owed a combined $20 billion by Pacific Gas & Electric filed a proposal in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, calling it “the only path forward” to reorganize the utility."


"The insurers’ proposal comes on the eve of a hearing Wednesday in bankruptcy court at which another group, PG&E’s bondholders, will fight for the right to formally submit their takeover plan to wildfire victims and other creditors."


As climate change threatens California, officials seek 'sustainable insurance'


LA Times's JOSEPH SERNA: "California regulators are teaming up with the United Nations to develop “sustainable insurance” guidelines that would help address climate-change-related disasters such as coastal flooding and larger wildfires — the first such partnership of its kind between the international organization and a U.S. state, officials announced Tuesday."


"After a roundtable discussion at UCLA with lawmakers, state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced that his agency would work with officials from the U.N. Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative over the next year to develop a plan to confront California’s climate risks, which are manifold."


"Scientists contend that climate change is helping to fuel larger and more destructive wildfires, although they cannot say global warming is the cause of any specific blaze. Similarly, researchers say a warming planet may cause sea levels to surge more than 9 feet by the end of this century."


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: (Column) The temperature's rising, and it's even hotter at the DWP -- LA Times's STEVE LOPEZ

DMV workers could see job changes -- and more pay -- in Gavin Newsom's plan


Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "The report from Newsom’s DMV ‘strike team,’ published Tuesday, highlighted increasing delays at the department’s field offices and looked at ways to make the department more efficient."


"The report said most DMV workers are classified as office technicians, a title that doesn’t capture the “breadth and in-depth knowledge of the variety of services DMV offers its customers."


"By reclassifying the jobs — an involved and lengthy process in state government that sometimes leads to salary adjustments — the department could offer more opportunities for promotion and improve hiring and retention, according to the report."


READ MORE related to DMV: Newsom reveals plan for California DMV. Why he warns of longer wait times -- Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON; Tech dinosaur California DMV gets dose of Silicon Valley in hopes of fixing it -- The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF; California DMV leadership overhauled over long lines and poor service -- LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY


ICE releases US citizen, 18, wrongfully detained near border


AP: "A U.S.-born 18-year-old was released from immigration custody Tuesday after wrongfully being detained for more than three weeks."


"Francisco Erwin Galicia left a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, Texas, on Tuesday. His lawyer, Claudia Galan, confirmed he had been released, less than a day after The Dallas Morning News’ reporting about his case drew national attention."


"ICE did not immediately comment. Nor did U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, the agency that first detained Galicia."


Former CHP leader, wife, spared jail after helping rapist son flee to Mexico


Sacramento Bee's ROBERT RODRIGUEZ: "A former California Highway Patrol assistant chief and his estranged wife were sentenced to six months of probation for their role in helping their son escape to Mexico during his rape trial in 2012."


"Fresno County Judge Gary Hoff issued the sentence Friday, ending more than five years of legal drama for the Kyle Scarber, his wife Gail Scarber and their daughter Crystal Reynoso."


"All were implicated in helping Spencer Scarber flee to Acapulco."


Gen X may end up with higher incomes -- but they'll still be poorer in retirement


Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "Social Security’s financing problems could pose a serious threat to retirement plans of Generation X (1966 to 1975) and Xennial (1976 to 1985) Americans, according to a new report from the Urban Institute."


"The good news is that those generations will retire with a higher income than the average retiree 40 years before, according to the Institute. The median retirement income for Xennials ($39,800) is 24 percent higher than that of pre-Baby Boomers born 1945 or earlier ($32,100)."


"That increased income is in part due to women making more money, the study found."


As rats overrun California cities, state moves to ban powerful pest-killers


Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW/PHILLIP REESE: "The rats were winning."


"There were so many earlier this summer outside the CalEPA building in downtown Sacramento officials had to close its outdoor playground out of fear state employees’ kids would catch rodent-borne diseases."


"To fight back, building officials set out a controversial type of rat poison whose use may soon be banned statewide by the California Legislature. The poison didn’t stay out very long once word got out the state’s top environmental regulators were using a poison widely condemned by California’s powerful environmental groups."


Adachi leak: SFPD didn't tell judge that target of search was a journalist


The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "San Francisco police didn’t tell a judge that a man who sold a report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi to television news stations was a journalist when they asked for a warrant to search the man’s phone, records released Tuesday show."


"The warrant issued March 1, one week after Adachi died, was the first of five search warrants police executed on freelance videographer Bryan Carmody in the mishandled investigation, which sought to unmask who on the city force leaked the confidential document."


"Superior Court Judge Rochelle East, who initially granted the search of Carmody’s cell phone records, last week quashed the warrant and ordered it unsealed, along with the police affidavit. Four other judges must rule in separate hearings whether the remaining warrants should be quashed and unsealed."


NIMBY 's beware: Latest bold SF plan asks every neighborhood to house the homeless


The Chronicle's HEATHER KNIGHT: "How many times have we heard our fellow San Franciscans gripe about the city’s worsening homeless crisis and then reject a proposal to help if it’s too close to their comfortable homes? You know, the ones with warm beds and stocked refrigerators and functioning bathrooms?"


"We really want to help, they say. It’s just that our neighborhood isn’t the right place for this. Find somewhere else."


"Because that somewhere else will surely embrace the solution with arms wide-open. If only."


Trump administration moves to limit food stamps, restrict free meals for children


McClatchy's KATE IRBY: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing that families who receive temporary government benefits should no longer be automatically eligible for food assistance, a change that could restrict access to free school lunches for 265,000 children."


"In California, about 3.2 million children use free school lunches, according to the California Department of Education. It is unclear how many children would no longer be eligible if this rule went into effect."


"Under the proposal, about 3.1 million people would lose access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides money for food to low-income Americans and is commonly called food stamps."


'Straight pride' parade planned in Modesto


LA Times's ALEX WIGGLESWORTH: "A group has applied for a permit to hold a “straight pride” parade in Modesto next month."


"The city is in the final stages of reviewing the application for the event, which is slated for Aug. 24 at Graceada Park, said Thomas Reeves, community and media relations officer for Modesto. A decision is expected next week."


"City Hall has been flooded with calls and emails from residents, many of them upset that the event may be permitted to take place, he said."


Will Mueller offer fireworks? Bay Area lawmakers will play a key role in the questioning


The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN: "Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller will testify before two House committees Wednesday, and a handful of Bay Area lawmakers will have prime seats to question him."


"The long-awaited hearing is expected to be carefully controlled. After lengthy negotiations and a subpoena, Mueller agreed to testify for three hours before the Judiciary Committee and two hours before the Intelligence Committee. He has made clear he will comment only on what’s public in the report he released in April on Russian interference in the 2016 election, whether President Trump’s campaign was involved and whether the president himself tried to obstruct Mueller’s probe."


"Democrats hope Mueller will still offer politically valuable on-camera recitations of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russians and instances of the president’s possible obstruction of justice. Even with a 5:30 a.m. PDT start time for Mueller’s testimony, such details could attract more widespread attention than the public may have been able to absorb from his 448-page report."


Facebook hit with $5B federal fine for privacy violations


AP: "Federal regulators have fined Facebook $5 billion for privacy violations and are instituting new oversight and restrictions on its business. But they are holding CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally responsible only in a limited fashion."


"The fine is the largest that the Federal Trade Commission has levied on a tech company, though it won’t make much of a dent for a company that had nearly $56 billion in revenue last year."


"As part of the agency’s settlement with Facebook, Zuckerberg will have to personally certify his company’s compliance with its privacy programs. The FTC said that false certifications could expose him to civil or criminal penalties."

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