Not so fast

Sep 30, 2019

California has a new law for contract workers. But many businesses aren't ready for change


LA Times's MARGOT ROOSEVELT/RYAN FAUGHNDER: "For nearly 18 months, California’s ambitious legislation curbing the use of independent contractors was the focus of noisy street protests, furious lobbying and fearful newspaper editorials."


"Now Assembly Bill 5 is signed into law and will take effect in January. So businesses will automatically reclassify hundreds of thousands of contractors as bona fide employees with benefits, right?"


"Not so fast."

Defying environmentalists, Newsom vetoes bill to block Trump’s Endangered Species Act rollback


From the LAT's PHIL WILLON: "Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill on Friday that would have allowed California to preserve Obama-era endangered species protections and water-pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta should they be dismantled by the Trump administration, a move scorned by environmental groups that have been among the governor’s most important political allies."


"Newsom, who had announced his intent to veto Senate Bill 1 after it was approved by the Legislature this month, expressed little concern about a rift with environmentalists over the legislation, which he dismissed as a “solution in search of a problem.”


“I have spent 52 years of my life being an environmental leader and champion, and I’ll take a back seat to no one in terms of my advocacy,” Newsom told reporters just hours before sending the vetoed bill back to the Legislature."

California may ban private prisons. What would that mean for ICE detainees?


The Chronicle's TATIANA SANCHEZ: "California would become the first state in the country to shut down privately run federal immigration detention facilities under a bill awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature — but even the measure’s supporters say it could impose hardships on some detainees."


"If it becomes law, the legislation would step up the state’s battle with the Trump administration over treatment of undocumented immigrants. But it could also make conditions worse for roughly 4,000 immigrants being held in privately run detention centers in California if they are shipped to other states, critics say."


"AB32 advanced to the governor’s desk this month. It would ban private, for-profit prisons across California, including its four private immigration detention facilities. The bill would redefine, and possibly eliminate, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s presence in California."


READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Suicides in California prisons rise despite decades of demands for reform -- The Chronicle's JASON FAGONE/MEGAN CASSIDY; Alameda County jail is empty, but the air conditioning is on -- at $83K a month -- The Chronicle's PHIL MATIER 

Food banks struggle to meet basic needs of LA County residents


CALmatters' DAN MORAIN: "With a part-time job and seven children to feed, Ivonne Vargas, a single mother living in East Los Angeles, has found it difficult to survive. Fortunately, she says, food banks have always pulled her out of trouble."


"Every week, Vargas visits a food bank to stock up on basic products. She has no choice. Because she works only two days a week in a supermarket, her income doesn’t meet her family’s basic needs."


"With that job, I barely make about $236 a week,” said Vargas, who emigrated from Mexico City more than two decades ago."


Harris opens Oakland campaign office, remains confident as poll numbers sink


The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Some of Sen. Kamala Harris’ top hometown supporters aren’t giving up on her campaign even though polls show her trailing badly in her native California — including the Bay Area, where she was born and raised, and first came to prominence.""


“I see the groundswell, I see the volunteers. I see how this campaign is being put together,” Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, one of Harris’ California campaign co-chairs, said Sunday in Oakland at the opening of Harris’ first California campaign office. Lee, who has campaigned for Harris recently in North Carolina and Nevada, recalled how she was also an early endorser of Barack Obama when the polls showed him trailing."


READ MORE related to Harris Campaign: Warm crowd helps  Kamala Harris open hometown campaign office -- BANG's GEORGE KELLY


'California is wide open': Pete Buttigieg ramps up efforts to claim progressive state


Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "When the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, first announced his desire to become president, he was met with widespread confusion across California. Few people knew who Pete Buttigieg was, let alone why they should vote for him."


"Months later, he has surged in the polls and is now neck-and-neck for fourth place in the state with California’s hometown Sen. Kamala Harris. Speaking to a crowd of 2,500 people in West Sacramento on Sunday — his largest grassroots fundraiser to date — Buttigieg vowed to ramp up his campaign’s efforts."


"I’m pretty sure California is going to be a big part of the story of how I came to be your nominee and your president,” he boasted at the event."


In time for 2020 vote, LA County shows off new, higher-tech voting machines


JOSH ROSEN in SGV Tribune: "Election season is well under way — does it ever really end any more? — and this weekend, the Los Angeles County registrar’s office showed off how it is preparing for the 2020 vote."


"The public got a hands-on look at new, higher-tech voting devices by participating in a mock election at 50 sites around the county on Saturday, Sept. 28. The demonstration continues Sunday, Sept. 29, from 10 to 4 p.m. For a list of sites near you, log on to"


"Many locations made a party of the faux polling. The five main locations for fun stuff: Pan American Park in Long Beach, Salazar Park in East LA, the Carson Community Center, the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Recreation Center and College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita."


LA nonprofit with ties to Garcetti fires CEO amid financial upheaval


LA TImes's DAVID ZAHNISER/HOWARD BLUME: "Over the past decade, the Hollywood-based nonprofit organization known as the Youth Policy Institute has drawn accolades from an array of politicians — and tens of millions of dollars to carry out federal education and anti-poverty initiatives."


"The group played an instrumental role in 2014 in designating part of Los Angeles as a federal Promise Zone, an area set up to provide some of the city’s neediest families with concentrated services and support. Three years later, Mayor Eric Garcetti heralded the group’s success in securing $30 million in federal funding for tutors, counseling and other services for students in Hollywood and Pico-Union."


"But in recent months, the nonprofit’s financial situation has grown increasingly precarious. Last week, the group’s board of directors fired its high-profile chief executive, Dixon Slingerland, a well-known Democratic Party fundraiser with long-standing ties to Garcetti."


Money flows into SF campaigns -- Boudin leads in DA fundraising


The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI/DOMINIC FRACASSA: "With just over a month left until the November election, money from donors and third-party expenditure committees is flowing into the two major competitive races in San Francisco."


"Hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into the races for district attorney and District Five supervisor as the Nov. 5 election nears. Both races are significant for the city: The four-way race for top prosecutor is the first open election for the position in more than a century, while the outcome in District Five could change the political makeup of the Board of Supervisors."


"Campaign contributions are only one measure of momentum in a race. But the amount of cash a candidate raises provides a window into their support going into an election. Money becomes increasingly important as the election nears, as candidates ramp up spending."


Gentrification is the new litmus test to be elected county supervisor in South LA


LA Times's ANGEL JENNINGS: "The last time there was an open seat for the 2nd District on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, it was 2008 and South L.A. was a very different place than it is today."


"Generations of disinvestment had led to stubbornly low property values that were made worse by the Great Recession. The violent crime rate was double what it was in the rest of the county. Blight was dragging down entire neighborhoods south of the 10 Freeway, making it hard to attract the type of development and jobs that Crenshaw, Watts, and other black and Latino communities so badly needed."


"But now South L.A. is in the midst of a renaissance, driving up housing costs and homelessness and leading many voters to worry about the future of one of California’s last black enclaves."


City denies Chico council violated Brown Act


Chico ER's ROBIN EPLEY: "The Chico City Council will be voting on whether to issue a formal “commitment letter” at its next meeting in response to a constituent’s accusation that it violated the Brown Act at its Sept. 3 meeting."


"Rob Berry, leader of Chico First, rose to speak on harm reduction techniques during the “Business From The Floor” agenda item on Sept. 3, which allows for varied public comment. Berry was told by Mayor Randall Stone he must wait to speak on any item concerning “needle distribution” until the item pertaining to it came up on the agenda — despite the fact that at least one previous public speaker that evening had addressed the same issue."


"The Ralph M. Brown Act of California requires that every agenda for a regular meeting allows public comment on any item of interest, so long as the item is within the jurisdiction of the legislative body, and furthermore, that the public must be allowed to speak on an item either before or during the legislative body’s consideration of it."


College admissions scandal: Is prison likely for Bay Area parents?


BANG's JOHN WOOLFOLK: "Three Bay Area parents who all pleaded guilty to fraud in the nationwide college admission cheating scandal are set to be sentenced in October, and the first round of sentences earlier this month suggest they’ll all be going to prison."


"I expect on the low end for every single parent to receive some sort of prison sentence, whether it’s weeks or months,” said former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani."


"But it also appears they may not serve as much time as prosecutors want."


City of Berkeley leads nation with ban on natural gas


Daily Californian's KALEO MARK/ANGELINA WANG: "Berkeley became the first city in the nation to ban the use of natural gas in newly constructed buildings in August. Since then, many other cities have proposed similar measures in order to reduce their carbon footprint and move toward renewable energy."


"According to an email from Stefan Elgstrand, spokesperson for the office of Mayor Jesse Arreguín, the city of Berkeley has “a long history of being an environmental pioneer.” Elgstrand added that Berkeley was the first city to introduce curbside recycling in the 1970s and the first to eliminate plastic foam products in the 1980s."


"“At first, there was some skepticism as to the viability of these programs, but history has shown that these groundbreaking ideas became the standard bearer that is now common practice across the country,” Elgstrand said in the email."


'Totally terrified' observers catch tornado touching down outside Davis on video


Sacramento Bee's DON SWEENEY: "A tornado briefly touched down Saturday night near Davis, causing no damage but frightening observers who posted photos and videos online."


"Tornado outside Davis. Totally terrified me. I was heading back to Davis from Woodland,” wrote one poster on Twitter."


"A funnel cloud over the city touched down as a tornado at 6:41 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service reported. No damage was reported."


READ MORE related to Climate: Scientists assess waters off SF and fear a climatic intruder -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITESacramento sets record low temperature ahead of thunderstorms in NorCal -- Sacramento Bee's VINCENT MOLESKI


Sacramento 'can't bear the entire burden.' Mayor slams Yolo for dumping homeless man in city


Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is fuming over a video showing two deputies with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office dropping off an unidentified homeless man at a McDonald’s parking lot Wednesday night."


"The video, which surfaced Thursday from Public Safety News, prompted swift backlash over concerns of a potential pattern of dumping homeless people in Sacramento."


"Bill Snow, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran living on a nearby sidewalk, said he personally knows two people who were escorted in a similar fashion, though he didn’t witness Wednesday’s incident."


READ MORE related to Homelessness: Are Oakland's cabins a success? Homeless advocates question city's numbers -- The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI


One of Central Valley's first AIDS activists, Cynthia Brazil Karraker, dies at 69


Sacramento Bee's JOSHUA TEHEE: "For Cynthia Brazil Karraker, the way to fight AIDS was clear."


"A family of people, traditional or nontraditional, full of love, acceptance and forgiveness,” she once wrote, outlining the mission she took up after her husband died from AIDS-related complications in 1985."


"Oftentimes in the land of HIV/AIDs, folks are known by a number. Well ... For all, I have this promise. God knows us by our name. All of us!” she wrote."


What's next as House committees launch impeachment probes


AP's MARY CLARE JALONICK: "House Democrats are planning a rapid start to their push for impeachment of President Donald Trump, with hearings and depositions starting this week."


"Democratic leaders have instructed committees to move quickly — and not to lose momentum — after revelations that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his potential 2020 Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, and his family. The action is beginning even though lawmakers left town Friday for a two-week recess."


"The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says his committee is moving "expeditiously" on hearings and subpoenas. That committee, as well as the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have scheduled depositions starting this week for State Department officials linked to Trump's dealings with Ukraine."


READ MORE related to POTUSTrump allies and Democrats trade blistering attacks over impeachment -- LA Times's LAURA KINGDemocratic candidates try to campaign through an impeachment gale -- LA Times's EVAN HALPER/JANET HOOK; Student journalist scores big scoop in Trump-Ukraine story -- AP's TAREK HAMADA; California to play an outsize role in impeachment inquiry of Trump -- LA Times's SARAH D WIRE; Former Ukraine prosecutor says he saw no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden -- LA Times's TRACY WILKINSON/SERGEI L LOIKO


Saudi crown prince denies ordering journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder


AP: "Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a television interview that he takes “full responsibility” for the grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but denied allegations that he ordered it."


"This was a heinous crime,” the 34-year-old crown prince told “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired Sunday. “But I take full responsibility as a leader in Saudi Arabia, especially since it was committed by individuals working for the Saudi government."


"Asked if he ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who had criticized him in columns for the Washington Post, the crown prince replied: “Absolutely not."

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