Most Californians want cannabis stores in their communities, new poll shows
LA Times's PATRICK MCGREEVY: "Three years after California legalized the sale of recreational marijuana, most voters want municipalities to permit pot shops in their communities even though the vast majority of cities have outlawed them, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times."
"According to the poll, 68% of Californians say legalization has been a good thing for the state, an increase in support since 2016, when 57% of voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized growing, selling and possessing cannabis for recreational use. The poll results come as city and state leaders are battling in court and the Legislature over control of California’s pot market, including a dispute over efforts by California lawmakers to force cities to open their doors to cannabis shops."
"There hasn’t been any real buyer’s remorse about the initiative. If anything, support has gone up,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Berkeley IGS poll."
California's water year starts with a large increase in reservoir storage. Here's why
Sacramento Bee's MITCHEL BOBO: "California is enjoying an increase in average water reserves due to increases in snowfall and precipitation, according to the Department of Water Resources."
"Statewide, the reservoir is at 128 percent of average, which is about 29.7 million acre-feet. Some of the biggest increases include Lake Oroville, which is currently at 102 percent of its average, compared to 62 percent this time last year; Shasta Lake is at 126 percent (88 percent in 2018) and San Luis Reservoir is at 132 percent (117 percent last year)."
"According to the DWR, the state’s snowpack was at 175 percent of the annual average on April 1. The increase was helped by more than 30 atmospheric rivers, many of which making landfall in Northern California."
Reports of rape and fondling at USC surged in 2018 due to allegations against George Tyndall, officials say
LA Times's HANNAH FRY: "Reports of sex offenses at the University of Southern California rose sharply last year, a spike that campus officials say results from a mass of allegations of sexual misconduct against former campus gynecologist George Tyndall."
"The annual security and fire safety report, released by the university Tuesday, shows 92 reports of rape and 25 reports of fondling last year, a combined increase of more than 200% from the prior year. In 2017, the university received 17 reports of rape and 17 reports of fondling, according to the document."
"While the misconduct involving Tyndall allegedly occurred years prior to 2018, university officials say allegations were brought to their attention last year, which is why they are now being reported."
Youths assume activist role in climate change fight
AKEMI TAMANAHA in Capitol Weekly: "Climate change activism in California is gaining a newer, more youthful face."
"In Sacramento, a crowd of more than 1,000 people, including teenagers and pre-teens, rallied recently at the state Capitol to urge lawmakers to sign onto a National Climate Emergency Declaration, which seeks to halt new fossil fuel infrastructure."
"Leading the charge was 13-year-old Supriya Patel."
OPINION: Parks are a public health solution waiting on our doorstep
JON C. HRISTENSEN/RACHEL NORTON in Capitol Weekly: "It’s time to shift the conversation around parks in California. New data is illuminating the need to look at state parks in communities a bit differently. Rather than measuring their value by their undeniable beauty, new research illustrates a clear opportunity to measure parks by their impact on our public health and communities."
"It is our obligation to begin looking at California’s forests, coastlines and parklands in terms of what they can do for our underserved neighborhoods and youth who live within arm’s reach, but lack pathways to experience the health and wellness benefits they provide."
"Mounting research clearly proves the outdoors are a source of innumerable health and wellness benefits for all Californians. As referenced in UCLA’s new report, a study of California children showed living within 500 meters of a park was associated with gaining significantly less body mass by age 18, making them less likely to develop health problems down the line. Another study surveyed 80,000 California households and found living near a green space significantly lowered levels of distress, regardless of socioeconomic status."
Court blocks state law requiring presidential primary candidates to reveal tax returns
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "California is unconstitutionally creating a new qualification for president by requiring President Trump and other candidates to disclose their tax returns so they may appear on next year’s primary ballot, a federal judge said Tuesday in a ruling blocking the law from taking effect."
"Explaining the injunction he had announced at a Sept. 19 hearing, U.S. District Judge Morrison England of Sacramento said the law, the first of its kind in the nation, may be well-intended but exceeds the state’s power to regulate election procedures."
"The law “seeks to punish a class of candidates who elect not to comply with disclosing their tax returns by handicapping their access to the electoral process,” England said. “This is plainly impermissible."
READ MORE related to Death & Taxes: California to appeal in effort to let voters see Trump's tax returns -- Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON
California isn't doing enough to verify citizenship while registering voters, lawsuit says
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "A Republican attorney filed a lawsuit on Tuesday demanding that two California agencies develop a better system to verify the citizenship of people who register to vote through the Department of Motor Vehicles."
"In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Harmeet Dhillon alleges Secretary of State Alex Padilla is violating federal law by not verifying citizenship information from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles."
"She wants the DMV to send Padilla more records related to citizenship to demonstrate that only eligible people are able to register."
PG&E's Tubbs Fire trial set to last 8 weeks starting in January
The Chronicle's J.D. MORRIS: "The upcoming trial about Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s role in the 2017 Tubbs Fire is set to last eight weeks starting in January and will likely have one jury weighing all the issues involved in the complex proceedings, a judge said Tuesday."
"San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teri Jackson said jurors should be in place by Jan. 9, two days after the trial start date she set at an earlier hearing. The trial will be split into phases, first focusing on whether PG&E is responsible for the 2017 Santa Rosa-area wildfire and subsequently transitioning into the harm claimed by specific victims, followed by consideration of any punitive damages."
"California investigators in January announced that a private property owner’s electrical system — not one controlled by PG&E — started the Tubbs Fire, which destroyed more than 5,600 structures and killed about two dozen people. But fire victims’ attorneys say the state’s conclusion was incorrect, and they convinced PG&E’s bankruptcy judge to let them quickly try a group of Tubbs Fire plaintiffs’ cases in state court."
How industry 'environmental' group helped foil California's plastics crackdown
The Chronicle's DUSTIN GARDINER: "State lawmakers were on the verge of passing landmark bills to combat plastic pollution when a new advocacy group with a seemingly innocuous name arrived."
"Californians for Recycling and the Environment, as the nonprofit calls itself, campaigned against the legislation in social media posts and through lobbyists. The group said that if the bills to require that far less plastic go to landfills passed, “Californians (would) have to prepare for a future without toothpaste, baby formula and dog food."
"The nonprofit group, according to corporate filings, wasn’t created by Californians or environmentalists. It’s headed by two top executives from Novolex, a South Carolina-based company that is one of the largest producers of plastic packaging and bags in the country."
LA County supervisors vote to ban flavored tobacco and call for statewide vaping ban
CITY NEWS SERVICE in the LA Times: "The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to ban flavored tobacco products, including menthol, and to call on Gov. Gavin Newsom to pass a statewide ban on vaping."
"The board had originally held the item for discussion, but ultimately approved it without comment from any of the supervisors as the meeting ran long. The vote came in spite of protests last week by dozens of tobacco business owners and advocates who support vaping and e-cigarettes as aids to quitting smoking."
"The ordinance will take effect in 30 days. Tobacco retailers then have 180 days to obtain new licenses required under the ordinance and to clear their shelves of flavored tobacco products."
READ MORE related to Big Vape: Juul's difficult path forward -- The Chronicle's CATHERINE HO
Judge issues temporary order blocking sale of county's share of Coliseum to Oakland A's
The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI: "A judge issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday blocking Alameda County from selling its share of the Oakland Coliseum to the A’s. The decision comes after Oakland sued the county in an attempt to block the sale and force the county to enter negotiations to sell the property to the city."
"Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch said the county can continue to negotiate with the A’s but cannot move forward with the sale of the 155-acre site until the issue is settled."
"A’s President Dave Kaval said outside the courthouse that the judge’s decision poses another “complication with moving forward” with the plans for the Coliseum project, which includes a “robust” affordable housing plan and community benefits package."
Complaints against LAPD rise as body-warn cameras help exonerate officers and prove misconduct
LA Times's MARK PUENTE: "Years after spending millions on body-worn cameras, the devices have shown that a small number of Los Angeles police officers committed misconduct while the public levied many false allegations against cops last year, according to a department report."
"In 2018, the recordings helped determine officers committed infractions in 56 cases. But police leaders found another 264 complaints against officers “demonstrably false” or resulted in complete exoneration, according to an annual report presented Tuesday to the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. Both of those figures rose significantly from five and 79, respectively, the prior year."
"The use of body-worn cameras has been controversial as law enforcement agencies continue to deploy them across the country. While the cameras cost millions to purchase and maintain, citizens and many police leaders say cameras provide transparency in the wake of high-profile incidents."
BART's new general manager seeks rider interaction as he confronts challenges
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "BART’s new general manager — a brisk, sandy-haired man known for sporting BART-themed dress shirts and lapel pins — will embark on a listening tour Wednesday to hear riders’ impressions of the rail system."
"But Robert Powers already has a clear policy agenda for the agency, one that goes beyond providing reliable transportation. The system that once served as a suburban commuter rail is now responsible for developing housing on its parking lots, clearing encampments beneath its tracks, helping homeless people who sleep on the trains, managing a 15-year, $22 billion capital plan and eventually building a second transbay crossing."
"BART is vital for maintaining the regional economy, but it’s also an obsession for more than 400,000 people who ride the trains each day. In some ways, it has become a repository for riders’ anxieties about social change in the region; something as simple as a new fare gate can unleash a long, emotional battle."
Why Emeryville is building a new homeless shelter for families -- from Oakland
The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI: "Emeryville is building a new homeless shelter in a vacant city property that will house up to 25 families for six months."
"Fresh meals will be delivered. Laundry will be available on site. Portable showers will be brought in. The shelter is sorely needed for the expanding homeless population in the East Bay, but it isn’t for Emeryville residents."
"The shelter will house Oakland families."
Memorial service honors William Lee, founder of Sacramento's African American newspaper
Sacramento Bee's STAFF: "Hundreds of family and friends gathered at St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday in Oak Park to honor William Lee, the founder of Sacramento’s African American newspaper."
"He was remembered by Rep. Doris Matsui, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, National Newspaper Publishers Association president Benjamin Chavis Jr. and Margaret Fortune, president of Fortune School, among others."
"At a time when African American voices in Sacramento weren’t being heard, weren’t being told, Dr. Lee stood up and did something about it,” Matsui said."