Lawmaker in the crosshairs

Jan 27, 2016


The well-financed companies with a big stake in daily fantasy sports, including DraftKings and FanDuel, are going after California Assemblyman Marc Levine, a San Rafael Democrat.

From the Bee's Jeremy B. White: "Amid a legal fight over the daily fantasy sports industry's fate, a group representing businesses like FanDuel and DraftKings has launched an advertising campaign targeting a California lawmaker who labeled the practice illegal gambling and voted against authorizing it in law."

"Daily fantasy sports allows players to put together a team of individual athletes and wager on the squad’s performance. As the activity has exploded in popularity, spurred on by commercials offering big payouts, officials in some states have sought to crack down by categorizing the games as gambling."


"While California Attorney General Kamala Harris has been publicly mum on the topic, California lawmakers have moved to authorize and regulate daily fantasy sports. A bill to do so sailed through its first committee vote earlier this month, with Assembly members saying it was better to proactively regulate the practice rather than await a resolution of the underlying legal dispute."


As the smells and finger-pointing continue, the latest in the Porter Ranch saga is a lawsuit filed by the L.A. Basin's air pollution fighters against Southern California Gas Co., accusing the company of negligence.


From Matt Hamilton at the LAT: "The South Coast Air Quality Management District said the utility's negligence extended to the design, construction, operation and inspection of one of the wells at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility near Porter Ranch, according to the civil complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court."


"The well, one of 115 at the sprawling storage facility, has been leaking since Oct. 23, sending methane into the atmosphere above the Los Angeles Basin. The gas has a noxious additive that has also entered the air, prompting residents' complaints of a rotten egg-like smell."


The lawsuit alleges the gas company has violated air quality regulations and state law for each day that the well continues to leak, and it faults the utility for a sluggish response to what has become a regional public health threat. The suit seeks up to $250,000 in civil penalties for each day that a specific violation has occurred."


Other tales on the Aliso Canyon mess can be seen here and here.


Given the state of California's pothole-filled roads and the strengthening economy, many saw this year as the period when the desire for road improvements would reach a critical mass and things would happen, including the flow of money. Or not.


From the Bee's David Siders: "Yet as Brown and lawmakers prepare to enter another spate of transportation funding talks – this time with the commission’s threatened cuts looming – there is little to suggest a change in air at the Capitol that would make this year more conducive to agreement."


"In fact, the timing appears less favorable. Enacting a tax increase would require the support of at least some legislative Republicans, always difficult but likely more so amid the rancor of an election year. Nor is it clear that every Democrat in the Legislature will vote for a tax."


“The discouraging thing is the election year,” said Michael Penrose, director of the Sacramento County Department of Transportation. “I’m not a politician, but when you come into an election year, I’ve noticed more hesitancy in terms of dealing with taxes and dealing with things that may be a little bit more controversial – or significantly more controversial.”


At least one San Francisco official is upset over the city's plans to spend millions of dollars in connection with the Super Bowl, which is coming to the Bay Area next month.


From the Chronicle's John Wildemuth: "Growing complaints from San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim and others about the city’s plan to spend nearly $5 million for the celebrations surrounding the Super Bowl are little more than political grandstanding and opportunism, a group of business leaders said Tuesday."


"In October 2012, Kim voted to back the city’s bid for the 2016 Super Bowl in a resolution that said city officials “plan to host events, parades, parties and entertainment,” Jim Lazarus, vice president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “Jane Kim sent out engraved invitations to a big party and now she’s expecting us to believe that she’s shocked when the DJ and decorations arrive.”

"He also suggested that Kim’s upcoming state Senate race against fellow Supervisor Scott Wiener played a role in her decision to take a high-profile role against the Super Bowl spending.

“I’m disappointed to see that a discussion about responsible use of taxpayer money has instead devolved into personal attacks,” Kim responded in a statement."


Speaking of Super Bowl 50, the prices of individual tickets are going through the roof.


The San Francisco Business Times' Riley McDermid tells the tale: "Tickets to Super Bowl 50 are nearing record price levels, with the average resale price of a ticket now weighing in at $5,178, according to ticket price tracker SeatGeek."


"This year the Carolina Panthers will take on the Denver Broncos in the Bay Area's first Super Bowl in decades – and locals are snapping up many of the existing ticket, with purchases in Silicon Valley comprising 10 percent of the total bought so far..."

"The most expensive seats bought so far are a pair of midfield club seats sold for $12,100 each, SeatGeek told local news station KRON."


And from our "It's Your Lucky Day" file comes the tale of the skier who plunged 1,000 feet -- and survived. Not only that, the whole thing was caught on camera. Phew!


"A skier tackling Alaska's Neacola Range survived a 1,000-foot fall without major injuries and the entire plunge was caught on camera."


"The footage, posted to YouTube by Teton Gravity Research as part of its "2016 Safety Week," shows Angel Collinson, 25, fall 1,000 feet while skiing on the mountain last spring during filming for a movie called Paradise Waits."


"I was skiing down pretty fast, but totally reasonable speed for what I normally do, and I hit some icy, chunky snow and it kind of bounced my ski around," Collinson told ABC News' Good Morning America. "This happens to us a lot but in this case it kind of bumped my ski up above me to my left and my body kept going down to my right and then that's when I started falling."

"Collinson said she suffered minor injuries to two fingers during her fall."


Time to buy a lottery ticket...





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