The measures on California's 2016 ballot are influenced by money -- a lot of money.
JIM MILLER with Sacramento Bee: "Sometime after polls close Nov. 8, the member-elect in the San Francisco East Bay’s 14th Assembly District will be a Democrat."
"But just who that Democrat will be – Tim Grayson, a Concord councilman, or Mae Torlakson, an educator and wife of state schools chief Tom Torlakson – has turned into a high-dollar battle between outside spending groups."
"Fifteen outside spending committees funded by unions, businesses and wealthy individuals who want to change California’s school system had spent $5.4 million on the race, the most of any state legislative contest through Wednesday. Torlakson and Grayson have raised less than one-third that amount for their own campaigns."
READ MORE related to November Ballot: The drug industry has spent $109 million to kill Prop 61. Here's why. -- MIKE MCPHATE with New York Times No stamp? No problem: Your mail-in ballot will get there anyway -- STEVE RUBENSTEIN; Governor's ads pan measure requiring vote on big projects -- ELLEN KNICKMEYER with AP; Strange bedfellows unite to oppose California pot legalization -- MICHAEL BODLEY with The Chronicle
Sacramento's watersheds are finally seeing some relief as this month proves to be the 12th wettest October for the region on record.
DALE KASLER and RYAN SABALOW with Sacramento Bee: "A surprisingly wet October continues to bring gentle rains to the Sacramento region, providing some relief to watersheds parched by five years of drought."
"But as scattered showers hit the region Thursday, forecasters and hydrologists said the promising start to the rainy season, while helpful, doesn’t necessarily mean the drought will end this winter."
"This October is the 12th wettest in Sacramento in the 139 years tracked by the National Weather Service. As much as 2 more inches of rain might fall before the month is over."
READ MORE related to California Water Crisis: Jerry Brown stepping up campaign against measure on Delta water tunnels -- CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO with Sacramento Bee; Rain saturates Bay Area, causes havoc on morning commute -- MARK GOMEZ with East Bay Times; More Pacific Coast Hatchery salmon could receive protections -- CPR; Series of rainstorms to soak California and ease wildfire concerns into next week -- ALEX SOSNOWSKI with AccuWeather; Northern California is seeing two or three times more rain than normal. So why is Southern California so dry? -- JOSEPH SERNA with LAT; Truly a Watershed event: California's Water Board proposes base flows for the San Joaquin River Tributaries -- PAUL STANTON KIBEL with California Water Law Journal; Jerry Brown opposes voters' say on Big Bonds -- NICK CAHILL with Courthouse News Service; Delta advocate Phil Isenberg to receive Sandhill Crane Festival Conservation award -- Lodi News-Sentinel; California regulators examine safety of food irrigated with oil wastewater -- AMY QUINTON with CPR; How is a 1600-year-old tree weathering California's drought? -- CHRISTOPHER JOYCE with KPCC
The Death Penalty is a punitive measure reserved for the most sinister of cases, but the public's perception about capital punishment is shifting alongside this year's November ballot.
JAZMINE ULLOA with LAT: "On a cool afternoon in October, Sandra Friend sits near a patch of green clover outside her small country home near Yuba City, thinking of her late son as the wind rustles through the trees. Friend, 43, says she wants “California voters to know what kind of offenders are on death row,” men like Robert Boyd Rhoades, who sodomized, tortured and killed 8-year-old Michael Lyons two decades ago."
"She recalled that investigators said the wounds her son endured were deliberate: Rhoades stabbed the 63-pound boy 70 to 80 times with a fisherman’s knife and kept him alive for hours."
"From the very first inflicted wound to Michael, it was 10 hours to the last one,” Friend said. “For a grown man to inflict that kind of painful torture on a child — he got the right sentence. He got the only sentence that would bring any justice.”
READ MORE related to Capital Punishment: Los Angeles County Bar says expediting the death penalty system will 'compromise justice' -- JAZMINE ULLOA with LAT
Just how rampant is immigrant crime in California?
SEAN COCKERHAM with Sacramento Bee: "When Donald Johnston, a police officer in El Monte, California, went on a routine call in January 1990 to investigate a forgery attempt at a bank, he ended up shot in the neck and a paraplegic."
"Twenty-six years later the case has become a part of the presidential campaign – used by Donald Trump as an example of someone who was in the country illegally attacking an American citizen."
"Court records reviewed by McClatchy, however, indicate that the shooter, Nguyen Lu, was not in the country illegally. Originally from Vietnam, he was described as a legal refugee at the time of the incident."
READ MORE related to Public Safety: Oakland police union goes after 2 councilmen who favor commission -- RACHEL SWAN with The Chronicle; San Pablo EMT in hot water over Instagram post of mangled leg -- NATE GARTRELL with EBT; Plane makes emergency landing at old Alameda naval station -- JENNA LYONS with The Chronicle; Man shot in SF by cops faces attempted murder charge -- JENNA LYONS and KIMBERLY VEKLEROV with The Chronicle
BART's Board of Directors may see a massive shift post-election.
MICHAEL CABANATUAN with The Chronicle: "Strike or not, BART labor negotiations typically end with a vocal group of angry riders and taxpayers demanding the transit system’s directors be tossed out of office. When the next election comes around, however, few, if any, challengers step forward to take on the incumbents."
"This year is different. Five of the nine seats on the BART Board of Directors are up for election on Nov. 8 — and each of the four incumbents faces one or more challengers. The fifth seat went up for grabs when board President Tom Radulovich decided not to run for another term and three candidates jumped in to replace him."
Speaking of immigration, Kamala Harris is empowering Latino constituents.
CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO with Sacramento Bee: "Standing in front of a multicolored mural in Los Angeles, on which a historical sign urged “No A La Prop. 187,” U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris scanned the room and asked all of the immigrants – or children of settlers to the United States – to raise their hands."
"Harris, a self-described proud daughter of California born to immigrants from India and Jamaica, raised her right hand. Nearly every arm behind her went up."
"Look around the room,” said Harris, the state attorney general. “This is who we are."
The closure of Diablo Canyon nuclear facility has proven to be a more difficult adjustment than initially imagined.
DAVID R. BAKER with The Chronicle: "When Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced in June that it would close California’s last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, the utility said the move wouldn’t raise rates."
"That turns out to be not quite correct."
"PG&E now says its proposal to shut down Diablo Canyon by 2025 will cost $1.77 billion over eight years and add $1.54 to a typical residential customer’s monthly bill. The utility detailed the costs in a mailer that was included in bills sent to its 5.4 million customers in September."
And in national news, more than 140 protestors have been arrested at the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota.
SANDY TOLAN with LAT: "As helicopters circled overhead, police in riot gear arrested activists Thursday in an effort to break up an encampment of protesters blocking the path of the planned Dakota Access oil pipeline, near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. By the end of the day, authorities said they had ousted the protesters from their camp."
"Police arrested at least 141 people on charges including criminal trespassing, engaging in a riot and conspiracy to endanger by fire, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Department."
"Earlier in the day, dozens of uniformed officers from state and county police and the National Guard advanced in columns, rolling through temporary barricades the pipeline opponents had set up, and eventually forming a 180-degree arc in front of them. Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said that the camp was cleared by the late afternoon. "
READ MORE related to National News: Leaders of Oregon wildlife refuge standoff are acquitted of federal charges -- MATT PEARCE, RICK ANDERSON with LAT; Women surfers tear down a big wave barrier -- MIKE MCPHATE with New York Times; Search for Chinese Sailor attempting record is suspended -- CHRIS BUCKLEY and RYAN MCMORROW with NYT
Speaking of national news, POTUS44 has offered a trilogy of endorsements to some Democratic California Assembly candidates.
CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO with Sacramento Bee: "President Barack Obama, delivering on a promise to assist legislative hopefuls across the country, swooped in Thursday to offer a rare endorsement to a trio of Democratic candidates for the California Assembly."
"Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, in a congratulatory message posted on social media, said Obama is backing former Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and fellow Democratic challengers Abigail Medina, a school board member in San Bernardino, and ex-Pleasanton Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio."
"Thanks to (Obama) for his support of Democrats up and down the ballot,” Rendon said. “As he recently reminded us, ‘Our progress is on the ballot."
The State Board of Education is expected to approve a streamlined form for dictating annual budget and accountability goals.
JOHN FENSTERWALD with EdSource: "For three years, school districts have been writing an annual budget and accountability plan using a state-dictated form that has irritated just about everyone writing and reading it. Next week, the State Board of Education is expected to approve a new version that promises to be simpler, better organized and easier to follow."
"The revised Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP (see draft template starting page 7), has gotten generally positive reviews, with some reservations, from school officials and advocates for high-needs students who disagree over how much information should be in the document but credit state board staff for trying to strike a balance."
"We are not completely satisfied, but we will support the revised LCAP,” said Martha Alvarez, legislative advocate for the Association of California School Administrators, which had recommended changes through months of hearings and drafts. Districts’ LCAPs had mushroomed to dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of pages over the past three years. It’s unclear, she said, despite improved readability, whether LCAPs will become shorter or longer under the new template. “At this point, districts need time – a number of years without further changes – to work with it,” she said."
Sacramento City Council members ponder a proposal aimed at figuring out how to control public revenues from the state's booming marijuana industry.
ANITA CHABRIA with Sacramento Bee: "A proposal to allow commercial cultivation of cannabis in Sacramento has stalled as City Council members jockey for control of public revenues from the industry."
"The plan was pulled from the council agenda Tuesday as Councilmen Allen Warren and Eric Guerra push for mandatory money for impacted neighborhoods."
"Cultivation could bring least $2.2 million in annual revenues, according to Ranelle Kawasaki of the city’s finance department. The amount of revenue depends on how many licenses the city issues and the size of grows."
House Speaker Paul Ryan is stopping by Modesto to show his support for Rep. Jeff Denham.
JOHN HOLLAND with Sacramento Bee: "House Speaker Paul Ryan came to Modesto on Thursday to cheer on supporters of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock."
"Ryan paid an afternoon visit to the McHenry Avenue headquarters for Denham’s tight re-election bid, where volunteers and local Republican leaders were gathered."
"This man is a workhorse,” Ryan said. “This man is a doer. Jeff Denham is already one of our quarterbacks on fixing some of your biggest problems here."
READ MORE related to Candidate Elections: Mike Honda fights for political life in nasty duel with Ro Khanna -- JOHN WILDERMUTH with The Chronicle; A close race for Darrell Issa, the House mini-Trump -- EMMARIE HUETTEMAN with NYT
And on the Beltway, Trump is..well, just being Trump.
LISA MASCARO with LAT: "Donald Trump, who often claims the election is rigged, had an interesting idea Thursday."
"I'm just thinking to myself right now: We should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump," he said during a rally in downtown Toledo, Ohio."
"The crowd of several thousand at the Sea Gate Convention Center cheered their approval."
READ MORE related to Beltway: The future of the GOP is already here: a female Millennial techie -- JOE GAROFOLI with The Chronicle; Democrats eye post-election transportation session -- DAVID SIDERS with Politico
California will be one of nine states with robust health exchange coverage available statewide next year.
AP: "A new analysis for The Associated Press shows that California is one of just nine states where at least three health plans will be available statewide for people who get coverage next year through the health insurance exchange."
"The analysis of data compiled by Avalere Health found that Californians are avoiding the plight facing people in more than a third of U.S. counties, where exchange customers will have just one health plan option."
"Customers in some areas of Southern California and the Central Valley will have seven plans from which to choose. Nearly all counties have four or more available plans, while Alameda and San Luis Obispo counties have three participating plans."
READ MORE related to Health: Reduce your Obamacare sticker shock -- EMILY BAZAR with California Healthline
#WorstWeekCA -- Dante Acoste, Republican candidate for the Assembly seat in Santa Clarita Valley -- Accused of sexual misconduct