State study: Black drivers stopped and searched more than others
Sac Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "Black drivers in California are more likely to be pulled over by the police and searched than white drivers, according to data released by the state in response to a 2015 law aimed at quantifying racial profiling among law enforcement agencies."
"The study found police in large California law enforcement agencies were 1.8 times more likely to use “reasonable suspicion” as the cause to pull over a black person than they were a white person."
"The report also found police were three times more likely to search a black person who had been stopped than they were a white person. Only Native American drivers were more likely than blacks to be arrested as a result of a search."
Bay Area will be nation's coolest housing market in 2020, survey says
The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "Austin, Texas, is expected to be the nation’s hottest housing market this year and the Bay Area the coolest, according to economists and real estate experts surveyed for real estate website Zillow."
"On average, the panelists said they expect U.S. home prices to grow by 2.8% in 2020."
"Of the 25 large markets included in the survey, the Texas capital earned the top score: 83% expect it to outperform the national average and 7% think it will underperform, for a net score of 76. The hottest markets after Austin are Charlotte, Atlanta and Nashville, with scores of 59, 51 and 49, respectively, Zillow said in the report."
Can $500 a month change a city? Stockton tests universal basic income
From the Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "What could you do with an extra $500 a month? Lorrine Paradela got a better night’s sleep."
"The 45-year-old single mother is one of the 125 Stockton residents receiving monthly cash disbursements as part of an attention-grabbing experiment on guaranteed income."
"Paradela has been able to pay for a new car after her old one was wrecked in a crash. She bought a video game console for her 16-year-old son as a thank-you gift for his help taking care of his 10-year-old sister."
The already-visible benefits of new privacy law
LA Times STAFF: "Do not sell my information” links popped up on websites New Year’s Day as companies scrambled to comply with California’s sweeping new consumer privacy protection law, which allows customers to instruct businesses to not sell their personal information."
"The announcements were required as part of the California Consumer Privacy Act, which went into effect Wednesday, just one part of the most powerful consumer privacy protection law of its kind in the United States. Advocates believe the law, passed by the state Legislature in 2018, could be used as a model in other states or nationally."
"Its most notable immediate impact, the “Do not sell my info” links, began showing up at the bottom of websites for businesses such as Home Depot and Ralphs or as pop-ups on publications like Us Weekly."
Alleged victims begin filing sex-abuse lawsuits against Catholic Church and Boy Scouts
LA Times's GREG MORAN: "Half a dozen lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego accusing now-deceased clergy of sexually abusing 20 men and women decades ago were filed in Superior Court on Thursday, one day after a new state law lifting the legal time limit on when such lawsuits can be filed went into effect."
"The lawsuits are the first of what will likely become a swarm of legal action in the coming months against churches and other institutions such as the Boy Scouts of America over long-ago sexual abuse of minors. Irwin Zalkin, the San Diego lawyer who filed the six lawsuits Thursday, said at a news conference that he plans to file another 60 cases over the next several months against the diocese."
“This is only the beginning,” said Zalkin, the lawyer who spearheaded a $198-million settlement of sexual abuse claims against the diocese in 2007. Those lawsuits, filed under a previous state law that opened a one-year window for claims against institutions for abuse that had occurred years earlier, drove the diocese to declare bankruptcy."
A New Year's wish list for political folk
Capitol Weekly's CHUCK MCFADDEN: "Santa’s elves are back at the North Pole, sipping their traditional post-Christmas grog and wondering if Gavin Newsom is going to run for president in 2024; or 2028. Or 2020?"
"Santa himself, however, is perusing a wish list sent to him by political types in Sacramento and Washington."
"Due to the journalistic enterprise constantly demonstrated by our army of reporters, Capitol Weekly has obtained a copy of the list and is deploying it below. Along with a few predictions, here is what Sacramento and Washington notables want more than anything in 2020:"
Enough rain? 2019 in review
Sac Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "While October marks the start of the new water year, state hydrology leaders opened the new year with the first measure of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, east of Sacramento. Coupled with the rainfall totals for the calendar year, thanks to a series of storms in late November, Thursday’s measurement brought a hopeful start for the state’s biggest source of water."
"Numbers from the National Weather Service and California Department of Water Resources tell the story of 2019 for the Sacramento region, Northern California and the Sierra Nevada mountains: a very wet start, followed by a long dry spell from late spring into mid-November, and finally a few winter storms to end the year strong."
"Those storms brought an end to California’s 2019 wildfire season, which had roared to life in the autumn months with Sonoma County’s Kincade Fire and other significant blazes in Northern and Southern California after a relatively quiet summer."
READ MORE related to Weather/Environment/Climate: Up in the Sierra, nearly normal snowpack shows drought predictions wrong -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE
Happy New Years: 500 arrested, 3 killed in statewide DUI enforcement
Sac Bee's VINCENT MOLESKI: "As the state celebrated the new year, the California Highway Patrol arrested hundreds of people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and several were killed in traffic accidents."
"At least three people were killed in crashes during the CHP’s maximum enforcement period, which lasted from 6 p.m. Tuesday and continued through New Year’s Day.
CHP officers made 491 DUI arrests during that time frame, which means an intoxicated driver was taken off the road every four minutes over the 30-hour period."
Is Fry's Electronics in trouble? Company issues denials while empty store shelves belie their statements
The Chronicle's SHWANIKA NARAYAN: "The tagline “Your best buys are always at Fry’s” once blanketed Bay Area airwaves, but that’s no longer true of the computer retailer’s Palo Alto store."
"A temple of electronics known as “ground zero for geek culture,” the Portage Avenue Fry’s Electronics closed last week after almost 30 years in business."
“The Palo Alto store was a fixture for techies everywhere. It’s sad they closed,” said Abbi Vakil, who works as a hardware engineer in the city. “You will not find an engineer in the Bay Area who hasn’t gone to Fry’s for some kind of prototype building."
(OP-ED): Conservatives are coming for your pornography
LA Times's MATT WELCH: "While the rest of us were gearing up for the holiday season, a small group of conservatives was busy cranking up something a good deal less cheerful: a new war on pornography."
"On Dec. 6, four members of Congress wrote a letter to Atty. Gen. William Barr, beseeching him to “declare the prosecution of obscene pornography a criminal justice priority,” and “bring prosecutions against the major producers and distributors of such material.”
"We’ve been down this speech-trampling road before, most recently with the Bush administration’s Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. It was disbanded in 2011, having been such a debacle that U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon delivered the following lecture when dismissing all federal charges against adult-film producer John Stagliano: “I hope the government will learn a lesson from its experience."
READ MORE related to Pornography: 22 women win $13 million in suit against GirlsDoPorn videos -- LA Times's PAULINE REPARD
US kills Iran's most powerful general in Baghdad airstrike
AP's QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA/ZEINA KARAM: "The United States killed Iran's top general and the architect of Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East in an airstrike at Baghdad's international airport early on Friday, an attack that threatens to dramatically ratchet up tensions in the region."
"The targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force, could draw forceful Iranian retaliation against American interests in the region and spiral into a far larger conflict between the U.S. and Iran, endangering U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and beyond."
"The Defense Department said it killed Soleimani because he “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." It also accused Soleimani of approving the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad earlier this week."
READ MORE related to Warpath Escalation: Killing of Suleimani marks major gamble by Trump -- LA Times's TRACY WILKINSON/MELISSA ETEHAD/CHRIS MEGERIAN; Iran vows revenge after US drone strike kills elite force commander -- LUISA LOVELUCK in Sac Bee; Who is Maj. Gen. Suleimani, the man who stumped Trump? -- LA Times's ALEXANDRA ZAVIS; State Dept. urges all US citizens to leave Iraq -- AP
Marianne Williamson fired her entire staff. Why she won't end her 2020 bid
Sac Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "Spiritual leader and author Marianne Williamson is polling somewhere between 0 to 1 percent, is well short of the necessary donors to make it to the next debate and has fired her entire campaign staff."
"And yet, she announced on Thursday night that she will not end her long-shot 2020 presidential run.:
“I am not suspending my candidacy,” Williamson said. “However, a campaign not having a huge war chest should be not be what determines its fate."