Iran strikes back at US with missile attack bases in Iraq
AP's NASSER KARIMI/AMIR VAHDAT/JON GAMBELL: "Iran struck back at the United States early Wednesday for killing a top Revolutionary Guards commander, firing a series of ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing American troops in a major escalation between the two longtime foes."
"It was Iran's most direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and Iranian state TV said it was in revenge for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week in an American drone strike near Baghdad prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying. A U.S. and Iraqi officials said there were no immediate reports of casualties, though buildings were still being searched."
"The strikes, which came as Iran buried Soleimani, raised fears that the two longtime foes were closer to war. But there were some indications that there would not be further retaliation on either side, at least in the short term."
READ MORE related to Warpath Escalation: Trump insists 'All is well!' after Iran missile attack -- AP's KEVIN FREKING/DEB RIECHMANN
CA120: In California, Super Tuesday means super confusion
PAUL MITCHELL in Capitol Weekly: "In less than four weeks, 15 million Californians will be receiving ballots in the mail for the March 2020 primary. Just under 4 million Republicans will have an opportunity to reaffirm their support for Donald Trump, or select from a few little-known challengers."
"Around 7 million Democrats will see a host of well-known candidates, many of whom have been barnstorming the state in search of voters, endorsements and fundraising."
"About 4 million-plus independent voters who are eligible to vote in the Democratic Primary will see no presidential candidates at all on their ballots. What?? Yes. In March 2020, in one of the hottest primary elections in recent history, where California is set to play a more important role than usual as the largest state on Super Tuesday, there will be approximately 3.5 million voters receiving blank presidential ballots."
Restart the presses: California's oldest weekly newspaper saved
LA Times's BRITTNY MEJIA: "The state’s oldest weekly newspaper, which once published Mark Twain, will keep printing after a California retiree stepped in to save the day."
"Carl Butz, a fourth-generation native Californian, is taking over the Mountain Messenger, which is based out of his hometown of Downieville."
The 71-year-old has been friends with Don Russell, the editor-publisher of the paper, since moving to the town in the 1990s and was aware of his troubles trying to sell the paper over the last year."
Wiener's SB50 housing-bill fix gets chilly reaction from key lawmaker
The Chronicle's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "State Sen. Scott Wiener’s latest attempt to pass a bill to boost housing around public transit and in wealthy suburbs met a hostile reception Tuesday from a powerful colleague who could soon decide its fate."
"The measure, SB50, has been in limbo since May, when state Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Los Angeles County Democrat who chairs the Appropriations Committee, held the bill through a secretive process for legislation with a significant fiscal impact."
"He has until Jan. 24 to decide whether to advance the measure to a vote before the full Senate. But in the months since his bill stalled, Wiener did not consult with Portantino about amendments that he introduced Monday — and Portantino was not pleased."
Contracter's death leading to strike on Iranian general, buried in Sacramento
Sac Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR/SAM STANTON: "The Iraqi-American contractor who was killed in a rocket attack in Iraq in late December was buried in Sacramento on Saturday. His death was the start of a chain of events that U.S. leaders say prompted them to carry out drone strikes in Iraq and Syria, which culminated with the killing of Iranian military leader Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani."
"The death of Sacramento resident Nawres Waleed Hamid is cited as one of the reasons the U.S. government killed Soleimani, sparking concerns of a potential war with Iran. The U.S. government defends its actions saying Soleimani planned to attack U.S. troops."
"Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, told reporters Monday he had personally seen the intelligence outlining the threat. On Tuesday, in a news conference with reporters, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the attack had been expected to occur within days."
Lawmaker unveils new flavored tobacco ban effort
Sac Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "A California lawmaker has announced a renewed effort to ban flavored tobacco products in the state, and he’s gotten the lieutenant governor and nearly 30 other legislators to sign on to the bill."
"Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, announced Senate Bill 793, which would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarette products such as Juul pods."
"This marks a redoubled effort for Hill, who last year withdrew a similar bill, Senate Bill 38, due to “hostile amendments” that Hill said created “unnecessary, harmful exemptions."
Rep. Duncan Hunter submits resignation from Congress
LA Times's CHARLES T CLARK: "Rep. Duncan Hunter, the Republican from Alpine, Calif., who on Dec. 3 pleaded guilty to a felony involving campaign spending, said he will officially resign Monday."
"He notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gov. Gavin Newsom in a letter Tuesday that he will resign Jan. 13, nearly six weeks after his guilty plea."
“It has been an honor to serve the people of California’s 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years,” Hunter wrote."
Trump-aligned automakers would be barred from federal sales under new bill
The Chronicle's DUSTIN GARDINER: "Bay Area Rep. Mark DeSaulnier is throwing another jab in California’s battle with the Trump administration over climate change policy."
"The Concord Democrat is introducing a bill this week that would require federal agencies to buy vehicles only from manufacturers that meet Obama-era emissions standards — essentially, California’s tougher rules that President Trump has moved to revoke."
"The bill aims to harness the federal government’s buying power to punish automakers that have sided with Trump in favor of more lenient emissions rules."
Cops may have to turn over more sex assault records under proposed law
Sac Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "A California Assembly Republican announced on Tuesday that he wrote legislation that would strengthen a police transparency law by making more records regarding officer-involved sexual assaults available to the public."
"Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham of San Luis Obispo County said his Assembly Bill 1599 would increase police transparency by making investigative reports releasable to the public even if the officer resigns before a probe is completed."
“California’s peace officers have a very difficult job. As a former prosecutor, I know that the vast majority of them do their job with dignity and honor,” Cunningham said in a press release. “However, sunshine is the best disinfectant and the only way to restore trust. Bad actors should not be able to exploit a loophole to evade responsibility."
Newsom's new homeless plan
Sac Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to direct $750 million from the state’s upcoming budget to help homeless people get off the streets, his office announced Wednesday morning."
"Also on Wednesday, Newsom plans to sign an executive order directing state departments to identify state property that can be used for emergency shelters and designate 100 trailers in California’s fleet for temporary housing and health care services. The executive order will also establish a homelessness “strike team.”
“Homelessness is a national crisis, one that’s spreading across the West Coast and cities across the country,” Newsom said in a statement. “The state of California is treating it as a real emergency."
Mexico balks at US plan to send Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala
LA Times's PATRICK J MCDONNELL/MOLLY OTOOLE: "Mexico is voicing opposition to the Trump administration’s controversial plan to send Mexicans seeking asylum in the United States to Guatemala instead."
“It’s a decision that worries us and a decision that we cannot agree with,” the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Martha Barcena, said Tuesday. “This decision was not consulted with us. It is a decision they made with Guatemala.”
"According to internal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services documents obtained by The Times, the Trump administration holds that Mexicans are not excluded from an agreement it reached in July for Guatemala to take asylum seekers who are not Guatemalan."
Haitians gained protections to stay in the US after a devastating quake. A decade later, Trump wants that to end
LA Times's KURTIS LEE: "Almost every day, it seems, a parishioner comes to Father Reginald Jean-Mary with the same plea: Pray for us, we’re scared. We can’t go back, not now."
"They live in fear of a forced return to Haiti, a country where they were born and that they love, but one that’s been paralyzed by poverty, violent protests and a debilitating cholera epidemic."
"They fear even more for their American-born children, who, unlike them, would be eligible to remain in the only country they’ve ever known. For many Haitian immigrants, the idea of uprooting preteens to live for the first time in a deeply impoverished country seems out of the question."
Laurel Heights neighbors sue to stop massive SF housing project
The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "A group of Laurel Heights residents has filed a lawsuit against a massive development project that would revamp the UCSF Laurel Heights campus into a 744-unit housing and retail complex."
"The case, filed last week in San Francisco Superior Court by the Laurel Heights Improvement Association of San Francisco, argues that the city failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act in approving the project at 3333 California St."
"According to the lawsuit, the development at the 11-acre site would cause “needless significant environmental impacts” to the area. It also takes issue with plans to renovate the existing complex at the site."
Sierra Nevada red fox may get endangered species protections
The Chronicle's ANNA BAUMAN: "A group of secretive and rare red foxes whose dwindling numbers reside in lofty, snow-covered Sierra mountain passes could soon gain recognition as an endangered species."
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed on Tuesday to protect the Sierra Nevada red fox under the Endangered Species Act, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation organization."
"Experts believe about 70 foxes remain in Lassen and Sonora Pass, making them one of the rarest mammals in North America."
BART's new innovation: Wi-Fi and improved cell service
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "BART, a mass transit system that for years has ferried commuters to stylish tech companies in downtown San Francisco, may finally bring its own technology into the modern era."
"Top agency brass are considering a potentially life-changing innovation for BART trains and stations: seamless Wi-Fi. Passengers have pleaded for a dependable network since the invention of smartphones, frustrated by calls that drop in the Transbay Tube, and web pages that stubbornly refuse to load."
"The board is set to vote Thursday on a project that would add Wi-Fi and Bluetooth infrastructure, improving the cellular network and providing a wireless internet connection at all stations and on board its new Fleet of the Future trains. Construction would start immediately, but don’t expect instant gratification — it may take five years to finish."
Does your family live in one of these nine Sacramento areas where many children test high for lead?
Sac Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "California State Auditor Elaine Howle reported Tuesday that 1.4 million children covered by Medi-Cal have not received state-mandated testing for lead poisoning even though the metal can cause behavioral disorders, loss of hearing, impaired physical development and death."
"In the report, the auditor revealed nine census tracts in the Sacramento region where a large number of children under the age of 6 have tested positive for lead poisoning but where children ages 1 and 2 covered by Medi-Cal have been woefully under-tested. They include one tract in the city of Sacramento as well as eight others in the Carmichael, Foothill Farms and Arden Arcade areas of Sacramento County."
"The California Department of Health Care Services “has not met its responsibility to ensure that children in Medi-Cal receive required tests at the ages of one and two years to determine whether they have elevated lead levels,” Howle stated in the report."
Yelp reviews claim that this foodtruck is the best eatery in the United States
LA Times's PAM KRAGEN: "Last year, former cellphone salesman Bryan Zeto achieved his lifelong dream of opening his own restaurant. Today, his Shawarma Guys food truck in the San Diego neighborhood of South Park sits at the pinnacle of Yelp’s list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. in 2020."
"Shawarma Guys, parked in front of the Bottle House liquor store at Grape and Fern streets, ranks No. 1 on the seventh-annual list published Tuesday by the crowd-sourced rankings website Yelp.com. In its first 11 months of business, Shawarma Guys achieved a top ranking of five stars in nearly all of its nearly 500 customer reviews."
"Yelp diners universally praised Zeto’s friendly customer service, his ultra-tender Australian Wagyu beef shawarma, his crispy and herbacious gluten-free falafels and the oversize portions he serves."