Into the night

Feb 16, 2017

It was a long night in Oroville last night, as emergency workers labored on the dam's spillway.

From the Bee's Phillip Reese and Ryan Lillis: "
Crews worked into the night Wednesday to shore up the emergency spillway at troubled Oroville Dam, racing to fortify the structure before the next series of storms, the first of which was forecast to hit before midnight."


"Three storm systems will move into Northern California during the next six days, according to the National Weather Service. The first system will drop about an inch of rain in the Oroville area between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 4 p.m. Thursday. Greater amounts of precipitation will fall in the mountains northeast of the reservoir."


"Forecasters are confident that the first two storm systems will not cause huge inflows into Lake Oroville. They are less confident about the third system, which is due sometime Tuesday. That storm could be bigger and warmer, meaning more rain and snowmelt streaming into the swollen reservoir."


Meanwhile, it turns out that Oroville Dam's instruction manual on flood-control hasn't been updated in decades.


From the Bee's Ryan Sabalow and Andy Furillo: "The critical document that determines how much space should be left in Lake Oroville for flood control during the rainy season hasn’t been updated since 1970, and it uses climatological data and runoff projections so old they don’t account for two of the biggest floods ever to strike the region."


"Independent experts familiar with the flood-control manual at Oroville Dam said Wednesday there’s no indication the 47-year-old document contributed to the ongoing crisis involving the dam’s ailing spillways. The current troubles stem from structural failures, not how the lake’s flood-storage space was being managed."


"But the experts say Oroville’s manual does point to larger operational issues that affect most of California’s primary flood-control dams. Like the dams, most of the manuals were designed decades ago by engineers using slide rules instead of computers. Many of the documents and licenses that govern dam operations don’t account for advances in hydrology, meteorology and engineering, or for a changing climate."


READ MORE related to the spillway emergencyOroville's homeless felt stranded during evacuation -- The Chronicle's LIZZIE JOHNSON/MELODY GUTIERREZ


San Francisco is attempting to create its own Department of Marijuana.


The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS: "San Francisco would have its own independent department of marijuana under legislation headed to the Board of Supervisors."


“The goal is to create a single office to manage the onslaught that we are facing come Jan. 1, when recreational pot becomes legal,” said Supervisor Jeff Sheehy."


"Sheehy has asked the city attorney to draw up legislation to set up an independent department to regulate the cultivation, sale and distribution of weed within San Francisco."


Speaking of drugs, Martin Shkreli's Harvard appearance has been upended by protestors.


AP: "A fire alarm rang out moments before indicted former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli was to speak at Harvard University, briefly delaying an appearance that also was disrupted by student protests."


"The former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who was widely criticized for hiking up the price of a drug used by AIDS and cancer patients to fight parasitic infections, was invited by the Harvard Financial Analysts Club to discuss investing at the Wednesday night event. But a few minutes before it began, someone pulled a fire alarm and police evacuated the building."


"When the event did start, protesters kept interrupting Shkreli's presentation, chanting and calling him names before walking out. There were no reports of any violence."


Sacramento saw some crime reduction last year.


Sacramento Bee's PHILLIP REESE/RICHARD CHANG: "Violent crime dropped slightly and property crime dropped sharply in the city of Sacramento from 2015 to 2016, bucking a nationwide trend, according to figures released by police Wednesday afternoon."


"About 3,560 violent crimes were reported in the city during 2016, down by 55, or 1.5 percent, from 2015. Nationwide crime statistics are available only for the first half of 2016, but violent crimes were up 5 percent compared to the first six months of 2015."


"Crime in Sacramento has fallen sharply over the last few decades, but it rose by more than 20 percent in 2015, causing police to sharpen their focus on hot spots. The new figures show that the uptick in violent crime hasn’t continued, though crime remains well above 2014 levels."


READ MORE related to Public Safety: How Cal Lutheran students are working with Simi Valley veterans to save their VFW -- Daily News' DANA BARTHOLOMEW; LA's west San Fernando Valley is no 'Shangri-La' as gang crime stirs concern -- Daily News' GREGORY J. WILCOX; Man killed by LAPD after Hollywood stabbing spree near CNN identified -- Daily News' STAFF


A California DOJ worker has successfully sued the state for back pay.


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "A California Department of Justice agent who won a lawsuit that compelled her department to pay her five years of back wages was among the highest-paid workers in California government last year."


"Angie Resendez earned more than $709,000 in 2016, mostly because of the sum the state was ordered to pay her after the state Department of Justice in 2010 put conditions on her reinstatement when she recovered from what she thought was a career-ending disability."


"Her union, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, announced the lawsuit result when she won her final appeal in October 2015. That decision ordered the state to pay her five years of back wages, which amounted to about $652,000."


Part of San Francisco's inner-city was evacuated yesterday when a 1-ton slab of concrete threatened to give way atop a skyscraper.


AP: "San Francisco authorities evacuated 16 office buildings and shut down several streets during rush hour Wednesday after a giant concrete slab tilted while atop a skyscraper."


"San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Officer Jonathan Baxter said Wednesday evening there was no danger of the 1-ton concrete slab falling from the 35th floor of a luxury apartment building in the South of Market neighborhood."


"City inspectors went to the building on 41 Tehama Street and concluded there was "no imminent danger to the public or the surrounding buildings or to any individual," Baxter said."


Northern California's rail system is heavily susceptible to the whim and wrath of mother nature, and some experts are worried.


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "The rail line near Elk Grove where a freight train full of canned tomatoes derailed last week is expected to be repaired by Thursday, allowing Amtrak trains to resume running and giving track owner Union Pacific an assist as it struggles to move freight during one of the wettest winters on record."


"The derailment and the collapse of tracks elsewhere in Northern California this winter offer a reminder of how extreme weather can disrupt train operations and pose safety risks. The railroads face a federal deadline to install new safety technology that can slow or stop trains when it senses hazards up ahead on the rails."


"Elsewhere in the north state, a key UP line in the Feather River Canyon east of Oroville has been out of service for more than a month because of erosion and mudslides, causing delays in freight shipments to and from the Sacramento Valley."


READ MORE related to Transportation: 'Complacency' sends traffic deaths soaring in California and US -- The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN; Harrison Ford's close call in another airplane mishap was unusual and troubling, experts say -- L.A. Times' RICHARD WINTON


President Trump is now at odds with the practice of leaking -- a tactic he extolled on the campaign trail.


New York Times' MICHAEL SHEAR: "As a candidate for president, Donald Trump embraced the hackers who had leaked Hillary Clinton’s emails to the press, declaring at a rally in Pennsylvania, “I love WikiLeaks!”


"To the cheering throngs that night, Trump marveled that “nothing is secret today when you talk about the internet.” The leakers, he said, had performed a public service by revealing what he called a scandal with no rival in U.S. history."


"Now, after less than four weeks in the Oval Office, Trump has changed his mind."


READ MORE related to Beltway: Tillerson heads on first overseas trip for Trump, trying to find his voice -- L.A. Times' TRACY WILKINSON; Trump slams intel officials, media over Flynn and Russia -- AP's JULIE PACE


Donald Trump's frontwoman on Medicaid has decried the program for increasing dependency amongst indigent individuals.


AP's CARLA K. JOHNSON: "The businesswoman President Donald Trump selected to oversee Medicaid, the health care program for 74 million low-income Americans, has said the program is structurally flawed by policies that burden states and foster dependency among the poor."


"Seema Verma heads Indianapolis-based SVC Inc., a consulting firm that works with GOP-led states seeking federal leeway in how they spend Medicaid dollars. Her proposed solutions can be seen most dramatically in Indiana, where Medicaid enrollees pay fees and a missed payment means a six-month lockout from the program. A still-pending proposal she developed for Kentucky includes work requirements for most adults."


"Elsewhere, the poorest Medicaid recipients usually don't pay monthly fees, although many states have experimented with fees for certain groups such as working adults with disabilities."


READ MORE related to Health: When the going gets tough, rally the troops. Chipping away at Obamacare. -- L.A. Times' DAVAN MAHARAJ;

The Bay Area will see some more rain soon as a cluster of storms looms overhead.


The Chronicle's FILIPA A. IOANNOU: "A mostly cloudy day was interrupted only briefly by flashes of sunshine on Wednesday, but it’s still likely to be the nicest and driest weather until Sunday, with a one-two punch of storms making a beeline for the Bay Area, forecasters predict."


"With the first storm set to hit Thursday morning, officials expressed concern that more rain could mean more of the dangerous debris that recent storms have helped sweep into the bay and local waterways."


"Recent storms have led to an increase in plant matter, wood and trash in the water, and that means more danger for boaters, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which issued a debris warning for the San Francisco Bay on Wednesday. When river levels rise and currents become more rapid, that brings out the debris, Coast Guard Petty Officer Loumania Stewart explained."


READ MORE related to Weather: Beyond Oroville crisis, record rain strains California's flood control network -- L.A. Times' RONG-GONG LIN II/PAIGE ST. JOHN/MATT STEVENS/CORINA KNOLL; Menacing forecast predicts strongest storm in years -- The Press-Enterprise's ALI TADAYON


Donald Trump's limitations forced on the United States' refugee system has pushed World Relief to start laying workers off.


AP: "World Relief says it is laying off more than 140 staffers after President Donald Trump's executive order cut the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States."


"The Baltimore-based non-profit that helps resettle refugees announced Wednesday that it also will close offices in Glen Burnie, Maryland; Miami, Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville, Tennessee."


"Trump's executive order last month suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions program for 120 days. The number of refugees allowed in will be capped at 50,000 for 2017, down from 110,000."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Why tens of thousands of kids from El Salvador continue to flee to the United States -- L.A. Times' KATE LINTHICUM


 A restaurant in Santa Clara County has been successfully sued for duping customers paying for expensive fish plates by serving them lower quality filets instead.


L.A. Times' JOSEPH SERNA: "A high-end restaurant in Santa Clara County agreed to a six-figure settlement with local prosecutors after an investigation revealed the restaurant was charging customers for expensive fish but serving them a cheaper species."


"The settlement requires that the Morgan Hill restaurant Odeum pay $30,000 in restitution by offering customers $30 gift cards as restitution, the Santa Clara district attorney’s office announced Wednesday."


"Eligible customers must have ordered the seafood dish petrale sole between October 2014 and March 2016. It turns out those customers were actually served tilapia but charged for petrale sole, authorities say."


UC workers in the Teamsters Local 2010 have recently protested against retirement plans and unfair wages in Downtown Oakland.


Daily Californian's AUDREY MCNAMARA: "Chanting and banging drums, Teamsters Local 2010 protesters made themselves heard Wednesday morning outside UC executive offices in Downtown Oakland protesting unfair wages for UC workers and a new 401(k)-style retirement plan."


"In March 2016, UC Regents adopted a new retirement tier at the request of UC President Janet Napolitano, which included a “capped” version of the existing pension, aligning it with the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2012. Teamsters are pushing back against the component that introduces a 401(k)-style retirement plan according to Timothy Mathews, a research analyst for Teamsters Local 2010."


"Anyone hired on or before June 30, 2016 (the vast majority of clerical employees) will have the same retirement benefits they do now,” said UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez in an email. “These newer employees in the 2016 Retirement Program would still be free to choose which retirement plan they enroll in — a traditional pension plan or a 401(K)-style plan.”


READ MORE related to Education: Zero Waste by 2020 initiative focuses on student involvement -- Daily Californian's AMBER TANG/FRANCESCA MUNSAYAC; EdSource poll: Child care and preschool costs force parents to make difficult tradeoffs -- EdSource's LOUIS FREEDBERG; CSU needs more effective way to assess students' math readiness -- EdSource's PAMELA BURDMAN; Deportation fears depress California Dream Act college aid applications -- EdSource's LARRY GORDON


LA has officially decriminalized street vending.


Daily News' ELIZABETH CHOU: "The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday adopted ordinances that remove criminal penalties from the city’s law banning street vending, but city attorneys say they have no way of granting amnesty to vendors already convicted of misdemeanors."


"The council voted 13-0 to adopt decriminalization ordinances that include an “urgency” clause to fast-track their enactment. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he plans to sign the legislation. Once he does, it would go into effect immediately."


"Advocates say the vast majority of street vendors — many of whom sell hotdogs, fresh fruit and other snacks to Angelenos — are undocumented and therefore vulnerable to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies that favor deportation of those with any type of criminal record."



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