Cap-and-trade sees possible extension

Jul 11, 2017

Speaking of climate change legislation, a heavily negotiated bill seeks to extend the cap-and-trade program another decade.


The Chronicle's DAVID R. BAKER: "California’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system — one of the main weapons in the state’s fight against global warming — would be extended to 2030, under legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders unveiled Monday evening."

"At the same time, the legislation would prevent local air districts in California from imposing their own limits on greenhouse gas emissions from sources already covered under cap and trade."

"That would effectively kill long-running efforts by Bay Area air quality regulators to place hard limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from local oil refineries."


Meanwhile, the latest batch of climate change legislation halts a state fire prevention fee, eliminating a controversial payment by rural property owners.


Sacramento Bee's TARYN LUNA/JIM MILLER: "Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have released legislation to extend the state’s climate-change-fighting system for another decade, setting off a scramble for votes amid concerns that the compromise will not do enough to address the problem."

“The Legislature is taking action to curb climate change and protect vulnerable communities from industrial poisons,” Brown said."

"The legislation, published in tandem with a separate measure addressing air quality, continues the program through 2030. The cap-and-trade bill includes a suspension of the state’s fire prevention fee, a controversial charge on thousands of property owners who live in rural areas, as of July 1, 2017. It also exempts electric power companies from paying the sales and use tax on equipment purchases, certain construction-related costs and other expenses."


In Congress, there's not much diversity amongst senior staffers, and there's not much being done to change that due to a special protective, arcane government policy.


McClatchy DC's WILLIAM DOUGLAS: "Of the Senate’s 336 top staff jobs – the kind that carry six-figure salaries and behind-the-scenes clout – just 24 were held by people of color during the last Congress."

"U.S. lawmakers are not subject to some of the government’s most historic, most celebrated anti-discrimination and labor laws. And there’s little momentum on Capitol Hill behind efforts to get Congress in line with the sort of equal access that private employers have had to practice for decades."

"The best Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., an outspoken critic of Congress’ practices, could do this summer was to get a House subcommittee to go along with a study of diversity in House offices and how to achieve more of it. And that still needs congressional approval, which is unlikely until at least the fall."


The Trump team's problems continue to grow amid reports that Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer to get supposedly damaging email from Hillary's compromised private server.


From the NYT: "Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.


"The email to the younger Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting. In a statement Sunday, Trump acknowledged that he was interested in receiving damaging information about Clinton, but he gave no indication that he thought the lawyer might have been a Kremlin proxy."


"Goldstone’s message, as described to The New York Times by the three people, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information. It does not elaborate on the wider effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign. There is no evidence to suggest that the promised damaging information was related to Russian government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails."


READ MORE related to National/Beltway/Kremlingate: Russian lawyer that met with Donald Trump Jr. unknown in US -- until now -- LA Times; At least 16 die in military plane crash in rural Mississippi -- The Chronicle

While Republicans are hard at work painting Obamacare with a doom-and-gloomy brush, insurers are providing a much different picture on the controversial health law.


McClatchy DC's TONY PUGH: "New data on the improving finances of the nation’s individual insurers are calling into question repeated Republican claims that Obamacare marketplaces are collapsing under the Affordable Care Act."

"For months, Republican leaders from President Donald Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to House Speaker Paul Ryan have said Obamacare was crumbling under its own weight and could not be saved. And this week, when HHS announced a 38 percent decline in the number of insurers that want to offer coverage next year in states that use the federal marketplace, Price said, “The situation has never been more dire."

"But new research released Monday by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that profitability and other financial measures for individual insurers have dramatically improved over the last year."


Oakland's police chief has apologized for the teenage prostitution controversy that has been eating the department alive since the media got wind of the salacious scandal.


AP's PAUL ELIAS: "Oakland's new police chief apologized Monday in federal court for a sexual misconduct scandal involving a teenage prostitute and vowed to clean up the city's troubled police department."

"This is repairable," Anne Kirkpatrick told U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson."

"Henderson oversees the department as part of a 2003 settlement of an unrelated police corruption case, and he had previously ordered the department to make a number of reforms."


The state's homeless problem continues to get worse, and Sacramento's and LA's transient populations continue to climb well past the city's means.


Sacramento Bee's ANITA CHABRIA/CYNTHIA HUBERT/RYAN LILLIS/ELLEN GARRISON: "Shawn Porter woke up in William Land Park on Friday and smoked a Marlboro Red for breakfast not far from the zoo where he worked selling popcorn as a kid."

"A few miles away, behind a south Sacramento dumpster, Steve Devlin used the morning light to search for a set of dice his displeased lady-friend chucked into the bushes at his street camp close to the mobile home park where his parents once lived."

"Deja Sturdevan’s day began by pushing past prickly branches guarding her sleeping quarters in shrubbery near a heavily trafficked boulevard in Antelope, blocks from a house she said she lived in for 14 years with her ex-husband before divorce and drugs put her in the weeds."


A recent $2 tax increase from voter-approved Prop. 56 on cigarettes has led to a large decrease in sales ... or is there another factor at work?


Sacramento Bee's JIM MILLER: "Cigarette purchases in California plummeted in the first weeks of a $2-a-pack tax hike after spiking in the months before the higher prices took effect."

"Are people smoking cigarettes they had bought months earlier? Or is the sticker shock causing people to try to kick the habit?"

"Friday’s report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office presents an early look at possible changes in consumer behavior following voters’ approval last November of the tobacco-tax measure, Proposition 56."


Speaking of voter-approved taxes, Californians are suing the government for a misleading ballot description of the gas tax.


Meanwhile, Trump's budget would kill a crucial piece of a global tsunami warning system, stoking fears.


LA Times' RONG-GONG LIN II: "In 1964, a tsunami at least 20 feet tall slammed into Crescent City. The floodwaters came without a detailed warning, killing 11 people who did not get out in time."

"In 2011, another tsunami hit the town, located at the northern edge of the California coast. This time, officials had hours of warning that allowed them to evacuate areas along the coast before the tsunami hit, which destroyed much of Crescent City’s harbor."

"The big difference? A tsunami detection system completed in 2008 that gave U.S. officials an accurate forecast of how big the tsunami would be as it hit America’s shores and when it would arrive."


LA School Board's administors issued recent salary raises  to board members upwards of 174%.


LA Times' HOWARD BLUME: "There’s one thing that past and current Los Angeles school board members seem to agree on: They’ve been underpaid."

"Members of an obscure city commission agreed, and on Monday they voted to give L.A. Board of Education members a 174% raise that will take effect in 60 days. Board members who have no other outside employment will see their pay increase to $125,000 a year from $45,637. Board members who receive any salary or honorarium elsewhere will receive $50,000 a year, compared with the old figure of $26,437."

"Under the city charter, Board of Education compensation is set every five years by the LAUSD Board of Education Compensation Review Committee. The seven-member body is appointed by local officials outside the Los Angeles Unified School District. Mayor Eric Garcetti has two appointees, as does City Council President Herb Wesson."


Separating fact from fiction as California's fire season starts.


LA Times' PAIGE ST. JOHN/BETTINA BOXALL: "It’s that time of year, when smoke billows over the backcountry, rural homeowners flee flames and firefighting agencies warn that California is in for another brutal wildfire season."

"During the state’s long drought, firefighters repeatedly said withered landscapes portended plenty of big burns. Now, after a drought-busting winter, they are predicting a bad fire season because all that wet weather produced a bumper crop of grass and new growth that blanketed the mountains and foothills with more fuel."

"Both perspectives are legitimate. But neither situation guarantees a bad year on the fire lines, most experts agree. Just look at Southern California, which experienced several mild wildfire seasons during the drought despite pitiful rainfall and shriveled chaparral."


Executive director of National Nurses United, RoseAnn DeMoro, shows no fear.


Capitol Weekly's MATTHEW KRAMER: "Amid an increasingly partisan and uncertain political climate, RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, isn’t afraid to call out politicians on both sides of the aisle."

“We’re doing the exact opposite agenda of the Democrats who are just about Trump,” says DeMoro, a Democrat."

“What we’ve been up to is trying to change the landscape in the United States for more progressive politics and people to win an election.” The Democratic Party, she has said, “is in absolute crisis and denial.”


During an anti-refugee, anti-immigration hardline era, many are finding shelter, thanks to Airbnb.


The Chronicle's CAROLYN SAID: "Sefani Tadesse got the heads-up at dinnertime. Five Airbnb guests would arrive at midnight."

"Tadesse and her daughter Bella, 13, rushed to clean their Oakland condo, washing towels, making the beds, buying flowers — and packing their own bags, because they vacate their one-bedroom place and stay with Tadesse’s parents in San Leandro when they host via Airbnb."

"The guests were exhausted and disoriented when they arrived after a 16-hour flight. These were no ordinary tourists, but refugees from Afghanistan. They came via a new program from the home-stay website that encourages hosts to provide free temporary housing to people uprooted by violence, persecution, terrorism and natural disasters."


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