For Democrats, it was a wild election night: Democrats seize Virginia and New Jersey governorships in elections seen as precurors of 2018 fights
From the LA Times' CATHLEEN DECKER: "Democrat Ralph Northam swept to victory in the race for Virginia governor on Tuesday in a night of political retaliation against President Trump that also saw a Democratic gubernatorial win in New Jersey."
"Northam’s victory sketched out a path that Democratic strategists hope other candidates can follow in next year’s contest for control of Congress."
:He piled up big margins in the suburbs of northern Virginia, the most populous and voter-rich area of the state, where animosity toward the president runs deep. At the same time, Northam, the lieutenant governor, also fared better than many Democrats have in more rural areas, preventing the Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, from running up the score in the southern and western areas of the state, where Trump trounced Hillary Clinton one year ago."
READ MORE: 3 winners and 3 losers from the surprising 2017 elections -- VOX's ANDREW PROKOP; Tuesday was a stinging repudiation of Trump on the first anniversary of his election -- Washington Post's JAMES HOHMAN
Meanwhile, a transgender woman wins a Virginia House seat and makes history
AP's SARAH RANKIN: "A transgender candidate defeated an incumbent Virginia lawmaker Tuesday who sponsored a bill that would have restricted which bathrooms she could use."
"Democrat Danica Roem, a former journalist, is set to make history as the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature in the United States. She unseated Republican Del. Bob Marshall, one of the state's longest serving and most socially conservative lawmakers. The race was one of the year's most high profile, drawing international attention and big money to the northern Virginia House of Delegates district outside the nation's capital."
"It's historic. ... It sends a message to politicians everywhere that the politics of bigotry is over," Democratic House Caucus Chair Charniele Herring said."
The infrequently sung third verse of the Star Spangled Banner, which has racial overtones, has prompted the California chapter of the NAACP to urge lawmakers to have the national anthem replaced.
Sacramento Bee's ALEXEI KOSEFF: "When California lawmakers return to the Capitol in January, the state chapter of the NAACP will be seeking their support for a campaign to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem."
"The organization last week began circulating among legislative offices two resolutions that passed at its state conference in October: one urging Congress to rescind “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon” as the national anthem, and another in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who launched a protest movement against police brutality among professional athletes by kneeling when “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played before games."
"We owe a lot of it to Kaepernick,” California NAACP President Alice Huffman said. “I think all this controversy about the knee will go away once the song is removed."
In California, mental health care is a high priority
NIK BONOVICH in Capitol Weekly: "Behavioral health is a touchy subject for many."
"For some, there is a stigma attached to receiving mental health care. Sometimes, help is hard to find. Understanding the roots of a behavioral problem can be difficult, and there are additional barriers of cost, insurance coverage and the amount of time that must be invested to visit a mental health specialist."
"With the Affordable Care Act, behavioral health coverage has been expanded to lower income people on Medi-Cal who otherwise could not afford therapy."
READ MORE from Capitol Weekly: State AG slams federal crackdown on immigrants -- CW's CHUCK MCFADDEN
School district, teachers union hammer out details on contract that avoids strike
Sacramento Bee's DIANA LAMBERT: "Officials from the Sacramento City Unified School District and its teachers union worked on contract details Tuesday, a day after reaching a deal that averted a strike affecting 43,000 students."
"The 2,800 members of the Sacramento City Teachers Association are expected to vote on their new contract by the end of the week, followed by a district school board vote later this month."
"The agreement gives teachers as much as an 11 percent raise over three years, including a pay scale boost that helps mid-career employees."
It may be Trump's hometown, but it's de Blasio's city -- and will be for the next four years
LA Times' NINA AGRAWAL: "He is the anti-Trump, a self-styled progressive who is mayor of the president’s hometown and a prominent voice in the Democratic resistance to the White House."
"Despite misgivings by many New Yorkers who complain the mayor can be out of touch with their daily concerns, Bill de Blasio on Tuesday handily won a second term in office leading the nation’s largest city, a perch from which he can remain a thorn in the side of the city’s most prominent native son, President Trump."
"There is even talk that de Blasio, along with his fellow big-city mayor, Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, might be a prospective presidential candidate himself."
Pot tax money should ride in armored cars, California treasurer says
The Chronicle's SOPHIE HAIGNEY: "State Treasurer John Chiang proposed a stopgap Tuesday for a weighty issue cash-based cannabis businesses face: He recommended the use of armored cars to collect what might amount to $1 billion in annual taxes when recreational cannabis becomes legal for sale Jan. 1."
"Chiang announced the proposal for transporting cash securely as part of the findings of a year-long study on cannabis banking."
"Access to financial services has been a nettlesome problem for medical dispensaries in California and in other states like Colorado where recreational cannabis has been legalized. Because the drug remains federally illegal, most banks won’t handle money from cannabis businesses, leaving them without access to credit card payments, checking accounts and electronic tax payments."
READ MORE related to Cannabis: SF supervisors offer more changes to recreational cannabis legislation -- The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA
Speaking of taxes, the Senate Reep tax cut may eliminate property tax deductions and delay the corporate rate trimming.
LA Times' LISA MASCARO/JIM PUZZANGHERA: "As they prepare to unveil their own sweeping tax plan, Senate Republicans are revisiting key provisions of the GOP House proposal, including possibly eliminating property tax deductions as well as state income tax deductions, increasing the size of child-care credits, offering more help to small businesses and having corporate tax cuts phase in or expire, according to those familiar with the negotiations."
"The final outline of the Senate plan, scheduled to be released Thursday, remained a work in progress, officials cautioned."
"Everything is on the table,” said one Republican official Tuesday evening, who did not want to be identified discussing the talks."
READ MORE related to GOP Tax Cut: East Coast Republicans pushed back against Trump's tax plan. Why didn't California's GOP? -- LA Times' SARAH D. WIRE
Detectives release new video of Sherri Papini on the morning she reappeared
Sacramento Bee's RYAN SABALOW: "The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday released surveillance video from a Yolo County church showing Sherri Papini the morning she reappeared after going missing for 22 days last year."
"Papini, 35, disappeared after reportedly going for a jog near her home outside Redding on Nov. 2 last year."
"Early on Thanksgiving morning, Papini suddenly resurfaced on a darkened roadside along Interstate 5 in Yolo County. She told detectives she had been held captive by two Hispanic women, but said she could provide few details about her abductors because they kept their faces covered and spoke in Spanish."
Authorities arrest alleged accomplices of inmates who escaped Palo Alto courthouse
Mercury News' JASON GREEN: "Authorities on Tuesday arrested a 44-year-old Sunnyvale woman and a 54-year-old East Palo Alto man they say helped two male inmates escape from the Palo Alto courthouse the previous day."
"Marquita Kirk had a “long-standing relationship” with 46-year-old Tramel McClough, who along with 47-year-old John Bivins fled through an unmonitored side door after slipping out of their restraints at about 9:30 a.m. Monday, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. A handcuff key was found along their escape path."
"Still dressed in green jail garb, the inmates got into a waiting dark-colored late-1980s model Toyota Corolla, but abandoned it about three blocks away and jumped into a U-Haul van. The sheriff’s office said Kirk had rented the van and staged it near the courthouse."
'They are damn lies': LAPD chief lashes out after captain accuses department of phony crime stats
LA Times' KATE MATHER/MATT HAMILTON: "Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck forcefully denied Tuesday that his department had falsified violent crime statistics and dismissed the allegation by a captain that the LAPD misled the public as "not only untrue, but outrageous."
"They are not only lies, but they are damn lies,” Beck said of the allegations. "If I'm cooking the books, I'm not doing a good job," he said. In 2016, violent crime increased in Los Angeles for the third straight year."
“I am confident that there is no purposeful misclassification,” he said. “Believe me, the consequences are way too high.”
Sacramento County approves $44M for homeless mental health and drug abuse services
Sacramento Bee's RYAN LILLIS/ED FLETCHER: "The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved $44 million over the next three years for a homeless prevention program spearheaded by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg."
"The county will now partner with the city of Sacramento by first providing better coordinated care in emergency rooms – often the main point of contact for many living on the streets, especially those with mental and physical ailments. Services would include mental health and substance abuse treatment."
"It marked a reversal for county leaders on the Whole Person Care project aimed at channeling homeless people into housing. For months, supervisors have rebuffed Steinberg’s push for a joint effort between the two local governments."
Sacramento ranks high among best cities for veterans to live. Here's why
Sacramento Bee's NOEL HARRIS: "With Veterans Day approaching, a national poll ranked best places for service members to live. Sacramento fared well on the list."
"California’s capital city ranks 20th overall and third in the state on WalletHub’s list of 100 large United States cities."
"According to the data set, the city ranked high in two categories: VA health facilities per veteran population (third overall) and VA benefits administration facilities per veteran population (fifth)."
Texas church gunman once escaped from mental health center
AP: "The gunman who carried out the massacre at a small-town Texas church briefly escaped from a mental health center in New Mexico in 2012 and got in trouble for bringing guns onto a military base and threatening his superiors there, police reports indicate."
"Devin Patrick Kelley was also named as a suspect in a 2013 sexual assault in his Texas hometown of New Braunfels, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the scene of the church attack."
"The records that emerged Tuesday add up to at least three missed opportunities that might have offered law enforcement a way to stop Kelley from having access to guns long before he slaughtered much of the congregation in the middle of a Sunday service. Authorities said the death toll of 26 included the unborn baby of one of the women killed. Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his car."