Mar 12, 2018

Witness recounts harrowing entry of Yountville gunman as residents and townspeople mourn


LA Times's MAURA DOLAN: "Haley Rekdahl was attending a going-away party for two colleagues at a veterans care home Friday when a gunman walked in the door, ammunition hanging from his neck and a gun in his hands."


"She knew him: Albert Wong, 36, a troubled veteran who had been in treatment at the Pathway Home for post-traumatic stress disorder and who had been ousted a month earlier because of hostile behavior."


"We all kind of got as far away from him as possible," recalled Rekdahl, a residential counselor, as she stood Sunday outside the home. "We just hid behind furniture."


READ MORE related to Gun Violence PandemicPolice look for motive after 3 hostages killed at Veterans Home -- Time's LISA MARIE SEGARRA/ALANA ABRAMSONFriends of Yountville shooter describe his military life, civilian struggles -- Sacramento Bee's ED FLETCHERFuture of Pathway Home in question as investigators look into security, gunman -- The Chronicle's SARAH RAVANI/TRISHA THADANIWitness recounts harrowing entry of Yountville gunman as residents and townspeople mourn -- LA Times's MAURA DOLANTrump backs off call for raising minimum age to buy gun -- AP's JILL COLVINStudents ready for Wednesday walkouts to protest gun violence -- The Chronicle's JILL TUCKER

Five things to watch for during Trump's first visit to California

From KQED's SCOTT SHAFER: "By the time Donald Trump lands at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar north of San Diego on Tuesday, he will have been President of the United States for 59 weeks and four days. That's the longest any president has gone without visiting the Golden State, outdistancing the previous record-holder, Franklin Roosevelt, who got here by train."


"The visit comes one week after the Trump administration sued California over its sanctuary policies, just the latest in many political and legal skirmishes between Washington and California since Trump took office."


"We know his first stop will be near the border with Mexico, where he's expected to view prototypes for the border wall he's promising to build, whether Mexico pays for it or not."

Border fence meets a wall of skepticism in Tijuana, where residents say US-Mexico ties transcend any physical barriers


LA Times's RICHARD MAROSI: "After weeks of testing, the eight prototypes for President Trump's "big, beautiful" wall will share center stage on Tuesday with Trump during his first presidential visit to California."


"As Trump inspects the prototypes and poses for photos along the border east of San Diego, he'll be just yards away from a Tijuana slum where people have formulated their own ideas about them."


"The 30-foot structures — built with varying mixes of concrete and steel tubes — draw residents, tourists and even Tijuana police officers who pose for selfies in the Rancho Escondido neighborhood. They climb atop piles of rubber tires or tiptoe on dirt mounds for a peek over the 7-foot border fence into the testing site."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Despite heated rhetoric, little change on US-Mexico border -- AP's ELLIOT SPAGAT; San Francisco leaders see big benefits in sanctuary. Trump administration sees danger -- The Chronicle's HAMED ALEAZIZ; Rep DeSaulnier urges Contra Costa County to end ICE detentions -- The Chronicle's OTIS R. TAYLOR JR.


Caltrans is desperate to fill thousands of new jobs


Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "No kidding: It’s a really good time to send a résumé to Caltrans."


"California's transportation department plans to swell its staff by 10 percent over the next five years, adding 2,000 employees to help it execute projects funded by the new gasoline tax. Those positions run the gamut from maintenance to architects and engineers."


"It has so many jobs on such a tight time line that the department is trying to cut through some of the state civil service rules that govern who it can promote."


Republicans who could run a competitive race are taking a pass on ousting Feinstein


From the LAT's SARAH WIRE: "The deadline came and went, and no prominent Republicans filed to run against Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, meaning for the second election in a row there will be two Democrats facing each other in a race at the top of the ballot in California."


"Feinstein, 84, is seeking her fifth full term. She will have 31 opponents on the June 5 primary, with one serious contender, a Democrat, taking most of her attention and showing up in polls."


"California has a top-two primary system, which means the top-two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party. In 2016, a handful of Republican candidates in the top of the pack split the GOP vote, and sent then-Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat, to the general election with Democrat Kamala Harris, who won the race. It was the first time two Democrats ran against each other statewide."


In a personal letter, Trump invited Putin to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant


WaPo's SHANE HARRIS/ROSALIND S. HELDERMAN/KAROUN DEMIRJIAN: "Donald Trump was so eager to have Vladi­mir Putin attend the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that he wrote a personal letter to the Russian president inviting him to the event, according to multiple people familiar with the document."


"At the bottom of the typed letter, Trump scrawled a postscript adding that he looked forward to seeing “beautiful” women during his trip."


"Trump’s letter to Putin, which was described by people with knowledge of its contents, shows how interested he was in attracting the personal attention of the Russian president. The real estate magnate, who owned the Miss Universe pageant, wrote the note at a time when he was looking to expand his brand to Russia."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: President Trump and Rep. Maxine Waters again show they do not care much for each other -- LA Times's LAURA KING; Mimicking Trump, local officials use 'fake news' as a weapon -- AP's RYAN J. FOLEY; How Trump's disdain for the Iran Deal makes a North Korea pact even harder -- NYT's DAVID E. SANGER; As '60 Minutes' prepares Stormy Daniels interview, lawyers battle -- NYT's JIM RUTENBERG/MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM; My Union or My President? Dueling loyalties mark Pennsylvania race -- NYT's TRIP GABRIEL

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