Trump administration sends Sacramento $1.8 billion for flood protection
From the Bee's DALE KASLER: "Even after years of drought, Sacramento's biggest worry over water is flood risk. The city is widely considered the second-most flood-prone major city in America, after New Orleans."
"Sacramento's efforts to fight flooding got a major boost Thursday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rep. Doris Matsui's office announced that the region has been allocated nearly $1.8 billion to strengthen levees and raise Folsom Dam. The federal money also will be spent widening the Sacramento Weir, a mechanism north of the city that acts as a safety valve by channeling flood waters into the Yolo Bypass."
"Construction work on most of the projects could begin next year and likely would take about 5 to 7 years to finish, said Rick Johnson, executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, or SAFCA."
Speaking of the Trump administration, embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid scandals
LA Times's EVAN HALPER: "Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, one of the most scandal-plagued Cabinet officials in U.S. history, is leaving the agency."
"I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” Trump said in a tweet Thursday. “Within the agency Scott has done an outstanding job, and I will always be thankful to him for this."
California net neutrality bill strengthened after lawmakers reach deal
The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ: "After efforts to create net neutrality protections for California consumers appeared to fall apart last month, state lawmakers announced a deal Thursday to move forward with the widely watched bill."
"State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced SB822 in January after the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn regulations that banned companies from blocking or slowing down internet traffic."
"After it was passed by the Senate, Wiener’s bill was gutted in an Assembly committee during a tense hearing in which the senator announced that he no longer supported his own legislation and internet regulation experts said it no longer qualified as a net neutrality bill."
Governor declares state of emergency as fire that closed I5 tops 5,000 acres
Sacramento Bee's KELLEN BROWNING/DANIEL HUNT: "A fast-moving fire in Siskiyou County that closed Interstate 5 from Yreka to Ashland, Oregon, and forced evacuations on Thursday afternoon has grown to 5,000 acres, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency."
"The Klamathon Fire has destroyed several structures and is threatening more in Hornbrook, Cal Fire said. About 250 people live in the unincorporated town, 15 miles north of Yreka. The fire started around noon southeast of the town, according to the Mail Tribune of Medford, Oregon, and exploded from 1,000 acres around 5 p.m."
Trump administration loses most of challenge to California sanctuary laws
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "A federal judge upheld the core of California’s sanctuary laws Thursday, restricting state and local cooperation with federal immigration agents, and sent a terse message to the Trump administration: Solutions to the immigration impasse must come from Congress, not the courts."
"U.S. District Judge John Mendez of Sacramento halted enforcement of one new state law that penalizes private employers who allow immigration agents into their workplaces. But he said the state was not interfering with U.S. immigration policy in its main sanctuary law, which prohibits police and sheriff’s offices and state authorities from notifying federal agents of the upcoming release dates of undocumented immigrants in local custody."
"California’s decision not to assist federal immigration enforcement in its endeavors is not an ‘obstacle’ to that enforcement effort,” said the judge, an appointee of President George W. Bush. “Standing aside does not equate to standing in the way."
Civil suit by families of Ghost Ship victims could bring damages, reforms
The Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV: "The case against two men accused of involuntary manslaughter in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire reached its end stage Tuesday with a pair of criminal convictions, but the more complex and costly litigation that will determine who can be held accountable for the deadliest fire in city history is nowhere close to resolution."
"The lawsuit filed by families of the victims contends that Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the warehouse landlord, the city of Oakland and numerous other entities also bear responsibility for the inferno that killed 36 people during an electronic music party held at the artist collective on Dec. 2, 2016."
"A victory for the plaintiffs could mean not only monetary damages for families, but also changes to city policies — including how its inspectors handle live-work spaces — and even a memorial commemorating the victims of the tragedy."
For many waiting in Tijuana, a mysterious notebook is the key to seeking asylum
LA Times's CINDY CARCAMO: "All conversations stopped when they saw the notebook."
"Men, women and children — asylum seekers from Central America, Mexico, Africa and beyond — parted to make way for its keeper."
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More than 100 millionaires fled California after 2012 tax increase, study says
The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "California lost a very small but statistically significant percentage of high-income residents after voters approved Proposition 30 — the 2012 ballot measure that raised the top state income tax rate to 13.3 percent, the highest in the nation — according to a new working paper from three researchers."
"The state lost an estimated 138 high-income individuals, or about 0.04 percent of the roughly 312,000 people subject to the tax increase, said co-author Charles Varner, associate director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality."
"The research comes at a time when more Californians are at least threatening to leave the state because of high taxes and housing costs. The rumblings have escalated since the federal tax law passed in December capped the previously unlimited federal itemized deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000."
Dangerous heat wave to hit Southern California this weekend
LA Times's SARAH PARVINI: "A dangerous heat wave is expected to hit Southern California this weekend, with the warmest temperatures forecast for Friday and Saturday, the National Weather Service said."
"An excessive-heat watch is in effect for much of southwestern California for those days, the weather service said. Temperatures in the valleys, the lower mountains and desert locations are expected to range between 102 and 112 degrees. Parts of the coast could reach around 100 degrees."
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Soon-to-open Richmond ferry terminal could revive shoreline, usher in gentrification
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Construction cranes loom over the Richmond shoreline, a briny landscape of weeds and eucalyptus trees that’s on track to become a transportation hub."
"Come fall, passengers will board ferry boats from a new $20 million terminal at Harbour Way South, an industrial strip of roadway that spills onto the Bay Trail. From there it’s a half-hour commute by water to downtown San Francisco."
Domestic violence-related deaths up in Santa Clara County, trend in senior murder-suicides
The Chronicle's LAUREN HERNANDEZ: "Officials recorded six more domestic violence-related deaths in 2017 than the year before in Santa Clara County, with data showing a trend of murder-suicides among seniors, according to a report released Thursday."
"In 2017, there were 13 domestic violence-related deaths, four of which were from the murder-suicides of two “long-married” senior couples, according to a Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Death Review Team Annual Report."
"One of the murder-suicide suspects was 81 years old when he is believed to have killed his partner of 61 years, officials said. Officers found the pair in bed together, both dead from gunshot wounds."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Sonia Melara takes herself out of running for new term on SF Police Commission -- The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA
'Trust me, I'll do just fine,' Trump says about upcoming meeting with Putin
WaPo's ANNE GEARAN/JOHN WAGNER: "President Trump mocked critics of his personal diplomacy with Russia and North Korea on Thursday, saying he will be judged unfairly no matter how he handles delicate diplomacy such as his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin."