California slashes emissions, hits major greenhouse gas goal years early
The Chronicle's DAVID R BAKER: "In a major win for California’s fight against global warming, the state appears to have hit its first target for cutting greenhouse gases — and it reached the goal early."
"Data released Wednesday by the California Air Resources Board show that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 2.7 percent in 2016 — the latest year available — to 429.4 million metric tons."
"That’s slightly below the 431 million metric tons the state produced in 1990. And California law requires that the state’s emissions, which peaked in 2004, return to 1990 levels by 2020."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Wine County Fire survivors, county officials blast legislation -- The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY/DAVID R BAKER; Agency that delivered brown, smelly water to customers should be dissolved, board rules -- LA Times's ANGEL JENNINGS/RUBEN VIVES; On the Yuba River, climate change means it's time for a dam makeover -- Water Deeply's MATT WEISER
More campaign money could flow to California lawmakers under new bill
Sacramento Bee's TARYN LUNA: "Special interests could put more money directly into the hands of California legislative leaders, giving them greater influence over campaigns, under a bill unveiled last week as lawmakers left Sacramento for summer recess."
"Legislators also added provisions to the bill to require political parties to file more frequent and timely campaign finance reports with the state. They describe Assembly Bill 84 as a measure that increases transparency."
"The real strength of the bill is that we added a disclosure that doesn’t exist right now," said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, a South San Francisco Democrat who introduced the bill. "I do think it does strengthen leadership's hand in getting good people elected and keeping them elected."
Bakersfield's Kevin McCarthy wants to be speaker of the House. Now there's a surprise.
From Politico's JOHN BRESNAHAN and RACHAEL BADE: "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is quietly lining up votes to succeed Paul Ryan as speaker, reaching out to key lawmakers across the Republican Conference and asking whether they will commit to back him as speaker next January, according to GOP lawmakers and aides."
"In public, McCarthy says he's not campaigning for the job, saying it's more important to focus on saving the Republican majority in the House than a campaign for the top leadership post."
"Yet running for speaker is precisely what McCarthy is doing. He isn’t talking to every member of the House GOP Conference, according to lawmakers who have spoken to him about the issue. Instead, McCarthy is targeting select lawmakers who represent different factions of the conference."
Amid crisis, voters will confront housing options
JESSICA HICE in Capitol Weekly: "As California rents and property values continue to rise, it should come as no surprise that three housing-related measures will face voters on the November ballot, targeting veterans’ home loans, local rent control and housing construction for the homeless. All are a direct result of California’s soaring costs."
"Those costs are daunting, according to Apartment List and other cost-tracking firms."
"The median monthly rent on a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,450, and the median cost of a home is $1.3 million, an 11% increase over the past year. In Los Angeles, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,000, about 5% greater than last year. Statewide, the average rent on a one-bedroom apartment is about $1,400, and a home costs $440,000 — far more than double the national average of $180,000."
A former Democratic presidential candidate is suing California. He wants GOP votes to count
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "The 2016 presidential election is over, but debate surrounding the fairness of the Electoral College rages on — with one major twist."
"You've probably never heard of Lawrence Lessig. The liberal political activist and Harvard law professor ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, but was unable to get his name on the ballot."
"Alongside voter rights advocates, Lessig is now suing one of the most liberal states in the country, arguing that California's winner-take-all system disenfranchises Republican voters."
READ MORE related to State/Gubernatorial: California lawmaker reprimanded for 'locker-room talk' -- The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ; OP-ED: A supermajority that hinges on one seat -- CALmatters' DAN WALTERS
London Breed stepping in as mayor of an unsettled city
The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS: "Elected by the slimmest margin in modern history, London Breed takes the helm of a city Wednesday where, despite a booming economy and rocketing job growth, the majority of voters feel San Francisco is on the wrong track."
"And where, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent on various programs to house the homeless, clean up the city’s streets and clear up the clogged traffic, only 2 out of 10 voters feel City Hall is doing a good job managing its resources."
"You would think with 2.5 percent unemployment and an $11 billion budget, the public would be more upbeat,” said Chamber of Commerce Vice President Jim Lazarus. “But the encampments, dirty streets, congestion and construction have the public upset."
READ MORE related to Local/Mayoral: London Breed's inauguration makes the Congressional Record, thanks to Pelosi -- The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI; Suit contends former Mayor Willie Brown misdirected campaign donation -- The Chronicle; Rafael Mandelman sworn in as SF's new District Eight supe -- The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI; OP-ED: Inspiration marks Mayor London Breed's inaugural address -- The Chronicle's EDITORIAL BOARD; City Hall throng lines up for selfies, handshakes with Mayor Breed -- The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI
Can Dems shield Californians from new GOP tax law -- despite IRS opposition?
CALmatters' ANTOINETTE SIU: "As President Trump’s massive tax overhaul takes effect, Democratic state lawmakers are refining and advancing a plan they insist will protect California taxpayers from higher federal tax bills."
"The federal government last year set a cap of $10,000 on state and local property tax deductions, a deduction about a third of Californians claim. Taxpayers in states with high taxes and property values are likely to get hit hardest from the loss of these deductions, which high earners rely on to reduce the taxes they owe Uncle Sam."
"Lambasting the move by Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress as an attack on high-taxed blue states, California Democrats hit upon a supposed workaround to the deduction limit. Under the pending legislation, the state would change its laws, the theory goes, to offer Californians the option of making a donation to a state or local government or nonprofit that the state would deem as “charitable”—thus magically preserving the ability of taxpayers to deduct it on their federal and state taxes."
Contra Costa County cuts ties with ICE, ending contract for jailing immigrant detainees
LA Times's ANDREA CASTILLO: "Contra Costa County is ending its contract to detain immigrants at a jail in Richmond, becoming the third California jurisdiction since last year to cut such ties with the federal government."
"Sheriff David Livingston said he’d asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to begin the process of removing detainees from the West County Detention Facility. The contract requires a 120-day notice of termination."
“Obviously, this action … does not address the larger and more complex issue of federal immigration enforcement,” he said at a news conference this week. “Most of us have compassion for those who come here seeking a better life, but we are a nation of laws.”
911 issues delayed response to Parkland school massacre
AP's TERRY SPENCER/CURT ANDERSON: "In the crucial first minutes after a gunman began shooting students and staff at a Florida high school, law enforcement's response was hampered by quirks in the local 911 system that caused many calls from inside the school to be transferred, the chairman of a commission investigating the massacre said."
"Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, said Wednesday that the dual dispatch system used by the city of Parkland delayed getting responding police officers and sheriff's deputies timely information during the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead and 17 wounded."
"Parkland, where the school is located, gets police service from the Broward Sheriff's Office, and fire and paramedic service from the neighboring city of Coral Springs, which also has a police department. Cellular 911 calls from Parkland go to Coral Springs. Those callers needing police are transferred to Broward County's 911 center. Almost all calls from Stoneman Douglas were from cellphones, which had to be transferred. That added about 30 seconds before each reached a dispatcher — if the call wasn't disconnected."
UC admits record number of transfer students for fall
The Chronicle's LAUREN HERNANDEZ: "The University of California offered admission this fall to more transfer students than it has at any point in its history, officials announced Wednesday."
"More than 137,000 students were offered spots at one of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses, including roughly 28,750 transfer applicants, according to UC."
"California residents comprise the majority of the newly admitted students, making up 71,086 freshmen and 24,568 transfer students. The California freshman admission numbers rose by 1,114 students compared with last year’s numbers."
READ MORE related to Education: California officials confident they've cut deal in dispute over federal education law -- EdSource's MIKHAIL ZINSHTEYN/JOHN FENSTERWALD; Battle ramps up to convince California school employees to withhold union fees -- EdSource's LOUIS FREEDBERG
Bankruptcy judge hits Michael Avenatti's firm with restraining order to freeze legal fees in 54 cases
LA Times's MICHAEL FINNEGAN: "A federal bankruptcy judge issued a restraining order late Wednesday to block Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, from spending any legal fees that he collects until he and his law firm satisfy more than $10 million in unpaid debts."
"The move by Judge Catherine Bauer of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana was a severe blow to Avenatti, whose personal financial troubles have deepened as his star has risen on cable news."
Trump attending dinner at birthplace of Winston Churchill
AP's KEN THOMAS/JILL COLVIN: "President Donald Trump is all in for Winston Churchill during his first visit to the United Kingdom as president, paying his respects to an icon of American conservatives who coined the phrase the "special relationship."
"Trump was joining British Prime Minister Theresa May for a black-tie dinner Thursday at Blenheim Palace, Churchill's birthplace near Oxford, at the start of his trip to England. Trump has expressed admiration for Churchill even as the president's critics contend that the parallels between the two leaders are limited, and even contradictory."
"If Trump truly wanted to emulate Churchill, he would celebrate the peace and prosperity of Europe and seek to strengthen rather than destroy trans-Atlantic ties," said Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former State Department official in the Obama administration."
READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Manafort says he's treated like 'VIP' in jail -- AP's ERIC TUCKER; Trump's appeals court nominee OKd with support from Dems -- The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO; After Trump's pardon, Oregon ranchers catch a ride home on Pence ally's private jet -- LA Times's MATT PEARCE; SCOTUS nominee Kavanaugh lauded late Chief Justice Rehnquist for dissenting in Roe vs. Wade and supporting school prayer -- LA Times's DAVID G SAVAGE
There's a reason that the soccer team rescued from a cave in Thailand was so tough and resilient
LA Times's MATT BLOMBERG: "In the early 1990s, a gaggle of young novice monks huddled around a half-busted television at the heart of an ancient Buddhist pagoda in far northern Thailand."
"They were waiting for their weekly dose of soccer — a one-hour highlights package from the English Premier League."