How eight elite SF families funded Gavin Newsom's political ascent
The LAT's SEEMA MEHTA/RYAN MENEZES/MALOY MOORE: "Gavin Newsom wasn’t born rich, but he was born connected — and those alliances have paid handsome dividends throughout his career."
"A coterie of San Francisco’s wealthiest families has backed him at every step of his political rise, which in November could lead next to his election as governor of California."
"San Francisco society’s “first families” — whose names grace museum galleries, charity ball invitations and hospital wards — settled on Newsom, 50, as their favored candidate two decades ago, said Willie Brown, former state Assembly speaker and former mayor of the city."
California DMV botches 23,000 voter registrations
The Chronicle's MELODY GUTIERREZ: "The state Department of Motor Vehicles incorrectly registered 23,000 people to vote, including putting the wrong political party and vote-by-mail preferences for those Californians, the embattled agency said.""The DMV, which has been criticized for excessive wait times in its offices despite millions in new funding, said Wednesday that the erroneous voter registration data were sent to the California secretary of state between April 23 and Aug. 5."
"It said the errors occurred when DMV technicians had more than one customer record open on a computer at the same time, causing those records to merge. Updated software and staff training will prevent the mistake from occurring again, DMV officials said."
Water agencies, farmers fret over California's move to regulate wetlands
Water Deeply's MATT WEISER: "THE STATE OF California is working on a new regulatory program to oversee protection of wetlands and other ephemeral water bodies, such as seasonal streams. It comes in response to the Trump administration’s plan to roll back federal protection of such waters, which are critical for wildlife habitat, flood protection, groundwater recharge and water quality."
"Water Deeply explored the state’s proposal in detail in an article published this week. But what would this broad new California regulatory program mean to the water industry and developers in the state?"
"A number of industry experts convened to discuss this very question at last year’s conference of the Association of California Water Agencies. Below are highlights from that presentation, condensed from a longer transcript originally published by MavensNotebook.com. It is republished here with permission."
Fast-moving Delta Fire tops 22,000 acres as I-5 remains closed, officials say
Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "The Delta Fire burning in Shasta County raged out of control for a second day after bursting in size Wednesday evening, continuing to close a large stretch of Interstate 5 in both directions, U.S. Forest Service officials reported Thursday."
"The fire grew “aggressively” overnight, with “flame lengths estimated at 300 feet high,” according to a 9 a.m. incident update by the U.S. Forest Service."
"Burning north of Lakehead and about 10 miles from Redding, the Delta Fire started about 1 p.m. Wednesday and exploded to 15,000 acres by midnight, consuming bush and timber at a “critical rate of spread,” Shasta-Trinity National Forest spokesman Joe Orosz said."
READ MORE related to Fire Season: Inmates help battle California's wildfires. But when freed, many can't get firefighting jobs -- Sacramento Bee's ADESUWA AGBONILE; California wildfires: What new fires are burning now and where are they? -- Sacramento Bee's DON SWEENEY; Hundreds of drivers fled I-5 as the fast-moving Delta fire surrounded them -- LA Times's ALEJANDRA REYES-VELARDE/JACLYN COSGROVE/HANNAH FRY
Fires: Choked data remains an issue
LISA RENNER in Capitol Weekly: "As California’s largest wildfire moved swiftly, the internet speed in the area slowed to a crawl: Verizon choked it down to the first responders battling the Mendocino Complex blaze."
"Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, says a new law is necessary to protect first responders’ access to high-speed internet, although Verizon acknowledged the move and quickly apologized."
"Levine, who heads the Assembly’s Natural Disaster Response, Recovery and Rebuilding Committee, said he appreciated Verizon’s actions, but said there’s no guarantee that the company won’t change its plans again. Access to high-speed internet is critical for firefighters in an emergency, he said."
Global climate fight comes to SF with new resolve after US pullout
The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER: "When President Trump announced last year that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, many feared that international momentum for tackling global warming would be lost."
"It wasn’t. The widespread exodus from the landmark deal that some expected never came, and no major nation has since backed off its commitment to reducing heat-trapping pollution. In many places, Trump’s defiance has only hardened resolve."
"This week, thousands of people from across the globe are expected to descend on San Francisco to show they’re still in the climate fight, from environmental superstars like former Vice President Al Gore, musician Dave Matthews and astronaut Mae Jemison to front-line policymakers from China, Brazil, Germany and elsewhere."
After 14 years and $3 billion, has California's bet on stem cells paid off?
The Chronicle's ERIN ALLDAY/JOAQUIN PALOMINO: "It was an extraordinary political proposal: Approve a $3 billion bond measure to fund the cutting-edge science of stem cell therapy, and soon some of the world’s cruelest diseases and most disabling injuries could be eradicated."
"The 2004 measure was Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. The campaign to pass it was led by a Palo Alto real estate developer whose son suffered from an incurable illness that he believed stem cells, the keystones of human biology, could heal. Other supporters included preeminent scientists, Hollywood celebrities, business leaders and elite investors."
Former UC Irvine vice chancellor committed sex discrimination by paying women less than men, review finds
LA Times's TERESA WATANABE: "A former UC Irvine vice chancellor touted for promoting equity and diversity committed sex discrimination by paying three women less than men who did the same or similar work, a campus review has found."
"Thomas A. Parham left his post as vice chancellor of student affairs in June to become president of Cal State Dominguez Hills. The review, which was obtained by The Times, found that Parham violated university nondiscrimination policies by refusing to pay an assistant vice chancellor and the directors of two campus centers as much as male counterparts."
Bay Area minimum wage rise hasn't meant restaurant job losses, study says
The Chronicle's JUSTIN PHILLIPS: "How is the rising minimum wage impacting the restaurant industry? According to a new study, the answer is: not much."
"The rise in the minimum wage over the past four years has not triggered widespread job losses in the Bay Area restaurant industry, according to a UC Berkeley study released Thursday. Instead, low-wage workers are earning more — $15 per hour in San Francisco — while the workforce numbers remain the same."
"The new data come on the heels of a 2017 study in which UC Berkeley researchers found that Seattle’s wage law raised pay at restaurants — without shrinking the number of jobs."
5 takeaways: Kavanaugh's SCOTUS confirmation hearing
AP's JESSICA GRESKO: "President Donald Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is finishing two marathon days of questioning from senators. Some referred to it as the "last job interview" the 53-year-old appeals court judge will ever have, if, as expected, he's confirmed for the lifetime post."
"Others will testify about Kavanaugh on Friday, but his part is almost done. Here's what viewers learned from the hours of questioning Wednesday and Thursday:"
READ MORE related to SCOTUS: Kamala Harris' viral grilling of Kavanaugh ends with a thud -- The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI/JOHN WILDERMUTH; New documents released about Kavanaugh but Trump's high court pick is on track for confirmation -- WaPo's JENNIFER HABERKORN/DAVID G SAVAGE