Obama tells voters to step up or 'things can get worse'
AP's ELLIOT SPAGAT: "Former President Barack Obama says the November midterm elections will give Americans "a chance to restore some sanity in our politics," taking another swipe at his successor as he raises his profile campaigning for fellow Democrats to regain control of the House."
"Obama didn't mention President Donald Trump by name during a 20-minute speech Saturday in the key Southern California battleground of Orange County but the allusions were clear."
"We're in a challenging moment because, when you look at the arc of American history, there's always been a push and pull between those who want to go forward and those who want to look back, between those who want to divide and those are seeking to bring people together, between those who promote the politics of hope and those who exploit the politics of fear," he said."
California wildfires: What new fires are burning and where are they?
Sacramento Bee's DON SWEENEY/ANDREW SHEELER: "Firefighters are battling a new round of wildfires in California even as battles against earlier fires continue to wind down."
"In 2018, California wildfires Zhave ravaged more than 1.2 million acres, destroyed more than 1,200 homes and killed at least a dozen people, according to the Los Angeles Times."
"Amid a record year of wildfires, Cal Fire on Thursday asked lawmakers for another $234 million to keep the agency’s firefighting budget from being exhausted. Barely two months into the new fiscal year, Cal Fire has already spent $431 million fighting fires, he said, out of a total budget of $443 million. Another $234 million would increase the budget by about 50 percent."
READ MORE related to Fire Season: I-5 remains closed and evacuations ordered in Napa County as new wildfires expand -- Sacramento Bee's CLAIRE MORGAN; Firefighters battle to gain on blazes across NorCal -- The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN
Fire, water and Trump's tweets
SCOTT SORIANO in Capitol Weekly: "On Aug. 6, President Donald Trump made his first Twitter statement on California’s summer fire season, which started on June 1. Unlike his statement on last year’s Wine Country fires, when the president tweeted condolences to victims of the fires and support for the firefighters, Trump used these latest natural disasters to troll California with nonsense."
"At 10:43 a.m., Trump tweeted, “Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water –Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals."
"Four hours later, the president added, “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!"
Analysis: Harris, Feinstein play to different Democratic parties at Kavanaugh hearing
The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "The difference between California’s two Democratic senators was evident when Sen. Chuck Grassley was only 13 words into his introduction to the Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Judge Brett Kavanaugh."
"That’s when Sen. Kamala Harris interrupted the Judiciary Committee chairman. She wanted to postpone the hearing."
"Mr. Chairman ...” Harris repeated several times as Grassley kept talking. “I’d like to be recognized to ask a question before we proceed. The committee received just last night, less than 15 hours ago, 42,000 pages of documents that we have not had an opportunity to review or read or analyze."
READ MORE related to SCOTUS: Dianne Feinstien says Kavanaugh views POTUS45 as an 'oligarch' who is above the law -- LA Times's ADAM ELMAHREK; Two courts: Brett Kavanaugh's coaching analogy falls short of reality (OP-ED) -- Daily Cal's ALICIA SADOWSKI
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 frontline policymakers from China, Brazil, Germany and elsewhere."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Angry activists plan to crash Jerry Brown's SF climate summit -- The Chronicle's MATIER & ROSS; Water agencies, farmers fret over California's move to regulate wetlands -- Water Deeply's MATT WEISER; Indigenous organizations march in SF climate protest -- Daily Cal's ISABELLA SABRI
As E-scooter injuries come 'fast and furious,' California could soon end helmet law
The Tribune's ANDREW SHEELER: "In California, there’s a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk that would allow electric scooter riders to skip wearing a helmet. Meanwhile, some physicians are increasingly alarmed about the danger of the scooters."
"Injuries are coming in fast and furious,” said Michael Sise, chief of medical staff at San Diego’s Scripps Mercy Hospital, according to the Washington Post. “It’s just a matter of time before someone is killed. I’m absolutely certain of it."
"Sise said his team recently saw four severe injuries in a single week, the Washington Post reported. Elsewhere, the Washington Post reports dozens of accidents over the summer in Santa Monica, with 18 serious injuries in the last two weeks of July."
The GOP's new attack: Dems want to 'end' Medicare
McClatchy DC's ALEX ROARTY/KATIE GLUECK: "Rick Scott said it. Republican candidates have featured it in ads. And even President Trump leaned into it during a rally last month."
"Two months before Election Day, some Republicans have embraced an unexpected new way to attack Democratic candidates: The party of Medicare for All, they charge, actually wants to take away Medicare from senior citizens."
"It’s an attack Democrats hotly contest, dismissing it as proof positive the GOP is failing to find a winning message in a challenging political climate."
Fair 'exit fee' critical to renewable energy future
OPINION: BETH VAUGHN in Capitol Weekly: "While utility responsibility related to California’s devastating wildfires is dominating headlines and the agendas of policymakers, flying below the radar is a pending decision from the California Public Utilities Commission to change the formula for a fee charged to energy consumers who leave the power supply of investor-owned utilities (IOUs) like PG&E and instead get power from local community choice aggregation programs, also known as CCAs. The new formula could radically alter consumers’ energy choices.''
'CCAs are increasing in popularity in California and for good reason. Authorized by the Legislature to help prevent another energy crisis, CCAs are created and run by local governments to provide clean, affordable energy that meets specific community needs. Unlike the IOUs, CCAs are transparent entities accountable to local policymakers and community members, and available funds are reinvested in local projects, rather than filling the pockets of shareholders."
"The PCIA, or Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, is an “exit fee” charged by IOUs to customers that switch to another provider of electricity like community choice aggregation. The charge compensates the utilities for electricity they bought in the past at prices that are now above-market."
East Bay college district embroiled in tumult over money, ethics as election nears
The Chronicle's NANETTE ASIMOV: "It looks like a routine request of voters: a November ballot proposal in Alameda County to extend the $48-per-parcel property tax that raises $8 million a year for the area’s community colleges."
"Yet the debate this year over the Peralta Community College District tax and how it’s being spent is anything but normal. It has spilled into the races to fill two seats on the district’s board of trustees, raised questions about the competence of Peralta’s top executive and resulted in the departures of a district watchdog and a spokesman who filed a complaint alleging financial misdeeds."
"Underlying the tumult are concerns about how the district’s finances are managed and reported to the board, doubts over whether money raised through the property tax is being spent as intended, swelling administrative ranks as enrollment declines, crowded classrooms and ethics violations."
9th annual Oakland Pride parade and festival biggest yet
The Chronicle's JK DINEEN: "Children’s Fairyland mechanic Brett Bye spent the three weeks leading up to Sunday’s Oakland Pride festivities fine-tuning the 1968 Chrysler tractor that every year pulls the tram at the front of the parade."
"After all, the tram was carting precious cargo: dozens of kids from Our Family Coalition, an LGBTQ organization in Oakland."
"Brakes, new tires, just make sure the engine is running well,” said Bye. “Every year we are at the front of the parade — not accidentally. It really makes you feel like you’re part of Oakland.”
Have you rebounded? Track the recovery of home prices in SoCal
LA Times's ELLIS SIMANI: "While housing has rebounded in much of coastal Southern California, home prices farther inland have yet to regain their bubble-era highs, especially in remote exurbs like Victorville. Economists say the disparity is simply a function of supply and demand. With fewer jobs inland, there are fewer people who want to live there. The dynamic was a major reason prices inland tended to fall further during the downturn. It also explains why some parts of the Los Angeles area that were hit as hard as the exurbs have seen values recover."
BP agent shot at while sitting in patrol car near border
LA Times's ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN: "A Border Patrol agent was shot at early Sunday morning while sitting in his marked patrol car just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said."
"The gunfire occurred about 2:15 a.m. a mile and a half west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to William Rogers, supervisory Border Patrol agent with the San Diego Sector. At least two bullets struck the driver’s side of the vehicle, but the agent was not injured and immediately drove to a safer location."
"Authorities said the gunfire appeared to have come from the Mexican side of the border. Mexican authorities responded and initially detained two people. One had a handgun, while the second person was released. Neither was identified."
Trump waives millions in claims against Stormy Daniel in new fallout from illegal payoff
LA Times's MICHAEL FINNEGAN: "President Trump has agreed to give up his right to pursue millions of dollars in damages against Stormy Daniels in a move to kill litigation over an illegal payoff to the adult-film star."
"The maneuver marks a sharp reversal for Trump. His legal team sought earlier to pull Daniels into an arbitration that could have forced her to pay the president more than $20 million for breaking a nondisclosure agreement over her claim of a sexual liaison with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied the affair."
"The switch in tactics, disclosed late Saturday by a Trump attorney, highlights the legal trouble faced by the president and his private business, the Trump Organization, as federal prosecutors continue to investigate the $130,000 in hush money that Daniels received 12 days before the November 2016 election."
READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Pence denies claim that Cabinet members talked of invoking 25A to remove Trump -- LA Times's LAURA KING