Gavin Newsom takes center stage
Capitol Weekly's JOHN HOWARD: "Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor who roiled Democrats across the country when he issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was sworn in Monday as California’s 40th governor. He succeeds the unprecedented, largely successful tenure of four-time governor and fellow Democrat Jerry Brown, who moseyed on back to his 2,500-acre ranch in Colusa."
"Newsom, 51, who served eight years in Brown’s shadow as lieutenant governor, took the oath at the state Capitol in televised ceremonies. The millionaire Newsom is co-founder of the PlumpJack Group, which runs an array of two dozen businesses, including wineries and hotels. His role in the company was placed in a blind trust before he was sworn in."
"Newsom, offering few specifics in a 26-minute speech, pushed a progressive agenda on labor, the economy, the environment, the disadvantaged, and big business, among others. In his first hours of governor Monday, Newsom proposed a major health care plan to restore a critical piece of the Affordable Care Act and issued an executive order that gives the state Department of Health Care Services the sole authority to negotiate drug prices for Medi-Cal."
Day 1 is kind to Newsom: First-day speech receives bipartisan praise
Sacramento Bee's CLAIRE MORGAN: "Gavin Newsom’s Monday morning inauguration marked the beginning of his tenure in office as California’s 40th governor and lawmakers from both parties used the occasion to wish him well."
"To Governor @GavinNewsom and first partner @JenSiebelNewsom, congratulations and best of luck. It is a great honor to serve the people of CA and I’m proud of you. I am here if you need anything at all,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, the last Republican governor, wrote on Twitter."
"Other California Republicans offered congratulatory words, too, including Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, R-Escondido."
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Citizenship question on census would impair accuracy, expert says in SF court
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "The trial of California’s challenge to the Trump administration’s plan to ask participants in the 2020 census whether they are U.S. citizens opened Monday with a researcher’s testimony that the query would reduce participation by already fearful households in Latino and immigrant communities."
"If you feel that providing this information will make you vulnerable in some way, you’re much less likely to respond “by filling out the census form,” Colm O’Muircheartaigh, a onetime chief statistical adviser to the Census Bureau, told U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of San Francisco."
"The noncitizen population, and by extension much of the Latino population, feels that they’re being targeted for deleterious treatment by the federal administration,” particularly in “the last couple of years,” said O’Muircheartaigh, now a University of Chicago professor of public policy."
PG&E in trouble: Will the lights stay on? Will customers pay more?
The Chronicle's J.D. MORRIS: "If Pacific Gas and Electric Co. or its parent company seek bankruptcy protection because of the financial squeeze they face due to the last two seasons of California wildfires, it should not affect customers’ ability to keep the lights on, experts say."
"PG&E is reportedly exploring a bankruptcy filing for some or all of its business due to the multibillion-dollar liabilities the San Francisco company could face in the wake of historically devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, including the Camp Fire in Butte County."
"The utility, not the parent company PG&E Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001 because of the energy crisis that was gripping the state at the time. It emerged from bankruptcy three years later. PG&E now finds itself in its greatest period of financial pressure since then."
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What would happen if PG&E sold its gas business or filed for bankruptcy?
LA Times's SAMMY ROTH: "California’s largest power company faces an existential crisis as it confronts the looming possibility of tens of billions of dollars in wildfire liability."
"Shares of PG&E Corp. — which owns Pacific Gas & Electric Co. — sank 22.3% to $18.95 on Monday after reports that the utility could face at least $30 billion in liability related to fires and has considered filing for bankruptcy protection or unloading its natural gas operations."
"The consequences of bankruptcy or an asset sale could ripple far beyond the utility’s shareholders, some experts say, affecting 16 million Californians who depend on PG&E for energy and potentially threatening the state’s ability to meet its climate-change goals."
California's foie gras ban upheld, though chefs vow to fight on
The Chronicle's JONATHAN KAUFFMAN: "After six years of legal battles, California’s ban on foie gras is still in effect."
"The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it would not hear a challenge to California’s 2004 ban on the production and sale of foie gras, leaving in place a 2017 ruling upholding it. Animal rights groups are jubilant at the decision, while trade groups and chefs have vowed to continue fighting."
"For those who haven’t seen foie gras on menus for a while, the term means “fatty liver”: large, pale, butter-rich lobes of duck or goose liver that are traditionally seared or made into pate. Foie gras is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese through a process called “gavage,” inserting a tube down the birds’ throats and pouring grain into it, which opponents consider undue cruelty."
SF Superior Court's judge positions are now all filled -- nearly half by women
The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "For the first time in years, San Francisco’s courts have a full complement of 52 judges, with a bench that is now almost half female."
"Forty-six percent of San Francisco’s judges are women — one of the highest percentages of female judges among the 15 largest counties in the state."
"Only Contra Costa County, where 53 percent of judges are female, has a higher percentage of women on the bench among the state’s largest counties, according to a 2018 report by the Judicial Council of California."
'This is very personal to me': Eleni Kounalakis pushes education at inauguration
Sacramento Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "There is no issue more important than education, Eleni Kounalakis told the crowd as she was sworn into office as lieutenant governor Monday."
"Her grandmother, Katerina, never learned how to read or write. Her father, Angelo Tsakopoulos, came to the United States from Greece at 14 years old. He had little money and no English-speaking skill,s but went on to become a prominent and wealthy Sacramento real estate developer."
“The path to wisdom is through education,” Kounalakis said. “This is very personal to me.”
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Newsom's health plan would restore Obamacare mandate, expand access for undocumented
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "On his first day in office, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a sweeping health care plan that would prop up the Affordable Care Act, expand health care for undocumented immigrants and give the state new powers to negotiate drug prices."
"Newsom’s announcement came just hours after he was sworn in as governor in a ceremony where he pledged to expand health care access and make prescription drugs more affordable, echoing promises he made in his campaign."
"His plan would reinstate the individual mandate, a tax on people who don’t have insurance that was part of the federal Affordable Care Act. Congress revoked it in 2017, allowing people to opt out of having health insurance without a penalty."
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SF Mayor London Breed wants new $300 million bond for affordable housing
The Chronicle's DOMINIC FRACASSA: "Mayor London Breed wants to get a new $300 million affordable housing bond in front of San Francisco voters. And she wants it on the ballot by no later than March 2020."
"Breed announced Monday that the bond would be added to the city’s 10-year capital plan, a blueprint for infrastructure spending over the next decade."
"The plan, which is updated each odd-numbered year, lays out proposed timetables for when general obligation bonds will go before voters. In addition to adding an affordable housing bond to the schedule, Breed has also requested that city officials move up the date of a proposed $600 million bond that would pay for seismic retrofitting and other earthquake-resiliency work on public safety infrastructure, like police and fire stations and the 911 operations center."
Google transformed Mountain View, is San Jose next?
The Chronicle's ROLAND LI: "For decades, canneries around San Jose’s Diridon Station processed the fruits of the fertile “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” now known as Silicon Valley. Opened in 1935, what was then called Cahill Depot was a rail depot for the Southern Pacific Railroad."
"The canneries were demolished, as fruit orchards faded away and were replaced by low-slung tech offices. Parking lots now dot quiet streets on the western edge of downtown."
"Transportation could once again usher in San Jose’s future, this time in partnership with a 21st century corporate giant. Google, Silicon Valley’s biggest tech tenant, wants to build a mammoth campus in the area over the next two decades, coinciding with the BART extension to Diridon Station planned for 2026 and future high-speed rail. The station already has Amtrak, Caltrain and light rail."
Kamala Harris' new book builds her case for a WH bid
LA Times's EVAN HALPER: "Kamala Harris hasn't launched a bid for the presidency yet, but she has launched the narrative around which her campaign would be built."
"Hers is the latest political autobiography to hit the shelves. In a medium as predictable for White House aspirants as an Iowa stump speech, the book hews to caution, as most such volumes do, offering details on confrontations only with the most obvious villains, such as former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon."
Trump has threatened to declare a national emergency to get his border wall -- but will that work?
LA Times's KURTIS LEE: "He’s vowed to keep the government closed as long as it takes to secure funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border."
"Now, as the partial government shutdown enters its third week, President Trump is hinting at a different approach: declaring a national emergency."