Slowing down high-speed rail

Feb 13, 2019

Gavin Newsom says he'll cut back on California's high-speed rail plan


Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "Gov. Gavin Newsom used the spotlight of his first State of the State speech to rebuke the president, halve his predecessor’s marquee water project and put the brakes on the multi-billion dollar high speed rail project that Arnold Schwarzenegger launched a decade ago.'


'He invoked his father’s difficult final years as he called for a state master plan on aging, and asked former First Lady Maria Shriver to lead an effort to combat Alzheimer’s. He put Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg in charge of a new state commission on homelessness."


"Senate Speaker Pro Tem Toni Atkins called it the “most newsworthy” State of the State speech in memory."


READ MORE related to Newsom Administration: What they're saying about Newsom's State of the State -- Sacramento Bee's MADDY ASHMUN; Newsom wants California to be its own nation-state in the Trump era -- The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI; 'Shocking' cut to California's troubled high-speed project solved some problems and creates others -- LA Times's RALPH VARTABEDIAN


Newsom downsizes Delta water project: one tunnel, not two


Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER/RYAN SABALOW: "Gov. Gavin Newsom, diving into one of California’s most contentious water issues, said Tuesday he wants to downsize the Delta tunnels project. The Democratic governor also set out to overhaul state water policy by naming a new chair of the state’s water board."


"Newsom said he wants the twin-tunnel project — designed to re-engineer the troubled estuary that serves as the hub of California’s elaborate water-delivery system — reduced to a single tunnel."


"I do not support the WaterFix as currently configured,” Newsom said during his first State of the State address, using the official term for the Delta project. “Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. We can build, however, on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.”


READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Death Valley, Joshua Tree national parks would grow under Senate-passed bill -- The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN


What happens when the next big wildfire hits?


CALmatters's JUDY LIN in Capitol Weekly: "Don’t be fooled by the precipitation, the snowpack, the wildflowers. When winter ends, it’s unlikely that California’s iconic landscape will sustain the moisture to withstand the 100-degree summer and fall."


"California has yet to recover from the 5-year drought that began in 2012. For four years, record wildfires have ravaged the state, including the Tubbs Fire in Napa and Sonoma in 2017 and the Camp Fire last year that wiped out the town of Paradise in Butte County. The 2019 wildfire season officially kicks off in mid-May, but California’s wildfire season is essentially year-round now."


"So what happens when the next big wildfire hits?"


No disaster aid money included in Congress' agreement to keep govt open


Sacramento Bee's KATE IRBY: "No disaster aid funding was included in the agreement both parties agreed to Monday in order to keep the government open, leaving funding for wildfire victims uncertain."


"Earlier agreements had spelled out as much as $14 billion for communities in California, North Carolina, Florida and Puerto Rico that were devastated by fires, flooding and hurricanes in the past two years, but Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said Tuesday no disaster aid money was included in the current agreement that seems likely to pass Congress."


“We didn’t want to load it up with other things,” Shelby said. “You put one thing in it, then you have to add another.”


USC's controversial $215M settlement with gynecologist's victims moves forward


LA Times's HARRIET RYAN/MATT HAMILTON: "As federal regulators continue investigating USC’s handling of a campus gynecologist accused of sexual abuse, the university is pressing forward with a $215-million class-action settlement with former patients."


"An agreement filed in federal court Tuesday outlines the process for determining how much money individual women treated by Dr. George Tyndall will receive and describes new safeguards against sexual misconduct that USC must adopt as part of the deal."


"The broad outlines of the settlement were announced in October, but this week’s court filing is the first opportunity for U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson to review the terms worked out by USC and a team of class-action lawyers. Wilson has to approve the agreement before it is offered to students and alumnae."


READ MORE related to Education: Oakland school board delays budget cuts amid complaints of lack of details -- EdSource's THERESA HARRINGTON


Should FB and Google pay you a 'data dividend'?


The Chronicle's OWEN THOMAS: "Welcome back to Tech Chronicle. Your decision to subscribe to this fine newsletter will surely pay dividends."


"What are you worth?"


"Gov. Gavin Newsom, the viscidly coiffed ruler of Silicon Valley and its lesser Californian principalities, declared his intention Tuesday in his first State of the State address to tax the money gushers of tech and distribute their wealth to the less digitally fortunate. Huzzah!"


A year after the Parkland massacre, two fathers are divided on guns but united by pain


The Chronicle's JENNY JARVIE: "Andrew Pollack had just settled into a folding chair in a palm-shaded campground when gunfire rang out from a nearby target range. He did not flinch."


"It had been nearly a year since his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, was shot to death with 16 other people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla."


"I don't think about guns too much,” said Pollack, whose daughter was hit by nine bullets. “It’s too easy to say it’s the gun. If it was the gun, I’d say it was the gun. But when you dig into it … there were so many failures."


Trump says he wasn't aware of tabloid's Bezos investigation


AP: "President Donald Trump says he was unaware the owner of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., had been investigating Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos."


"The Trump-friendly tabloid has a history of trying to help him."


"It acknowledged paying $150,000 to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump. The company then buried the story until after the 2016 election."


READ MORE related to POTUS45/KremlinGate: Faciung failure, Trump tries rebranding -- LA Times's ELI STOKOLS/MOLLY O'TOOLE


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