Round 2 begins over cannabis banking
Capitol Weekly's JULIA LINDBLOOM: "Closely watched by California’s cannabis industry, a new effort is underway to allow the creation of basic banking services for marijuana growers, distributors, sellers and others."
"Last year, similar legislation died. But supporters hope the revised bill will draw more support – including backing from newly elected Gov Gavin Newsom."
"The industry, in turmoil from licensing problems and other issues, hopes the second time will be the charm."
Joe Montana says he used company charged with college admissions fraud
The Chronicle's MATTHIAS GAFNI: "Following a wave of wealthy Bay Area parents charged with using the services of a college admissions cheater to get their children into prestigious colleges, San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer Joe Montana issued a statement late Thursday saying his family received consulting assistance from William Rick Singer’s company — but that was it."
"Mr. Singer’s company provided nothing more than minimal consulting services to our family, like so many other families, with the college application process,” Montana said in a tweet from his rarely used social media account. “Fortunately, our kids were able to pick from a number of schools to attend due to their hard work and their merit."
READ MORE related to Operation Varsity Blues: College cheating scandal prompts resignations and questions at elite prep schools -- LA Times's RICHARD WINTON/ALENE TCHEKMEDYIAN/HANNAH FRY/HILLARY DAVIS; Golfer Phil Mickelson used services of college consulting company implicated in bribery scheme -- AP; Stanford: Third student with 'fabricated sailing credentials' surfaces -- BANG's JOSEPH GEHA; Lori Loughlin's daughters reportedly withdraw from USC because they fear bullying -- BANG's MARTHA ROSS
California is now drought-free, monitor says. Wait, didn't that happen two years ago?
Sacramento Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH: "Thanks to a wet winter across the state, the entirety of California is free of drought for the first time since 2011, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s Thursday update."
"Don’t confuse that with former Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 2017 announcement that the statewide drought had officially ended. The drought officially began with Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency in January 2014."
"This week’s news comes from the U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest map of California, which shows “abnormally dry” conditions in small pockets along the state’s Oregon and Mexico borders (making up just over 6.5 percent of the state), but no drought-level conditions in the Golden State."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: It's snowing in California vineyards, and winemakers are loving it -- The Chronicle's ESTHER MOBLEY; A historic oil platform off Santa Barbara turns into a rusty ghost ship -- LA Times's THOMAS CURWEN/KATIE FALKENBERG/AL SEIB/PRIYA KRISHNAKUMAR/SEAN GREENE; California utilities pushed toward fire prevention as Edison is blamed for Thomas Fire -- CALMatter's JUDY LIN
Judge says lawsuit's claim of racism, corruption at Oroville Dam can go forward
Sacramento Bee's DARREL SMITH: "Blockbuster claims in a lawsuit that a racist, sexist, corrupt culture contributed to the near-catastrophic failure of Oroville Dam two years ago can go forward, a Sacramento judge ruled Thursday."
"The decision by Sacramento Superior Court Judge James McFetridge sets the stage for what plaintiffs’ attorneys vow will be a deep dive into claims of a poisonous work culture that nearly disastrously compromised the nation’s tallest dam and the safety of nearly 200,000 residents downstream."
"The lawsuit was brought by the city of Oroville, dozens of farmers, businesses and others against the state’s Department of Water Resources. The plaintiffs seek hundreds of millions of dollars in damages."
What if top vote-getter became president? Plan would bypass Electoral College
The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH: "A national effort to bypass the Electoral College and pick the president by popular vote — which may or may not be constitutional — is picking up new support and moving closer to success."
"Governors in Colorado, New Mexico and Delaware are poised to sign the National Popular Vote compact, under which states would pledge to give all their electoral votes to the candidate who collects the most votes nationwide. California, 10 other states and the District of Columbia already have joined the compact, which would take effect if states holding 270 electoral votes, the number needed to elect a president, sign on."
Support the death penalty in California? Oppose it? You soon could get to vote on it
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "While Gov. Gavin Newsom has suspended the death penalty, California lawmakers — and then voters — could get the chance to weigh in on ending it permanently."
"Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Greenbrae, has introduced a constitutional amendment that would overturn past voter-approved initiatives allowing capital punishment."
"His amendment reads, “The death penalty shall not be imposed as a punishment for any violations of law."
READ MORE related to Death Penalty Debate: OC's death row: 58 killers and counting -- OCR's LARRY WELBORN
Rep. Maxine Waters calls for firing of Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan after news of his pay raise
LA Times's JIM PUZZANGHERA: "Rep. Maxine Waters on Thursday called for the firing of Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive Tim Sloan after the bank reported his pay increased last year by nearly $1 million despite continued consumer scandals."
"The 4.9% increase in total compensation in 2018, to $18.4 million, included a $2-million bonus, Wells Fargo said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. Sloan earned $2.4-million base pay both years. He did not receive a bonus in 2017, but received more in stock, pension and other awards to bring his overall compensation to $17.6 million."
"The filing came a day after Sloan faced bipartisan anger about what Waters (D-Los Angeles) called the bank’s “ongoing lawlessness” during a hearing by the House Financial Services Committee, which the Los Angeles Democrat chairs."
California wants back taxes from retailers who sold on Amazon
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "California is attempting to collect years of back taxes from e-commerce businesses that sold products on Amazon and at least temporarily housed their merchandise in the state."
"The effort to collect use taxes reflects the state’s decision to more strictly enforce a 2012 law that compelled online retailers, such as Amazon, to collect tax from their customers if the company had any kind of physical presence in California."
"For years, the state did not hold small companies selling products on platforms like Amazon and eBay to the same standard. Instead, it focused on the biggest players."
SF police union cuts ties with former head over FB post about Jeff Adachi
The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "The San Francisco Police Officer’s Association has severed ties with its brash former president, Gary Delagnes, following his inflammatory Facebook post just days after Public Defender Jeff Adachi died unexpectedly last month."
"The post, which came six days after Adachi died from a suspected heart attack on Feb. 22, characterized Adachi as a “vile, despicable, bottom feeding human being” and included accusations involving the late public defender’s family."
"Delagnes, 64, retired from the department in 2013, but stayed on with the union as a paid private consultant."
READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: 2 ex-OC Fire Authority employees say they were wrongly dismissed following criticism of the agency -- OCR's SEAN EMERY
Rent control died at the ballot box -- Democrats are trying again
Sacramento Bee's HANNAH WILEY: "A group of Assembly Democrats introduced a bundle of housing bills on Thursday, signaling to Gavin Newsom that they were ready to work with him on fulfilling one of the new governor’s campaign promises."
"In that package is Assembly Bill 1482, a measure that would cap annual rent increases. The bill would not apply to local ordinances or units already under rent control."
"Voters last year rejected a ballot measure, Proposition 10, that would have accomplished much of the same thing by overturning the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act. The law prohibits local governments from imposing rent control on apartments built after 1995."
READ MORE related to Homelessness & Housing: Maggots, sexual abuse, filthy bathrooms: ACLU report claims grim conditions in OC homeless shelters -- OCR's THERESA WALKER/JORDAN GRAHAM
Inspectors missed lapse in building process that would have prevented cracks at SF Transbay center
The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN: "Four levels of inspections and plans failed to prevent or uncover a construction flaw that resulted in the cracked girders that forced the closure of the Transbay Transit Center 5½ months ago, the agency’s executive director said Thursday."
"Mark Zabaneh, head of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, said three teams of quality-control inspectors working for contractors didn’t discover that a necessary grinding process, used to eliminate small cracks associated with holes that were cut into the girders, was not performed and that the authority’s own spot inspections also missed the oversight."
Despite SF's troubled streets, city's tourism hits record high
The Chronicle's ROLAND LI: "Despite San Francisco’s dirty streets, tourism set a record last year and is expected to continue growing."
"The number of visitors to the city rose 1.2 percent to 25.8 million, and spending rose 2.3 percent to $10 billion, according to data released Thursday by San Francisco’s tourism bureau."
READ MORE related to Development & Economy: Bay Area job market: Slowdown in view, experts predict -- BANG's GEORGE AVALOS
UC regents hold off on raising nonresident tuition after some protest
LA Times's TERESA WATANABE: "The University of California backed away Thursday from a tuition increase for students from other states and countries after several regents expressed concern that it could limit diversity and hurt some immigrants."
Want to cut your risk of dementia? Moisturize your skin, UCSF researchers say
Sacramento Bee's CATHIE ANDERSON: "Researchers at UC San Francisco announced this week that age-damaged skin in older adultsmay be contributing to a wide range of chronic, age-related conditions that include heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease."
"Here’s what the dermatological researchers said they learned from their work with the San Francisco Veterans Administration Health System: As aging skin begins to break down, the immune system releases small proteins known as cytokines to signal that there’s inflammation in damaged areas of the skin. These tiny inflammatory cytokines can leak into the body’s circulation system, and if there are enough of them, they trigger body-wide inflammation. That triggers so called “inflamm-aging” among older adults."
"The inflammation must come from an organ big enough that very minor inflammation can affect the whole body. Skin is a good candidate for this because of its size,” Dr. Mao-Qiang Man, the study’s senior author. “Once we get old, we have dermatological symptoms like itchiness, dryness and changes in acidity. It could be that the skin has very minor inflammation, and because it’s such a large organ, it elevates circulating cytokine levels."
READ MORE related to Health: Inspired by their own experience, siblings launch nonprofit to support families battling melanoma -- OCR's SUSAN CHRISTIAN GOULDING
The Bay Area's 11 biggest transportation projects
The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN: "As more people come to the Bay Area and the trips to and from work become longer, commuters frequently find themselves white-knuckling the steering wheel, jostling for space on a bus or train, or simply dreaming of better days. While the problem of overcrowding on public transit and highways is unlikely to be solved any time soon, here are 11 major transportation projects that should improve the daily commute."
READ MORE related to Transportation: After BART systemwide meltdown, officials say new technology should prevent a repeat -- The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN; BART spending $100M to replace 41 cranky escalators at downtown SF stations -- The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN; How to find out if your flight is a grounded Boeing Max 8 or 9 airplane -- OCR's SAMANTHA GOWEN
Naked and not having it: Nude Love Parade to protest SF's bare-skin ban
The Chronicle's ASHLEY MCBRIDE: "Nude Love Parade, the annual naked stroll through San Francisco streets, will return on St. Patrick’s Day to protest the city’s nudity ban."
"Since 2016, the parade has fallen on Valentine’s Day weekend, but this year the event was postponed because of rainy weather. Rescheduled to noon Sunday, the parade will start at Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro District and end at Haight and Stanyan streets."
California science exhibit explains the dog-human friendship
AP's JOHN ROGERS: "Did people domesticate dogs or was it the other way around? And why do these two species seem to think so much alike, act so much alike and get along so well?"
"The California Science Center has spent the past five years sniffing out the answers to those and hundreds of other vexing canine questions. It will begin revealing the conclusions Saturday with an ambitious, if somewhat lighthearted, new exhibition called "Dogs! A Science Tail."
"And, yes, real dogs will be there. (Just try hiding contraband from that drug-sniffing dog and see what happens.)"
Has a president's national emergency ever been blocked? What can Trump do after vote?
Sacramento Bee's DON SWEENEY: "Now that the U.S. Senate has voted to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency on border security, what happens next?"
"Can Trump veto the decision?"
"Can the courts intervene?"
READ MORE related to POTUS45: GOP-controlled Senate rebukes Trump with vote to rescind border emergency declaration -- LA Times's JENNIFER HABERKORN; Congress requests former Fox News reporter's notebooks regarding Trump's hush money -- LA Times's STACY PERMAN; Kim Jong Un is rethinking US talks and his launch moratorium, North Korean official says -- AP
Avenatti firm's bankruptcy petition rejected by judge
LA Times's MICHAEL FINNEGAN: "A federal judge has dismissed the bankruptcy petition filed last week by Michael Avenatti’s longtime firm Eagan Avenatti and raised the prospect of sanctioning the celebrity lawyer."
"Judge Catherine Bauer of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana ordered Avenatti to testify May 8 at a hearing on allegations by creditors of the firm that he submitted its petition for bankruptcy protection in bad faith."