Sierra dam

May 14, 2019

New dam proposal in Sierra Nevada stirs debate over California energy policy


The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER: "Up a remote canyon in the towering eastern Sierra, a Southern California company has an ambitious plan to dam the area’s cold, rushing waters and build one of the state’s first big hydroelectric facilities in decades."


"The project, southeast of Yosemite near the town of Bishop (Inyo County), faces long regulatory odds as well as daunting costs. But residents of the Owens Valley downstream and state environmentalists are not taking it lightly."


"The complex, as proposed in an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month, is scheduled for mostly federal land at the edge of the Inyo National Forest, partly in the popular John Muir Wilderness. It threatens to disrupt a landscape known for its brown trout and bighorn sheep, unparalleled alpine vistas, and pristine rivers and lakes."


Tearful Felicity Huffman explains why she got involved in college admissions scandal


LA Times's MATTHEW ORMSETH/RICHARD WINTON: "As she pleaded guilty for her role in the college admissions scandal Monday, a tearful Felicity Huffman tried to explain what motivated her."


"Huffman told the court in Boston that the federal government’s allegations were true but insisted her daughter was diagnosed years earlier with a legitimate learning disability that made her eligible for extra time on tests."


"My daughter has been seeing a neuro-psychologist since she was 8 years old,” Huffman said. The Golden Globe winner said she didn’t want to give the impression that her daughter’s psychologist, who helped them get extended time on the college entrance examination, knew about the scheme engineered by mastermind William “Rick” Singer to bolster her child’s test scores, she explained."


State AG Becerra sues Trump admin for 50th time


The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed his 50th lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday, challenging a ban on deduction of union dues from the paychecks of hundreds of thousands of workers providing in-home care for low-income elderly and disabled people."


"Medi-Cal provides 594,000 Californians with assistance — in bathing, cleaning, meals and other essentials that allow them to stay in their homes — by funding more than 500,000 workers, most of them women, Becerra’s office said. More than half the workers belong to unions and since the early 1990s have had their dues, and in some cases payment for union-sponsored health benefits, automatically deducted from their paychecks. Those paychecks are funded by the state and federal governments."


"Last week, President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services published a rule that prohibited union payroll deductions, contending they violated a 1972 law barring the “assignment” of federal health care payments to anyone but the care provider. Becerra’s lawsuit in San Francisco federal court, joined by the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington, said the rule was legally unfounded and would harm the workers and the people they care for."


Inside the SF firestorm over the death of Jeff Adachi and the raid of a journalist's home


The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "Before police officers arrived at a journalist’s San Francisco home with a sledgehammer and a search warrant to investigate a leaked report on the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi, the city force had absorbed weeks of scolding."


"Many city politicians believed someone in the department released the report’s sordid details for political reasons. After all, Adachi, who died Feb. 22, was not only an aggressive defense attorney but a police watchdog famous for his public rebukes of misconduct by officers."


"In recent weeks, police officials repeatedly apologized to the Board of Supervisors, the public defender’s office and Adachi’s wife. And they launched a criminal probe, vowing to restore trust."


California wins last round of $25M, 26-year tax fight with wealthy inventor


Sac Bee's EMILY CADEI: "California won the last round of a 26-year fight to collect personal income tax from a wealthy inventor who moved to Nevada just before he cashed in on a lucrative patent."


"The 5-to-4 decision from the Supreme Court will not send any new tax revenue to California. It overturned a case in which the Nevada Supreme Court had ordered California to pay $100,000 to entrepreneur Gilbert Hyatt, who contested California’s effort to collect tax from him."


"It was the third time that the Supreme Court ruled on a case stemming from California’s attempt to collect tax from Hyatt."


Two immigrants facing deportation among Newsom's first pardons


Sac Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "After receiving a pardon by Gov. Jerry Brown, preventing deportation to Cambodia, Mony Neth discusses his future plans and his past mistakes that "still haunt me until now."

"Two Cambodian refugees facing deportation are among the first people Gov. Gavin Newsom is pardoning, his office announced Monday."


"Kang Hen and Hay Hov were both brought to the U.S. lawfully as children fleeing genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime and were later convicted of gang-related crimes when they were young men."


READ MORE related to Immigration: Immigrant children in US custody soaring back toward record levels -- The Chronicle's TAL KOPAN


Newsom's strike team outlines a path to fix the DMV


Sac Bee's BRYAN ANDERSON: "California’s Department of Motor Vehicles will need to make lots of changes if it wants to turn things around, according to a 110-page report sent to lawmakers and obtained by The Sacramento Bee."


"Among the suggestions are launching an aggressive $10 million marketing campaign, redesigning the agency’s website and creating a chatbot to filter and respond to customer complaints. Some of the changes are already under way."


"The report, produced by the DMV in response to recommendations by a strike team created by Gov. Gavin Newsom, also highlights problems with upper-level management. It calls the department’s organizational structure “outdated” and says DMV employees need better training."


Arambula's wife: Officer 'got in her face' investigating child abuse allegation


Sacramento Bee's RORY APPLETON: "Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s wife testified Monday that a police officer “got in her face” and yelled at her as he was investigating an allegation that her husband injured their daughter."


"Elizabeth Arambula and Joaquin’s mother each testified in his defense Monday against a misdemeanor child abuse allegation stemming from an incident in December in which he allegedly injured his 7-year-old daughter."


"Elizabeth Arambula was the final witness to speak for the defense on the seventh day of Arambula’s trial. Her mother-in-law, Amy, immediately preceded her. Two therapists – one the family’s counselor and another an expert on interviewing children – also testified."


Ghost Ship artist recalls failed rescue effort


The Chronicle's MEGAN CASSIDY: "A man who narrowly escaped the Ghost Ship fire testified Monday that he had a choice to make as flames surrounded him and a fellow tenant of the Oakland artists collective: continue trying to save the man or save himself."


"Robert “Bob” Mule took the stand in the third week of the Ghost Ship trial and said that he was searching for a fire extinguisher shortly after the blaze erupted around 11:20 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2016, when he saw “Pete” on the ground."


"Peter Wadsworth, 38, was clearly struggling as Mule attempted to drag him out of the warehouse in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, he said, but Wadsworth was a larger man than he was. At some point the two hit a barrier — a tricycle that had probably fallen from the ceiling — and the exit was blocked."


SF could ban facial recongition software -- opinion is divided over whether that's good


The Chronicle's TRISHA THADANI: "San Francisco may become the first city in the country to ban municipal use of facial recognition software — a move that privacy advocates applaud but others say will outlaw a useful crime-solving tool."


"The Board of Supervisors will vote Tuesday on a proposal by Supervisor Aaron Peskin that would bar city departments from using the technology, except at federally regulated facilities such as the airport and port. Departments would also have to disclose all the surveillance technology they currently use and get board approval for any new technology that collects, retains or processes a person’s data."


"Hopefully, this catalyzes a conversation both nationally and internationally,” Peskin said. “We don’t even know what technology we have that is being used for surveillance."


New shark study helps predict where young great whites will be near shore, expers say


Sacramento Bee's JARED GILMOUR: "California shark researchers have published a new study on great white migrations, and they say it will help experts and beachgoers predict when young sharks will be near shorelines on the West Coast and beyond."


"The migratory habits of great whites have long been a mystery — and that’s especially true of larger adult sharks, Long Beach State University researchers said in a news release on the findings."


"But movements of young sharks that tend to stay close to shore are little understood, too, and researchers said their findings shed new light on the kind of habitats juvenile great whites seek. Researchers found that during El Niño years — when the winter water temperatures off Southern California are warmer — young sharks don’t journey south to Baja California, and instead stick around the Los Angeles area or even travel north up to Monterey Bay."


Let homeless students sleep in parking lots? California community colleges say it'll be costly


Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "California community colleges are walking a narrow path in raising concerns about a proposed law that would require them to keep their parking lots open at night for homeless students."


"They have not opposed the bill, Assembly Bill 302, but they are highlighting costs they would incur and asking lawmakers to pay for them."

"The proposal could cost the state “potentially in the tens of millions of dollars annually,” according to an analysis of the legislation by the Assembly Appropriates Committee. That’s counting extra money for security and maintenance, the costs associated with the issuance of overnight parking permits, as well as potential liability."

READ MORE related to Education: Everything you need to know about today's LAUSD election -- LA Times's RYAN MURPHY/SONALI KOHLI/HOWARD BLUME


Several inmates, deputies hospitalized after being exposed to substance at South Placer jail


Sac Bee's HANNAH DARDEN: "Several inmates, sheriff’s deputies and a K-9 officer were transferred to hospitals from South Placer Jail in Roseville on Monday after being exposed to an unknown substance, officials said."


"Four inmates, eight Placer County Sheriff’s deputies and the K9 officer were treated on scene, put through a decontamination process by fire personnel and transported to hospitals, according to the Roseville Fire Department. Three other inmates were treated on scene and decontaminated, but not transported."


"Roseville Fire responded to the scene at about 3 p.m. after receiving complaints of an inmate showing “altered level of consciousness,” according to fire officials."


READ MORE related to Prisons & Public Safety: Sacramento 911 dispatch still lacks a leader as restraining order against director is extended -- Sac Bee's MICHAEL MCGOUGH


Dems demand AG Barr hand over documents on Obamacare decision


LA Times's JENNIFER HABERKORN: "House Democrats are demanding Atty. Gen. William Barr hand over documentation behind the Trump administration’s decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act in court — and threatening to use their subpoena power if the administration does not comply."


"They also want Russell Vought, the Office of Management and Budget acting director, to sit for an interview about his role in the Justice Department’s decision."


"The demands, issued in two letters Monday, come as House Democrats begin to shift their oversight and investigations strategy away from the Mueller report — which could be tied up in court for months — and into one of Republicans’ most politically vulnerable topics: healthcare."


READ MORE related to POTUS45: Pelosi to Trump: Apologize for 'despicable' twisting of Rashida Tlaib comments -- The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI

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