See the California cities where Republicans, Democrats are gaining -- and losing -- voters
Sacramento Bee's PHILLIP REESE: "The political makeup of California’s cities has changed dramatically in the last decade: Far more residents decline to state a party preference and fewer identify as Republicans.."
"Among the roughly 300 California cities with at least 10,000 registered voters, the number of voters declining to state a party preference grew by about 1.8 million, or 64 percent, from 2009 to 2019, according to the California Secretary of State."
"Republicans were hit hard by the shift. The proportion of voters registered as Republicans dropped in all of the state’s 300 largest cities. All told, Republican registration in those cities dropped from about 29.4 percent of the electorate in 2009 to 21.7 percent of the electorate in 2019. That translates to about 560,000 fewer Republicans."
A battle for the popular vote
NAHIMA SHAFFER in Capitol Weekly: "Millions of ballots are cast in a presidential election, but winning the White House comes down to just this: 270 votes."
"That’s the majority in the Electoral College, which picks the president. Sometimes the selection follows the national popular vote, sometimes not, and a candidate can become president by winning as little as 11 states."
"Of the 45 presidents who have served since the founding of the Republic, five received fewer votes than their rivals but won in the Electoral College, including Donald Trump in 2016."
$1M haul for Rep. Katie Porter is richest among vulnerable Democrats
LA Times's CHRISTINE MAI-DUC: "Coming out in favor of impeachment doesn’t seem to have slowed the campaign of Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), one of seven California House freshmen who must defend competitive congressional seats in 2020."
"Porter’s campaign reported Wednesday that it had raised more than $1 million in the second quarter of 2019 and received a big bump from small-dollar donors. Twice as many small donors gave $100 or less in the second quarter than the first, and more than 17,000 unique donors have contributed since January, according to representatives for the congresswoman."
"A source close to House Democrats says the sum makes Porter the top fundraiser for the quarter among more than three dozen freshmen members considered vulnerable by House leadership."
Desperate to get rid of homeless people, some are using prickly plants, fences, barriers
LA Times's BENJAMIN ORESKES: "With dirt, they can weigh hundreds of pounds. The makeshift planter boxes are Peter Mozgo’s creations — roughly 140 of them lined up on the sidewalk to prevent homeless people from pitching tents outside his business."
"Mozgo acquires the boxes from a Bell Gardens company that imports ginger, paints them firetruck red, pays $120 per cubic yard for dirt and then uses a $900 trailer to haul it all back to his neighborhood on the south end of downtown Los Angeles."
"Like many L.A. residents and business owners, the 49-year-old says he is frustrated by the growing homelessness crisis — and the city’s often uneven response to it."
New report sheds little light on state's groundbreaking women-on-boards law
The Chronicle's KATHLEEN PENDER: "The California Secretary of State has published a mid-year reporton SB826, the groundbreaking law requiring publicly held companies headquartered in California to have at least one board member who self-identifies as a woman by the end of 2019 or face penalties. By the end of 2021, these companies must have at least two women on five-member boards and at least three women on boards with six or more directors."
"SB826 is the first law in the United States requiring female representation on corporate boards and it has sparked nationwide praise and scorn. Women’s and other groups see it as a major success of the #MeToo movement. Business groups say it’s likely unconstitutional and favors one type of diversity (women) over others."
"Unfortunately, the mid-year report is confusing and provides no useful information other than the fact that 184 California-based companies have said they have a female director. It doesn’t say how many don’t have a female director, or even how many are subject to the law."
California child sex abuse bill pulled amid opposition from Catholic church
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "California lawmakers are not ready to pass a bill that would require members of the clergy to break the seal of confession if they learn of child sexual abuse."
"Sen. Jerry Hill, who wrote the proposal, said he “hit the pause button” on Senate Bill 360 because he became aware that it would not pass."
"This issue remains important to me, and I will continue to champion it in the hope that my colleagues can come together on legislation. I strongly believe that for any institution self-policing and self-investigation are not effective ways to combat alleged abuse, as our own state Legislature has found,” Hill said in a statement released Tuesday morning."
Newsom signed a law changing the definition of beer in California
Sacramento Bee's SOPHIA BOLLAG: "California is updating its legal definition of beer to include varieties fermented with fruit, honey, spices or other foods under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Tuesday."
"Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association, said the new law won’t change what the average consumer thinks of as beer, which is made from malted grain or a malt substitute. California brewers have already been brewing beers using fruit for flavoring, he said."
"Under prior California law, using fruit in the fermentation process required a wine license, but the new law clarifies that beer brewers can use fruit and other ingredients to supplement their products, McCormick said."
California's second largest pension fund says Trump's tweets are a market risk
Sacramento Bee's WES VENTEICHER: "President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts represent an investment risk for the nation’s second-largest public pension fund, according to a report from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s top investment official."
"President tweets” are listed along with trade wars, Iran aggression, consumer sentiment, Brexit and other “key risks to monitor” in a presentation that Chief Investment Officer Christopher Ailman is scheduled to make to the CalSTRS board at its monthly meeting Friday."
"The effects of the president’s Twitter posts on markets have been documented, analyzed and studied, with the latest high-profile instance coming in May, when his tweets on Chinese tariffs shook previously calm markets."
PG&E's planned power shutdowns could choke off vital water supplies
The Chronicle's KURTIS ALEXANDER: "PG&E’s plan to prevent wildfires with widespread power shut-offs means no lights, no refrigeration and no internet in many parts of California."
"It could also mean limited use of toilets and taps, an inconvenience that water and sewer districts across the state are scrambling to address before a blackout comes and nature calls."
"Utilities, including several in the Bay Area, simply don’t have the backup power to replace the electricity that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. normally provides for water delivery and sewage treatment. The agencies are trying to make their operations more energy efficient and adding alternative power sources in case the cord is cut, but it may not be enough."
After Ridgecrest, California is still overdue for a 'Big One' on its most active faults
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "Last weekend’s pair of powerful Ridgecrest temblors, 6.4 magnitude on Friday and 7.1 magnitude on Saturday, offered a stark reminder: “The Big One” is coming."
"While the two quakes rightfully earned considerable attention, they represent something of an anomaly, as California’s three most active faultlines remain relatively calm."
"None of these are on the main faults, that is the conundrum,” said Glenn Biasi, researcher for the U.S. Geological Survey."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: Never mind those earthquakes: Atmospheric rivers could put Sacramento under 30 feet of water -- Sacramento Bee's CANDICE WANG; Coastal Commission to consider poisoning mice to restorte balance on Farallon Islands -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE; Ridgecrest: Why so little destruction from huge temblors? -- LA Times's RONG-GONG LIN II; Ridgecrest earthquake suspected of killing man in Nevada -- LA Times's JACLYN COSGROVE
One of the last remaining Confederate monuments in California is vandalized
LA Times's COLLEEN SHALBY: "One of the last remaining Confederate monuments in California was vandalized days after the Fourth of July."
"The Sons of Confederate Veterans monument was erected in the Santa Ana Cemetery in 2004. On Sunday, it was discovered covered in red paint with the word “racists” written vertically down one side."
"The 7-ton granite monument is dedicated to those who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. It includes the names of 33 people with ties to the Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson."
BART's new stacked gates, meant to deter cheats, inspire gallows humor
The Chronicle's RACHEL SWAN: "Critics compare BART’s new double-decker fare gates to a guillotine. Supporters call them a necessary innovation. Some riders simply recoil at the design: two gates stacked vertically with one at waist level and the other at the average adult’s shoulders."
"Tamar Allen, the agency’s assistant general manager of operations, fiercely defended the model that engineers installed June 9 at Richmond Station."
"So far, no one has been injured, said Allen, who is carefully keeping tabs on the experiment — she watches patrons enter the station from a video monitor at her office. But many are intimidated by the equipment, which represents BART’s latest effort to stave off fare cheats."
Transgender prison guard receives $500K to settle discrimination case
Sacramento Bee's ADAM ASHTON: "A transgender correctional officer has received a $500,000 settlement to end a lawsuit she filed against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in which she alleged her colleagues harassed her by calling her names and instructing her to comply with a male dress code."
"As part of the settlement, Meghan Frederick agreed that she will not seek employment at a state prison in the future."
"Frederick started working for state prisons in 2002 and began publicly identifying herself as a woman in 2012, she said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee in 2017."
Prisoners clearing brush for Cal Fire disappear in Amador County, officials say
Sacramento Bee's JARED GILMOUR: "Three inmates clearing brush for Cal Fire went missing on Tuesday, sparking a search in Amador County, according to state prison officials."
"The prisoners were last seen around 11 a.m. on work assignment near Mitchell Mine Road, about three miles from Pine Grove Conservation Camp east of Sacramento, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a news release on Tuesday."
"An emergency count by Pine Grove staff just before 2 p.m. revealed that Stanley Hill, 19, Derrick Scott Peterson, 18, and Robert Lee Sneed, 19, had walked off, officials said."
Fed chief signals interest rate cut likely as soon as this month
LA Times's CRAIG TORRES/CHRISTOPHER CONDON: "Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said downside risks to the economy remain with trade wars softening business investment and weak inflation, signaling that policy makers may be poised to cut interest rates as soon as this month."
"Since Fed officials met in June, “it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook,” Powell said in prepared remarks to U.S. lawmakers Wednesday. “Inflation pressures remain muted."
"The Fed chief’s semiannual testimony supports the market view that the central bank is preparing to reduce borrowing costs at its July 30-31 meeting, despite a strong June jobs report. His remarks come amid mounting pressure from President Trump to cut rates."
Court rules Trump can't deny access to his tweets -- First Amendment applies
The Chronicle's BOB EGELKO: "By using his personal Twitter account to announce official actions — banning transgender soldiers, for example, or firing his first chief of staff — President Trump has been able to communicate his policy decisions instantly to millions of followers. But that also brings the First Amendment into play, a federal appeals court said Tuesday, and that means Trump can’t deny access to his critics."
"Once the president has opened the @realDonaldTrump account to members of the public, who can then circulate his messages and post replies, “he may not selectively exclude those whose views he disagrees with,” the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said in a 3-0 ruling."
"That’s how Trump has treated online dissidents, including seven who filed the lawsuit in July 2017."
READ MORE related to POTUS45: GOP touts swing-districts poll showing opposition to Trump impeachment -- The Chronicle's JOHN WILDERMUTH