'Absolutely catastrophic': NorCal braces for more PG&E shutoffs
The Chronicle's JD MORRIS: "Northern California communities hit by some of the worst wildfires the state has ever seen are now preparing for another kind of disaster: prolonged power shut-offs caused intentionally by Pacific Gas and Electric Co."
"PG&E has used its aggressive new strategy to prevent its equipment from starting another fire only on one weekend so far this year. But the utility is poised to turn off the lights much more in the coming months as hot, dry and windy weather persists during the most dangerous part of wildfire season."
"The impacts may be extreme and unprecedented, cutting entire cities off from the electric grid for several days in the worst-case scenarios. In those instances, stoplights and even cell phones could stop working properly, local officials say, snarling traffic and hamstringing residents’ ability to communicate."
Camp Fire death toll rises to 86 after man dies of burn injuries
AP: "A man who had been hospitalized since the deadliest wildfire in California history incinerated a town in November has died, raising the number of people killed to 86, authorities said Thursday."
"The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said 72-year-old Paul Ernest, of Paradise, succumbed to his wounds but gave no other information. Ernest’s son, Jessee Ernest, said his father died Monday of complications from burns on one-third of his body."
"He had a hard time keeping his lungs functioning,” Jessee Ernest said. “He put up a really good fight.”
Two hours of terror in Orange County, with no easy answers
LA Times's HANNAH FRY/CINDY CARCAMO/MARIA L LA GANGA/JULIA SCLAFANI: "Days after his wife filed to move their divorce forward, a Garden Grove man with a long rap sheet is suspected of having gone on what authorities describe as one of Orange County’s worst binges of violence, robbing and stabbing his way south from his own apartment building, leaving four dead bodies and eight crime scenes in his wake."
"First, police say, 33-year-old Zachary Castaneda ransacked his next-door neighbor’s apartment. Then he allegedly terrorized the owner of a nearby bakery, walking off with her cash register when he couldn’t get the machine open. After that, the man police describe as a known gang member doubled back to his first crime scene and apparently stabbed his neighbor and another man to death."
"Over two and a half hours Wednesday, the attacks Castaneda is accused of became more brazen. He terrorized a swath of Santa Ana and Garden Grove, nearly sliced off a man’s nose off while gassing up his silver Mercedes and strained the resources of the smaller city’s police department, authorities said. Many of the attacks, police said, were caught on surveillance video."
Deadly Encinitas cliff collapse is a dire warning sign for California coast
LA Times's SOUMYA KARLAMANGLA: "The deadly cliff collapse in Encinitas last week raised questions about the stability of large swaths of the state that are lined by bluffs, many of which support houses or offer enticing patches of shade for families relaxing on the beach."
"Friday’s collapse, which killed three people, was a tragic consequence of sea cliffs’ natural erosion process, experts say. Chunks of bluffs regularly fall off to create the beach below, so all beach bluffs should be considered unstable, said Brian Ketterer, coastal division chief for California State Parks."
"Any of our bluffs have the ability to fail, and people just need to be aware of that,” Ketterer said."
Devin Nunes lawsuits are confusing fellow Republicans
Sacramento Bee's KATE IRBY: "Republicans who typically support Rep. Devin Nunes are less willing to speak up for him since he filed a lawsuit against one of his own constituents."
"The lawsuit is Nunes’ third in which he alleges that political consultants conspired against him to damage his chances for re-election last year. Nunes, R-Tulare, won the race against Democratic challenger Andrew Janz, but by a closer margin than in his previous campaigns."
"The previous two cases targeted social media giant Twitter and McClatchy, the parent company of The Fresno Bee. They also named Liz Mair, a Republican political strategist."
Yolo County appears ready to end federal contract for immigrant teen detention center
Sacramento Bee's ELLIOT WAILOO: "Yolo County supervisors appear ready to terminate a decade-old contract with federal immigration authorities to house unaccompanied migrant teenagers in a high-security detention center in Woodland."
"This fall, the five-member Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on whether to extend the county’s contract with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which can detain up to two dozen unaccompanied migrant teenagers in the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility."
"The Yolo facility is one of two high-security centers for immigrant teenagers nationwide and houses unaccompanied minors who “pose a danger to self or others” or could be charged with a criminal offense, federal immigration guidelines state. The second is in central Virginia, while a third high-security facility in northern Virginia ended its contract with the federal government last year."
Gilroy Community Grapples With Trauma After Mass Shooting: ‘Sometimes It’s Terror’
From KQED's MIRANDA LETSINGER: "A woman wounded in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting feels paranoid when she leaves her home and no longer knows who to trust. Another survivor replays the attack over and over in her mind. And people in the community who weren't at the festival — like a Vietnam veteran and an 8-year-old boy — say they’ve been affected by the violence, too, triggering fear and flashbacks to other trauma."
"Like many others impacted by gun violence nationwide, some people in Gilroy are experiencing trauma in the wake of the July 28 shooting that left three people dead. These emotional scars can haunt them long after the attack, even if they weren’t physically injured, experts say."
"Gabriella Gaus was grazed by bullets on her back and shoulder as she fled the scene with a friend. She was discharged from the hospital hours after the attack, and has barely left home since."
Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting: Killer had more guns, survival gear and a clown mask
The Chronicle's EVAN SERNOFFSKY: "While a motive remains unclear in the deadly rampage at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, authorities have found an array of evidence suggesting the deceased killer was gearing up for warfare and survival, seizing not only high-powered guns but tactical gear, a personal fire shelter and a clown mask."
"According to a search warrant released Thursday, police recovered an AR-15-style assault rifle in a camouflage bag along with three high-capacity ammunition magazines from the family home of gunman Santino Legan, along with a trove of survival gear and an open bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey from his vehicle, which was parked outside the festival."
CA's new bible for MMJ laws has industry anticipating a crackdown
Sacramento Bee's ANDREW SHEELER: "A new summary of California’s marijuana laws from the Department of Justice has the cannabis industry anticipating more enforcement actions targeting black-market operators."
"That’s the takeaway for Kyle Kazan, CEO of Glass House Group, a vertically integrated cannabis company that sells both medicinal and recreational product."
"It tells me the state is getting serious about cracking down on the black market,” Kazan said."
Rent control coming to Sacramento. How a new plan will affect renters, landlords
Sacramento Bee's THEREXA CLIFT: "The Sacramento City Council is expected to approve a local rent control measure Tuesday in a compromise between city officials, labor unions and developers. The agreement – which will cap rent increases for older housing – will avoid what likely would have been a bitter, multi-million dollar political campaign next year."
"In its new form, the Sacramento Tenant Protection and Relief Act, which the council will consider at its 2 p.m. meeting Tuesday, will create a set of renter protections for tenants who live in housing built prior to Feb. 1, 1995. The ordinance will cap the amount that landlords can increase rent each year; prohibit landlords from evicting tenants without a reason; and create a process where tenants can report landlords who violate the act."
"The proposal is a compromise that’s the result of months of talks between city officials and advocates who gathered signatures to put a stricter rent control measure on the local ballot in 2020, said Councilman Steve Hansen, who led the negotiations."
SF activist shot in Philippines -- friends accuse Duterte's government forces
The Chronicle's MICHAEL CABANATUAN: "A San Francisco native who works as an environmental and indigenous rights volunteer in the Philippines was listed in critical condition Thursday after being shot four times in what relatives and colleagues believe was a political attack to silence him."
"Brandon Lee, 37, was shot outside his home Tuesday in the Ifugao province of the northern Philippines, according to friends who have been planning a rally to support Lee, and each other."
"Filipino and Chinese community leaders, including Supervisor Gordon Mar, will gather at 10 a.m. Friday on the Polk Street steps outside San Francisco City Hall to condemn the shooting and call on the U.S. Embassy and Congress to protect Lee. The former Sunset District resident attended Lincoln High School and San Francisco State University, where he became interested in Filipino politics and human rights issues, said Faye Lacanilao, a close friend and fellow San Franciscan."
Bear falls on deputy's car, triggering crash and wildfire, officials say
Sacramento Bee's JARED GILMOUR: "Northern California firefighters put out a fire along Highway 96 near Weitchpec last weekend — but it wasn’t until now that officials revealed the surprising cause."
"A bear fell on a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office patrol car as a deputy was heading north on the highway on Saturday, triggering a crash into an embankment that sparked a fire, Caltrans District 1 said in a Facebook post on Wednesday."
READ MORE related to Energy & Environment: New Point Reyes management plan riles up environmentalists -- comment sought -- The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE
Fire crews started a blaze near Mather to reduce fire fuel. It grew larger than intended
Sacramento Bee's MOLLY SULLIVAN/MEGHAN BOBROWSKY: "A large brush fire near Mather Airport in south Rancho Cordova was ignited Wednesday morning as part of a plan to reduce fire fuel in the area, according to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District. However, it grew bigger than intended."
"The blaze was supposed to burn 50 acres, said Capt. Brian Gonsalves, a Metro Fire spokesman. But it charred 67 acres before firefighters were able to contain it."
"After blazing through the prescribed 50 acres by 2 p.m., the fire spread to a contingency area that was allocated specifically for this purpose, Gonsalves said. He called it a “backup plan” of sorts.
Equinox gym protest called in WestHollywood over owner's fundraising for Trump
LA Times's MELISSA GOMEZ: "When news broke this week that the billionaire who owns the parent company of luxury gym Equinox and fitness company SoulCycle would be hosting a fundraiser for President Trump, the fitness community — and more specifically, the LGBTQ community — did not take to it kindly."
"Calls for boycotts and gym membership cancellations spread online, and by Wednesday afternoon two West Hollywood residents had organized a protest at the gym’s Sunset Boulevard location for 4 p.m. Friday, the day of the fundraiser in New York."
"Stephen Ross, founder and chairman of the Related Cos., parent company of Equinox and SoulCycle, is hosting the event to benefit Trump’s reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee. Ross, a real estate developer, also owns the NFL’s Miami Dolphins."
How a $30-million federal lawsuit was blown up over breakfast
LA Times' JOSEPH SERNA: "It was a friendly morning meal at the Mission Inn to make sure there were no hard feelings after years of litigation."
'Attorney Jim Lance was eating with Lawrence Goda and his wife, who had just agreed to be part of a nearly $5-million settlement against Lance’s Saudi client, businessman Tarek Al-Shawaf."
"As the pair engaged in small talk and broke bread, Goda dropped a bombshell."