SF wants PG&E

Sep 9, 2019

SF offers billions for PG&E's system in the city. Here's the company's reply


Sacramento Bee's DALE KASLER: "The city of San Francisco has offered to buy PG&E Corp.’s electrical operations in the city for $2.5 billion in a move that could throw a dramatic wrinkle into the utility’s bankruptcy case."


"Mayor London Breed, in a statement released by the city Sunday, called the offer “competitive, fair and equitable” and said it will “offer financial stability for PG&E."


"The bid comes on the eve of a pivotal moment in PG&E’s bankruptcy: The company is scheduled to file a Chapter 11 reorganization plan Monday, including an outline for repaying billions in liabilities from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires. The utility suffered a significant setback Friday when it was forced to acknowledge that a tax-free state bond plan, designed to raise money for paying wildfire victims, was dead in the Legislature at least until January."


Without state bond, PG&E needs money — and hedge funds await CA’s largest utility


From CalMatters' JUDY LIN: "With a proposed $20 billion wildfire recovery bond tabled for this legislative session, PG&E is back where it started — searching for a way forward amid tens of billions of dollars in damages from past wildfires."


"And as the options narrow, they are increasingly driving the state’s largest utility toward a competing investor group led by major Republican donor Paul Singer, the billionaire known for his combative style and portfolio of distressed properties."

“It’s reasonable to suggest that a blended approach forward is plausible,” said Rob Stutzman, a spokesman for the bondholder group, which includes Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management Corp., on Friday."


California boat fire probe widens as FBI serves search warrants on Conception owner


LA Times's RICHARD WINTON/MATT STILES/MARK PUENTE: "In a significant expansion of the investigation into the Labor Day boat fire that killed 34 people, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Coast Guard served warrants Sunday at the Santa Barbara headquarters of Truth Aquatics seeking training, safety and maintenance records."


"Agents also searched two other boats belonging to the company, including one similar to Conception, the 75-foot vessel that burned and sank early Monday morning as it was anchored off the coast of Santa Cruz Island. Truth Aquatics is a dive boat operator that offers water and scuba outings."


"Investigators took photos and boxes during the search, which is part of the ongoing investigation into the incident, said Lt. Eric Raney with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. No arrests were made."


READ MORE related to Dive Boat Disaster: What we know about the Conception's escape routes -- LA Times's KYLE KIM/LORENA INIGUEZ ELEBEE/RYAN MURPHY


Lawmakers and lobbyists scramble as California’s legislative session draws to a close


From the LAT's GEORGE SKELTON: "For several hours last week, big trucks circled the state Capitol bumper-to-bumper, blaring their horns and clogging traffic."


"The truckers were trying to get the politicians’ attention and honk a message: They demanded to be exempted from organized labor’s “gig” bill that would reclassify them as company employees rather than what they are: independent contractors."


"They got everyone’s attention, all right, but also annoyed them. How’d you like to hear constant ear-deafening truck belching while you’re trying to work? Or to be distracted by all that greenhouse gas being emitted?"


Golden Handshake: Pension ‘air time’ lives on


From Calpensions' ED MENDEL: "Until a pension reform six years ago, CalPERS and CalSTRS members could boost their pensions by buying credit for up to five years of service without doing the work, thus the name “air time.”

"But former Gov. Brown’s broad cost-cutting reform did not end a similar program often called the “golden handshake.” In this one the employer, not the employee, buys up to two years of air time for employees as an incentive for retirement, if it’s shown to cut costs."


"Adding to pension debt for doing no work arguably is not a good look, particularly when CalPERS is only 70 percent funded, CalSTRS just 64 percent funded, and the bite both take from government budgets is at an all-time high and growing."


Trump puts California 'on notice' over emissions deal with carmakers


McClatchy's EMILY CADEI/MICHAEL WILNER: "The Trump administration put California “on notice” Friday that it plans to use the full weight of federal authority to fight the state’s groundbreaking deal with automakers to rein in air pollution."


"In a letter to California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, attorneys for the EPA and Department of Transportation asserted that the state’s deal with Honda, Ford, BMW of North America and Volkswagen appears to be “unlawful and invalid."


"Separately, Reuters reported that the Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into the four car manufacturers over the deal."


Recruiting African Americans to the GOP: Bay Area woman says she can do it


The Chronicle's JOE GAROFOLI: "Redwood City resident Corrin Rankin realizes the monumental task she’s undertaking: She just started a political action committee devoted to recruiting more African Americans to the California Republican Party."


"Only 6% of likely Republican voters in California are black, according to a new study by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. But that signals only part of the challenge Rankin faces as the president of the new Legacy Republican Alliance."


"It’s not just that 3 out of 4 black voters nationally disapprove of President Trump, according to a Fox News poll in July — another survey, this one by Quinnipiac University, found that 80% think he is racist."


California GOP opens alternative pathway for 2020 delegates


AP's MICHAEL R BLOOD: "California Republicans have approved a rule change intended to ensure the party can send delegates to the GOP's national convention next summer, even if President Donald Trump is kept off the state's 2020 primary ballot."


"The measure was drafted in response to a state law signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in July that requires presidential candidates to release their tax returns, a move aimed squarely at the Republican president."


"Republican National Committee member Shawn Steel said he was confident the law would be voided in court. He said the rule change Sunday represented a stop-gap measure, if needed."


Artifacts alter timeline for Native Americans in California


The Chronicle's PETER FIMRITE: "On a rugged coastal bluff overlooking Tomales Bay is the site of a former Coast Miwok village that tells a remarkable story about Native American resilience in the face of oppression."


"There, amid the biting winds and foggy mists at Toms Point in Marin County, are buried obsidian and chert cutting tools, animal remains, and other signs of indigenous life long after the Spanish missions closed down and the American frontier was settled."


"The presence of these artifacts is evidence, archaeologists say, that native people in Northern California carried on their traditions and maintained tribal ties much longer than many historians thought."


How do Latinx voters feel when Candidates speak Spanish?


LA Times's MELISSA GOMEZ: "Beto O’Rourke stepped up on a red cooler so the crowd packed inside Taqueria Arandas could see him."


"Primero, buenos días,” he began, greeting people. He thanked the family that owns the restaurant and launched his pitch: “Necesitamos un país en que cualquier persona [pueda] participar con su voz y su voto en su democracía.” “We need a country where anybody can participate in their democracy with their voice and their vote."


"The audience cheered, clapped and leaned in close to listen to the former Texas congressman, one of several 2020 Democratic candidates speaking at least some Spanish on the campaign trail."


UC again dominates ranking of nation's public universities. Here's how Davis, others fared


Sacramento Bee's SAWSAN MORRAR: "University of California campuses once again dominated the list of the nation’s top public schools as U.S. News & World Report released its rankings for the 2020 best colleges on Monday."


"UCLA maintained its spot as the No. 1 public school among national universities, followed by UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Four other UC campuses made the top 20: UC Santa Barbara at No. 13, UC Irvine at No. 15, UC San Diego at No. 16 and UC Davis at No. 17 – a slide from its No. 10 position in 2019."


"Among Western regional universities, Sacramento State ranked 55th out of 82 schools."


Macy and Huffman tell their side of college admissions scandal


LA Times's MATTHEW ORMSETH: "What Felicity Huffman now calls the worst decision of her life came to a head at 6 a.m. March 12, when six federal agents showed up at the door of her Hollywood Hills home, guns drawn, to march the actress, in handcuffs, out of the realm of the beloved and into the realm of the scorned."


"Letters that Huffman and her husband, William H. Macy, wrote to the judge who will sentence her next week offer the most detailed explanation to date about how the couple got involved in the scandal and how they are grappling with Huffman’s extraordinary fall from grace."


"Both award-winning actors said they were trying to be good parents. Huffman expressed deep regrets for her actions, adding she had disgraced herself and betrayed her daughter."


READ MORE related to Education: Not just Washington High murals: WPA's work lives on, all over SF -- The Chronicle's GARY KAMIYA


Supermarkets and union reach tentative deal


LA Times's LORI WEISBERG/JAMES F PELTZ: "Two major Southern California supermarket operators reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract that could avert a strike at more than 500 grocery stores by the chains’ 47,000 workers."


"Albertsons, which owns Vons and Pavilions, and the Ralphs division of Kroger Co. said they reached the agreement early Sunday with the seven locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers union that represent the workers."


"The union confirmed the proposed deal and said its members would start voting Monday whether to ratify the agreement, with the results expected to be announced Thursday. Union leadership is recommending ratification."


Young dairy farmers continue Marin-Sonoma ranching tradition, stick to organic milk


The Chronicle's TARA DUGGAN: "Louis Silva says he doesn’t need Saturdays and Sundays off. He loves taking care of the 125 dairy cows he and his wife, Marissa Silva, keep on her family’s ranch in the Marin County town of Tomales. It’s what he’s wanted to do since he was little, when his dad and uncle and grandfather had a dairy operation in Elk Grove (Sacramento County). It’s what Marissa has wanted too, even if it means that Louis, 34, now works 16-hour days while she cares for their two young children."


"We both love it, and we both understand that that’s the nature of the business,” says Marissa Silva, 31. “It’s good that we found each other, because not a lot of people understand that or would want to put up with it."


"Young dairy farmers like the Silvas are not the norm in the aging U.S. farm workforce, where the average age of farm operators is 57.5, according to the latest U.S. Census of Agriculture. The relentless demands of farm life are one of the main reasons most young adults don’t follow their parents into farming. Yet the Silvas’ dairy is among three in Marin run by farmers in their 20s and 30s who have recently signed on as suppliers to Straus Family Creamery in Petaluma, which uses their organic milk in its bottled milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream, butter and ice cream."


Ride free through Wednesday: Sacramento RT launches major bus-route overhaul


Sacramento Bee's TONY BIZJAK: "Sacramento’s main transit agency on Sunday unveiled the biggest bus route redesign in its history, including extended service hours and more coordination between buses and light rail trains."


"The project, called SacRT Forward, is part of a multiyear effort by the Sacramento Regional Transit District to modernize its service and operations in hopes of giving transit a stronger role regionally as Sacramento’s core metro area becomes denser and its freeways and main commuter routes more crowded."


"The agency and other transit companies have seen their ridership erode over the past decade as more people use ride-sharing services, forcing SacRT and others to rethink their service approach."


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